Archive for October, 2010
Below is an excerpt from Tyerman’s biography of John Wesley. I often wrestle with how the Gospel should play out in my finances, particularly as I look at the great abundance of that God has blessed us with. I often wonder how I can cling to things when Christ so graciously released his life on my behalf. I found the story below especially convicting. How does God’s extravagant gift on the cross translate to us giving extravagantly?
“One cold winter’s day, a young girl, whom the Methodists kept at school, called upon John Wesley in a state nearly frozen, to whom he said, ‘You seem half-starved; have you nothing to wear but that linen gown?’ The poor girl said, ‘Sir, this is all I have.’ Wesley put his hand in his pocket, but found it nearly empty. The walls of his chamber however were hung with pictures, and these now became his accusers. ‘It struck me,’ says he, ‘will thy Master say, “Well done thy good and faithful steward?” Thou hast adorned thy walls with the money that might have screened this poor creature from the cold! O Justice! O Mercy! Are not these pictures the blood of this poor girl?’ To say the least, this story shows the intense conscientiousness of the man, and his dread of spending anything upon himself that might have been spent properly on the poor.”
Tyerman, The Life and Times of John Wesley vol I pg 71
Because there was some confusion over the original wording of this post, I would like to draw your attention to a clarification. The intent of the letter attached below is not to invalidate the ministry of the clergy of St. Andrew’s, merely to acknowledge that they no longer share ministry in the Episcopal Church.
I received this interesting bit of news in a forwarded e-mail this morning. The clergy of St. Andrew’s Mount Pleasant have been formally removed from ministry in the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina.
The church of St. Andrew’s voted to leave the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina last April. They are now a member church in the ACNA Diocese of the Holy Spirit. Below is the actual letter of removal from ministry in the Episcopal Church. Simply click the link to view it for yourself.
see what the Anglican Curmudgeon has to say about it here
see what the EpiscopalCafe has to say about it here
see what Steve put up over at his blog here (be sure to read the comments)
by Ray Ortlund
“You must be born again.” John 3:7
You. This is personal. If I resent it as threatening, that could be evidence I have not been born again. If my heart welcomes the approach of this truth and waves the white flag of surrender, that could be evidence I have been born again.
Must. This is authoritative. If I take evasive action, that could be evidence I have not been born again. If I breathe a sigh of relief that finally Someone is telling me the truth and taking me in hand, that could be evidence I have been born again.
Be born again. This is passive. I need more than self-correction; I need a miracle deep within. I need God to call into existence within me a new aliveness to God, new tastes, new desires, new openness and humility and fears and hopes, such as I have never experienced before and cannot conjure up out of my admirable upbringing and good intentions. I need newness of Genesis 1-magnitude. In fact, my eternal destiny hangs on something only God can do for me.
“It is a noteworthy and striking fact that no doctrine has excited such surprise in every age of the Church and has called forth so much opposition from the great and learned as this very doctrine of the new birth. The men of the present day who sneer at conversions and revivals as fanaticism are no better than Nicodemus. Like him, they expose their own entire ignorance of the work of the Holy Spirit.”
J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: John 1:1-10:9 (Grand Rapids, n.d.), page 139. Style updated.
Below is an excerpt from the introductory section of a work written by Augustine that God used to help lead me into a deeper understanding of God’s grace and my own sinfulness. I first encountered this work at the Radcliffe Camera in Oxford in 20I’ve attached a link at the bottom where you can click through and read the whole thing.
The book which you sent to me, my beloved sons, Timasius and Jacobus, I have read through hastily, but not indifferently, omitting only the few points which are plain enough to everybody; and I saw in it a man inflamed with most ardent zeal against those, who, when in their sinsthey ought to censure human will, are more forward in accusing thenature of men, and thereby endeavour to excuse themselves. He shows too great a fire against this evil, which even authors of secular literature have severely censured with the exclamation:
The human race falselycomplains of its own nature! This same sentiment your author also has strongly insisted upon, with all the powers of his talent. I fear, however, that he will chiefly help those
who have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge, who,
being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God. Now, what the righteousness of God is, which is spoken of here, he immediately afterwards explains by adding:
For Christ is the end of thelaw for righteousness to every one that believes. This righteousness of God, therefore, lies not in the commandment of the law, which excites fear, but in the aid afforded by the grace of Christ, to which alone the fear of the law, as of a schoolmaster, usefully conducts. Now, the man who understands this understands why he is a Christian. For
If righteousness came by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. If, however He did not die in vain, in Him only is the ungodly man justified, and to him, on believing in Him who justifiesthe ungodly, faith is reckoned for righteousness. For all menhave sinned and come short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His blood. But all those who do not think themselves to belong to the
all who have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,have of course no need to become Christians, because
they that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick; whence it is, that He came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
click here to read the whole thing. Read it carefully and follow the logic.
This calling of Abram is a signal instance of the gratuitous mercy of God. Had Abram been beforehand with God by any merit of works? Had Abram come to him, or conciliated his favour? Nay, we must ever recall to mind that he was plunged in the filth of idolatry; and God freely stretches forth his hand to bring back the wanderer. He deigns to open his sacred mouth, that he may show to one, deceived by Satan’s wiles, the way of salvation.
But this is done designedly, in order that the manifestation of the grace of God might become the more conspicuous in his person. For he is an example of the vocation of us all; for in him we perceive, that, by the mere mercy of God, those things that are not are raised from nothing, in order that they may begin to be something.
John Calvin, Genesis, (Banner of Truth), p. 343