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Monday, July 31, 2017

More Thornton

Awhile back I made a post on Georgia Baptist preacher Vincent Redman Thornton. I'm adding here a few minor discoveries from the South Western Baptist.
The Christian Index brings the painful intelligence of the death of Elder Vincent R. Thornton, who died suddenly of paralysis, on Friday, 4th of April, 1856. He was one of Georgia's most faithful, useful and able ministers. 
"Death of a Minister," in the South Western Baptist, Tuskegee, Alabama, Thursday, April 24, 1856, page 3
It was my happiness, in those early years, to be associated with some of the ablest men in our denomination in this State, now passed away...[V. R.] Thornton was the most profound thinkers, the deepest theologian I have ever known, and withal, a most cordial, companionable person.  
Excerpted from "Passages in the Life of an Old Georgia Preacher, No. 2," in the South Western Baptist, Tuskegee, Alabama, Thursday, January 13, 1859, page 3
Shortly after I became a Baptist, I was in company with Vincent Thornton, when some asked him, if a particular thing (then mentioned) was in accordance with Baptist usage. His answer made a deep impression on my mind. "It is according to Baptist usage, (said he) but not according to the Bible."
Excerpted from "Doctor Crawford's Reply," in the South Western Baptist, Tuskegee, Alabama, Thursday, January 12, 1860, page 2

Passages in the Life of an Old Georgia Preacher

In 1830, and about that period, a great controversy raged among the Baptists of Georgia, ostensibly on the subject of doctrine, but really on the subject of Missions. The Atonement was the great question---James Henderson being the leader of the limited Atonement party, and Cyrus White the champion of those who believed in its universality...There was a third party, with Jesse Mercer and the Georgia Association as a nucleus...The writer took an active part in the religious conflicts of those days, and he...is also thankful that experience has taught him to look with more charity on those who differ from him, than he could then exercise. Even good men, when they become arrayed in opposition to each other, are apt to run into errors and excesses. The writer has strong hope that Mercer, White, Henderson, and other Christians of their times, have met in that country where they "see eye to eye," and where they shall dwell together in perfect harmony forever...
Excerpt from "Passages in the Life of an Old Georgia Preacher, Number 3," in the South Western Baptist, Tuskegee, Alabama, Thursday, January 20, 1859, page 1 (Signed with the pen name "Harrison")

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Favorite Songs and Hymns, and other music links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

More Baptist web sites

Below are links to more Baptist web sites that I have run across through discussions, research and for other reasons. Have a look see.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Our relationship, and other quotes

The posting of quotes by human authors does not constitute agreement with either the quotes or their sources. (I try to confirm the sources that I give, but may miss on occasion; please verify if possible.)

"Our relationship with God is not a matter of reward, but of love. And that’s why we can enjoy such staggering freedom in his presence." -- Steve Brown

"Having a good conscience about the text doesn’t require agreement with others; it requires being faithful to pursue truth at all costs to the best of your abilities." -- Daniel B. Wallace

"Measure not God’s love and favour by your own feeling. The sun shines as clearly in the darkest day as it does in the brightest. The difference is not in the sun, but in some clouds which hinder the manifestation of the light thereof." -- Richard Sibbes

"Education is going from an unconscious to a conscious awareness of one's ignorance." -- Usually quoted as "Someone has said"

"A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have." -- often attributed to Thomas Jefferson, but apparently by Gerald R. Ford

"By the cross we know the gravity of sin and the greatness of God’s love toward us." -- John Chrysostom

"There are two classes of preachers, those who make a convenience of truth, and those in whom truth has wrought a conviction." -- Richard V. Clearwaters

“Whenever truth compromises with error it is always truth which has to give up something for error has nothing to give up to begin with." -- Robert T. Ketcham

"The compromise road is a road pockmarked with many tragic pitfalls for those who enter it." -- William E. Ashbrook

"God is completely sovereign. God is infinite in wisdom. God is perfect in love. God in His love always wills what is best for us. In His wisdom He always knows what is best, and in His sovereignty He has the power to bring it about." -- Jerry Bridges

"Consider what you owe to God's immutability. Though you have changed a thousand times, He has not changed once." -- Charles Spurgeon

Thursday, July 27, 2017

A prudent man foreseeth the evil

“A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.” Proverbs 22:3

Noah, warned of God, prepared an ark to the saving of his household. Lot, admonished by the angels, fled out of Sodom. So there is a fleeing from the wrath to come. How careless, how secure, and unconcerned are we until quickened with spiritual life! Solomon speaks of those who sleep on the top of a mast, where one jerk of the wave, or one turn of the sleeper may precipitate him into the boiling ocean. God’s anger is gathering against a wicked world. Who will escape this fearful storm of eternal, unmitigated wrath? Those who flee to Jesus. Who flee to Jesus? Those only who feel their need of him. How are they made to feel their need of him? By the flashes of God’s anger. Whence issue these flashes? Out of the thunder-cloud of God’s holy law—the revelation which he has made of his anger against transgressors. How necessary then to feel the application of the law to the conscience, to experience what Job calls, “the terrors of God,” that Jesus Christ, who is a “covert from the tempest,” may be seen and fled unto! It is like the warning given in Egypt of the grievous hail: “He that feared the word of the Lord among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses: and he that regarded not the word of the Lord left his servants and his cattle in the field” (Exodus 9:20-21). Faith credits what unbelief derides. As is their nature and operation, so is their end. Faith ends in salvation; unbelief in perdition.


J. C. Philpot (1802-1869)

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Church Still Works, and other reviews

The posting of book reviews does not constitute endorsement of either the books or book reviews that are linked.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Unlimited Atonement

  • “The doctrine that Christ’s redemptive death was for all persons.” – Ron Rhodes
  • “The doctrine states that Jesus died as a propitiation for the benefit of mankind without exception.” – Wikipedia
  • “Jesus’ intent was to die for the sins of all humanity.” – ​Trevin Wax
Regarding the Christian doctrine of the atonement, I have commonly used the terms general, limited and universal. I have recently noticed that there seems to be a growing trend of using the terminology “unlimited atonement” (or it may be me just now raising my head from the sand, catching up with progress and noticing what is going on). Above are listed three definitions of “unlimited atonement,” which seem to be in substantial agreement. The common thread is that Christ’s redemptive death was for the benefit of all people. On the one hand I understand the definition. On the other hand a category that embraces everything from 4-point Calvinism to Universal Salvation seems both strange and not particularly useful to me. Despite technical difficulties about “limited atonement” there is little more than a dime’s worth of difference between the 4-point and 5-point Calvinists – while there is a million dollars’ worth of difference between the 4-point Calvinist and the Universal Salvationist. While the 4-point Calvinist and the Traditionalist/Extensivist both sit together under the “unlimited atonement” umbrella, there is more than a little difference in their positions – so much so that many on both sides will not fellowship with one another.

Some seem to celebrate the “unlimited” and “limited” differences of 4-point and 5-point Calvinists, which I find curious. One motivation, if I detect not wrongly, is to support the idea that “unlimited atonement” was and is the position of the majority of Christians. Jesse Mercer said there is only a “mere shade” of difference “unlimited” and “limited” atonement, and that difference “is only speculative.” In practical terms what difference does it make to say that Christ’s redemptive death was for all persons when all of those persons will not be called and quickened to salvation, and in fact God never intended to save them (the position of 4-point Calvinism)? Much of this discussion from all sides is useless theological speculation. Trevin Wax put it this way, “The debates regarding the extent of the atonement place a foreign paradigm on the biblical text and thus inevitably bring forth answers that are skewed by our presupposed theological framework.”

Monday, July 24, 2017

Jesse Mercer and Limited Atonement

I recently noticed a blog poster refer to The Extent of the Atonement: A Historical and Critical Review by David L. Allen. He pointed out that in it Allen said that Jesse Mercer (1760-1841) “himself shifted from his original commitment to limited atonement to the unlimited position.” (Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2016). He references Memoir of Elder Jesse Mercer by C. D. Mallary (pp. 290, 297-303). It appears important to "Traditional Southern Baptists" to show that their Baptist heroes moved away from Calvinism and toward "Traditionalism". I nevertheless believe that Dr. Allen is in error. We shouldn’t shade Baptist history for polemic purposes.

Jesse Mercer’s Ten Letters Addressed to the Rev. Cyrus White demonstrate well his allegiance to the doctrines of predestination, unconditional election, and the limited atonement. In a letter of Mercer which David Allen quotes other parts, Jesse Mercer wrote, “But for the sake of those who may not have given themselves the trouble to read heretofore; or who may not have noticed it, I repeat that I have undergone no fundamental change in faith from my forefathers. I believe now, and always preach in perfect accordance with the faith adopted by the Georgia Association, and from her (so far as I am informed) the other associations in the state.” (Memoirs, pp. 200-201) “The faith adopted by the Georgia Association” includes “4th. We believe in the everlasting love of God to his people, and the eternal election of a definite number of the human race, to grace and glory; And that there was a covenant of grace or redemption made between the Father and the Son, before the world began, in which their salvation is secure, and that they in particular are redeemed.” (History of the Georgia Baptist Association, Jesse Mercer, Washington, GA: 1838, p. 30) According to Mallary, the above mentioned letter in which Jesse Mercer claims to have not changed his views was published in the Christian Index in 1836. If so, considering Mercer died in 1841, any changes to his view of the atonement must have occurred in the last five years of his life.

The reference on page 290 Allen gives as proof that Mercer had changed his views must be excluded. It is the only place (as far as I can tell) that uses the phrase “limited atonement” in the Memoirs. It may seem to the casual reader to argue against limited atonement, but Dr. Allen misunderstands the broader context. This is from Mercer’s letter answering Cyrus White, and his objecting to White’s definition and explanation of limited atonement. These letters were written (I think) in 1829 and published in 1830, and then Mercer clearly stood in favor of the limited atonement. For example, “If the doctrine of eternal, person, and unconditional election be a truth, that of a special design of the death of Christ must necessarily follow…The above passages must be allowed to speak only of a part of mankind. This part of mankind must be styled the chosen of God, given of the Father &c. either because of their actually being believers, or because it was foreseen that they would believe, or as we suppose, because God eternally proposed in himself that they should believe and be saved. It cannot be on account of the first; seeing they were chosen before the foundation of the world, and given to Christ prior to their believing in him. It cannot be on account of the second; because, then, what he had done for us must have been according to some good in us, and not according to his own purpose and grace given us in Christ Jesus, before the world began. It would also be contrary to all those scriptures recited above, which represent our being chosen and given of the Father, as the cause of faith and holiness…The above are some of the reasons which induce me to think there was a certain, absolute, and, consequently, limited design to the death in the death of Christ, securing the salvation of all those, and only those, who are finally saved.” (Letters, pp. 15-16.)

The reference in Memoirs on pages 297-303 is from a discourse titled “The Excellency of the Knowledge of Christ Jesus the Lord,” published in the Southern Baptist Preacher in 1839. This may meet the criteria for a time frame for a change of thinking by Mercer on the subject of the atonement. It does seem to move toward Fuller and away from Gill  although in the discourse Mercer says there is only a “mere shade” of difference between Fuller and Gill and that difference “is only speculative” (p. 294). Since Dr. Allen did not check the context of the other quote from Memoirs, I am afraid he also did not check this context. The context of the entire discourse needs to be inspected to make an accurate judgment.

David Allen’s book looks interesting, but the history must be viewed with some degree of skepticism when it is subjected to and presented for polemic purposes.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Spiritual Gifts (in 1 Corinthians 12)

1 Corinthians 12
  • Paul desires the Corinthians know about, not be ignorant of, spiritual gifts. v. 1
  • Expect spiritual gifts to follow the Spirit and focus on the testimony of Jesus Christ, v. 3.
  • Spiritual gifts have their origin in the Godhead, vs. 4-6.
  • Diverse gifts are sovereignly distributed by a sovereign Spirit, vs. 4-11.
  • Diverse gifts are sovereignly distributed for the edification of the church, v. 7.
  • These gifts may be generally divided into two categories, speaking and serving.
Some thoughts gleaned from Pauline Theology: Ministry and Society by E. Earle Ellis

Friday, July 21, 2017

If you adopt, and other quotes

The posting of quotes by human authors does not constitute agreement with either the quotes or their sources. (I try to confirm the sources that I give, but may miss on occasion; please verify if possible.)

"If you adopt theories which pare off a portion [of the Bible] here, and deny authority to a passage there, you will at last have no inspiration left..." -- Charles H. Spurgeon

"What you gain church members with is what you keep them with. If you win people with the latest and greatest system you will need to continue to have the latest and greatest system. If you win them with the preaching of the Word you will keep them with the preaching of the Word." -- copied

"I have noticed for some decades that evangelical Christians are adept at adopting worldly fashions ten years after the world has done adopted them, and then doing it worse." -- Douglas Wilson

"If one cannot participate in inter-faith dialogue without weakening the cardinal beliefs of one’s own faith, then what you have is not inter-faith dialogue, but inter-doubt dialogue." -- Bart Barber

"“Directional Theology” means that “What a man believes is taking him somewhere”." -- Tom Fillinger

"All through life be sure you put your feet in the right place, and then stand firm." -- attributed to Abraham Lincoln by Rebecca R. Pomroy

"Hope, for the Christian, is not a sedative...it's a shot of adrenaline!" -- attributed to Warren Wiersbe

Old age. First you dread it. Then you complain about it. Finally you glory in it.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Baptist Name, Fundamentalism, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Our Melchizedecan Priest (Philpot)

“We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.” Hebrews 8:1- 2

Our blessed Lord was to be “a High Priest after the order of Melchizedec.” It will be remembered that Melchizedec met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him (Gen. 14:19). In the same way our great High Priest blesses the seed of Abraham; for “they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham;” and as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, they walk in his steps who “believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.”

But Melchizedec the type could only ask God to bless Abraham. He could not himself confer the blessing; but Jesus, the antitype, our great Melchizedec, whose priesthood is “after the power of an endless life,” blesses his people, not by merely asking God to bless them, but by himself showering down blessings upon them, and by communicating to them out of his own fulness every grace which can sanctify as well as save. Even before his incarnation, when he appeared in human form, as if anticipating in appearance that flesh and blood which he should afterwards assume in reality, he had power to bless.

Thus we read that when Jacob wrestled with the angel, which angel was no created angel, but the Angel of the covenant, even the Son of God himself in human shape, he said, “I will not let thee go except thou bless me.” And in answer to his wrestling cry we read that “he blessed him there.” Jacob knew that no created angel could bless him. He therefore said, when he had got the blessing, “I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” To this blessing Jacob afterwards referred when, in blessing Ephraim and Manasseh, he said, “The angel which redeemed me from all evil bless the lads.”

Thus, also, our gracious Lord, immediately before his ascension to heaven, as if in anticipation of the gifts and graces which he was to send down upon them when exalted to the right hand of the Father, “lifted up his hands and blessed his disciples;” and as if to shew that he would still ever continue to bless them, “he was parted from them and carried up into heaven,” even “while he blessed them,” as if he were blessing them all the way up to heaven, even before he took possession of his mediatorial throne (Luke 24:50, 51).

J. C. Philpot (1802-1869)

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Dangers of, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Remembrance of Sins

"I think those are the sweetest moments in this life, when we have the clearest sense of our own sins, provided the sense of our acceptance in the Beloved is proportionally clear, and we feel the consolations of his love, notwithstanding all our transgressions. When we arrive in glory, unbelief and fear will cease forever: our nearness to God, and communion with him, will be unspeakably beyond what we can now conceive. Therefore the remembrance of our sins will be no abatement of our bliss, but rather the contrary." -- John Newton, in answer to a letter from a friend

Science cannot tell you

"There is a creeping danger of equating science with rationality, but what is beyond science is not necessarily irrational. Science cannot tell us for instance whether a poem or work of literature or a work of art and music is good or beautiful. Science can tell us that if you put strychnine into your grandmother’s tea it will kill her, but science cannot tell you whether it is morally right to do so." -- John Lennox

Sunday, July 16, 2017

On Taxonomies of Music/Worship Philosophies

In a blog post at Religious Affections Ministries Scott Aniol, Chair of the Worship Ministry Department at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, digs into the topic of “Taxonomies of Music” or “Worship Philosophies” – that is, how to categorize different approaches to church music. In it he first notes three taxonomies that ranged from “quite unhelpful” to “most accurate and helpful.” Following this, Aniol attempts to resolve problems with existing categories, and I think he is on to something. He points out that “various positions on worship/music” cannot accurately “be put on a sliding scale…because text choice, motivation, and musical styles are all quite mixed among positions.”

Because of this, Aniol seeks to classify with “descriptive terms that can be mixed and matched to most correctly describe one’s position on music and worship.” 
“Each person’s philosophy has a governing motivation, text characteristic, and music characteristic.”
Motivation
  • Evangelism
  • Revivalism
  • Engaging Worship
  • Modest Worship
Texts
  • Doctrinally weighty
  • Doctrinally simple
Music
  • Progressive
  • Cautious Progressive
  • Traditional
  • Conservative
“Most of the terms in this classification system are probably self-explanatory, but some may require explanation, mostly under the music category.”
Please read On Taxonomies of Music/Worship Philosophies for the rest of the story.

[Note that Aniol calls this a work in progress.]

Friday, July 14, 2017

Can never be domesticated, and other quotes

The posting of quotes by human authors does not constitute agreement with either the quotes or their sources. (I try to confirm the sources that I give, but may miss on occasion; please verify if possible.)

"The word of God is to be spoken in every tongue, but it can never be domesticated in any." - Lesslie Newbigin

"Shallow roots yield meager fruits." -- Copied

"In the beginning was the Word, not the video." -- Ravi Zacharias

"We owe a great debt to those who point out our faults. For they mortify us." -- Pascal

"One ship drives east, and another west with the self-same winds that blow; ‘Tis the set of the sails and not the gales, that decides the way to go." -- Ella Wheeler Wilcox

"Your ministry is the person God puts in front of you." -- Copied

"Perfectionism will make you sour, mean, and judgmental, and it will rob you of the freedom Jesus died to give you." -- Steve Brown

"God assigns imperfect people to raise more imperfect people." -- Heard

"Don't tell me what to think; provide reasons and facts and arguments." -- Andrew Albers

"Christianity defines wisdom not in terms of ideas articulated but rather in terms of behaviors adopted. James 5:13." -- Bart Barber

"A cause, even a negative cause, provides a group to belong to. It is one way we nurse our grudges, and it feels good. But whenever we gather around grievance rather than Jesus, that is counterfeit community, black-market relationships, and that negativity is on a collision course with reality. It cannot succeed long-term." -- Ray Ortlund

"Children do not need self-esteem; They need God esteem." -- Dannah Gresh

"The gospel has lost none of its ancient power. It is as much today, 'The power of God unto salvation'." -- Bill Bryant

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Paul's faithful sayings

The phrase pistos ho logos/πιστος ο λογος[i] begins five sentences in the three Pastoral Epistles (letters to Timothy and Titus). Twice the phrase is amended with and extended to “worthy of all acceptation.” The five verses are translated thusly – “faithful saying” (4) and “true saying” (1) – in the King James Bible:
  • 1 Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
  • 1 Timothy 3:1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
  • 1 Timothy 4:9 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation.
  • 2 Timothy 2:11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:
  • Titus 3:8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.
Paul’s faithful sayings speak to the following issues.
1 Timothy 1:15 – Jesus came to save sinners. This is his clear, plain and stated reason for coming into the world. Let’s not forget that! Matthew 18:11 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. Mark 10:45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. Luke 19:10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

1 Timothy 3:1 – The office of bishop is a good work. The desire to the office of bishop is a good desire. What follows shows it must also be a pure desire. No matter how many may fail, or how many may falsely aspire to the bishop’s office, let’s not forget that the office itself is good and the desire is good also.   1 Timothy 3:1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.

1 Timothy 4:9 – Trust validates the labour exerted and reproach suffered. Godliness is always profitable, both now and in the future. If he is our Saviour, our labour is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Timothy 4:8-10 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. Let us not reproach reproach, “For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written (Cf. Psalm 69:9), The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.” (Romans 15:3). Therefore we take pleasure in reproaches (2 Corinthians 12:10).

2 Timothy 2:11 – Jesus is always faithful, in life and in death. He is our strength, our refuge in times of trouble (Psalm 9:9). Because he lives, we shall live also (John 14:19). He ultimately is faithful above all. 2 Timothy 2:11-13 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: if we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: if we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. Revelation 1:5 and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood. He is faithful. Let us be also.

Titus 3:8 – Believers should maintain good works. A good testimony arises from good grace. We are saved for, not by, good works. Titus 3:4-8 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.


[i] pistos (trustworthy, faithful) and logos (word, saying). Compare also Titus 1:9, Revelation 21:5 and Revelation 22:6.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Number Seven

Elder George Elliott Jones was born July 12, 1889. On his birthday we share an excerpt from That Ye May Marvel, or, The Significance of Bible Numbers, which he wrote in 1952.
 
NUMBER SEVEN
COMPLETENESS OR PERFECTION

SEVEN is the number that denotes COMPLETENESS or PERFECTION. In Lev. 23:15-16 the number SEVEN and the sabbath, which was the SEVENTH day, is connected with the word COMPLETE. "And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; SEVEN sabbaths shall be complete: even on the morrow after the SEVENTH sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a NEW meat offering unto the Lord." 

The word COMPLETE follows after the words "SEVEN sabbaths" (SEVENTH day). The day following the SEVENTH sabbath there was something NEW that took place. 

The word FINISHED is also connected with the number SEVEN. "In the days of the voice of the SEVENTH angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be FINISHED." (Rev. 10:7). 

"It is DONE" is another expression found in connection with the number SEVEN. "And the SEVENTH angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is DONE." (Rev. 16:17). 

The word CREATED is used SEVEN times in connection with God's creative work. (Gen. 1:1; 1:21; 1:27 (three times); 2:3; and 2:4). God created all things in six days and rested on the SEVENTH. (Gen. 2:1-3). He appointed SEVEN days for the week, and most, if not all advanced nations reckon time in that way: SEVEN days to the week. Few ever stop to think of why there are SEVEN days in a week. Do atheists and infidels give God and the Bible credit for it? 

There are SEVEN notes in the musical scale: "do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti." All other pitches are only variations of these. When the musician uses the eighth note he goes back to "do" again and starts over. Man named the notes but God fixed the sounds, even as God fixed the days of the week, and man named them.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The gospel of the grace of God (Philpot)

"The gospel of the grace of God." Acts 20:24

What does the word "gospel" signify? Gospel is a good old Anglo-Saxon word, sprung from that pure Anglo-Saxon stock which forms the bulk, as well as the most expressive and precious portion of our noble language, of that language of which the daily lengthening line is gone throughout all the earth, and its words to the end of the world, our mother tongue, in which God seems to have set a tabernacle for the Sun of the gospel, whose going forth is from the end of the heaven and its circuit unto the ends of it. Its literal meaning is either "God's word" or message, or rather, "good news," or "good tidings," which is more agreeable to the original.

But if it be "good news," it must be good news of something and to somebody. There must be some good tidings brought, and there must be some person by whom, as good tidings, it is received. In order, then, that the gospel should be good news, glad tidings, there must be a message from God to man, God being the Speaker, and man the hearer; he the gracious Giver, and man the happy receiver. But if the gospel mean good news from heaven to earth, it can only be worthy of the name as it proclaims grace, mercy, pardon, deliverance, and salvation, and all as free gifts of God's unmerited favour. Otherwise, it would not be a gospel adapted to our wants; it would not be good news, glad tidings to us poor sinners, to us law-breakers, to us guilty criminals, to us vile transgressors, to us arraigned at the bar of infinite justice, to us condemned to die by the unswerving demands of God's holiness. And as it must be a gospel adapted to us to receive, so must it be a gospel worthy of God to give.

This gospel then, pure, clear, and free, is good news or glad tidings, as proclaiming pardon through the blood of Jesus and justification by his righteousness. It reveals an obedience whereby the law was magnified and made honourable, and a propitiation for sin by which it was for ever blotted out and put away; and thus it brings glory to God and salvation to the soul. It is a pure revelation of sovereign mercy, love and grace, whereby each Person in the divine Trinity is exalted and magnified. In it "mercy and truth meet together, righteousness and peace kiss each other."

As revealed in it, "truth springs out of earth" in the hearts of contrite sinners, and "righteousness," eternally satisfied by Christ's obedience, "looks down from heaven." If you love a pure, a clear, a free gospel, "the gospel of the grace of God," you love it not only because it is so fully suitable to your wants, so thoroughly adapted to your fallen state, but because you have felt its sweetness and power; because it not only speaks of pardon, but brings pardon; not only proclaims mercy, but brings mercy; not only points out a way of salvation, but brings salvation, with all its rich attendant blessings, into your heart. It thus becomes "the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth."

J. C. Philpot (1802-1869)

Monday, July 10, 2017

Astonishing hilarity

“The newspapers are full of an astonishing hilarity about the rapidity with which hundreds or thousands of human families are being broken up by the lawyers; and about the undisguised haste of the ‘hustling judges’ who carry on the work.  It is a form of hilarity which would seem to recall the gaiety of a grave-digger in a city swept by a pestilence.” – G. K. Chesterton

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Chronogenealogy in Genesis 5

My Biblical timeline from Creation to Christ is based on a literal reading of the chrono-genealogies of Genesis chapter 5 and chapter 11. Even others who also take an historical view of Genesis do not all agree on the completeness of the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11. Because some biblical genealogies are gapped or telescoped -- that is, skip some generations in the genealogy -- they posit that they are gaps in the genealogies of Genesis 5 and Genesis 11. One major difference is that the known gapped genealogies have other biblical testimony to corroborate that fact. Those who posit this for Genesis 5 and 11 do so without biblical evidence and usually for the reason of lengthening biblical history to correspond with the so-called long age of earth's existence according to evolutionary theory. In addition, it seems some people engage in speculation with little or no life or genealogical experience.

For example, John Millam writes, "At the time of David, there were three head temple musicians, one from each of the 3 divisions of the Levites.  There is Heman of the Kohathite division (verses 33-38), Asaph of the Gershonite division (verses 39-42), and Ethan of the Merarite division (verses 44-47).  In each case, the genealogies start with Levi, who was the father of Kohath, Gershon, and Merari and ancestor of these three men.  So, we have three genealogies side-by-side extending from Levi to the time of King David, yet the genealogies contain 21, 15, and 14 names respectively for exactly the same span of time.  This suggests that at least the latter two genealogies are highly telescoped." That someone would believe that various family generations correspond chronologically leaves me aghast. My father was almost the same age as my wife's maternal grandfather, and my maternal grandfather was old enough to have been a grandfather of my wife's grandfather. Three of my father's great-grandfathers were Civil War veterans. A pastor friend who was only a few years older than my father was the SON of a Confederate veteran. Genealogies just don't correspond the way Millam seems to think, and such gaps as he supposes are merely imaginary without any supporting evidence.

Many Bible students have tried to add thousands of years to the chrono-genealogy of Genesis chapter 5, hoping to increase the earth's age to something that satisfies some scientists and their sycophants. It doesn't work. Of all the explanations proffered for gaps in Genesis 5, none can offer any reasonable explanation of why the writer would even bother with a chronology here if he is merely relating genealogy. 

It is interesting that the narrative supplies extra information that ties certain sons directly to their fathers, without any gaps.
  • Genesis 4:25-26 And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew. And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the Lord.
  • Genesis 5:3 And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, and after his image; and called his name Seth:
  • Genesis 5:28-29 And Lamech lived an hundred eighty and two years, and begat a son: And he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed.
  • Jude 14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, (Enoch is the 7th generation from Adam in Genesis 5)
This extra supplied information leaves only a couple of spots that gaps could even exist. Even if gaps are granted for the sake of argument, it becomes evident that those looking for more time do not solve their problem. The hope is to insert a new meaning in the text. That is, a certain patriarch begat a son that became the ancestor of the next person names. The writing itself limits the time, even if that hope is granted. If "Jared lived an hundred sixty and two years, and he begat Enoch" becomes "Jared lived an hundred sixty and two years, and he begat [a child who became the ancestor of] Enoch" -- there is still the small problem that he was 162 years old when this happened.

The best approach is to accept the text as written and let the scientific chips fall where they may.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Like a dog at the heels of its master

Man may put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter; darkness for light, and light for darkness; but this follows him as a dog at the heels of its master, a sense that virtue should be rewarded, and that sin must be punished. -- Charles H. Spurgeon, from his sermon Expitiation

Friday, July 07, 2017

A Conservative Christian Battle, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked