Promoting the Damnation of your Children?
FROM KAIROS [family] “Promoting the Damnation of Your Children?—Jonathan Edwards (1703 – 1758)
In 1738, Jonathan Edwards published Discourses on Various Important Subjects, a collection of the sermons he preached during the Connecticut River Valley Awakening. One of these discourses, “The Justice of God in the Damnation of Sinners,” was described by Edwards as the most successful evangelistic sermon he ever preached.1 The sermon is startling in the preciseness of the preacher’s examination of human sin; he does not offer vague generalities but rather heart-piercing application. When he turns to parents the modern reader should still appreciate his solemn explanation of the dangers of parental neglect in spiritual matters.
“‘Consider how you have promoted others’ damnation. Many of you by the bad examples you have set, by corrupting the minds of others, by your sinful conversation, by leading them into sin, or strengthening them in sin, and by the mischief you have done in humane society other ways that might be mentioned, have been guilty of those things that have tended to others’ damnation. You have heretofore appeared on the side of sin and Satan . . .
There are many that contribute to their own children’s damnation, by neglecting their education and setting them bad examples, and bringing them up in sinful ways: they take care of their bodies, but take but little care of their poor souls; they provide for them bread to eat, but deny them the bread of life that their famishing souls stand in need of. And are there no such parents here that have thus treated their children? If their children be not gone to hell, ’tis no thanks to them; ’tis not because they have not done what has tended to their destruction. Seeing therefore you have had no more regard to others’ salvation, and have promoted their damnation, how justly might God leave you to perish yourself?” Kairos [Family]
Leading Others Astray
“LEADING OTHERS ASTRAY”
To the end of the world, every age will exceed the previous one in its degree of sinning. Ishmael and the mockers of theold world will look like the children and bunglers compared to the scoffers and cruel persecutors of the last days.
Think twice before you use your intelligence to invent new sins! You may provoke God to new punishments. Sodom devised a new way to sin, so God devised a new way to discipline them: He sent hell from above upon them.
These same demons who invented sin are likewise the chief promoters of it. The apostate angels were not only the inventors of sin, but are also its chief enterprisers. These spirits are therefore called ‘the tempter,’ and sin is called ‘the work of the devil,’ no matter who commits it–just as the credit for the design of a house goes to the architect, even though other men do the actual construction.
When you cause anyone to sin, you take the devil’s office out of his hands. Let him do it himself if he can, but never alow him to use you as his hireling. Tempting someone else to sin is worse than sinning yourself. Those who tempt others plant their own wickedness in fertile fields and raise up new seed to the devil. To cultivate the devil’s crop of sin with the evil in your own heart shows sin is mighty in you indeed. Parents, especially, must guard against such a heinouos act. What are they but devils incarnate who, by their own example, teach their children the devil’s catechism–to swear and lie and drink?
Do you not know what you do when you tempt? I will tell you. You do that which cannot be undone by your own repentance. You contaminate your family and friends with error, and send them rushing to join the devil’s throng. Later, you may see your mistake and turn from your wicked way. But can you force those you have led astray to fight against the press of the worldly crowd to get to Jesus at all cost?”
From “THE CHRISTIAN IN COMPLETE ARMOR, Daily Readings in Spiritual Warfare” by William Gurnall, April 9 reading.
Stay On Course…
STAY ON COURSE TO THE END
There are times when a saint is called to trust in a withdrawing God. ‘[Let him] that walketh in darkness and hath no light…trust in the name of the Lord’ (Isaiah50:10). This requires a bold step of faith–to venture into God’s presence with the same temerity as Esther into Ahasuerus’s. Even when no smile lights His face, when no golden scepter is extended to summon us to come near, we must press forward with this noble resolution: ‘If I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16).
Which leads our faith one step further: We must trust also in a ‘killing God.’ We must declare with Job, ‘Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him” (Job 13:15). It takes a submissive faith for a soul to march steadily forward while God seems to fire upon that soul and shoot His frowns like poisoned arrows into it. This is hard work, and will test the Christian’s mettle. Yet such a spirit we find in the poor woman of Canaan, who caught the bullets Christ shot at her, and with a humble boldness sent them back again in her prayer (Matt. 15:22-28).
Your work and your life must go off the stage together. Persisting to the end will be the burr under your saddle–the thorn in your flesh– when the road ahead seems endless and your soul begs on early discharge. It weighs down every other difficulty of your calling. We have known many who have joined the army of Christ and liked being a soldier for a battle or two, but have soon had enough and ended up deserting. They impulsively enlist for Christian duties, are easily persuaded to take up a profession of religion, and are just as easily persuaded to lay it down. Like the new moon, they shine a little in the first part of the evening, but go down before the night is over.
Taking up the cross daily, praying always, watching night and day and never laying aside our armor to indulge ourselves, sends many sorrowful away from Christ.
From THE CHRISTIAN IN COMPLETE ARMOUR, Daily Readings in Spiritual Warfare, by William Gurnall; January 5th reading. [Posted 080108]
“It does not matter where God places me or how. That is rather for Him to consider than for me. For the easiest positions He must give grace; and in the most difficult His grace is sufficient. So, if God places me in great perplexity, must He not give me much guidance? in positions of great difficulty, much grace? in circumstances of great pressure and trial, much strength? As to work, ministry was never so plentiful, so responsible, or so difficult; but the weight and strain are all gone. His resources are mine, for He is mine.”
–J. Hudson Taylor, Missionary to China
“Confession, as found in this wonderful Greek word, means that we are living in agreement with God. It doesn’t mean so much that we are informing God of our sins as it is agreeing with him that we are sinful. Reaching this critical agreement is the beginning of personal power in prayer. Confession isn’t exposing some secret prart of our lives as though God is ignorant or our dark side. God know all and certainly knows all our sins. Instead, confession is that bold step by which we stand with God, look at our darkside and agree with all that He has said about it in His Word. As simple as it sounds, this agreement with God is rare–it’s hard to find. We, sadly, are all too much like Adam and Eve, crouching in the dark glen of Eden, hiding the half-eaten fruit.” p. 140, by Calvin Miller, from “The Path of Celtic Prayer”. The Greek word to which brother Miller is referring is ‘homologeo‘.
Prayer At Its Best
Prayer, at best, is a conversation of lovers, and when either side starts only talking to and quits talking with all real conversation is over. But the conversation is the point. Those who only talk to God to talk him into things have generally made God their lackey who is constantly subject to their feelings of need and want. Those who seek him for the joy of being in his presence have been motivated by a passion for his presence. When this becomes the hallmark of our devotion, then our lives are spent as a kind of rehearsal for heaven.
But if, throughout our lives, we have only gone to God in prayer asking him for ’stuff,’ we shall find ourselves very quiet, not knowing what to say when our asking season is over. This gorfoleddu [the eager spirit of the reaching worshiper], this ecstatic rejoicing speaks of the uncontrollable joy of being in his presence. It is a word that speaks of the high romance of prayer. Those who come to know it, realize that it’s a word that is too delirious with love ever to measure its propriety. It is like lovers separated by war and distance, when they approach the time of reunion, are not to be held accountable for wild joy. In such moments, the lovers have no lists of needs they wish supplied. The moment is a gift. Togetherness is the prize of life.
From THE PATH OF CELTIC PRAYER by Calvin Miller, p.161
The brackets in the quote belong to T.A. but the definition is Miller’s.
“We need to see first and foremost that God is God–that he is perfect and complete in himself, that he is overflowingly happy in the eternal fellowship of the Trinity, and that he does not need us to complete his fullness and is not deficient without us. Rather we are deficient without him. The all-sufficient glory of God, freely given in fellowship through his sacrificed Son, is the stream of living water that we have thirsted for all our lives.’
‘Unless we begin with God in this way, when the gospel comes to us, we will inevitably put ourselves at the center of it. We will feel that our value rather than God’s value is the driving force in the gospel. We will trace the gospel back to God’s need for us instead of tracing it back to the grace that rescues sinners who need him.’
‘But the gospel is the good news that God is the all-satisfying end of all our longings, and that, even though he does not need us, and is in fact estranged from us because of our God-belittling sins, he has, in the great love with which he loved us, made a way for sinners to drink at the river of his delights through Jesus Christ. And we will not be enthralled by this good news unless we feel that he was not obliged to do this. He was not coerced or constrained by our value. He is the center of the gospel. The exaltation of his glory is the driving force of the gospel. The gospel is a gospel of grace! And grace is the pleasure of God to magnify the worth of God by giving sinners the right and power to delight in God without obscuring the glory of God”
From “The Pleasures of God” p. 196 by John Piper.
Speak To Yourself
“I say that we must talk to ourselves instead of allowing ‘ourselves’ to talk to us! Do you realize what that means? I suggest that the main trouble in this whole matter of spiritual depression in a sense is this, that we allow our self to talk to us instead of talking to our self. Am I just trying to be deliberately paradoxical? Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them, but they start talking to you, they bring back the problems of yesterday, etc. Somebody is talking. Who is talking to you? Your self is talking to you. Now [the psalmist’s] treatment was this; instead of allowing this self to talk to him, he starts talking to himself. ‘Why art thou cast down, O my soul?’ he asks. His soul had been depressing him, crushing him. So he stands up and says: ‘Self, listen for a moment, I will speak to you…Why art thou cast down?–what business have you to be disquieted?…And then you must go on to remind yourself of God, Who He is, and what God is and what God has done, and what God has pledged Himself to do. Then having done that, end on this great note: defy yourself, and defy other people, and defy the devil and the whole world, and say with this man: ‘I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.” By Lloyd-Jones, From FUTURE GRACE, by John Piper, p. 304, paperback.
The Second Time
“So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation” Hebrews 9:28
And on this verse Jonathan Edwards comments; “…The first time that Christ appeared, he in one sense did not appear without sin; for he bare the sins of many, he appeared in that form, in those circumstances, and with those labours and sufferings, that were tokens of imputed sin, or guilt, that lay upon him; but then he perfectly freed himself from this imputed sin, he perfectly abolished this guilt, by those suffering he underwent, as the apostle is here arguing in the preceding part of the chapter; and therefore when he appears the second time, it shall be without sin, without any of those tokens of imputed guilt which he had in his state of humiliation…” and he continues “…Had not Christ perfectly satisfied for the sins of men, and so done away all his imputed guilt, he could not have appeared a second time without sin, but must always have remained under the tokens of God’s curse for sin. But at the day of judgment he will appear infinitely far from that. The glory he will appear in at the day of judgment, will be the greatest and brightest evidence of all, of his having fully satisfied for sin….”
From THE RATIONAL BIBLICAL THEOLOGY OF JONATHAN EDWARDS, Vol. 1, pp.142 & 143 by John H. Gerstner
Minister of the Gospel
Jonathan Edwards wrote concerning Hebrews 8:2; “The work of ministers in many respects like the work of that Christ Himself was appointed to, as the Savior of men; and especially the same with the work which Christ does in His prophetical office; only with this difference, that ministers are to speak and act wholly under Christ, as taught of Him, as holding forth His word, and by light and strength communicated from Him. Christ Himself after His baptism, followed the work of the ministry: He was a minister of the true sanctuary, Heb. viii.2; He spake and acted as His Father’s minister; was a minister of the gospel, and as such preached and administered sacraments. Pastors of churches are ministers of the same gospel; but in their ministry they act as the ministers of Christ. Jesus Christ is the great Bishop of souls; ministers are also bishops under Him. Christ came into the world that He might be the light of the world; ministers are set to be lights unto the churches and are also said to be the light of the world, Matt. v. 14. Christ is the bright and morning star; ministers are stars in Christ’s hand. Christ is the messenger of the covenant; ministers are called messengers of the Lord of Hosts.. Christ is His people’s shepherd, the good shepherd, the great shepherd of His sheep. Ministers are also frequently called shepherds, and are directed to feed the flock of Christ, which He purchased with His own blood”
From THE RATIONAL BIBLICAL THEOLOGY OF JONATHAN EDWARDS by John H. Gerstner, vol. i, pp. 336 & 337.
Proponent of Open or Freewill Theism
Just for clarification, there is no way I can hold to this view of God, and maybe I should use a lower case ‘g’ in writing god, but the one who made this quote is referring to our all-knowing God.
A quote from Clark Pinnock – “Decisions not yet made do not exist anywhere to be known even by God. They are potential – yet to be realized but not yet actual. God can predict a great deal of what we will choose to do, but not all of it, because some of it remains hidden in the mystery of human freedom… God too faces possibilities in the future, and not only certainties. God too moves into a future not wholly known because not yet fixed”
From THE PLEASURES OF GOD by John Piper, footnote, pg. 57, where Piper writes, “Recently Clark Pinnock edited abook of essays entitled A CASE FOR ARMINIANISM, in which he and others defend God’s limited foreknowledge. Pinnock himself, after a pilgrimage from Calvinism to Arminiamism (and beyond, since classical Arminianism still affirmed that God knows all future actions), now declares…” “
Just for clarification. I place Pinnock’s remark in the category of APOSTASY and HERESY.
Ordained to Eternal Life
We are sure that only those who are ordained to eternal life will believe [Acts 13:48], and that God alone can add to the church such as shall be saved [Acts 2:47]. Nevertheless we cannot but observe with admiration that Paul, the great champion for the glorious doctrines of free and sovereign grace, was the most conspicuous for his personal zeal in the work of persuading men to be reconciled to God.”
William Carey, called the father of the modern missionary movement. From THE PLEASURES OF GOD by John Piper, pg.63.
From Jonathan Edwards, on Heb. 2:16 [partial]:
“How often are God’s saints called his elect or chosen ones? He has chosen them, not to be mere servants, but friends: John xv. 15, ‘I will call you not servants, but I have called you friends.’ And though Christ be the Lord of glory, infinitely above men and angels, yet he has chosen the elect to be his companions; and has taken upon him their nature; and so in some respect, as it were, levelled himself with them, that he might be their brother and companion…”
Edwards continues by saying, “As the bridegroom chooses the bride for his peculiar friend, above all others in the world, so Christ has chosen his church for a peculiar nearness to him, as his flesh and his bone, and the high honor and dignity of espousals above all others, rather than the fallen angels, yea, rather than the elect angels…”
From THE RATIONAL BIBLICAL THEOLOGY OF JONATHAN EDWARDS by John H. Gerstner, Vol. I, pg. 275
Give the More Earnest Heed
From commentary by Jonathan Edwards on Hebrews 2:1 –
“[So therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed] ie., if Christ be so much greater than the angels, we ought to give earnest heed for that not giving heed to the word spoken by them was severely punished as he observes in the next verse: [Lest at any time we should let them slip] ie., by not keeping them in practice in the same sense as Christ speaks of keeping his commandment. We should keep it as a jewel committed to our care that were apt to loose or apt to slip from us. He that don’t persevere in obedience lets the command slip. The thing which the apostle here warns against is apostasy the same that he is abundant in warning against in other parts of this epistle chap. 3:6, 12-14; chap. 4:1-11; chap. 6 throughout; chap. 10:23-25 to the end; chap. 12:1-4, 15, 16, 17, 25 to the end; chap. 13:1, 7-9, 13, 14, 20, 21.” Jonathan Edwards.
From THE RATIONAL BIBLICAL THEOLOGY OF JONATHAN EDWARDS by John H. Gerstner, Vol. I, pg. 259.
Heir of All Things (2)
“…And thus the Scriptures represent the matter, in Nebuchadnezzar’s vision, and the prophet’s interpretation, Dan.ii. ‘There the four great monarchies of the earth, one succeeding another, are represented by the great image of gold, silver, brass, iron and clay; but at last a stone cut out of the mountain without hands, smites the image upon his feet, which breaks the iron, clay, brass, silver and gold in pieces, that all becomes as the chaff of the summer threshing floors, and the wind carries them away, that no place is found for them; but the stone waxes great, becomes a great mountain, and fills the whole earth; signifying the kingdom which the Lord God of heaven should set up in the world, last of all which should break in pieces and consume all other kingdoms.’ Surely this representation leads us to suppose that this last kingdom shall be of vastly greater extent than any of the preceding. The like representation is made in the 7th chap. of Daniel. There the four monarchiess are represented by four great beasts, that arose successively, one conquering and subduing another; the fourth and last of these is said to be dreadful, and terrible, and strong exceedingly, and to have great iron teeth, and to devour and break in pieces, and stamp the residue with his feet; yea, it is said, ver. 23, that the kingdom represented by this beast shall devour the whole earth; but last of all one like the Son of Man appears, coming to the ancient of days, and being brought near before him, and receiving of him a dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve him. This last circumstance, of the vast extent and unviersality of his dominion, is manifestly spoken of as one thing greatly distinguishing his holy kindom from all the preceding monarchies: although of one of the former it was asid, that it should devour the whole earth, yet we are naturally led, both by the much greater emphasis and strength of the expressions, as well as by the whole connection and tenor of the prophecy, to understand the universality here expressed in a much more extensive and absolute sense: and the terms used in the interpretation of this vision are such, that scarcely any can be devised more strong, to signify an absolute universality of dominion over the inhabitants of the face of the earth: ver. 27, ‘And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the most high God.’ Agreeably to this the gospel is represented as preached unto them that dwell on the earth, and to evey nation, and tongue, and kindred, and people, Rev. xiv.6. The universality of the prevalence of true religion in the latter days, is sometimes expressed by its reaching to ‘the utmost ends of the earth’, Psal. xxii.27-lxvii.7-xcvii.3, Isa. xlv.22. ‘All the earth, with those that are afar off upon the sea,’ Psal. lxv.5. ‘From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same,’ Psal. cxiii.3, Mal.i.11. ‘The outgoings of the morning and of the evening,’ Psal. lxv.8. It seems that all the most strong expressions, that were in use among the Jews to signify the extent of the church of God in the latter days: and in many places, a variety of these expressions is used, and there is an accumulation of the, expressedd with great force.”
From Vol. I, THE RATIONAL BIBLICAL THEOLOGY OF JONATHAN EDWARDS by John H. Gerstner pp. 250 & 251.
Heir of All Things
“It is natural and reasonable to suppose, that the whole world should finally be given to Christ, as one whose right it is to reign, as the proper heir of Him, who is originally the king of all nations, and the possessor of heaven and earth: and the Scripture teaches us, that God the Father hath constituted his Son, as God-man, and his kingdom of grace, or mediatorial kingdom, to be the heir of the world, that he might in this kingdom have the heathen for his inheritance, and the utmost ends of the earth for his possession; Heb.i.2, and ii.8, Psal. ii.6,7,8. Thus Abraham is said to be the heir of the world,not in himself, but in his seed, which is Christ, Rom.iv.13. And how was this to be fulfilled to Abraham, but by God’s fulfilling that great promise, that in his seed all the nations of the earth should be blessed? For that promise is what the apostle is speaking of; which shows, that God has appointed Christ to be the heir of the world in his kingdom of grace, and to possess and reign over all nations, through the propagation of his gospel, and the power of his Spirit communicating the blessings of it. God hath appointed him to this universal dominion by a most solemn oath: Isa. xiv.23, ‘I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.’ Compared with Phil. ii.10, 11. Though this solemn oath of God the Father is to be understood in some comprehensive a sense, as to extend to what shall be accomplished at the day of judgment, yet it is evident by the foregoing and following verses, that the thing most directly intended, is what shall be fulfilled by the spreading of the gospel of his salvation, and power of the Spirit of grace, bringing ‘all the ends of the earth to look to him that they may be saved, and come to him for righteousness and strength, that in him they might be justified, and might glory.’ God has suffered many earthly princes to extend their conquests over a great part of the face of the earth, and possess a dominion of vast extent, and one monarchy to conquer and succeed another, the latter being still the greater; it is reasonable to suppose that a much greater glory in this respect should be reserved for Christ, God’s own Son and rightful heir, who has purchased the dominion by so great and hard a service: it is reasonable to suppose, that his dominion should be far the largest, and his conquests vastly the greatest and most extensive…”
TO BE CONTINUED…
From THE RATIONAL BIBLICAL THEOLOGY OF JONATHAN EDWARDS by John H. Gerstner pp. 249 & 250.
Acquiring Knowledge Eight
In the conclusion of this matter of ACQUIRING KNOWLEDGE Jonathan Edwards states, “8.) Practice according to what knowledge you have. This will be the way to know more. The Psalmist warmly recommends this way of seeking knowledge in divinity, from his own experience: Psalm cxix. 100, (Psalm 119:100), ‘I understand more than the ancients, because I keep Thy precepts.’ Christ also recommends the same: John vii. 17, ‘If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.’” From THE RATIONAL BIBLICAL THEOLOGY OF JONATHAN EDWARDS by John H. Gerstner, pg. 42.
Acquiring Knowledge Seven
Continuing from the mind and hand of Jonathan Edwards, “…7.) Labor to be sensible of your own blindness and ignorance, and your need of the help of God, lest you be led into error, instead of true knowledge. 1 Cor. iii. 18, ‘If any man would be wise, let him become a fool, that he may be wise’”.
From THE RATIONAL BIBLICAL THEOLOGY OF JONATHAN EDWARDS by John H. Gerstner, Vol. I, pg. 42.
Acquiring Knowledge Six
“…Some directions for the acquisition of this knowledge… 6. ‘Seek to God, that He would direct you, and bless you, in this pursuit after knowldege. This is the apostle’s direction, James i.5: ‘If any man lack wisdom, let him ask it of God, who giveth toa all liberally, and upbraideth not.’ God is the fountain of all divine knowledge. Prov. ii. 6, ‘The Lord giveth wisdom: out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.’”
Jonathan Edwards, from THE RATIONAL BIBLICAL THEOLOGY OF JONATHAN EDWARDS by John H. Gerstner, Vol. 1, pg. 238
Acquiring Knowledge Five
From Jonathan Edwards, “…Some directions for the acquisition of this knowledge… 5. Seek not to grow in knowledge chiefly for the sake of applause, and to enable you do dispute with others; but seek it for the benefit of your souls, and in order to practice. If applause be you end, you will not be so likely to be led to the knowledge of the truth, but may justly, as often is the case of those who are proud of their knowledge, be led into error to your own perdition. This being your end, if you should obtain much rational knowledge, it would not be likely to be of any benefit to you, but would puff you up with pride: 1 Cor. vii. 1, ‘Knowledge puffeth up.”
From THE RATIONAL BIBLICAL THEOLOGY OF JONATHAN EDWARDS, by John H. Gerstner,Vol. 1 pg. 238.
Acquiring Knowledge Four
“Improve conversation with others to this end. How much might persons promote each other’s knowledge in divine things, if they would improve conversation as they might; if men that are ignorant were not ashamed to show their ignorance, and were willing to learn of others; if those that have knowledge would communicate it, without pride and ostentation; and if all were more disposed to enter on such conversation would be for their mutual edification and instruction.”
JONATHAN EDWARDS, From the RATIONAL BIBLICAL THEOLOGY OF JONATHAN EDWARDS, by John H. Gerstner, Vol. I, pp. 237 & 238.
Acquiring Knowledge Three
“Some directions for the acquisition of this knowledge…’ ‘3. Procure, and diligently use other books which may help you to grow in this knowledge. There are many excellent books extant, which might greatly forward you in this knowledge, and afford you a very profitable and pleasant entertainment in your leisure hours. There is doubtless a great defect in many, that through a lothness to be at a little expense, they furnish themselves with no more helps of this nature. They have a few books indeed, which now and then on Sabbath days they read; but they have had them so long, and read them so often, that they are weary of them, and it is now become a dull story, a mere task to read them.”
From the RATIONAL BIBLICAL THEOLOGY OF JONATHAN EDWARDS by John H. Gerstner Vol. I, pg. 237.
Acquiring Knowledge Two
From the words of Jonathan Edwards, “I shall now conclude… with some directions for the acquisition of this knowledge… 2. Content not yourselves with only a cursory reading, without regarding the sense. This is an ill way of reading, to which, however, many accustom themselves all their days. When you read, observe what you read. Observe how things come in. Take notice of the drift of the discourse, and compare one Scripture with another. For the Scripture, by the harmony of the different parts of it, casts great light upon itself. We are expressly directed by Christ to search the Scriptures, which evidently intends something more than a mere cursory reading. And use means to find out the meaning of the Scripture. When you have it explained in the preaching of the word, take notice of it; and if at any time a Scripture that you did not understand be cleared up to your satisfaction, mark it, lay it up, and if possible remember it.”
From the RATIONAL BIBLICAL THEOLOGY OF JONATHAN by John H. Gerstner 1991, pg. 237.
This is a quote from Jonathan Edwards from an exposition of Hebrews 5:12.
“…Some directions for the acquisition of this knowledge. 1. Be assiduous in reading the holy Scriptures. This is the fountain whence all knowlede in divinity must be derived. Therefore let not this treasure lie by you neglected. Every man of common understanding who can read, may, if he please, become well acquainted with Scriptures, And what an excellent attainment would this be!”
From The Rational Biblical Theology of Jonathan Edwards, Volume I, pg. 237.
There is much debate among some Christian people concerning the systematic approach of theology of ‘Calvinism’ or as many of them like to call it ‘The Doctrines of Grace’. I have no problem with grace. True grace gives all the glory to God for salvation.
Effectually their is no work of man involved in salvation. We must believe that the blood of Christ is sufficient to save all the world. In effect we know, that, not all the world is going to be saved. It just seems to me that there are several self-described theologians out there in the Baptist churches, especially who think that ‘Calvinism’ is the answer to this doctrine of grace. On the other hand are those who believe man’s choice plays a big part in it also.
Man has no choice, but what God gives it. It is God who draws a lost man or woman to Himself. A man sitting in a worship service cannot just decide out of the blue to become a Christian. The Spirit of God must do the calling, and then, the wooing, and the drawing. Jesus said, “No man can come to Me, except the Father which has sent Me draw Him” John 6:44. You cannot get around that.
You also cannot deny John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life”.
It is my estimation that many on both sides of this doctrinal issue is swallowing, or trying at least, to swallow camels. To me the obvious thing is that God is sovereign, and in His sovereignty He rules and He can also overrule men’s hearts. Being sovereign He can direct hearts toward Him or away from Him, as He pleases, and He is still completely just and righteous in doing so.
We are born in a condemned state, separated from God, and bound for a fiery Hell. It is only by His grace that anyone can escape it. He owes no one anything. The death of Jesus Christ made it possible for all who will believe to come to Him. Its about Him.
Let’s try gnats for awhile, and stop swallowing the camels.
Expedition On the Prowl
It seems that as I drive down so many roads, and some it seems, almost everyday; that there are an increasing number of folks who are behind the steering wheels of 3000 pounds of moving metal, plastic and what not who pay little to no attention to what they are doing. When you are driving at 5 MPH or 120 MPH should make no difference. Our focus should be on the road.
A little over three years ago my nephew – my brother’s son – was nearly killed because another young man crossed the double yellow line on a curve against the centrifugal force of the curve. It was only a miracle of the Lord God, that he is alive and married, and doing pretty well. Two days later our Director of Missions for our Baptist Association; Jerry and his wife Clara; were travelling and a woman came out of her lane and hit them head on, but not nearly so severely as my nephew. Our Director of Missions wife walked away from the accident. Jerry, her husband was driving and took the brunt of the crash. He was in the hospital for about three weeks. My nephew was in the hospital for over a month.
The reason I am writing this is because, this morning as I was coming home from driving the School Bus I was driving on one of the curviest sections of the highway when a white Ford Expedition came barrelling around the curve toward me on my side of the road. My immediate response was to brake hard without skidding and move right just as much as possible. It is my assumption that if I had not hit the brakes we would have crashed. About the time I was nearing the ditch the driver of the Expedition managed to move the vehicle into the proper lane.
Needless to say I was somewhat shaken.
I only pray that I have never gave anyone the shock that I received by the Expedition on the prowl. Driving is not the time to be talking on the cell phone, adjusting the radio or steering wheel, while the vehicle is moving. One sure thing stay between the center line and the ditch on the right side of the road.
I am thankful that there was no accident, and no one was injured. Please pay attention when you are driving. It is deadly serious. The roads are busier than ever.
This past Friday night as I slept I had a very puzzling dream. The dream began with me taking a motorcycle ride with some other men who are friends of mine, then we ended up on a hillside trying to rescue a woman, who was expectant with child, and had fell down into a hole.
As we were trying to help her the baby was somehow ripped from her womb, and tumbled further down into the hole.
There was going to be a great expense to get the woman and the baby from the hole. There was a man, whom I work with, who went and bought all the materials needed for the rescue, and did not ask for anything in return. That was where the dream ended.
My deduction from this is three fold: 1. Motorcycle riding is a fun pastime, but there are more important things; 2. There are women who are expecting babies who feel like they have fallen into a hole, and are having the living child ripped from them, and they are crying out for help – motorcycles riders, preachers, teachers, bus drivers and bus mechanics, and anyone who loves and cares can help; 3. There are generous people wherever you look; people who are willing to donate money, time, space, and people.
The most important thing I can learn from this dream is that God, the Father of Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior, can still give dreams to teach, but they will not contradict His holy written Word.
Have you ever struggled with something that was simple? It was just all in the matter which you approached it. Well, I think we all have at one time or another, and some of us more than others.
You struggle with a problem, and all the time the answer is staring you right in the face. There are times, also, when there is a problem no one else can figure out; it is tough; you walk onto the scene, and though you have never dealt with it before you handle it like it was a “Piece of cake”.
It may be a case of “Straining at gnats and swallowing camels”, but then, again maybe not. This probably does not make much sense, but there are lots of things that do not. This may be thought about for awhile.
The words of men and women cannot always be trusted. Many of us will find that in politics, and in preaching words that are used are sometimes twisted to give us a different meaning than what is the actual intent of the messenger, or even the text that is given.
Let us be watchful of all that we hear, read and speak. It is a dreadful thing to speak in order to deceive and/or lead people astray. People of our day are some of the most literate of all times, yet are most illiterate in the most important text of all times.
When we have people who believe that Joan of Ark was the wife of Noah, that shows illiteracy. That is not meant as a joke. When people cannot name even one of the Ten Commandments that shows illiteracy of the most important text ever penned down by men. This text that I refer to is a trusted text and can be trusted by all who read it.
The mere words of men, women, boys and girls; whether penned down on paper, carved in a tree, or on a table of stone are only as reliable as the one who penned them.