3. If we wish to teach our distinctive views to others, it is neccessary to understand those whom we propose to reach. I remember a teacher of modern languages who would often elaborately explain some French or German or other idiom with which had no difficulty at all, and then pass over as not needing explanation many a phrase we could not understand. He knew the language he was teaching, but was not well acquainted with the language of his pupils.
If we would in any way teach effectively, we must know things look of the persons addressed; we must get their point of view. Now, Baptists are not, on the whole, so ignorant of denominational opinions of other Christians as they are of ours, because our circumstances have compelled us to give some attention to that matter. Yet we need a much better acquaintance with them if we would speak to any purpose in public or private. I respectfully urge upon all ministers and upon intelligent private members of both sexes that they shall study, by reading and personal inquiry, each of the leading religious bodies with they have to do, shall study them in three respects:
(a) Inquire what are the characteristic peculiarities of this body of Christians differencing them from others, and if possible at the fundamental opinions which account for these peculiarities.
(b) Consider in what respects they particularly deserve our admiration and, with the necessary changes, our imitation. Denomination emphasizes certain aspects of truth or departments of duty, and will in regard to these present a very instructive and inspiring model.
(c) Strive to ascertain how they regard tenets, practices, and spirit. What things in us they especially dislike, and with what they might easily feel sympathy.
Such inquiries will help us in several ways. They may restrain the tendency to react from what we regard as the errors of others into an opposite extreme, as Protestants have done with reference to some errors of Popery, and many Baptists with reference to prelatical or pastoral domination, to clerical support, etc. They may check the unconscious adoption or imitation of opinions, sentiments, or phrases which are inconsistent, or at least incongruous, in us.
We rejoice in that “progress of Baptist principles” among Paedobaptists which Dr. Curtis’s book so well describes, and perhaps fail to inquire whether there be not a counter-influence which deserves attention, and which may not be wholly beneficial. And then this study of other denominations will enable us better to adapt ourselves to those whom we would influence. When you address to Methodists an article suited to High Churchmen or vice versa, what in the world are you thinking about?
John A. Broadus-The Duty of Baptists to Teach Their Distinctive Views
HISTORY OF CHRISTIAN MARTYRS TO THE FIRST GENERAL PERSECUTIONS UNDER NERO
The brother of James, was commonly called Thaddeus. He was crucified at Edessa, AD 72.
John Foxe-Foxe’s Book of Martyrs
A. Christ, the son of God, became man by taking to himself a true body, (Hebrews 2:14) and a reasonable soul, (Matthew 26:38; Hebrews 4:15) being conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mary, and born of her, (Luke 1:31,35) yet without sin. (Hebrews 7:26)
Charles Haddon Spurgeon-A Puritan Catechism
The Wednesday Word: The Perfect Christ and His Perfect Gospel
2 Samuel 22:31: “As for God, his way is perfect”
John 14:6: “I am the Way.”
Christ is perfect (Hebrews 5:9). As a result of this perfection, His work is also perfect (Hebrews 10:14). As, from the cross, He uttered that famous word, “Finished” (John 19:30), He declared that His redemptive work for us had been perfectly accomplished.
What a joy to know that Christ’s redemptive work is finished and complete. There is nothing in it that should be out of it, and nothing out of it that should be in it.
Since Jesus is the perfect One (1 Peter 1:18-19), everything that He touches is coloured with His perfection. He is the embodiment of ‘Sinless Perfection‘. By faith, we now see Him standing between us and the Father. By faith, we see ourselves now clothed in Christ’s perfection. We no longer need to contrive ways and means by which to earn the Father’s approval. Why scheme to obtain that which we already have?
Christ and His gospel are perfect! When we look at Jesus, we see perfect love, perfect obedience, perfect faith, perfect worship, perfect prayer, perfect grace, perfect truth and perfect righteousness.
We see that this perfect Christ has forged a perfect gospel on the anvil of His own obedience.
Our Christian experience is not perfect, it is developing and improving. Our Christian experience, therefore, cannot be considered as being the gospel. If we preach our experience of Christ and about how we are growing in grace, we are not preaching the gospel. We are not preaching the perfect work of God in Christ. We are not preaching that which is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16). If we, on the other hand, preach Christ’s experience for us on our behalf, we are building on solid gospel ground.
God, in His perfection, has demanded a perfect righteousness from us. As William Cunningham said,
“”The righteousness of God is that righteousness which God’s righteousness requires him to require.”
But how can we attain to such a thing? Ah! How indeed? The answer is that Christ Himself has provided this perfect, required righteousness for us. What the Father has demanded, He has provided in His Son. Although we hate sin, we, as gospel driven believers, will not fall for the lie that tells us that we will, in this life, attain to perfection within ourselves. Countless numbers have already shipwrecked themselves on that perilous error. Why join them?
The only Christian perfection that brings us to heaven is Christ’s. Yet there are those who insist that they have reached such a deep level of Christian experience that they, within themselves, are now sinlessly perfect. One such man once came to the preacher, John Berridge, and began boasting about his perfectionism. The normally gracious minister treated him very rudely. The perfectionist then reacted and began to utter all manner of insulting words directed at the good preacher. Berridge said to him, “That’s not a great perfection you have, for I was able to spoil it in just a few minutes.”
You will always find those so-called “perfection” people far from perfect. They can’t be trusted for, ‘he that says he has no sin is a liar, and the truth of God is not in him’ (1 John 1:10). However, Christ can be trusted. He is sinlessly perfect, and we can completely rest in His perfections before the Father.
To summarise; perfection is not in us but rather, perfection is in the person of Jesus Christ, alone! He is the Perfect One. Dear believer, think of this, the perfect purity of Christ’s sinless life is yours! The perfect obedience of Christ is yours, the perfect goodness of Christ is yours, the perfect holiness of Christ is yours. Everything that Christ has is yours. All that you need is in Him.
And that’s the Gospel Truth
Minister of the Gospel
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Published in 1646
The Text used: There has been some updating of Old English words but otherwise no changes have been made to the original texts.
CONFESSION OF FAITH of seven congregations or churches of Christ in London. which are commonly, but unjustly, called Anabaptists; published for the vindication of the truth and information of the ignorant; likewise for the taking off those aspersions which are frequently, both in pulpit and print, unjustly cast upon them. Printed in London, Anno 1646.
XXVIII THOSE that have union with Christ, are justified from all their sins by the blood of Christ, which justification is a gracious and full acquittance of a guilty sinner from all sin, by God, through the satisfaction that Christ hath made by His death for all their sins, and this applied (in manifestation of it) through faith.
1 John 1:7; Heb.l0:14, 9:26; 2 Cor.5:19; Rom.3:23; Acts 13:38,39; Rom.5:1, 3:25,30.
The First London Baptist Confession 1644/46
2. The expression of David, (Psalm 14:1, 53:1,) “The fool has said in his heart, There is no God,” is primarily applied to those who, as will shortly farther appear, stifle the light of nature, and intentionally stupefy themselves. We see many, after they have become hardened in a daring course of sin, madly banishing all remembrance of God, though spontaneously suggested to them from within, by natural sense. To show how detestable this madness is, the Psalmist introduces them as distinctly denying that there is a God, because although they do not disown his essence, they rob him of his justice and providence, and represent him as sitting idly in heaven. Nothing being less accordant with the nature of God than to cast off the government of the world, leaving it to chance, and so to wink at the crimes of men that they may wanton with impunity in evil courses; it follows, that every man who indulges in security, after extinguishing all fear of divine judgment, virtually denies that there is a God. As a just punishment of the wicked, after they have closed their own eyes, God makes their hearts dull and heavy, and hence, seeing, they see not. David, indeed, is the best interpreter of his own meaning, when he says elsewhere, the wicked has “no fear of God before his eyes,” (Psalm 36:1;) and, again, “He has said in his heart, God has forgotten; he hideth his face; he will never see it.” Thus although they are forced to acknowledge that there is some God, they, however, rob him of his glory by denying his power. For, as Paul declares, “If we believe not, he abideth faithful, he cannot deny himself,” (2 Timothy 2:13; so those who feign to themselves a dead and dumb idol, are truly said to deny God. It is, moreover, to be observed, that though they struggle with their own convictions, and would fain not only banish God from their minds, but from heaven also, their stupefaction is never so complete as to secure them from being occasionally dragged before the divine tribunal. Still, as no fear restrains them from rushing violently in the face of God, so long as they are hurried on by that blind impulse, it cannot be denied that their prevailing state of mind in regard to him is brutish oblivion.
John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 4-Henry Beveridge Translation
But surely we must draw a definite and broad line between the Law and the Gospel. It is at this point that the Dispensationalist considers his position to be the strongest and most unassailable; yet nowhere else does he more display his ignorance, for he neither recognizes the grace of God abounding during the Mosaic era, nor can he see that Law has any rightful place in this Christian age. Law and grace are to him antagonistic elements, and (to quote one of his favorite slogans) “will no more mix than will oil and water.” Not a few of those who are now regarded as the champions of orthodoxy tell their hearers that the principles of law and grace are such contrary elements that where the one be in exercise the other must necessarily be excluded. But this is a very serious error. How could the Law of God and the Gospel of the grace of God conflict? The one exhibits Him as “light,” the other manifest Him as “love” (1 John 1:5; 4:8), and both are necessary in order fully to reveal His perfections: if either one be omitted only a one-sided concept of His character will be formed. The one makes known His righteousness, the other displays His mercy, and His wisdom has shown the perfect consistency there is between them.
Arthur W. Pink The Application of Scriptures-A Study of Dispensationalism