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Archive for February, 2014

The Regulative Principle of the Church 1: General Introduction

February 25, 2014 6 comments

It is a vast understatement to say that the regulative principle has been the subject of much discussion in recent years. Many in the Reformed resurgence have adopted (as they should have) the regulative principle as part of the Reformed and Puritan tradition to which they are self-consciously returning.1 Others in the Reformed tradition have recoiled from it and sought to distance themselves from it.2 Still others have (in my opinion) embraced the phrase, but so re-interpreted it that it means something quite different from what it has meant in the tradition.3

 

Read the entire article here.

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Are Tongues Real Languages?

February 25, 2014 5 comments

Here is an outstanding article that explains what the gifts of tongues actually consisted of and was believed to be: by the Early Church, the Reformers, and the founders of the modern Pentecostal movement. All affirmed that this gift was the ability to speak in other languages, of which the speaker had never learned. The founders of the modern Pentecostal movement also confessed that this is what the gift of tongues consisted of, until they began to speak in utterances and realized that none of them had actually spoken a foreign language. The founders of the modern Pentecostal movement, then came up with a new doctrine, in which they taught, that some tongues are unintelligible prayer languages. This false view of tongues is not found anywhere in scripture. Here is a portion of the article:

 

We begin today’s post with a question: In New Testament times, did the gift of tongues produce authentic foreign languages only, or did it also result in non-cognitive speech (like the private prayer languages of modern charismatics)? The answer is of critical importance to the contemporary continuationist/cessationist debate regarding the gift of tongues.

From the outset, it is important to note that the gift of tongues was, in reality, the gift of languages. I agree with continuationist author Wayne Grudem when he writes:

It should be said at the outset that the Greek word glossa, translated “tongue,” is not used only to mean the physical tongue in a person’s mouth, but also to mean “language.” In the New Testament passages where speaking in tongues is discussed, the meaning “languages” is certainly in view. It is unfortunate, therefore, that English translations have continued to use the phrase “speaking in tongues,” which is an expression not otherwise used in ordinary English and which gives the impression of a strange experience, something completely foreign to ordinary human life. But if English translations were to use the expression “speaking in languages,” it would not seem nearly as strange, and would give the reader a sense much closer to what first century Greek speaking readers would have heard in the phrase when they read it in Acts or 1 Corinthians. (Systematic Theology, 1069).

But what are we to think about the gift of languages?

If we consider the history of the church, we find that the gift of languages was universally considered to be the supernatural ability to speak authentic foreign languages that the speaker had not learned.

 

Read the entire article here.

The normal way God heals is through natural means

February 25, 2014 5 comments

Arthur PinkThose who hold that Christ made atonement for our sicknesses as well as for our sins are quite consistent in maintaining that deliverance from the former must be obtained in precisely the same way as salvation from the latter: that the sole means must be the exercise of faith, without the introduction or addition of any works or doings of our own. Thus the “Divine healing” cults teach that the service of a physician or the aid of drugs is as much a setting aside of the finished work of Christ as reliance upon baptism or deeds of charity for the securing of pardon would be. The untenability of this logical inference will at once show that while in some cases God was pleased to cure the sick without means, yet in other instances He both appointed and blessed the use of means. For the healing of the bitter waters of Marah, Moses was instructed to cast into them a tree which “the Lord showed him” (Exodus 15:25). When God promised to heal Hezekiah who was sick unto death, Isaiah bade the king

 

“take a lump of figs” and we are told “they took and laid it on the boil, and he recovered” (2 Kings 20:7). So with Timothy in 1 Timothy 5:23.

 

We are certainly not prepared to hold any brief in defense of the present day medical fraternity as a whole. The greed for gold, the love of novelty (experimentation), the deterioration of moral character in all walks of life, fails to inspire confidence in any class or clique, and the writer for one would prefer to suffer pain than place himself at the mercy of the average surgeon. Yet this does not mean that we regard all medical practitioners as either charlatans or knaves, still less do we believe with “Faith-healing” fanatics that they are the special emissaries of Satan. The Holy Spirit would never have termed Luke “the beloved physician” (Colossians 4:14) had he been employed in the service of the Devil.

Arthur W. Pink-Divine Healing-Is It Scriptural?

The Law-Gospel Contrast

February 24, 2014 3 comments

by Tom Hicks

I submit that we need a clear understanding of the law/gospel contrast, if we want to be healthy in our preaching, churches, families, and individual sanctification. The law/gospel distinction is often misunderstood or overlooked, but it is thoroughly biblical and vital. Consider three different places in Scripture that teach the law/gospel contrast:

Galatians 4:22-26 says, “For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.”

These verses contrast the two covenants of law and gospel, which are typologically revealed in Hagar and Sarah. The law covenant is a covenant of slavery to guilt and condemnation. The gospel covenant is a covenant of freedom to life and justification.

 

Read the entire article here.

The Meaning of “Alone” When We Confess Grace Alone or Christ Alone

February 24, 2014 4 comments

“Even Roman Catholics believe that salvation is by grace… that is not the issue…and never has been … the issue is that salvation is by grace ALONE. In other words, Jesus is not only necessary but sufficient to save us to the uttermost.”

 

Read the rest here.

New Atheism’s Moral Meltdown (Part 1)

February 24, 2014 1 comment

A little while ago, Jerry Coyne replied to our critique of his approach to ethics. We’re not at all convinced by Coyne’s response, which essentially reduces to a rant about religious fundamentalism. Let us restate our case for the sake of clarity. Moral values seem quite at home in a theistic world-view; moral values do not fit in the New Atheist’s world-view. Therefore, any theist -be they merely a philosophical theist, or Hindu, Muslim, Jewish or Christian – has a better explanation for morality than Jerry Coyne, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins or their acolytes[i].

We provide evidence for Christianity, and arguments for Christian faith, elsewhere on our website. [ii]And we are not very interested in advancing a political programme; we are much more concerned that people come to the Son of God for personal forgiveness and new life. Mr Coyne can reject our concerns as nonsensical; but that won’t help him explain morality. So we’ll look past most of the bluff and bluster in his reply, and focus once more on the central issues.

 

Read the entire article here.

Why did Wesley persecute Toplady?

February 24, 2014 2 comments

Why should Toplady who kept the faith and finished his course in this world with joy be the target of the shafts of Wesley’s venom? It is because he refuted on Scriptural grounds the Arminianism of Wesley, and fearlessly stood in defence of the eternal truths of free and sovereign grace. “By what spirit,” writes Toplady: “this gentleman and his deputies are guided in their discussion of controversial subjects, shall appear from a specimen of the horrible aspersions which, in ‘The Church Vindicated from Predestination,’ they venture to heap on the Almighty Himself. The recital makes one tremble; the perusal must shock every reader who is not steeled to all reverence for the Supreme Being. Wesley and Sallon are not afraid to declare that on the hypothesis of divine decrees, the justice of God is no better than the tyranny of Tiberius. That God Himself is ‘little better than Moloch.’ ‘A cruel, unwise, unjust, arbitrary, a self-willed tyrant.’ A being devoid of wisdom, justice, mercy, holiness, and truth.’ ‘A devil, yea, worse than the devil.’ Did the exorbitancies of the ancient ranters, or the impieties of any modem blasphemers, ever come up to this? … Observe, reader, that these also are the very men who are so abandoned to all sense of shame, as to charge me with blasphemy for asserting with Scripture, that God worketh all things according to the counsel of His own will, and that whatever God wills is right.”

William MacLean-Arminianism-Another Gospel