Appalling Apostasy

Tissot The Golden Calf

Herman C. Hoeksema (PRCA):

“Judged in the light of these marks, that ecclesiastical scene today is, negatively, one of appalling apostasy. One need not look far afield to notice this. Look at the Reformed scene, at those who are generally classified as belonging yet to the tradition of the Reformation. There is tremendous doctrinal apostasy, frequently under the guise of theological freedom: all kinds of error is increasingly tolerated and allowed to go unpunished and unrebuked, while what has always been the faith of our fathers is lightly set aside. There is apostasy as to the preaching: preaching as proclamation of the pure doctrine of the gospel, expository preaching, has largely become a rare article. Topical preaching, moralism, the social gospel are the replacements. Besides, people become tired of preaching and busy themselves with devising new and glamorous substitutes for the simple and pure preaching of the Word of God — hippy services, dialogues, dramas, modern, revisionistic liturgicalism, and every new and different thing imaginable. Then, too, there is the encroachment of the ecumenical movement, at the expense of true unity and at the expense of the truth of the gospel. Or there is the modern striving after the so-called ‘de-institutionalization’ of the church: the cry that the church must break out of its instituted form, the cry that the church must ‘be where the action is,’ the emphasis on ‘doing’ rather than ‘believing.’ In brief, there are all kinds of adjustments and adaptations today which have but one goal: to make the church according to man and pleasing to man.

Along with all this, there is decay and degradation as to the very standards of Christian living. The keys of the kingdom are no more employed, or they are totally corrupted. Regardless of the requirements of faith and repentance, of uprightness in doctrine and walk, anyone is welcomed into the membership of the churches. The table of the Lord is opened to all, and thereby profaned. The Sabbath is desecrated. The church pews become empty. Members of the church seek their enjoyment elsewhere. They become friends of the world, singing and dancing and carousing with the world, speaking and acting and looking like the world. Christian morality and sanctification according to the precepts of the Lord have become old-fashioned, and the devilishness of situation-ethics has found its way into the church. Church and world, believer and unbeliever, light and darkness, Christ and Belial, are made to walk hand in hand in almost every sphere of human life. For the most part, that which calls itself church today presents but a sad caricature of the holy, catholic church of Christ.”

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The Comfortless Christian

Storm Clouds in Kabul DVIDS288571

The Comfortless Christian

James Smith, 1860

“When will You comfort me?” Psalm 119:82

No prayers are like inspired prayers. No appeals to God are like those found in his own word. God’s word not only opens his heart to you — but it opens ours to him also. It not only tells us what is in the mind of God — but the working and exercises of the minds of God’s people too. It is pleasant sometimes to compare notes with other members of the Lord’s family, and the Scriptures enable us to do so, especially the book of Psalms. Here we . . .
trace out the works of God in the soul,
discover the footsteps of the flock, and
perceive that we are in the pilgrim’s path — following those who through faith and patience now inherit the promises.

What a precious psalm is the one hundred and nineteenth! What a choice treasury of experience we have here. What a disclosure of the workings of the spiritual mind. I have just been reading it once more, and the passion and exclamation of the Psalmist has took hold of my soul, “When will You comfort me?”

GOD’S PEOPLE ARE OFTEN DISTRESSED. They have much to afflict them. Corruption within, and trying dispensations without. Depravity generates doubt:

Doubt of God’s love.

Doubt of our saving interest in Christ.

Doubt whether what we have experienced is the real work of the Holy Spirit in us.

Doubt if after all we shall not turn out to be wayside, stony-ground, or thorny-ground hearers.

Now as the salvation of the soul, is it to us the one object of importance, how painful are such doubts. Then at times darkness broods over the soul. The Sun of righteousness is beclouded. We cannot read our evidences. We cannot see our way. We cannot perceive that the promises belong to us.

At the throne of grace, all is dark.

In the house of prayer, all is dark.

When we read the bible, all is dark.

O this darkness, it is so painful, so perplexing, so confounding at times! While we are in doubt, when we are walking in darkness, very often the dispensations of divine providence are very trying.

We are tried in the family, and what trials some have there!

We are tried in the world, and what trials some have there!

We are tried in the church, and at times church trials are trials indeed.

Then we seek comfort — but we find none. We cry to the Lord for comfort — but he seems to turn a deaf ear to our cry. At such times, we feel pretty much as old Jacob felt, when he cried out, “All these things are against me!”

GOD’S PEOPLE ARE AT TIMES LEFT LONG WITHOUT COMFORT. Day after day passes, and the Lord speaks not to the soul. Week after week passes, and the Lord pays no sweet love visit. Yes, month after month rolls away, and there is no heart-melting, soul-assuring manifestation of this divine love.

These are dreary times.

The harp is upon the willows.

The songs of Zion are suspended.

The soul mourns as a dove.

The heart is heavy,

the head hangs down, and

the tongue is silent on divine things.

The outward form of religion is perhaps kept up — but the chariot wheels drag heavily, and scarcely any progress seems to be made. The soul is restless, going backward and forward in search of the Beloved — but disappointment and vexation increase the sorrow. If the soul attempts to pray, the Lord holds back the face of his throne, and hangs a cloud upon it. This is doing business in deep waters, and traveling through the valley of the shadow of death. This extorts the loud and exceeding bitter cry, “When will You comfort me?”

GOD’S PEOPLE CRY TO GOD FOR COMFORT. They feel that only God can comfort them. His presence, the light of his countenance, and the witness of his Spirit, alone can give them that satisfaction which they desire. Man may try — but he fails. Means will be used — but they will all be found inefficient. Only the Lord, as the God of all comfort, can administer the consolation required.

He often delays, and delays long. But though he seems to close his ear, and to turn his back, upon these mourners for a time, he will turn again, he will have compassion upon them, and will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea! He will remember his covenant. He will fulfill his promise. He will give the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.

He comforts us in all our tribulation.

By some loving word brought home.

By some refreshing view of Jesus.

By some new insight into the covenant.

By his Spirit in the heart.

Or, by throwing light upon the path we have been traveling. By one, or more, of these things, or in some such way, he . . .
banishes our doubts,
scatters our darkness,
disperses our gloom,
brings us out of the prison,
sets our feet again upon the rock, and
fills us with joy and peace in believing!

The Jubilee trumpet is heard anew, the fetters fall off, the yoke of bondage is destroyed, the best robe is put on, and the soul sings, “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God!”

Reader, know you anything of this experience? Most of God’s people do in some measure. All are not tried alike — but all have to pass through . . .
as well as light,
as well as sunshine,
as well as liberty,
as well as joy.

If you should now be comfortless, if you should have been so for a long time, your case is not singular, nor your experience peculiar. Many have been in the same state before you, many are in the same state now. Hold on then, cry on then, and be this your cry, “When will You comfort me?”


The Gracious Soul Would Make Stepping Stones of All

Trittsteine am oberen Teich Japanischer Garten Kaiserslautern

Thomas Boston, Works, 5:549:

An angel’s presence could not please Moses in the wilderness, Exod. 33:2, 15, nor dry Mary’s cheeks in the garden, while she knew not where her Lord was, John 20:12, 13. The house though thronged with servants is empty to the wife, while her beloved husband is not there. The gracious soul would make stepping stones of all, to carry it to Christ the best beloved.

Source:, Comment #1

God’s Glory Alone is to be Seen in the Public Worship Service

Richard Bacon:

NARA - 512590 - Woman Praying“The answer is obviously “covered.” She should be covered. Why ought a man not to have his head covered? What is the reason that Paul gave? Because he is the image and glory of God. God’s glory is to be uncovered in worship. This is so important that the entire passage is going to be brought together at the end on this very basis: God’s glory alone is to be seen in the public worship service. The reason he “ought not to have his head covered” is that he “is the image and glory of God.” It follows that anything that brings glory to anything or anybody other than to God ought to be covered! “But the woman is the glory of man.” Therefore we cover the glory of man. This passage implicitly commands us to cover the glory of man and to uncover the glory of God! Consider the brilliance of this argument! Paul argued in these verses that this involves more than just a relationship of man to woman. It certainly involves that, but the matter also involves the relationship that our worship has toward God. God’s glory is to be uncovered and man’s glory is to be covered in public worship.”

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As Though We Ask Not

A study in scarlet, Plate 2Charles Spurgeon:

Nothing puts such energy into prayer as intense anguish of desire. Desire comes out of a sense of want; and in proportion as the necessity is overwhelming, the fervency of the desire will be vehement. My brethren, we have not, because, although we ask, we use a kind of asking which is as though we asked not.

Source:, Comment #1

You Never Thoroughly Intended It



His Intentions Are Entirely Fatherly and Faithful

Henry Lejeune - The timid batherMartin Bucer:

Those who become timid, so that the cross and tribulation become too heavy for them, must be addressed kindly and comfortingly, faithfully impressing on them the goodness of God and the salvation of Christ, so that they may recognize and believe that our dear God’s intentions towards them are entirely fatherly and faithful in all the sufferings he sends them. They are always to be dissuaded from thinking about their sins and all unhappiness, and to be uplifted into the mercy of God and the salvation of Jesus Christ.