Saving Faith and Assurance

When considering assurance of salvation, sooner or later we come to the question of saving faith. The ultimate issue concerns the nature of my faith, is it genuine or spurious? If I didn’t have some kind of faith, I wouldn’t be concerned with assurance at all. I wouldn’t even consider it.

However, if I have made a profession of faith in Christ, but am troubled about the reality of that profession, what I want to know is whether my faith is true saving faith, or something less. At some point I thought I believed in Christ, but is my faith now genuine or not?

Many refuse to allow questions about the nature of faith, at least in the heat of evangelistic efforts. Just ask Christ to save you, and if you are sincere, you will be saved. Never doubt it. To doubt that God saved you is to call God a liar, or so we are told. Some go so far as to assure people that “if you ever made this decision before, you don’t need to make it again. But if you have never before made this decision, you need to make it today, and if you do, you will be saved, never doubt it.” Read more about Saving Faith and Assurance

John Owen on Inspiration & Preservation

Introduction

The greatest British theologian of the 17th Century was, in the opinion of many, John Owen. Owen made distinctive contributions in a number of theological loci. His book on the mutual relationship within the Trinity and our communion with each of the Divine Persons is still the best work on the subject.1 Likewise, his manifesto for congregational-independency2 offers some of the best arguments for a Pastor-led congregational form of church government, and his The Death of Death in the Death of Christ3 is considered the book on the Reformed view of particular redemption. Owen’s teaching on the subject of the inspiration of the Bible is also most instructive, especially in view of what has been and is being taught in some evangelical seminaries and books.

The Importance of Divine Inspiration

Owen’s views on the crucial matter of the relationship of the Bible as we have it and the autographs are worth pondering. He, like all solid evangelicals, rests the authority of the Bibles we have, not upon some inner impression of its validity, but upon its original theopneustic character. In his, The Divine Original of the Scripture he asserted, “That the whole authority of the scripture in itself depends solely on its divine original, is confessed by all who acknowledge its authority.”4 Thus the autographs were from God and delivered to men. We possess “the words of truth from God Himself.”5 Read more about John Owen on Inspiration & Preservation

Review - The Vanishing American Adult

Reposted with permission from The Cripplegate.

by Eric Davis

I typically do not read books from contemporary politicians. Recently I made an exception when a friend who thinks intelligently about culture recommended that I read The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-Reliance, by Ben Sasse. A few chapters in, it became obvious that Sasse is not a typical politician.

He has been serving as a US Senator from Nebraska since 2015. He holds degrees from Harvard, Oxford, St. John’s, and Yale. He has worked in consulting and was a university president by age 37. Sasse learned to work with his hands, having grown up farming. He is a Christian and has three kids. His conservative persuasion is not motivated by larger tax breaks, but by things like the first amendment, involuntarism, and decentralized decision-making. And, Sasse seems like the type of guy who you could chat with on anything from cars to Christ to culture while watch college football and eating a Coney Island dog. Read more about Review - The Vanishing American Adult

Witnessing Better Than Knowing the Future

A Sermon (No. 2330) Intended for Reading on Lord’s-Day, October 15th, 1893.

Delivered by C.H. Spurgeon, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington on Thursday Evening, August 29th, 1889.

When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.—Acts 1:6-8.

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Theology Thursday - Carnell on the "Perils" of Fundamentalism (Part 3)

In this excerpt, Carnell concludes his critique of fundamentalism from his book The Case for Orthodox Theology ​(1959). Here, he has two criticisms. First, he believes the fundamentalist places an overemphasis on soul-winning at the expense of doctrine and Christian love. Second, he charges that fundamentalists, like well-meaning but delusional latter-day Don Quixotes, revel in their supposed “purity” while ironically demonstrating the worst sort of self-righteousness.1  

The Chief End of Man

Whereas orthodoxy says that the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever, fundamentalism says that the chief end of man is to win souls. This conversion of final causes did not come by accident. Lest we be misunderstood, however, let it be clearly and forcefully said that evangelism is an incumbency on the church. Woe to the minister who has no compassion for lost souls! If we are united with Christ’s cross and resurrection, we must also be united with his tears for Jerusalem.

But when the fundamentalist elevates evangelism above other Christian tasks, or when he conceives of evangelism in terms of techniques, he is no longer true to his own presuppositions. While evangelism is a sacred duty, it is by no means our only sacred duty.

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Ministering to Those Who Mourn, Part 2

by James Saxman

Republished from Baptist Bulletin April/May 2017 with permission. © Regular Baptist Press, all rights reserved. Read part 1.

Tasks for Mourners

J. William Worden, Harvard professor, identifies four tasks for mourners in his book Grief Counseling and Grief Therapy. Gently helping a mourner to recognize these tasks is beneficial to the mourner’s good health in the days that follow loss.

1. Accept the reality of the loss. It sounds ridiculously obvious, but facing the stark fact that the loved one has died is necessary for the mourner to move on from denial. To experience irreversibility is a shock. Children know that Daddy and Mommy fix everything. When our childish imaginations are confronted with reality, we must change what we are accustomed to. Like it or not, we must begin the awful task of accepting the finality of death. Read more about Ministering to Those Who Mourn, Part 2

Ministering to Those Who Mourn, Part 1

Republished from Baptist Bulletin March/April 2017 with permission. © Regular Baptist Press, all rights reserved.

by James Saxman

Lonely is the home without you,
Life to us is not the same,
All the world would be like heaven,
If we could have you back again. – Anonymous

And she said unto them, “Do not call me Naomi [pleasant]; call me Mara [bitter], for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me” (Ruth 1:20).

Grief/Mourning

The Bible has a great deal to say regarding the topics of grief and mourning. About 20 Hebrew words translated into our English Bibles are some form of the word grieve. Though the occurrences in the New Testament are less frequent than in the Old, Christians are certainly not excluded from grief. They cannot but feel sorrow and be moved by grief. In both the Old and New Testaments, God Himself is said to be susceptible to grief (Isa. 63:10 Heb. 4:15). In the Garden of Gethsemane, the “Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isa. 53:3) told His disciples that His soul was deeply grieved, to the point of death (Matt. 26:38). Read more about Ministering to Those Who Mourn, Part 1

Culinary Calvinism: Considering Jay Adams’ TULIPburger

Jay Adams has a way with words, and an excellent way of explaining the significance of the doctrine of limited atonement in the Reformed view. He describes the T (total depravity) and P (perseverance of the saints) as the bun, holding the burger together, and the U (unconditional election) and the I (irresistible grace) as the lettuce and tomato. But the part that makes the burger a burger is the “meat” of the L (limited atonement).

Adams suggests,

To hold to the fact that Jesus didn’t die for “mankind,” or, as that means, persons in general—but for persons in particular, is essential to having a “Personal Savior … He didn’t die for people in general, but that He knew His sheep, and called them by name, and gave His life for each one of them individually is a blessed truth, not to be omitted from the burger … Jesus didn’t come to make salvation possible—He came to “seek and to save that which was lost… . He didn’t die needlessly for millions who would reject Him. if universal atonement were true, then God could hardly punish men and women for eternity for whom Christ had already suffered the punishment. There is no double jeopardy. And therefore, there is no burger unless it is a TULIPBURGER!

In asserting limited atonement Adams makes four key assertions: Read more about Culinary Calvinism: Considering Jay Adams’ TULIPburger