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No promises of God are given to those outside of Christ

September 24, 2013 1 comment

Arthur PinkAS IT IS particularly the Old Testament promises of which Dispensationalists would deprive the Christian, a more definite and detailed refutation of this error is now required—coming, as it obviously does, within the compass of our present subject. We will here transcribe what we wrote thereon almost twenty years ago.

5. Since all the promises of God are made in Christ, it clearly follows that none of them are available to any who are out of Christ, for to be out of Him is to be out of the favour of God. God cannot look on such a person but as an object of His wrath, as fuel for His vengeance: there is no hope for any man until he be in Christ. But it may be asked, Does not God bestow any good things on them who are out of Christ, sending His rain upon the unjust, and filling the bellies of the wicked with good things (Psalm 17:14)? Yes, He does indeed. Then are not those temporal mercies blessings? Certainly not: far from it. As He says in Malachi 2:2,

 

“I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart” (cf. Deuteronomy 28:15-20).

 

Unto the wicked, the temporal mercies of God are like food given to bullocks—it does but “prepare them for the day of slaughter” (Jeremiah 12:3, and cf. James 5:5).

Arthur W. Pink The Application of Scriptures-A Study of Dispensationalism

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Many are saved, though they never were baptized

September 23, 2013 26 comments

Spurgeon 1This much also I must say, that it is not possible that there can be anything saving in the baptism itself. The act of applying water in any way whatsoever cannot wash away a single sin. That would be going back to the old covenant of works, the old ceremonies of the Mosaic law; all the washings under the law — and they were very many never washed one sin away; nor can any washing in water take away the sin of any man. Even the tears of Christ are never spoken of as putting away sin; it is his precious blood alone that cleanses away the sin of men. In my text, while it says, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved,” yet, when the condemnation is announced, it is simply, “He that believeth not shall be damned,” and the matter of baptism is not mentioned, for there are many who believe, but who are not baptized, and who cannot be, as the dying thief, for instance, yet are they assuredly saved. Nevertheless, here stands my text, and I cannot alter it, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.”

Charles H. Spurgeon-Baptism Essential to Obedience-Metropolitan Tabernacle-Lord’s Evening-Oct. 13, 1889

There are many who are saved, despite the fact that they are in error concerning scriptural practices

September 20, 2013 1 comment

broadusChapter 9. Christian Union.

I have thus endeavored to show that the plain teaching of our English Bible, supported by the highest authorities as to Greek scholarship and by the testimony and practice of the living Greeks, cannot be set aside either by the authority of “the church,” the opinions of eminent individuals, or our own notions of convenience, nor yet by the attempts to establish a sacred, as quite different from the classical, sense of the term involved, nor by the strange and wild notions of a recent writer.

And now this protracted discussion shall close with a single remark, I have spoken long and earnestly of a controverted question – one of those which divide Christians. But I am a rejoicing believer in Christian Union. It is too common to speak of this as having no actual existence; to speak dolefully of our Lord’s prayer, “That they all may be one,” as not at all fulfilled. Certainly it is not completely fulfilled in the present state of things; but it is fulfilled as really, and in as high a degree, as the prayer which precedes it, “Sanctify them through thy truth.” Christ’s people are by no means completely sanctified; yet they are sanctified; and though not completely one, yet they are one. All who are truly his are one in him. Not only those belonging to what we call evangelical denominations, but many Romanists, for there are doubtless lovers of Christ among them, as there have been in past ages; and many of the Greek Church; and perhaps some Universalists and Unitarians; and Quakers, who reject all water baptism; and some who, from mistaken views, neglect to make any profession of faith, or as the phrase is, do not join any church; whoever and wherever they may be, though many of their opinions be erroneous and their practices wrong, yet if they are truly Christ’s people they are truly one in him.

Let nothing prevent us from clinging to this great fact and rejoicing in the thought of Christian unity. But assuredly it is desirable – eminently, unspeakably desirable – to have more of union, both in spirit and in organization. We who believe in the Bible ought to be standing together against the bold and arrogant infidelity which is coming in like a flood; we ought to be laboring together. Now such completer union, of spirit and of organization, is possible only on Scriptural grounds; only by taking the Bible as our sole authority, and the Bible as being a book for the people, in its plain meaning. All Christians, except the Quakers, make baptism a condition of church membership. And for the sake of a more complete and efficient Christian union, we urge upon our fellow Christians as the plain teaching of God’s word, that there is no baptism where there is not an immersion.

I close with the Apostle’s benediction, “Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity” (Eph. 6:24).

John A. Broadus-Immersion Essential to Christian Baptism

CHAPTER II-X-A

September 19, 2013 1 comment

THE TEN PRIMITIVE PERSECUTIONS

X-A. The Tenth Persecution, Under Diocletian, AD 303

Under the Roman emperors, commonly called the Era of the Martyrs, was occasioned partly by the increasing number and luxury of the Christians, and the hatred of Galerius, the adopted son of Diocletian, who, being stimulated by his mother, a bigoted pagan, never ceased persuading the emperor to enter upon the persecution, until he had accomplished his purpose.

The fatal day fixed upon to commence the bloody work, was the twenty-third of February, AD 303, that being the day in which the Terminalia were celebrated, and on which, as the cruel pagans boasted, they hoped to put a termination to Christianity. On the appointed day, the persecution began in Nicomedia, on the morning of which the prefect of that city repaired, with a great number of officers and assistants, to the church of the Christians, where, having forced open the doors, they seized upon all the sacred books, and committed them to the flames.

The whole of this transaction was in the presence of Diocletian and Galerius, who, not contented with burning the books, had the church leveled with the ground. This was followed by a severe edict, commanding the destruction of all other Christian churches and books; and an order soon succeeded, to render Christians of all denomination outlaws.

The publication of this edict occasioned an immediate martyrdom, for a bold Christian not only tore it down from the place to which it was affixed, but execrated the name of the emperor for his injustice. A provocation like this was sufficient to call down pagan vengeance upon his head, he was accordingly seized, severely tortured and then burned alive.

All the Christians were apprehended and imprisoned and Galerius privately ordered the imperial palace to be set on fire, that the Christians might be charged as the incendiaries, and a plausible pretense given for carrying on the persecution with the greater severities. A general sacrifice was commenced, which occasioned various martyrdoms. No distinction was made of age or sex; the name of Christian was so obnoxious to the pagans that all indiscriminately fell sacrifices to their opinions. Many houses were set on fire, and whole Christian families perished in the flames; and others had stones fastened about their necks, and being tied together were driven into the sea. The persecution became general in all the Roman provinces, but more particularly in the east; and as it lasted ten years, it is impossible to ascertain the numbers martyred, or to enumerate the various modes of martyrdom.

Racks, scourges, swords, daggers, crosses, poison, and famine, were made use of in various parts to dispatch the Christians; and invention was exhausted to devise tortures against such as had no crime, but thinking differently from the votaries of superstition.

A city of Phrygia, consisting entirely of Christians, was burnt, and all the inhabitants perished in the flames.

Tired with slaughter, at length, several governors of provinces represented to the imperial court, the impropriety of such conduct. Hence many were respited from execution, but, though they were not put to death, as much as possible was done to render their lives miserable, many of them having their ears cut off, their noses slit, their right eyes put out, their limbs rendered useless by dreadful dislocations, and their flesh seared in conspicuous places with red-hot irons.

It is necessary now to particularize the most conspicuous persons who laid down their lives in martyrdom in this bloody persecution.

Sebastian, a celebrated martyr, was born at Narbonne, in Gaul, instructed in the principles of Christianity at Milan, and afterward became an officer of the emperor’s guard at Rome. He remained a true Christian in the midst of idolatry; unallured by the splendors of a court, untainted by evil examples, and uncontaminated by the hopes of preferment. Refusing to be a pagan, the emperor ordered him be taken to a field near the city, termed the Campus Martius, and there to be shot to death with arrows; which sentence was executed accordingly. Some pious Christians coming to the place of execution, in order to give his body burial, perceived signs of life in him, and immediately moving him to a place of security, they, in short time effected his recovery, and prepared him for a second martyrdom; for, as soon as he was able to go out, he placed himself intentionally in the emperor’s way as he was going to the temple, apprehended him for his various cruelties and unreasonable prejudices against Christianity. As soon as Diocletian had overcome his surprise, he ordered Sebastian to be seized, and carried to a place near the palace, and beaten to death; and, that the Christians should not either use means again to recover or bury his body, he ordered that it should be thrown into the common sewer. Nevertheless, a Christian lady, named Lucina, found means to remove it from the sewer, and bury it in the catacombs, or repositories of the dead.

The Christians, about this time, upon mature consideration, thought it unlawful to bear arms under a heathen emperor. Maximilian, the son of Fabius Victor, was the first beheaded under this regulation.

Vitus, a Sicilian of considerable family, was brought up a Christian; when s virtues increased with his years, his constancy supported him under all afflictions, and his faith was superior to the most dangerous perils. His father, Hytas, who was a pagan, finding that he had been instructed in the principles of Christianity by the nurse who brought him up, used all his endeavors to bring him back to paganism, and at length sacrificed his son to the idols, June 14, AD 303.

Victor was a Christian of a good family at Marseilles, in France; he spent a great part of the night in visiting the afflicted, and confirming the weak; which pious work he could not, consistently with his own safety, perform in the daytime; and his fortune he spent relieving the distresses of poor Christians. He was at length however, seized by the emperor Maximilian’s decree, who ordered him to be bound, and dragged through the streets. During the execution of this order, he was treated with all manner of cruelties and indignities by the enraged populace. Remaining still inflexible, his courage was deemed obstinacy. Being by order stretched upon the rack, he turned his eyes toward heaven, and prayed to God to endue him with patience, after which he underwent the tortures with most admirable fortitude. After the executioners were tired with inflicting torments on him, he was conveyed to a dungeon. In his confinement, he converted his jailers, named Alexander, Felician, and Longinus. This affair coming to the ears of the emperor, he ordered them immediately to be put to death, and the jailers were accordingly beheaded. Victor was then again put to the rack, unmercifully beaten with batons, and again sent to prison. Being a third time examined concerning his religion, he persevered in his principles; a small altar was then brought, and he was commanded to offer incense upon it immediately. Fired with indignation at the request, he boldly stepped forward, and with his foot overthrew both altar and idol. This so enraged the emperor Maximian, who was present, that he ordered the foot with which he had kicked the altar to be immediately cut off; and Victor was thrown into a mill, and crushed to pieces with the stones, AD 303.

John Foxe-Foxe’s Book of Martyrs

Question 37-Puritan Catechism

September 19, 2013 2 comments

Spurgeon 1Q. What benefits do believers receive from Christ at the resurrection?

A. At the resurrection, believers being raised up in glory, (1 Corinthians 15:43) shall be openly acknowledged and acquitted in the day of judgment, (Matthew 10:32) and made perfectly blessed both in soul and body in the full enjoying of God (1 John 3:2) to all eternity. (1 Thessalonians 4:17)

Charles Haddon Spurgeon-A Puritan Catechism

Confession statement 44

September 18, 2013 Leave a comment

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.

XLIV CHRIST for the keeping of this church in holy and orderly communion, placeth some special men over the church who by their office, are to govern, oversee, visit, watch; so likewise for the better keeping thereof, in all places by the members, He hath given authority, and laid duty upon all to watch over one another.

Acts 20:27.28; Heb.13:17,24; Matt.24:45; 1 Thess.5:2,14; Jude 3.20: Heb.10:34.35 [cf. 24,25], 12:15.

The First London Baptist Confession 1644/46 

The revelation given to us through Creation is insufficient to lead us in the right path

September 18, 2013 3 comments

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015Though irradiated by the wondrous glories of creation, we cease not to follow our own ways.

14. In vain for us, therefore, does Creation exhibit so many bright lamps lighted up to show forth the glory of its Author. Though they beam upon us from every quarter, they are altogether insufficient of themselves to lead us into the right path. Some sparks, undoubtedly, they do throw out; but these are quenched before they can give forth a brighter effulgence. Wherefore, the apostle, in the very place where he says that the worlds are images of invisible things, adds that it is by faith we understand that they were framed by the word of God, (Hebrews 11:3;) thereby intimating that the invisible Godhead is indeed represented by such displays, but that we have no eyes to perceive it until they are enlightened through faith by internal revelation from God. When Paul says that that which may be known of God is manifested by the creation of the world, he does not mean such a manifestation as may be comprehended by the wit of man, (Romans 1:19;) on the contrary, he shows that it has no further effect than to render us inexcusable, (Acts 17:27.) And though he says, elsewhere, that we have not far to seek for God, inasmuch as he dwells within us, he shows, in another passage, to what extent this nearness to God is availing. God, says he, “in times past, suffered all nations to walk in their own ways. Nevertheless, he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness,” (Acts 14:16, 17.) But though God is not left without a witness, while, with numberless varied acts of kindness, he woos men to the knowledge of himself, yet they cease not to follow their own ways, in other words, deadly errors.

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 5-Henry Beveridge Translation