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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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THE REFORMED VIEW

Loraine BoettnerLoraine Boettner:

[In the reformed view,] God is seen as the great and mighty King who has appointed the course of nature and who directs the course of history even down to its minutest details.  His decree is eternal, unchangeable, holy, wise, and sovereign.  It extends not merely to the course of the physical world but to every event in human history from the creation to the judgment, and includes all the activities of saints and angels in heaven and of reprobates and demons in hell.  It embraces the whole scope of creaturely existence, through time and eternity, comprehending at once all things that ever were or will be in their causes, conditions, successions, and relations.  Everything outside of God Himself is included in this all-embracing decree, and that very naturally since all other beings owe their existence and continuance in existence to His creative and sustaining power.  It provides a providential control under which all things are hastening to the end of God’s determining; and the goal is, “One far-off divine event toward which the whole creation moves.”

Richard Sibbes: Yet Another Grows

Richard Sibbes:

If believers decay in their first love, or in some other grace, yet another grace may grow and increase, such as humility, their broken heartedness; they sometimes seem not to grow in the branches when they may grow at the root; upon a check grace breaks out more; as we say, after a hard winter there usually follows a glorious spring.

Nations and Individuals are in the Hands of God

Loraine BoettnerLoraine Boettner:

It is to be remembered that those who receive … gifts, whether spiritual or temporal, receive them through pure grace, while in regard to the others God simply withholds those gifts, which He was under no obligation to bestow. Nations, as well as individuals, are thus in the hands of God, who appoints the bounds of their habitation, and controls their destiny. He controls them as absolutely as a man controls a rod or a staff. They are in His hands, and He employs them to accomplish His purposes. He breaks them in pieces as a potter’s vessel, or He exalts them to greatness, according to His good pleasure. He gives peace and fruitful seasons, property and happiness, or He sends the desolations of war, famine, drought and pestilence. All of these things are of His disposing, and are designed for intelligent ends under His universal providence. God is no mere spectator of the universe He has made, but is everywhere present and active, the all-sustaining ground, and all-governing power of all that is. (The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination)

John Owen On Preaching With Power

John Owen, by John Greenhill (died 1676). See ...

John Owen

Quoting the great Puritan, John Owen:

A man preacheth that sermon only well unto others which preacheth itself in his own soul. And he that doth not feed on and thrive in the digestion of the food which he provides for others will scarce make it savoury unto them; yea, he knows not but the food he hath provided may be poison, unless he have really tasted of it himself. If the word do not dwell with power in us, it will not pass with power from us.

 

John Owen On The Word Of Power

Quoting the great Puritan, John Owen:

A man preacheth that sermon only well unto others which preacheth itself in his own soul. And he that doth not feed on and thrive in the digestion of the food which he provides for others will scarce make it savory unto them; yea, he knows not but the food he hath provided may be poison, unless he have really tasted of it himself. If the word does not dwell with power in us, it will not pass with power from us.

Whatever Happened To The Young, Restless, And Reformed?

The Reformed Church changed the world by the obedience of teaching the nations and building the Kingdom of God. They believed they were God’s chosen vessels to manifest God’s Sovereignty over the cultures of men by building a new civilization. Puritan thought was rich in its interest of exerting God’s sovereignty over the kingdoms of this world. But, how has this great Reformed legacy worked out in today’s world? Gary DeMar writes:

Four years ago, Christianity Today ran an article, Young, Restless, Reformed.” In it, the author Collin Hansen covered a phenomenon that has been around for the last decade: The return of many young Christians to the Reformed doctrines. He interviewed quite a few pastors and young church members who came out of Charismatic and “seeker-sensitive” churches, who now embrace the doctrines of Calvinism. Hansen saw this return as a less-advertised, but much larger and more pervasive phenomenon than the “emergent church” or the “seeker-sensitive church.” He believed the comeback of “Calvinism” was “shaking up the church.” He pointed to the popularity of the old Puritan authors among the “new Reformed,” and especially among the young. The old-fashioned Puritanism of the 17th and the 18th centuries seemed to be the ideological fuel behind this Calvinist comeback. Many of the Puritans’ works were being reprinted because of the renewed interest in them. A professor at Gordon-Conwell even said he suspected “young evangelicals gravitate toward the Puritans looking for deeper historic roots and models for high-commitment Christianity.”

This was highly encouraging. Everything good the Western world has today – the concepts of liberty, rule of law, superior work ethic, charitable organizations, entrepreneurial spirit, thrift and long-term investment, etc. – it owes it to the Reformed theology and those who applied it in practice. When the time came for liberty to be defended throughout the Western world, and especially in America, it was Reformed and Puritan preachers who encouraged populations to defend their freedom under God, and it was Reformed and Puritan laymen who first manned the battle stations against oppression. And it was Reformed and Puritan leaders who worked to build the West to a just and prosperous society, and to spread the ideas of liberty to the rest of the world; everyone else followed their example. So, if Collin Hansen was right in his assessment of the pervasiveness of this Calvinist comeback, then we had back again the historically proven solution to America’s descent into socialism, paganism, political turmoil and economic recession.

But whatever hopes one could derive from that Calvinist comeback that Hansen saw, they would have been completely extinguished in our experience of the last two years. In a time when our society is struggling to preserve everything America once proudly stood for – everything that the Puritans handed down to us through the generations – these “new Reformed” of Hansen failed to materialize when their influence was most necessary. Since 2008, in our intense cultural wars against those who want to subvert America, the churches declared as “Reformed” by Hansen are nowhere to be seen.

Continue reading. . . .

The Clay Opposes The Potter

Quoting A. W. Pink (1886–1952):

“Nothing more riles the natural man and brings to the surface his innate and inveterate enmity against God than to press upon him the eternality, the freeness, and the absolute sovereignty of Divine grace. That God should have formed His purpose from everlasting without in anywise consulting the creature, is too abasing for the unbroken heart. That grace cannot be earned or won by any efforts of man is too self-emptying for self-righteousness. And that grace singles out whom it pleases to be its favored objects, arouses hot protests from haughty rebels. The clay rises up against the Potter and asks, “Why hast Thou made me thus?” A lawless insurrectionist dares to call into question the justice of Divine sovereignty.”

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