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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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God Determines

The Reformed Doctrine of PredestinationLoraine Boettner:

It is almost universally admitted that God determines when, where, and under what circumstances, each individual of our race shall be born, live, and die, whether it shall be male or female, white or black, wise or foolish. God is no less sovereign in the distribution of His favors. He does what He will with His own. To some He gives riches, to others honor, to others health, to others certain talents for music, oratory, art, finance, statesmanship, etc. Others are poor, unknown, born in dishonor, the victims of disease, and live lives of wretchedness. Some are placed in Christian lands where they receive all the benefits of the Gospel; others live and die in the darkness of heathenism. … And to a very large extent these external things, which are not the result of individual choice, decide the person’s life course and eternal destiny. Both Scripture and every day experience teach us that God gives to some what He withholds from others. If it be asked why He does this, or why he does not save all, the only available answer is found in the words of the Lord Jesus, “Yea, Father, for so it was well-pleasing in thy sight.” Only the Scripture doctrine of the fall and redemption will give us any light on what we see about us. (The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination)

The Proper Response to Evil

Ancient Roman bust (so-called "Bust of Ve...

Ancient Roman poet Virgil (70-19 BC):

“Do not give in to evil but proceed ever more boldly against it.”

The Need for Sound Christian Doctrine

Augustus Montague TopladyWithout knowledge of Christian doctrine, we are carelessly opening the way for sin, disguised as truth, to lead us away from the sound teachings of the Scriptures. This is the fate of the lazy man who can only bear to read “Christianity lite” in as far as it promises him gain for anything other than his soul. Augustus Montague Toplady writes:

But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. (Titus 2:1 ESV)

[Doctrines] … are not of that small significance which the injudicious and the heterodox affect to give out. For, though matters of doctrine are, by some, considered merely as the shell of religion, and experience only as the kernel; yet let it be remembered that there is no coming at the kernel but through the shell: and, while the kernel gives value to the shell, the shell is the guardian of the kernel. Destroy that, and you injure this.

The apostle [Paul], … stamps the evangelical doctrines with the seal of dignity, usefulness and importance: as is evident from the epithet he makes use of. He calls the system of gospel-truths sound doctrine: (…Toplady again quotes in Greek…) salutary, health-giving doctrine; not only right and sound in itself, but conducing to the spiritual strength and health of those that receive it: doctrine, that operates like some efficacious restorative on an exhausted constitution; that renders the sin-sick souls of men healthy, vigorous and thriving; that causes them, through the blessing of divine grace, to grow as the lily, and to cast forth the root as Lebanon, to revive as the corn, and to flourish as the vine, to diffuse their branches, and rival the olive tree (Hos. xiv. 6) both in beauty and fruitfulness.

On the other hand, unsound doctrine has the very opposite effects. It impoverishes our view of God; withers our hopes; makes our faith languid; blasts our spiritual enjoyments; and lays the axe to the very root of Christian obedience. We may say of it, as the Jewish students said, on another occasion, there is death in the pot. If you eat it you are poisoned. With the utmost attention, therefore, should we attend to the apostle’s caveat, and avoid every thing that is contrary to sound doctrine. (“A Caveat against Unsound Doctrines”)

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