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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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Faith And Conversion By Charles H. Spurgeon

“There are great numbers of persons, even in our own land, who are not in the way of hearing the Gospel. They have been brought up under some form of religion which they believe to be right, but, as long as they adhere to the faith of their fathers, they never hear the doctrine of free and full salvation by the Grace of God! They are content with what they hear, but there is little likelihood of their ever being converted, for the Gospel, by which men are converted, is not allowed to have access to them. Yet, notwithstanding this, it is our firm conviction that there are many among them who are the sons and daughters of God and who shall yet be brought near to Him.” (1902, Sermon #2799)

“There are some people who seem as if they would not be converted unless they can see some eminent minister. Even that will not suit some of them-they need a special revelation from Heaven. They will not take a text from the Bible – though I cannot conceive of anything better than that-but they think that if they could dream something, or if they could hear words spoken in the cool of the evening by some strange voice in the sky, then they might be converted. Well, Brothers and Sisters, if you will not eat the apples that grow on trees, you must not expect angels to come and bring them to you!” (1902, Sermon #2769)

“Faith in Christ is not the reception of a dry, dead orthodoxy-to believe in Jesus is not simply to be a sixteen-ounces-to-the-pound Calvinist. Saving faith is not the mere reception of a creed or form of any kind. To believe is to trust and no man truly believes-in the New Testament meaning of the word-until he is brought to trust in Christ, alone, and takes his whole religion upon trust, relying not on what he sees, nor on what he is, but on what is revealed in God’s Word-not on what he is, or can be, or shall be, nor on what he does or can do, nor on what he feels or does not feel-but relying solely on what Christ has done, is doing and shall yet do.” (1901, Sermon #2737)

Are McCain-Palin Supporters “White Trash?”

In a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation column, Heather Mallick wrote that John McCain’s running mate “added nothing to the ticket that the Republicans didn’t already have sewn up, the white trash vote.” She described Palin as having “a toned-down version of the porn actress look favored by this decade’s woman, the overtreated hair, puffy lips and permanently alarmed expression.” She also stated that Palin should have stayed in Wasilla. According to Mallick, “Small towns are places that smart people escape from, for privacy, for variety, for intellect, for survival. Palin should have stayed home.”

I guess Mallick also thinks that McCain-Palin supporters “cling to their guns and religion.” The conceit of secular progressives is as intoxicating as it is intellectually insecure. The sad outcome is that Heather Mallick probably really believes what she has written. Since liberals are so easily led and manipulated, many of her faithful readers will probably believe she has said something intellectual and brilliant. It is the believing, after all, that makes you one of the secular progressive, intellectual elites.

I guess I fit in best with the poor dumb white trash. I have every intention of keeping my guns and, yes, I will cling to Jesus Christ as my Savior.

Why Do You Choose A Particular Bible?

What attracted you to the most recent Bible you purchased? Was it the color? The size? The cover? The translation? Phil Johnson over at PyroManiacs takes on this subject in his article “The Bible as a Fashion Accessory.” Here is some of what Phil had to say:

I have no problem with advertising the Bible “all over”-including jumbotrons and magazines aimed at popular secular markets. I don’t seriously object to patent-leather or neon Naugahyde® on Bibles. The cover on Crossway’s calfskin leather Journaling Bible is what motivated me to buy one, and I love it. If some teenage girl wants a Sanrio-inspired Bible cover, good for Zondervan.

What disturbs me is the way “making sure God’s word . . . sounds relevant” is casually thrown into the marketing strategy. (I was also annoyed by Zondervan’s executive veep’s offhand description of the Bible as “one darn book,” but that’s a slightly different topic. Only slightly, though.)

I’ve complained many times before that “marketing” in this era is never merely about “advertis[ing] all over,” but it actually starts with fashioning the product to appeal to market demand. That’s why marketing the church, marketing the Bible, or marketing a sermon series is a dangerous strategy. Church marketing experts never seem to own up to the reality that the medium and the message necessarily impact one another, and the more stress the marketer puts on the medium, the more the message is relegated to second-place status. Soon they’re not just “marketing” the church, they’re pimping it.

[Biblezines. Blecch.] Thus we have Biblezines, which overlay the Bible with silly and superficial self-centeredness in order to make it seem “relevant” to people who have no clue what relevance is truly about.

Which brings me to that other item. . . .

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