Focus on the Family Ditches the Gospel for Secular Morality

Just ran across this from the Crosstalk Blog and had to re-read the article a couple of times. You can also read it here. It’s great they want to promote abstinence, but what happened to the great commission as stated in Matthew 28:18-20:

“And Jesus came and said to them, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t see anything in the text about promoting morality without first promoting the lawgiver of that morality. The priority in the time of Christ is the same it should be now; preach Christ crucified and then the Holy Spirits work of redemption will enable the redeemed to walk holy before the Lord and not just for population control.

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Verdict:

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Thoughts on Van Til

I just finished reading an excellent book by John Muether on the life of Cornelius Van Til. it really was a really great read and a humbling one as well. From the recesses of the farm in Indiana that he grew up with and there was some entertaining parts as well. One that I found most comical was when Van Til was a child he decided it would be fun to shoot the neighbors chickens with a slingshot and there was the story of the his pastor wanting to rebuke him with a oven poker for causing mischief.

As he reached adulthood however his calling to the ministry of Christ became apparent with his sound intellectual gifts, talents, and zeal for the Lord. It is ironic how many similarities that are found between Van Til and Machen and the the vehemency with which his enemies attacked him. I got the impression it was almost an identical fight that Machen had with the liberals that were simply called neo-Reformed in which they were not really reformed, but attempted to pass themselves off as such. The attacks against his integrity were especially unfounded and there is case after case of his warm humility to all he was engaged with. His zeal never to compromise the “Christ of the Scriptures” is a lesson that the 21st century church needs to hear. Once you realize that any reinterpretation of Jesus is to deny the Christ of the Bible and thereby to shipwreck your faith. Van Til understood this and always remained consistent to this purpose. Those who were on the other side often judged him as intolerant and often attached more severe nouns to his name that I will expound on.

The final point to note is the synergy between Van Til the apologist and Van Til the churchman. He was always faithful to the church by means of pastoring the church that he was part of at every and any point that providence placed him. He was very faithful to the teaching of Sunday school and catechizing the children he was responsible for instructing. This is something that his critics never addressed and a good reason why he is so misunderstood.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone seeking to gain a greater understanding of the man, Cornelius Van Til.

The Mystery of Providence

I just finished reading an excellent book by John Flavel, entitled “The Mystery of Providence” and I think he offers some very relevant advice for Christians in the 21st century. One of the most profound maxims is how important and a great means of sanctification that Christians do go through afflictions and trials. One of the great examples he gives of Christians growing cold and in love in the world is that if they go any length of time without any trials whatsoever.

I would highly recommend this book as it causes the reader to reflect much on all the providences that a believer has been blessed with from the protection of your life in the womb of your mother to the employment that you are currently blessed with to the apex of graceful providence and that being salvation in the only begotten Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ.

He concludes with the importance for the Christian to make a written account oof all of the providences that you have provided. The reason is to give you a greater appreciation for the all of God’s providences that you been blessed with as well as to leave a record to others to bless them with the knowledge of God’s grace in your life.

Death is not Natural

City of God – Book 13 – Part 6

Of the evil of death in general, considered as the separation of soul and body
Wherefore, as regards bodily death, that is, the separation of the soul from the body, it is good unto none while it is being endured by those who we say are in the article of death. For the very violence with which body and soul are wrenched asunder, which in the living had been conjoined and closely intertwined, brings with it a harsh experience, jarring horridly on nature so long as it continues, till there comes a total loss of sensation, which arose from the very inter-penetration of spirit and flesh.

And all this anguish is sometimes forestalled by one stroke of the body or sudden flitting of the soul, the swiftness of dying which with violently painful sensation robs of all sensation, yet, when it is piously and faiithfully borne, it increases the merit of patience, but does not make the name of punishment inapplicable. Death, proceeding by ordinary generation from the first man, is the punishment of all who are born of him, yet, if it be endured for righteousness’ sake, it becomes the glory of those who are born again; and though death be the award of sin, it sometimes secures that nothing be awarded to sin.

I frequently hear non-Christians say something to the effect of death, “Death is the natural process of life. We are born, we live, and then we die. That is just how the cycle of life works.” What I hope to show by the apologetic of Augustine who is using the foundation of the Scriptures, is that there is nothing natural in relation to death, but is the result of the curse of the fall of our first parents(Gen 3:17-19). We can see by the exposition above provided by the great church father Augustine, that he describes the various pains involved in the strokes of death that will afflict us both. By both I mean both the elect and the reprobate. Notice the union between body and soul that is destroyed at the onslaught of death. Before they were knit together like a fish in water, similar to the union between man and life, apart from being grafted into Christ all is lost.

The second paragraph to Augustine’s exposition is the hope that all those redeemed by Christ have and there can even be peace in the midst of the bonds of death for the Christian. For only for the Christian has our eternal mediator destroyed him who had the power over death(Heb 2:14).

The Word of God: Its two parts — the Law and the Gospel

By Theodore Beza (1519-1605)

That which we call The Word of God: Its two parts — the Law and the Gospel

On this subject we call the “Word of God” (for we know well that the Eternal Son of God is also so named) the canonical books of the Old and New Testament; for they proceed from the mouth of God Himself.

We divide this Word into two principal parts or kinds: the one is called the “Law”, the other the “Gospel”. For, all the rest can be gathered under the one or the other of these two headings.

What we call Law (when it is distinguished from Gospel and is taken for one of the two parts of the Word) is a doctrine whose seed is written by nature in our hearts. However, so that we may have a more exact knowledge, it was written by God on two Tables and is briefly comprehended in ten commandments. In these He sets out for us the obedience and perfect righteousness which we owe to His majesty and our neighbours. This on contrasting terms: either perpetual life, if we perfectly keep the Law without omitting a single point, or eternal death, if we do not completely fulfil the contents of each commandment (Deut. 30:15-20; James 2:10).

What we call the Gospel (“Good News”) is a doctrine which is not at all in us by nature, but which is revealed from Heaven (Matt 16:17; John 1:13), and totally surpasses natural knowledge. By it God testifies to us that it is His purpose to save us freely by His only Son (Rom. 3:20-22), provided that, by faith, we embrace Him as our only wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption (1 Cor 1:30). By it, I say, the Lord testifies to us all these things, and even does it in such a manner that at the same time he renews our persons in a powerful way so that we may embrace the benefits which are offered to us (1 Cor 2:4).

The similarities and the differences between the Law and the Gospel

We must pay great attention to these things. For, with good reason, we can say that ignorance of this distinction between Law and Gospel is one of the principle sources of the abuses which corrupted and still corrupt Christianity.

The majority of men, blinded by the just judgement of God, have indeed never seriously considered what curse the Law subjects us to, nor why it has been ordained by God. And, as for the Gospel, they have nearly always thought that it was nothing other than a second Law, more perfect than the first. From this has come the erroneous distinction between precept and advice; there has followed, little by little, the total ruin of the benefit of Jesus Christ.

Now, we must besides consider these things. The Law and the Gospel have in common that they are both from the one true God, always consistent with Himself (Heb. 1:1-2). We must not therefore think that the Gospel abolishes the essence of the Law. On the contrary, the Law establishes the essence of the Gospel (Rom 10:2-4); this is what we shall explain a little further on. For both set before us the same God and the essence of the same righteousness (Rom 3:31), which resides in perfect love to God and our neighbour. But there is a great difference in these points which we shall touch on, and especially concerning the means of obtaining this righteousness.

For, in the first place, as we alluded to before, the Law is natural to man. God has engraven it in his heart from creation (Rom 1:32; 2:14,15). When, a long time afterwards, God made and exhibited the two Tables of the Law, this was not to make a new law, but only to restore our first knowledge of the natural law which, because of the corruption of sin, was little by little becoming obliterated from the heart of man (Rom 7:8-9). But the gospel is a supernatural doctrine which our nature would never have been able to imagine nor able to approve without a special grace of God (1 Cor. 1:23; 2:14). But, the Lord has revealed it, firstly to Adam shortly after his sin, as Moses declares (Gen 3:15), afterwards to the patriarchs and the prophets in increasing degrees as seemed good to Him (Rom 1:2; Luke 1:55,70), until the day in which He manifested Jesus Christ in Person. It is He who has clearly announced and accomplished all that is contained in the Gospel (John 15:15; 6:38). This Gospel God still reveals today and will reveal it until the end of the world by the preaching instituted in His Church (John 17:18; Matt 28:20; 2 Cor. 5:20).
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Directions for Hating Sin

Richard Baxter

Direct. I. Labour to know God, and to be affected with his attributes, and always to live as in his sight.—No man can know sin perfectly, because no man can know God perfectly. You can no further know what sin is than you know what God is, whom you sin against; for the formal malignity of sin is relative, as it is against the will and attributes of God. The godly have some knowledge of the malignity of sin, because they have some knowledge of God that is wronged by it. The wicked have no practical, prevalent knowledge of the malignity of sin, because they have no such knowledge of God. They that fear God will fear sinning; they that in their hearts are bold irreverently with God, will, in heart and life, be bold with sin: the atheist, who thinks there is no God thinks there is no sin against him. Nothing in world will tell us so plainly and powerfully of the evil of sin, as the knowledge of the greatness, wisdom goodness, holiness, authority, justice, truth, &c. of God. The sense of his presence, therefore, will revive our sense of sin’s malignity.

Direct. II. Consider well of the office, the bloodshed, and the holy life of Christ.—His office is to expiate sin, and to destroy it. His blood was shed for it: his life condemned it. Love Christ, and you will hate that which caused his death. Love him, and you will love to be made like him, and hate that which is so contrary to Christ. These two great lights will show the odiousness of darkness.

Direct. III. Think well both how holy the office and work of the Holy Ghost is, and how great a mercy it is to us.—Shall God himself, the heavenly light, come down into a sinful heart, to illuminate and purify it? And yet shall I keep my darkness and defilement, in opposition to such wonderful mercy? Though all sin against the Holy Ghost be not the unpardonable blasphemy, yet all is aggravated hereby.

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