The Thinnest of Soups

I thought this was a fitting description of what most evangelical churches have turned into:
Stone-soup-ii-pawn-nitichan

“And I should also add that, as one EO poet has put it, Evangelical Christianity often serves “the thinnest of soups”. There are many, many churches who preach a vapid gospel, if such can be called the gospel at all. No wonder some search in other places, perhaps having had their minds poisoned against Reformed doctrine, and so excluding oases where the water of life runs freely.”

Source: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/hanegraaff-to-constantinople.92569/page-2, Comment 50

Why Not Just Watch Television?

An article that sums up my sentiment with respect to liberal, politically correct churches:

“The story is familiar to anyone who has been paying attention. These churches made the decision to chase the latest social fads in the 70’s and 80’s, hoping to make themselves more appealing to the young. The only thing they did was make themselves less attractive to people interested in being part of a traditional Christian sect. It was not just in the pews, but in the clergy as well. Those feeling the call found that the church in which they were raised was not interested in defending and maintaining the faith.

The result is the clergy slowly radicalized. First came the women and then the feminist women. Soon they invited in the homosexuals and the clergy started looking like the faculty of a liberal arts college. That’s when the pews started to empty out. Why bother going to church, when you can get the same liberal lecture from television? That’s what started the decline in church attendance. Instead of offering a shelter from the storm, they decided to chase an over-served market – radical Progressives.”

Source and read more: http://voxday.blogspot.ca/2017/07/expel-your-sjws.html

What is True Conversion?

Steve Lawson:

6.3.1 (Road sign)Jesus said, “Unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3). Jesus is clear that if a person of this world is to be accepted into this other kingdom—the kingdom of heaven—he must be converted. Put very simply, to be converted is absolutely necessary to enter the kingdom of God.

What does the word conversion mean? In the biblical sense, conversion means a turning—a spiritual turning away from sin in repentance and to Christ in faith. It is a dramatic turning away from one path in order to pursue an entirely new one. It involves turning one’s back to the system of the world and its anti-God values. It involves a turning away from dead religion and self-righteousness. It involves a complete pivot, an about-face, in order to enter through the narrow gate that leads to life.

Conversion also involves the idea of changing direction. A true spiritual conversion radically alters the direction of one’s life. It is not a partial change wherein one is able to straddle the fence between two worlds. It is not a superficial turning, a mere rearranging of the outward facade of a person’s life. Conversion is not a gradual change that occurs over a period of time, like sanctification. Instead, a genuine conversion occurs much deeper within the soul of a person. It is a decisive break with old patterns of sin and the world and the embracing of new life in Christ by faith.

This spiritual conversion is so profound that it involves many changes in a person. It involves a change of mind, which is an intellectual change; and a change of view, a new recognition of God, self, sin, and Christ. It involves a change of affections, which is an emotional change, a change of feeling, a sorrow for sin committed against a holy and just God. It involves a change of will, which is a volitional change, an intentional turning away from sin and a turning to God through Christ to seek forgiveness. The entire person—mind, affections, and will—is radically, completely, and fully changed in conversion.

Theologically speaking, regeneration and conversion are two sides of the same coin. Regeneration is God’s sovereign activity by the Holy Spirit in the soul of one who is spiritually dead in sin. Regeneration is the implantation of new life in the soul. Regeneration gives the gifts of repentance and faith. On the other side of the coin, conversion is the response of the one who is regenerated. Esteemed British pastor D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said: “Conversion is the first exercise of the new nature in ceasing from old forms of life and starting a new life. It is the first action of the regenerate soul in moving from something to something.” Regeneration precedes and produces conversion. There is a cause-and-effect relationship between these two. Regeneration is the cause, and conversion is the effect. Put another way, regeneration is the root and conversion is the fruit.

To affirm true conversion implies that there is also false conversion. Put simply, there is such a thing as non-saving faith. Not everyone who says, “Lord, Lord” has entered the narrow gate (Matt. 7:21). People may know the truth and may have felt grief regarding their sin, but it is a selfish sorrow over what their sin has caused them to suffer, not how it has offended a holy God. The most stark example of a false conversion we have in Scripture is that of Judas Iscariot. In a counterfeit conversion, there is no death to self, no submission to the lordship of Christ, no taking up a cross, no obedience in following Christ, no fruit of repentance–only empty words, shallow feelings, and barren religious activities. On the contrary, with a true conversion sin is abhorred, the world renounced, pride crushed, self surrendered, faith exercised, Christ seen as precious, and the cross embraced as one’s only saving hope.

The whole purpose of conversion is to bring men and women into a right relationship with God. This is why Christ came, and it is the reason for which He died. It was God who was “in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself ” (2 Cor. 5:19). Conversion is the crying need of the soul. Until one’s life is turned from sin to Christ, nothing else matters.

This post was originally published in Tabletalk magazine.

~What is True Conversiom?, http://www.ligonier.org/blog/what-true-conversion/, Copyright 2017 by Steven Lawson, Ligonier Ministries, http://www.ligonier.org

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It Prepared Him For A Temptation

Daydreaming Gentleman“let a man setup any sin in delightful contemplation and meditation, that same inward acting of his sin, either actually casts him upon the outward adventures, or invites them. This is the LEAST that it does. It strangely ripens his natural inclination; and, besides that, it PREPARES him for a temptation that suits that way. Satan shall not need to tempt him who has already tempted himself: and he who will work sin in his heart, a weak occasion will draw it out into his life. Thirty pieces of silver will prevail with a covetous Judas , who already had gold as his master in his heart.”

~Obadiah Sedgwick

Source: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/anatomy-of-sin.92562/, Comment 1

9 Marks of a Declining Church

Ruinas de Iglesia antigua en Trzęsacz, Polonia (2015)

http://www.freechurchcontinuing.org/publications/articles/item/nine-marks-of-a-declining-church

Gain Our Brothers Instead Of Blasting Them

US Navy 020712-N-5471P-010 EOD teams detonate expired ordnance in the Kuwaiti desert“Oh that Christians would learn to censure less and pray more and instead of speaking OF one another speak more TO one another and one FOR another…. But now the tender praying, healing, restoring spirit is departed and if Christians stir not up themselves to call it back again it is a sad sign that God is departing….
-We judge before we inquire.
-We reject before we admonish.
-We conclude vain assumptions upon our brethren before we come to them as Christians and fellow members.
We think this well becomes us as we take a kind of pride and contentment in it, but oh to inform, to convince, to exhort, to pray, this is to act like the disciples of Christ. This is to show ourselves Christians in deed, professors not of the letter but of the spirit that would gain our brothers instead of blasting them.”

-Thomas Case.

Source: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/how-to-treat-our-fellow-christians.92453/, Comment 1

We Do Not Murder in the Name of God

It is commonly claimed today that the Bible is a book “full of violence” that supposedly incites its followers to individual or vigilante acts of hatred and violence.  This claim is false.  Those who follow the Bible alone as the basis of their faith (ie. truly Protestant Christians) are among the most peaceable people on earth.

Here is a quote from a Catholic author, who considered Protestantism to be a pernicious heresy,* illustrating this point.  It is taken from a book about the Huguenot wars in France.  Consider how the Protestant Huguenots behaved even in times of war:

“What does this mean, you rascals!” he shouted angrily as he entered.  Then he stopped petrified with astonishment.

“It means this,” Philip said, levelling a pistol at him, “that if you move a step you are a dead man.”

“You must be mad,” the president gasped.  “Do you know who I am?”

“Perfectly, sir.  You are president of the infamous Parliament of Toulouse.  I am a Huguenot officer, and you are my prisoner.  You need not look so indignant; better men than you have been dragged from their homes to prison and death by your orders.  Now it is your turn to be prisoner.  I might, if I chose, set fire to this chateau and cut the throats of all in it, but we do not murder in the name of God, we leave that to you.”

~G.A. Henty, St. Bartholomew’s Eve, Robinson Books:2002, page 122.

*In the preface to the above-cited book, Henty refers to Protestantism thus: “The great organization of the Church of Rome laboured among all classes for the destruction of the growing heresy.”