Romans 13

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Properly understood we can see God’s providence, and common grace demonstrated in these verses.  Through the ordination of governmental authority the people are restrained from being as evil as they would be if left with no law and order.  This grace is afforded both to the lost, and the saved, thus His grace in common to both.  This is not a mandate to submit to a Godless secular government if it demands that we violate the faith, or the word of the true and living God.  The exhortation at the end compels us to live in a practice of righteousness, and to seek to please God, in such a way that a Christian would not be concerned about incurring the ire of the government, as they would be beyond reproach.  I hope that helps.

Romans 13
New American Standard Bible

Be Subject to Government

1Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. 2Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. 3For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; 4for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. 5Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. 6For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing.7Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.

8Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. 9For this, “YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” 10Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

11Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. 12The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.13Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. 14But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.

 

Adults Who Desire to Run Away.

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Lately I’ve noticed on social media quite a few adults expressing the notion of running away.  I’m at a loss.  I have no understanding of what that feels like, or even how it would be desirable.  I’m just not getting it.  Is it a real desire to run away from life and responsibility?  Is it a desire to run away from the pain of relationships that don’t measure up to your expectations?  Is it the desire to run away from the mundane?  Is it some combination of the these things?  I just don’t know.  If you are one of the people who desires to, “run away” please clue me in to the reasons for this desire, where it comes from, what you think it would accomplish, how it would make your life better.

As a mature man (Old Fashioned Man) I have learned the value of dogged determination, tenacity, reliance on God, fighting the good fight, standing when others shrink back.  This is something that I am.  I see myself as a gatekeeper, or a sentry.  I protect my family, the weak, and defenseless.  I know other men like myself.  We value the same qualities.  We value the company of others like us.  We put personal problems behind us to accomplish the difficult tasks.  We don’t squabble over trifles.  We only feel entitled to what we have earned, be it good or bad.  We take both equally well, acknowledging our shortcomings.  Running away from our situation never crosses our minds as viable option.  It is completely foreign to us.  If you are one of the people who thinks of running away, imagine explaining what darkness is to a person who has lived in the light.

It seems as if people no longer value these qualities in a man.  It seems that the only people who care about these things are the men themselves.  We’re the last of a dying breed of American men.  The relativistic, secular, humanists have taken over.  They are redefining what it means to be a man, or to be strong, or moral.  If you are white then they scream, “white privilege!”  If you are an old fashioned man they call you a, “misogynist.”  If you are a Protestant Christian they call you, “homophobic, intolerant, hater, etc.”  So being one of the last strait, white, Protestant, men on the planet, I feel a bit lonely, but never think of running away.

I stand my ground and try to do what is right according to God and His word.  I can see the value in that.  The temporal cost is nothing compared to the eternal end of the saved man.  The challenges in the Christians life are God ordained.  He sanctifies and grows us through them.  They are the way in which we are matured.  Ask Jonah how running worked for him.  So when others sin against us, do us wrong, hurt us, take advantage of us, we can’t see them as the bully or the enemy.  We have to see them as the slave of sin that they are.  We need to see that what they have done to us is such a small thing in comparison to what we have done to Christ with out sins against Him.  For us He was crucified, to redeem us from slavery to sin.  What Christ sets out to do, He succeeds and finishes.  Trust in Him, and His goodness.  Don’t look at the situation you are in as a reason to flee.  Be bold, and stand in the face of adversity.  Stand for God and His truth.  Be a man for God.  Be a woman for God.  See others as better than yourself.  Serve others in the way that has been exampled for us in Christ.

Relationships are also to sanctify us.  You have the spouse you have for a reason.  God gave them to you for your growth.  God knew exactly what you needed, perhaps not what you want, but what you needed.  You have the exact children you are supposed to have, because as they grow so do you.  You have the co-workers, and friends you are ordained to have as well for the same reasons.  Trust God, do what is right according to His word.  Learn to love like He does.  Learn to offer grace to those who don’t deserve it, just like He gave you grace.

Are you suffering the mundane drudgery of life?  Well, stop it!  Realize how miraculous the gospel is.  Realize how dramatically God saved you.  Marvel at the power of God’s creation.  You are made in the image of God.  Be in awe of Him and His work.  If you can be in His word and see His works, then you’ll realize there is nothing mundane about living for Christ and the expansion of His Kingdom via the preaching of the gospel, and the saving of sinners.

I hope none of you are seriously thinking about running away from your lives.  I hope it is just an emotional statement of being tired or exhausted.  If this is the case, take comfort in knowing the rest of Christ.  He has fulfilled the law for us.  Every moment is the Sabbath for those who are resting in the righteousness of Christ and not relying on their own works to save them.  I hope that if any of you are having problems that seem overwhelming that you would seek help from brothers and sisters, or look for your answers in God’s word.  Find your purpose, identity, and comfort in Christ.

The Slippery Slope of Homosexuality Leads to Acceptance of all Abominations.

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So according to the immoral left, we must accept homosexuality as moral.  They insist that love is love, and question, “Who are you to stand in the way of love?”  For a Christian it is simple.  God says it is sinful in His word.  God defines true love in His sacrifice to pay for sin.  What you have is not love.  It is abominable narcissistic lust for a carbon copy of yourself.  Sure you have feelings for the person, but it is not God’s love that you have for them.  It is not the type of love demonstrated by Christ on the cross.  You can only know that love if you have been crucified with Him, if you’ve been born again by the power of the Holy Spirit.

According to an article on, “The Daily Mail.com” There is a mother and son who are in an incestuous relationship.  They are quite unrepentant about it.  They even site homosexuality’s argument of, “Who are you to say what two consenting adults should do?” If you don’t believe me, read the article and watch the videos here.

So, you all remember that slippery slope we were telling you about? The country is sliding down it. If you affirm homosexual relationships from a purely pragmatic, natural, or emotional position you have no foundation to say this is immoral, or wrong. Whereas a Christian who believes in an external moral authority, who is supreme in authority, and declares what perverse abominations are, then you have a grounds to say if something is immoral or wrong. I happen to be one of those intolerant, Bible thumping, bigots, who will declare that this is wrong according to God’s word. Oh and by the way, here is why this is happening;
“Romans 1:18-32 NASB For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, (19) because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. (20) For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. (21) For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. (22) Professing to be wise, they became fools, (23) and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. (24) Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. (25) For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. (26) For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, (27) and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. (28) And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, (29) being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, (30) slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, (31) without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; (32) and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.”
We can see what God said to the Levites in the Old Testament concerning these things specifically. Since God is the same always and forever and never changes, we know that He still has the same will in regards to these abominations. “Leviticus 18:5-30 NASB ‘So you shall keep My statutes and My judgments, by which a man may live if he does them; I am the LORD. (6) ‘None of you shall approach any blood relative of his to uncover nakedness; I am the LORD. (7) ‘You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father, that is, the nakedness of your mother. She is your mother; you are not to uncover her nakedness. (8) ‘You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s wife; it is your father’s nakedness. (9) ‘The nakedness of your sister, either your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether born at home or born outside, their nakedness you shall not uncover. (10) ‘The nakedness of your son’s daughter or your daughter’s daughter, their nakedness you shall not uncover; for their nakedness is yours. (11) ‘The nakedness of your father’s wife’s daughter, born to your father, she is your sister, you shall not uncover her nakedness. (12) ‘You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s sister; she is your father’s blood relative. (13) ‘You shall not uncover the nakedness of your mother’s sister, for she is your mother’s blood relative. (14) ‘You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s brother; you shall not approach his wife, she is your aunt. (15) ‘You shall not uncover the nakedness of your daughter-in-law; she is your son’s wife, you shall not uncover her nakedness. (16) ‘You shall not uncover the nakedness of your brother’s wife; it is your brother’s nakedness. (17) ‘You shall not uncover the nakedness of a woman and of her daughter, nor shall you take her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter, to uncover her nakedness; they are blood relatives. It is lewdness. (18) ‘You shall not marry a woman in addition to her sister as a rival while she is alive, to uncover her nakedness. (19) ‘Also you shall not approach a woman to uncover her nakedness during her menstrual impurity. (20) ‘You shall not have intercourse with your neighbor’s wife, to be defiled with her. (21) ‘You shall not give any of your offspring to offer them to Molech, nor shall you profane the name of your God; I am the LORD. (22) ‘You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination. (23) ‘Also you shall not have intercourse with any animal to be defiled with it, nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it; it is a perversion. (24) ‘Do not defile yourselves by any of these things; for by all these the nations which I am casting out before you have become defiled. (25) ‘For the land has become defiled, therefore I have brought its punishment upon it, so the land has spewed out its inhabitants. (26) ‘But as for you, you are to keep My statutes and My judgments and shall not do any of these abominations, neither the native, nor the alien who sojourns among you (27) (for the men of the land who have been before you have done all these abominations, and the land has become defiled); (28) so that the land will not spew you out, should you defile it, as it has spewed out the nation which has been before you. (29) ‘For whoever does any of these abominations, those persons who do so shall be cut off from among their people. (30) ‘Thus you are to keep My charge, that you do not practice any of the abominable customs which have been practiced before you, so as not to defile yourselves with them; I am the LORD your God.'””

The Differences Between Sins, and Mistakes.

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Recently, I had a conversation with a person on social media about sins, and mistakes. Their first assertion was that, sins are the willful transgression of the known will of God. The second assertion was that people are not culpable to God for mistakes that they make. Lastly, they failed to define what mistakes are, even when asked several times. I quickly identified this as a Nazarene Church member, because I had been a member for approximately 19 years give or take. I decided since they came to my page to discuss this issue that it was a proper opening to engage them. I typically don’t go to other people’s pages and comment on things I don’t agree with. I see it as bad etiquette, but if they come to me, so be it. Listed below is the section 5.3 Sin, Original and Personal from the Nazarene Church’s Preamble and Articles of Faith;

5.3. We believe that actual or personal sin is a voluntary violation of a known law of God by a morally responsible person. It is therefore not to be confused with involuntary and inescapable shortcomings, infirmities, faults, mistakes, failures, or other deviations from a standard of perfect conduct that are the residual effects of the Fall. However, such innocent effects do not include attitudes or responses contrary to the spirit of Christ, which may properly be called sins of the spirit. We believe that personal sin is primarily and essentially a violation of the law of love; and that in relation to Christ sin may be defined as unbelief.

(Original sin: Genesis 3; 6:5; Job 15:14; Psalm 51:5; Jeremiah 17:9-10; Mark 7:21-23; Romans 1:18-25; 5:12-14; 7:1-8:9; 1 Corinthians 3:1-4; Galatians 5:16-25; 1 John 1:7-8

Personal sin: Matthew 22:36-40 {with 1 John 3:4}; John 8:34-36; 16:8-9; Romans 3:23; 6:15-23; 8:18-24; 14:23; 1 John 1:9-2:4; 3:7-10)”

As you can see from their article, it is what has led some of them to their minimization of sin, thus diminishing the importance of the gospel, as well as creating a legalistic approach to righteousness. This last consequence is also a product of their doctrine of Entire Sanctification. Their doctrine of Entire Sanctification is also a product of their minimization of sin. This is what Article 10 says about Entire Sanctification;

X. Christian Holiness and Entire Sanctification


10. We believe that sanctification is the work of God which transforms believers into the likeness of Christ. It is wrought by God’s grace through the Holy Spirit in initial sanctification, or regeneration (simultaneous with justification), entire sanctification, and the continued perfecting work of the Holy Spirit culminating in glorification. In glorification we are fully conformed to the image of the Son.

We believe that entire sanctification is that act of God, subsequent to regeneration, by which believers are made free from original sin, or depravity, and brought into a state of entire devotement to God, and the holy obedience of love made perfect.

It is wrought by the baptism with or infilling of the Holy Spirit, and comprehends in one experience the cleansing of the heart from sin and the abiding, indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, empowering the believer for life and service. Entire sanctification is provided by the blood of Jesus, is wrought instantaneously by grace through faith, preceded by entire consecration; and to this work and state of grace the Holy Spirit bears witness.

This experience is also known by various terms representing its different phases, such as “Christian perfection,” “perfect love,” “heart purity,” “the baptism with or infilling of the Holy Spirit,” “the fullness of the blessing,” and “Christian holiness.””

Not that long ago the Nazarene Church made some changes to their Articles of Faith. What I linked to is their current one. They have clarified it to some degree, but you can’t lay all the blame on the average Church goer for their personal affirmation of false doctrines. After reading the Articles of Faith, I can see what they are trying to express, but it can confuse the layman. I think this is mostly due to their Ordo Salutis, and Semi-Pelagianism that is all part of the traditions of a portion of the people in the denomination. From what I understand they are slowly trying to move away from the errors of Semi-Pelagianism that were made in the past.

If you are old enough you’d remember a different looking CotN. The girls mostly wore dresses, and dancing was not allowed. They looked and acted like Pentecostal versions of the Mennonites almost. Some believed that a person could be entirely sinless in their life. That is what their personal understanding of their doctrine of Entire Sanctification looked like. If you read it now, you can see it is a bit more nuanced, but you can also see how it could lead someone to believe the other way. When you look at Wesley’s writings on the topic, if you have a good theological foundation, you can see where he is heading. The problem lies in the fact that so many people are very simple in their education and ability to reason, that they take his work to mean what it appears to mean at a superficial reading. I’m not saying I agree with his conclusions. I actually think he was poorly repaving a road that had been well paved, and traveled long before him, by men more learned and brilliant.

I see Wesley as more of an evangelist and less of a theologian.  I understand him to be attempting to make room for people who don’t know, or believe, everything rightly all the time to still be saved. All of us are wrong all the time about something whether we know it or not. That doesn’t ruin our justification. I used to think the Trinity was best expressed as the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit as all three parts of God. I had no idea that was the heresy of partialism. Once I was taught by more mature Christians from scripture that they are three persons, one God I was able to repent of my heresy. Was I not saved back then? I think I was, but I was a material heretic. I was not a formal heretic. If I’d persisted to death in a heresy, and rejected all correction, then I would have proven to be a false convert and formal heretic.

The person I was having the discussion with was of the old fashion persuasion. They didn’t read Wesley. They just took a superficial approach to their denomination’s doctrines and ran with it. So for them, sin was simply willfully transgressing a known law of God and it excludes mistakes, infirmities, failures, faults, emotions, (feelings) and thoughts. They also argued that a Christian will stop sinning completely, even though I showed them 1 John 1:8 and explained that John was addressing Christians. I was also told that if I sinned and then died immediately after, without repenting, that I would go to Hell. This is another one of their misguided beliefs. They believe that a genuine Christian can apostatize by willfully sinning. What I was dealing with was a Semi-Pelagian, not a Wesleyan. It is interesting because they make a categorical error by contrasting sins with mistakes. I don’t know if it ever occurred to them that a sin is always sinful, but a mistake can be sin or not sin. I mentioned this and got no answer. The same can be said for the other things listed that they say are not sin. We know that having a lustful thought pop into your head is a sin, and that we must take every thought captive so it doesn’t come to fruition in deed. We also know that to God we are guilty of that sin. It sure is a good thing that Christ justified me, and paid for all of my sin. I am exceedingly sinful, and exceedingly thankful for His righteousness that He imputed to me upon justification. I think this eludes the Semi-Pelagian. They are in a works righteousness faith where they must maintain their position of being righteous by works. This particular flavor of Semi-Pelagian makes this task less daunting by watering down sin and man’s responsibility. In so doing they rob God of the glory, as it were. So much the worse for them, as many of them are not truly saved, but still lost. Of course, I would not say that all of them are lost. Some may be material heretics, just waiting to be corrected and brought into repentance. Could you be the one to speak into their lives with the truth?

Martin Bucer, on Ecumenism.

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bucerquote
Bucer wrote extensively on ecumenism and what the differences are between good/right ecumenism and bad/wrong ecumenism.  Ecumenism is, the principle or aim of promoting unity among the world’s Christian churches.

It should not be confused with the ecumenical movement which is very different.  The ecumenical movement attempts to bind groups together that affirm a different gospel and different primary articles of faith. http://www.gotquestions.org/ecumenism-ecumenical.html

Much like Bucer indicates, all people at one time in their lives, were material heretics, not yet privy to the error they believed, but through God’s grace, longsuffering, and patience we can trust that He will sanctify us out of it into conformity with the truth.  When a brother believes something that is in error we bear with them, in patience and grace, lovingly correcting them from God’s word.  Our hope is that the individual will move from material heresy to orthodoxy, rather than proving to be a formal heretic.  Once someone is a formal heretic, we can pray for their conversion.  God may use Satan to sift the material heretic, but the formal heretic, if he persists unto the grave, will suffer in Hell with Satan.  By no means are we to call all men, “brother” who claim to be our brothers.  Neither are we to include groups who have a different gospel, or worship a different god than the true God.  This would make them appear to be legitimate to those in the laity, or general public.

 

The Slippery Slope of Gay Marriage, as Evidenced by the Lawsuit Against Kim Davis, for not Allowing a Woman to Marry an Animal.

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We all remember that not very long ago, Kim Davis was in the news.  She refused to issue marriage licenses to homosexual people.  Well, she is in the news again.  Can you guess what for?  Apparently she is being sued for not issuing a marriage license to a woman who wants to marry an animal.  She is also being sued by a man who wants to marry his computer.  Can anyone say, “slippery slope?”  When you have rejected the word of God, and replaced His laws with your own sinful desires, you are obligated to approve, and affirm everyone else’s.  Listen folks, I don’t know what her theology is.  I’m not putting this out there to endorse her.  I’m writing this to illustrate how the country lost its mind.  It is as if the entire country has read Romans 1 and said, “Yup, we’re cool with that.”  For those of you who are not familiar with the Bible, I’ll include Romans 1:18-32 so you can see what I’m talking about.  We are under God’s judgment as a nation people.  We need to repent of our sins.  Romans 1:18-32 NASB For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, (19) because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. (20) For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. (21) For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. (22) Professing to be wise, they became fools, (23) and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. (24) Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. (25) For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. (26) For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, (27) and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. (28) And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, (29) being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, (30) slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, (31) without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; (32) and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

Tired of getting fake friends requests, that are obviously spam?

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Tired of getting fake friends requests, that are obviously spam? I mean, seriously… Why would anyone take a half naked picture of themselves, use it as a facebook profile picture, and then ask people with no obvious connections to be their friend? Have I got a solution for you! Just copy the following gospel presentation, open your favorite word processing app, paste it, and save it. The next time you get a spammy request, just copy and paste the text into a message to that person. If genuine request, they will get the gospel. If it is a spammy request, they will get the gospel. It is a win all the way around. ***begin copying here***
You have sent me a friends request. I don’t know you. Why should I accept your request? Did you know that all people are sinners. We have all sinned against God, by breaking His laws. By nature we are His enemies. The Bible says that none are good, and we are all storing up wrath against us for the day of judgment. Do you know how to be forgiven? Do you want to be right with God so that He will know you and you will know Him? You must repent of your sins, and trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the eternal Son of God. God made for Himself a body in the womb of the virgin. He came into His creation as fully God and fully Man. Jesus lived a perfectly righteous life. He went to the cross without guilt. He bore our sins on the cross. He took our punishment there. For all who would be saved, He paid their penalty, and justified them to God. He did this for the glory of God, and because He loved us. He atoned for our sins. We must repent, or turn from our sins, and trust in the righteous work of Jesus on the cross to atone for us. We must not trust in our own works. The Bible tells us that God sees our best works of righteousness as, “filthy rags.” Instead we trust in the perfect work of Jesus on the cross. When we do that, the Holy Spirit will come into us and bring us to new life spiritually. We will be born again, and He will start conforming us to the word and likeness of Jesus. Have you repented and trusted the Savior? www.needgod.com

If you don’t respond to this message I will report this as a spam account.

A Review of, “Evangelical Influences” by Dr. J. I. Packer.

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In honor of Dr. J.I. Packer’s 90th birthday this July 22, I offer this review.

I’d like to start out by saying that there are some good books written, and published in Christendom still today, and this is one of them.  I would contrast it with my most recent review of, “Audacious” by Beth Moore.  One is a piece of fluff, with virtually no value at all to the reader.  The other is a wonderfully educational book that enriches the reader.  Of course, Dr. Packer’s book is the latter.  It should also be noted, that I don’t affirm Dr. Packer’s ecumenism, views on evolution, or the age of creation.  In light of these differences, I still recommend this work for your Christian education, as our differences are not of primary import, but rather of secondary or tertiary consideration.   I think this book should be on the reading list for men going into seminary. I admire his passion for knowing God, strength of conviction, and his intelligence.  Here is a link to a short bio if you are not familiar with J. I. Packer.  I am also including this link, so you can read about his character.

In Dr. Packer’s book, “Evangelical Influences” he introduces us to three sets of men via short biographies and citations of their works.  These three sets of men come from three distinct times during Church history.  The first is comprised of Martin Luther, and John Calvin.  They represent evangelicalism during the Reformation.  The second group is Richard Baxter, and George Whitefield.  They represent evangelicalism as Puritans.  The third and last set is Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones, and Francis Schaeffer who could be considered Dr. Packer’s contemporaries representing modern evangelicalism.  One thing that impressed me most about the biographies is the kind affection that Packer expressed for, “The Doctor” Martyn Lloyd Jones.  Even though they didn’t see eye to eye on every issue, the fond recollections Packer expresses are very touching.  Sometimes we let our differences cause undue animosity towards one another.  It is encouraging to read these fond memories.

The rest of the book is spent relaying historical information about the works of these men, and the effects those works had, and continue to have on evangelicalism.  They have done much of the heavy lifting for us fleshing out the doctrines so that we could have concise expressions of them, which are precise and nuanced.

I especially like the section where Packer explains how we have benefited from Calvin’s work on the inerrancy of scripture. Through cited passages from Calvin’s work, we can read what he thought about scripture and how it should be thought of. Much of our conservative modern understanding comes from the work these predecessors did. In the 1970’s Rogers and McKim criticized Calvin’s explanations of inerrancy. Dr. Packer’s answers to their criticism are well worth reading. I think this conclusion on pages 166 and 167 expresses perfectly how Packer understands Calvin’s convictions “…For Calvin, Scripture was able to fulfil its God-given function precisely by virtue of its God-given form, and the Holy Spirit, through whose agency that function is fulfilled, was directly responsible for producing the words in that particular form. The Spirit teaches from a textbook that in effect he wrote himself. For Calvin, therefore, anyone who set the form and the function of Scripture, its givenness and its usefulness, in antithesis to each other, treating them as alternative rather than complementary theological concerns, would be talking a kind of nonsense, just as one would if one set food in antithesis to eating…” As you can see, Packer understood Calvin’s work differently than Kim Rogers and McKim. I tend to agree with Packer.

In the section about predestination Packer lists 10 things predestination does not mean. I found this helpful for explaining the topic to my 15 year old daughter. I hope she found it helpful. Many people have questions or presuppositions about predestination that make them biased against it, even though it is blatantly taught throughout scripture. We dare not disregard it. Number 6 said, “Predestination does not mean that the door of mercy is barred to anyone who actually wants to enter. To no such person does God say, ‘No, you can’t come in; there is no redemption, no mercy for you. You were predestined to stay outside, and outside you must remain.’ The reason why this never happens is because no one ever wants to come in except God’s chosen, whom he draws to Christ and brings to faith according to his predestining purpose. We are dealing, remember, with God’s action towards our fallen race, in which nobody naturally seeks God. Nobody naturally wants to come to Christ. One who wants to come to Christ is already the subject of a work of grace, and will find the Saviour whom he or she is seeking.” Instead of being a cause for distress or anxiety about predestination, this should give the Christian great peace.
Dr. Packer cites large sections from the works of these fellows. He does so to examine the work they did, and to provide the historical context, so we can see the effect they had on us. It is always noteworthy to me, to understand how our situation today isn’t much different from our predecessors. The issues that Luther and Calvin dealt with are still being dealt with today. By studying their works we can see how they recognized, understood, and dealt with them. Dr. Packer’s proficiency at engaging the reader, while simultaneously educating them is appreciated. Even though this material can seem a bit difficult to get through for some, I adjure you to read all of it. For the rest of us, who are accustomed to reading works laden with theology and history, I think you’ll find this to be a good read.

Pick up your copy here or here.

 

  • ISBN-13: 978-1619701564
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