“There is a great deal in the way in which a man walks in his house. It will not do to be a saint abroad and a devil at home! There are some of that kind. They are wonderfully sweet at a Prayer Meeting, but they are dreadfully sour to their wives and children. This will never do! Every genuine Believer should say, and mean it, ‘I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.’ It is in the home that we get the truest proof of godliness. ‘What sort of a man is he?’ said one to George Whitefield, and Whitefield answered, ‘I cannot say, for I never lived with him.’ That is the way to test a man—to live with him.”
Charles Spurgeon, Sermon #2362, 1894
I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink (Matthew 25:35)
By Technical Sergeant Mike Buytas of the United States Air Force [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
…I’ve known other dear brothers and sisters who have been turned away in times of need and brokenness. I’m fearful that I myself might have at some point been guilty of turning one away who needed a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, some words of wisdom. God forgive me if I have turned Your hurting ones away!
~The always inspiring Anna Wood, http://annawood.wordpress.com/2014/06/01/the-god-who-runs/
I really enjoyed reading about how the RPCNA denomination has approached the issue of church growth:
From its inception, each new congregation has had a strong vision to plant a church in the next small town, or another part of the same city. The churches are warmly evangelical-hearted and confessionally Reformed, with simple worship focused on expository, applied preaching and congregational, acapella Psalm singing. Their membership is generally reflective of the demographic of their communities.
No gimmicks. No “relevant” worship. Just the plain word of God and the simple worship He commands.
Of the “key aspects” discussed in the article, I can see some areas where the churches in my city could improve; namely, really being willing to come alongside people where they are and walk with them along the way. In addition, the sense of truly being part of a community and reaching out to others is somewhat lacking in the Reformed churches I have attended (unless you are one of the congregants who is related to everyone else in the congregation!). I would like to help remedy that.
I believe Rosaria Butterfield belongs to the denomination under discussion in the article. Her book, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, gives a good picture of how this type of outward ministry looks.
Read more of the church growth article: http://reformation21.org/articles/discipleship-and-planting-churches.php
Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond my control, I have to mark this blog private for a while. I hope to be back as soon as I can and to connect with you all then.
As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. (Psalm 42:1)
“The success of life is not measured by the years we live, but by loyalty to Jesus Christ and service in the Gospel.”
~Michael W. Pursley of the blog Regeneration, Repentance and Reformation
The above quote is the title to an article by Mr. Pursley about George Wishart, which you can read here: http://regenerationandrepentance.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/the-success-of-life-is-not-measured-by-the-years-we-live-but-by-loyalty-to-jesus-christ-and-service-in-the-gospel/
Via Free Canuckistan:
Thing is, saith Binks, such edits depend on a teeteringly tall stack of assumptions about the Bible, and Julius Wellhausen-style ‘onwards and upwards progression’ arguments. I am no expert, and am instinctively suspicious of experts, and expertism in general. Partly because of problems like this:
“Wellhausen’s method is clear and straightforward. Every passage that fits his theory is authentic; all others are forgeries.”
Read more: http://steynian.wordpress.com/2014/06/17/the-expurgated-version/
I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. (Galatians 1:6,7)
True Gospel preaching displays Jesus Christ as Lord and commands all to repent and trust in Him to be saved…It teaches that it is the faith of Christ, His righteousness credited to the sinner, that saves — not anything we have done or will do…Good works are a result of salvation, not the cause…
Counterfeit preaching invites all to “make a decision for Christ” (repentance is rarely mentioned) as though He, the Lord of all Creation, is begging and pleading for people to believe in Him. This leaves salvation ultimately up to what the sinner does, not based entirely upon what Christ has done…
…In essence, we save ourselves. The bottom line is that a false gospel, counterfeit preaching, always denies Christ’s finished work on the cross. Always. And that is to deny Christ Himself.
~ Pastor Bill Mencarow, Reformation Church TX, http://worldunderchrist.wordpress.com/does-my-church-really-preach-the-gospel/
This is interesting food for thought for those who disallow any grounds for divorce or who would only allow adultery as a ground:
A slave under Moses was set free if the master violently abused her. A purchased slave wife was set free if the husband diminished her food, clothing or marriage rights. Do you really believe that a woman who is beaten, abused, neglected and hated must remain in bondage to the seed of the devil, when she would have been freed under the Mosaic Law? God forbid!
~ Barbara Roberts, Does a Christian Wife Have Fewer Rights than a Slave Wife in Moses’ Day? The moral law is abiding; Old Testament case laws and civil laws apply now only in general equity, http://theaquilareport.com/does-a-christian-wife-have-fewer-rights-than-a-slave-wife-in-moses-day/
Keeping the Lord’s Day
The public ordinances on the Lord’s day, whatever they do else, they keep up a standard for Christ in the world; and to slight them is to fill the world with atheism and profaneness. As it would be the sin of ministers not to administer them, so it is the sin of people not to attend on them. But O, how does this profanation abound, by unnecessary absenting from public ordinances! It is not enough to spend the time in private. God requires both; and the one must not justle out the other.
~ Thomas Boston, Works, 2:198
Source: http://www.puritanboard.com/f25/they-keep-up-standard-christ-world-82839/, Comment #1
Paul is Converted
The faith that God requireth of sinners is that they rely upon Christ, as despairing of their own righteousness, leaning wholly and withal humbly, as weary and laden, upon Christ as on the resting stone laid in Zion. But He seeks not that without being weary of their sin they rely on Christ as mankind’s Savior, for to rely on Christ and not be weary of sin is presumption, not faith. Faith is ever neighbor to a contrite spirit, and it is impossible that faith can be where there is not a cast-down and contrite heart in some measure for sin.
~ Rutherford, Samuel. “31 Days With Samuel Rutherford.” Lewis Publishing, iBooks.
Methodist revival in USA 1839, watercolor from 1839 Second Great Awakening
The definition of “conversion” that seemed to gain currency during the Great Awakening also must be condemned. Biblical conversion is not having an emotional high that changes behavior for a certain matter of time, even a lifetime. Neither is it having some mystical experience of God or Christ. Rather, it is the work of God in a person such that he comes to have true beliefs concerning Christ and Christ’s work of redemption on his behalf, and responds in loving gratitude by obedience to the Ten Commandments. These are the meanings of the terms ‘faith’ and ‘repentance’ in scripture, and it is faith and repentance that marks the elect of God. Part of the obedience that God requires of his elect is a striving after a correct understanding of what God prescribes, not a depreciation of the importance of doctrinal issues. Furthermore, such a work of conversion can happen in the ordinary course of a person’s experience such that they are unaware of any specific “conversion experience”, as it did in the lives of many believers in scripture. Christ never put the emphasis on some conversion experience, but rather the emphasis was upon belief in the truth and grateful obedience (i.e., faith and repentance). But if reformed churches grant that a ‘conversion experience’, as it came to be improperly understood by many during and after the Great Awakening, is the sine qua non of Christianity, then such churches should write their last will and testament, stipulating the Arminians as the beneficiary of the estate. It should come as no surprise that Arminian Methodists and Baptists rose in the decades following the Great Awakening, even as adherence to the historic reformed faith declined. Biblical faith and repentance is perhaps less ‘thrilling’ and ‘glamorous’ than the emotional charge of a revival meeting, but it is infinitely more valuable.
~ J. Parnell McCarter, AN ESSAY ON THE ENLIGHTENMENT AND THE GREAT AWAKENING
Christianity in its living principles and its outward forms is purely a matter of Divine revelation. The great error of the Church in all ages, the fruitful source of her apostacy and crime, has been a presumptuous reliance upon her own understanding. Her own inventions have seduced her from loyalty to God, and filled her sanctuary with idols and the hearts of her children with vain imaginations. The Bible cuts at the very root of this evil by affording us a perfect and infallible rule of faith and practice. The absolute perfection of the Scriptures as a directory to man was a cardinal principle of the Reformation, and whatever could not be traced to them either directly or by necessary inference was denounced as a human invention – as mere will-worship, which God abhors so deeply that an inspired Apostle has connected it with idolatry or the worshiping of angels.
~ James Henley Thornwell, The Regulative Principle Applied to Church Government
“There are many brands of atheism, but they all have some points in common. First, one common point is that none have a rational explanation of the objectivity of moral rules.
Not all cultures agree on what priority to place on various moral rules, but one thing that is so obvious about moral rules is that they are objective. When guilt pricks us, it does not say we betray a matter of taste or opinion; the feeling of guilt is the feeling of having offended a law. When injustice rankles, we do not accuse those who trespass against us of having breached a matter of taste or opinion; we refer to a standard we expect the other to know and acknowledge. We cannot help it.
In all human experience, everything is open to doubt but this. No man with a working conscience can escape the knowledge. It is the one thing we cannot not know. And yet atheists are at a loss to explain it.
I do not call atheists immoral, but I note they cannot give a rational reason to account for morality.
In any atheist worldview, moral laws are an invention of man and serve his contingent purposes, or an imposition of Darwinian survival mechanisms that serve the contingent purposes of the Selfish Gene. Such purposes as the preservation of life or the pursuit of happiness are subjective, hence not laws at all. Whether selected by nature or by man, if moral maxims are selected merely as a means to an arbitrary end, they are merely expedient conveniences.”
~ John C. Wright