Friday, May 30, 2014

The Charismatic Movement And The Deformation Of The Church

The Charismatic Movement and the Deformation of the Church

Rev Dr Wayne Pearce

My subject this evening is ‘The Charismatic Movement and the de-formation of the church.’ And I wish to begin my address by quoting you the words of the Lord Jesus Christ who says:Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? [miracles] And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity (Mt 7:21-22). Now please note the Lord Jesus is making very clear to us that what is truly fundamental and foundational is our obedience to the revealed will of God which is solely contained in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments and not in the outward manifestations of the work of the Spirit. We read in the Book of Deuteronomy: The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law (Deut 29:29). The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Illumination: He is the One who leads God’s people into all truth and testifies of and reveals Christ to us. He enables God’s elect not only to hear the word which is foolishness to the natural man but to believe and trust it unto salvation which is through faith in Jesus Christ. And then the Spirit works in us to conform us to the image and likeness of Christ through our appropriation and application of the Word.

In 2007 the Rev Maurice Roberts addressed the Northern Reformed Fellowship on the subject of Martin Luther and the doctrine of justification by faith alone, and in his introduction, if I recall correctly, he rightly informed us that, generally speaking, there had been three great periods or epochs in the history of the church leading up to and including that glorious revival of biblical Christianity in the 16th century. Firstly he reminded us that there was the formation of the New Testament church built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone (Eph 2:20). And we read of its origins and initial expansion through the preaching of the gospel and the whole council of God in the Acts of the Apostles and the New Testament epistles. And this period of formation he suggested lasted up until around the 5th and 6th centuries as the church grew numerically and established itself throughout the Western world. However this time of formation was tragically followed by a long, ever darkening, period of de-formation under the usurped authority of the papacy and the near universal establishment and hegemony of Roman Catholicism. And the thing that truly precipitated and promoted this deformation in the church I believe was her departure from the doctrine and teaching of Holy Scripture. She failed to hear and heed the word of God which is disobedience and rebellion.

To read the rest of this article click here.
To hear the audio message click here.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Venerable Bede on The Interpretation of Revelation

Bede on Revelation
Explanation of the Apocalypse

Eusebius, or Huaetberht, was Abbat of the Monastery of Jarrow, to which he was unanimously elected on the resignation of Ceolfrid, in A.D. 716.  Besides his obedience in the monastic life, he was distinguished for his "industry in writing, singing, reading, and teaching." His Letter to Pope Gregory II. on the occasion of his appointment, sent by Ceolfrid, is in part preserved.  See Beda's Vita SS. Abbat. Mon. in Uuiram. et Gyr., ch. xiv sq.



THE Apocalypse of St. John, in which God was pleased to reveal by words and figures the wars and intestine tumults of the Church, seems to me, brother Eusebius, to be divided into several sections.

In the first of these, after a copious preface to strengthen the faith of the weak, and a description of the sufferings of the Lord and of the glories which followed, he sees one like unto the Son of Man clothed with the Church, Who, after He has related what has happened, or is about to happen, in the seven Churches of Asia in particular, recounts the general conflicts and victories of the whole Church. And here, designedly, in the sixth place He has foretold that the Jews are to be made subject to the Church, and that there is to be a trial of the world at large, and that He Himself will come quickly; and He places in the seventh the lukewarm Laodicea. For "when the Son of Man cometh, will He," dost thou think, "find the faith in the earth?" [Luke 18.8]

Then in the second section, after that the four living creatures in the throne of God, and the twenty-four elders, have been described, he sees the Lamb, on the opening of the seven seals of the closed book, unfold the future conflicts and triumphs of the Church. And here, according to the custom of this book, he preserves the order unto the sixth number in the series; and then he passes by the seventh, recapitulates, and concludes the two narrations with the seventh.  But the recapitulation is also itself to be understood according to its place, for sometimes he recapitulates from the commencement of suffering, sometimes from the middle period, and sometimes with a view to speak of the last affliction only, or a short time before. But this he observes as a fixed point, to recapitulate after the sixth.

Next, in the third section, under the likeness of seven angels sounding with a trumpet, he describes the various events of the Church.

In the fourth, under the figure of a woman bringing forth, and a dragon persecuting her, he reveals the toils and victories of the same Church, and assigns to both combatants their due rewards.  And here the words and actions of seven angels are also recorded, but not in the same manner as above. So in mystic wisdom he almost always retains this number, for neither in his gospel nor his epistles is the same John accustomed to say anything with remissness and brevity.

Then, in the fifth section, by seven angels he has overspread the earth with the seven last plagues.

In the sixth, he has manifested the condemnation of the great whore, that is, of the ungodly city.

In the seventh, he has shewn the ornament of the Lamb's wife, the holy Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.

I have also thought that the seven rules of Tichonius [fl. c. 390], a man of the most learning among those of his sect [The Donatists], should be briefly enumerated, inasmuch as those who are desirous to learn, receive great assistance from them for understanding the Scriptures. The first of these is concerning the Lord and His body, when there is a transition from the Head to the body, or from the body to the Head, and yet no recession from one and the same person. For one person speaks, saying, "He set a chaplet upon me, as a bridegroom, and adorned me with an ornament as a bride" [Is. 41.10]; and yet, certainly, it must be understood how much of this belongs to the Head, how much to the body; that is, how much to Christ, how much to the Church.

The second is concerning the twofold body of the Lord, or rather, concerning the true and simulated body of the Lord, as St. Augustine was better pleased that it should be termed. So the Church says “I am dark and comely, as the tents of Kedar, and as the curtains of Solomon" [Song of Solomon 1.5];  for she does not say, I was dark and am comely, but she has said that she is both, because of the fellowship in sacraments, and the commingling for a time of the good and bad fish within one net, seeing that the tents of Kedar belong to Ishmael, "for that he shall not be heir with the son of the free woman” [Gal. 4.20].

The third is concerning the promises and the law, which may otherwise be expressed as concerning the spirit and the letter, or concerning grace and the commandment  This appears to St. Augustine to be itself a great question, rather than a rule to be applied to the solution of questions.  For it was through failing to understand this that the Pelagians either began, or increased their heresy.

The fourth is concerning species and genus.  For species is a part, but genus the whole of which it is a part, as each state is a part of the whole province, and each province a part of the whole world.  These terms, accordingly, have come to the knowledge of persons in general, so that even the unlearned understand what is enjoined in any imperial command. This takes place also in respect of men, as the things which are said of Solomon are out of proportion to him; and it is only when they are referred to Christ and the Church, of which He is part, that they become clear. Yet the species is not always exceeded, for such things are often said as more evidently agree with it also, or perhaps with it alone.  But when there is a transition from the species to the genus, as if Scripture were still speaking of the species, there the attention of the reader ought to be on the watch.

He lays down a fifth rule, which he names concerning times, and it may, as appears to me, also be called concerning numbers.  This he states to be of force, even in the case of legitimate numbers, by the figure synecdoche. For the figure synecdoche is either to infer the whole from a part, or a part from the whole.  And by this manner of speaking is the question of the resurrection of Christ also solved.  For unless the last part of the day on which He suffered is taken for the whole day, that is, with the addition of the past night too, and unless the night in the latter part of which He rose again is taken for a whole day, that is, with the addition of the dawning Lord's day, there cannot be the three days and three nights, in which He foretold that He should be in the heart of the earth [Matt. 12:40].  Now by legitimate numbers he means those which the divine Scripture more eminently commends, as the seventh, or tenth, or twelfth; by which, for the most part, either the whole course of time, or the perfection of anything is designated, as, "seven times in a day I sing praise unto Thee,"  [Ps. 98 (AV 99): 164)]  is nothing else than, "His praise was ever in my mouth" [Ps. 33:2 (AV 34:1)]  And they are of the same value also when they are multiplied either by ten, as seventy and seven hundred, in which case, the seventy years of Jerusalem may be taken spiritually for all the time during which the Church is among aliens; or by themselves, as ten by ten are a hundred, and twelve by twelve are a hundred and forty-four, by which number the whole body of the saints is denoted in the Apocalypse.

The sixth rule Tichonius calls recapitulation.  For some things are stated in the Scriptures as if they follow in the order of time, or are related in the succession of events, when, indeed, the narration is tacitly recalled to what has been omitted.  As it is said in Genesis, "These are the sons of Noah, in their tribes and their tongues.  By these are the isles of the nations upon the earth overspread” [Gen. 10:32; 9:19] and immediately, "But the whole earth was of one lip, and of' the same speech" [Gen. 11.1] So it seems to be stated, as if at the very time when they were dispersed, they all had one language, when rather, by a recapitulation, he was secretly adding in what manner the tongues were divided.

His seventh rule is, concerning the devil and his body.  For sometimes that is stated in respect of the devil which cannot be recognised in himself, but only in his body; as the Lord saith, among other things, to the blessed Job, in exposing the deceit and power of this enemy, "Will he make many prayers to thee, or will he speak soft things to thee?” [Job 41:3]. And it is not the devil himself who is anywhere read of as repentant, but his body, which, when condemned at the last, will say, “Lord, Lord, open unto us" [Matt. 25.11].

So then, if any one will observe carefully, he will find these rules to prevail in all the canonical Scriptures, and especially in the prophetical parts, as well as in the Apocalypse, that is, the Revelation of St. John the Apostle, which the same Tichonius both understood with a lively apprehension, and expounded with truthfulness, and in a sufficiently Catholic sense, excepting only those places in which he endeavoured to defend the schism of his party, that is, the Donatists.  For here he laments the persecutions which they endured from the religious Emperor Valentinian, as heretics, when their churches, and followers, and houses, and possessions were given up into the hands of the Catholics, and their priests were driven into exile; and he calls these things martyrdoms, and boasts that they were foretold in the same Apocalypse. Now we have followed on our part the sense of this author in the present work, but in so doing we have omitted some things beyond the purpose which he inserted, in order that we may be more compendious; and we have taken care to add many more, which to him, as a man of genius, and who flourished, as was said of him, like an open rose among thorns, appeared plain and unworthy of investigation; and this we have done, so far as we have been able to attain, either by the tradition of masters, or the recollection of reading, or even our own capacity; for this, too, is among the commandments which we have received, to return to the Lord with usury the talents which have been committed to us.  Now, although it had seemed fit that the aforesaid work should be divided into three short books to relieve the mind; for in some way or other, as the blessed Augustine says: “The attention of the reader is refreshed by the termination of a book, as the toil of the traveller by resting at an inn" [Contr. adv. leg. et. proph., Bk. I. Ch. 33];  nevertheless, that it might be rendered more easy for those who search to find, it was thought good that the continuous order of paragraphs should be preserved throughout, which I had previously noted in the book itself by prefixing marks.  For, as I think that the indolence of our nation, I mean of the English, ought to be taken into account,--which too, not long since, that is, in the time of the blessed Pope Gregory, received the seed of faith, and has cultivated the same remissly enough, so far as reading is concerned,--I have arranged my plan, so as not only to elucidate the sense, but also to compress the sentences, inasmuch as brevity, if it is clear, is wont to be fixed in the memory more than prolix discussion.

I bid thee farewell in Christ, most beloved brother, and desire that thou mayest deign to be ever mindful of thy Beda.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Man's Will Is Under Divine Sovereignty.

Man’s Will Is Under Divine Sovereignty:

Exodus 7:3. “I will harden Pharaoh’s heart.”

Exodus 9:16. “And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth” (Rom 9:22; Pro 21:1).

Exodus 10:1. “And the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart.” (Exod. 9:12; 10:20,27; 11:10; 14:8, etc.)

Joshua 11:20. “For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts...that he might destroy them utterly.”

1 Samuel 15:3. “Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling.”

Proverbs 19:21. “There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand”

Isaiah 40:8. “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.”

Isaiah 40:13. “Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him?”

Isaiah 46:10. “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying,
My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.”

Daniel 4:35. “And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?”

Luke 11:28. “But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.”

John 1:13. “Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

John 3:3,7-8. “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again [from above], he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

John 5:21. “The Son quickeneth whom he will.”

Romans 9:17. “For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.” (Pro 16:4).

Romans 11:24. “Thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree.”

Romans 16:13. “Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord.”

Ephesians 2:1. “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.”

James 1:18. “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth.”

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Bible Actually Teaches That God Is Sovereign Over Everything.

Psalms 33:11. “The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations” (v 12; Act 4:27- 28).

Psalms 100:3. “Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves.”

Proverbs 16:4. “The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil” (Rom 9:22; Job 21:30).

Ecclesiastes 3:14. “I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be forever: nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him”

Isaiah 14:24. “The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand” (v 27).

Isaiah 43:7. “Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him” (v 21).

Isaiah 43:21. “This people have I formed for myself” (vv 1,13;8:18).

Isaiah 44:24. “Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things” (vv 1-2,18).

Isaiah 45:7. “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things” (v 12).

Isaiah 45:9. “Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker!...Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?”

Isaiah 64:8. “But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.”

Jeremiah 27:5. “I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are upon the ground, by my great power and by my outstretched arm, and have given it unto whom it seemed meet unto me.”

Matthew 11:25. “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes” (Luk 10:21-22).

Matthew 11:27. “...neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.”

Matthew 15:13. “But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up” (Mat 16:17).

Matthew 16:17. “Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”

Matthew 19:25-26. “Who then can be saved?...With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible” (Mar 10:26-27; Luk 18:26-27).

Matthew 20:23. “But it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.”

Mark 10:26-27. “Who then can be saved? And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.”

Luke 1:17. “ make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

Luke 4:25-29. But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian. And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong

John 9:39. “And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.”

John 12:39-40. “Therefore they could not believe...He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart.”

Romans 9:13. “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” (v 11).

Romans 9:16. “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.”

Romans 9:18. “Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth” (v15).

Romans 9:20. “Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?”

Romans 9:21. “Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?” (Isa 45:9).

Romans 9:22. “What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction.”

Romans 9:23-24. “And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called” (v 29).

Romans 11:8. “(According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day” (v 7).

Ephesians 2:8. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”

Ephesians 3:11. “According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Philippians 1:29. “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.”

Colossians 1:12. “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.”

2 Thessalonians 2:11-12. “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned.” (Jam 1:17; Mal 3:6).

Hebrews 2:10. “For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory.”

Hebrews 2:13. “And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.”

Hebrews 6:17. “Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel.”

James 1:17. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

2 Peter 2:12. “But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed” 

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Bible Mentions Predestination? Yeah, Just a Bit.


Isaiah 53:10. “When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed”

Jeremiah 1:5. “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee” (cf. Mat 7:23, “never knew you”!).

John 3:27. “A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.”

John 6:37. “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me” (v 39).

John 6:44. “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him” (vv 64-65).

John 10:16. “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice.”

John 10:26. “But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep” (vv 27-29).

John 11:52. “And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.”

John 17:2. “As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him”

John 17:6. “I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world.”

Acts 18:10. “For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.”

Romans 4:16. “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed.”

Rom 8:29-30. “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate...Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called.”

Galatians 4:28. “Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise” (Rom. 9:8).

Ephesians 1:5. “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.”

Ephesians 1:11. “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Isa 46:9-10).

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

God Appoints And Ordains, Too?


1 Kings 20:42. “Thus saith the LORD, Because thou hast let go out of thy hand a man whom I appointed to utter destruction.”

Job 14:5. “Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass” (23:14).

Proverbs 31:8. “Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.”

Acts 17:26. “And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation.”

1 Thessalonians 5:9. “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (3:3; Act 22:10; Psa 79:11).

1 Peter 2:8. “And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.”


Habakkuk 1:12. “Art thou not from everlasting...we shall not die. O LORD, thou hast ordained them for judgment; and, O mighty God, thou has established them for correction” (Rom 13:1; 1Co 2:7).

Acts 13:48. “And as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.”

Ephesians 2:10. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (1:4).

Jude 4. “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation.”

Friday, May 9, 2014

Evidently the Bible Has A Smidgen To Say About God Choosing And Calling


Deuteronomy 7:6. “For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God; the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth” (Isa 43:20).

Psalms 33:12. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.”

Matthew 20:15. “Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own?” “Many be called but few chosen” (Mat 22:14).

Mark 13:20. “...but for the elect’s sake, whom he hath chosen, he has shortened the days” (vv 22,27).

John 13:18. “I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen” (Rom 16:13).

John 15:16. “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you” (v 19).

Acts 9:15. “But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me.”

Acts 22:14. “And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee.”

Acts 10:41. “Not to all people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us.”

1 Corinthians 1:27. “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world”

Ephesians 1:4. “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world.”

2 Thessalonians 2:13. “But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation.”

James 2:5. “Hath not God chosen the poor of this world?” (1Ki 3:8, Psa 89:3, 105:6, 106:5, etc.).

1 Peter 2:9. “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar [or purchased] people.”

Revelation 17:14. “And they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful” (v 8; 19:9).

Acts 2:39. “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”

Romans 1:6. “Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ” (vv 5,7).

Romans 8:28. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (v 30).

1 Corinthians 1:24. “But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God” (vv 9,26-27; Col 3:15).

Galatians 1:15-16. “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me.”

Ephesians 4:4. “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling.”

1 Thessalonians 2:12. “...walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory” (4:7).

2 Thessalonians 1:11. “Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling” (Heb 3:1; Eph 1:18).

1 Timothy 6:12. “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called.”

2 Timothy 1:9. “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.”

Hebrews 9:15. “...they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance” (Rev 17:14; Jud 1; 2Pe 1:3; 1Pet. 1:15; Gal 1:6; 1Co 1:26).

1 Peter 5:10. “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus.”

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A "Few" Verses That Mention Election

Apparently the Bible doesn't say much about election.

Matthew 24:22. “...but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (v 24).

Matthew 24:31. “And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds.”

Luke 18:7. “Shall not God avenge his own elect?”

Romans 8:33. “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?” (Col 3:12).

2 Timothy 2:10. “Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” 

Titus 1:1. “Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect.”

1 Peter 1:2. “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.”

Isaiah 45:4. “For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.”

Isaiah 65:9. “And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains: and mine elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there” (v 22).

2 John 1. “The elder unto the elect lady and her children.”

Romans 9:11. “For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth” 

Romans 11:5. “Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace” (Rom 9:27).

Romans 11:7. “What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded” (v 28).

1 Thessalonians 1:4. “Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.”

2 Peter 1:10. “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure.”

Romans 11:28. “...but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes” (v 29; Eph 1:9).

Friday, May 2, 2014

J.C. Ryle on Baptism & Regeneration

1. What is Baptism?

It is a holy ordinance or sacrament appointed by Christ, for the continual admission of new members into His Church. Every Christian begins his Church membership by being solemnly baptized with water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Baptism, also, is a sign of regeneration or new birth, and has a most wholesome effect, as the Twenty-fifth Article says, in those who receive it worthily. Moreover, St. Paul says, “As many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Gal. iii. 27.)

2. Do all baptized persons receive inward spiritual benefit from the outward ordinance of baptism
with water?

Most certainly not, to all appearance. Myriads are outwardly baptized every year, who, from the font to the coffin, and from their births to their deaths, never give the slightest evidence that they have grace in their hearts, or have received any inward spiritual benefit at their baptism. They live and die apparently without knowledge, faith, repentance, obedience to God, or meetness for heaven. In fact, notwithstanding their baptism, they exhibit no more Christianity in their lives and characters than many heathens.

Judas Iscariot, Simon Magus, Ananias and Sapphira, and others mentioned in Scripture, were baptized but certainly not regenerate.

3. What is regeneration?

It is that complete change of heart and character which the Holy Spirit works in a person when he becomes a real Christian. The Church Catechism calls it “a death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness.” It is the same thing as being “born again,” or “born of God,” or “born of the Spirit.” “Except a man be born again” means “except a man be regenerate.” “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature;” that is, he is “born again, or regenerate.” (John iii. 3; 2 Cor. v. 17.)

4. What are the marks and evidences of regeneration?

They are laid down for us so clearly and plainly in the First Epistle of St. John, that he who runs may read them. It is written there, “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin,” “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God,”—“Every one that doeth righteousness is born of Him,”—“Every one that loveth is born of God,”—“Whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world,”—“He that is begotten of God keepeth himself.” (1 John iii. 9; 1 John v. 1; 1 John ii. 29; 1 John iv. 7; 1 John v. 4; 1 John v. 18.) If plain English words have any meaning, these texts mean that he who has these marks is “born again” or “regenerate,” and he who has them not is not regenerate.
5. Have all regenerate persons these marks of regeneration in the same degree of depth, strength, clearness, and distinctness?

Most certainly not. There is a wide difference between the highest and lowest measure of grace possessed by those who are “born again.” There are real and true Christians who are only “babes” in spiritual attainments, and there are others who are “strong,” and vigorous, and able to do great things for Christ. (1 John ii. 12-14.) The Scripture speaks of little faith and great faith, of little strength and great strength. One thing only is certain,—every regenerate person has more or less the marks of regeneration, and he who has none of them is not born again. (Matt. xiv. 31, xv. 28; Rev. iii. 8; Rom. xv. 1.)

6. But are not all baptized persons regenerate, and does not regeneration always accompany baptism?

Certainly not. Myriads of baptized persons have not a single scriptural mark of regeneration about them, and never had in their lives. They know nothing whatever of “a death unto sin and a new birth unto righteousness.” On the contrary, they too often live in sin, and are enemies of all righteousness. To say that such persons are “regenerate” on account of their baptism, is to say that which seems flatly contrary to the First Epistle of St. John. The Church Catechism says that baptism contains two parts,—the outward and visible sign, and the inward and spiritual grace. But the Catechism nowhere says that the sign and the grace always go together.

7. But does not the Baptismal Service of the Church Prayer Book say of every baptized child, “this child is regenerate,” and does if not tell us to thank God that it hath “pleased Him to regenerate the infant?” What can this mean? How can it be explained?

The Baptismal Service uses these expressions in the charitable supposition that those who use the service, and bring their children to be baptized, are really what they profess to be. As Bishop Carleton says, “All this is the charity of the Church; and what more can you make of it?”—As Bishop Downame says, “We are to distinguish between the judgment of charity and the judgment of certainty.”

8. But is this explanation of the language of the Baptismal Service honest, natural, and just? Is it the real meaning which ought to be put on the words?

It is the only meaning which is consistent with the whole spirit of the Prayer Book. From first to last the Prayer Book charitably assumes that all who use it are real, thorough Christians. This is the only sense in which the Burial Service can be interpreted, or the Service for Adult Baptism, or for the Churching of Women. This is the only sense in which we can teach children the Church Catechism. We bid them say, “The Holy Ghost sanctifieth me and all the elect people of God.” Yet no man in his senses would say that all children who say the Catechism are really “sanctified” or really “elect,” because they use these words. On the contrary, large numbers of children never show the slightest evidence of sanctification or election.

9. But ought we not to believe that all who use Christ’s ordinances receive a blessing as a matter of course?

Certainly not. The benefit of Christ’s ordinances depends entirely on the spirit and manner in which they are used. The Scripture expressly says that a man may receive the Lord’s Supper, “unworthily,” and eat and drink “to his own condemnation.” The Articles of the Church of England declare that in such only as receive sacraments “rightly, worthily, and with faith,” they have a wholesome effect and operation. The famous Hooker teaches that “all receive not the grace of God which receive the sacraments of His grace.” To maintain that every child who is baptized with water is at once regenerated and born again, appears to turn the sacrament of baptism into a mere form, and to contradict both Scripture and Articles.

10. But do not all infants receive baptism worthily, since they offer no obstacle to the grace of baptism? and are they not consequently all regenerated, as a matter of course, the moment they are baptized?

Certainly not. No infant is of itself worthy to receive grace, because, as the Catechism says, it is “born in sin and a child of wrath.” It can only be received into the Church and baptized on the faith and profession of its parents or sponsors. No true missionary thinks of baptizing heathen children without friends or sponsors. The Church Catechism asks the question, “Why are Infants baptized?” But it does not give as an answer, “Because they offer no obstacle to grace,”—but “because they promise repentance and faith by their sureties.” Let us always remember that an infant has no title to baptism but the profession of its sureties. Surely when these sureties know nothing of repentance or faith, or of what they are promising, common sense points out that the infant is not likely to get much inward benefit from the sacrament. In plain words, if parents or sponsors bring an infant to baptism in utter ignorance, without faith or prayer or knowledge, it is monstrous to suppose that this infant must, nevertheless, receive regeneration. At this rate it would matter nothing in what way sacraments are used, whether with ignorance or with knowledge, and it would signify nothing whether those who use them were godly or ungodly. The children of believing and of unbelieving parents would receive precisely the same benefit from baptism. Such a conclusion seems unreasonable and absurd.

11. But does not St. Paul say in his Epistles that Christians are “buried with Christ in baptism;” and that baptized persons have “put on Christ”? (Gal. iii. 27; Col. ii. 12.)

No doubt St. Paul says so. But the persons of whom he said this, in all human probability, were not baptized in infancy, but when they were grown up, and in days too when faith and baptism were so closely connected that the moment a man believed he confessed his faith publicly by baptism. But there is not a single passage in the New Testament which describes at length the effect of baptism on an infant, nor a single text which says that all infants are born again, or regenerated, or buried with Christ in baptism. As Canon Mozley says, “Scripture nowhere asserts, either explicitly or implicitly, the regeneration of infants in baptism.” (Mozley’s Baptismal Controversy, p. 34.) Beside this, we are expressly told that Simon the sorcerer, after his baptism, had “no part” in Christ, and his “heart was not right in the sight of God.” Simon, therefore, could not have been regenerated, or born again in baptism. (Acts viii. 21.)

12. But does not St. Peter say, “Baptism doth also save us?” and if it saves us, must it not also regenerate us? (1 Pet. iii. 21.)

No doubt St. Peter says so. But those who quote this text should not stop at the words “save us,” but read carefully on to the end of the sentence. They will then see that St. Peter distinctly fences and guards his statement by saying that the baptism which “saves” is not the mere outward application of water to the body, but the baptism which is accompanied by the “answer of a good conscience toward God.” Moreover, it is a curious fact that St. Peter, who uses the expression “baptism saves,” is the very same apostle who told Simon after baptism that he was “in the bond of iniquity,” and his “heart was not right in the sight of God.” (Acts viii. 21.)

13. But does not our Lord Jesus say to Nicodemus, “Except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God”? (John iii. 5.) Does not that prove that all who are baptized with water are regenerate?

Certainly not. It proves nothing of the kind. The utmost that can be made of this famous and often quoted text is, that it shows the necessity of being “born of water and the Spirit” if we would be saved. But it does not say that all who are baptized, or “born of water,” are at the same time “born of the Spirit.” It may prove that there is a connection sometimes between baptism and regeneration, but it does not supply the slightest proof that an invariable connection always exists.

14. But may it not be true that all baptized persons receive the grace of regeneration in baptism, and that it remains within them like a dormant seed, alive, though at present bearing no fruit?

Certainly not. The Apostle St. John expressly forbids us to suppose that there can be such a thing as dormant, or sleeping grace. He says, “Whosoever is born of God does not commit sin, for His seed remaineth in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God.” (1 John iii. 9.) This witness is true. When there can be light which cannot be seen, and fire without heat, then, and not till then, there may be grace that is dormant and inactive. The well-known words, “Stir up the gift of God that is in thee” (2 Tim. i. 6), are far too often addressed to the baptized, as if they referred to some gift received in baptism.

Yet common sense will tell any one who refers to his Bible that these words were not used at all about baptism, but about ordination. (1 Tim. iv. 14.)

15. But does not this view of regeneration, according to which many baptized persons are not regenerate at all, and receive no benefit whatever from their baptism, do great dishonour to one of Christ’s sacraments, and tend to bring it into contempt?

Not at all. The truth is exactly the other way. To say that infant baptism confers grace mechanically, as a chemical solution produces an effect on a photographic plate, and that if water and certain words are used by a thoughtless, careless clergyman over the child of thoughtless, ignorant parents, the child is at once born again,—to say, furthermore, that an immense spiritual effect is produced by baptism when no effect whatever can be seen, all this, to many thinking persons, seems calculated to degrade baptism. It tends to make observers suppose that baptism is useless, or that regeneration means nothing at all.

He that would do honour to baptism should maintain that it is a high and holy ordinance, which, like every ordinance appointed by Christ, ought not to be used without solemn reverence; and that no blessing can be expected unless it is used with heart, and knowledge, and faith, and prayer, and followed by godly training of the child baptized. Above all, he should maintain that when baptism does good, the good will be seen in the life and ways of the baptized. Those who do not feel satisfied about this matter will do well to study attentively the strong language which God uses about His own ordinances, when used formally and carelessly, in the prophet Isaiah. (Isa. i. 11, 12.) What did the prophet mean when he wrote these words: “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord. I delight not in the blood of bullocks or of lambs.” He evidently meant that God’s own ordinances may be made perfectly useless by man’s misuse of them.

16. But may we not believe that regeneration means nothing more than a change of state, and does not mean a moral and spiritual change at all? May we not believe that it is a mere ecclesiastical word, signifying nothing more than admission to a state of Church privilege? And may we not then say that every person baptized is regenerated in baptism.

Of course we may say and believe anything we please in a free country like England, and this idea of an ecclesiastical regeneration cuts the knot of some difficulties, and has always satisfied some minds. But it is an insuperable difficulty that the word “regeneration” is never once used in this sense in the New Testament. Moreover, the parallel expression “born of God,” in St. John’s First Epistle, most certainly means a great deal more than being admitted into a state of ecclesiastical privilege! To say, for instance, “Whosoever is baptized doth not commit sin,—and overcometh the world,” would be ridiculous, because untrue. Moreover, the Church Catechism distinctly teaches that the inward and spiritual grace in baptism is not a mere ecclesiastical change, but “a, death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness.” Moreover, the Homily for Whitsunday expressly describes regeneration as an inward and spiritual change. One thing is very certain, no plain reader of the Bible ever seems to understand how a person can be “regenerate” and yet not saved. The poor and simple-minded cannot take in the idea of ecclesiastical regeneration.

Visitor Counter

Flag Counter