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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 SHACK’S FALSE CHRISTIAN PARADIGM

The most controversial aspects of The Shack‘s message have revolved around questions of universalism, universal redemption, and ultimate reconciliation. Jesus tells Mack: “Those who love me come from every system that exists. They were Buddhists or Mormons, Baptists or Muslims, Democrats, Republicans and many who don’t vote or are not part of any Sunday morning or religious institutions.” Jesus adds, “I have no desire to make them Christian, but I do want to join them in their transformation into sons and daughters of my Papa, into my brothers and sisters, my Beloved.” (Albert Mohler, The Shack – The Missing Art of Evangelical Discernment)

BIBLICAL TRUTH OR EMOTIONALISM?

More and more churches are being led into emotionalism and not Biblical Truth, and, as a result, these congregations have no spiritual power of discernment.  They are willing to compromise Biblical truth for emotionalism and experience as they are taught to seek after a god who is not the God of the Bible.  (Justin Pierce, The Importance Of Truth and Standing Against Apostasy)

ORIGINS

The matter of origins … is absolutely critical to all human thinking.  It becomes critical to how we conduct our lives as human beings.  Without an understanding of origins, without a right understanding of origins, there is no way to comprehend ourselves.  There is no way to understand humanity, as to the purpose of our existence, and as to our destiny.  If we cannot believe what Genesis says about origins, we are lost as to our purpose and our destiny.  Whether this world and its life as we know it evolved by chance, without a cause, or was created by God, has immense comprehensive implications for all of human life.

(John MacArthur, Creation: Believe It or Not, Part 1)

 

LIGHT

There is no light, no knowledge, no wisdom, apart from God. All existence and all knowledge depend on God. If we have life, we live by Him. (Acts 17:28) If we have any knowledge, we know by Him. (Romans 11:36) We do not shed light on Him by the light we see. He is the origin, the source. If we have any measure of light, it is He who is shedding light on what we see, not we.

(John Piper, A Peculiar Glory, Crossway, 2016, p.160)

THE FALSE DISCIPLE

On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (Matthew 7:21-23 ESV)


There are many people who claim to be Christians, call Jesus Lord, preach, teach Sunday school and give to the church, however, they are false disciples. Someday, Jesus will say to them, “I never knew you; depart from me.”

While the false disciple claims to be a man of God, he actually represents his own self-deceptions. He is of his father the devil and his fruit will betray his words. While he may deceive others and even himself, he cannot fool the omniscient God who will judge him. Therefore, examine yourself to make sure you are doing the will of God and not just speaking idle words.

Continue reading

THE HIGHEST GOOD

Jonathan Edwards:

Works of Jonathan Edwards“God is the highest good of the reasonable creature. The enjoyment of him is our proper; and is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Better than fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, or children, or the company of any, or all earthly friends. These are but shadows; but the enjoyment of God is the substance. These are but scattered beams; but God is the sun. These are but streams; but God is the fountain. These are but drops, but God is the ocean.” (The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 17: Sermons and Discourses, 1730-1733)

RESISTIBLE GRACE?

Dr. James White:

Dr James WhiteObjections to irresistible grace are, by and large, actually objections to the previously established truths of the doctrines of grace. Obviously, if God is sovereign and freely and unconditionally elects a people unto salvation, and if man is dead in sin and enslaved to its power, God must be able to free those elect people in time and bring them to faith in Jesus Christ, and that by a grace that does not falter or depend upon human cooperation. Those who disbelieve God’s right to kingship over His creation or the deadness of man in sin and put forward the tradition of man’s autonomous will can hardly confess that God’s grace actually saves without the freewill cooperation of man. From their perspective, the autonomous act of human faith must determine God’s actions. That act of faith becomes the “foreseen” act that controls God’s very decree of predestination, and, of course, that act of faith becomes the “trigger” that results in one being born again.

Neither side in the debate will deny that God is the one who raises men to spiritual life. The question is: Does He do so because men fulfill certain conditions, or does He do so freely, at His own time, and in the lives of those He chooses to bring into relationship with Himself through Jesus Christ? This question is normally framed in the context of the relationship of faith and regeneration. Do we believe to become born again, or must we first be born again before we can exercise true, saving faith? Can the natural man do what is pleasing to God? Can the dead choose to allow themselves to be raised to life? This is the issue at hand.” (Debating Calvinism)

ALMOST CHRISTIAN?

George Whitefield PreachingGeorge Whitefield:

“An almost Christian is one of the most hurtful creatures in the world; he is a wolf in sheep’s clothing: he is one of those false prophets, our blessed Lord bids us beware of in his sermon on the mount, who would persuade men, that the way to heaven is broader than it really is; and thereby, as it was observed before, “enter not into the kingdom of God themselves, and those that are entering in they hinder.”

TELL THEM THEY ARE SINNERS!

Paul Washer:

paulwasherAs stewards of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we do no service to men by making light of sin, skirting around the issue, or avoiding it altogether. Men have only one problem: they are under the wrath of God because of their sin. To deny this is to deny one of the most foundational doctrines of Christianity. It is not unloving to tell men that they are sinners, but it is the grossest form of immorality not to tell them! In fact, God declares that their blood will be on our hands if we do not warn them of their sin and the coming judgment. To seek to preach the gospel without making sin an issue is like trying to heal the brokenness of people superficially, saying, “Peace, peace,” when there is no peace.”

THE ONLY TRUE STANDARD

John CalvinJohn Calvin:

God’s Word is the only true standard we have a divine mandate to conform to, and it is the ultimate standard by which we will be judged. Success or failure in ministry therefore cannot be evaluated by numerical statistics, financial figures, popularity polls, public opinion, or any of the other factors the world typically associates with success. The only real triumph in ministry is to hear Christ say, “Well done.”

NO DIFFERENCE IN RELIGIONS?

alistair beggAlistair Begg:

The idea that there are really no substantive differences between religions needs to be held up to careful scrutiny and declared fraudulent. For example, Islam says that Jesus was not crucified. Christianity says He was. Only one of us can be right. Judaism says Jesus was not the Messiah. Christianity says He was. Only one of us can be right. Hinduism says God has often been incarnate. Christianity says God was incarnate only in Jesus. We cannot both be right. Buddhism says that the world’s miseries will end when we do what is right. Christianity says we cannot do what is right. The world’s miseries will end when we believe what is right. (Made for His Pleasure, 126).

REFORMED DOCTRINES

James M. BoiceJames M. Boice writing on Reformed Doctrines:

These doctrines were not invented by Calvin, nor were they characteristic of his thought alone during the Reformation period. These are biblical truths taught by Jesus and confirmed by Paul, Peter and all the other Old and New Testament writers. Augustine defended these doctrines against the denials of Pelagius. Luther believed them. So did Zwingli. That is, they believed what Calvin believed and later systematized in his influential Institutes of the Christian Religion. The Puritans were Calvinists; it was through them and their teaching that both England and Scotland experienced the greatest and most pervasive national revivals the the world has ever seen. In that number were the heirs of John Knox: Thomas Cartwright, Richard Sibbes, Richard Baxter, Matthew Henry, John Owen, and others. In America others were influenced by men such as Johnathan Edwards, Cotton Mather and, later, George Whitefield. (Foundations of the Christian Faith)

THE REFORMED MIND

Samuel A CainSet your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. (Colossians 3:2 ESV)

“Screw the truth into men’s minds.” (Richard Baxter)

After salvation and the pursuit of holiness, the great need of Christians is to grow in their understanding of the faith and to become competent in rationally sharing, explaining and defending it. Reformed Christianity provides a sound and organized framework of consistent doctrinal beliefs and practices (such as the Westminster Confession of Faith, etc.) which, I believe, represents accurately the Word of God found in the Scriptures.

Such men as Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Knox, Richard Baxter, Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, Charles Spurgeon, B.B. Warfield, Charles Hodge, A.W. Pink, James Montgomery Boice, R. C. Sproul, James Kennedy, and Dr. D.A. Carson are just a representative few in a long line of reformed thinkers, ministers, and teachers who have shared the Truth of the Bible through their ministries. The Reformed church has traditionally remained true (although there are many exceptions in our time) to the admonition of the Apostle Paul: Continue reading

STAY IN THE WORD

Jerry BridgesJerry Bridges:

“Don’t believe everything you think.  You cannot be trusted to tell yourself the truth.  Stay in THE WORD.” (The Great Exchange)

AVOIDING FALSE PROPHETS

Samuel A CainBut false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. (2 Peter 2:1)

Jesus warned us to “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” (Matthew 7:15 ESV) False prophets secretly bring destructive heresies into the church. They often deny Jesus. Because of their fleshly desires, the way of truth is blasphemed. They are covetous and manipulate people with their false words. (2 Peter 2:1-22 ESV) God did not send them nor command them nor speak to them. False prophets speak from the deceit of their own minds. (Jeremiah 14:14-16 ESV) “They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption.” (2 Peter 2:18-19 ESV) They pervert the grace of God into sensuality and teach a false Christ. (Jude 1:4 ESV) Continue reading

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