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"Amillennialism 101" -- Audio and On-Line Resources

 

Living in Light of Two Ages

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Sunday
Apr152018

"Wasted Is Nineveh" -- Nahum 1:12-3:19

Here's the audio from this morning's sermon on the Minor Prophets from the Book of Nahum

 

Sunday
Apr152018

This Week's White Horse Inn

Applying the Gospel to Our Relationships

On this program, the hosts resume their verse by verse discussion of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, picking up midway through chapter 5. The focus of the conversation centers around Paul’s discussion of the relationship between husbands and wives, as an analogy of Christ’s relationship to his church. Once again, the practical imperatives are grounded in gospel indicatives.

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Thursday
Apr122018

"Children in the Hands of the Arminians" (Part Four)

Here is the fourth and final part of B. B. Warfield's "Review" of The Child as God's Child, by Rev. Charles W. Rishell, Ph.D., Professor of Historical Theology in Boston University School of Theology. New York: Eaton & Mains. Cincinnati: Jennings & Graham (1904). 

Warfield's review of Rishell's book was originally published in Vol. xvii of the Union Seminary Magazine, 1904.  Warfield entitled his review, "Children in the Hands of the Arminians."

To read the previous posts in this series, go here: Children in the Hands of the Arminians -- Part One, and  Children in the Hands of the Children --  Part Two and Children in the Hands of the Arminians -- Part Three.

Warfield concludes his review.

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Warfield zeroes in upon Rishell's unsupported assertion that proper Christian training from infancy will itself be sufficient to prevent the mature Christian from falling into the "evils of an unbridled appetite."  Born saved, they just need to be taught to "stay saved."  As Warfield sees it, this is another Pelagianizing assumption made by Rishell which cannot go unchallenged.

The very ideal of the Christian life as well as of Christian training suffers in consequence. Dr. Rishell sums up his appeal at the close of his volume, in some very beautiful words. "So to train a human being from infancy to maturity," he says, "as that he will never fall into the evils of an unbridled appetite; that he will lead a clean, pure, helpful life; that he will find in the service of God and the service of his fellow-man his chief joy; that he will gladly take his place by the side of Christ in the saving of other human beings - this is worth while." It certainly would be worth while. Can it be done? That is, not indeed the question, but a very important question.

In effect, what Rishell is asking Christian parents and their churches to do is to raise up the next generation of "rich, young rulers" (cf. Matthew 19:16-30).  Perhaps, Dr. Rishell has not realized what he is seeking.  Maybe he has--only his Arminian assumptions about human ability (will worship) prevent him from connecting the dots.  Warfield connects them for him. 

The question is whether, when it is done, all is done; or, indeed, in the deepest sense of the word, anything is done. We have been told of one for whom as nearly, probably, as in the case of any one who has lived on the earth, all this was done. The note of his character was expressed in the great declaration, "All these things" - all the things commanded by the law of God - "have I obeyed from my youth up." When he saw Jesus, with the natural impulse of one so trained and so richly endowed, he wished to take his place by His side: "Good Master," he called Him, and fell on his knees at His feet. "And Jesus, looking upon him, loved him." Surely here, if anywhere, may be found Dr. Rishell's well-trained youth.

If Rishell is correct, that such a child raised to maturity will "never fall into the evils of an unbridled appetite; that he will lead a clean, pure, helpful life; that he will find in the service of God and the service of his fellow-man his chief joy; that he will gladly take his place by the side of Christ in the saving of other human beings," then Rishell is denying any necessity of the work of the Holy Spirit in applying God's saving grace to the whole of the Christian's existence--especially in regard to the matter of the creation of the faith which justifies, and which leads to sanctification.

Says Rishell, just give children the right instruction--moral instruction at that--and they'll be right beside Jesus.  This might be a comforting image for nominally Christian parents, but it is not a comfort to a parent who understands that their children were born into the same original sin and guilt as were their parents.

Warfield takes up the blindness of the rich young ruler to what should have been obvious.  If the truth were told, the young ruler had not kept the commandments even for one moment (cf. James 2:10), let alone obeyed sufficiently over the course of his life!  Warfield makes this point, and then pounces,

Was there nothing lacking in his case? According to the judgment of our Lord, everything was lacking. Seeing him, and seeing his lack, seeing how difficult it was for him to perceive what he lacked and how impossible for him to supply it, our Lord was moved to deliver His great discourse on the human impossibility of salvation. And by this example we may see that Dr. Rishell's program of training for youth lacks everything to this point.

Because Rishell overlooks this embarrassing, but truly significant biblical point, he misses  what Christian children actually need--the law and the gospel in their proper relationship as set forth, for example, in the Heidelberg Catechism under the headings of guilt, grace, gratitude (Q & A  1 and 2).  Without the gospel--because, as Rishell assumes, children come into the world already saved until they "unsave themselves"--Christian children will never know the joy of being delivered from that sin into which they were born, despite Rishell's assumption to the contrary. 

By this time, Warfield's frustration is papable.

What is lacking in it is the whole evangelical note. There is lacking all sense of the joy of redemption from sin. What will Dr. Rishell make of the great declaration, "Verily I say unto you, there is more joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth than over ninety and nine just persons who need no repentance?" Where in his whole scheme is there place for the joy of believing? Where for the fervour of love? Where for the inextinguishable bliss of redemption? Worth while so to train a child that he will "never fall into the evils of unbridled appetite"? Worth while to teach a child to live a clean life? Worth while to train a child to zeal in religious and humanitarian activity? Of course it is worth while. But there are some things that are much more worth while than these, great things as these are.

Christian ethics are surely important.  But the moral life is not properly the "Christian life."  The Christian life is a war waged upon personal and indwelling sin in which the Holy Spirit bears his fruit (Galatians 5:16-25).  Children need to understand this inward struggle, and become confident of God's methods and aid in dealing with it.  It is God who breaks the power of sin and molds his people into the image of Christ.  This requires much more than training already saved children in the basics of Christian ethics.  This requires a Christ-centered gospel anchored in the grace and mercy of the Savior who loves sinners (including and perhaps especially children).

It is much more worth while to train a child to recognize the sinfulness of his heart and the amazing deceit and subtlety of its sinful movements. It is much more worth while to teach him to contemplate with ceaseless wonder the unspeakable love of God in the gift of his only begotten Son as a sacrifice for the sin of the world. It is much more worth while to lead him to this Savior's feet in humble trust in His blood and righteousness. It is much more worth while to implant within his soul a longing for the gift of the Spirit by whom, being born anew, he is led onward in the holy walk with God his Savior. Oh, certainly it is worth while to teach a child that he ought to be good; and to train him in good thoughts and good words and good deeds. But it is infinitely better worth while to teach him how he can become good.

To do this, Christian parents need a gospel which can deal with human sinfulness.  A rosy and hopelessly naive notion that are children are born "safe" if not "already saved" misses the mark.  What children need is Jesus--the Savior of sinners.

And no more now than at any other period of the world's life is there any other dynamic for goodness than just Jesus Christ. Now, too, as ever the great principle holds good, "Not out of works, but unto good works which God has afore-prepared that we should walk in them." "The frozen reason's colder part" - there may be some mild pleasure in that, surely; but "the joy of salvation" - nothing can take the place of that in any heart, young or old. Of course, if children do not need saving, there can be no need of bringing them to Jesus; or of teaching them to trust humbly in Jesus. Jesus in that case is not "Jesus" to them: for "they called His name Jesus because He should save His people from their sins." Only, we wonder then, why He took the little children in His arms and said, "Of such is the kingdom of heaven." And, then, these little children grow up; and did any one ever see one who had grown up and had no need of Jesus - not as one to whose side he might come to help Him save the world, but as One to whose feet he might flee to receive from Him the salvation of the soul?

When all has been said, Warfield can only lament the real impact of Rishell's program if ever implemented.  Yes, children will learn good things if Rishell's plan were implemented.  But they will learn the essential thing--they are sinners who need a Savior?  Sadly, not likely.

It is a sad thing if there are any Christian parents anywhere who fail in their duty to give their children a full and rich religious training; we have to learn religion as we have to learn anything else It would be an infinitely sadder thing if any Christian parents anywhere should teach their children that they do not need salvation, and do not need to seek it diligently, and when they have found it to sell all that they have and purchase it.

The Children in the Hands of the Arminians
by Rev. B. B. WARFIELD

Professor in the Theological Seminary at Princeton

Thursday
Apr122018

Apologetics in a Post Christian Age (Audio) -- God's Revelation (Part Two)

Here's the audio from our Wednesday night Bible Study:  Is Supernatural Revelation Even Possible?

Previous lectures in this series can be found here (scroll down): Apologetics in a Post Christian Age

Wednesday
Apr112018

J. S. Bach's Lutheranism

A great essay on Bach's Lutheranism--from the New York Times of all places:

Bach -- The Lutheran

(h.t. Rod Rosenbladt)

 

Wednesday
Apr112018

"Found in Him" -- Philippians 3:1-11

The Sixth in a Series of Sermons on Paul's Letter to the Philippians

One writer says that “chapter 3 of Philippians is without dispute a singularly powerful passage–a foundational building block for theology and a true classic of Christian spirituality.”  Well said and quite true.  After exhorting the Philippians to stand firm in the face of persecution coming from those outside the church (Greco-Roman pagans) Paul warns the Philippians in no uncertain terms about those attempting the disrupt the church from within.  Known as Judaizers–because of their insistence that Gentile converts must live as Jews after undergoing circumcision in order to be justified–Paul first encountered them in Galatia, but now Judaizing missionaries have made their way from Asia Minor into Greece, causing havoc in the church in Philippi.  In the process of warning the Philippians about the destructive ways of the Judaizers, Paul gives us a glimpse into his life before his conversion.  This is one of the few places where we gain genuine insight into Paul’s thinking as an up and coming Rabbi, who was extremely zealous to see Christianity wiped out before it could really begin.  Paul speaks of finding a justifying righteousness not his own (that of Jesus) which comes through faith, as well as how he longs to know firsthand the glories of the resurrection power of Jesus since Paul has been privileged to suffer for the sake of his Lord.  This is an important and a remarkable section of Paul’s Philippian letter, and truly one of the high points in all the canonical writings of Paul.

We are continuing our series on Paul’s letter to the Philippians and we come to chapter 3.  The transition from Paul’s lengthy exhortation (which began back in verse 27 of chapter 1 and continued on to verse 18 of chapter 2), to the Apostle recounting certain details of his life (in verses 4-6 of chapter 3) is not as abrupt as it may first seem.  Upon concluding his exhortation for the Philippians to stand firm in the face of persecution (2:18), Paul expresses his desire to send Timothy to Philippi to bring them a word of encouragement (vv. 19-30).  Since Paul was presently under house arrest in Rome awaiting his appearance before Caesar, Paul needs Timothy to remain with him until the settling of his appeal.  Since Paul or Timothy are unable travel to Philippi, Paul will send Epaphroditus (he, of course, is the minister sent by the Philippians to Paul upon learning of Paul’s imprisonment in Rome).

Until Paul can make his way there, the Philippians are to live in a manner consistent with the gospel which he first preached to them, and which the Philippians had obeyed (to use Paul’s term).  The Philippians were also to follow the example set by Jesus, who, in his incarnation, humbled himself, taking the form of a servant, not using his divine attributes to gain advantage.  In striving to be of one accord, loving one another, and being one in mind, the Philippian Christians are to cease grumbling and complaining, and live as children of God ought to live, blameless and innocent, in the face of the crooked and twisted generation in which they found themselves.  The expression “crooked and twisted”, as we saw, is an expression taken from the Old Testament and used in reference to unbelieving Israel while God’s disobedient people were wandering for forty years in the Sinai wilderness.  It was now (ironically) applied by Paul to both the Greco-Roman pagans and the Judaizers then troubling the Christians in Philippi.  But in a real sense, all generations following (including ours) are twisted and crooked.  

So, when we read in the opening words of chapter 3 of Paul’s stern warning to watch out for the Judaizers, those “evil-doers” who mutilate the flesh, the Apostle is not so much beginning a new thought, as he is explaining why the lengthy exhortation he had just given was so important to heed.  The Judaizers are a serious foe, they are destructive to Christ’s church, and they are not to be taken lightly.  Paul grants them no quarter.  He anathematized them in his epistle to the Galatians and warns of their tendency to boast about the number of coverts they had been winning.  When the Judaizers show up in a church founded by Paul, it is as though a claxon on a warship sounds “battle stations.”

To read the rest of this sermon, Click Here

Monday
Apr092018

1968 -- The Year I Was Afraid

1968 was a terrible year in American history.  Those of us old enough to remember the assassinations of RFK and MLK, the riots and chaos at the Democrat National Convention in Chicago (along with a score of other calamities), might recall the questions which hung in the air as to whether or not the Republic would survive.  It did, thankfully, and actually moved forward.  He's a brief look back:  1968

(h.t. Mike D'Virgilio)

Monday
Apr092018

This Week at Christ Reformed Church (April 9-15)

Sunday Morning, April 15:  We continue our series on the Minor Prophets, and we wrap up our time in the prophecy of Nahum.  We will consider YHWH's power in bringing down world empires (1:12-3:19).  Our worship service begins at 10:30 a.m.

Sunday Afternoon:  We are studying the Belgic Confession and have come to the two articles dealing with the Holy Trinity (Articles 8 and 9).  Our catechism service begins @ 1:15 p.m.

Wednesday Night Bible Study (April 11 @ 7:30 p.m.):  We continue with our series, "Apologetics in a Post-Christian Age."  This week we will discuss the question of "supernaturalism."

Author's Forum:  (Friday, April 13 @ 7:30 p.m.):  Dr. W. Robert Godfrey will be our guest.  Join us for an excellent lecture on the Psalms and a time for Question and Answer to follow.

The Psalms are undeniably beautiful. They are also difficult, and readers often come away convinced that tremendous riches remain just beyond their grasp. In his book “Learning to Love the Psalms”, Dr. W. Robert Godfrey invites us to journey with him towards a greater understanding and love for these sacred verses. The timeless elegance of the Psalms, their depth of expression, and testimony to the greatness of God have enchanted and edified God's people for centuries. Learning to Love the Psalms is intended to help today's Christians share in that delight.

For more information on Christ Reformed Church you can always find us here (Christ Reformed Church), or on Facebook (Christ Reformed on Facebook).

Sunday
Apr082018

"A Stronghold in the Day of Trouble" -- Nahum 1:1-11

Here's the audio from this morning's sermon on the Minor Prophets from the Book of Nahum

 

Sunday
Apr082018

This Week's White Horse Inn

An Interview with Steve Baugh

On this program, Michael Horton talks with his colleague, Dr. Steve Baugh, professor of New Testament at Westminster Seminary California, about his recent commentary on the book of Ephesians. In addition to providing a great deal of background information relating to the city of Ephesus in the first century, the two discuss some of the prominent themes that Paul addresses in this important epistle.

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