• OVER 5,000 ARTICLES AND QUOTES PUBLISHED!
  • 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.

  • Blog Stats

    • 1,395,575 Visits
  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,271 other followers

  • December 2012
    M T W T F S S
     12
    3456789
    10111213141516
    17181920212223
    24252627282930
    31  
  • Recommended Reading

One Circumstance at a Time

Jerry Bridges:

I realize anew that, just as we must learn to obey God one choice at a time, we must also learn to trust God one circumstance at a time. Trusting God is not a matter of my feelings but of my will. I never feel like trusting God when adversity strikes, but I can choose to do so even when I don’t feel like it. That act of the will, though, must be based on belief, and belief must be based on truth.

The Heresy of Donatism in the early Church

Donatism and Christianity:

The Donatist schism in Africa began in 311. It was a heretical sect of early Christianity founded by Donatus Magnus who believed that holiness was a requisite for church membership and administration of sacraments. Donatus was upset by the readiness of the mainstream church to welcome back into its fold clergy who had temporarily renounced their faith in fear of Roman persecution. Donatus believed that such people were not fit to be priests, and that church rituals led by such individuals were worthless.

During the oppression of Christians under Emperor Diocletian, many Christian leaders obeyed the order to surrender sacred texts to state authorities for destruction. After the persecution ended, some Christians believed that those who obeyed the state rather than become martyrs should not be allowed to hold church offices. Donatists argued that baptisms, marriages, confessions, funerals, communion services, and other church rituals were invalid if the priest performing the ceremony was in a state of sin. The ministry of these lapsed clergy was considered invalid. Accordingly, Donatists declared that anyone “married” by a sinning priest was actually fornicating, and anyone who confessed and received absolution from evil clergy never actually received forgiveness of sins. After his consecration as Bishop of Hippo in 395-396, Augustine devoted continual attention for more than ten years to the challenge of Donatism.

Donatism was declared a heresy at the Synod of Arles in 314 A.D. There it was decided that the validity of ordination and baptism were not dependent upon the merit of the administrator in question. Many Christians in North Africa were probably Donatists by the 5th century, but they were wiped out in the Muslim invasions which occurred in the 7th and 8th centuries.

The Bible teaches:

“The righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. …” (Romans 3:22-28 ESV)

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? . . . No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35-39 ESV)

“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1 ESV)

Knowing Jesus

Is Jesus Christ God? John Calvin writes:

And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness, God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. (1 Timothy 3:16)

Do what we can, we shall never have any hope, or be able to lay hold of the bounty and goodness of God, to return to Him, and call upon Him, until we know the majesty of God that is in Jesus Christ; and likewise the weakness of man’s nature … The devil hath bestowed all his art to pervert this doctrine; seeing that our salvation is grounded thereon. We should therefore be so much the more confirmed and strengthened in it; that we may never be shaken, but stand steadfast in the faith, which is contained in the gospel.

First of all we have this to note, that we shall never know Jesus Christ to be our Savior, until we know that He was God from everlasting. That which was written of Him by Jeremiah the prophet, must needs be fulfilled: “Let him that glorieth, glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord” (Jer. 9:24). St. Paul shows that this must be applied to the person of our Lord Jesus Christ: and thereupon he protests that he made no account of any doctrine or knowledge, only to know Jesus Christ.

Again, how is it possible for us to have our life in Him, unless He is our God, and we are maintained and preserved by His virtue? How can we put our trust in Him? For it is written. “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm” (Jer. 17:5). Again, how can we be preserved from death except by God’s infinite power? Even if Scripture bore no witness to the Deity of Jesus Christ, it is impossible for us to know Him as our Savior, unless we admit that He possesses the whole majesty of God; unless we acknowledge Him to be the true God; because He is the wisdom of the Father whereby the world was made, preserved, and kept in being. Therefore let us be thoroughly resolved in this point, whenever we speak of Jesus Christ, that we lift our thoughts on high, and worship this majesty which He had from everlasting, and this infinite essence which He enjoyed before He clothed himself in humanity. (“The Mystery of Godliness”)

%d bloggers like this: