A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®

Reformed. Christianity. Evangelism. Modern Culture.

Category Archives: Calvinism

Why you must pray for the local church when there is a break up or scandal.

broken-down-churchWhen a believer yields to temptation it brings dishonour to the Lord and sad consequences for the individual and others connected with him. When a church breaks down or departs from the truth it is impossible to judge how far reaching the effects might be.  Many a town [and village] seems to have closed to the Gospel for 50 years or more because a once -thriving and influential church in the locality was torn by internal strife or caught up in a public scandal that has become common knowledge. How we must watch and pray over the churches, recognising that we can only really combat the enemy if we understand the scriptures.

Excerpt from Nigel Lacey’s book ‘God’s plan for the Local Church

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Sermons of a man called George Whitefield.

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Some one once said George Whitefield preached a pure gospel, a powerful gospel and a passionate gospel. He was a man of deep prayer, tremendous spiritual fortitude with a burdened heart, burning lips and brimming eyes. A contemporary of Jonathan Edwards and John Wesley, he was an English Anglican preacher who spent most of his life spreading the gospel by preaching in open air and was one of the major instruments of God used in the Great Awakening in Britain and the United States.

He drew great crowds when he preached to people from all walks of life. From a lordly chamber heavy with the pungent aroma of costly perfumes, Whitefield would race off to a street meeting. Catch his joy as he says, “There I was honored with having stones, dirt, rotten eggs, and pieces of dead cats thrown at me.”

Now it’s possible to download read and study atleast 59 George Whitefield sermons either as a kindle ebook, pdf or EPub.

Lessons from the conversion of Zaccheus

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preacherFrom a sermon by George Whitefield:
O that the Lord would be pleased to pass by some of you at this time! O that he may call you by his Spirit, and make you a willing people in this day of his power! For I know my calling will not do, unless he, by his efficacious grace, compel you to come in. O that you once felt what it is to receive Jesus Christ into your hearts! You would soon, like Zaccheus, give him everything. You do not love Christ, because you do not know him; you do not come to him, because you do not feel your want of him: you are whole, and not broken hearted; you are not sick, at least not sensible of your sickness; and, therefore, no wonder you do not apply to Jesus Christ, that great, that almighty physician. You do not feel yourselves lost, and therefore do not seek to be found in Christ. O that God would wound you with the sword of his Spirit, and cause his arrows of conviction to stick deep in your hearts!

Correcting the offending brother

I am currently reading a rare and out of print 1993 book that  was kindly given to me by a retired pastor and I have reached the interesting section on ‘church discipline’. Indeed my coffee cup is filled to the brim and I am sprawling on a tiny chair as I indulge in savory words of virtue and wisdom. Okay lets back track a bit -church discipline -this of course is a delicate issue facing any congregation of Christians:

correcting the brotherOn one hand, believers are sensitive to the claims of truth on the conscience. They are further aware that truth is for the purpose of promoting godliness. Consequently, sin is to be taken seriously, and discipline  when necessary, is to be administered according to the gravity  of the offense in question. ‘If your brother sins,’ says our Lord, ‘correct him.’ (Matt 18:15).

On the other hand, Christians are aware that the truth has not been entrusted to the church in abstraction from the welfare of the people who are recipients of that truth.

If sin is exposed and corrected, it is only to the end that Christ may be glorified by the recovery and restoration of his errant sheep (cf James 5:19-20). The problem of church discipline, accordingly resides in the BALANCE of the truth and love of people… Read More!

William Carey: The Doctrines of Grace in Evangelism

When it comes to missionaries to South East Asia or rather India in particular William Carey, a  shoemaker by trade  is the first name that springs up. Born in England in 1761 he spent an active forty-one years serving the Lord in India, including translating the Scriptures. This was after being heckled,”Young man, sit down: when God pleases to covert the heathen, He will do it without your aid or mine.”

 To know what William believed I will let this excerpt unfold the story:

William Carey’s greatest contribution to the modern missions movement was his trust in the sovereignty of God in missions.  This fueled his zeal to reach the heathen with the gospel.  In his youth, he was told to sit down by an elder brother, a hyper-Calvinist, who told him that when God wanted to reach the heathen He would do it without him or Carey.  Carey’s Calvinism however, his theological understanding of God’s sovereignty and the responsibility of man, would not allow him to either doubt God’s sovereignty or neglect his responsibility. Read More…

WWUTT: Hates the sin but loves the sinner? Not so fast dear!

This is quite interesting….

HT: Rated R for Reformed.

When sin shall be unmasked.

PNG-womanAh, souls! when you shall lie upon a dying bed, and stand before a judgment-seat, sin shall be unmasked, and its dress and robes shall then be taken off, and then it shall appear more vile, filthy, and terrible than hell itself; then, that which formerly appeared most sweet will appear most bitter, and that which appeared most beautiful will appear most ugly, and that which appeared most delightful will then appear most dreadful to the soul.

~ Thomas Brooks, Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices

HT Reformed Quotes.

Ye Are The Salt!—Not Sugar Candy

By Charles Spurgeon

An evil is in the professed camp of the Lord, so gross in its impudence, that the most shortsighted can hardly fail to notice it during the past few years. It has developed at an abnormal rate, even for evil. It has worked like leaven until the whole lump ferments. The devil has seldom done a cleverer thing than hinting to the church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them. Read More

Do not be discouraged at the difficulties…

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If God is for us, who can be against us?
Romans 8:31

Do not be discouraged at the difficulties and oppositions that will rise up before you when you begin resolvedly to walk with God. Discouragements turn multitudes from religion, and provide a great temptation for many young beginners to turn back. Israel in the wilderness was ready to retreat to Egypt. God himself will have his servants and his graces tried and exercised by difficulties, and Satan, will quickly raise up storms before us, as soon as we are set out to sea.

But God is on your side and has all your enemies in his hand, and can rebuke them, or destroy them in a moment. O what is the breath or
fury of dust or devils, against the Lord Almighty! In the day you entered into a covenant with God, and he with you, you entered into the most impregnable rock and fortress, and covered yourself in a castle of defence, where you may (modestly) defy all adverse powers of earth
or hell. If God cannot save you, he is not God. …Read More!

When God ordains thorns for me…

hopeHaving faith in God and putting your trust in Him involves trusting Him for your salvation and through your sanctification. Your sanctification is for His glory and for your good through times and situations you do not understand. More times than not there will be tough times; occasions when the proverbial thorn remains in your side and He will not take it away. In such times where do you draw your strength from? Our trust should always be in The Sovereign God knowing that what God ordains is always good for me for His glory. In the words of Nancy Guthrie…

Some claim that strong faith is defined by throwing our energies into begging God for a miracle that will take away our suffering and then believing without doubting that he will do it. But faith is not measured by our ability to manipulate God to get what we want, it is measured by our willingness to submit to what he wants. It takes great faith to say to God, ” Even if you don’t heal me or the one I love, even if you don’t change my circumstances, even if you don’t restore my relationship, even if you allow me to lose what is most precious to me, I will still love you and obey you and believe that you are good.  – Nancy Guthrie (Hearing Jesus Speak Into your Sorrow …Read More!

#SIN awareness day

2014-07-06 13.56.32A lone street preacher calls on the crowd with a message. This is one of the most stirring photos I have seen in a long while…

Adonirom Judson’s letter to his prospective father in law Mr Hasseltine.

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Adoniram Judson, Jr. (August 9, 1788 – April 12, 1850) was the first Protestant missionary sent from North America to preach in Burma. Judson is remembered as the first significant missionary in Burma, as well as one of the very first missionaries from America to travel overseas. The story of his biography has touched many people, however I will just dig into a small bit here and it’s his letter to his prospective father in law shines some light into the kind of person he was and his passion for missions and evangelism of the dangerous heathen lands:

“I have now to ask whether you can consent to part with your daughter early next spring, to see her no more in this world ? Whether you can consent to her departure to a heathen land, and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of a missionary life? Whether you can consent to her exposure to the dangers of the ocean; to the fatal influence of the southern climate of India; to every kind of want and distress; to degradation, insult, persecution, and perhaps a violent death? Can you consent to all this, for the sake of Him who left His heavenly home and died for her and for you; for the sake of perishing, immortal souls; for the sake of Zion and the glory of God? Can you consent to all this, in hope of soon meeting your daughter in the world of glory, with a crown of righteousness brightened by the acclamations of praise which shall resound to her Saviour from heathens saved, through her means, from eternal woe and despair?”

HT J.D Greer

Adoniram Judson ended up spending his missionary career not in India, but in Burma. During his thirty-seven years of service there, he persevered through seventeen months of brutal imprisonment, several bouts of life-threatening illness, and the death of two wives and six children. He succeeded in translating the Bible into Burmese and compiling an English-Burmese dictionary. He waited six years for his first Burmese convert, but by the time of his death in 1850, there were a hundred Burmese churches and over 8,000 Burmese Christians. A very readable biography, To the Golden Shore by Courtney Anderson, recounts the epic story of his remarkable life.

How about the believer who falls?

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The topic of a believer who falls into sin or renounces his profession is a common one. And from that spring boards the questions Can a believer fall radically? Can a believer fall totally, irretrievably and be lost for all eternity? I hope this post sheds some light on what scripture says…

We may live in a culture that believes everyone will be saved, that we are “justified by death” and all you need to do to go to heaven is die, but God’s Word certainly doesn’t give us the luxury of believing that. Any quick and honest reading of the New Testament shows that the Apostles were convinced that nobody can go to heaven unless they believe in Christ alone for their salvation (John 14:6; Rom. 10:9–10).

Historically, evangelical Christians have largely agreed on this point. Where they have differed has been on the matter of the security of salvation. People who would otherwise agree that only those who trust in Jesus will be saved have disagreed on whether anyone who truly believes in Christ can lose his salvation.

Theologically speaking, what we are talking about here is the concept of apostasy. This term comes from a Greek word that means “to stand away from.” When we talk about those who have become apostate or have committed apostasy, we’re talking about those who have fallen from the faith or at least from the profession of faith in Christ that they once made. …Read More!

How do the deaf hear the gospel?

That is a good question to ask a lady called Jean. I have had a really wonderful evening hearing of the missions work among the deaf in Austria. I must say any day I hear of God’s glorious works in the salvation of any soul I am always intrigued and amazed. This time I was glad to hear of how the gospel is spreading among the deaf in Klagenfurt, Austria. Jean Ellis has given over thirty years of her life to work in Austria.  Her ministry in affiliation with Grace Baptist Mission (GBM) has almost been exclusively among the deaf and their families. By God’s grace some have come to repentance and faith in Christ and by the grace of God the number of deaf believers is growing who are now led  by local sign language using pastors grounded in sound Biblical teaching. The work in Austria has been blessed with conversions and even baptisms.

The work among the deaf:

There have been many challenges in the work; part of the challenges were to translate the Bible into Austrian sign language, prayers of the leaders and new believers. Much prayer is still needed for missionaries to this community group (as well as to many missionaries to deaf people around the world). More missionaries are needed to special needs people whether deaf, blind or mute. Why? Because we as believers have an obligation and a commission from the Lord to spread the gospel. Besides…

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? [Rom 10:14]

May God send workers in to the harvest. May the Lord equip the workers for the harvest. May the glory go to Him alone.British sign language letter A

Take the Calvinism Test.

The label Calvinist is thrown about flippantly. In some circles it’s used with a snarl and a growl. In most cases people do not actually know what it means. However Times Herald has noted that….

 This label that once was considered very bad in almost all Christian circles is enjoying incredible new popularity. Surging numbers of Christians are attending Calvinistic conferences and reading Calvinistic books and articles.

Calvinism is still misunderstood and is recovering from so many decades of bad press. In spite of that, however, more people opening called themselves Calvinists or variations of that, like mild Calvinists or moderate Calvinists. Have you been labeled a Calvinist? How can you know if you or someone else is such an animal? In a moment I’d like to give you a simple test to determine just that.

The nickname Calvinist comes from the Reformer John Calvin (1509-1564). Although John Calvin taught through books of the Bible day-by-day in Geneva, Switzerland, he is known mostly for teaching that God is sovereign over the salvation of sinners. He taught that God chose to save some people before time began, and then predestined that they would become believers in Christ. …Read More!

Steven Lawson: The kind of preaching that God blesses

There is a kind of preaching that God blesses, specifically the proclamation that exalts the crucified Christ by the power of the Spirit. Conversely, there is a kind of preaching that God does not bless, a mere echoing of man’s empty wisdom that is devoid of Christ. ~ Lawson, Steven J.  from The Kind of Preaching God Blesses

Ecce Homo: Behold The Man!

It’s about two thousand years since Pilate said, “Ecce homo” (behold the man). How  easily we forget that God was among us (Emmanuel). How easily we forget that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

How easily we let our focus shift to material give aways and easter eggs. What if we beheld the crucifixion of Jesus and remembered that:

Death by crucifixion was agonizingly slow, and came about by suffocation. A medical expert on crucifixion describes the physical effects that Jesus would have endured while nailed to a cross,

“As the arms fatigue, great waves of cramps sweep over the muscles . . . With these cramps comes the inability to push Himself upward. Hanging by His arms, the pectoral muscles are paralyzed . . . Air can be drawn into the lungs, but cannot be exhaled. Jesus fights to raise Himself in order to get even one short breath. Finally, carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood stream and the cramps partially subside. Spasmodically He is able to push Himself upward to exhale and bring in the life-giving oxygen.” (The Crucifixion of Jesus: The Passion of Christ from a Medical Point of View, Arizona Medicine, vol. 22, no. 3 (March 1965), 183-187).

This process would continue for hours until all strength in the legs is gone, and Jesus is no longer able to push up in order to breathe.

Aside from the physical pain of crucifixion, there was also the stigma of disgrace and humiliation that was attached to it. Victims were beaten, whipped, and taunted even before reaching the cross. They were usually hanged naked, made a spectacle of shame for all to see. Read More…

Breakthrough: The documentary of Missionary James O. Fraser and the Lisu people

Above is a trailer of documentary of James Fraser:

James Fraser was only 22 years old when he left his engineering career and went to China. From the very first time he saw the Lisu tribespeople of Yunnan Province, he was filled with God’s love for them. He spent the rest of his life laboring to bring them the gospel. Breakthrough came only after his partners back home took up the challenge to pray. …Read More!

Moving from Angry Calvinism to gentle forbearing….

Isn’t it a wonder some times when one discovers some truth about a facet of God’s divine design or the doctrines of grace and then we lose all patience with those slow to taste the honey dew? The term used here is usually –Angry Calvinist. Could it be that we become angry with them and not realise we too were once blind to these truth until the light of God’s grace shone on our paths? On becoming a humble Calvinist – John Newton, Memoirs of the Life of the Late Rev. William Grimshaw (London: 1799), pages 86–87 writes something that rings true:

Church Reformer Martin LutherThey who avow the doctrines distinguished by the name of Calvinism, ought, if consistent with their own principles, to be the most gentle and forbearing of all men, in meekness instructing them that oppose. With us, it is a fundamental maxim, that a man can receive nothing but what is given him from heaven (John 3:27). If, therefore, it has pleased God to give us the knowledge of some truths, which are hidden from others, who have the same outward means of information; it is a just reason for thankfulness to him, but will not justify our being angry with them; for we are no better or wiser than they in ourselves, and might have opposed the truths which we now prize, with the same eagerness and obstinacy, if his grace had not made us to differ. If the man, mentioned in John 9, who was born blind, on whom our Lord graciously bestowed the blessing of sight, had taken a cudgel and beat all the blind men he met, because they would not see, his conduct would have greatly resembled that of an angry Calvinist.

HT Tony Reinke on Humble Calvinism.

Do I need Jesus?

prayingDo I need the Lord Jesus Christ? Yes, infinitely, but chiefly on two accounts. The guilt of sin on me is mountainous; none but he can remove it. The power of sin in me is marvellous, none but he can subdue it.

But am I willing to have the Lord Jesus Christ? Yes, most heartily: for there is a dreadful necessity that the miseries of my soul should be relieved; he, and none but he, can relieve them.   ~ Cotton Mather

Top Ten Reasons Not To Join A Reformed Baptist Church.

If you are church shopping [this article was first published in OCTOBER 2011] or looking for a local Christian fellowship a Reformed Baptist Church may not be your cup of tea 🙂

Well you see, Dr. James White has (honestly) noted that in a Reformed Baptist Church…

  1. You don’t get to leave after every sermon feeling good about yourself. You may even desire repentance.
  2. You don’t get to hear the sermons in the same way you may be used to. It’s frequently verse by verse, maybe not even relevant to your current situation.
  3. You don’t get to be entertained. We don’t want to entertain you. Read more of this post

Free Reformed Christian E-Books!

3d man sitting on ebook word reading a red book

Free Ebooks

Are you looking for good and deep Christian literature? I thought I should share these sites with you. In case you are looking for free Christian ebooks, epub or kindle format you may want to bookmark these links below starting with:
0 Monergism Free Ebooks.

 

 

Preparing to listen to the preaching of the word

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We are told men ought not to preach without preparation. Granted. But, we add, men ought not to hear without preparation. Which, do you think, needs the most preparation, the sower or the ground? I would have the sower come with clean hands, but I would have the ground well-plowed and harrowed, well-turned over, and the clods broken before the seed comes in. It seems to me that there is more preparation needed by the ground than by the sower, more by the hearer than by the preacher. – Spurgeon

And sinners, plunged beneath that flood…

saving drowning manOh how the words of some hymns just linger in the recesses of your mind and nourish you with rich spiritual truths. Today I will feature the first two verses and the last verse of William Cowper’s hymn ‘There is a fountain filled with blood’

There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains…

The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day;
And there may I, though vile as he,
Wash all my sins away… …Read More!

O that I would pour out my heart before Him

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Usually God’s children are able to most affectionately pour out their hearts before him in private. Here, they find their affections free to wrestle with God. Here, one finds most communion with God, and enlargement of heart. In private we are wholly at leisure to deal with God in a child-like liberty. Now, will you omit this duty where you may be most free, without distraction, to let out your heart to God? The sweetest experiences of God’s saints are when they are alone with him. ~ Thomas Manton

“Do not linger!” by J.C. Ryle

“‘He lingered.’ (Genesis 19:16) Do not be a lingering soul.

20120724-094345.jpgWould you know what the times demand?—The shaking of nations,—the uprooting of ancient things,—the overturning of kingdoms,—the stir and restlessness of men’s minds—what do they say? They all cry aloud,—Christian! do not linger!

Would you be found ready for Christ at His second appearing,—your loins girded,—your lamp burning. yourself bold, and prepared to meet Him? Then do not linger!

Would you enjoy much sensible comfort in your religion,—feel the witness of the Spirit within you,—know whom you have believed,—and not be a gloomy, complaining, sour, downcast, and melancholy Christian? Then do not linger! …Read More!

“A village church with a village God”

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Quoting John Stott:

“I remember some years ago visiting a church incognito. I sat in the back row. I wonder who’s in the back row tonight.

You know they often slip in there incognito. I’m not going to tell you the church. You won’t be able to identify it; it’s thousands of miles away from here.

When we came to the pastoral prayer, it was led by a lay brother, because the pastor was on holiday. So he prayed that the pastor might have a good holiday. Well, that’s fine. Pastors should have good holidays.

…Read More!

Hurrying To Hear George Whitefield Preach The Gospel

This is the true account of Nathan Cole describing the moment he heard that the gospel was coming to Connecticut. George Whitefield was the preacher -as fields were emptied, people converged eagerly to listen with bated breaths.

“Now it pleased God to send Mr. Whitefield into this land; and my hearing of his preaching at Philadelphia, like one of the Old apostles, and many thousands flocking to hear him preach the Gospel, and great numbers were converted to Christ; I felt the Spirit of God drawing me by conviction, longed to see and hear him, and wished he would come this way. And I soon heard he was come to New York and the Jerseys and great multitudes flocking after him under great concern for their Souls and many converted which brought on my concern more and more hoping soon to see him but next I heard he was at Long Island, then at Boston, and next at Northampton.

Then one morning all on a Sudden, about 8 or 9 o’clock there came a messenger and said Mr. Whitefield preached at Hartford and Weathersfield yesterday and is to preach at Middletown this morning [October 23, 1740] at ten of the Clock. I was in my field at Work. I dropt my tool that I had in my hand and ran home and run through my house and bade my wife get ready quick to go and hear Mr. Whitefield preach at Middletown, and run to my pasture for my horse with all my might fearing that I should be too late to hear him.

I brought my horse home and soon mounted and took my wife up and went forward as fast as I thought the horse could bear, and when my horse began to be out of breath, I would get down and put my wife on the Saddle and bid her ride as fast as she could and not Stop or Slack for me except I bad her, and so I would run until I was much out of breath, and then mount my horse again, and so I did several times to favour my horse Read More

Which of these 8 statements is heretical and which ones are orthodox?

Just a little quiz on Christology. Which of the following statements, if any, are orthodox; or which of the following statements, if any, are heretical?
1. The Son of God, the Second member of the Trinity, in the Incarnation, stopped being God for a time and became man for a time.
2. The Son of God took on the form of a man, but was not really a man.
3. The Son of God, the Second member of the Trinity, laid aside some of His attributes for a time and became man for a time.
4. Jesus was simply a common man when He was born and was later glorified by the Father and adopted as God.
5. In Christ there two persons: a human person and a Divine Person. …Read More!

A Dummy’s Guide to Calvinism

The Crucifixion- Matthias Grunewald (1470-1528)

Is there a God? Is He sitting some where twiddling His thumbs or biting His finger nails as the world spirals into debauchery? Ever fancied taking a peek over His shoulder and catching Him taking a cat nap or slumped over in a yoga- pose with legs helplessly inter twined?  Calvinism is associated with Reformed Theology the Theological system associated with the Reformer John Calvin that emphasizes and underlines the vitally important truth that God  is in control of all things, not man; that God is the source of salvation; and that men and women can do nothing to save themselves. It emphasises our total dependence as guilty sinners on the mercy and grace of God for salvation. The Father chose a people, the Son died for them, the Holy Spirit makes Christ’s death effective by bringing the elect to faith and repentance, thereby causing them to willingly obey the gospel. The entire process (election, redemption, regeneration) is the work of God and is by grace alone. Thus God, not man, determines who will be the recipients of the gift of salvation. Read More

Free E-Book: Blood Work by Anthony Carter

FreeEbook-BloodWorkIt’s Easter week….

 In light of this, Reformation Trust is making the ebook edition of Anthony Carter’s Blood Work: How the Blood of Christ Accomplishes Our Salvation free to download until the end of the month. We encourage you to share this resource offer with your family, friends, and church community.

Evangelical Christians often sing and preach about the blessed blood of Christ and the wonderful things it accomplishes for believers. To the uninformed ear, such language can convey the idea that Jesus’ blood had semi-magical qualities. Actually, Jesus’ blood was normal human blood, but the Bible refers to it in metaphorical terms to portray the many benefits that come to Christians because of Jesus’ death.

HT Ligonier Ministries.

Who is an angry Calvinist?

John Newton, Memoirs of the Life of the Late Rev. William Grimshaw (London: 1799), pages 86–87:

NEWTON2_360They who avow the doctrines distinguished by the name of Calvinism, ought, if consistent with their own principles, to be the most gentle and forbearing of all men, in meekness instructing them that oppose. With us, it is a fundamental maxim, that a man can receive nothing but what is given him from heaven (John 3:27). If, therefore, it has pleased God to give us the knowledge of some truths, which are hidden from others, who have the same outward means of information; it is a just reason for thankfulness to him, but will not justify our being angry with them; for we are no better or wiser than they in ourselves, and might have opposed the truths which we now prize, with the same eagerness and obstinacy, if his grace had not made us to differ. If the man, mentioned in John 9, who was born blind, on whom our Lord graciously bestowed the blessing of sight, had taken a cudgel and beat all the blind men he met, because they would not see, his conduct would have greatly resembled that of an angry Calvinist.

Excerpt from Tony Reinke.

Related stories:

J.I Packer: In his own words [Video]

Who is J. I. Packer?

He once described himself as “English by birth, Canadian by choice, Christian by conversion, and Calvinist by conviction, I speak as an evangelical who finds his home in the worldwide Anglican church family.”

Note in particular Dr. Packer’s moving closing words, when asked how he would like to be remembered: …Read More!

It’s October…Reformation day is upon us again!

On 31 October 1517, Martin Luther wrote to Albrecht, Archbishop of Mainz and Magdeburg, protesting against the sale of indulgences. He enclosed in his letter a copy of his “Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences,” which came to be known as The 95 Theses. So what else was enshrined in the Theses? Here we go:

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1. When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, said “Repent”, He called for the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.

2. The word cannot be properly understood as referring to the sacrament of penance, i.e. confession and satisfaction, as administered by the clergy.

3. Yet its meaning is not restricted to repentance in one’s heart; for such repentance is null unless it produces outward signs in various mortifications of the flesh.

4. As long as hatred of self abides (i.e. true inward repentance) the penalty of sin abides, viz., until we enter the kingdom of heaven.

5. The pope has neither the will nor the power to remit any penalties beyond those imposed either at his own discretion or by canon law. …Read More!

Why do missionaries check on Sparrows every morning?

Many missionaries learn of God’s wonderful providence in times of difficulty and more so in financial difficulty. David Sitton shares in his free book on how to pray and support missionaries Warfare Prayer:

  Financial anxiety increases with the sudden drop of support. Every missionary has gotten the “Dear John” letter explaining why support is being discontinued. One such letter I received had a final check and a hand scribbled note explaining that it was no longer financially feasible to invest in the ministry, as the parking lot of the church building needed re-paving.
My missionary mentor, Joe Cannon, encouraged us during tough financial times by saying: “Check and see if the sparrows have eaten today. As long as they eat, we eat. When God quits feeding the sparrows, missionaries will become extinct.” How true that is. Yet, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Dependence upon God and his daily provision is a wonderful way to live. ~David Sitton

Luke 12:6-7: Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

How may I shorten my sermons?

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“If you ask me how you may shorten your sermons, I should say, STUDY THEM BETTER. Spend more time in the study that you may need less in the pulpit. …Read More!

Why don’t men come to Christ -because they will not or cannot?

On man’s moral responsibility…

Scripture invariably treats us as morally responsible agents. It lays upon us the necessity of choice… Why is it that people do not come to Christ. Is it that they cannot, or is it that they will not? Jesus taught both. And in this ‘cannot’ and ‘will not’ lies the ultimate antinomy between divine sovereignty and human responsibility. But however we state it, we must not eliminate either part. Our responsibility before God is an inalienable aspect of our human dignity. Its final expression will be on the day of judgment.~John R. W. Stott & Timothy Dudley-Smith (Authentic Christianity)

John Bunyan: SIN is the dare of God’s justice…

 IMG_5136“Sin is the dare of God’s justice, the rape of His mercy, the jeer of His patience, the slight of His power, and the contempt of His love”~ John Bunyan

Saint Augustine’s fruitless joys…

 
HT The Old Guys via FB.

Easter in pictures…

On a lighter note this is why Christians are excited about Easter….

  

HT Jim West via FB.

New Video: Through the Eyes of Spurgeon

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There is a new free video out about the life of the man, Charles Spurgeon, who loved the Lord Jesus Christ and loved to preach and proclaim the gospel. …See More!

An Easter thought on Christmas!

IMG_5006.JPGAt Christmas the time of the year when most people are setting up nativity scenes not many set up a bloodied cross or an empty tomb to celebrate the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ yet his birth goes hand in hand with his death. Only true Christians know the immense and infinite significance of Christ’s death…He came as a lamb of God to take away the sins of the world. He came to die!
Imagine Christ, the sin bearer, approaching that hour…the hour of his appointed death. Is that a “Christmasy” thought? You bet! It gets better when you understand the reason why his death was was necessary.
Horatius Bonar puts it this way…

The feelings of the trembling sinner, when awakened under the terrors of the divine law, and made alive to the hell of sin within him, may help to give us some faint idea of the way in which the burden of our sins pressed upon Christ. It is true He had no sin—not the shadow of sin upon Him, for He was the Holy One; yet He speaks always of our sins as if they were His own, as if He had committed them. He felt under them just as if they were His own. He was perfectly holy, yet so closely were our sins bound upon Him by God, that He felt the pressure just as if they were His own.

Being our substitute, God dealt with Him as such—as if the sins He bore had really been His, not ours. Being thus in the eye of the law identified with those whose sins He bore, He was made to feel what they would have been doomed to feel, had God left them to reap themselves the fruit of their own transgressions. This awful burden He bore alone. He had none to aid Him; none to relieve Him of any part of its overwhelming pressure. There was none that could assist Him. There was none to divide the burden with Him; nor to uphold Him under it. “My lovers and my friends stand aloof…and my kinsmen stand afar off.” They all forsook Him and fled. And, as He bare it alone, so He bare it fully. …Read More!

Brandon Lucas: Why I am now a Calvinist.

regretsThis interesting post has been reblogged from Monergism:

Almost a decade ago I was involved in a titanic spiritual battle between two opposing theological views. I could feel the once rock solid doctrines of free will slipping through my fingers like fine sand. I begged and beseeched the Lord to deliver me from the relentless reasonings and scriptural bombshells ripping the house I had built on the shifting dunes of man-centered doctrines. My pride and self-respect were on the line.

See, for the first decade of my born-again life I embraced a form of Arminianism that many call Semi-Pelagianism. Simply put, I believed that man’s free will is the deciding factor in salvation. Calvinism, which is the belief that God is sovereign over all things, including man’s salvation, had recently started making sense to me and I was drawn to it. (While at the same time being repulsed by it).

Calvinism was a dirty word in my old church. I considered it to be on equal footing with cultic beliefs.

I used to say such things as:

“Calvinism is a doctrine of demons!”

Or worse yet:

“If God is like how the Calvinists describe him, I would never serve such a cruel, heartless dictator who arbitrarily chooses who will and will not be saved!”

…Read More!

Monergism opens free Reformed Christian ebook store!

For some this may not be new but I just want to repost this bit of information. The website Monergism is a good site to get free ebooks of invaluable wealth especially if you would like books on evangelism, basic Christianity, biographies and Reformed Theology. Check the link Here!

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Church membership: Reasons to (or not to become) a member.

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Nine Marks has an interesting article on why you should become a church member and even when you have an excuse for not joining one church you must look for another and BECOME A COMMITTED CHURCH MEMBER. Check this out….

REASONS TO JOIN THE CHURCH

These more deliberate conversations veer back and forth between the biblical and the practical. Typically, I generally encourage a person to join the church

# For the sake of the pastors. It lets the pastors know who you are, and makes them responsible for you (see Acts 20:28; Heb. 13:17).

# For the sake of obedience to Jesus. Jesus did not give you the keys of the kingdom for binding and loosing. He gave the keys to the apostolic local church (Matt. 16:13-20; 18:15-20). You don’t have the authority to baptize yourself or feed yourself the Lord’s Supper. It requires a church to affirm your profession of faith, which is what membership is at its very heart (see Acts 2:38).

# For the sake of other believers. Joining makes you responsible for one local congregation, and they for you. You now own or have a share in their discipleship to Christ. That is, you are now responsible for their growth and professions of faith, insofar as you are responsible for the church’s faithful gospel preaching (Gal. 1) and that individual’s discipline (Matt. 18:15-20; 1 Cor. 5).

…Read More!

Jesus is mighty to save those who repent…

                  “Mighty to save.” -Isaiah 63:1

spurgeonBy the words “to save” we understand the whole of the great work of salvation, from the first holy desire onward to complete sanctification. The words are multum in parro: indeed, here is all mercy in one word. Christ is not only “mighty to save” those who repent, but He is able to make men repent. He will carry those to heaven who believe; but He is, moreover, mighty to give men new hearts and to work faith in them. He is mighty to make the man who hates holiness love it, and to constrain the despiser of His name to bend the knee before Him.

…Read More!

Beware of the smiling world and it’s deadly embrace

The smiling world is meeting and embracing some. It is casting into their lap plentifully, and still they have prospect of more. But O! take heed to the dangerous embraces, lest it hug you to death, as surely it will, if you do not shake yourselves loose of it, “For the turning away of the simple, shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.” ~Thomas Boston

HT The Old Guys

Modern day preaching and it’s “slick schtick”

To summarise a lot of modern day preaching ….
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Excerpt from “The Kind of Preaching God Blesses” by Steve Lawson

Quote of the day: Ulrich Zwingli…

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“The Christian life, then, is a battle, so sharp and full of danger that effort can nowhere be relaxed without loss…” -Ulrich Zwingli, 16th Century Swiss Reformer

Scripture is superior to human wisdom

Quoting John Calvin:

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Scripture is superior to all human wisdom. Unless this certainty, higher and stronger than any human judgment, be present, it will be vain to fortify the authority of Scripture by arguments, to establish it by common agreement of the church, or to confirm it with other helps. For unless this foundation is laid, its authority will always remain in doubt. Conversely, once we have embraced it devoutly as its dignity deserves, and have recognized it to be above the common sort of things, those arguments—not strong enough before to engraft and fix the certainty of Scripture in our minds—become very useful aids. What wonderful confirmation ensues when, with keener study, we ponder the economy of the divine wisdom, so well ordered and disposed; the completely heavenly character of its doctrine, savoring of nothing earthly; the beautiful agreement of all the parts with one another—as well as such other qualities as can gain majesty for the writings. ~John Calvin

HT The Old Guys