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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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STRONG OLD DOCTRINES

Charles SpurgeonCharles H. Spurgeon:

It is no novelty, then, that I am-preaching; no new doctrine. I love to proclaim these strong old doctrines, which are called by nickname Calvinism, but which are surely and verily the revealed truth of God as it is in Christ Jesus. By this truth I make a pilgrimage into the past, and as I go, I see father after father, confessor after confessor, martyr after martyr, standing up to shake hands with me. Were I a Pelagian, or a believer in the doctrine of free-will, I should have to walk for centuries all alone. Here and there a heretic of no very honorable character might rise up and call me brother. But taking these things to be the standard of my faith, I see the land of the ancients peopled with my brethren. I behold multitudes who confess the same as I do, and acknowledge that this is the religion of God’s own church. (From a sermon entitled, “Election”)

PREACHING CHRIST

Charles H. SpurgeonC. H. Spurgeon:

“I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified unless we preach what is nowadays called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the Gospel and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the Gospel… unless we preach the sovereignty of God in his dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah. Nor do I think we can preach the Gospel unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of his elect and chosen people which Christ wrought out upon the cross; nor can I comprehend the Gospel which allows saints to fall away after they are called.” (“Christ Crucified”)

Dead in Sin

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. (John 6:33 ESV)

Craig R. Brown:

In summary, the Arminian believes that man is born sick in sin, but still has enough good in him to choose John CalvinGod. The Calvinist believes that man is born corrupt (dead in his sin), so he must be made alive spiritually before he can do anything of a spiritual nature. Under the Calvinistic doctrinal system, man’s depravity is total in extent (though not in degree). In other words, all of man’s nature is corrupted by sin, but he is not as evil as he could be.  (The Five Dilemmas of Calvinism)

Absolute Freedom

The Five Dilemmas of CalvinismCraig R. Brown:

While we are free from our perspective, we must realize that absolute “freedom” – total freedom from God’s control – is simply not possible in a world providentially sustained and directed by God Himself. Human freedom is real, but it is everywhere limited by God’s freedom. It is God who is sovereign, not man. This sovereignty is never limited by human freedom. Rather, human freedom is always limited by God’s sovereignty. (The Five Dilemmas of Calvinism)

Why am I Saved?

Charles H. SpurgeonCharles Spurgeon:

I cannot understand the reason why I am saved, except upon the ground that God would have it so. I cannot, if I look ever so earnestly, discover any kind of reason in myself why I should be a partaker of Divine grace. If I am not at this moment without Christ, it is only because Christ Jesus would have His will with me, and that will was that I should be with Him where He is, and should share His glory. I can put the crown nowhere but upon the head of Him whose mighty grace has saved me from going down into the pit. (A Defense of Calvinism)

God’s Word

Charles SpurgeonCharles H. Spurgeon:

I believe that the happiest of Christians and the truest of Christians are those who never dare to doubt God, but who take His Word simply as it stands, and believe it, and ask no questions, just feeling assured that if God has said it, it will be so.

I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else. (A Defense of Calvinism)

Wanting to be a Christian

The Five Dilemmas of CalvinismCraig R. Brown:

There has never been a person who wanted to be a Christian to whom God said no. The Reformed faith holds that when a person wants to be a Christian, God already has worked in his heart, and Scripture assures us that “he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion” (Phil 1:6). (The Five Dilemmas of Calvinism)

Communication and Reformed Christians

TOOK THE WORDS RIGHT OUT OF MY MOUTH!!!

Killing CalvinismGreg Dutcher:

Today, many Reformed Christians joyfully communicate the great doctrines of grace to a young, attention-challenged group (did you notice how short this book is?). And though it seems as unlikely as middle-schoolers starting Shakespeare study groups, the generation shaped by graphic novels and unlimited texting has risen up to embrace a high view of God, and this will inevitably shape the doctrinal future of contemporary evangelicalism. While I am a little older than most of my “Young, Restless, and Reformed” peers, I enthusiastically stand with them in this unique moment in church history. In doing so, I hope to offer a small contribution that may help us all not to kill off our Calvinism. (Killing Calvinism)

Predestination vs. Human Responsibilty

Charles H. SpurgeonCharles Spurgeon:

That God predestines, and yet that man is responsible, are two facts that few can see clearly. They are believed to be inconsistent and contradictory to each other. If, then, I find taught in one part of the Bible that everything is fore-ordained, that is true; and if I find, in another Scripture, that man is responsible for all his actions, that is true; and it is only my folly that leads me to imagine that these two truths can ever contradict each other. (A Defense of Calvinism)

Greg Dutcher: Killing the Revival of Calvinism

Killing CalvinismGreg Dutcher:

I sometimes fear that if we all just stay holed up in our bunkers, we will end up killing the revival of Calvinism in our midst. I dread the thought of my kids and grand kids looking back decades from now at this time and concluding that Calvinism was merely the flavor of the month. If the theology of Augustine, Calvin, Knox, Edwards, Spurgeon, and Piper has been able to strengthen the church, advance the gospel, and protect Christians from the damnable influences of false gospels, then you and I must do all we can to make sure that what’s going on right now is more than just a fad. We must not give current and future generations plausible reasons to reject the very essence of Christianity that we believe Calvinism represents.

That is, if we don’t live our Calvinism, we might just kill it. (Killing Calvinism)

The Old Paths are Best

Loraine Boettner D.D.:

We can have no adequate appreciation of this world-order until we see it as one mighty system through which God is working out His plans. Calvin’s clear and consistent theism gave him a keen sense of the infinite majesty of the Almighty Person in whose hands all things lay, and made him a very pronounced predestinarian. In this doctrine of the unconditional and eternal purpose of the omniscient and omnipotent God, he found the program of the history of the fall and redemption of the human race. He ventured boldly but reverently upon the brink of that abyss of speculation where all human knowledge is lost in mystery and adoration.

The Reformed Faith, then, offers us a great God who is really the sovereign Ruler of the Universe. “Its grand principle,” says Bayne, “is the contemplation of the universe of God revealed in Christ. In all places, in all times, from eternity to eternity, Calvinism sees God.” Our age, with its emphasis on democracy, doesn’t like this view, and perhaps no other age liked it less. The tendency today is to exalt man and to give God only a very limited part in the affairs of the world. As Dr. A. A. Hodge has said, “The new theology, asserting the narrowness of the old, is discarding the foreordination of Jehovah as a worn-out figment of the schools, discredited by the advanced culture of today. This is not the first time that the owls, mistaking the shadow of a passing eclipse for their native night, have prematurely hooted at the eagles, convinced that what is invisible to them cannot possibly exist.” (The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination)

Christ in the Seat of Cosmic Authority

R.C. Sproul:

“It is a profound political reality that Christ now occupies the supreme seat of cosmic authority. The kings of this world and all secular governments may ignore this reality, but they cannot undo it. The universe is no democracy. It is a monarchy. God himself has appointed his beloved Son as the preeminent King. Jesus does not rule by referendum, but by divine right. In the future every knee will bow before him, either willingly or unwillingly. Those who refuse to do so will have their knees broken with a rod of iron.” (What Is Reformed Theology? Understanding the Basics)

What Ever Happened to the Doctrine of Predestination?

Loraine Boettner D.D.:

The doctrine of Predestination receives comparatively little attention in our day and it is very imperfectly understood even by those who are supposed to hold it most loyally. It is a doctrine, however, which is contained in the creeds of most evangelical churches and which has had a remarkable influence both in Church and State. The official standards of the various branches of the Presbyterian and Reformed Churches in Europe and America are thoroughly Calvinistic. The Baptist and Congregational Churches, although they have no formulated creeds, have in the main been Calvinistic if we may judge from the writings and teachings of their representative theologians. The great free church of Holland and almost all the churches of Scotland are Calvinistic. The Established Church of England and her daughter, the Episcopal Church of America, have a Calvinistic creed in the Thirty-nine Articles. The Whitefield Methodists in Wales to this day bear the name of “Calvinistic Methodists.” (The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination)

The Doctrine of Grace

According to Charles H. Spurgeon:

If anything is hated bitterly, it is the out-and-out gospel of the grace of God, especially if that hateful word “sovereignty” is mentioned with it. Dare to say “He will have mercy on whom he will have mercy, and he will have compassion on whom he will have compassion” (Romans 9:15), and furious critics will revile you without stint.

The modern religionist not only hates the doctrine of sovereign grace, but he raves and rages at the mention of it. He would sooner hear you blaspheme than preach election by the Father, atonement by the Son, or regeneration by the Spirit.

If you want to see a man worked up till the Satanic is clearly uppermost, let some of the new divines hear you preach a free grace sermon. A gospel which is after men will be welcomed by men; but it needs divine operation upon the heart and mind to make a man willing to receive into his in most soul this distasteful gospel of the grace of God. My dear brethren, do not try to make it tasteful to carnal minds.

Hide not the offense of the cross, lest you make it of none effect. The angles and corners of the gospel are its strength to pare them off is to deprive it of power. Toning down is not the increase of strength, but the death of it.

Learn, then, that if you take Christ out of Christianity, Christianity is dead. If you remove grace out of the gospel, the gospel is gone. If the people do not like the doctrine of grace, give them all the more of it.

I preach the doctrines of grace because I believe them to be true; because I see them in the Scriptures; because my experience endears them to me; and because I see the holy result of them in believers.

The doctrine which I preach to you is that of the Puritans: it is the doctrine of Calvin, the doctrine of Augustine, the doctrine of Paul, the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. The Author and Finisher of our faith himself taught the most blessed truth which well agreed with our text –

“For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” (Eph 2:8)

Controversy And Anger

Robert Charles Sproul is an American Calvinist theologian and pastor. He is the founder and chairman of Ligonier Ministries (named after the Ligonier Valley just outside of Pittsburgh, where the ministry started as a study center for college and seminary students) and can be heard daily on the Renewing Your Mind radio broadcast in the United States and internationally. Sproul has been an ardent advocate of Calvinism in his many print, audio, and video publications. A dominant theme in many of Sproul’s Renewing Your Mind lessons is the holiness and sovereignty of God.

Quoting R. C. Sproul:

Jesus’ life was a storm of controversy. The apostles, like the prophets before them, could hardly go a day without controversy. Paul said that he debated daily in the marketplace. To avoid controversy is to avoid Christ. We can have peace, but it is a servile and carnal peace where truth is slain in the streets.

The first thing to understand about anger is that it isn’t always a bad thing. Many people, especially Christians, have the mistaken notion that anger is intrinsically evil. As a result, they feel needless guilt. The idea that a Christian is never allowed to be angry is a demonic myth that tends to produce neurotic anxiety. I’ve had to struggle with this myth nearly all my life.

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