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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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The Heart As An Abyss

"Jonathan Edwards," lithograph of th...

Jonathan Edwards

Quoting Jonathan Edwards (1703 – 1758):

“When I look into my heart and take a view of its wickedness, it looks like an abyss infinitely deeper than Hell. And it appears to me that, were it not for free grace, exalted and raised up to the infinite height of all the fullness of the great Jehovah, and the arm of His grace stretched forth in all the majesty of His power and in all the glory of His sovereignty, I should appear sunk down in my sins below Hell itself. It is affecting to think how ignorant I was when a young Christian, of the bottomless depths of wickedness, pride, hypocrisy, and filth left in my heart.”

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September 17th, A Day To Remember!

Quoting Heritage Foundation president Ed Feulner:

“Even America’s bitterest enemies understand why we mark July 4th with parades, speeches and fireworks: to celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence. We’re proud of our nation, and justifiably so. So why do we virtually ignore September 17th? That’s the date, in 1787, when our Founding Fathers signed the Constitution. … Yet today, on many issues, this vital document is frequently ignored, even undermined, by some of the very people who have taken a public oath to uphold it.”

Our Government Rests Upon Religion

Calvin Coolidge.

Calvin Coolidge

Quoting President Calvin Coolidge:

“Our government rests upon religion. It is from that source that we derive our reverence for truth and justice, for equality and liberty, and for the rights of mankind. Unless the people believe in these principles they cannot believe in our government.”

What Is Necessary For A Church To Be The Church?

Christian Church Disciples of Christ in Brunsw...

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From a work by James Bannerman:

There is many a doctrine and truth of revelation, in regard to which a man may err without ceasing on that account to be a Christian man; and there may be many a duty recognized in Scripture as binding upon all, in which he may be totally deficient without forfeiting his Christianity. In other words, there is much in doctrine and duty, in faith and practice, necessary to the perfection of a believer, which is not necessary to the existence of a believer as such; and so it is with a Christian Church. What is essential to its *existence* as a Church is something very different from what is essential to its *perfection* as a church…. This distinction is of considerable value, and not difficult, under the teaching of Scripture, to be applied. We read in Scripture that the Christian Church is, “the pillar and ground of the truth,” and that, “for this cause the Son of God himself came, that he might bear witness to the truth.” In other words, we learn that the very object for which the Church of Christ was established on the earth was to declare and uphold the truth…. *Judging then by this first test, we are warranted in saying, that to hold and to preach the true faith or doctrine of Christ is the only sure and infallible note or mark of the Christian Church, because this is the one thing for the sake of which a Church of Christ has been instituted on earth. A true faith makes a true church and a corrupt faith a corrupt church: and should it at any time apostatize from the true faith altogether, it would by the very act, cease to be a Church of Christ in any sense at all. The Church was established for the sake of the truth and not the truth for the sake of the church*…. For this thing then the Church of Christ was instituted; and this thing, or the declaration of the truth, must therefore be, in its nature and importance, paramount to the church itself.

Again we read in Scripture that Christ,” gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” In other words we learn that ordinances and office bearers have been established for the object of promoting the *well–being* and edification of the Church. These things then, unlike the former were instituted for the sake of the Church and not the Church for the sake of them; and these things therefore, must be, in their nature and importance, subordinate to the Church. . . .

In the second place, what are those things which, unlike the truth, have been instituted for the sake of the Church, and not the church for the sake of them? Such, unquestionably, are those ordinances, office bearers, and discipline which have been established within the Christian society. These being instituted for the advantage and edification of the Church, are, from their very nature, subordinate and secondary to the truth, for the holding and publication of which both they and the Church itself exist. They may be necessary, and are necessary, for the *perfection* of the Church, but they are not necessary for its *existence* (James Bannerman, The Church of Christ, 1869 Vol. 1, SWRB reprint, 1991, pp. 56-59)

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