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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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Encouragement from Romans 8:28

The Practice of GodlinessJerry Bridges:

To derive the fullest comfort and encouragement from Romans 8:28 we must realize that God is at work in a proactive, not reactive, fashion. That is, God does not just respond to an adversity in our lives to make the best of a bad situation. He knows before He initiates or permits the adversity exactly how He will use it for our good. (The Practice of Godliness, p. 207)

SHARE YOUR FAVORITE BIBLE VERSE

BibleAs some of you already know, my favorite Bible verse is Psalm 63:1:

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. (Psalm 63:1 ESV)

I would like to read your favorite Bible verse! Please share it with me in the comments section of this article.

Religious Liberty

Thomas JeffersonThomas Jefferson:

I consider the government of the United States as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises. This results not only from the provision that no law shall be made respecting the establishment or free exercise of religion, but from that also which reserves to the States the powers not delegated to the United States. Certainly, no power to prescribe any religious exercise or to assume authority in any religious discipline has been delegated to the General Government. It must then rest with the States. (Letter to Samuel Miller — 1808)

 

Christianity, Doctrine and Salvation

J. Gresham MachenDoctrine makes all the difference in the world. Christianity is a way of life that offers salvation from sin and moral change in the life of the individual. Moderns who unequivocally accept that new ideas are always better than the old, however, often challenge the foundation of living this new life. J. Gresham Machen writes:

In no branch of science, would there be any real advance if every generation started fresh with no dependence upon what past generations have achieved. Yet in theology, vituperation [harshly abusive criticism] of the past seems to be thought essential to progress. And upon what base slanders the vituperation is based! After listening to modern tirades against the great creeds of the Church, one receives rather a shock when one turns to the Westminster Confession, for example, or to that tenderest and most theological of books, the ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ of John Bunyan, and discovers that in doing so one has turned from shallow modern phrases to a ‘dead orthodoxy’ that is pulsating with life in every word. In such orthodoxy, there is life enough to set the whole world aglow with Christian love.

As a matter of fact, however, in the modern vituperation of ‘doctrine,’ it is not merely the great theologians or the great creeds that are being attacked, but the New Testament and our Lord Himself. In rejecting doctrine, the liberal preacher is rejecting the simple words of Paul’ ‘Who loved me and gave Himself for me,’ just as much as the Homoousian of the Nicene Creed. [the mainstream Christological belief that Jesus Christ was of the same substance as God.] For the word, ‘doctrine’ is really used not in its narrowest, but in its broadest sense. The liberal preacher is really rejecting the whole basis of Christianity, which is a religion founded not on aspirations, but on facts. Here is found the most fundamental difference between liberalism and Christianity—liberalism is altogether in the imperative mood, while Christianity begins with a triumphant indicative; liberalism appeals to man’s will, while Christianity announces, first, a gracious act of God. (Christianity and Liberalism)

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