Posts Tagged ‘doctrine’

Thanks to Bruce Geary for passing this along

“I cannot withhold my conviction that the professing church of the ninetheenth century is as much damaged by laxity and indistinctness about matters of doctrine within as it is by sceptics and unbelievers without. Myraids of professing Christians nowadays seem utterly unable to distinguish things that differ. Like people afflicted with colour blindness, they are incapable of discerning what is true and what is false, what is sound and what is unsound. If a preacher of religion is only clever and eloquent and earnest, they appear to think he is all right, however strange and  heterogeneous his sermons may be. They are destitute of spiritual sense, apparently, and cannot detect error. Popery or Protestantism, an atonement or no atonement, a personal Holy Ghost or no Holy Ghost, future punishment or no future punishment, high church or low church or broad church, Trinitarianism, Arianism, or Unitarianism, nothing comes amis to them: they can swallow all, if they cannot digest it! Carried away by a fancied liberality and charity, they seem to think everybody is right and nobody is wrong, every clergyman is sound and none are unsound, everyone is going to be saved and nobody is going to be lost. Their religion is made up of negatives; and the only positive thing about them is that they dislike distinctness and think all extreme and decided and positive views are very naughty and very wrong! ”
 
JC Ryle Holiness

The Revelation to John

Dec 15:                        A Love Grown Cold                 (Rev 2.1-7)

 

“They that see God cannot but praise him.  He is a Being of such glory and excellency that the sight of this excellency of his will necessarily influence them that behold it to praise him.  Such a glorious sight will awaken and rouse all the powers of the soul, and will irresistibly impel them, and draw them into acts of praise.  Such a sight enlarges their souls, and fills them with admiration, and with an unspeakable exultation of spirit” –Jonathan Edwards, “Praise, One of the Chief Employments of Heaven” (Thanksgiving Sermon, Nov 7, 1734)

 

We begin today’s class with an important principle from Jonathan Edwards, namely that in beholding the excellency of God we are drawn into acts of praise that affect the deepest and most remote compartments of our soul.  That is why we do Bible study. That is why we take Bible study one step farther and do Biblical theology, and farther still to systematic theology.  These are an attempt to behold God, grounded in the revealed word that he has given us, that we might behold him and be given “an unspeakable exultation of spirit.”  I have said this many times before, and I say it again.  THE KEY to spiritual growth lies not in applying Biblical principles to your life, but in beholding God and having his majesty and the depth of his love, mercy, kindness and righteousness transform the heart and reorient our desires. 

 

And yet even this pursuit can be corrupted and turned from its original end, as we shall see in our reading today, we see a church whose love has grown cold.  What is striking about this, is that their love grew cold when they were so well equipped to behold the majesty of God.  So there is a lesson for us here.  When knowledge of God becomes more important than God himself, then our doctrine has become our idol, replacing our “first love” with cold dogma.  May God save us from this!  Let us see what Jesus has to say to the church in Ephesus, and see how we might be turned from this sad situation. (more…)

What did Paul do? He went to Philippi; did he know a soul there? Not one. He had his Master’s truth, and he believed in the power of it. He was unattended and devoid of pomp, or show, or parade; he did not go to a pulpit with a soft cushion in it to address a respectable congregation, but he walked through the streets and began to preach to the people. He went to Corinth, to Athens, alone, single-handed, to tell the people the gospel of the blessed God. Why? Because he had faith in the gospel and believed it would save souls, and hurl down idols from their thrones. He had no doubt about the power of the gospel; but now-a-days, my brethren, we have not faith in the gospel we preach. How many there are who preach gospel, which they are afraid will not save souls; and, therefore, they add little bits of their own to it in order, as they think, to win men to Christ! We have known men who believed Calvinistic doctrines, but who preached Calvinism in the morning and Arminianism in the evening, because they were afraid God’s gospel would not convert sinners, so they would manufacture one of their own. I hold that a man who does not believe his gospel to be able to save men’s souls, does not believe it all. If God’s truth will not save men’s souls, man’s lies cannot; if God’s truth will not turn men to repentance, I am sure there is nothing in this world that can. When we believe the gospel to be powerful, then we shall see it is powerful. If I walk into this pulpit, and say, “I know what I preach is true,” the world says I am an egotist. “The young man is dogmatical.” Ay, and the young man means to be; he glories in it, he keeps it to himself as one of his peculiar titles, for he does most firmly believe what he preaches. God forbid that I should ever come tottering up the pulpit stairs to teach anything I was not quite sure of, something which I hoped might save sinners, but of which I was not exactly certain. When I have faith in my doctrines, those doctrines will prevail, for confidence is the winner of the palm. He who hath courage enough to grasp the standard, and hold it up, will be sure enough to find followers. He who says, “I know,” and asserts it boldly in his Master’s name, without disputing, will not be long before he will find men who will listen to what he says, and who will say, “This man speaks with authority, and not as the Scribes and Pharisees.” That is one reason why we do not succeed: we have not faith in the gospel.

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