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February 1 Notes 2
February 1 Notes 2
February 1 Notes 2
February 1 Notes 2
February 1 Notes 2
February 1 Notes 2
February 1 Notes 2
February 1 Notes 2
February 1 Notes 2
February 1 Notes 2
February 1 Notes 2
February 1 Notes 2
February 1 Notes 2
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February 1 Notes 2

  1. 1. HYPERLINK " http://feedproxy.google.com/%7Er/UseTheOxgoad/%7E3/pumrLA6kBO0/discipline-for-purpose.html" " _blank" Discipline for a Purpose<br />from Use the Oxgoad by travis.gilbert@comcast.net (Travis)<br />According to 1 Timothy 4:7-8 physical exercise, while beneficial, is no where near as critically important as spiritual exercise! We are also told in Romans 8:29 and 1 John 3:2 that Christians are in the process of becoming like Christ. While believers are in the process of becoming like Jesus, the writer of Hebrews (12:14) teaches us that we are not merely to wait for holiness we are to pursue it. But how? The answer is discipline!<br />“The word discipline was disappeared from our minds, our mouths, our pulpits, and our culture. We hardly know what discipline means in modern American society. And yet, there is no other way to attain godliness. Discipline is the path to godliness.”<br />- Jay Adams<br />Concerning discipline two things must be understood:<br />Discipline is the necessary key to accomplishing anything in this life.<br />Discipline without direction and desire is drudgery.<br />That is true in regards to any kind of discipline, but it is especially true concerning the spiritual disciplines. Discipline is not an end to itself, it’s the means to an end. Referring again to 1 Timothy 4:7-8 we learn that spiritual discipline is for the purpose of godliness.<br />Definition: spiritual disciplines are those personal and corporate habits of devotion that have been practiced by the people of God since Biblical times and that promote spiritual growth and godliness. Godliness is a Biblical term synonymous with Christ-likeness and holiness.<br />God uses three change agents to conform us to Christ-likeness.<br />(1) People – Proverbs 27:17<br />(2) Circumstances – Romans 8:28<br />(3) Spiritual Disciplines – 1 Timothy 4:7-8<br />Holiness is gained not by self-effort, but is a gift from God. The pursuit of holiness must be anchored in the grace of God! So, how do the spiritual disciplines help us to become Christlike? By purposefully placing ourselves in the path of Jesus, much like Blind Bartimaeus or Little Zacchaeus.<br />“Being sensible that I am unable to do any thing without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him, by his grace, to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake.”<br />- Jonathan Edwards<br />Godliness is not optional for the child of God!<br />1 Peter 1:15-16 – “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”<br />Matthew 11:29 – “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”<br />Mark 8:34-38<br />Learning and following involve discipline (Proverbs 23:12). The word discipline may raise the feeling of severe constraint in some of your minds; suggesting a claustrophobic, restricted life. Nothing could be further from the truth! The spiritual disciplines are the means to freedom. They free us from the encumbrances of this world, enabling us to “run the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1). Discipline is the price of freedom, and freedom is the reward of discipline.<br />Ask yourself a couple of questions:<br />1) Do I want to be Godly?<br />2) Am I willing, beginning today, to begin a spiritual exercise program that will enable me to become more like Christ?<br />Admit to God that there has been a lack of spiritual discipline in your life. Ask the Lord to give you the desire and the direction necessary to motivate you to learn and develop these daily disciplines in your life.<br />Godliness is the goal of spiritual discipline. Remember this, and the disciplines will become a delight instead of a drudgery!<br /> HYPERLINK " http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2010/02/luthers-assurances.html" " _blank" Luther's assurances<br />from Triablogue by Patrick Chan<br />Edward Reiss said: " Finally, it is not the Lutherans who look at their navel, but the TULIP Calvinists looking within themselves to prove they are really elect." Also, in a previous comment, Reiss frowns upon looking for the Spirit's sanctifying work in our lives as well as the Spirit's testimony that we are children of God for possible grounds of assurance. However, Martin Luther said (emphasis mine):<br />Next, the Holy Ghost is sent forth into the hearts of the believers, as here stated, “God sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts.” This sending is accomplished by the preaching of the Gospel through which the Holy Spirit inspires us with fervor and light, with new judgment, new desires, and new motives. This happy innovation is not a derivative of reason or personal development, but solely the gift and operation of the Holy Ghost.This renewal by the Holy Spirit may not be conspicuous to the world, but it is patent to us by our better judgment, our improved speech, and our unashamed confession of Christ. Formerly we did not confess Christ to be our only merit, as we do now in the light of the Gospel. Why, then, should we feel bad if the world looks upon us as ravagers of religion and insurgents against constituted authority? We confess Christ and our conscience approves of it.<br />Then, too, we live in the fear of God. If we sin, we sin not on purpose, but unwittingly, and we are sorry for it. Sin sticks in our flesh, and the flesh gets us into sin even after we have been imbued by the Holy Ghost. Outwardly there is no great difference between a Christian and any honest man. The activities of a Christian are not sensational. He performs his duty according to his vocation. He takes good care of his family, and is kind and helpful to others. Such homely, everyday performances are not much admired. But the setting-up exercises of the monks draw great applause. Holy works, you know. Only the acts of a Christian are truly good and acceptable to God, because they are done in faith, with a cheerful heart, out of gratitude to Christ.<br />We ought to have no misgivings about whether the Holy Ghost dwells in us. We are “the temple of the Holy Ghost” (I Cor. 3:16). When we have a love for the Word of God, and gladly hear, talk, write, and think of Christ, we are to know that this inclination toward Christ is the gift and work of the Holy Ghost. Where you come across contempt for the Word of God, there is the devil. We meet with such contempt for the Word of God mostly among the common people. They act as though the Word of God does not concern them. Wherever you find a love for the Word, thank God for the Holy Spirit who infuses this love into the hearts of men. We never come by this love naturally, neither can it be enforced by laws. It is the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Roman theologians teach that no man can know for a certainty whether he stands in the favor of God or not. This teaching forms one of the chief articles of their faith. With this teaching they tormented men’s consciences, excommunicated Christ from the Church, and limited the operations of the Holy Ghost.St. Augustine observed that " every man is certain of his faith, if he has faith." This the Romanists deny. " God forbid," they exclaim piously, " that I should ever be so arrogant as to think that I stand in grace, that I am holy, or that I have the Holy Ghost." <br />We ought to feel sure that we stand in the grace of God, not in view of our own worthiness, but through the good services of Christ. As certain as we are that Christ pleases God, so sure ought we to be that we also please God, because Christ is in us. And although we daily offend God by our sins, yet as often as we sin, God’s mercy bends over us. Therefore sin cannot get us to doubt the grace of God. Our certainty is of Christ, that mighty Hero who overcame the Law, sin, death, and all evils. So long as He sits at the right hand of God to intercede for us, we have nothing to fear from the anger of God.<br />This inner assurance of the grace of God is accompanied by outward indications such as gladly to hear, preach, praise, and to confess Christ, to do one’s duty in the station in which God has placed us, to aid the needy, and to comfort the sorrowing. These are the affidavits of the Holy Spirit testifying to our favorable standing with God.<br />If we could be fully persuaded that we are in the good grace of God, that our sins are forgiven, that we have the Spirit of Christ, that we are the beloved children of God, we would be ever so happy and grateful to God. But because we often feel fear and doubt we cannot come to that happy certainty.<br />Train your conscience to believe that God approves of you. Fight it out with doubt. Gain assurance through the Word of God. Say: “I am all right with God. I have the Holy Ghost. Christ, in whom I do believe, makes me worthy. I gladly hear, read, sing, and write of Him. I would like nothing better than that Christ’s Gospel be known throughout the world and that many, many be brought to faith in Him.”<br />Verse 6. Crying, Abba, Father.<br />Paul might have written, “God sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, calling Abba, Father.” Instead, he wrote, “Crying, Abba, Father.” In the eighth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans the Apostle describes this crying of the Spirit as “groanings which cannot be uttered.” He writes in the 26th verse: “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”<br />The fact that the Spirit of Christ in our hearts cries unto God and makes intercession for us with groanings should reassure us greatly. However, there are many factors that prevent such full reassurance on our part. We are born in sin. To doubt the good will of God is an inborn suspicion of God with all of us. Besides, the devil, our adversary, goeth about seeking to devour us by roaring: “God is angry at you and is going to destroy you forever.” In all these difficulties we have only one support, the Gospel of Christ. To hold on to it, that is the trick. Christ cannot be perceived with the senses. We cannot see Him. The heart does not feel His helpful presence. Especially in times of trials a Christian feels the power of sin, the infirmity of his flesh, the goading darts of the devil, the agues of death, the scowl and judgment of God. All these things cry out against us. The Law scolds us, sin screams at us, death thunders at us, the devil roars at us. In the midst of the clamor the Spirit of Christ cries in our hearts: “Abba, Father.” And this little cry of the Spirit transcends the hullabaloo of the Law, sin, death, and the devil, and finds a hearing with God.<br />The Spirit cries in us because of our weakness. Because of our infirmity the Holy Ghost is sent forth into our hearts to pray for us according to the will of God and to assure us of the grace of God.Let the Law, sin, and the devil cry out against us until their outcry fills heaven and earth. The Spirit of God outcries them all. Our feeble groans, “Abba, Father,” will be heard of God sooner than the combined racket of hell, sin, and the Law.<br />We do not think of our groanings as a crying. It is so faint we do not know we are groaning. “But he,” says Paul, “that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit” (Romans 8:27). To this Searcher of hearts our feeble groaning, as it seems to us, is a loud shout for help in comparison with which the howls of hell, the din of the devil, the yells of the Law, the shouts of sin are like so many whispers.<br />In the fourteenth chapter of Exodus the Lord addresses Moses at the Red Sea: “Wherefore criest thou unto me?” Moses had not cried unto the Lord. He trembled so he could hardly talk. His faith was at low ebb. He saw the people of Israel wedged between the Sea and the approaching armies of Pharaoh. How were they to escape? Moses did not know what to say. How then could God say that Moses was crying to Him? God heard the groaning heart of Moses and the groans to Him sounded like loud shouts for help. God is quick to catch the sigh of the heart.<br />Some have claimed that the saints are without infirmities. But Paul says: “The Spirit helpeth our infirmities, and maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” We need the help of the Holy Spirit because we are weak and infirm. And the Holy Spirit never disappoints us. Confronted by the armies of Pharaoh, retreat cut off by the waters of the Red Sea, Moses was in a bad spot. He felt himself to blame. The devil accused him: “These people will all perish, for they cannot escape. And you are to blame because you led the people out of Egypt. You started all this.” And then the people started in on Moses. “Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness” (Ex. 14:11, 12). But the Holy Ghost was in Moses and made intercession for him with unutterable groanings, sighings unto the Lord: “O Lord, at Thy commandment have I led forth this people. So help me now.”<br />The Spirit intercedes for us not in many words or long prayers, but with groanings, with little sounds like “Abba.” Small as this word is, it says ever so much. It says: “My Father, I am in great trouble and you seem so far away. But I know I am your child, because you are my Father for Christ’s sake. I am loved by you because of the Beloved.” This one little word “Abba” surpasses the eloquence of a Demosthenes and a Cicero.<br />Contextually, Luther is dealing with the doubts of believers in his commentary on Galatians. So how does he deal with these doubts? It appears Luther pointed out (at a minimum) the same three grounds which John Frame pointed out: the promises of Scripture that if a person trusts Christ alone he is saved; the sanctifying work of the Spirit in the life of the believer; and the witness of the Spirit causing us to cry, " Abba, Father!" .That said, correct me if I'm wrong, but my impression from modern Lutherans is not only did Luther move on from Luther (e.g. I believe the Galatians commentary was one of Luther's earlier works, c. 1520), but modern Lutherans have moved on from Luther as well.<br />Still, Reiss' words are a bit ironic in light of Luther's commentary on Galatians.<br />John Brown (1784–1858) on John 3:16<br />   Posted by: CalvinandCalvinism   in John 3:16<br />Brown:<br />b. The Pleas.<br />In support of this petition our Lord urges two pleas: the first, that it is by this unity of mind, will, aim, and operation, that the world is to be brought to believe and know that the Father had sent the Son; and the second, that this unity, with the effects to which it was sure to lead, was the great object why He had given his people the glory which the Father had given him.<br />With regard to the first of these pleas, let us inquire, first, What is the object our Lord contemplates as. to be served by this unity? and then, How this unity is fitted to gain this object. The object is, “that the world may be made to believe and know that the Father had sent the Son.” “The world,” here, as generally in the New Testament, means mankind; as when it is said, “God so loved the world, that He gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life;” “sent him not to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.” HYPERLINK " http://calvinandcalvinism.com/?p=5732" l " _ftn1_2899" 1 Though it is, and cannot but be, the will, the object of complacential regard to him whose nature as well as name is love, HYPERLINK " http://calvinandcalvinism.com/?p=5732" l " _ftn2_2899" 2 that all men should be “saved and come to the knowledge of the truth,” it is nowhere stated in the Scriptures that it is the purpose of God that all men shall be saved, by being made to know and believe that he hath sent his Son, and thus brought to receive his message, to embrace him as their Savior, and to become partakers of his salvation. On the contrary, we have abundant evidence that some men–many men–shall perish in, and for, their sin and unbelief.<br />But it is stated–very plainly stated–in Scripture, that it is the will of God that the gospel of the kingdom should be “preached to every creature under heaven;” and not only so, but also that it is his determination that vast multitudes of men, of all kindreds, and people, and tongues, and nations, shall be brought, through the faith of that gospel, into the possession of the blessings which it at once reveals and conveys; and that a period may be looked for when the great body of mankind living on the earth at the same time shall be brought to the knowledge and profession of the Christian faith, and to the enjoyment of the Christian salvation. It was distinctly promised that “in Abraham’s seed all the families of the earth were to be blessed;” HYPERLINK " http://calvinandcalvinism.com/?p=5732" l " _ftn3_2899" 3 that “to Shiloh was to be the gathering of the people,” HYPERLINK " http://calvinandcalvinism.com/?p=5732" l " _ftn4_2899" 4 and that” the nations”–the Gentiles–were to “rejoice with God’s people;” HYPERLINK " http://calvinandcalvinism.com/?p=5732" l " _ftn5_2899" 5 that” all the ends of the earth were to remember, and turn to the Lord, and all the kindreds of the nations should worship before him;” HYPERLINK " http://calvinandcalvinism.com/?p=5732" l " _ftn6_2899" 6 that” He should have dominion from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth;” that” all kings should fall down before him, and all nations should serve him;” that” men should be blessed in him, and all nations should call him blessed;” HYPERLINK " http://calvinandcalvinism.com/?p=5732" l " _ftn7_2899" 7 that “Jehovah’s name should be one over all the earth,” HYPERLINK " http://calvinandcalvinism.com/?p=5732" l " _ftn8_2899" 8 and that” the God of the whole earth should he be called;” HYPERLINK " http://calvinandcalvinism.com/?p=5732" l " _ftn9_2899" 9 that the Messiah should be a “light to lighten the Gentiles, and. Jehovah’s salvation to the end of the earth;”1 HYPERLINK " http://calvinandcalvinism.com/?p=5732" l " _ftn10_2899" 0 that “the glory of the Lord should be revealed, and that all flesh should see it together.”1 HYPERLINK " http://calvinandcalvinism.com/?p=5732" l " _ftn11_2899" 1 “The world’s knowing and believing that the Father had sent the Son” is just equivalent to ‘mankind enjoying eternal life in the knowledge of the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom he bas sent men experimentally” knowing God as the Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, blessing them with all heavenly and spiritual blessings in him.” This, then, is the object which our Lord contemplates as to be gained by the union of his church for which he prays, and which he employs as a plea with the Father, that this Union may be effected and’ maintained by his keeping and consecrating them.<br />John Brown, An Exposition of Our Lord’s Intercessory Prayer, (Edinburgh: William Oliphant and Co., 1866), 161-163. [Some spelling modernized; footnote values modified; and underlining mine.]<br />__________________________<br />1John iii. 16, 17.<br /> HYPERLINK " http://calvinandcalvinism.com/?p=5732" l " _ftnref2_2899" 2I Tim. ii. 3, 4; 1 John iv. 16.<br /> HYPERLINK " http://calvinandcalvinism.com/?p=5732" l " _ftnref3_2899" 3Gen. xxii. 18.<br /> HYPERLINK " http://calvinandcalvinism.com/?p=5732" l " _ftnref4_2899" 4Gen. xlix. 10.<br /> HYPERLINK " http://calvinandcalvinism.com/?p=5732" l " _ftnref5_2899" 5Deut. xxxii. 43.<br /> HYPERLINK " http://calvinandcalvinism.com/?p=5732" l " _ftnref6_2899" 6Ps. xxii. 27.<br /> HYPERLINK " http://calvinandcalvinism.com/?p=5732" l " _ftnref7_2899" 7Ps. lxm 8, 11, 17.<br /> HYPERLINK " http://calvinandcalvinism.com/?p=5732" l " _ftnref8_2899" 8Zech. xiv. 9.<br /> HYPERLINK " http://calvinandcalvinism.com/?p=5732" l " _ftnref9_2899" 9Isa. liv. 5.<br /> HYPERLINK " http://calvinandcalvinism.com/?p=5732" l " _ftnref10_2899" 10Isa. xlix. 6.<br /> HYPERLINK " http://calvinandcalvinism.com/?p=5732" l " _ftnref11_2899" 11Isa. xl. 5.<br />The reason unbelievers won't listen isn't because they lack attraction. The gospel is attractive. It is the pearl of great price. If they don't want to trade their earthly treasures for it, then offering an earthly treasure as an incentive isn't right. Jesus answered why believers don't get the gospel in Luke 13:24. They won't strive to enter through the narrow gate. They won't agonize (the Greek word for " strive" is agonizomai). Jesus didn't try to make the gospel more attractive or attract people to it, however you want to say it. He just preached it.<br />http://kentbrandenburg.blogspot.com/2010/02/should-we-use-good-things-to-attract.html<br />Seven Great Lessons from a Forgotten Faithful Pastor<br />Kevin DeYoung has a great post on Theodorus Jacobus Frelinghuysen, a little known Dutch Reformed pastor serving at the dawn of the great awakening.  I’ve only had the slightest taste of Frelinghuysen, but I’ve enjoyed what I’ve tasted.  This was a great introduction to the man and seven lessons from his ministry.  DeYoung writes:<br />Frelinghuysen, with his gifts and guffaws, has something to teach all of us, the conservative formalist, the liberal traditionalist, the passionless preacher, and the professional pugilist. Most of all, we ought to give thanks for this man used by God to light a spark that the Spirit fanned into the flames of the Great Awakening. As a pastor in the same denomination as Frelinghuysen, I am especially grateful for his commitment to Calvinist doctrine and evangelical proclamation. I encourage all Christians, especially those in the Dutch Reformed tradition, to listen to the forgotten voice of this neglected forerunner.<br />Here are the seven lessons:<br />1. Dead orthodoxy is deadly.<br />2. Tradition is a wonderful servant but a terrible master.<br />3. God blesses preaching that is scriptural, personal, and evangelical.<br />4. Do not neglect the third mark of the church.<br />5. Fear God, not people.<br />6. Doctrinal fidelity and evangelistic fervor do not have to be at odds.<br />7. Passion and courage are no excuses for a harsh spirit.<br />Read the entire article for the meat of these lessons and to get a sense of the man.<br />A Forgotten Voice<br />Theodorus Jacobus Frelinghuysen was born in 1691 in West Friesland and died in New Jersey in 1747. He received ordination in the Dutch Reformed Church at the age of twenty-six and served for two years in his native land. At twenty-eight he was approached by Classis Amsterdam to see if he was willing to take a church in Rarethans (Raritan). Frelinghuysen accepted, assuming Rarethans was in the Netherlands, but the Classis meant the Raritan Valley in New Jersey. Convicted by Psalm 15:4–“God honoureth them that fear the Lord. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not”–Frelinghuysen took the charge, misunderstanding and all, and moved to the New World.<br />From the beginning of his ministry in the Mid-Atlantics to his death, Frelinghuysen was controversial. He preached emotional sermons, prayed free prayers, practiced church discipline, and aimed squarely at the conversion of sinners. His messages were experiential, fruitful, and popular. He could also be an irascible fellow.<br />Three centuries later, he is remembered (if he is remembered at all) as the forerunner to the revivals that swept through America in the middle decades of the 18th century.<br />During the heyday of the Awakening, George Whitefield, the most celebrated preacher of his century, met Frelinghuysen and later wrote about the encounter in his Journals:<br />Among those who came to hear the Word were several ministers whom the Lord has been pleased to honour in making them instruments of bringing many sons to glory. One was a Dutch Calvinistic minister, named Freeling Housen, pastor of a congregation about four miles from New Brunswick. He is a worthy old soldier of Jesus Christ, and was the beginner of the great work which I trust the Lord is carrying on in these parts. He has been strongly opposed by his carnal brethren, but God has always appeared for him in a surprising manner, and made him more than conqueror, through his love. He has long since learnt to fear him only who can destroy both body and soul in hell.<br />Frelinghuysen’s influence was not confined to Whitefield. The Dutch preacher was instrumental in the ministry of Gilbert Tennent and highly respected by Jonathan Edwards as one who laid the evangelical groundwork for God’s blessing. Frelinghuysen was truly the “beginning of the great work.”<br />I’m no expert on Frelinghuysen, not even an amateur. But I’ve read just enough of his life and his sermons to spot several valuable lessons.<br />1. Dead orthodoxy is deadly. It can be hard for those who bemoan the atheological nature of today’s church (as I do) to admit it, but it’s true: orthodoxy can be dead, and when it dies it is deadly. Frelinghuysen encountered Reformed churches filled with self righteousness and empty formalism. They had the appearance of godliness, but knew not its power. His emphases on conversion and piety were not always welcome, but they were necessary. Let us not be so afraid of emtionalism and subjectivism that we mistake lifeless orthodoxy for faithfulness.<br />2. Tradition is a wonderful servant but a terrible master. Frelinghuysen followed the Three Forms of Unity. He often preached from and referenced the Heidelberg Catechism. He was, gladly, a confessional Calvinist. He believed in harnessing the power of tradition.<br />But he was not a slave to traditionalism. In objecting to Frelinghuysen’s insistence on using free prayers and his collaborating with other evangelicals, Classis Amsterdam hurrumphed, “We must be careful to do things in a Dutch way in our churches.” The Dutch leaders did not like his deviation from the liturgy, nor did they appreciate his enthusiasm and the subjective nature of his preaching. They wanted a Dutch preacher who stuck with the Dutch ways.<br />Frelinghuysen did not reject his Dutch Calvinism, but he wanted to do more than carry on a tradition. He wanted to preach the new birth. As such, he was willing to partner with those who shared his theological convictions and ministry goals, regardless of denominational attachment, ethnic or linguistic background, or social distinctions.<br />3. God blesses preaching that is scriptural, personal, and evangelical. Some sermons don’t translate well to the printed page, but Frelinghuysen’s still burst with life. When they are not catechetical, his sermons invariably work from a single text and pulse with numerous biblical allusions and references. He knew his Bible, trusted it implicitly, and preached from it explicitly.<br />Besides being scriptural, Frelinghuysen’s sermons are evangelical in the best sense of the word. Nearly every sermon I read dealt with the sinfulness of man, the holiness of God, the reality of heaven and hell, and the necessity of receiving the gospel and experiencing the new birth. This is preaching God can use. And did. More than 300 were converted under Frelinghuysen’s ministry.<br />His sermons were also intensely personal. I don’t mean Frelinghuysen used personal illustrations or got “authentic.” He did something better. He spoke directly to his hearers.  He wasn’t afraid to warn, plead, and cajole. For example:<br />Oh, that you could be aroused! Seek the Lord, I pray you, while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. For you cannot be assured of your life for a moment. Avail yourself, then, of the present moment. The Lord may be found right now, but you do not know how long that will last. Right now He invites you to come so that He may offer you His favor and grace. He stands with open arms and waits. Do not let this season of grace–the time in which He may be found–pass you by.<br />Does the preaching in your church (my church!) sound like this? Are we preaching the gospel to our people or merely explaining what the gospel is about? No amount of structural tinkering or missional activity can replace the personal, passionate, pleading of robust gospel preaching.<br />4. Do not neglect the third mark of the church. To the chagrin of nearly everyone, Frelinghuysen reintroduced the practice of church discipline. He set high standards for the Lord’s Table. The Supper was not a converting ordinance, but a meal for the truly regenerate. Following 1 Corinthians 5 and Matthew 18, Domine Frelinghuysen put unrepentant sinners out of the church, a practice that encouraged holiness and outraged many of his people.<br />5. Fear God, not people. Many of his contemporaries deeply despised Frelinghuysen. “I am the man everyone talks about,” he wrote about himself, “beloved by many, hated by many more.” Despite the onslaught of criticism and opposition, he pressed on with courage. His motto: “I seek not praise. I fear not blame.”<br />6. Doctrinal fidelity and evangelistic fervor do not have to be at odds. Frelinghuysen did not accept that head and heart had to pull in opposite directions. He embraced traditional Calvinist theology, utilized zealous frontier-style preaching, accepted confessional standards, and labored earnestly for conversions. He held together diverse inclinations that don’t have to be apart.<br />7. Passion and courage are no excuses for a harsh spirit. Like all heroes (save one), Frelinghuysen had his weaknesses. In fact, he probably had more than most. He was a hothead and seldom irenic. He was harsh toward his opponents and judgmental at times toward his congregation. His demand for a heart-experience kept from the Table some Christians who made a solid profession and were not living in immorality, but could not live up to Frelinghuysen’s subjective standards. Later in life, he became more aware of his character flaws and realized that some of the “persecution” was owing to his own prophetic bullheadedness. Likewise, he was sorry he had labeled so many of his colleagues “unconverted.”<br />Frelinghuysen, with his gifts and guffaws, has something to teach all of us, the conservative formalist, the liberal traditionalist, the passionless preacher, and the professional pugilist. Most of all, we ought to give thanks for this man used by God to light a spark that the Spirit fanned into the flames of the Great Awakening. As a pastor in the same denomination as Frelinghuysen, I am especially grateful for his commitment to Calvinist doctrine and evangelical proclamation. I encourage all Christians, especially those in the Dutch Reformed tradition, to listen to the forgotten voice of this neglected forerunner.<br />Tags: Great Awakening, History, Reformed<br />Seven Common Fallacies in Bible Interpretation<br />Yesterday, I offered a few words about reading the Scripture while avoiding to common problem of “what it means to me”.  Today, Parchment and Pen offers seven fallacies commonly encountered in interpreting Scripture.  Here’s his list:<br />1. Preunderstanding fallacy: Believing you can interpret with complete objectivity, not recognizing that you have preunderstandings that influence your interpretation.<br />2. Incidental fallacy: Reading incidental historical texts as prescriptive rather than descriptive.<br />3. Obscurity fallacy: Building theology from obscure material.<br />4. Etymological root fallacy: Looking to the root etymology of a word to discover its meaning.<br />5. Illegitimate totality transfer: Bringing the full meaning of a word with all its nuances to the present usage.<br />6. Selective use of meaning: Selecting the meaning you like best.<br />7. Maverick fallacy: Believing that you don’t need anyone but the Holy Spirit to interpret the text.<br />Read the entire post for more explanation and examples.<br />Categories: Bible study <br />Seven Common Fallacies of Biblical Interpretation<br />~ C Michael Patton ~<br />1. Preunderstanding fallacy: Believing you can interpret with complete objectivity, not recognizing that you have preunderstandings that influence your interpretation.<br />There is no such thing as a “white-coat” interpreter. In other words, there is no one who comes to the text as a scientist who objectively interprets the data. We all are influences by many things including our upbringing, culture, personality, and others preunderstandings. Once we recognize this, we are better equipped to interpret the text honesty. Otherwise, our preunderstanding will always rule over our interpretation.<br />2. Incidental fallacy: Reading incidental historical texts as prescriptive rather than descriptive.<br />While the Bible teaches us truths, not every incidental detail is meant to teach these truths. Much of the Bible is made up of information that is important to the overall story, but is not important in isolation to the rest. We must understand the difference between ”prescriptive” and “descriptive” material.  Prescriptive: information that provides the reader with principles that they are to apply to their lives. Descriptive: incidental material that describes the way something was done but is not necessarily meant to encourage the reader in the same action. A good example of this is the Apostles casting lots to elect a new Apostle to replace Judas in Acts 1. This is not mean to teach us how to elect church leaders, it is just the way it was done at that time.<br />3. Obscurity fallacy: Building theology from obscure material.<br />Much of the Bible is very clear and understandable. Some of it is very difficult to understand. Do not build theology and doctrine from passages of Scripture that are not clear. For example, it is very difficult to understand what Christ was talking about in John 3:5 where He mentions being “born of water.” “Jesus answered, ‘I tell you the solemn truth, unless a person is born of water and spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.’” Because of its obscurity, one should not build a theology that places too much weight on what being “born of water” means. The Bible speaks clearly on many issues concerning salvation in other places. It is best to take the obscure passages and interpret them in light of the clear passages. In doing so, the interpreter can create an interpretive framework upon what these obscure passages cannot mean, even if discovery cannot be made with certainly about what they, in fact, do mean.<br />Obscure passages can be the most dangerous teachings in Scripture. Sadly, it is often the case that many people and traditions take obscure passages and pack their theology into them since there is no definitive way to say that they are wrong in their interpretation. This is a common fallacy committed among “Christian” cults. In other words, there simply is no more fertile ground for cults and false teaching than obscure passages of the Bible. <br />4. Etymological root fallacy: Looking to the root etymology of a word to discover its meaning.<br />The problem with this is that etymology can often be deceiving, such as in the English word “butterfly” taken from “butter” and “fly.” An etymological study of this word only confuses the current usage. The same can be said of the word “good-bye,” which is taken from the Anglo-Saxon, “God be with you.” When someone says “good-bye,” it does not necessarily (if ever) mean that they are calling a blessing of God’s presence to be with you.<br />From D.A. Carson’s Exegetical Fallacies:<br />“One of the most enduring fallacies, the root fallacy presupposes that every word actually has a meaning bound up with its shape or its components. In this view, meaning is determined by etymology; that is by the roots of a word.  How many times have we been told that because the verbal cognate of apostolos (apostle) is apostello (I send), the root meaning of “apostle” is “one who is sent.”?  In the preface of the New King James Bible, we are told that the literal meaning of monogenes is “only begotten.”  Is that true?  How often do preachers refer to the verb agapao (to love), contrast it with phileo (to love) and deduce that the text is saying something about a special kind of loving, for no other reason than that agapao is used?<br />All of this is linguistic nonsense.  We might have guessed as much if we were more acquainted with the etymology of English words. Anthony C. Thistleton offers by way of example our word nice, which comes from the Latin nescius, meaning “ignorant.”  Our “good-by” is a contraction for Anglo-Saxon “God be with you.”  Now it may be possible to trace out diachronically just how nesciusnice”; it is certainly easy to imagine how “God be with you” came to be “good-by.”  But I know of no one today who in saying that such and such a person is “nice”  believes that he or she has in some measure labeled that person ignorant because the “root meaning” or “hidden meaning” or “literal meaning” of “nice” is ‘ignorant’.”<br />5. Illegitimate totality transfer: Bringing the full meaning of a word with all its nuances to the present usage.<br />Take the Greek verb phileo. The UBS dictionary of the Greek New Testament lists these possible meanings: have deep feeling for; love; like (to do or be something); kiss. Some interpreters would commit an ITT by using all of the nuances that the word phileo has when, in fact, it usually only carries one meaning that is determined by the context.<br />6. Selective use of meaning: Selecting the meaning you like best.<br />This is like the illegitimate totality transfer in reverse. Instead of the word carrying all the possible nuances, the interpreter will select which nuance he or she likes best. We must remember that the context determines the nuance, not the interpreter.<br />7. Maverick fallacy: Believing that you don’t need anyone but the Holy Spirit to interpret the text.<br />This is a common fallacy among Evangelicals and Fundamentalists who believe that the Holy Spirit works in isolation from the community of God, both living and dead. Here, people believe that the Holy Spirit reveals the meaning of text to the individual as he or she attempts to discern the voice of God coming through the Scriptures, irregardless of what the historic body of Christ has said. The basic problem with this fallacy is that God has always worked in community as the Body of Christ functions together. God most certainly expects the interpreter to draw from other people’s giftedness since we don’t possess all the gifts ourselves. Ultimately, this is a fallacy of arrogance. Use outside resources and you will be discovering the power of the Holy Spirit in the community of God. Work alone and you are probably working in your own power.<br />Donald Whitney (this series of posts is derived from his book Spiritual Disciplines of the Christian Life) writes: <br />“Discipline without direction is drudgery. But the Spiritual disciplines are never drudgery as long as we practice them with the goal of Godliness in mind. If your picture of a disciplined Christian is one of a grim, tight-lipped, joyless, half-robot, then you’ve missed the point. Jesus was the most disciplined Man who ever lived and yet the most joyful and passionately alive. He is our Example of discipline. Let us follow Him to joy through the spiritual disciplines.”<br /> HYPERLINK " http://feedproxy.google.com/%7Er/typepad/sethsmainblog/%7E3/tNfR4_3k5Bg/when-i-want-your-opinion-ill-ask-for-it.html" " _blank" When I want your opinion, I'll ask for it<br />from Seth's Blog by Seth Godin<br />7 people liked this<br />Too many people, when asked for their opinion, dissemble. Instead of giving an opinion, they push back. They ask,<br />What do you think?<br />Did you do any research?<br />Can we do a focus group?<br />What did Will say?<br />There's a typo on page three<br />How long do we have to study this?<br />Can we form a committee?<br />This is the work of the resistance. This is your lizard brain, hiding. It feels safe. It's not.<br />You're an expert. If nothing else, you're an expert on life, on your opinion, on being a consumer. When I ask you for your opinion I'm not asking you for the right answer. I'm asking you for your opinion.<br />http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2010/02/golden-age.html below Phil Johnson<br /><br />But here's the main point: The faith that sees the hand of God in the natural outworking of divine providence (and understands that God is sovereign over every detail of everything that happens) is not a lesser faith than the kind of belief that can only see God at work when He intervenes in spectacular, supernatural, and miraculous ways.<br />

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