Author Archive

A Lie About God is a Lie About Life

Posted: February 24, 2014 by doulos tou Theou in Uncategorized

Originally posted on Reformedish:

lies Our culture likes the idea of heresy. Whenever you see the word ‘heresy’ used on your average blog or article it’s synonymous with bold, controversial, and creative thinking. It is thought not confined with dogma and church controls. It’s ideas that scare the “theologians”, and break out of the traditional mold. (As to why scaring theologians has become a valued activity, I’m clueless. Is there similar trend elsewhere? Should I want to perplex philosophers? Or, mystify mathematicians? Maybe frighten some physicists?)

In some quarters, heresy is sexy.

Alister McGrath has even gone so far as to talk about our “love affair with heresy.” It epitomizes all that we entrepreneurial, free-thinking, radically individualistic Americans believe about religion. It’s up to us to figure out and nobody has a right to lay down a “correct” or “right” way to think about spirituality and God.

In this context, anybody trying to talk about orthodoxy or…

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“Christ is the almighty Builder” by J.C. Ryle

Posted: February 10, 2014 by doulos tou Theou in Uncategorized

Originally posted on Tolle Lege:

“Great is the wisdom wherewith the Lord Jesus Christ builds His Church! All is done at the right time, and in the right way. Each stone in its turn is put in its right place.

Sometimes He chooses great stones, and sometimes He chooses small stones. Sometimes the work goes on fast, and sometimes it goes on slowly. Man is frequently impatient, and thinks that nothing is doing.

But man’s time is not God’s time. A thousand years in His sight are but as a single day. The great Builder makes no mistakes. He knows what He is doing. He sees the end from the beginning.

He works by a perfect, unalterable, and certain plan. The mightiest conceptions of architects, like Michaelangelo and Wren, are mere trifling and child’s play, in comparison with Christ’s wise counsels respecting His Church.

Great is the condescension and mercy which Christ exhibits in building…

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Hear Me Out: On Sitting Through Sermons

Posted: February 5, 2014 by doulos tou Theou in Uncategorized

doulos tou Theou:

Well worth your time.

Originally posted on Alastair's Adversaria:

Vincent van Gogh - Church Pew with Worshippers

Donald Miller recently admitted to attending church irregularly. Church services really don’t scratch him where he itches: singing leaves him flat and he doesn’t learn much from sermons. He argues that he is not alone in this, suggesting (controversially) that most men struggle with church services.

One of the reasons why he struggles with church services, and sermons in particular, he maintains, is because he is the wrong kind of learner. He alludes to research that there are three different kinds of learners: auditory (hearing), visual (seeing), and kinaesthetic (doing). As he is a kinaesthetic learner, sermons and church services—which are designed for auditory learners—just won’t cut it. Instead of church services and sermons, Miller has discovered that he connects to God through doing—in particular, through building his company.

Donald Miller and I inhabit rather different Christian worlds and only occasionally does he drift into the periphery of my…

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new blessing every day and hour

Posted: February 3, 2014 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Discipleship

“All that Christ did and suffered, from the manger to the tomb, forms one glorious whole, no part of which shall ever become needless or obsolete; no part of which one can ever leave without forsaking the whole.

I am always at the manger, and yet I know that mere incarnation cannot save; always at Gethsemane, and yet I believe that its agony was not the finished work; always at the cross, with my face toward it, and my eye on the crucified One, and yet I am persuaded that the sacrifice there was completed once for all; always looking into the grave, though I rejoice that it is empty, and that ‘He is not here, but is risen’; always resting (with the angel) on the stone that was rolled away, and handling the grave-clothes, and realizing a risen Christ, nay, an ascended and interceding Lord, yet on no pretext whatever leaving any part of my Lord’s life or death behind me, but unceasingly keeping up my connection with Him, as born, living, dying, buried, and rising again, and drawing out from each part some new blessing every day and hour.

— Horatius Bonar
“Not Faith, But Christ”

HT:OFI

the Christian’s secret of a Christian life

Posted: January 14, 2014 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Discipleship

“Do I, as a Christian, understand myself? Do I know my own real identity? My own real destiny? I am a child of God. God is my Father; heaven is my home; every day is one day nearer. My Savior is my brother; every Christian is my brother too. Say it over and over to yourself first thing in the morning, last thing at night, as you wait for the bus, any time when your mind is free, and ask that you may be enabled to live as one who knows it is all utterly and completely true. For this is the Christian’s secret of—a happy Life?—yes, certainly, but we have something both higher and profounder to say. This is the Christian’s secret of a Christian life, and of a God-honoring life, and these are the aspects of the situation that really matter. May this secret become fully yours, and fully mine. To help us realize more adequately who and what, as children of God, we are and are called to be, here are some questions by which we do well to examine ourselves again and again.

Do I understand my adoption? Do I value it? Do I daily remind myself of my privilege as a child of God?

Have I sought full assurance of my adoption? Do I daily dwell on the love of God to me?

Do I treat God as my Father in heaven, loving, honoring and obeying him, seeking and welcoming his fellowship, and trying in everything to please him, as a human parent would want his child to do?

Do I think of Jesus Christ, my Savior and my Lord, as my brother too, bearing to me not only a divine authority but also a divine-human sympathy? Do I think daily how close he is to me, how completely he understands me, and how much, as my kinsman-redeemer, he cares for me?

Have I learned to hate the things that displease my Father? Am I sensitive to the evil things to which he is sensitive? Do I make a point of avoiding them, lest I grieve him?

Do I look forward daily to that great family occasion when the children of God will finally gather in heaven before the throne of God, their Father, and of the Lamb, their brother and their Lord? Have I felt the thrill of this hope?

Do I love my Christian brothers and sisters with whom I live day by day, in a way that I shall not be ashamed of when in heaven I think back over it? Am I proud of my Father, and of his family, to which by his grace I belong? Does the family likeness appear in me? If not, why not?

God humble us; God instruct us; God make us his own true children.”

J.I. Packer–Knowing God, pp. 258-260

Ht:Reformedish

Joy of the Spirit

Posted: January 6, 2014 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Discipleship

“It is the word of God alone which can first and effectually cheer the heart of any sinner. There is no true or solid peace to be enjoyed in the world except in the way of reposing upon the promises of God. Those who do not resort to them may succeed for a time in hushing or evading the terrors of conscience, but they must ever be strangers to true inward comfort.

And, granting that they may attain to the peace of insensibility, this is not a state which could satisfy any man who has seriously felt the fear of the Lord. The joy which he desires is that which flows from hearing the word of God, in which he promises to pardon our guilt, and readmit us into his favor. It is this alone which supports the believer amidst all the fears, dangers, and distresses of his earthly pilgrimage; for the joy of the Spirit is inseparable from faith.

 

— John Calvin
Commentary on Psalmscommenting on Psalm 51:8

HT:OFI

Christ’s Love

Posted: December 31, 2013 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Discipleship

“There is no other solution to the marvellous mysteries of His Incarnation and Sacrificial Death but this: Christ has loved us.

There is not a circumstance of our Lord’s history which is not another form or manifestation of love.

His incarnation is love stooping.
His sympathy is love weeping.
His compassion is love supporting.
His grace is love acting.
His teaching is the voice of love.
His silence is the repose of love.
His patience is the restraint of love.
His obedience is the labor of love.
His suffering is the travail of love.
His cross is the altar of love.
His death is the burnt offering of love.
His resurrection is the triumph of love.
His ascension into heaven is the enthronement of love.
His sitting down at the right hand of God is the intercession of love.

Such is the deep, the vast, the boundless ocean of Christ’s love!

— Octavius Winslow

 

HT:OFI

10 Principles for Reading OT Narratives

Posted: December 30, 2013 by doulos tou Theou in Uncategorized

Originally posted on Reformedish:

old testamentIt’s safe to say that “narratives” is the most predominant type of literature in the Bible. Leaving aside the New Testament, over 40 % of Old Testament are narratives.  Given that, especially in light of the New Year when a bunch of us will finally be tackling the OT again, it’s kind of important to know what you’re doing when approaching these texts, especially when reading for theological and moral content. For instance, what do we do with the story of Abram giving Sara to the king of Egypt out of fear and gaining great wealth (Gen. 12)? Is this acceptable behavior for us? I mean, he is a patriarch? Or what about the story of Gideon and the fleece (Jdg. 6)? Should we set up little tests for God in order to figure out his will for our lives?

With these sorts of problems in mind Gordon Fee and Douglas…

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Kingdom of the cross

Posted: December 27, 2013 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Discipleship

“For all of its joy and celebration and for all of its gifts of life and grace, the Kingdom of God is a kingdom of sacrifice. The central event in the history of this kingdom is a shocking and unthinkable sacrifice. This moment of sacrifice confounded the followers who were there to see it and has interested theologians ever since. It is at once the most terrible and most beautiful event in the kingdom. It is a sacrifice that makes perfect sense and no sense at all. And this sacrifice forms the operating agenda of the kingdom from that time on.

Jesus, by his bleeding and broken body on the cross, not only gave the kingdom of God its life and hope, but its paradigm for living as well. That history-changing death on the cross is also the life-changing call of Christ to everyone who would follow him. And as it did on the cross, that willingness to die will always result in life. This kingdom is a kingdom of the cross, and everyone who celebrates that sacrifice is called to drag a cross along with them every day.

— Paul David Tripp
A Quest for More
(Greensboro, NC: New Growth Press, 2007), 178

 

HT:OFI

Originally posted on Reformedish:

athanasiusblackdwarfThere is a reason everyone still quotes Athanasius around Christmas:

For this purpose, then, the incorporeal and incorruptible and immaterial Word of God entered our world. In one sense, indeed, He was not far from it before, for no part of creation had ever been without Him Who, while ever abiding in union with the Father, yet fills all things that are. But now He entered the world in a new way, stooping to our level in His love and Self-revealing to us.

He saw the reasonable race, the race of men that, like Himself, expressed the Father’s Mind, wasting out of existence, and death reigning over all in corruption. He saw that corruption held us all the closer, because it was the penalty for the Transgression; He saw, too, how unthinkable it would be for the law to be repealed before it was fulfilled. He saw how unseemly it was that the very things of which He Himself was the Artificer should be disappearing. He saw…

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Our Sin is cast into the depths

Posted: December 23, 2013 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Discipleship, Puritan Faith

“God the Father takes the pen, dips it in the blood of his Son, crosses off the sinner’s accounts, and blots them out of his debt-book.

The sinner outside of Christ is bound over to the wrath of God; he is under an obligation in law to go to the prison of hell, and there to lie until he has paid the utmost farthing.  But now, being united to Christ, God says, ‘Deliver him from going down to the pit; I have found a ransom!’ (Job 33:24). The sentence of condemnation is reversed, the believer is absolved, and set beyond the reach of the condemning law. His sins, which were set before the Lord (Psalm 90:8), so that they could not be hidden—God now takes and casts them all behind his back (Isaiah 38:17).

Yes, he casts them into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:19). What falls into a brook may be retrieved—but what is cast into the sea cannot be recovered. But there are some shallow places in the sea; true—but their sins are not cast in there—but into the depths of the sea; and the depths of the sea are devouring depths, from whence they shall never come forth again. But what if they do not sink? He will cast them in with force, so that they shall go to the bottom, and sink as lead in the mighty waters of the Redeemer’s blood.

— Thomas Boston
Human Nature in Its Fourfold State
(Edinburgh, UK: Banner of Truth, 1964)

 

HT:OFI

Glory of The Cross

Posted: December 21, 2013 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Discipleship

“We want the fact of substitution to strike us, and then the cross will grow sublimely great. In vision I behold it! Its two arms are extended right and left till they touch the east and west and overshadow all races of men; the foot of it descends lower than the grave, till it goes down even to the gates of hell; while upward the cross mounts with a halo round about it of unutterable glory, till it rises above the stars, and sheds its light upon the throne of the Most High.

Atonement is a divine business; its sacrifice is infinite, even as the God who conceived it. Glory be to his name for ever! It is all that I can say. It was nothing less than a stretch of divine love for Jesus to give himself for our sins. It was gracious for the Infinite to conceive of such a thing; but for him to carry it out was glorious beyond all.

— Charles Spurgeon
“Jehovah-Jireh” in Human Depravity and Divine Mercy: Sermons on Genesis

 

HT:OFI

He atoned for your sins

Posted: December 20, 2013 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Discipleship

“One of the sweetest statements from the lips of Jesus is this: ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world’ (Matt. 25:34b).

There is a plan of God designed for your salvation. It is not an afterthought or an attempt to correct a mistake. Rather, from all eternity, God determined that He would redeem for Himself a people, and that which He determined to do was, in fact, accomplished in the work of Jesus Christ, His atonement on the cross.

Your salvation has been accomplished by a Savior, One who did for you what the Father determined He should do. He is your Surety, your Mediator, your Substitute, your Redeemer. He atoned for your sins on the cross.”

— R. C. Sproul
The Truth of the Cross

HT:OFI

…for a more substantive assessment of Whitefield’s preaching, we turn to a fellow believer, and a fellow evangelical, a fellow Anglican, and a fellow Calvinist: J.C. Ryle (1816-1900). In his short book on Whitefield, Ryle gives six characteristics of Whitefield’s preaching:

1. A Pure Gospel.
First and foremost, you must remember Whitefield preached a singularly pure gospel. Few men ever gave their hearers so much wheat and so little chaff. He did not get into his pulpit to talk about his party, his cause, his interest, or his office. He was perpetually telling you about your sins, your heart, and Jesus Christ, in the way that the Bible speaks of them. “Oh, the righteousness of Jesus Christ,” he would frequently say; “I must bo excused if I mention it in almost all my sermons!” This, you may be sure, is the corner stone of all preaching that God honors. It must be preeminently a manifestation of truth.”

- See more at:

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/scriptorium/2009/12/happy-birthday-george-whitefield/

Here’s a snippet:

” The same question arising in verse 1 surfaces here again: Does “all people” (πάντας ἀνθρώπους; v. 4) refer to every person without exception or to every person without distinction? The Reformed have traditionally defended the latter option.5 Sometimes this exegesis is dismissed as special pleading and attributed to Reformed biases. Such a response is too simplistic, for there are good contextual reasons for such a reading. A focus on all people without distinction is supported by verse 7, where Paul emphasizes his apostleship and his ministry to the Gentiles: “For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.” Hence, there are grounds in the context for concluding that “all people” zeros in on people groups, so that Paul is reflecting on his Gentile mission. In Acts 22:15 (NIV), when Paul speaks of being a witness “to all people” (πρὸς πάντας ἀνθρώπους), he clearly does not mean all people without exception; “all” refers to the inclusion of the Gentiles in his mission (Acts 22:21).”

Read the rest at link below :
http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/sdg/problematictexts.html