“No faith is so precious as that which lives and triumphs through adversity. Tested faith brings experience. You would never have believed your own weakness had you not needed to pass through trials. And you would never have known God’s strength had His strength not been needed to carry you through.”
Richard Sibbes (Works, Works, Vol. 4, p. 82):
[Consider] how God in justice remembereth mercy. ‘Many,’ he saith not, ‘all,’ and ‘many of you are weak;’ he takes not all away with death. It is a mercy, then, that the correction is outward in the body, weak in body, and sick. There was not a spiritual giving up to hardness of heart. Beloved! if we consider what kind of judgments spiritual judgments are, to have a seared conscience, and a hard and desperate heart, which are forerunners of hell and of eternal judgment and damnation, we would much prize mercy in judgment. Oh! it is not so with God’s church. Their visitations are in the outward man; they are weak, and sick, and die, but God is merciful to their souls, as we shall see after. And it should be an art we should learn and labour to be expert in, to consider God’s gracious dealing in the midst of his correction, that in the midst of corrections we might have thankful, and cheerful, and fruitful hearts, which we shall not have, except we have some matter of thankfulness. Consider, doth God make me weak? He might have struck me with death, or if not taken away my mortal life, he might have given me up to a spiritual death, to a hard heart, to desperation, &c. So let us search out in the visitations that we are in, always some matter of mitigation, and we shall always find that it might have been worse with us than it is.
Source: https://puritanboard.com/threads/in-judgment-he-remembers-mercy.92060/, Comment 1
Is it any wonder that people are leaving the churches in droves when this is what is being done in God’s name?:
The congregation then began a series of chants, (20:35) with all congregants chanting in unison while physically turning their bodies to face East. While facing and singing to the East, the members used a series of interpretive motions. Then, everyone turned 90 degrees, and faced South, and repeated the incantations and motions…until they had repeated the process while facing each of the four directions. “You are sacred…and looking at me…I praise you…you are sacred” was the theme of the chanting.
The Priestess of Music then appeared (24:30) in front, and began banging on a drum and singing/chanting...
I never knew this was a parable:
Matthew 12:43-45: When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.
Matthew Poole’s Commentary on Matthew 12:43-45:
The speech appeareth parabolical, the persons concerned in it are expressed in the last words, the men of that wicked generation. The text is thought to be well expounded by Peter, 2 Peter 2:20, If after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. Our Lord here compares the Jews to a man out of whom the unclean spirit was gone. The devil is called the unclean spirit, both in regard of his own impure nature, and because his work is to tempt men to sin, which is spiritual filthiness. The Jews were a people holy to the Lord, a people distinguished from pagans by a visible profession; so as the devil in a great measure had left them. Now, saith he, the devil is an unquiet spirit, and findeth no rest if he cannot be doing mischief to men. For the phrase, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, we must know, that in parabolical speeches we must not make a severe scrutiny upon every phrase. Dry places are for the most part places least inhabited, for want of the conveniences of water. The devil cannot be at rest where he hath no mischief to do to men.
Source: https://puritanboard.com/threads/ghosts-spirits-demons.84279/page-2, Comment 39
Over the years, I’ve had several Catholic friends and converts ask why I ultimately didn’t convert to their denomination. During my first two years of college, I spent a significant amount of time with Catholics, including at the (then?) US Opus Dei headquarters in NYC. I attended these gatherings with a good friend, who eventually decided to convert from Evangelicalism. I came close to converting, but ultimately decided against it. This has surprised some Catholics. I suspect this is because the standard narrative is that Protestants, especially Evangelicals, are crossing the Tiber in great droves…
Kenneth R. Samples on the resurrection:
After almost two millennia the only genuinely reasonable explanatory hypothesis for the events surrounding Jesus’ death is that the apostles told the truth and Jesus truly rose bodily from the dead. The proper way to examine such a miraculous claim is to carefully scrutinize the evidence and follow wherever the facts lead. It is logically illegitimate to reject the Resurrection a priori based upon a preconceived commitment to naturalism. As amazing as the Resurrection may be, the bell of truth resonates on every level.
Several years ago, my husband and I began attending a local Evangelical, non-denominational church, and we loved it. We cherished the sense of community we found among the loving and authentic people we met there, and the intelligent, “outside the box” pastor who led our flock with thought-provoking and insightful sermons. Sadly, the church started going off the rails theologically, and after about a year and a half, we made the difficult decision to leave. Today that church is a self-titled “Progressive Christian Community.”
Back then I had never heard of “Progressive Christianity,” and even now it is difficult to pin down what actually qualifies someone as a Progressive Christian, due to the diversity of beliefs that fall under that designation. However, there are signs—certain phrases and ideas—that seem to be consistent in Progressive circles. Here are 5 danger signs to watch for in your church: