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.”
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.
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.
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.
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).