The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them. (Isaiah 11:6)
Monday, December 31, 2007
Friday, December 28, 2007
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects,
Love never fails.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
I believe the man who is not willing to submit to the electing love and sovereign grace of God, has great reason to question whether he is a Christian at all, for the spirit that kicks against that is the spirit of the devil, and the spirit of the unhumbled, unrenewed heart"
Monday, December 24, 2007
James R. White
I was just chatting with my brothers and sisters in #prosapologian, and I mentioned that at this time of year, as we contemplate the passing of another year, I could not provide better advice than this: that each and every believer should consider the past year in the light of these divine words:
Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. (2 Cor. 5:9)
Walk as children of light, trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. (Eph 5:8, 10).
Given my level of understanding of what is pleasing to the Lord, did I live a life that would be considered pleasing in His sight? It matters not what others say, I have but one I must seek to please first and foremost. So, who did I please most? My Lord, or my flesh? When I consider my thoughts, were they centered on Him, His purposes, His glory, His kingdom? Or were they mainly taken up with me, me, and more me? Do I see advancement since 2006? 2001?
Further, how solid is my understanding of what is pleasing to Him? Is my understanding of the very standard to which I should aspire informed more by pop psychology and Christian psycho-babble than it is the inspired oracles of God Himself? And more to the heart of the matter, do I desire to keep "trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord"? Is this my heart's desire? Do I pray for a heart of wisdom so that I may know with ever increasing clarity and accuracy what is, in fact, pleasing to Him, in every situation in my life? In my family, in my work, in my thoughts, my deeds, my words?
Soon the rush of "resolutions" will pass over us. For the Christian, there is no question about the every day resolution: our ambition is to be pleasing to Him. What does that mean for your life in 2008? What does it mean for your life today?
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Anyway, today I was driving by a local Protestant Church, and the big sign out front say's
"The wise men brought gifts for the Son, and today, wise men are still coming to the Son"
I am thinking about going in there and asking them if they can point me in the direction of some wise men. It will make evangelism so much easier.....Think I will stop writing anything until after
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
We have lost the art of sincere and thoughtful dialogue, and yet, when we go back a hundred years, the people on the earth, at least in the more advanced cultures, were able to communicate, and did so freely, often and changed the world more than modern technology ever has in the area of personal communication and human interaction. Those people read books and had their minds expanded and those people passed down to their children the importance of close personal interaction within the family culture and the promotion of personal communication.
Sure there are exceptions, and every society has had those who were socially ostracised and then there were those who stood aloof, above the mere normal man, and they certainly reaped the excesses of their haughtiness and disdain for the common man in God's providence.
So, the Christians today needs to ask themselves a few questions.
-Are we so hopeless at communicating, that we have stopped communication, meaningful interaction altogether, even with God!
-Have we been intellectually lazy and as a result have allowed ourselves to be dumbed down by modern culture?
-Are we reading the scriptures and asking God to teach us to think and feel and act? To be transformed in the renewing of our minds
and having the mind of Christ! ( Romans 12:2,1 Cor 2:14-16)
-Are we misunderstood easily and hence scorned, so we just give up communicating?
-Have we allowed circumstances to stifle us, whether it be poor communication with our children, or spouses, our fellow Christians including the leadership in the Church?
Decent conversation starts first with the Lord, whose ears are open to the prayers of His people! (1 Peter 3:12)
This is where we start. Think about prayer, think about the Lord's prayer and perhaps flesh it out a little.
Our Father who art in Heaven.
We are praying to the Father. Our great God who lives in Heaven, our future home.
Hallowed be thy name. We humbly and reverently go before Him, acknowledging just how great and holy He is, and if we are sincere Christians, we know that already. Think of the Prophet Isaiah who fell to the ground before the presence of the Lord, and who confessed his dirty lips whilst living in a sinful generation of people, whilst the Holy Angels covered their eyes and sang "Holy, Holy Holy, is the Lord God almighty".
Thy Kingdom come. We are living in a sinful world, we feel our own sins, and we desire for that day when the end of sin has come, when He brings the fulfilment of His Kingdom to full fruition. That is a prayer of our hearts, and if we feel our sin, we moan about it. We confess it, and we desire for a better country and we know that we are but Pilgrims upon the earth. We set our minds on things above.
Thy will be done. We pray for God's ways and means to come to fruition in this world, for we know that God is sovereign, and we know that His commands are good and right, and we desire to see His rule manifested in the hearts of people and for His will to be done on the earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread. God is our provider. He supplies our every need and He enjoys to give us what we need. He who feeds the mere sparrow shall certainly give to His own people, every single thing they need in this life and for all eternity, and He wants us to ask Him for all of our needs.
And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us. Daily we need cleansing, repentance and forgiveness of our sins, and we also need to pray for others who sin against us. We are all in the same condition. Those who have been forgiven much, love much. We are all worms needing forgiveness, and Christ has not only forgiven our past sins, but is causing us to seek daily and future forgiveness as well. And He has promised to be faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Are we taking this faithfulness of Jesus and taking Him for granted?
And lead us not into temptation. Are we asking God to even lead us anywhere?
How often do we ask God to make straight our path, or for His daily guidance?
But deliver us from evil. Are we really aware that evil is out there and that evil is in us? Do we ask God to show us our secret sins, the sins we do and are not even aware of it? How about anything which is not of faith, for whatever is not of faith is sin. Do we presume that we can deliver ourselves from evil?
And as we pray to the Lord, we do so, or should do so with the knowledge and proclamation that God is in absolute control at all times no matter what, for thine is the power and the glory, forever and ever amen.
That is the "decent" conversation I wanted to end upon. Can we do it, or have we become so dumbed down by our own lack of effort, overwhelmed by the world, the flesh and the Devil to the point of giving up? Have we?
Only God and you know the answers to these things, but I pray that whoever reads this post will dwell upon these matters carefully, and contemplate the future, however long or more probably short it could be.
The Good, "Let your conduct be without covetousness, and be content with such things that you have, for he has said, 'I will never leave you, nor forsake you,' so that we may boldly say, 'The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do to me.'" (Hebrews 13:5-6)
The bad, "I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8)
And the ugly. "You will be like an oak with fading leaves, like a garden without water. The mighty man will become tinder and his work a spark;
both will burn together, with no one to quench the fire." (Isaiah 1 30-31)
And just a wee message to the Christians.
Turn off the Television, start talking to your family and friends. Crack open your Bibles and start reading it! Get out in the open air and start praying for God to do a great work upon the earth, even if it seems like every molecule is against that from happening. I firmly believe that true Christians today are but hanging on to the thread of the hem of Christ's garment, but thankfully, even the faith of a mustard seed will prevail and never perish.
To God alone be the glory!
Monday, December 17, 2007
I believe we all receive certain reality checks. The kind of circumstances that momentarily wake us up from our soul sleep. I call these circumstances a kind of common grace to all men, a light that lights every man who comes into the world. (John 1:9)
God in His ruling of this world sends people so many warnings. He is under no obligation to do so, and if you really think He is, then not only do you have no clue as to who God is, but you have no clue as to who you are as well. You are a tiny puny ant trying to flex your God given breath to question Him without knowledge. Such a person is as good as dead and under the eternal wrath of God, and perhaps even a few breaths away from that reality, and if they do not repent, that is have a change of heart, they will perish.
I have experienced, as many have, the death of loved ones, both family and friends. At such times, life becomes surreal, but there are moments of stark reality that confront your mortality. We get a glimpse into that horrible thing called death. The whole affair of dealing with death will either cause us to close our minds to it's reality or it can have a profound effect upon our entire worldview.
I have seen people so affected by death that they have gone into shock for months, unable to really function properly. I have seen people opt out of society and take time to evaluate their entire lives.
And I have seen people foolishly ignore death, turning away from it as if it were some flippant thing to cast off without so much as a by your leave. These people of course are effected more so than the others, for death will not let us treat it so flippantly, and somehow, somewhere, someplace, the fear of death will confront all of us at some level, and rightly so I believe. (Heb 2:15)
I look out and see a family. A mother, a father and some children. They are close. There whole world is caught up in each other, and they are living the dream. Family is their life.
Such a noble thing, especially in these days. But then I see the Mother taken suddenly away from them. The family is no longer. The bubble has burst and the dream is over.
It happens every day, and yet there are just so many situations like this one and many and varied circumstances besides.
Where is God in our lives and where is His cross in our lives? Where is our anchor? Have we built upon the rock or the sand?
As for me and the Church upon the earth today, there are things to confess, and if we do not do that, then things shall get worse and the people of God shall wax colder and colder I believe.
It is a matter of time and degrees, until a point is reached where God shall have brought His Church to it's knees, that is, if we are to see any blessing of any scale upon the earth now and in the future.
That is as far as my eschatology goes for the year of our Lord in 2007.
I firmly am convinced that the Church today is for the greater part under the judgement of God, and I freely confess that it should be. Most of the professing Church is in such a huge mess and is asleep at the wheel.
Judgement begins in the House of the Lord, and that is exactly what scripture tells us.
1 Peter 4:17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?What is to be done?
-Repentance, both individual and corporate.
-To simply do what the Church is called to do, that is, faithfully preach and teach the gospel of God's forgiveness for sinners in the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ upon the cross.
-And to preach "IN" season and "OUT" of season. At all times, without change or modification.
-Simple faithfulness prevails.
"Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light" (Eph. 5:14).
Simple is often best.
If an ideology is promoted in order to influence the masses, then some foundational truths need to be maintained. Such things as fairness, equality, open mindedness, politeness, and amiableness.
All of these in their right place are virtues, but if we make them other than what they were supposed to be, and we erect a herd instinct, then the individuality and discernment regarding such virtues becomes a tool which then becomes like a mantra, all the while appearing as just and right, but really becoming a creed that separates the so called enlightened from the fundamentalist's or the non conformists.
I have lived long enough now to meet people who you would think butter would not melt in their mouths, and yet I have had the misfortune to be on the receiving end of some of the harshest treatment from these same people. I have had enemies that would not think about going to the same levels as these people in their quest to utterly destroy me, in varying degrees and ways throughout my life.
I have learned the truth of the scripture which tells me to beware when all men speak well of you, or when scripture tells us not to put our trust in man. (Luke 6:26, Psalm 20:7, Psalm 118:8,9)
They are painful lessons to learn.
How much more powerful are these lessons when those closest to you are the ones hurting you?
People in your own Church, or other believers?
It happens. (Matthew 10:32-40)
We live in a society that is often called fast paced. Increasingly people complain in not having enough hours in their day. Most families have both parents out working, and most parents work in order to hold onto the materialist dream of having as much as they can get. Whether it be 3 cars, a double story house, every conceivable digital product, entertainment, sports, holiday vacations, social pleasures and security including every insurance policy under the sun.
People are just busy, distracted, tired, depressed, confused and each day just brings new burdens to work for and it can be a never-ending cycle, sometimes called the "rat race".
Throw into the mix the responsibility to raise children, to nurture them, protect them and provide for them as well as trying to keep our marriages alive and the whole of life becomes overbearing at times, so we escape perhaps through materialism for some rest, in the fruit of our labours, including recreational drugs such as alcohol or prescription drugs.
Of course, many have opted out of traditional values, so they do not have children, hence have more money to go about the rat race to get a bigger slice of the pie. Others have decided to partner with the same sex and even adopt children because traditional values has after all some kind of value for them too.
Now, whilst all of this is going on, the hectic pace, the mass technological communication that doesn't really work in spite of the fact that everyone has a mobile phone filled with cute ring tones, and the head long rush to get a slice of the pie, the brainwashing behind the scenes continues unabated. People are taught from their youth to embrace our difference's and accept diverse opinions on important and not so important matters. We are educated in a system that promotes these values, and hence looks for reward at effort, even if effort is misplaced. We have a "me" generation and a race of people who are all one mind, one world, one purpose, one common humanity.
We have people today that tell you how they "feel" as opposed to what they "think".
It is as if the whole world is driving through the McDonald's drive-thru for their fill, and when they meet a human at the other end, who mechanically smiles and bids you a good evening, and instinctively you reply with the same mechanical nicety, whilst at the same time shouting at the kids to share their food.
It all seems so normal, but sometimes we get a reality check.
In my next post, I want to address this apathy and soul sleep and try and offer a few suggestions. Nothing new mind you, just wisdom forgotten, ignored and marginalised.
But make no bones about it, the modern Church is asleep just as much as the world is living it's dream. And we only dream when we sleep. Does God have anything to say about the state of things?
I believe He does, and in His own good time, He is pleased to share it with us who not only sleep, but deserve to be put down permanently in light of our actions, motives and dreams as we go about our lives in the presence of a Holy and altogether different God than most of us think He is.
Part of the soul sleep, involves a grand delusion, that is the god many of us make in our own image and likeness. A god who is like a slot machine or a being with a large jar of peanut butter, who just spreads his peanut butter grace all over the place in the hope that people will listen to his claims whilst we all sing kum ba ya.
To be continued
Study the founding fathers of the Public School/education system in Western culture, and read what those guys were advancing, and you will see for yourself the seeds of destruction inherent within their anti God worldview and their blueprint for future generations. Satanic philosophy of not so subtle implications, but then again, the Devil himself is such a show off and proud and full of boasting as well as disguising himself as an angel of light to deceive.
Now, the Church has definitely not escaped this dumbing down of mankind, not by a long shot.
Churches are made up of individuals who have been subtly indoctrinated by the world system. For those of you looking for biblical warrant, just study the Word of God that tells us that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12)
So here we are in 2007, and some of us are trying to get a fix on the surroundings, and make sense of this apathy we find all around us. Of course not all Christians are saying this. There are a lot of Christians who have been so exposed to post modernism and political correctness and social brainwashing, that they are wrapped up snugly in their own cocoons. For them, any hint of individuality that would raise it's voice and try and speak up, is automatically shut down by simply being ignored, or immediately accusing such individuals of being arrogant, disruptive, factitious or some other such label. In today's climate, who wants to be seen as arrogant, disruptive orfactitious?
Now please keep in mind, that the fruits and I would argue the goal, of the modern systems of thought, was for the very purpose of stifling individuality and dare I say it, passion and responsible autonomy.
So wrapped up in the emerging modern mindset is a hatred or disdain for what they might call noise.
This noise is anything which pricks at the so called progress, peace and comfort of the modern individual.
Many people in thinking that they are embracing the most tolerant philosophy ever known to mankind have themselves become the most intolerant of objective truth, individual passion and reason.
Years ago I remember when I used to go to the movies regularly, and one time I remember during a film, there was this small group of obnoxious patrons who were talking all the time through the movie. It was so annoying. But suddenly, an older man not far from me, let out this loud "shhhh" and said, "please be quiet". It worked, the people shut their mouths.
I remember thinking how I wished I did that, but was too scared or shy or whatever. That man was my hero, and I really appreciated what he did, and so too did others in that cinema.
That man was an individual, a man not brainwashed, silenced nor so timid to do the right thing.
The rest of us were the ones who socially had no courage to dare challenge the behaviour of others.
Not so long ago, I went to the movies again, and this time, and in this cinema, there were many more people talking during the movie. I looked around to see if anyone was really bothered, and to my surprise no one else seemed to care. I let it go on just to see if anyone would complain.
Eventually someone let out a "shhh", with no effect. Then another "shhhh" but this time the person doing the "shhh" was told to be quiet and watch the movie. It was truly amazing, as I realised that low talking in the cinema was now socially acceptable, but the brave individual who would "shhh" is the outcast.
I remembered thinking on the way home, how my son's had shared with me, that at school, students were allowed to talk quietly among themselves, even when the teacher is teaching.
It was all making sense to me in some odd way, but it has never sat well with me.
There is a thing called "group think" or a saying that tells us the "herd mentality" prevails. So true.
Whilst many people can claim to be tolerant and diverse and open minded, they are so, in as much as others do not encroach upon their so called freedoms. Otherwise watch out!
What are those freedoms? Well they range from accepting every ones opinions as valid and true for them, to accepting alternative lifestyles, to embracing paradox, contradictions and pluralism.
It is the full bloom philosophy of John Lennon, who not that long ago imagined a world where there is no heaven, no religion, no hell below us, only the brotherhood of man. That ideal has come home to roost in the western culture.
Of course, just as Lennon himself embraced drugs of the illegal kind to fashion his worldview, the modern benefactors have been consuming the drug which is the philosophy itself.
The modern Church embraces love and peace and the brotherhood of man.
There is in scripture a profound thing which has been called the "antithesis". This simply means that there are really only two kinds of philosophies out there in the world. There is God's authority and there is man's authority, and never the twain shall meet so to speak. Only one shall prevail in the end, and scripture does not keep us in the dark about which one shall triumph.
Having said that, we have in the Church today, a mentality that is on the one hand orthodox as far as it goes, but, and here is the thing, we have a methodology which is compromised on the antithesis, and hence by default lands on the side of man's autonomy and philosophies.
The Church has become man centred in a nut shell. The Church has become tolerant in the modern sense. The Church has become pragmatic, undisciplined, lazy, compromised, lukewarm, insular, tired, selfish, non offensive, affirming of peace and love and tolerance to all mankind and increasingly Ecumenical and anti-doctrine.
There is a saying that a Church is only as good as the man or leadership, and I firmly believe that to be the case for the most part. Churches are filled with modern and hence modern thinking men. Men who have grown up in the midst of postmodernism and drank it in like fish.
Of course none of this should surprise anyone who thinks about these things, but here is where I have come to diagnose an even bigger problem of sorts.
Much like the old wise men I mentioned earlier, who at one time in their earlier days, were thinkers and not so influenced by postmodern thought, have in fact in their old age mellowed and become dumbed down.
The same I think is happening in our Churches where at one time, not so long ago, maybe even a few years, has seen a shift, where truth is being silenced and subtle error is coming in from both the pulpit and the pew, and the child of God is being slowly starved and hence dying.
The change is not some big thing, or some big noise that attracts attention. No, it is the massive, silent, onslaught of the wisdom of the prevailing culture in all of its glory, making its presence felt without having to really try all that hard.
It is just the inevitable outworking of philosophy that was brought into the culture that has been pervasive, powerful, attractive and like sand through the hour glass, eventually fills the whole chamber.
Getting back to this thing called Apathy. What does it look like?
Well, to answer that, we must keep in mind certain conditions that must also exist. Let me call these conditions, which are tangible things, the breeding ground or the base foundation.
It looks like indifference to what the Bible calls "evil".
It looks like impatience to anything which at first hearing sounds harsh.
It looks like love and grace but really is a mask for I care but not enough to make a real difference.
It looks like wisdom and patience, but is really self protectionism and selfishness and the path of least resistance.
To be continued....
It is a fair criticism and I take it on board, but I want to try and say a few things about that, because I think many persons may take from that, that somehow I am happy with Calvinism and Calvinists. With few exceptions I am convinced that the majority of Calvinists are sleeping at the wheel. (Hosea 4:6)
With few exceptions, most Non Calvinists are encompassing sin land and making converts which are two fold the children of hell than they are themselves. (Matthew 23:15)
After a few years and thousands of posts online, I have come to see that not all Calvinism is of Calvinism, in the same sense that not all Israel is of Israel.
There is dare I even say it, truth and there is error.
I want to get us to agree with scripture when it says, "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?"
I kinda want to break down all of the modern so called well meant barriers that are stopping the child of God from gaining wisdom, and causing them to "not" have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:11-16)
For me, the biggest barrier, or at least one of the major ones is this condition called "Apathy".
I have come to accept that I have the medical condition and status as that of being a "Diabetic".
Such a condition has grave outcomes physically if not heeded carefully and forcefully, but there is another condition even more pernicious, and that is to be called "Apathetic" I believe.
As a Diabetic I cannot obtain life insurance, for I am a bad risk, but what kind of insurance is out there for the apathetic?
When we reach these moments in history where the believing orthodox Church suffers from apathy and its related side effects, we are not, and I repeat, we are not headed for judgement, we are already receiving judgement.
Our apathy is the result of our diseased condition much the same as diabetes is the result of a neglected body.
I had mentioned in part 1, that we are living in the high tech world of mass communication and yet we seem on so many basic levels to be not communicating, and I mentioned the irony.
Much of the Church today is fragmented and just holding on in most cases to it's testimony in a fallen world. Much of the Church is pretty much indistinguishable from the culture, and today, more than ever even boasts about this sad fact, under the veneer of being all things to all men, that they may win some.
Men like Hudson Taylor may have learned the natives language and even dressed like them, but men like Hudson Taylor had a way of communication that the Church today has in very short supply, namely a message of a Gospel that saves sinful humanity lost in its utter depravity.
I wonder how many Christians actually relate to what I am saying? There must be some.
How many Christians have superficial and very general and surface level relationships with those in the Church, including the leadership?
My impression seems to suggest epidemic levels of precisely that very thing.
It is no surprise that family and community has been for some time the target of some kind of twisted social engineering that I freely confess to not understand fully. I think it started at the turn of the 20th century, or at least thereabouts.
It seeped into the world at the same time that man decided the scriptures were not to be believed.
It was a movement away from the authority of scripture to the ideas of men who wanted to save the world from itself, and they had decided to get rid of objective truth, God and the Church.
They grouped themselves into private clubs and cliques, and experimented with their grand ideas in the marketplace of public education, government, politics and the social sciences, and we today are the benefactors of such a huge plan to educate the world in order to bring man to his higher calling.
Call it enlightenment or modernism or whatever label it has been given. It is real, has influence and brings us all unaffected by it to this very hour.
Then somewhere during the last 40 years or so (Maybe shorter, maybe longer), the grand ideals of men on a mission decided that what the world needs is another shift. A way to really climb the evolutionary ladder, and that was to embrace irrationalism completely. Not that they themselves admitted as much, for they themselves I believe were simply deceived. Utterly reaping what had previously been sown.
Break with the laws of Non Contradiction and celebrate diversity in every way shape or form, but, and here is the thing, it is a diversity of a narrow thought process that brainwashes mankind so easily and completely and so subtly, that man does not even notice such brainwashing even happening.
Of course it does not happen in a vacuum, and I will later mention some of the necessary conditions that need accompany such subtlety, and I will suggest "Apathy" was meant to be the goal of the plan.
I marvel, I honestly marvel at how unthinking the average person has become. I truly stand amazed at the average man, woman, boy or girl in the year of our Lord 2007.
Even those people from the older generations, that have as yet not been diagnosed with Dementia, and are in fact enjoying Grand-parenthood and active retirement, who were thinkers in another era, maybe 20 years ago, have become willing participants in the dumbing down of mankind, and it is sad to behold.
It is sad actually seeing grey haired wise looking people open their mouths and sound so dumb and irrational and well, socially relevant!
Yeah, we call it Post-Modernism. The age of fleeing reason as I understand it.
To be continued
Well, I have nothing to say about that here. I wish to address the sleeping giant, the mass of evangelicals scattered throughout the whole world. The people who claim to be The Church of the living God.
Man, where to start. I will just jump right in and see where I end up.
I am sure there is a much better word, but that one will do for a start.
I am a Calvinist. I hold to God being the controller and sustainer of all things, right down to the sub atomic particles. I have a profound belief in the sovereignty of God. He is at work in this World, always has been, and ever will have until all things are brought to an end this side of eternity.
God's people will be saved, sanctified and ultimately glorified. Of these matters I have no doubt.
But where are we today, at this moment in time?
What is the standing of the Church upon the earth in the year of our Lord 2007, just before Christmas?
I mentioned something about apathy, and it is to that kind of soul sleep I am referring.
I am 42 years of age and have been a Christian since 1992. I have memories of the 70's, 80's and 90's.
In many ways we are living in a different world to my parents and certainly my Grandparents.
My dad has never quite "got" the computer thing, and my Grandad if he were still alive was quite blown away with that video thing and had problems even saying the word correctly.
So we live in a so called technological age, with all of the benefits and ingenuity of man.
The world is said to be a smaller place, bridged mainly by said modern technology.
Yeah, we still have third world or rather "emerging" nations and all that, and yeah we still have poverty and displacement of peoples and wars and rumours of wars and we still have so called natural disasters, corrupt politicians and everyone pays their taxes, eats, sleeps, makes families and tries to live freely in a modern world that goes about it's business.
Yet for all of our modern ways, I am convinced that the art of communication has declined to the point of danger on many fronts. I use the term danger as a positive inference which I will later address, but in the meantime I am talking about simple communication. Real interaction of a voice to voice, ear to ear reciprocation.
It is as if the whole world has erected and embraced a kind of mass evacuation of communication, and has decided to sign a universal pact to issue a growing battery of contact mechanisms designed to stunt communication, so we have messages instead, and we speak into voice machines or we try to argue with human corporate robots or actual real robots that entertain you by clicking the buttons on your high tech cordless digital phone which takes your enquiry and gives you three or four options, when all you want to do is speak to a real live human being, or maybe even a really smart robot given that we live in a high tech age.
We are living in the ultimate irony ever known to mankind. A veritable mass of communication technology that in itself has the seeds to destroy decent communication, note that word decent, as I will ride that word in this rant later on too.
Oh, don't get me started! I think I shall at this point have a wee break, just long enough to get my mind to struggle where to go next. I say that deliberately because I have a slight case of apathy I am fiercely attempting to shake off, and every day it seems to be getting a wee bit worse, and it scares me no end.
At this point I will reflect and take comfort in God's Word.
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? 2 My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. 3 He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; 4 indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The LORD watches over you— the LORD is your shade at your right hand; 6 the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. 7 The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; 8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
To be continued
Sunday, December 09, 2007
Dear Professor Mouw,
I am not sure if you shall return to my blog, but if you do, would you please take the time to provide a response to something which came up in our recent previous and short discussion. Setting aside our views about Common grace, which was the reason you had responded, could you make some clear comments about the following?
You have stated,
"I think that an open-minded Christian reader of this book will sense that Bob Millet is in fact trusting in the Jesus of the Bible for his salvation. That is certainly my sense" (p. 183).If you could take the time to read the following articles by Dr James White, regarding Mormon Doctrine, all I ask is if you believe your friend Bob Millet is still believing in the Jesus of scripture, or is it possible we have "another" Jesus presented in Mormon Doctrine?
The Only Begotten of the Father in the Flesh:1
The Only Begotten of the Father in the Flesh:2
The Only Begotten of the Father in the Flesh:3
The Only Begotten of the Father in the Flesh:4
The Only Begotten of the Father in the Flesh:5
The Only Begotten of the Father in the Flesh:6
If you still affirm that the Mormon Jesus and the Christian Jesus are compatible, in light of your comments regarding Bob Millet, could you as a Christian leader and teacher please advise the rationale.
Your time and effort would be much appreciated regarding this request.
Makes very interesting reading.
- “That’s why the present ‘religious war’ isn’t between any forces of ‘Good’ and ‘Evil.’ It is being waged between Media (the State) vs. Churches (Catholic and otherwise) who are tying up millions of dollars of valuable property and assets. As Satanists, we have the advantage of realizing this early in the game. It has never been enough for us to be atheistic—we have learned how to smash religious ignorance by beating them at their own game, using the Christian’s own manufactured fears to destroy them.”
Anton Szandor LaVey, “The Devil’s Notebook”, p. 85
- “We can use TV as a potent propaganda machine. The stage is set for the infusion of true Satanic philosophy and potent (emotionally inspiring) music to accompany the inverted crosses and pentagrams. Instead of holding our rituals in chambers designed for a few dozen people, we are moving into auditoriums crowded with ecstatic Satanists thrusting their fists forward in the sign of the horns.”
Anton Szandor LaVey, “The Devil’s Notebook”, p. 85
Then we have, wait a minute, that's the Texas Longhorn sign he is doing, right!!
But, then again, what has Clinton got to do with Texas, or any of these people!
Er, moving along,
- “As much “bad press” as the Church of Satan has received from the media over the past few years—Satanic child abuse, sacrifices, etc.—mention of The Satanic Bible only points people in our direction. Perhaps that’s the plan, after all.”
Anton Szandor LaVey, “The Devil’s Notebook”, p. 85
- “THE NINE SATANIC STATEMENTS”
“4. Are we not all predatory animals by instinct? If humans ceased wholly from preying upon each other, could they continue to exist?”
“7. Satan represents man as just another animal, sometimes better, more often worse than those that walk on all-fours, who, because of his “divine spiritual and intellectual development,” has become the most vicious animal of all!”
Anton Szandor LaVey, “The Satanic Bible”, p. 25, 33
- “If many religions are denying their own scriptures because they are out of date, and are preaching the philosophies of Satanism, why not call it by its rightful name—Satanism? Certainly it would be far less hypocritical.” pp. 47, 48
“Many churches with some of the largest congregations have the most hand-clapping, sensual music-also Satanically inspired. After all, the Devil has always had the best tunes.” p. 49
“Satanism represents a form of controlled selfishness.” p. 51
Anton Szandor LaVey, “The Satanic Bible”
- “If you do not believe in what your religion teaches, why continue to support a belief which is contradictory with your feelings.” p. 50
“It has become necessary for a NEW religion, based on man’s natural instincts, to come forth. THEY have named it. It is called Satanism.” p. 48
Anton Szandor LaVey, “The Satanic Bible”
- “Satanism is based on a very sound philosophy” say the emancipated. “But why call it Satanism? Why not call it something like ‘Humanism’ or a name that would have the connotation of a witchcraft group, something a little more esoteric—something less blatant.” There is more than one reason for this. Humanism is not a religion. It is simply a way of life with no ceremony or dogma. Satanism has both ceremony and dogma.”
Anton Szandor LaVey, “The Satanic Bible”, p. 50
- “LaVey’s spreading out from organized church activities to writing books for worldwide distribution has, of course, greatly expanded Church of Satan membership. Satanism’s growing popularity has naturally been accompanied by scare stories from religious groups complaining that The Satanic Bible now outsells the Christian Bible on college campuses and is a leading causative factor in youngsters’ turning away from God.”
Burton H. Wolfe, Author and priest in the Church of Satan. Introduction of “The Satanic Bible”, San Francisco, December 25, 1976
- “Satanism is a blatantly selfish, brutal philosophy. It is based on the belief that human beings are inherently selfish, violent creatures, that life is a Darwinian struggle for survival of the fittest, that only the strong survive and the earth will be ruled by those who fight to win the ceaseless competition that exists in all jungles—including those of urbanized society.”
Burton H. Wolfe, Author and priest in the Church of Satan. Introduction of “The Satanic Bible”, San Francisco, December 25, 1976
- “There is a ceaseless universal quest for entertainment, gourmet foods and wines, adventure, enjoyment of the here and now. Humanity is no longer willing to wait for any afterlife that promises to reward the clean, pure—translate: ascetic, drab—spirit. There is a mood of neopaganism and hedonism, and from it there have emerged a wide variety of brilliant individuals—doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers, writers, stockbrokers, real estate developers, actors and actresses, mass communications media people (to cite a few categories of Satanists)—who are interested in formalizing and perpetuating this all-pervading religion and way of life.”
Burton H. Wolfe, Author and priest in the Church of Satan. Introduction of “The Satanic Bible”, San Francisco, December 25, 1976
- “With all of the contradictions in the Christian scriptures, many people currently cannot rationally accept Christianity the way it has been practiced in the past. Great numbers of people are beginning to doubt the existence of God, in the established Christian sense of the word. So, they have taken to calling themselves ‘Christian Atheist’?
If prominent leaders of the Christian faith are rejecting the past interpretation of God, how then can their followers be expected to adhere to previous religious tradition?”
Anton Szandor LaVey, “The Satanic Bible”, p. 43
- “In previous centuries, the Church was the great controller, dictating morality, stifling free expression and posing as conservator of all great art and music. Today we have television dictating fashions, thoughts, attitudes, objectives as once did the Church, using many of the same techniques but doing it so palatably that no one notices. Instead of ‘sins’ to keep people in line, we have fear of being judged unacceptable by our peers (by not wearing the right running shoes, not drinking the right kind of beer or wearing the wrong kind of deodorant), and fear of imposed insecurity concerning our own identities. Borrowing the Christian sole salvation concept, television tells people that only through exposure to TV can the sins of alienation and ostracism be absolved.”
Anton Szandor LaVey, “The Satanic Bible”, p. 84
- “There are television sets in every home, every restaurant, every hotel room, every shopping mall—now they’re even small enough to carry in your pocket like electronic rosaries. It is an unquestioned part of everyday life. Kneeling before the cathode ray God, with our TV Guide concordance in hand, we maintain the illusion of choice by flipping channels (chapters and verses). It doesn’t matter what is flashing on the screen—all that’s important is that the TV stays on.”
Anton Szandor LaVey, “The Satanic Bible”, p. 84
- “Many of you have already read my writings identifying TV as the new God. There is a little thing I neglected to mention up until now—television is the major mainstream infiltration of the New Satanic religion.”
“The TV set, or Satanic family altar, has grown more elaborate since the early 50s, from the tiny, fuzzy screen to huge ‘entertainment centers’ covering entire walls with several TV monitors. What started as an innocent respite from everyday life has become in itself a replacement for real life for millions, a major religion of the masses.”
Anton Szandor LaVey, “The Devil’s Notebook”, p. 86
- “Instead of obeying the holy bible, right or wrong, TV advertising now instructs what to buy and what not to buy. Atheism wasn’t tolerated when scriptural dictates were in fashion and accepted as the Word. Now, thanks to Satanic infiltration, it’s safe to say, ‘I don’t believe in God.’ But modern heresy—not conforming to a television lifestyle, not accepting television truths—is liable to be punished with as much righteous enthusiasm as ever.”
Anton Szandor LaVey, “The Devil’s Notebook”, p. 86
- “As the Satanic stratification increases (aided by the diabolical machine). one of our tasks is to develop a graduated system to type people according to their TV lifestyle. Various levels, from spectators to stimulators, can be identified by the level of TV saturation and influence. At the bottom is the Compleat Spectator—the vegetable—the ultimate provider of stimulation. Contrary to prevailing Christian values, a person who does something to hone and perfect a skill should be regarded as the most highly evolved.”
Anton Szandor LaVey, “The Devil’s Notebook”, p. 87
- “Vandals, those who DESTROY AND DEFACE OBJECTS AND PROPERTY OTHER than their own, should, when apprehended, be destroyed, or at least punished in a fitting manner. If a painting hanging in a museum is slashed, the perpetrator of that act should be eviscerated. If paint is used to deface, the defacer’s countenance should be permanently dyed in an irregular and repellent manner. If a carefully tended shrub or plant is wantonly ripped up by the roots, the culprit’s arm should be ripped out of its socket.”
Anton Szandor LaVey, “The Devil’s Notebook”, p. 97
Are these people even aware of doing this? Weird!
Oh no, even Shrek is in on this....
Where does the title of this expression come from?
Well, you shall find it in many places.
In the world, we find it in hedonistic slogans. People doing what they want is the highest goal for mankind.
Nike says, "Just do it".
Sprite says, "Obey Your Thirst".
Double Diamond Beer says, "I'm only here for the beer".
And on and on,
Show me the money
The whole world has been singing along with Whitney to the tune of "learning to love itself, as the greatest love of all", and the "Material Girl" Madonna has been the role model for many youth.
There are umpteen magazines called "self" or some variant like "self esteem" and many more, all aimed at "self".
The tiltle of this wee article is called "Do what thou will" is the whole of the law. Where does that expression come from?
You may think it came from Hollywood, right?
Well, the latest childrens adventure movie I warned Christians about, called the "Golden Compass" when brought right down to its core meaning, is all about "self autonomy", it is all about our children obeying the law that says, "Do what thou will" is the whole of the law.
Actually, this simple expression is the self proclaimed crux position, of the Church of Satan, and it is the ultimate message from the Satanic Bible and mantra of Anton LaVae, it's founder, which was the great doctrine of the man called "the Beast", the legendary Aleister Crowley.
Most people think of Satanists as those awful people that kill babies and drink blood and other horrible ideas, but the Church of Satan merely laughs at such ideas. The true Satanist, according to the "real" Satanists, are all of those who simply live for self. That is their goal and mission in life.
Scripture warns us, 2Timothy 3:1-5
Know this also, that in the last days grievous times will be at hand.Do what thou wilt is the undoing of humanity, and Satan Himself is behind it.
For men will be self-lovers, money-lovers, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, unyielding, false accusers, without self-control, savage, despisers of good, traitors, reckless, puffed up, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
having a form of godliness, but denying the power of it; even turn away from these.
Satan disguises himself as an Angel of light, and that is why he does not come as someone to get you to drink blood, but rather he comes in your friends, your surroundings and every day life situations.
His only goal is to get you to "do what thou will".
Live for you. That way you will never seek your life to be hid with God in Christ, where God intended you to be.
Do what thou will, is the sure way to end up in Outer darkness forever.
Saturday, December 08, 2007
I was reading about this verse over at doctrinesofgrace, and I suddenly remembered how this verse had troubled me in the past, in the sense that Jesus is here praying upon the cross, and He is praying for all
of His enemies, every single one of them.
Now some would say, should we really expect anything less from our Savior, who had instructed us to love our enemies and to do them good etc?
But is this some kind of sentiment or mere emotional cry from the Son of God, or really a prayer for all of their forgiveness?
It just did not really sit well with me, and mainly for one big reason.
If Jesus asks the Father anything, then I know that the Father shall honor the Son and answer Him, and one would think especially at this moment of all moments?
If the Father answered this prayer of Jesus, then the obvious outcome would lead us to believe that everyone who was involved in this dastardly crime, would end up forgiven and hence saved.
There is not really any other option, and it makes no sense to try and generalise this prayer from our Savior or put some other spin upon it.
But what if this verse was not in the Bible at all?
What if we find out it was a later addition not found in any of the widest and Ancient and earliest manuscripts?
Well, we already know the answer to that.
This portion of Luke 23:34 does not occur in the oldest papyrus manuscript of Luke and in other early Greek manuscripts and ancient versions of wide geographical distribution.
When I thought about this verse a few years ago, and the tension the passage created, I was actually relieved to discover the omission, and have not been bothered by it since.
God gets all of His desires, and He shows mercy to whomever He shows mercy, but their is always justice demanded, and many shall suffer under His justice.
I am sure, even if that prayer did not fall from our Saviors lips, that many of His enemies were converted in God's plan, but I am equally as sure, that many of these people perished under His justice, and both happened for His glory.
To this day I am amazed at the many passioned sermons that are preached by Pastors and teachers regarding this verse, and the range of opinions that are out there.
Most of them have their hearts in the right place for sure, even if their heads have not yet studied the manuscript evidence.
Of course, the more general atonement pushers among us, and those who embrace paradox, milk this verse toward their own theology, which should not be surprising either!
In today's entertainment culture, many Christians are
embracing subtle and not so subtle material that is
opposed to a Christian worldview. One not so subtle
movie, riding on the success of other children's adventure
books, is the Anti- Christian propaganda from Atheist
Phillip Pullman in his first installment called
"The Golden Compass".
A new film from New Line Cinema, 'The Golden
Compass,' is due for release this week. It is based
on a book of the same name (also titled 'Northern
Lights' in the UK) written by prominent British
atheist, Philip Pullman.
The film has been variously billed as:
- "This Year's [Christ]mas Blockbuster",
- a "classic ... outshines even the likes of Potter
Philip Pullman has gone on record as saying:
- “I’m trying to undermine the basis of Christian
- “I am all for the death of God”;
- “My books are about killing God.”
He has poured this hatred for God into 'The Golden
Compass' - and, to an even greater degree, into the
remaining two books belonging to the same series (the
title of the series is, 'His Dark Materials').
It has been claimed that the anti-God sentiment that
runs through Pullman's books has been dumbed down for
film to minimise offence.
However, we should not be complacent; the film is
bait for the books! Unsuspecting parents who take
their children to see the movie may be impelled to
buy the books as a Christmas present.
And no parent who wants to bring their children up
in the faith of Christ will want anything to do with
these books - or, by extension, this film!
You have been warned, and I do hope you shall seriously
heed the warning.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
The evolutionists have to borrow our worldview at some point or the system can never work. In the end, whatever they do not borrow turns out to be absurd.
Why evolution is impossible...
He is a four Point Calvinist, hence not a Calvinist at all, hence someone who does not affirm the doctrines of grace in any consistent biblical way.
He really is a confused Arminian, but would never admit it!
Here is the link.
I almost wish I could join the discussion (I am not allowed to post), but I would probably end up spoiling things, and making the "happiest Calvinist place", well, less happy. (And just for the record, I agree 100% with the Mods there, that if I do not share the view that discussing the doctrines of grace is to be done in the context of making the site the happiest and friendliest Calvinist place on the web, then I agree with them that it is in their interest to not let me post there. I agree with them 100% and it is the core reason that brought about my resigation from the board in the end)
Now others can be cordially presented the happy doctrines of the Ameraldian theology without a passionate rebuke of such false ideas.
You can only defend the doctrines of grace by providing a robust defense of them, and that includes what has been plainly proclaimed by the Church in the past.
Once we separate historical theology from current day pragmatic theology, we are already behind the ball and will never catch up. The idea that we today stand upon the shoulders of the giants from the past has become a glib saying. What we are really doing is side-stepping these former Giants and dealing with theology upon our own subjective methods and playing safe with the modern culture lest we offend their so called equal rights to their views and/or their sensibilities..
How I wish God would grant us more boldness in these days to defend against subtle errors without thinking as if to do so means being agreeable to merely disagree.
We have lost the art of saying out loud that all views are decidedly not equal and hence we have lost passion, zeal and dare I say it, boldness and clarity for truth sake.
Truth comes before happiness I believe.
In fact, truth itself, should lead us into what true happiness is all about, and that is finding what Piper teaches so well, namely finding our satisfaction in Him.
That word "satisfaction" has another meaning, that 4 point Calvinists do not fully grasp, when it comes to the doctrine of the atonement.
And Dispensational 4 pointers even less so, sadly. Too much baggage is in their presuppositions, and blinds them to the overall consistency and necessity of the five points as defined by Calvinists. Real Calvinists that is, not pretend Calvinists, of which there are many these days.
See this and this and this...and James White's excellent testimony here...
If I were an American, I would be voting for Ron Paul and so should you.....If a Scotsman like me,
who lives in Australia, can take an interest in American politics, then ought not Americans
even more so! I do so for Australia, as the 51st state!
Click on the Poster to enlarge and read!
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Calvin helps us understand what the Bible means when it says "All Men" should be saved.
by Dr. John Calvin
"For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour: who will have all men to be saved, and come unto the knowledge of the truth For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." 1 Timothy 2:3,4.
When we despise them, whom God will have to be honoured, it is as much as if we made war against him. So is it, if we make no count of their salvation, whom God calls to himself. For it seems thereby, that we would stay him from showing his mercy to poor sinners, which are in the way to be utterly cast away. This is the reason why Saint Paul uses this argument: That God would have all the world to be saved; to the end that as much as lieth in us, we should also seek their salvation, which seem to be as it were banished men out of the kingdom of God, especially at such time as they are unbelievers.
Now we must always mark in what case the world stood in Saint Paul's time. It was a new thing and a strange matter to have the gospel published throughout all the world. For there was great likelihood that God had chosen the stock of Abraham, as though the rest should be deprived of all hope of salvation. (Ex. 19:5-6). And indeed we see how holy writer greatly sets forth this adoption that God had made of this people of the Jews. But Saint Paul commands us to pray for all the world. And so not without cause adds the reason which is here set down, namely, because God will have all men to be saved. As if he should say: My friends, it is good reason we should mark whereunto God's will bends, and to what end, and to what mark, that everyone of us may employ himself to serve him that way.
For why are we in this world, but only to set forward the good will of God as much as we can? So then, seeing it is God's will that all men should be partakers of that salvation which he has sent in the person of his only begotten Son, we must have a care to draw poor, silly, and ignorant creatures to us, that we may come all together to this inheritance of the kingdom of heaven which is promised us. And yet we must mark that Saint Paul speaks not here of every particular man, but of all sorts, and of all people.
Therefore, when he says that God will have all men to be saved, we must not think that he speaks here of Peter, or John, but his meaning is this, that whereas in times past he chose out one certain people for himself, he means now to show mercy to all the world, yea to them that were, as it were, shut out from the hope of salvation. For we hear what he says in another place, that the heathen were without God, void of all promise, because they were not as yet brought to the fellowship of the people of the Jews. (Eph. 2:2ff.). And this was a special privilege that God had given to the stock of Abraham, to choose it.
Therefore Saint Paul's meaning is not that God will save every particular man, but he says that the promises which were given to one only people, are now stretched out through all the world.
For, as he says in this same epistle to which we alleged before, the wall [of partition] was broken down at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. For God had separated the people of the Jews form all nations; but when Jesus Christ appeared for the saving of the world, then took he away this diversity which was between the Jews and the Gentiles. So then, God will now embrace us all, and this is the entrance into our salvation. For if that had continued always, which God ordained, then should we be now all accursed, and the gospel should not have been preached unto us. We should have had no sign or token either of the goodness, or the love of God. How is it then that we are come into the house of God, to be his children? Even because we are not more strangers from the promises, as our fathers were; but when Jesus Christ came to be a common Saviour for all in general, he offered the grace of God his Father, to the end that all might receive it.
As Saint Paul speaks now of all nations, so he speaks also of all estates, as if he should say, that God will save kings and magistrates, as well as the least and baser sort. And we must not restrain his Fatherly goodness either to ourselves only, or to some certain number of people. And why so? For he shows that he will be favourable to all. So then, thus we have Saint Paul's meaning. And to confirm this matter he adds that it is God's will, that all should come to the knowledge of truth. We must mark well why Saint Paul uses this argument. For we cannot guess or surmise what God's will is, unless he shows it [to] us, and gives us some sign and token, whereby we have some perseverance of it. It is too high a matter for us, to know what God's counsel is, but so far froth as he shows it [to] us by effect, so far do we comprehend it.
True it is that the gospel is called the mighty power of God to salvation, to all them that believe, it is the gate of paradise. It follows, then, if through the will of God the gospel be preached to al the world, there is a token that salvation is common to all. And thus Saint Paul proves, that God's will is that all men should be saved. For he has not appointed his apostles to keep himself only amongst the Jews; but we know that commission was given [to] them to preach to all creatures, to be witnesses of Jesus Christ from Jerusalem to Samaria, and from thence throughout all the world.
Are the apostles sent to publish the truth of God to all people and to all estates? It follows, then, that God presents himself to all the world, and that the promise belongs to both great and small, as well to the Gentiles now, as to the Jews before. Before we go any further, it is good to beat down the folly, or rather the beastliness of them that abuse this place of Paul, to make the election of our God a thing of nought and utterly take it away. For see what they say: if God will have all men to be saved, it follows that he has not chosen a certain number of mankind, and cast away the rest, but that his will remains indifferent.
So then, these beasts which are nothing exercised in holy writ, and will, notwithstanding play the Doctors, pretend that it stands in the choice of men to save themselves, and that God leaves us alone, and waits to see whether we will come to him or not, and so receives them that come unto him. But in the mean while, they destroy the ground of our salvation; for we know that we are accursed, that the inheritance of salvation is far from us, and if a man would say that Jesus Christ is come to remedy that, then we must examine the nature of men, what it is.
But we are all of us so contrary and such enemies to God, that we cannot but resist him. We are so given to evil and wickedness, that we cannot so much as conceive a good thought. So then, how can it be that we may be partakers of that salvation which is offered to us in the gospel, unless God draws us to it by his Holy Spirit? Let us see now, whether God draw all the world to it or not. No, no, for then had our Lord Jesus Christ said in vain, No man can come to me, except God my Father teach him, (John 6:44). So then, we must needs conclude that it is a special grace that God bestows upon such as pleases him, to draw them and teach them in such sort, that they believe the gospel, and receive it with a true faith
And now, why does God choose one, and leave the other? We know that men cannot come to God by their deserts, neither is it so, that they which are chosen, have deserved any such thing, as to be preferred before their companions, as though there were some worthiness in them. It follows then, that before the world was made, (as Saint Paul says in the first [chapter of his Epistle to] the Ephesians) God chose such as it pleased him, and it pertains not to us to know why this man more than that man, we know not the reason. And yet must we confess that whatsoever God does, he does it justly: although we know not why.
So then, let us receive that whereof we are so thoroughly certified in Holy Writ, and let us not suffer ourselves to be led amiss under a shadow of this vain reason which ignorant men use, and such as know not one iota of God's word. True it is, that at the first blush, they think they have fair show, and some good resemblance. God will have all men to be saved, it follows then, that it stands in the free choice of every man to be lightened in the faith, and to come to salvation. You say well, if we knew not Saint Paul's meaning: but the very asses may have a bit there, as we say in common proverbs. If a man will read but three lines, he shall easily perceive, that Saint Paul speaks not here of every particular man; (as we showed already) but he speaks of all people, and of all states, and shows the case stands not as it did before the coming of Christ, when as there was but one chosen people; but now God shows himself a Saviour of all the world, according to that which was said: "Thine inheritance shall be even unto the end of the world."
Moreover, to the end that no man may abuse himself, or be deceived by their vain and foolish talk, which wrest and wrench Holy Writ, or rather pervert it, let us see how the saying of these enemies of God and all godliness may stand. God will have all men to be saved, that is to say, every one, as they imagine. If the will of God be so nowadays, no doubt it was like even from the beginning of the world; for we know that his mind does not change, he does not change as men do. So then, if at this day God will have all men to be saved, his mind was so always, and if his mind was so always, what shall we make of that that Saint Paul adds, that he will have all men come to the knowledge of [the] truth?
He chose but one certain people to himself, (as Saint Paul says, Acts 13) and left the poor Gentiles to walk in their ignorance. Could he not have executed his will at that time? Nay, even since the gospel, it was not his will that all should know the gospel at the first blow.
And thereupon, there were some countries where he would not suffer Saint Paul to preach, as in Bythinia, and in Phrygia, (Acts 16:7). And so we see that God would not have his knowledge come to every one at the first blow. And thus we may easily conclude against them which abuse this text, that Saint Paul does not speak int his place of the straight counsel of God, neither the he means to lead us to this everlasting election and choice which was before the beginning of the world, but only shows us what God's will and pleasure is, so far forth as we may know it.
It is true that God does not change, neither does he have two wills (emphasis Tartanarmy!), neither does he use any counterfeit dealing, as though he meant one thing, but would not have it so. And yet the Scriptures speak to us after two sorts touching the will of God. And how may that be? Seeing God uses no double dealing, seeing that there is nothing but a plain and simple meaning in him. How does it come to pass, that his will is spoken of in two sorts?
It is because of our grossness and rudeness, for we know that if God will come down to us, and give us any understanding of things, he must change his own hue. Why does he make himself to have eyes, to have ears, to have a nose? Why does he take upon himself men's affections? Why is it that he says [that] he is angry, [that] he is sorry? Is it not because we cannot comprehend him in his incomprehensible majesty? So then, it is no absurd matter, that Holy Writ should speak unto us of the will of God, after two sorts: not because his will is double, but to apply himself to our weakness, because our understanding is gross and heavy as lead.
And yet there is very good reason in all this same. Why so? When the Scripture tells us, that God has chosen such as it pleased him before the world was made, behold a straight counsel, whereinto we cannot enter. And why then does Holy Writ tell us that the election and choice of God is everlasting? It is not without cause. For it is a very profitable doctrine, if it be received as it ought to be. For thereby we are put in mind, that we are not called to the knowledge of the gospel by reason of our own worthiness, for we are no better than others are, we are all taken out of the cursed root of Adam, we are all subject to one self-same condemnation, we are all shut up under the slavery of sin and death.
So then, when it pleased God to draw us out of the darkness of unbelief, and give us the light of his gospel, he cast not his eyes upon any service that we might have done, or any virtues that we might have brought him, there was no such thing; but he called us, as he had chosen us before. And this is the order whereunto saint Paul calls us in another place, in the eighth [chapter of his Epistle] to the Romans; in that, that we know God, we must not take the glory to ourselves, but hence it is, because our Lord and God chose us in himself, and would set it forth in effect and deed. And thus the calling of the faithful hangs upon this counsel of God. Thus we see how, and how far our Lord and God declares and sets out unto us that which he had decreed of us, before we were born. Moreover, does he touch us with his Holy Spirit? We are ingrafted, as it were, into the body of our Lord Jesus Christ. And this is the true earnest penny of our adoption: this is the pledge which is given us, to put us out of all doubt that God takes us and holds us for his, when we are made one by faith with Jesus Christ, who is the only begotten Son, unto whom belongs the inheritance of life.
Seeing then that God gives us such a sure certificate of his will, see how he puts us out of doubt of our election, which we know not of, neither can perceive it, and it is as much as if he should draw out a copy of his will, and give it [to] us. He has the first copy, but yet he gives a counterpane good enough in law, to the end that even in our ignorance we may be notwithstanding out of doubt of our salvation, as we are put in hope, which we had been utterly void of, if Jesus Christ did not call us to be members of his body.
Thus we see how profitable this doctrine of election is unto us: first of all, it serves to humble us, in that we now that our salvation hangs not upon our deserts, neither upon our virtues which God might have found in us, but because he chose us before we were born, and before we could do neither good nor evil. And let this be for one note. Moreover, when we know that, according to this unchangeable election, God has called us to himself, we are hereby so much the more put out of doubt of our salvation as Jesus Christ shows it. No man shall take from him that that his Father hath given to him, (John 6:39). And what are they that the Father gives to Jesus Christ?
They whom he hath chosen, and whom he knows to be his. Seeing the case stands so that God has given us to his Son to be kept and defended, because he had chosen us before, and Jesus Christ promises and witnesses that none of us shall be lost, but that he will bestow al the might and power of his Godhead to save and defend us.
Is not this a comfort surpassing and surmounting all the treasure in the world? And is it not also the true ground whereupon all the assurance and certainty of our salvation is stayed and settled? For we are here all as birds upon boughs, as men say, we are set forth as a prey to Satan. What assurance then could we have for tomorrow, and for all our life; yea, and after death, were it not that God who has called us, will make an end of his work as he has begun. And how so? How has he gathered us together in the faith of his gospel? Is it grounded upon us? Nay, clean contrary, it proceeds from his mere and free election. Therefore we have to be so much more out of doubt. So then, whensoever we are spoken unto touching election, we know that we must not busy ourselves to know more than God's counsel, then he speaks of [it] unto us, that is [to] say, then we have knowledge by [it] in Holy Writ. Behold I say, how simply we are given to understand of the will of God, I mean of that will which he shows us, so far forth as it is profitable for us.
There is moreover and besides, that a will of God, which is, as it were, open unto us. Such a one as he shows us, so oft as his Word is preached unto us. And what will is that? That it is, whereby he calls and exhorts us all to repentance. After that he has once shown us that we are all damned in his sight, and there is nothing but condemnation in us, he shows us that we must renounce ourselves, and get us out of this pit wherein we are [in] over the ears. In that that God exhorts all men generally, thereby we may judge, that it is the will of God that all men should be saved, as he says also by the prophet Ezekiel; I will not the death of a sinner, but that he turn himself and live, (Ezek. 19:23; 33:11).
How will God [will] that sinners turn themselves? And how shall we know it? In so much as he will have repentance preached to all the world, both to great and small. When it is said that God will receive sinners to mercy, such as come to him and ask forgiveness, and that in Christ's name. Is this doctrine for two or three? No! no! It is a general doctrine. So then it is said that God will have all men to be saved, not having respect to that that we devise or imagine, that is to say, so far forth as our wits are able to comprehend it, for this is the measure that we must always come to. And that it is so, when the Scripture speaks of the love and will of God, let us see, if men can have repentance of their own motion and as they are self-taught, or whether it is God that gives it; yea, and that of an especial goodness. Mark how God says by his prophet, I will that all men turn themselves.
And can a man of himself turn himself? No! No! For if that were in us, it were more than to make us and experience itself sufficiently condemns us. It is moreover, an undoubted doctrine throughout the whole Scripture. For in every place, Our Lord Jesus gives himself the praise of turning us, saying that he will soften our stony hearts, and make them bow to obey him, and it is his work not only to give us that we may, but that we will and desire to obey his commandments, (Ezek. 36:26-27; Phil. 2:13). To be short, there is nothing that the faithful ought to do so much, as in this behalf to give God the glory, confessing that it is in him only to turn us, that it is he only that has adopted us in such sort, that he must needs draw us by the grace of his Holy Spirit. And this is one point, that we must be well resolved of.
As for faith, have men, I beseech you, so sharp wits, that they are able to attain unto this wonderful wisdom which is contained in the gospel, and such as the very angels themselves do reverence as Saint Paul speaks? But if we be so proud, let us mark what God says to us in his Word, that he must open our eyes, and he must bore open our ears, because the natural man does not understand one jot of the secrets of God. It is the Holy Ghost who opens them unto us. To be short, it is not possible to read three lines in Holy Write, but [that] we shall find some sentence or other, that men are utterly blind of their own nature, until God has opened their eyes, and they can in no wise come near him, until he draw them to him.
That it is a special gift which he gives us, when he [en]lightens us in the faith of his truth. Seeing the turning of men is in the hand of God, it follows that he does not give it to all men, for experience teaches us, and so the Scriptures speak: Thy God has not yet given thee an heart to understand, (Deut. 29:4). And again, it is showed us very often, that God casts not forth his grace as it were at haphazard, but that it is only for them whom he has chosen, and for them that are of the body of his church, and of his flock. And thus we see how the will of God is to be taken in this place of Saint Paul, when he says, that all men should be saved, that is to say, of all people and all states. And how is that? For he offers his gospel, says he, to all, which is the means to draw us to salvation. And does this profit all men?
No! No! As our own eyes can be witnesses. For when we have had our ears beaten with the truth of God, if we rebel against it, it shall be to our great condemnation. Yet so it is, that there are many which do not profit in the gospel, but rather become worse by it, yea, even of them to whom the gospel is preached, which are not all saved. Therefore God must go further to bring us to salvation, he must not only appoint men and send men to teach us faithfully, but he must play the matter within our hearts. He must touch us to the quick, he must draw us unto him, and must make his work not to be unprofitable to us, and cause it to take root in our hearts.
Moreover, we see it most evidently, and as a matter out of all doubt, that we have to consider the will of God after two sorts, in consideration and respect of our own reach; not that it is double of itself (as we said before), but in respect of our weakness, and because God abases himself, as well in this, as in all the rest, to make himself easy and familiar to our capacity. For we see how he frames his tongue and speech to us in his Word, as nurses use to do with young and suckling children. If God should speak unto us according to his majesty, his speech would be too high and hard for us to attain unto it, it would utterly confound us, it would astonish and amaze us. For if our eyes be not able to abide the clearness of the sun, are our minds, I pray you, able to comprehend that infinite majesty which is God? So then these beasts, which would destroy God's election, must not abuse this place, nor say, that we make a double will in God; for therein they do impudently and villainously misreport us. But we say as every man sees, that is, to wit, that as far as we can perceive, God would have all men to be saved, whensoever and how oft so ever he appoints his gospel to be preached unto us.
And why so? For (as we said before), the gate of paradise is opened unto us, when we are so called to be partakers of that redemption, which was purchased for us by our Lord Jesus Christ. And this is the will of God, such and so far forth as we can reach unto it, to wit, if he exhorts us to repentance, that he is ready to receive us when we come unto him. Now though we have answered and put away the doubts which may be moved upon this place, yet it shall be good to bring a similitude to make this doctrine more easy: I call a similitude that agreement and likelihood which God makes between the people of Israel and us. God said that he chose out for himself all the children of Abraham, to be his inheritance (Deut. 7:6-8), and dedicated them to himself, and loved them and took them for his own household.
And this is true: because he made his covenant with all them that were circumcised. Was circumcision a vain figure, and of no importance? Nay, it was a sure and undoubted gauge, that God had chosen [his] people for his own (Rom. 9:6-7), as he accounted all them for his flock which came of that race. And yet, was there not a special grace for some of that people? Yes surely, as Saint Paul well sets it forth. Not all they that came of the race of Abraham after the flesh are true Israelites; for God also deprived some of this benefit, to the end that his grace and goodness might seem so much the more and greater towards them who he had called to himself. Behold therefore, this will of God which was towards the people of Israel shows itself at this day towards us.
Wherefore? The gospel shall be preached where God has appointed it, and there shall be one self same order to hold throughout in all places alike, but we see that rather come to pass which was spoken by the prophet Amos, that God will rain upon one city, and be dry to another, that there shall be a famine of his truth in many places, (Amos 4:7). And so the Lord sends his gospel whither it pleases him, and yet is not his grace poured out upon Judea only, or upon one corner of that land, but upon all the world both here and thee, although there be not the like in every place. Yet can it not be, but God must work otherwise and further in them whom he will draw to himself.
For all of us have our ears stopped up, all of us have our eyes hood-winked; yea, and that more is, we are deaf and blind, unless he has touched us, and we receive his Word. And thus stands the will of God, which we have to understand after two sorts, even as holy Writ makes it plain unto us; not (as I said) that God is double in himself, or that his will is diverse and changeable. Now let us come to practice this doctrine, and let us mark first of all when the gospel is preached unto us, that it is as much as if God reached out his hand (as he speaks by the prophet Isaiah), and said unto us, Come to me, (Isaiah 65:2).
It is a matter which ought to touch us to the quick, when we see that God comes to seek us, and does not wait till we come unto him, but shows that he is ready to be made at one with us, although we were his deadly enemies, and seeks nothing but to wipe out all our faults, and make us partakers of that salvation which was purchased for us by our Lord Jesus Christ. And thus we see how worthily we have to esteem of the gospel, and what a treasure it is, accordingly as we have already alleged out of the first chapter [of the Epistle] to the Romans, that it is the mighty power of God to salvation to all them that believe, that it is the kingdom of heaven, and how be it God opens us the door, to the end that being got out of the pits wherein we are of nature sunk, we may enter into his glory. And let this be for one lesson.
Yet let us mark moreover, that it is not enough for us to receive the word that shall be preached unto us by the mouth of man, which is but a sound, which may vanish away into the air without any profit, but after that we have heard the Word of God, he must speak unto us inwardly by his Holy Spirit, for that is the only means to bring us to the knowledge of the truth.
And so, when God has dealt so mercifully with us as to give us the light of faith, let us hold it of him, and pray him to continue it, and bring this work to perfection, and let us not proudly lift up ourselves above other men, as though we were more worthy than they. We know that it is our God which has chosen us, and sets us apart from others of his mere goodness and free mercy. And this we are to mark upon this place. Know we moreover, that men are very faulty, when God offers them his Word, and they do not receive it. And surely this is partly spoken unto us, to the end that all the faithful should with all humility glorify the grace of God towards them, and partly to the end that unbelievers and rebels should have their mouths stopped, that they might not blaspheme against God as though he had been wanting to them.
For we see how he calls all them to salvation, to whom his Word is preached. If a man reply and say: yea, sir, but they cannot come to God. We cannot stand to plead here, for we shall find ourselves always in fault. If a man would say, it rests only in God's hands, but if he would give me repentance, could not he do it? And if I remain stiff-necked in mine hardness and malice, what should I do in that case, seeing that God will not give me repentance to turn to him?
Oh, this is not in any wise to be allowed of, for God calls us sufficiently unto him, and we cannot accuse him of cruelty, or that he was wanting unto us. For if we had not his Word, yet must we needs confess that he is just although we know not the cause that moves him to deprive us of it. But when we are called to come to God, and we know that he is ready to receive us, if we do not come, can we deny but that we are unthankful and slack?
But let us further mark that we may not separate the one from the other; salvation from the knowledge of the truth. For God means neither to lie nor to deceive men, when he says that when they come to the knowledge of truth, they shall be saved. If he gives not this knowledge to all, (as it has been said already), he is not bound unto us nor so much indebted to us. And as for the rest we cannot but remain always faulty.
But (as I have said), let us learn to join these two words together, God will have all men to be saved. And how? If they come to a knowledge of the truth. For this will hold us short, that we cannot run out of our compass as others do. Every man would be saved, but no man will draw nigh to God. Thus the Scripture holds us in this simplicity, that if we desire salvation, we must hold the means which is appointed for us and which God sets before us, that is to say, we must receive his Word with obedience of faith. This is everlasting life, says Christ, to wit, to know God his Father, and then to know him also, and to receive him as the only Saviour, (John 17:3). And therefore let us learn, as we have it here set forth unto us, not to doubt of the certainty of our salvation, for the kingdom of God is within us. And will we that God receive us?
Then must we receive this doctrine which Saint Paul gives us. For the will of God is our way. How are we raised again from the dead? How are we called to the hope of salvation? Even by God's good showing his love and favour to us; then we must remain and stand fast there. And thus we see in few words, what Saint Paul's meaning is, to wit, that for so much as God will have his grace to be known to all the world, and has commanded his gospel to be preached to all creatures, we must as much as lieth in us, procure the salvation of all them which are at this day strangers from the faith, and seem utterly to be deprived of the goodness of God, that we may bring them to it.
And why so? For Jesus Christ is not the Saviour of three or four, but he offers himself to all, and let this be for one lesson. Moreover, so oft as the gospel is preached to us, we have to know and consider that God calls us unto him, and it is not in vain, it shall not be lost labour, so that we come to him. And can we come to him of the motion of our own nature? Alas no! For we are wholly against him, (Rom. 8:7), and there is not one iota of affection in us, but are his utter enemy, as Saint Paul says, and we do daily rebel against him.
But when God deals so graciously with us, that he touches us with his Holy Spirit, then he causes his gospel to work profitably to our salvation, then he displays his virtue, which Saint Paul speaks of, for we believe nothing but what he speaks. Again, let us know that when the gospel is preached to us, it is to make us so much the more void of excuse. And why so? For seeing that God had already showed us that he was ready to receive us to mercy, if we had come to him, our condemnation shall no doubt be increased if we be so wicked, as to draw back, when he calls so mildly and lovingly. Yet notwithstanding, (as we are here exhorted), let us not leave off to pray for all men in general, for Saint Paul shows us, that God will have all men to be saved, that is to say of all people and nations. And therefore we must not settle ourselves in such sort upon the diversity which is seen amongst men, that we forget that God has made us all to his image and likeness, that we are his workmanship, that he may stretch forth his goodness over them which are at this day far from him, as we have good proof of it.
For when he drew us unto him, (as it was showed before) were we not his enemies? How then comes it to pass, that we are now of the household of faith, the children of God, and members of the Lord Jesus Christ? Is it not because he had gathered us unto himself? And is he not the Saviour of the whole world as well? Is Jesus Christ come to be the Mediator between two or three men only?
No! No! But he is the Mediator between God and men. And therefore, we may be so much the more assured, that God take sand holds us for his flock, if we endeavour to bring them to God which are this day, as it were, far off. And therefore let us comfort ourselves, and take good hearts unto us in our calling, that albeit there be at this day an horrible forlornness, so that it may be well seeing that we are very miserable creatures, utterly cast away and condemned yet must we labour as much as we can to draw them to salvation which seem to be far off, and above all things let us pray to God for them, waiting patiently till it pleases him to show his good will toward them, as he has already showed it upon us.
Now let us fall down before the face of our good God, and confess our faults, praying him that it would please him to make us feel them in such sort, that being beaten down within ourselves, we may be bold, notwithstanding, to come to him, because he calls us so lovingly, and doubt not but he will hear our prayers, which we shall make unto him in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that he would make us always feel the fruit of our prayers, when we call upon him with a true faith and repentance. That he be not only gracious unto us, but also to all people and nations of the earth, &c.