The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards (1722-1723)
Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake.
Remember to read over these Resolutions once a week.
From Greg Bahnsen’s “Van Til’s Apologetic”:
If the “facts” (external events or states of affairs) are completely a matter of “chance”- random and unconnected, having no rationale, no preestablished order,
Here we see that you can not separate the facts from the interpretation of those same facts. For example if you say that the human beings came into existence by the a process of N number of random mutations, but cannot justify the predication of the those mutations since the presupposition is that they (“the mutations”) have no relationship between one mutation to another since they are all random, you have failed to demonstrate a rational conclusion to the premise that human beings came into being through evolution. Or to put it into more simplistic terms, you have assumed what you are trying to prove.
I’m a big Jonathan Edwards admirer and one of his most practical works for Christians is his Resolutions that he made a point of reading every week. In Resolution #30 he states,
“Resolved, to strive to my utmost every week to be brought higher in religion, and to a higher exercise of grace, than I was the week before..”
So how does a 21st century grow in grace every week? There are some things that I have found to help with this. Here are a few suggestions:
Read Your Bible – I know this should not even need to be said, but the necessity to read the bible not once a week, but every day. Without this the whole deck of cards crumbles. Do not neglect so great a privledge.
Pray without Ceasing – This is another important means of grace that should never be neglected, but must be diligently pursued.
Devotional Reading – One of the great awakenings (No pun intended) is that there is a plethora of orthodox Christian books made available for free. Just do some searching for some solid reformers on Google Books.
Social Media – Social Media? Yes, but a great deal of discretion should be exercised. I have found most uplifting to engage fellow Christians and typically what happens are posts of uplifting messages and links to great Christian teachers and documents.
Podcasts – Even if you do not own a smartphone or an IPod-type device, you can use your PC to listen to Christian sermons and podcasts via digital audio. With great resources such as Sermonaudio, you could listen to more sermons than Calvin preached.
Finally, I highly recommend reading Edwards resolutions at least once a week. You can also either add to them or modify them to have a more contemporary context if that helps.
Thought this was an excellent summary of Puritan thought and how necessary it is for the church never to forget the tokens of grace that they have left for us. I particularly enjoyed the focus on Christian depression and the remedies that were provided. The author also had a pretty good balance of quotes from a variety of Puritan sources.
The starting point for the Christian worldview is always the scriptures, but if you listen to Christians attempting to defend the Christian faith, they seldom start with the Scriptures. Instead they feel it is necessary to “put themselves in the mind of the unbeliever” in order to establish a “common ground” to have sound discourse with them. When this approach is utilized the battle is over.
Why would the battle be over with defending the Christian faith with this approach? The moment the Christian concedes(Even just for the sake of argument) they have already agreed that there is a possibility that God and the Bible may not be true. The Scriptures never grant the Christian such liberty. Let’s look at the verse below and see if we can apply it to our example above:
(ESV) John 8:24: “I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”
Jesus was speaking to the Jewish religious leaders and you say he was engaged in an apologetic for the faith. He does not once concede and say, “OK, let’s just for sake of the argument I”m not who I say I am, namely the Son of God, who takes away the sins of the world…?” No, this is never once entertained, but the unbelieving leaders are forced to either accept His testimony and therefore to believe that he is the promised Messiah or they will perish in their sins. There is zero room for neutrality. And this is the point; to concede to the unbelievers position is to believe that God is neutral and we not from the Scriptures that this is not the cause. The Lords judgements are binary; we are either covenant keepers or covenant breakers. Saints or reprobates.
So this is why the presuppositional method of apologetics is the most faithful defense of the Christian faith to the scriptures. We have committed our way to the King of Kings and as Christ said in Matthew 12:30, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”
As is the case with most of Thomas Watson’s books, the exegesis of scripture is superb and the practical advise that he offers is timeless. This book really hits home by expounding that for the Christian repentance is a continual process and is part of the sanctification process that God uses to conform us to the image of His Son.
This was a most excellent book as to how the Christian should be ready to defend the faith and I think it’s the only way to expose the “intellectual schizophrenia” that is within every non-Christian and that is at the core of their world view, which is a network of their presuppositions. The whole problem with an evidence based apologetic is that there is always room for a probability that it may not be true, which God never grants us as an option in scripture.
Dr. John MacArthur articulates the fundamental problem with the vulgarity of Mark Driscoll’s approach to preaching. I have listened to some of Driscoll’s sermons and everytime I do, I end up wanting to vomit his repugnant language to Mars.
ESV: Titus 2:8. “and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.”