Warnock gives a preview of Piper's forthcoming work, examining the nature of true salvation.
JT on essential reading for sincere Calvinists.
Fellow TMS alum has served us by putting D.A. in one on-line location.
I was encouraged. Not just in the personally affecting way… but I’m encouraged in my evangelism. Because when I know I’m preaching to corpses, I don’t have to figure out how to make them believe. I just need to work on loving God and preaching the Gospel faithfully.If faith comes by hearing, it cannot be manufactured by coercion. So understanding depravity, among other things, frees us to proclaim. The doctrine of depravity does not inhibit evangelism, it liberates us to evangelize.
You know it is the most amazing thing when people contrast belief in election and say that hurts evangelism. In Acts 18 when Paul was discouraged, what does the Lord give to him? An understanding that “I have many people in this city.” Does He mean there was a lot of population? No! He means He has chosen many people in that city, so Paul, go ahead. There will be response. You don’t have to see any signs of it. Go ahead and preach the Gospel.
Voddie Baucham on Calvinism in the SBC
We try to stay out of the SBC in-fighting, as it always strikes us as more Southern than Baptist, but when brother Voddie speaks, we listen!
HT: Provocations & Pantings
Piper may have convinced us to cancel our Blockbuster membership. "All around me I feel like young people and older people are being eaten alive by the entertainment mindset… As long as you can walk, talk, eat, sing, do something for the King!"
If You're Thinking of Cutting the Missions Budget
First of all... SHAME ON YOU! (Was that sensitive enough?) Secondly, read these helpful thoughts from our friend keeping and teaching the faith in Uganda. Our favorite thought, "God’s heart is for all nations so I doubt that he would sign-off on cutting your budget for the nations."
John wrote this epistle to deal with men who loved the wisdom of the world, the teaching of men over the teaching of Christ and His Word. Hence, they had idols in their life! Discipleship means devotion! Whose disciple are you?! God's eternal purpose is to make disciples just like Jesus. And He is using you, preacher boy, as a chosen instrument, to assist in making people like Jesus! Not like your favorite figure in church history. Your mission as an under-shepherd is to be a chosen instrument to help in making people like Christ alone!Told you he was eccentric. But, you must agree, point taken. Especially for those of us who value the heritage passed on by the hands of martyrs, that its importance pales to the Lordship of Christ. A good echo of some of the first words Spurgeon gave at the Tabernacle,
I am never ashamed to avow myself a Calvinist. I do not hesitate to take the name of Baptist. But if I am asked what is my creed, I reply - "It is Jesus Christ!"We will not thank Dr. Farnell, nor Spurgeon, for this reminder, but the Lord to whom they have pointed. May His glory so shine in our hearts as to extinguish the allure of any competitors.
God gave birth to Christianity in a hostile environment. Was that the death of Christianity? The truth of the matter is that was the environment in which the faith flourished. Beloved, the sympathy we have experienced in the United States is not typical. The peace we have enjoyed as American Christians is an anomaly. We are told by the Bible to expect a hostile environment. The true dilemma before us is why have we not suffered more up til now?Indeed, it was promised by our Lord,
Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me (Matt 5:11)And by Paul, His Apostle,
Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2 Tim 3:12)That those who follow after Christ will suffer for His name because the world hates Him. The years that come may bring a brand-new Gestapo to wreak havoc and turmoil in our churches and in our families. Yet, as the true nature of our relationship with the world begins to unfold, maybe then we will begin to experience the true nature of our Savior's victory,
These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world (John 16:33).*For more reflection on the persecution of Christians, see We Cannot Stop Speaking and Suffering for Your Sake.
Pray much for the ministers and the church of God, especially, that He would carry on His glorious work which He has now begun, till the world shall be full of His glory.Edwards corrects our attitude by assuming two important truths: (1) The Lord works through pastors and (2) pastors, therefore, need prayer. This is important counsel for those of us who may too quickly express frustration before we pray for God to grant faithfulness. If Paul the Apostle asked his disciples, "pray on my behalf," how much more do the pastors over us and alongside us need our fervent intercession!
- Edwards, "Letter Addressed to a Young Lady," Memoirs, liv.
Be persuaded to travel in the way that leads to heaven: viz. in holiness, self-denial, mortification, obedience to all the commands of God, following Christ’s example [and] in a way of a heavenly life, or imitation of the saints and angels in heaven. Let it be your daily work, from morning till night, and hold out in it to the end. Let nothing stop or discourage you, or turn you aside from this road. And let all other concerns be subordinated to this. Consider the reasons that have been mentioned why you should thus spend your life: that this world is not your abiding place, that the future world is to be your everlasting abode, and that the enjoyments and concerns of this world are given entirely in order to another.So, on the eve of what may be great political, economic, and social change in America, persevere in faith. Do not grow weary in praying for our country. Do not cease doing good for God's glory for our country. And, chiefly, do not desist from proclaiming the glories of Christ in the Gospel to our country. We have been called to live in this country by desiring a better one.
- Jonathan Edwards, The Christian Pilgrim, emphasis added.
The Glory of Preaching the Bible
"Thank you, John Calvin, for believing in the majesty of the word and for demonstrating by your life the glory of preaching the Bible."
John Calvin (1509-1564)
"Why do Calvin’s massive works live on? Charles Spurgeon wrote: 'Calvin is a tree whose "leaf also shall not wither;" whatever he has written lives on, and is never out of date, because he expounded the word without bias or partiality.'"
If You Can Be Godly and Wrong, Does Truth Matter?
"Since there are some Arminians who are more godly than some Calvinists and some Calvinists who are more godly than some Arminians, what is the correlation between true knowledge of God and godliness?"
Quick and Dirty Calvinism
Phil brings some of his earlier posts back into the light... "Yes, Calvinism is virile; it's relentless when it comes to truth; and it's not always easy to swallow. But it is full of truths that should humble us and fill us with compassion rather than swagger and conceit. The best Calvinism has always been fervently evangelistic, large-hearted, benevolent, merciful, and forgiving. After all, that's what the doctrines of grace are supposed to be all about."
The Will to Debate
"The issues at the heart of the Calvinist-Arminian controversy are intimately related to the Gospel. The controversy deals with the nature of God's sovereignty and human free will, the impact of sin upon human beings, the meaning of the atonement, the definition and power of God's grace, the possibility of assurance, and much more. Clearly, such doctrines lie at the heart of the Christian faith."
Sovereign Grace in Proverbs
Careful exegesis and reflection indicate that Solomon was a Calvinist too!
What is 9Marks?
The guys in D.C. have a new video that we thought was worth noting. "Churches that reflect the character of God." Simple. Profound. True.
"When the truth of the Gospel is faithfully proclaimed, somebody is going to get beaten up or thrown in prison... The church must again realize that our strength for standing firm and for daily faith and obedience depends just as much on 'the grace that is in Christ Jesus' as our initial salvation did."
Is Google Making Us Stupid?
Reminder from JT that your reading of The Prostrate Calvinist should not replace reading the man himself.
May the Lord help us who long to serve the Church of Christ as an undershepherd to protect our souls from the sin of presumption and to give ourselves to the process of preparation, that He might be glorified in our lives and future ministries.
Do you recognize the hand of God the Caller in placing the burden of calling in your life? Do you trust that where you are in life today – no matter how far it is from where you think you should be – does not limit God’s ability to accomplish his will in your life? Are you responding to your present situation with faith? Would you be known as a grateful man? Do you trust God to both clarify your call and confirm his direction? Are you content with the process you are in? Are you watching your doctrine and life closely (1 Ti 4:16), making the kinds of investments in both the process of sanctification and the deepening of your doctrine that would testify that you are using this season of life to its maximum benefit?
- Dave Harvey, Am I Called? Discerning the Summons to Ministry, p. 43.
What is both surprising and depressing is the sheer prayerlessness that characterizes so much of the Western church. It is surprising, because it is out of step with the Bible that portrays what Christian living should be; it is depressing, because it frequently coexists with abounding Christian activity that somehow seems hollow, friviolous, and superficial.Western evangelicalism was infected with a trite, therapeutic approach to its theology long ago. This has birthed an empty emotionalism in the stead of faith. David Wells warned us of this (and he faithfully continues to do so):
- Carson, A Call to Spiritual Reformation, 9, emphasis added.
The reality that we have to face today is that we have produced a plague of nominal evangelicalism which is as trite and superficial as anything we have seen in Catholic Europe…Wells was right. Evangelicals today are liberal Protestants and if you peruse their contemporary publications, you will observe that all we have to contend for is, in fact, “organizational preservation.” Bold expositions of the Gospel, predicated upon the sufficiency of the Word, have largely been abandoned as irrelevant. No longer exulting in the glories of our sovereign Creator and Redeemer, the absence of bold and robust prayer is just one of the chickens coming home to roost.
An evangelical faith that is not passionate about truth and righteousness is a faith which is a lost cause. All that it will be living for is simply its own organizational preservation…
If we do not recover the sufficiency of the Word of God in our time, if we do not relearn what it means to be sustained by it, nourished by it, disciplined by it, and unless our preachers find the courage to preach its truth, to allow their sermons to be defined by its truth, we will lose our right to call ourselves Protestants, we will lose our capacity to be the people of God, and we will set ourselves on a path that leads right into the old discredited liberal Protestantism.
- David Wells, "The Bleeding of the Evangelical Church"
...the Prophet must obey God, though he should become the object of men’s hatred, and though his life should be in imminent danger. Here we ought to observe his steadfastness in dreading nothing, that he might obey God and fulfill his calling. He despised hatred, dislike, commotions, threatenings, false alarms, and immediate dangers, that he might boldly and fearlessly discharge the duties of his office. Copying his example, we ought to do this, if we wish to hear and follow God who calls us.While God's prophets are privileged to speak of His glory in redemption, they desert their post when they refuse to speak what God has spoken, regardless of the response. May the Lord help each one to stand prophetically in a day of compromise.
– John Calvin, Commentary on Isaiah, Vol. 2, p. 355
But the chief reason why preachers do not get and do not keep up a fair and needful knowledge of the Greek New Testament is nothing less than carelessness, and even laziness in many cases (p. 8).It is our hope that we who glory in the riches of Biblical theology know well the language in which that theology was originally penned. Again, Mr. Robertson recalled the words of A.M. Fairbairn, "he is no theologian who is not first a grammarian."
The real New Testament is the Greek New Testament. The English is simply a translation of the New Testament, not the actual New Testament. It is good that the New Testament has been translated into so many languages… One needs to read these translations, the more the better. Each will supplement the others. But, when he has read them all, there will remain a large and rich untranslatable element that the preacher out to know (pp. 9-10).
The Greek compels one to pause over each word long enough for it to fertilise the mind with its rich and fructifying energy. The very words of the English become so familiar that they slip through the mind too easily. One needs to know his English Bible just that way, much of it by heart, so that it will come readily to hand for comfort and for service. But the minute study called for by the Greek opens up unexpected treasures that surprise and delight the soul (p. 11).
Henry Thiessen, "Should New Testament Greek Be 'Required' in Our Ministerial Training Courses?"And lest we be accused of imbalance by some of our less grammatically-inclined readers, be encouraged by Greenlee's "No, You Don't Have to Know Greek.")
F.F. Bruce, "The Greek Language and the Christian Ministry"
John Piper "Brothers, Bitzer was a Banker!"
The highest court on earth is your own conscience, it will either slaughter you or pat you on the back. Paul’s conscience was clear. Take some time to follow Paul’s use of “conscience” throughout his epistles, and you will see that the only defense against public criticism is the testimony of your conscience. Long-term ministry faithfulness is a result of winning the battle on the inside.What a true and terrifying reminder for anyone, let alone a para-church organization. How do you measure success? Donor dollars? Expansion of staff and programs? Glad-handing from public officials? No... the testimony of your conscience.
A true Reformation would be characterized by just what is missing in the Modernism of the present day; it would be characterized above all by an heroic honesty which for the sake of principle would push all consideration of consequences aside.Or maybe Murray was just a Christian leader. And so he understood that the watershed of God-glorifying influence was pursuing integrity in personal conviction over personal convenience.
- What is Faith?, p. 103.
It would sometimes be to our apparent advantage to suppress the testimony to certain aspects of truth, to soft-pedal on matters which wake the dissent and even provoke the ire of many people. Many things for which we stand are unpopular and we lose friends. Sometimes we are tempted to stand for things which the counsel of God does not warrant and we could gain a great deal of popular support by standing for them. We cannot do it, for we must not go farther than the counsel of God. The whole counsel of God but nothing more. The counsel of God and nothing less.The mantle of Christian leadership is not a matter of personal sufficiency, for all say with Paul, "And who is adequate for these things?"! Rather, it is a grace to so refuse to be "not like many" and to speak sincerely from a sufficient Word, to speak conciously of the all-glorious God, and to speak under the Lordship of the only Christ. May He grace many of this generation to be leaders and to pursue the integrity of conviction of John Murray... even if they must do so alone.
- John Murray, quoted in The Life of John Murray, p. 84.
While some Christian groups have said they plan to proselytize during the August games, Graham said he was against that because Chinese law does not permit such actions. "I would not support any illegal activity at all," Graham said.It appears that Graham hopes appeasing the Chinese government will garner official support for evangelistic work in the future, for he was also quoted as saying, "I'm not here to condemn, I'm here to work with them and help to build better bridges of understanding between Christians and government." Assuming these reports are accurate, Graham, on behalf of American evangelicals, has communicated much to the Chinese church and the rest of the world:
- Associated Press, "No Missionary Work During Beijing Olympics"
Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body (Heb 13:3).The persecuted church in China has been suffering shackles, bleeding, and dying at the hands of their government for generations. To these saints, Graham has said, in effect, that we prosperous, comfortable, and influential American evangelicals do not suffer with you and that your disobedience to the atheistic government of China is unwise. May the Lord save His people from "political savvy."
Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God's wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory (I Cor 2:6-8).Paul goes on to say that the world is completely unable to understand the message of the cross apart from God's Spirit (v. 14). Spiritual ends are achieved spiritually, that is, by the illumination of God's Spirit. Christians are therefore called to be disciples, not diplomats.
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions (Col 1:24)."I rejoice in my sufferings"? "I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself"? The sweetness and surpassing hope of Jesus Christ is broadcast to the watching world when His followers joyfully suffer for His name. This is why Tertullian wrote,"the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.”
But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24).
'Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard' (Acts 4:19-20)And,
'We must obey God rather than men' (Acts 5:29).And they responded to suffering at the hands of their leaders by
…rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ (Acts 5:41-42)And they prayed in the midst of state-sponsored persecution,
'And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence' (Acts 4:29)It is therefore my sincere prayer that, if these reports are true, the Lord would lead Franklin Graham to repent and to publicly recant. May all who follow Christ remember the persecuted church, as though suffering with them, for the cause of the Gospel, the sake of the Church, and the glory of Christ.
A man may be evidently of God’s chosen family, and yet though elected, may not believe in the doctrine of election. I hold there are many savingly called, who do not believe in effectual calling, and that there are a great many who persevere to the end, who do not believe the doctrine of final perseverance. We do hope that the hearts of many are a great deal better than their heads. We do not set their fallacies down to any willful opposition to the truth as it is in Jesus, but simply to an error in their judgments, which we pray God to correct. We hope that if they think us mistaken too, they will reciprocate the same Christian courtesy; and when we meet around the cross, we hope that we shall ever feel that we are one in Christ Jesus
- C.H. Spurgeon, "Effects of Sound Doctrine"
The prophets wrote books. Then came our ancestors who lived by them. Those who came later understood them from the heart. Then came the present generation who copied them but put them on their shelves unused.Serapion's profound exhortation brought to mind Jesus' rebuke to the Sadducees, that you may possess the truth of Scripture and still not own it.
Within the broader evangelical community we should heed basic principles of respect and integrity. This especially applies when we offer critiques of views held by other believers. We may disagree with another Christian over the issues of cessation of the sign gifts, millennial views, rapture views, limited and unlimited atonement, etc., but there are certain things we should never be guilty of. This includes misrepresenting our opponent’s view with straw man arguments, using sarcastic and belittling language, and presenting our theological opponent in the worst light possible. This should be true even if our opponent does not always play by the rules. Responsible scholarship also entails putting theological issues into proper perspective. We need a ‘theological depth perception,’ a wisdom that allows us to discern issues that are at the core of Christianity and those issues that are important but are not salvation issues or threats to historic Christianity.Why is it that while defending "the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints" (Jude 3), the saints often treat each other like pagans? I have often been served and convicted by Paul's instruction to Timothy on dealing with troublesome teachers... "with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition."
- Michael Vlach, "My Thoughts on Hank Hanegraaff’s Apocalypse Code"
Judges who are criminals, judged as a criminal the One who will judge them. Those who judged Him are even now suffering eternal judgment in Hell. Everyone who judges Him wrongly will suffer the same penalty. Judge Him rightly, for He will judge you rightly.What an oft forgotten dimension of Solus Christus that need infuse our own faith and our evangelism! Salvation is found in no one or nowhere else, than union with Christ alone through faith. Yet, I am so desperate for salvation because there is judgment in no one else. He will judge rightly.
- John MacArthur, "Perverted Justice," 27 April 2008.
I therefore think of myself as Reformational in the sense that I affirm its solas: in Scripture alone is God's authoritative truth found, in Christ alone is salvation found, it is by grace alone that we are saved, and this salvation is received through faith alone. Only after each of these affirmations is made can we say that salvation from start to finish is to the glory of God alone. These affirmations do not stand simply as solitary, disconnected sentinels, but they are the key points in an integrated, whole understanding of biblical truth. This is what gives us a place to stand in the world from which to understand who we are, what the purposes of God are, and what future lies before us. These are the things that historic Protestants believe, and that is what I am.The solas, more than remnants in the development of historical theology, they are how one sees and lives in Christ. Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Solus Christus, and Soli Deo Gloria, are holistic Christianity.
- David Wells, The Courage to be Protestant
The greatest gift to God’s service will not fit in an offering plate. When we view our entire lives as offerings to God, our resources to benefit his kingdom are unlimited. Many of those who have been persecuted like Mary share a similar story. They continue to offer their lives to serve those who oppress them as an act of worship. Therese of Lisieux once noted, “Sufferings gladly borne for others convert more people than sermons.” The majority of Christians will find it easy to make the usual excuses for offering their lives: “too busy” and “too much going on.” However, God can reveal unique ways that we can be witnesses for Him.
- I Choose God - Go Ahead and Shoot
Yet I will exult in the Lord,If you have been paying attention recently, you know there is a global food crisis. Millions of people are now in need of food assistance. Even rice in Asia can no longer be assumed.
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation (Habakkuk 3:18).
Though the fig tree should not blossomHabakkuk writes of a time when everything assumed failed. The trees that you assume will bear fruit are barren. The fields that you assume will sprout food are dry. The cattle that you assume will help in the toil of farming and give protein are absent. Just insert your assumption and its lack and you will understand Habakkuk's sorrow.
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls
He declares in what the joy of the faithful consists, though they see ever so great afflictions prepared.Universally, we wrap our joy around the assumed rhythms of life. Birth. Growth. Health. Age. In our assumptions we forget that none of it is assured. There is only One who is constant. There is only one hope that is assured. There is only one joy unassailable... and it is not in this life. So when even the floor drops out from beneath us, our joy consists in Him.
- Note on Habakkuk 3:18, 1599 Geneva Study Bible
◉ The Tide of Unbelief Martin Downes points out that sound doctrine for the present is not a guarantee for the future.
◉ A Calvinist by Any Other Name Tom Nettles and Co. cover Reformation from the heart.
◉ Bonar on Keeping Abreast of the Age Taylor quotes Lucas who quotes the old Scotsman who remains unpersuaded by calls for relevance.
◉ Is Calvinism Dangerous? The guys at Grace Christian Assembly address this burning question. I don't know about you, but if it's not dangerous, I'm becoming an Arminian.
◉ Zen Calvinism Veith takes a swipe at Trueman's attempt to describe serenity in sovereignty. (HT: DQ)
Oh that I had one to hear me!Interestingly enough, the Lord answers Job. But not with a legal argument or a with philosophical defense or even with a moral justification. In fact, the Lord's answer never addresses any of Job's charges directly nor does He ever fully explain the backdrop to Job's suffering (cf. chs. 1-2). The Lord gave Job something entirely different and, yet, altogether more wonderful than anything Job had requested.
Behold, here is my signature;
Let the Almighty answer me!
And the indictment which my adversary has written (Job 31:35)
His immensity surely ought to deter us from measuring Him by our sense, while His spiritual nature forbids us to indulge in carnal or earthly speculation concerning Him. With the same view He frequently represents heaven as His dwelling-place. It is true, indeed, that as He is incomprehensible, He fills the earth also, but knowing that our minds are heavy and grovel on the earth, He raises us above the worlds that He may shake off our sluggishness and inactivity.This is why I believe that the account of Job is a record of hope. When I suffer, and I begin to measure Him by my pain, I most need and am most desperate to see God. I need such a vision of Him that all those creeping doubts and presumptuous motives for despair are quenched by His glory.
- Calvin, The Institutes, I.13.1 (emphasis added)
◉ For those who ignore the obvious, Andrew at Strange Baptist Fire notes the oddity of criticizing Total Depravity for missing the supposed degrees of death.
◉ For those who do not believe until they see, Reformation Theology attempts to visualize the Solus Christus in TULIP with a Chiasmic View of Calvinism.
◉ For those who expect masses of people to be reading this blog soon, Challies notes Scott Lamb's reminder... let's not get too excited about the apparent resurgence of Calvinism.
◉ For those who are enthralled with fiddle players, Calvin exhorts us to seek the Savior, not His servants.
As we have been redeemed in Christ to bring glory to God and to display His calling in our conduct, when we lift ourselves up to one another in pride... we steal glory from God. The prideful Christian is a thief in the storehouse of the Lord of glory. When you or I shun humility, gentleness, patience, or tolerance in our life together, we wrongly claim for ourselves the praise that belongs to God alone.I was convicted even as I spoke, the Spirit illuminating the implications of the passage in my own soul. Steal from God?! Never! Really? With every angry retort, every impatient display, and every intolerant, unloving exchange... we thieve from His storehouse.
The Reformation was not merely a tempest in a teacup. Jerome once said that when he read the letters of the apostle Paul, he could hear thunder. That same thunder reverberates through the writings of the reformers as well. Contemporary theologians would do well to listen afresh to the message of these courageous Christians who defied emperors and popes, kings and city councils because their consciences were captive to the Word of God. Their gospel of the free grace of Almighty God, the Lord God Sabaoth, as Luther's great hymn put it, and their emphasis on the centrality and finality of Jesus Christ stand in marked contrast to the attenuated, transcendence-starved theologies which dominate the current scene.Sola Scriptura. Sola Fide. Sola Gratia. Solus Christus. Soli Deo Gloria. They are not just cute Latin phrases, they are a well of transcendence and significance. But drink carefully... they will water a life of marked contrast.
- Timothy George, The Theology of the Reformers
Since men were born in such a state that they are all too much inclined to self-love - and, however much they deviate from truth, they still keep self-love - there was no need of a law that would increase or rather enkindle this already excessive love... Indeed, to express how profoundly we must be inclined to love our neighbors [Lev 19:18], the Lord measured it by the love of ourselves because he had at hand no more violent or stronger emotion than this.The truth is we love ourselves more than anyone, even violently so (cf. Jas 4:1-3). In fact, I am desperate for His grace to so violently love Him and love those made in His image.
- Institutes, II.8.54 (emphasis added)
When Isaiah 'saw' God as he is, he was not left standing - he was not left proud and dispassionate - he was deeply humbled! There is little doubt that Isaiah already was a believing servant - but a stranger to the pulse-quickened sense of God's ineffable greatness - Isaiah was seeing himself as God saw him - this is experimental Calvinism... his encounters with "the King" caused him to see through the façade of Israel's religion cf 1:10ff. - onlookers would have complimented Israel on the 'healthy state' of its religion - but when a man has had a sight of the majesty of God, he sees not only his own sinfulness, but the sinful state of his own generation - of his own.Once your formal principle is established as unconditionally worshipping whom God reveals Himself to be, you are, to put it mildly, disappointed with everything else. I would venture to guess that the holy Sovereign is not as impressed with our retarded obedience nor our corporate accomplishments as we would like to think.
- Ian Hamilton, "Heart-Warming Calvinism"
B.B. Warfield, the great Princeton theologian, said that the fountainhead of Calvinism does not lie in its theological system, but in its 'religious consciousness'. What he meant is that the roots of Calvinism are planted in a specific 'religious consciousness,' out of which unfolds (as day follows night) a particular theology... This is what so many miss in their assessment of, or espousal of, Calvinism. It is not first and foremost a theological system; it is more fundamentally a "religious attitude", an attitude that gives inevitable birth to a particular, precise, but gloriously God-centered and heart-engaging system of theology.It is sometimes suggested that we who adhere to the Calvinist system do so because we are either “stuffy” (i.e., a pedantic concern for coherence in theological minutia) or “irrelevant” (i.e., an anachronistic affinity for antiquated authors and writings). True Calvinism, however, does not begin with such personal predilections.
- Ian Hamilton, "Heart-Warming Calvinism" (HT: Ligonier Ministries).