Notable & Newsworthy

Here are the links and stories for the day…

Get Geerhardus Vos’ “Redemptive History and Biblical Theology: The Shorter Writings of Geerhardus Vos” and “Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments” for 43% OFF at Westminster Bookstore

Get William Edgar’s “A Transforming Vision: The Lord’s Prayer as a Lens for Life” for up to 67% OFF at Westminster Bookstore

Download R.C. Sproul’s “5 Things Every Christian Needs to Grow” for FREE from Reformation Trust and Ligonier Ministries

Enter to win The Complete Sermon Collection of Charles Spurgeon (63-Volumes) for Logos Bible Software from Adrian Warnock

Get Russell Moore’s “Same-Sex Marriage and the Future” for FREE from the ERLC

Enter to win an iPad Mini and a couple of books from 20 Schemes

Enter to win a Cloth Over Board ESV Reader’s Bible from Crossway

Get Thomas Schreiner’s “Interpreting the Pauline Epistles” for only $4.39 for Amazon Kindle

Get Walter Brueggemann’s “Spirituality of the Psalms” for FREE for Logos Bible Software and enter to win the 24-volume collection

Enter to win a subscription to Leadership Journal from The Brave Reviews

Ed Stetzer with 3 ways to avoid feeling attacked by criticism

J.V. Fesko with a biblical and historical answer to the question, “Is the Pope the Antichrist?”

“Through our wretched apostasy from God, our mind is become the seat and habitation of all vanity, disorder and confusion.” (John Owen)

“If faith wavers, charity itself languishes. And if someone should fall from faith, it follows that he falls also from charity, for a man cannot love that which he does not believe to exist.” (Augustine)

Please visit the other pages on this site (listed above in the tabs) for more information. There are book recommendations and articles on a wide variety of topics across the various disciplines (Exegetical Theology, Pastoral Theology, etc.)—enjoy!

John Owen Kindle Sale

All five volumes of John Owen’s writings published by Christian Focus Publications is currently on sale for Amazon Kindle. Click the link or image below to be redirected…

 

For more on this subject, please visit the Systematic Theology page.

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A Reader’s Review of The Gospel Call and True Conversion

Approximately eight years ago, I was travelling from Atlanta to Chattanooga to do some street evangelism with some friends from church. I had never been involved with evangelism (and quite frankly, I am not fully convinced that I was truly converted at this time), but I thought it would be a good opportunity to serve the church and assist my friends in their ministry. On the way to the church camp in North Georgia that we were partnering with, we listened to a conference message by Paul Washer that has been dubbed “Shocking Youth Message”. I don’t remember the specific details of the car ride, but I do recall experiencing an acute sense of my own depravity and conviction of sin. This was my introduction to the ministry of Paul Washer and since then I have listened to many of his sermons and even read a book or two that he wrote.

Cross Focused Reviews has once again provided me with the opportunity to review a book by one of my favorite authors/preachers… “The Gospel Call & True Conversion” by Paul Washer.

This particular book is the second in the “Recovering the Gospel” series (the first being “The Gospel’s Power and Message”) and it aims to do just that. The gospel has been assumed, neglected, and even forgotten in our time and the purpose of this series is to restore a biblical understanding of the good news and “recover” it from contemporary mutations and distortions. Here is the series description:

“Although the Recovering the Gospel Series does not represent an entirely systematic presentation of the gospel, it does address most of the essential elements, especially those that are most neglected in contemporary Christianity. It is the hope of the author that these words might be a guide to help you rediscover the gospel in all its beauty, scandal, and saving power. It is his prayer that such a rediscovery might transform your life, strengthen your proclamation, and bring the greatest glory to God.”

The book has three parts: “The Gospel Call”, “New Hearts and the Nature of True Conversion”, and “New People and the Nature of True Conversion”. These units are comprised of a selection of Washer’s sermons.

In the first section, the author describes the biblical teaching on the “double-sided coin” of conversion… repentance and faith. He properly explains repentance as a “change of mind” (pp. 5–8), points out that it involves “sorrow for sin” (pp. 8–10) and a “personal acknowledgment and confession of sin” (pp. 10–11) as well as a “turning away from sin” (pp. 11–13), the “renunciation of works” (pp. 13–16), and “turning to God in obedient submission” (pp. 16–18). Biblical repentance also includes a life marked by “practical obedience” (pp. 18–19), and a “continuing and deepening work of repentance” (pp. 19–21). Next, Washer explains what true saving faith is. He explains that it is essentially trusting in the finished work of Christ alone, by the grace of God alone (to exclude boasting), to the glory of God alone. The author takes to task the modern evangelical traditions of “the sinner’s prayer” and “making a decision for Christ” (ch. 3–4) and finishes the unit by deconstructing a common misinterpretation of Revelation 3:20 (ch. 5).

Washer dedicates the second part to the biblical doctrine of regeneration. He explains the motive (the love of God) and end (the glory of God) in salvation (ch. 6), shows that God is both the author, sustainer, and perfecter of saving faith (ch. 7), and that sanctification (separation and cleansing) is a necessary result of justification (the legal declaration of righteousness by God upon a sinner through faith in Jesus) for those who have been adopted by the heavenly Father (ch. 8). If there is one thing about this book that I am most grateful for… it is this section. Regeneration (i.e. the new birth… being “born again”) is one of the most distorted elements of salvation that is in dire need of being “recovered”. Building upon the previous unit where he refutes the unbiblical teaching of “decisionism” (in which a person is “saved” by making a “decision” for Christ), he explains the Scriptural doctrine of divine monergism. The Bible clearly teaches that because of his sinful nature, man is separated from God and his will is in bondage to sin. Because of this depravity and enmity towards God, man is not able or willing to come to God on His terms and will not seek Him or submit to His will. Salvation is of the Lord, and the only way a sinner comes to salvation by faith in Christ is by the grace of God alone… in drawing them by His Spirit and giving them new life. One cannot seek God or believe in Christ for salvation unless they have been “born from above” by the Spirit (ch. 9–10).

Part three is about the new covenant community of God. The author devotes this section to helping the reader understand some differences between the old covenant and the new covenant. He writes:

“In the old covenant, God called a physical nation descended from Abraham to be His people, but within that great multitude of individuals, only a small number of them were truly regenerate and believing. The rest were unregenerate and carnal, and are now suffering eternal perdition. In the new covenant, God is calling forth a spiritual nation made up of Jews and Gentiles, and all of them are regenerate and believing. There is not a godly remnant in the true church; that true church is the godly remnant.” (p. 121)

Washer continues by describing the new covenant prophecies of the Old Testament and their fulfillment in Jesus Christ:

“Through the atoning work of Christ and the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, God has made for Himself a new people. He has taken out their heart of stone and replaced it with a heart of living flesh. He has recreated them to be a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession; a people who will proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called them out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (p. 129)

The author seeks to correct unbiblical notions of ecclesiology (the doctrine of the church) and dispels contemporary accusations against the body of Christ (ch. 12), he addresses the importance of the knowledge of God in the revelation of Jesus (ch. 13), and explains division and unity within the visible church (ch. 14). Washer closes out the book by teaching about God’s covenant faithfulness and the unrelenting lovingkindness He has towards His covenant people (ch. 15)… the covenant He has with the saints is everlasting and as a perfectly faithful God, His promises to them will and must come to pass. Believers stand on the covenant promises of our Lord and trust that all things work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose… He has begun a good work in each one of us, and He will continue to work effectually in us until the return of Christ when we will be made like Him (ch. 16).

Overall, I thought this was a pretty good book. Since it is a compilation of sermons, there are times when the book does not necessarily flow from one thought to the next, but the content is great. I would have liked to see an index with references, but nonetheless, this book is saturated with Scripture throughout and along with presenting sound biblical doctrine, it accurately defends orthodox Christianity while dismissing common contemporary misconceptions and false teachings.

For more on this subject, visit HeartCry Missionary Society.

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Effective December 1, 2009, Federal Trade Commission guidelines state that bloggers receiving any kind of compensation should disclose that information clearly on their blog when posting a review of the product… that being said: I RECEIVED A FREE COPY OF THE BOOK.

Justification

JUSTIFICATION

“Justification in its essence is a legal or forensic term, a term that belongs to the realm of the Law Court. It means ‘to declare just,’ and ‘to declare righteous.’ It is the opposite of condemnation. The Christian has moved from a state of ‘condemnation’ to one of ‘justification’… we do not justify ourselves before God. God justifies us… entirely apart from us and our works. It is not the result of any merit that is in us.” (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones)

For more on this subject, please visit the Systematic Theology page.

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Faith Alone

FAITH ALONE

“To have the status of ‘righteous’ conferred upon oneself is quite amazing. When a judge declares a person innocent, it simply means he is not guilty of breaking the law. But if a judge declares a person righteous, it means that not only is he innocent of breaking the law but that he has also fulfilled the requirement of the law… By justification, a sinner is accepted as righteous, not just for one part of the law, but for the whole law—every single commandment, every single jot and tittle. He is counted as one who has kept every dimension of every law… The only means by which Christ’s perfect work is received is by faith alone—sola fide. We have no other embassy of peace to find shelter from the just wrath of God save for the perfect righteousness and suffering of Christ; and there is no other bridge between man and Christ but faith alone.” (J.V. Fesko)

For more on this subject, visit Ligonier Ministries.

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The Nature of Saving Faith

LORDSHIP AND THE NATURE OF SAVING FAITH

“We must properly distinguish between justifying faith and spurious faith… The consequences of remaining in deception are too enormous to neglect self-examination. There is a faith which will not save, and men must be warned of its fatal consequences. We are justified by faith alone, but true faith has distinguishing traits… This saving belief is in the whole Christ, the Christ of the Bible—the only Mediator who right now is Prophet, Priest and King of His church… This saving faith must reach the whole man. It must reach his mind—that is what he thinks with. It must reach his emotions, or affections—that is what he feels with. It must reach his will—that is what he decides with and acts with.” (Ernest Reisinger)

For more on this subject, visit Founders Ministries.

 

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The Foolishness of the Gospel

THE FOOLISHNESS OF THE GOSPEL

“Man’s part is only as the recipient of a gift, planned, purchased and provided by Divine initiative and action alone. When a sinner stands in the judgment, his only hope of salvation is found in the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ, imputed to him apart from any human effort or work. Justification is not the result of man’s co-operation with the grace of God; it is rather a result of divine initiative. It is reliance on Jesus Christ alone for salvation, by faith alone obtaining salvation. We receive the imputation of Christ’s righteousness, his holy obedience to the Law of God, in utter dependence upon his sacrifice for our sins made at Calvary.” (Jim Renihan)

For more on this subject, visit The Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies.

 

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Reformation Essentials

REFORMATION ESSENTIALS

“According to Scripture, God declares a person righteous before that person actually begins to become righteous. Therefore, the declaration is not in response to any spiritual or moral advances within the individual, but is an imputation of the perfect righteousness that God immediately requires of everyone who is united to Christ by faith alone. When a person trusts Christ, that very moment he or she is clothed in his perfect holiness, so that even though the believer is still sinful, he or she is judged by God as blameless.” (Michael Horton)

For more on this subject, visit Modern Reformation.

 

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Faith Defined and Explained

FAITH DEFINED AND EXPLAINED

“We must remember that there is a permanent relationship between faith and the Word. We could not separate one from the other any more than we could separate the rays of the sun from which they come… the same Word is the basis whereby faith is supported and sustained; if it turns away from the Word, it falls. Therefore, take away the Word and no faith will then remain… we shall possess a right definition of faith if we call it a firm and certain knowledge of God’s benevolence toward us, founded upon the truth of the freely given promise in Christ, both revealed to our minds and sealed upon our hearts through the Holy Spirit.” (John Calvin)

For more on this subject, please visit the Systematic Theology page.

 

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The Doctrine of Justification

THE DOCTRINE OF JUSTIFICATION

“There was a time, not so long ago, when the blessed truth of justification was one of the best known doctrines of the Christian faith, when it was regularly expounded by the preachers, and when the rank and file of church-goers were familiar with its leading aspects. But now, alas, a generation has arisen which is well-nigh totally ignorant of this precious theme, for with very rare exceptions it is no longer given a place in the pulpit, nor is scarcely anything written thereon in the religious magazines of our day; and, in consequence, comparatively few understand what the term itself connotes, still less are they clear as to the ground on which God justifies the ungodly… This blessed doctrine supplies the grand divine cordial to revive one whose soul is cast down and whose conscience is distressed by a felt sense of sin and guilt, and longs to know the way and means whereby he may obtain acceptance with God and the title unto the Heavenly inheritance. To one who is deeply convinced that he has been a life-long rebel against God, a constant transgressor of His holy law, and who realizes he is justly under His condemnation and wrath, no inquiry can be of such deep interest and pressing moment as that which relates to the means of restoring him to the divine favour, remitting his sins, and fitting him to stand unabashed in the divine presence: till this vital point has been cleared to the satisfaction of his heart, all other information concerning religion will be quite unavailing.” (A.W. Pink)

For more on this subject, please visit the Systematic Theology page.

 

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