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!

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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.

Covenant of Grace

COVENANT OF GRACE

“The origin of the covenant of grace was the unparalleled, incomprehensible love of God to sinners of the human race. The obstacles in the way of accomplishing the salvation of those, whose death was demanded by law and justice, were apparently insuperable. It may be presumed, that if the problem, how God could be just and yet justify the ungodly, had been proposed to a conclave of the brightest angels in heaven, they could not have worked out a satisfactory answer: it would have baffled their utmost intellectual efforts. That God cannot cease to treat his creatures according to the principles of eternal justice is most evident; and that justice required that the sinner should suffer, according to his demerit, is equally evident. Where, then, is there any foundation for hope in regard to those who have once transgressed? And not only the justice, but the truth of God stood in the way of the sinner’s salvation. God had threatened the penalty of death, interminable death; and the Ruler of the universe must maintain the truth of his word, as it respects his threatenings as well as his promises… But that which could not be discovered by the wisdom of creatures, was devised by the infinite wisdom of God. In the counsels of the adorable Trinity the plan was agreed upon. Between the Father and the Son, a transaction took place, which may strictly be termed a covenant, for, speaking after the manner of men, there were mutual stipulations entered into between the high contracting parties.” (Archibald Alexander)

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

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Glorious Grace

GLORIOUS GRACE

“Every circumstance of the gospel, grace surprisingly heightens it; let us look on what part we will, we shall see enough to fill us and all the angels in heaven with admiration forever. If we consider it as the grace of God the Father, and consider his greatness, his holiness, his power and justice, immensity and eternity; if we diligently consider how great a being he is, who took such pity and compassion on mankind, it is enough to astonish us. Or, if we consider ourselves, on whom this great God has bestowed this grace, we are nothing but worms, yea less than worms, before God; and not only so, but sinful worms, worms swollen with enmity against God. If we consider him by whom we receive [grace], the Son of God who made heaven and, by his almighty power, [is] equal with the Father; if we consider the greatness of what he did–he died most ignominously and painfully in our nature–it all infinitely heightens the grace of the gospel.” (Jonathan Edwards)

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

Born Again

BORN AGAIN

“Whereas the Word of God commands us to be born again, it also explains to us that it is God Himself who has caused us to be born again. What is more, our rebirth is not an end in and of itself. By causing us to be born again, our gracious God has instilled within us a ‘living hope.’ And so to answer the objection of those who assert that God is not fair in causing some to be born again while leaving others to their own, depraved conditions, I reply simply by saying that if God were to be just with us, we would suffer a most miserable eternity as agents of His wrath. However, because of His great love for us, He has spared us from His wrath. And not only that, He has awakened us from our rebellious slumber to a living hope through the resurrection of Christ—a hope that does not disappoint. Indeed, the hope that we have is not like the fleeting, wishful desires of the world; on the contrary, our hope is sure, for it is founded upon the promises of the God of all creation who has adopted us as His children and has provided for us an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading.” (Burk Parsons)

For more on this subject, visit Ligonier Ministries.

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Of Election to Everlasting Life

OF ELECTION TO EVERLASTING LIFE

“Election is altogether free, without any moving cause, but God’s mere good pleasure. No reason can be found for this but only in the bosom of God. There is nothing before, or above, or without his purpose, that can be pitched upon as the cause of all that grace and goodness that he bestows upon his chosen ones. There was no merit or motive in them… His choice is antecedent to ours. The persons who are singled out to be the objects of his special grace, were a part of lost mankind, the same by nature with others who were passed by, and left to perish in their sin. When God had all Adam’s numerous progeny under the view of his all-seeing eye, he chose some, and passed by others. He found nothing in the creature to cast the balance of his choice, or to determine it to one more than another. Those that were rejected were as eligible as those that were chosen. They were all his creatures, and all alike obnoxious to his wrath by sin. It was grace alone that made the difference.” (Thomas Boston)

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

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The Experience of God’s Free Grace

THE EXPERIENCE OF GOD’S FREE GRACE

“An appreciation of the sovereignty of God in salvation results in humility. From evangelical humiliation come two essential attributes, namely, the fear of God and a humble, contrite mind. The fear of the Lord receives little if any attention in evangelical circles today. We still have the phrase ‘a God-fearing man’, although it is not used as much as it used to be. The fear of God lies at the very heart of true Christianity. Both Old and New Testaments speak much of this fear. Indeed, there are hundreds of direct or indirect references to this matter in Scripture… Free grace causes us to leave every reliance upon ourselves or dependence on what we have done and to look to the Lord alone to save us… Appreciation of free grace is the source of intense joy, a joy which inspires profound worship… The fruit of the experience of free grace is love, worship, gratitude, humility, joy, dedication, zeal, meekness, gentleness and compassion towards others. Those who deeply appreciate that they have received so much so freely are the most thankful to God and the most ready to seek the good of others.” (Errol Hulse)

For more on the subject, visit Reformation Today.

 

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Union with Christ, Justification, and Regeneration

UNION WITH CHRIST, JUSTIFICATION, AND REGENERATION

“The special work of the Spirit is to apply the benefits of Christ’s mediation to the elect. There is a strict correspondence between Christ’s work and the Spirit’s work. For this reason, regeneration must never be considered apart from Christ; positively stated, regeneration must always be understood in relation to union with Christ… The risen Savior first apprehends the elect and makes them alive by His Spirit operating as the Spirit of Christ, so they can receive from Christ all the benefits of the work He accomplished on their behalf, as their mediator. Faith is only possible because Christ, through the Spirit, has joined Himself to the sinner. In response, the sinner exercises faith toward Christ, as an effect of regeneration. With the union complete, the sinner receives from Christ everything that Christ merited, including justification, adoption, and sanctification.” (Joel Beeke)

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

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Monday with Manton

MAN’S CONDITION WITH RESPECT TO THE GOSPEL

“There must be not only light in the mind, but the heart must be moved; and that not a little stirred, but changed, fashioned anew, born again. And because generation supposeth a previous disposition in the matter, not only is it called ‘regeneration,’ but the term ‘resurrection’ is used, in which the matter is wholly unprepared. But yet because still here is matter to work upon, therefore it is called creation, which was a making all things out of nothing. God works faith where there is no faith, and repentance where was no repentance; ‘and calleth the things that are not as though they were.’ But now because sin makes us worse than nothing, and as in creation, as there was nothing to help, so there was nothing to resist and hinder, therefore it is expressed by victory; implying the opposition of God’s work, and the resistance that there is in the heart of man till it be overpowered by grace.” (Thomas Manton)

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

 

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