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Showing posts from June, 2016

Back, Then Forward

By C.H. Spurgeon - Posted at Daily Checkbook/ Sermon Audio : "Nevertheless I will remember My Covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an Everlasting Covenant" — Ezekiel 16:60 Notwithstanding our sins, the LORD is still faithful in His love to us. He looks back. See how He remembers those early days of ours when He took us into covenant with Himself, and we gave ourselves over to Him. Happy days those! The LORD does not twit us with them and charge us with being insincere. No, He looks rather to His covenant with us than to our covenant with Him. There was no hypocrisy in that sacred compact, on His part, at any rate. How gracious is the LORD thus to look back in love! He looks forward also. He is resolved that the covenant shall not fail. If I do not stand to it, He does. He solemnly declares, "I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant." He has no mind to draw back from His promises. Blessed be His name. He s

The Bold Legacy of John Calvin’s Co-Pastor

By Yorke Hinds - Posted at The Master's Seminary : Four hundred and fifty two years ago, on May 2, 1564, John Calvin, on the brink of death, wrote his last letter. It began: “Farewell, my best and most worthy brother. Since God has determined that you should survive me in this world, live mindful of our union, which has been so useful to the Church of God, and the fruits of which await us in heaven.” Little did Calvin know but on receiving the letter, his friend, William Farel, now 75 year old, would walk 73 miles from Neuchâtel to Geneva to visit him for the last time. A few days after the visit from Farel, John Calvin left this world and entered into the presence of the Lord. Farel and Calvin met 28 years earlier in Geneva under the providential hand of God. In July, 1536, Calvin was forced to spend a night in Geneva while on his way to Strasbourg. Farel, knowing about Calvin through the popularity of The Institutes of the Christian Religion , heard of the Reformer’s p

Strangers And Aliens (21b): Be Not Surprised By Fiery Trials (1 Peter 4:12–19)

By Dr. R. Scott Clark - Posted at  The Heidelblog : 12Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 15But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 17For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” 19Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. (1 Pet

Heavenly Violence in Prayer?

Posted at Reformation Scotland: We are more likely to think of prayer as bringing peace and comfort than something which could be violent. It has a strange ring to it. Yet Scripture describes fervent prayer as wrestling and striving. Perhaps it sounds strange because we have become used to weak and cold-hearted prayers. Samuel Rutherford wrote and preached a great deal about prayer. His letters alone contain almost 440 references to prayer. The following is one of them: “I think it easy to get anything from the King by prayer, and to use holy violence with Him”. Fervour in Prayer This holy violence arises from a fervent spirit expressing its desires to God. Rutherford helped to formulate that masterful definition of prayer in the Shorter Catechism: “Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God, for things agreeable to His will…” He emphasises that prayer is essentially vehement in character. “Lazy, cold and dead prayers are condemned. Many pray, and care not whether God he

What does God require in the sixth commandment?

Heidelberg Catechism (extended) The Catechism Method of Instruction in the Christian Religion As the Same is Taught in the Reformed Churches and Schools (with the Scripture references written out) Note. This Catechism is fully based on the Scriptures. The references to Scripture are indicated in parentheses with a letter. For example, the letter (a) points to the texts (a) placed after the answer. 40. Lord's Day   Q. 105. What does God require in the sixth commandment?  A. That neither in thoughts, nor words, nor gestures, much less in deeds, I dishonour, hate, wound, or kill my neighbour, by myself or by another: (a) but that I lay aside all desire of revenge: (b) also, that I hurt not myself, nor wilfully expose myself to any danger. (c) Wherefore also the magistrate is armed with the sword, to prevent murder. (d)   (a) Matt.5:21 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: Matt.

The LORD's "Much More"

By C.H. Spurgeon - Posted at Daily Checkbook/ Sermon Audio : "And Amaziah said to the man of God, But what shall we do for the hundred talents which I have given to the army of Israel? And the man of God answered, The LORD is able to give thee much more than this" — 2 Chronicles 25:9 If you have made a mistake, bear the loss of it; but do not act contrary to the will of the LORD. The LORD can give you much more than you are likely to lose; and if He does not, will you begin bargaining and chaffering with God. The king of Judah had hired an army from idolatrous Israel, and he was commanded to send home the fighting men because the LORD was not with them. He was willing to send away the host, only he grudged paying the hundred talents for nothing. Oh, for shame! If the LORD will give the victory without the hirelings, surely it was a good bargain to pay their wages and to be rid of them. Be willing to lose money for conscience' sake, for peace's sake, for Chris

Last words – Samuel Rutherford

Posted at Pilgrim's Progress revisited... Anwoth Old Kirk. Samuel Rutherford was the minister here from 1627 to 1638, Mick Garratt – own work, May 1997, Wikimedia Last Words A Poem inspired by the letters and last words of Samuel Rutherford, by Mrs. A. R. Cousin. Fire and Ice: Puritan and Reformed Writings But while the versification is that of Mrs. Cousin, the thoughts contained in it, and most of the peculiar expressions were uttered by Samuel Rutherford himself while he was lying on his death bed, and these telling and intense expressions of the dying saint, with a few others like them were wrought skilfully into the poem… STEM Publishing : Hymns : Spiritual Songsters : Mrs. Ann Ross Cousin, 1824-1906. The sands of time are sinking, The dawn of Heaven breaks, The summer morn I’ve sighed for, The fair sweet morn awakes: Dark, dark hath been the midnight, But dayspring is at hand, And glory—glory dwelleth In Immanuel’s land.  ~  Letters 79, 147, 323

A Woman's War

By C.H. Spurgeon - Posted at Daily Checkbook/Sermon Audio : "The LORD shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman" — Judges 4:9 Rather an unusual text, but there may be souls in the world that may have faith enough to grasp it. Barak, the man, though called to the war, had little stomach for the fight unless Deborah would go with him, and so the LORD determined to make it a woman's war. By this means He rebuked the slackness of the man, gained for Himself the more renown, and cast the more shame upon the enemies of His people. The LORD can still use feeble instrumentalities. Why not me? He may use persons who are not commonly called to great public engagements. Why not you? The woman who slew the enemy of Israel was no Amazon but a wife who tarried in her tent. She was no orator but a woman who milked the cows and made butter. May not the LORD use any one of us to accomplish His purpose? Somebody may come to the house today, even as Sisera came to Jael's tent

Calvin’s Letter To Five Missionaries About To Be Martyred For The Gospel

Posted at The Heidelblog: " MY VERY DEAR BRETHREN, 1—Hitherto I have put off writing to you, fearing that if the letter fell into bad hands, it might give fresh occasion to the enemy to afflict you. And besides, I had been informed how that God wrought so powerfully in you by His grace, that you stood in no great need of my letters. However, we have not forgotten you, neither I nor all the brethren hereabouts, as to whatever we have been able to do for you. As soon as you were taken, we heard of it, and knew how it had come to pass. We took care that help might be sent you with all speed, and are now waiting the result. Those who have influence with the prince in whose power God has put your lives, are faithfully exerting themselves on your behalf, but we do not yet know how far they have succeeded in their suit. Meanwhile, all the children of God pray for you as they are bound to do, not only on account of the mutual compassion which ought to exist between members of the same

A Sound Heart

By C. H. Spurgeon - Posted at Daily Checkbook/Sermon Audio : "Let my heart be sound in Thy Statues: that I be not ashamed" — Psalm 119:80 We may regard this inspired prayer as containing within itself the assurance that those who keep close to the Word of God shall never have cause to be ashamed of doing so. See, the prayer is for soundness of heart. A sound creed is good, a sound judgment concerning it is better, but a sound heart toward the truth is best of all. We must love the truth, feel the truth, and obey the truth, otherwise we are not truly sound in God's statutes. Are there many in these evil days who are sound? Oh, that the writer and the reader may be two of this sort! Many will be ashamed in the last great day, when all disputes will be decided. Then they will see the folly of their inventions and be filled with remorse because of their proud infidelity and willful defiance of the LORD; but he who believed what the LORD taught and did what

Trinitarian Controversy: Necessary Sharpening or Unnecessary Strife?

By Kyle Borg - Posted at Gentle Reformation : Sometimes the unfortunate idiomatic expression: “Boys will be boys,” is used to excuse turning a blind eye to the irresponsible behavior of some. After all, what more can you expect from boys? Well, if I can borrow that phrase and adjust it slightly, I suppose one might excuse their deaf ear when it comes to certain theological controversies determining that: “Theologians will be theologians.” There seems to be a certain expectation that theologians will raise mountains out of molehills, create crises out of theological thin air, and make every point of doctrine and endless potential for dilemma. I understand and am not completely unsympathetic toward those who see many theological controversies as a hopeless labyrinth of details lacking practical value. But not every controversy is a mere “quarrel of words.” The history of the church testifies that out of our greatest strife we have been most sharpened. While those who engage in the d

Sola versus Solo Scriptura

By Persis - Posted at Out of the Ordinary : Sola Scriptura : the teaching that Scripture is the Church's only infallible and sufficient rule for deciding issues of faith and practices that involve doctrines. A friend on Facebook posted a link to the Heidelblog - Sola Scripture ≠ Nuda Scriptura . I wasn't familiar with the term, Nuda or Solo Scriptura , so I read the post, which says: Evangelical Christians in North America sometimes misunderstand the Reformation doctrine of sola Scriptura to mean that the Bible is the Christian’s only theological resource, that it can and should be denuded of its churchly context (hence nuda Scriptura ). Such an understanding is altogether incorrect.... Calvin believed that holy Scripture as the only infallible rule of faith and practice should serve as the final authority by which to judge Christian doctrine and practice, but it was not his only resource for theology...He recognized the strategic importance of demonstrating the con

Luther’s Anfechtungen: The Dark Night of His Soul, and why it was Important for the Reformation

Martin Luther By Pastor Richard Bucher - Posted at Regeneration, Repentance and Reformation : Martin Luther’s relentless search for forgiveness and peace with God can be fully understood only against the backdrop of his frequent anfechtungen. What were his anfechtungen? Anfechtungen is the (German) word that Luther used to describe the overwhelming times of spiritual trial, terror, despair, and religious crisis that he experienced throughout his life. At the heart of such an anfechtung was the terrifying feeling that God was going to judge and condemn the sinner at any moment. In the wake of such a feeling came subsequent feelings of deep sadness that God had forsaken one. Luther was not alone in his experience of anfechtungen. The late medieval piety that Luther was a part of, which stressed Christ primarily as the avenging Judge, made spiritual terror, guilt, and despair the ordeal of many. The monks especially spoke of this. If Luther was unique, it was the intensity of hi

Divine Cultivation

By C.H. Spurgeon - Posted at Daily Checkbook, Sermon Audio : "I the LORD do keep it; I will water it every moment: Lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day" — Isaiah 27:3 When the LORD Himself speaks in His own proper person rather than through a prophet, the word has a peculiar weight to believing minds. It is Jehovah Himself who is the keeper of His own vineyard; He does not trust it to any other, but He makes it His own personal care. Are they not well kept whom God Himself keeps? We are to receive gracious watering, not only every day and every hour "but every moment." How we ought to grow! How fresh and fruitful every plant should be! What rich clusters the vines should bear! But disturbers come; little foxes and the boar. Therefore, the LORD Himself is our Guardian, and that at all hours, both "night and day." What, then, can harm us? Why are we afraid! He tends, He waters, He guards; what more do we need? Twice in this verse the L

What does God require in the fifth commandment?

Heidelberg Catechism (extended) The Catechism Method of Instruction in the Christian Religion As the Same is Taught in the Reformed Churches and Schools (with the Scripture references written out) Note. This Catechism is fully based on the Scriptures. The references to Scripture are indicated in parentheses with a letter. For example, the letter (a) points to the texts (a) placed after the answer. 39. Lord's Day   Q. 104. What does God require in the fifth commandment?  A. That I show all honour, love and fidelity, to my father and mother, and all in authority over me, and submit myself to their good instruction and correction, with due obedience; (a) and also patiently bear with their weaknesses and infirmities, (b) since it pleases God to govern us by their hand. (c)   (a) Eph.5:22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. Eph.6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Eph.6:2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the

Critique of the Teachings of Barach, Schlissel, Wilkins, and Wilson (2003)

By Rev. Michael J. Ericson - Posted at Presbyterian Reformed Church : March 3, 2003  A major controversy has developed over the past year in the Reformed community. While there are often differences and debates in the camp, I believe, this particular matter, is a watershed issue that could shape the direction of Reformed and Evangelical churches. It strikes at the very heart of the gospel, namely, the application of Christ’s redemption, the new birth, justification by faith alone, and conversion. To elucidate of what I speak, permit me to offer a review of the history of the controversy.  Early in 2002, the annual Pastors Conference was held at Auburn Avenue PCA, in Monroe, LA. The speakers were John Barach, Steve Schlissel, Steve Wilkins and Doug Wilson. The scope of God’s covenant with man in Christ, its administration, and appropriation were the substance of the conference. On June 22, 2002, Covenant Presbytery of the RPCUS issued a statement entitled “A Call to Repentance.”

Our Sabbath Duties

By Rev Robert K McEvoy - Posted at The Salty Scrivener : Text. 1 Corinthians 16:1-4 What is THE PURPOSE OF THE SABBATH. Let’s see three simple statements, with help from the teachings of Heidelberg Catechism, Q103 1. The Sabbath Involves our Christian Duty. Read 1 Cor. 16:1-4. Paul is urging these Corinthian believers to give to help those who are in need, specifically he is collecting an offering to help the poor widows at Jerusalem. See when this Christian duty is to be performed… Upon the first day of the week! Why? The day for the Christians to meet. Now there is a reason why this collection was to be taken on the first day of the week. It was then that the church met. It was the day that Jesus rose from the dead, but even before the resurrection the disciples of the Lord were meeting on the first day of the week. John 20:19 The day that the Christians meet, is the day that the Christians give! The first day is the Christian Sabbath. The Sabbath is a CREATION O

7 Reasons to Study the Bible with the Covenanters

Posted at Reformation Scotland : The Second Reformation made a unique contribution to bible study. It produced many simple and practical commentaries on the Bible for everyone. They were brief, plain, practical and above all affordable. They get to the heart of what the Bible means but also to the heart of the reader in a richly devotional way. David Dickson encouraged other ministers to produce this unique series. These expositions are of great value. They were highly commended by C H Spurgeon in his classic survey, Commenting and Commentaries . Some of them explain difficult books like Job, Ecclesiastes and Revelation. Men such as Alexander Nisbet, James Fergusson and George Hutcheson worked hard in this area over many years. They contributed commentaries that together covered large areas of Scripture. In total 44 of the 66 books of the Bible. Four of these commentaries were never published. Dickson followed the example of Robert Rollock who expounded the Scriptures from the pulpit

David Dickson: Of the Law of God

Amazon Link By David Dickson  (c.1583–1663) - Posted at Presbyterian Reformed Church : Truth’s Victory Over Error, from which the following ex­cerpts were taken, was the first published commentary on the Westminster Confession of Faith. It was written by David Dickson (1589-1662), a contemporary of the Westminster Assembly, and a close ministerial associate of the Scottish commissioners to the Assembly. In 1640 Dickson was appointed Professor of Divinity at Glasgow University. In 1650 he was transferred to the corre­sponding chair of theology at Edinburgh University, which he held until his death in 1662. It was in the first two years at Edin­burgh, 1650-1652, that Dickson delivered his lectures on the Westminster Confession of Faith. These were apparently the basis for his printed commentary on the Confession, which was published posthumously in 1684. The book has not been reprinted since 1726. What follows are Dickson’s comments respecting the ceremonial and judicial laws of

The Name and the Flame: The Westminster Challenge and the God Who Answers by Fire

By David C. Brand - Posted at The Christian Observer : Our purpose as we unite in Westminster Fellowship is to become such complete disciples of Jesus Christ that we will discover God’s will for our lives and do it. -UPUSA Westminster Youth Fellowship Purpose in 1958-  Youth at work are bringing God’s own glory to the earth from heaven above, here to set aflame his story one in service truth and love. We are striving to be faithful to the will of God, to the will, the will of God. -UPUSA Westminster Youth Fellowship Hymn in 1958- [1] Such was the statement of purpose we affirmed as Presbyterian teen-agers and the hymn we sang in affirmation of that purpose. The name Westminster referred to Westminster Abbey where English and Scottish Presbyterians gathered in the 1640s to stake out the articles of their biblical faith, the Westminster Standards comprised of the Westminster Confession and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms. The Puritan Congregationalists who settled

Apples of Gold: Lady Mary Johnston

Covenant Ladies Index Page  (Apples of Gold) Lady Mary (Johnston) Lindsay Countess Crawford Lady Mary Johnson was the eldest daughter of James, Earl of Annandale and Hartfell, by his wife Lady Henrietta Douglas, daughter of William, first Marquis of Douglas, by his second wife, Lady Mary Gordon. She was married at Leith, on the 8th of March, 1670, to William, sixteenth Earl of Crawford, and second Earl of Lindsay, the son of John, Earl of Crawford and Lindsay, and brother to the Duchess of Rothes. Her husband, like his parents was a nonconformist, and great deference was paid to him by the Presbyterians. On this account he was, throughout the period of the persecution, a marked man; and, from the danger to which he was exposed, he once intended to go abroad, though he never went, but lived in retirement till the Revolution, which brought him deliverance and honour. The early education and family connections of this lady tended to prejudice her mind against the suffering Covenanters. Bu

William Guthrie

William Guthrie - Image from Banner of Truth Posted at Banner of Truth : William Guthrie, one of the holiest and ablest of the experimental divines of Scotland, was born at Pitforthy, Angus, the seat of his ancestors, in the year 1620. He was the eldest son of the family, and his superior genius was displayed in his early and successful attention to learning; but till his entrance into college life, he did not obtain that intimate and saving acquaintance with Divine truth which enabled him at once to stay his own soul upon God as the God of his salvation, and to prescribe most skilfully for the cases of spiritual disease that came under his notice. He felt himself greatly indebted for acquaintance with the way of holiness to the instructions of a near kinsman. This was his cousin, James Guthrie, then holding one of the chairs in the New College of St Andrews, and afterwards highly esteemed as the faithful minister of Stirling during the period of the Covenant, for his faithful adherenc

Strangers And Aliens (19a): The End Of All Things

By Dr. R. Scott Clark - Posted at The Heidelblog : 7The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. 8Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:11whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:7–11; ESV) v.7: Apocalyptic And 1 Peter It is an article of faith among a certain school of critics of the New Testament that Jesus and his apostles had an apocalyptic eschatology, which believed that the end of all things was immanent. In this paradigm, Jesus is seen as a disappointed, failed, apocalyptic preacher. According to thi

What does God require in the fourth commandment?

Heidelberg Catechism (extended) The Catechism Method of Instruction in the Christian Religion As the Same is Taught in the Reformed Churches and Schools (with the Scripture references written out) Note. This Catechism is fully based on the Scriptures. The references to Scripture are indicated in parentheses with a letter. For example, the letter (a) points to the texts (a) placed after the answer. 38. Lord's Day  Q. 103. What does God require in the fourth commandment?  A. First, that the ministry of the gospel and the schools be maintained; (a) and that I, especially on the sabbath, that is, on the day of rest, diligently frequent the church of God, (b) to hear his word, (c) to use the sacraments, (d) publicly to call upon the Lord, (e) and contribute to the relief of the poor. (f) Secondly, that all the days of my life I cease from my evil works, and yield myself to the Lord, to work by his Holy Spirit in me: and thus begin in this life the eternal sabbath.

Enlisting Under Christ’s Banner

By Shane Lems - Posted at The Reformed Reader : This is not a phrase that many modern Christian authors use: “Enlisting under Christ’s banner.” However, Christian authors and theologians in the past have used this theme quite a bit. It is a biblical theme. Christians are called “soldiers of Christ” who have been “enlisted” to serve in his army (2 Tim. 2:3-4). Paul sometimes called his helpers “fellow soldiers” (Phil. 2:25; Philemon 2). Following Jesus is a “good fight of faith” in which we need the “whole armor of God” so that we can fight spiritual battles and be “more than conquerors” through Christ our Captain (1 Tim. 6:12; Eph. 6:11ff, Rom. 8:37). This is why Reformed theology calls Christ’s church on earth the “church militant.” This theme also shows up in some hymns; I like “Soldiers of Christ Arise.” While studying this theme, I found some very helpful quotes from those who have enlisted under Christ’s banner before us. (I apologize for not listing all the complet

God Sets the Stage

Posted at Out of the Ordinary : My church began a Sunday school series on the history of the Protestant Reformation. In the first class, the teacher gave a 45-minute whirlwind tour of the 1500 years that led up to the Reformation. He covered the eventual decline of the Roman Empire, the threats and attacks from neighboring tribes, and the political instability that ensued. Christianity went from severe persecution to Constantine's blending of church and state, setting the stage for the rise of the papacy. Sadly the church-at-large became a political entity in its own right with all the associated corruption and power grabs. But amidst the decline, God was setting the stage. The Pax Romana and the system of roads were a means to spread the gospel and expand the early church. Even though Palestine suffered multiple invasions, manuscripts of the New Testament were preserved by the conquerors. These documents became the basis for Erasmus' translation of the New Testament

Strangers And Aliens (18b): As It Was In The Days Of Noah

By Dr. R. Scott Clark - Posted at The Heidelblog : 1Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. 3For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. 4With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; 5but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does. (1 Peter 4:1–6; ESV) vv.4–6: It Is Strange To Them When I first began working through 1 Peter (in the summer of 1985) the world in which (and