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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

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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

Why Christians Do Not Apply Old Testament Sanctions (ie. The Death Penalty) To Sin

Thirdmill:

John Frame has noted that the New Testament church “fulfills the Old Testament theocracy” (Barker 1990, 95). In applying the Old Testament laws to the church, Paul did not apply them exactly as they were applied in the Old Testament. For instance, In 1 Corinthians 5:1-13, Paul addresses a situation where a man is living with his father’s wife. According to Old Testament law, the man and the woman should receive capital punishment (Leviticus 20:10). However, this was not recommended by Paul. Rather, the proper punishment of this crime for Paul is excommunication (vv. 2, 13). Furthermore, Paul’s statement in verse 13 is a quotation of a formula found in Mosaic penal sanctions (Deut. 17:7, 12; 12:19; 19:21, 21:21; 22:21, 24: 24:7).

Dennis Johnson has noted that “in the Deuteronomy contexts this formula, whenever it appears, refers to the execution of those deeds ‘worthy of death’: idolatry, contempt for judges, false witness, persistent rebellion towards parents, adultery, and kidnapping” (Barker 1990, 181). These crimes were to be punished by purging the offender from the covenant community through his execution. Johnson continues, “Paul applies the same terminology to the new covenant community’s judging/purging act of excommunication– a judgment that is both more severe (since it is ‘handing this man over to Satan,’ an anticipation of the final judgment), and more gracious (since it envisions a saving outcome to the temporal exercise of church discipline, which may bring about repentance that will lead to rescue from eternal judgment)” (Barker 1990, 181-182). Therefore, it may be safely said that the proper application of those capital offenses of the Mosaic law are properly applied in the church today as excommunication. 3. Conclusion In 1 Timothy 1:8 Paul claims that “we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully.” Theonomists take this to mean that the law should be applied largely as it was in the Old Testament, without using it as a means of salvation and taking into account the explicit statements in the New Testament where certain laws have been abrogated. However, it appears that Paul’s statements concerning the end of the law are somewhat more inclusive than this. The law, in its ministry of condemnation (2 Cor. 3:9), has been abolished and has replaced with the “ministry of righteousness” by the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:9-11). The law has been written on our hearts by the Holy Spirit. As we walk in the Spirit, we fulfill the law. This does not mean that the Mosaic law no longer applies to the Christian as a rule of life. Rather, it means that the law can no longer condemn us (Rom. 8:1) because Christ has satisfied the demands of the law in His life and paid for our sins on the cross, and He has sent us the Holy Spirit, by whom we are empowered to fulfill the law (Rom 8:2-4).

Source: https://puritanboard.com/threads/witch-burning-puritans.17870/, Comment 24

There Aren’t Many Reasons To Attend Church

Killinghall Church 851

Having grown up Episcopal/Anglican, this article describes the attitude of many churchgoers, which is

“Church is supposed to make me feel better about my life, not worse,”

That attitude has led to the churches ignoring many aspects of Christian doctrine, leading to this consequence:

It would be a mistake, and not a pew-filler, to focus on fear and punishment alone, but there is almost a complete absence, and in some cases absolute absence, from the pulpit of these useful concepts in the Episcopal church. The reason is that, for many, they are not believed. And since they are not believed, they are not taught, and since they are not taught, the lesson learned by (ex-)parishioners is that there aren’t many reasons to attend church.

Read more: http://wmbriggs.com/post/20680/

Giving Opportunity to Evil

Thomas Hodges on  ministers who refuse to fight against heresy:

Tares“…alas, here is the sad root of this misery, that either the ministers are ignorant,[1] and unable to maintain the truth, confute and stop the mouths of gainsayers; or they are wicked and scandalous, like Eli’s sons, whose profane and ungodly courses lose all repute to the truth, making the things of God, (by those who measure truth by the lives and carriages of them that maintain it), to be abandoned and abhorred.[2] If neither of these, yet perhaps they are careless, negligent, and inadvertent, not heeding how truth thrives, or how error spreads,[3] as if to them it were of very small or no concern. In point of benefit they are greedy dogs, zealous enough for their profit,[4] looking after that from every quarter; but in point of duty they lack heart,[5] the fire of zeal for God’s glory is not in them, therefore they love their ease, to sleep, slumber, and take their rest; by which they give not only an opportunity to the evil one to sow his tares, but to those tares to take root and prosper.”

[1] Isaiah 56:10.

[2] 1 Samuel 2:13.

[3] Revelation 2:20.

[4] Isaiah 56:11.

[5] Revelation 3:15.

“The Growth and Spreading of Heresy, (54).”

Source: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/ministers-must-fight-against-the-growth-and-spreading-of-heresy.92328/, Comment 1

Note: no endorsement of Ellen G. White intended by the use of the above image

Love and Tenderness Work More Strongly

Hugh Binning, Works, pp. 332-333:

It is the most suitable way to prevail with the spirit of a man, to deal in love and tenderness with it; it insinuates more sweetly, and so can have less resistance, and therefore works more strongly. It is true, another way of terrors, threatening, and reproofs, mingled with sharp and heavy words of challenges, may make a great deal of more noise, and yet it hath not such virtue to prevail with a rational soul. The Spirit of the Lord was not in the wind, nor in the earthquake, nor in the fire, but in the still and calm voice which came to Elijah, 1 Kings 19:11, 12. These suit not the gentle, dove-like disposition of the Spirit; and though they be fit to rend rocks in pieces, yet they cannot truly break hearts, and make them contrite. The sun will make a man sooner part with his cloak than the wind; such is the difference between the warm beams of affection, and the boisterous violence of passions or terror. Now, O that there were such a spirit in them who preach the gospel, such a fatherly affection, that with much pity and compassion they might call sinners from the ways of death!

Source: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/love-and-tenderness-work-more-strongly.89509/

Manipulative Repentance

Tears of a crocodile

I don’t know anything about this counselor, but I did appreciate the examples given of manipulative repentance.

Brad Hambrick:

“The recognition that there are healthy and unhealthy forms of repentance is both common sense and biblical (2 Corinthians 7:8-13). On this everyone agrees; secular and sacred. The difficulty is in discerning disingenuous repentance. Mature and discerning people can witness the same conversation and walk away with distinctly different impressions about whether a given expression of remorse represents genuine repentance, sorrow for being caught, or a tactic to gain relational leverage”…

Read more: http://www.bradhambrick.com/manipulative-repentance-8-red-flag-phrases/