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Have you noticed that whenever there is a terrorist attack that certain people rush to the defense of Islam saying "Well there are extremists in Christianity too" No doubt there are professing Christians who have committed despicable and inexcusable acts but it really misses the point entirely. There is something intrinsic to teaching in the Quran and early Islamic history that is somehow being missed in these online discussions.Muhammad directly taught, in many circumstances, that we ought to kill or subjugate our enemies (e.g.. Surah 9). Christ by example taught we ought to die for our enemies and liberate them ... It is recorded in history that Mohammed had murdered dozens of his enemies by the time of his death. Jesus, having killed no one, died to reconcile his enemies to himself, calling us to love our enemies and turn the other cheek when we are persecuted by them. Following these teachings, the first 500 years of Islam was a story of bloody conquest. The first few hundred years of the church was one of weakness and severe persecution for the followers of Christ, not conquest. So we can see that the teaching of the two heads of these faiths could not be more sharply contrasted. One leader in many circumstances gives justification to sacrifice others, the other only justification to sacrifice self for others.
Muhammed taught, in many circumstances, that we ought to kill or subjugate our enemies (e.g. Surah 9). Christ by example taught we ought to die for our enemies and liberate them ... It is recorded in history that Mohammed had killed dozens of his enemies by the time of his death. Jesus, having killed no one, died to reconcile his enemies to himself, calling us to love our enemies and turn the other cheek when we are persecuted by them. So we can see that the teaching of the two heads of these faiths could not be more sharply contrasted. One leader in many circumstances gives justification to sacrifce others, the other only justification to sacrifice self for others.This is certainly not to deny that there have been professing Christians in history who have killed others. There have been. But they were knowingly acting in disobedience to their Lord. (Christians are capable of sin like anyone else). But those Muslims who kill can appeal to a wide variety of Muhammed's teaching to justify murder. So the media portraying groups like ISIS as not true Muslims is a clear distortion of the truth. Certainly they do not represent all Muslims but they are not teaching anything much different from the founder of their faith.
by Graeme GoldsworthyIt cannot be stressed too much that to confuse the gospel with certain important things that go hand in hand with it is to invite theological, hermeneutical and spiritual confusion. Such ingredients of preaching and teaching that we might want to link with the gospel would include the need for the gospel (sin and judgment), the means of receiving the benefits of the gospel (faith and repentance), the results or fruit of the gospel (regeneration, conversion, sanctification, glorification) and the results of rejecting it (wrath, judgment, hell). These, however we define and proclaim them, are not in themselves the gospel. if something is not what God did in and through the historical Jesus two thousand years ago, it is not the gospel. Thus Christians cannot ‘live the gospel', as they are often exhorted to do. They can only believe it, proclaim it and seek to live consistently with it. Only Jesus lived (and died) the gospel. It is a once-for-all finished and perfect event done for us by another.When we confuse the fruit of the gospel in the Christian life for the gospel itself, hermeneutical confusion is introduced. The focus easily turns to the life of the believer and the experience of the Christian life. These can then become the norms by which Scripture is interpreted. Instead of interpreting our experience by the word, we start to interpret the word by our experience. Such reversal of perspective from Christ to self really begins the movement towards the autonomy of human reason in hermeneutical theory.
This post is adapted from the chapter entitled "Revelation" by Charles E. Hill in A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament: The Gospel Realized , edited by Michael J. Kruger.The Denouement of ScriptureThe “Revelation of Jesus Christ” portrays in dramatic fashion the paradoxical present rule of Jesus Christ as King of all the kings of the world, his ultimate triumph, and the salvation of his people through tribulation. As monumental as this is, it is not all. In the course of reexperiencing the visions John saw on Patmos, John's audience witnesses not only the salvation of man, God's image, but also the reclamation of the heavens, the earth, and the subterranean regions (i.e., the sea, the abyss, hades, fountains of water), the domains of man's dominion as originally given in Genesis 1–3. Revelation presents to us a great Serpent, a woman who brings forth a male child who is to rule the earth, and a final restoration of the tree of life. The symbolism of the book ranges through the entire Old Testament canonical Scriptures and drives us back to the very beginning for some of its most elemental imagery.
by Sinclair B. Ferguson“The Spirit’s coming inaugurates a communion with Christ in which the Spirit who dwelt on Christ now dwells on and in believers… The coming of the Spirit is the equivalent of the indwelling of Jesus…Having the Spirit is the equivalent, indeed the very mode, of having the incarnate, obedient, crucified, resurrected and exalted Christ indwelling us so that we are united to Him as He is united to the Father.It is this sense that John sees the difference that Pentecost signals in the ministry of the Spirit. Now, as the bond of union to God, the Spirit indwells all who believe as the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is a development of epochal proportions.The Spirit who was present and active at Christ’s conception as the head of the new creation, by whom He was anointed at baptism (John 1:32-34), who directed Him throughout His temptations (Matthew 4:1), empowered Him in His miracles (Luke 11:20), energized Him in His sacrifice (Hebrews 9:14), and vindicated Him in His resurrection (1 Timothy 3:16; Romans 1:4), now indwells disciples in this specific identity.This is the meaning of our Lord’s words, otherwise impossible to comprehend: ‘It is for your good that I am going away’ (John 16:7).”----- From Sinclair Ferguson, The Holy Spirit: Contours of Christian Theology (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996), 71-72.
A Guest Post by Steve HaysOver the years I've read a number of prominent Christian apologists make their case for the Resurrection. Notable examples include John Warwick Montgomery, C.E.B. Cranfield, William Lane Craig, Timothy and Lydia McGrew, Richard Swinburne, Gary Habermas, N. T. Wright, and Mike Licona. Craig in particular has been influential in making a stereotypical case for the Resurrection, based on his minimal facts strategy, that's widely copied. So I was thinking recently about how I'd make a case for the Resurrection if I was asked to give a presentation at church or college.
The following free eBooks are mostly in ePub and .mobi formats. On the download page, use your default browser and not your Facebook app to download.The Atonement of Christ (eBook) by Francis Turretin(Also a moderized version here)Introductory Essay to John Owen's Death of Death in the Death of Christ (eBook) by J. I. PackerThe Death of Death in the Death of Christ (eBook) by John OwenThe Atonement (eBook) by A. A. HodgeChrist Crucified (eBook) by Stephen CharnockThe Doctrine of the Atonement As Taught By the Apostles (eBook) by George SmeatonThe Doctrine of the Atonement as Taught by Jesus Himself (eBook) by George SmeatonThe Atonement (eBook) by Loraine Boettner
No, man has a will and he makes voluntary choices. But, being fallen, when he hears the gospel he makes the wrong choice. He loves darkness too much, he hates the light and will not come into the light lest his deeds be exposed (John 3:19-20). He neither understands nor wants to understand because he thinks Jesus Christ is foolish (1 Cor 2:14) So if he is to see and enter the kingdom he must be born again (John 3:3-8). As Augustine said, "to will is of nature, but to will aright is of grace."So predestination does not coerce anyone to sin and does not hold people back from life against their will. In it God reveals His affections to multitude of ill-deserving sinners and sets them aside for Himself in Christ, purchases them with His own blood and gathers them up through the gospel, which He germinates by His Holy Spirit in the hearts of His elect. Not because they are more righteous, but because of his sheer mercy. The rest He leaves to their own boasted "free will" which is really not free at all because they are willfully captive to sin and will not come to Him for life.Thus predestination is an act of mercy whereby in Christ God saves a multitude of sinners who would otherwise certainly be lost. Left to ourselves, we would all be without hope to be saved.
Two amazing quotes by Calvin on the relationship of justification and sanctification.by John Calvin:Justification and sanctification, gifts of grace, go together as if tied by an inseparable bond, so that if anyone tries to separate them, he is, in a sense, tearing Christ to pieces. Sanctification doesn't just flow from justification, so that one produces the other. Both come from the same Source. Christ justifies no one whom He does not also sanctify. By virtue of our union with Christ, He bestows both gifts, the one never without the other."Calvin's Commentary on 1 Corinthians 1:30, Volume XX, Baker, 1993, p. 93.
by Geerhardus Vos a) It is God the Father by way of eminence. Since regeneration appears as something completely new, it fits with the economy of the Father that regeneration is ascribed to Him. “According to his great mercy, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Pet 1:3; cf. also Jas 1:18; Eph 2:5; and the expression “born of God,” 1 John 5:1, 4, 18). b) The Son is related to regeneration in more than one way. 1. He is the meriting cause. He has obtained the Holy Spirit, who works all subjective grace, and so has also obtained regeneration (Rom 5:18). 2. He is the head to whom believers are joined as members by regeneration, and who thus lives in them and expresses His life in them (Gal 2:20). 3. He is the image into which the believers are transformed in regeneration and to which continually they are also being increasingly conformed (1 Cor 15:49; Gal 4:19). c) The Holy Spirit is the one who effects regeneration [John 6:63] for the sake of the Father and the Son in the heart of the sinner, as He in general organizes the mystical body of Christ.------
The following is a short list of Reformed podcasts we are familiar with and find helpful. If you know of any others please feel free to share them with us.
by Sinclair B. Ferguson"What is the opposite of antinomianism?"Would it be fair to assume that the instinctive response ... would be "Legalism"? It might be the right answer at the level of common usage, but it would be unsatisfactory from the standpoint of theology, for antinomianism and legalism are not so much antithetical to each other as they are both antithetical to grace. This is why the scripture never prescribes one as the antidote for the other. Rather grace, God's grace in Christ in our union with Christ, is the antidote to both.The wholesale removal of the law seems to provide a refuge [for the antinomian]. But the problem is not with the law, but with the heart - and this remains unchanged. Thinking that his perspective is now the antithesis of legalism, the antinomian has written an inappropriate spiritual prescription. His sickness is not fully cured. Indeed the root cause of his disease has been masked rather than exposed and cured. There is only one genuine cure for legalism. It is the same medicine the gospel prescribes for antinomianism: understanding and tasting union with Jesus Christ himself. This leads to a new love for and obedience to the law of God, which he now mediates to us in the gospel. This alone breaks the bonds of both legalism (the law is no longer divorced from the person of Christ) and antinomianism (we are not divorced from the law, which now comes to us from the hand of Christ and in the empowerment of the Spirit, who writes it in our hearts).
by Thomas Brooks"God, I thank You that I'm not like other people—greedy, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of everything I get." Luke 18:11-12Many please and satisfy themselves with mere civility and common morality. They bless themselves that they are not swearers, nor drunkards, nor extortioners, nor adulterers, etc. Their behavior is civil, sincere, harmless, and blameless.But civility is not sanctity. Civility rested in—is but a beautiful abomination—a smooth way to hell and destruction. Civility is very often . . .the nurse of impiety,the mother of flattery, andan enemy to real sanctity.There are those who are so blinded with the fair shows ofcivility—that they can neither see the necessity nor beautyof sanctity. There are those who now bless themselves intheir common morality, whom at last God will scorn andcast off for lack of real holiness and purity.A moral man may be an utter stranger . . .to God,to Christ,to Scripture,to the filthiness of sin,to the depths and devices of Satan,to their own hearts,to the new birth,to the great concerns of eternity,to communion with Christ,to the secret and inward ways and workings of the Spirit.Well, sirs, remember this—though the moral man is good for many things—yet he is not good enough to go to heaven! He who rises to no higher pitch than civility and morality—shall never have communion with God in glory. The most moral man in the world, may be both Christless and graceless.
“But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, ‘Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?'” (Rom 10:16)."in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus." (2 Thessalonians 1:8)1 Peter we are similarly told, “For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1Pe 4:17).Given the context of these statements in the Bible, it likely along with that carries the richer meaning that the gospel is a royal summons to come under the lordship of Jesus Christ, to ally oneself with him, to follow him. It is the royal announcement that Jesus is the King who offers deliverance to all who, by the grace of God, fly to Him and he is the judge of those who would resist reign of God in Christ.Wolfgang Musculus' a Reformed theologian of the Reformation had a commentary on 2 Thessalonians . This is his brief explanation of "obedience to the gospel" taken from his exposition of 1:8.
by Edward Payson"In his pride, the wicked does not seek God; in all his thoughts, there is no room for God!" Psalm 10:4The pride of the wicked is the principal reason why they will not seek after the knowledge of God. Pride renders God a disagreeable and undesirable object of contemplation to the wicked.Pride consists in an unduly exalted opinion of one's self. It is, therefore . . . impatient of a rival, hates a superior, and cannot endure a master!In proportion as pride prevails in the heart, it makes us wish . . . to see no God above us, to acknowledge no law but our own wills, to follow no rule but our own inclinations.Thus pride led Satan to rebel against his Creator — and our first parents to desire to be as gods.Since such are the effects of pride, it is evident that nothing can be more painful to a proud heart, than the thoughts of such a being as God . . . one who is infinitely powerful, just, and holy; one who can neither be resisted, deceived, nor deluded; one who disposes, according to His own sovereign pleasure, of all creatures and events; one who, in an especial manner, hates pride, and is determined to abase and punish it!Such a being, the proud man can contemplate only with feelings of dread, aversion, and abhorrence! The proud man must look upon God as his natural enemy, his great enemy, whom he has to fear!
by John CalvinNow it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.”But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” - Galatians 3:11-12
by John NewtonKing Alphonso of Portugal said that if God had consulted him at the creation, about the placements and motions of the planets and stars, etc. — that he would have contrived them better than they are. I suppose the poor man took the schemes and dreams of the astronomers of his day — to be an accurate representation of the solar system.It sounds, however, like a blasphemous speech in our ears. We take it for granted that the Sun, the Moon, planets, and the stars are exactly where they should be — and move just as they ought.But if we are content that the Lord should manage the heavenly bodies without our assistance — we are ready enough to advise Him how He should manage of our insignificant selves! We think we could point at twenty things in our situation which might be mended; and that we would serve Him much better than we do — if we were but at liberty to choose where and how we would be thus placed.Thus we rightly censure King Alphonso's folly — without being aware that the thoughts that we sometimes indulge, are no less vain and arrogant than his! We might with as much reason, offer to assist God in the government of the universe — as in the direction of our own paltry concerns!"All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as He pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back His hand or say to Him: What have You done?" Daniel 4:35----From The Letters of John Newton (eBook)
by Herman BavinckThe term “irresistible grace” is not really of Reformed origin but was used by Jesuits and Remonstrants to characterize the doctrine of the efficacy of grace as it was advocated by Augustine and those who believed as he did. The Reformed in fact had some objections to the term because it was absolutely not their intent to deny that grace is often and indeed always resisted by the unregenerate person and therefore could be resisted. They therefore preferred to speak of the efficacy or of the insuperability of grace, or interpreted the term “irresistible” in the sense that grace is ultimately irresistible. The point of the disagreement, accordingly, was not whether humans continually resisted and could resist God’s grace, but whether they could ultimately–at the specific moment in which God wanted to regenerate them and work with his efficacious grace in their heart–still reject that grace. -----Reformed Dogmatics (4 Volume Set) , 4:82-83, 1895-99
SLIMJIM over at the blog The Domain for Truth has compiled a list of apologetics media resources. He reconstructed is list that was originally listed on a now deleted blog account elsewhere on the web .This is an amazing collection and a great service to the Church. I am thankful for his permission to share these with you here.Camden Bucey1. Defending the FaithShane Kastler1. Expositional ApologeticsFred Butler1. Apologetics Evangelism 101Jonathan Harris1. Apologetics Sunday School Class 2011
A guest post by Justin HokeMatthew 22:1-14 1And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said: 2 "The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, 3 "and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come. 4 "Again, he sent out other servants, saying, 'Tell those who are invited, "See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding." ' 5 "But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. 6 "And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. 7 "But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. 8 "Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. 9 'Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.' 10 "So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good.
Don't make a savior of your morality. It cannot deliver you. Repent of trusting in your own righteousness and instead believe on Christ alone.Remember, grace is not earned by meeting a condition, or it would no longer be grace. It is not a reward for either faith or obedience but the cause of them.(Eph 2:8-10). Obedience, rather, springs from a renewed heart which loves God (1John 3:9, 5:2-4).Jesus calls us to a life of obedience. He says, "if you love me you will obey my commands." But the bible also teaches that our obedience does not, in any way, earn God's favor. We obey, rather, because we already have God's favor. It demonstrates the reality of God having been gracious to us (Phil 2:12-13; Eph 2:10; 1 John 3:9).Being saved by grace alone, some actually falsely argue that Christians don't need to obey. It is as if they believed Jesus' continued intercession for us were ineffectual and his grace only delivers us from the guilt of sin but not its power... that while they rightly believe in the imputation of Christ's righteousness but wrongly ignore the impartation of His Holy Spirit to us. But the bible teaches that those who are in Christ have been set free from sin's captivity. The trajectory of our life is now one of following Christ and His commands.So, I would argue, that those who believe we can live in Christ apart from obedience, are actually not believing in grace enough. Our faith and obedience both point to the reality of God's grace, it does not earn it. And when we do disobey, God's Spirit disciplines us so that we will not be condemned along with the world. (1 Cor 11:31-32)
by William CunninghamExcerpt from The Doctrine of the Will (eBook)
by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones“Here is a superb bit of psychology, for what after all, is the main cause of this spirit of fear? The answer is ‘self' – self-love, self-concern, self-protection. Had you realized that the essence of this trouble is that these fearful people are really too absorbed in self – how can I do this, what if I fail? ‘I' – they are constantly turning in upon themselves, looking at themselves and concerned about themselves. And it is just here that the spirit of love comes in, for there is only one way to get rid of yourself. There is only one cure for self. You will never deal with self yourself. That was the fatal fallacy of those poor men who became monks and anchorites. They could get away from the world and from other people, but they could not get away from themselves. Your self is inside you and you cannot get rid of him, the more you mortify yourself the more your self will torment you.
by Wilhelmus a BrakelWith a decidedly Puritan flavor and representing Reformed experiential religion at its best, Wilhelmus Brakel systematically moves through the major doctrines of the Bible in hopes of seeing the minds of God's people renewed for the purpose of promoting godliness. Throughout his work, but particularly in the practical application of each doctrine, Brakel strives unceasingly to exalt the name of Jesus as the name that the Father has given above every other name—there being no other name given under heaven among men whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12). The following files are in pdf format.The Christian's Reasonable Service, vol. 1 (indexed) The Christian's Reasonable Service, vol. 2 (indexed) The Christian's Reasonable Service, vol. 3 (indexed) The Christian's Reasonable Service, vol. 4 (indexed)
Dr. Kim RiddlebargerThis post is adapted from Kim Riddlebarger's chapter, "Eschatology," in Reformation Theology: A Systematic Summary edited by Matthew Barrett."On the Sleep of the Soul"John Calvin's first published work of theology was the Psychopannychia (“On the Sleep of the Soul”), published in 1542, although the first draft of the manuscript was written as early as 1534, and Calvin revised it several times before publication.1 Ironically, even as Calvin took issue with those Anabaptists who held that the soul is deprived of consciousness after death, this view was quite similar to Luther's “soul sleep.” Calvin never mentioned Luther's view, and both Martin Bucer and Wolfgang Capito (1478–1541) urged Calvin not to publish the Psychopannychia so as to avoid exposing any differences between the Reformed and Lutherans and thus keep Roman or Anabaptist critics from pouncing.2

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