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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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Controversy And Anger

Robert Charles Sproul is an American Calvinist theologian and pastor. He is the founder and chairman of Ligonier Ministries (named after the Ligonier Valley just outside of Pittsburgh, where the ministry started as a study center for college and seminary students) and can be heard daily on the Renewing Your Mind radio broadcast in the United States and internationally. Sproul has been an ardent advocate of Calvinism in his many print, audio, and video publications. A dominant theme in many of Sproul’s Renewing Your Mind lessons is the holiness and sovereignty of God.

Quoting R. C. Sproul:

Jesus’ life was a storm of controversy. The apostles, like the prophets before them, could hardly go a day without controversy. Paul said that he debated daily in the marketplace. To avoid controversy is to avoid Christ. We can have peace, but it is a servile and carnal peace where truth is slain in the streets.

The first thing to understand about anger is that it isn’t always a bad thing. Many people, especially Christians, have the mistaken notion that anger is intrinsically evil. As a result, they feel needless guilt. The idea that a Christian is never allowed to be angry is a demonic myth that tends to produce neurotic anxiety. I’ve had to struggle with this myth nearly all my life.

Thomas Boston: A Guide For Reading The Bible

Thomas Boston was born at Duns in Berwickshire. At the age of seven he began to read the Bible. At the age of eleven, he began to think about the state of his soul after hearing a sermon by Henry Erskine. He attended the University of Edinburgh. He was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Duns and Chirnside. In 1699, he was ordained and held a pastorate at Simprin until 1707. He was an extremely popular preacher, but he was extremely self-effacing, considering that he had but “small talents.” He was reluctant to publish his works, although he wrote out completely all of his sermons before they were preached. Below are some excerpts from his guidelines on “Reading and Searching the Scriptures”:

1. Follow a regular plan in reading the Scriptures, so that you may become acquainted with the entire Bible; and make this reading a part of your private devotions. . . .

2. Be sure to mark those passages you read, the ones which you find most fitting to your situation, condition, or temptations; or those that you have found which touches your heart more than other passages. It will be most profitable for you to often review these marked passages.

3. Compare one Scripture with another, the more obscure verses with those which are more clear. This is an excellent means to find out the sense of the Scriptures; and this is the best use of the notes found in the margins of most Bibles. . . .

4. Read the Bible with a holy attention, always remembering the majesty of God, and the reverence that is due Him. This must be done with attention, first, to the words; second, to the sense; and, third, to the divine authority of the Scripture, and the obligation it lays on the conscience for obedience. . . .

5. Let your main purpose in reading the Scriptures be for application to your life, and not just to gain knowledge, James said, “Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”. . . (James 1:22)

6. Beg God and ask Him for the help of His Holy Spirit. For it is the Holy Spirit that inspired the Word, and it is the Holy Spirit who will give us the understanding of it. . . .

7. Beware of a worldly, fleshly mind: for fleshly sins blind the mind from the things of God. . . .

8. Labor to be disciplined toward godliness, and to perceive your spiritual circumstances. For a disciplined attitude greatly helps us to understand the Bible. . . .

9. Whatever you learn from the Word, labor to put it into practice. For to him that has, more will be given. . . .

Read more here. . . .

Transcription and updates copyright © Tony Capoccia, 1998

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