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Of the Civil Magistrate

by Tom Nettles

Chapter 24: Second London Confession

Baptist Protestantism

Embracing a full and enthusiastic consent to the leading doctrines of the Reformation, particularly in its English Puritan form, Baptists made their most formative contribution in ecclesiology and their consequent understanding of the relation of the church to the state. The preface explained the desire of the compilers of this confession to express their doctrines , as much as possible, in the same words as those of the Westminster Divines and the Savoy Declaration. They agreed in the ”fundamental articles of the Christian religion” with both but also “with many others whose orthodox confessions have been published to the World, on behalf of the protestants in diverse nations and cities.”

They diverged clearly on the New Testament practice and doctrine of baptism, affirming that both in command and in example it was to be given to believers only. This meant that using infant baptism as a glue for national religion was impossible, and so the emerging Baptists of the 17th century formed their churches, not on the state-church parish system, but from believers only. As a result, they would argue for massive changes in the entire concept of society and politics in all of so-called Christendom. Since the church should be formed only of those who were convinced of the gospel’s truth, there could be no forced professions of Christianity or inherited religious persuasion. Liberty of conscience was demanded for political entities if the government was to function in its lawful sphere and if the church was to be formed by New Testament principles. Separation of church and state, the freedom of the individual conscience in matters of worship,……

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A Reformed Baptist Perspective on Public Theology: The Pauline Epistles, Part IX – 1 Corinthians 15-16

February 15, 2017 Leave a comment

William F. Leonhart III

You can read earlier posts in this series by clicking on the links below:

An Introduction

Augustine’s Two Cities

Two Kingdoms in Luther

The Reformed Confessions (Part I)

The Reformed Confessions (Part II)

The Reformed Confessions (Part III)

Sphere Sovereignty in Kuyper

Redemption and Creation in Kuyper

John the Baptist

The Prophet Amos

The Incarnate Lord (Part I)

The Incarnate Lord (Part II)

The Incarnate Lord (Part III)

Introduction to the Book of Acts

The Ministry of Peter and John in Acts

The Ministry of Paul in Acts, Part I

The Ministry of Paul in Acts, Part II

The Pauline Epistles, Part I – Romans 1-8

The Pauline Epistles, Part II – Romans 9-11

The Pauline Epistles, Part III – Romans 12, 14-16

The Pauline Epistles, Part IV – Romans 13

The Pauline Epistles, Part V – Galatians

The Pauline Epistles, Part VI – 1 Corinthians 1-10

The Pauline Epistles, Part VII – 1 Corinthians 11

The Pauline Epistles, Part VIII – 1 Corinthians 12-14

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Every year around April, an onslaught of news stories are published claiming to have discovered Jesus’ pinky toe, and the like. Where these “scientists” got the original, authoritative labs to determine a DNA match is never disclosed. Rather, we are expected to grant more credence to these “scientists” than to 500 eyewitness contemporaries of the resurrection itself, because we have become an elitist culture: a culture that lives in the shallow end of the intellectual pool and defers whenever possible to the “elites” among us.

The Centrality of the Resurrection

Paul doesn’t leave the matter of Christ’s resurrection up to the religious and political elites of his day. Rather, he points to those who knew Christ best. He challenges his contemporaries to do the intellectual leg-work (like Luke; cf. Lk. 1:3) and thoroughly search out the matter of the resurrection. He not only submits the resurrection to the hard scrutiny of his first century contemporaries, but he also declares the resurrection to be of first importance.

 

 

 

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A Reformed Baptist Perspective on Public Theology: The Pauline Epistles, Part VIII – 1 Corinthians 12-14

William F. Leonhart III

You can read earlier posts in this series by clicking on the links below:

An Introduction

Augustine’s Two Cities

Two Kingdoms in Luther

The Reformed Confessions (Part I)

The Reformed Confessions (Part II)

The Reformed Confessions (Part III)

Sphere Sovereignty in Kuyper

Redemption and Creation in Kuyper

John the Baptist

The Prophet Amos

The Incarnate Lord (Part I)

The Incarnate Lord (Part II)

The Incarnate Lord (Part III)

Introduction to the Book of Acts

The Ministry of Peter and John in Acts

The Ministry of Paul in Acts, Part I

The Ministry of Paul in Acts, Part II

The Pauline Epistles, Part I – Romans 1-8

The Pauline Epistles, Part II – Romans 9-11

The Pauline Epistles, Part III – Romans 12, 14-16

The Pauline Epistles, Part IV – Romans 13

The Pauline Epistles, Part V – Galatians

The Pauline Epistles, Part VI – 1 Corinthians 1-10

The Pauline Epistles, Part VII – 1 Corinthians 11

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We often place a divide between ecclesiology and public theology but, depending on where we draw that line, we can often be in error. What we do within the church walls can potentially reap major consequences outside the church walls. If the world looks upon the church and sees that she is behaving in an unloving, disunified, or disordered manner, it very well could be that we are setting up unnecessary, though unintended, divisions between us and the culture. If we are more concerned with putting on a show for the world than speaking forth the word of conviction to the world, the world may join in, but they will have no incentive to submit to Christ’s discipleship. Rather, we will inevitably be expected to bow to their customs, preferences, and cultural mandates. Christ’s disciples will be guilted, coerced, or seduced into becoming disciples of the culture.

Preliminary Considerations

In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul begins a discussion that follows through to 1 Corinthians 14. Many, both cessationists and continuationists, erroneously believe that chapters 12-14 center on the topic of tongues. Not only do people in both of these camps believe that tongues is the central theme here, but they falsely interpret tongues as an ecstatic utterance of an unlearned language.

 

 

 

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A Reformed Baptist Perspective on Public Theology: The Pauline Epistles, Part VII – 1 Corinthians 11

theroadofgrace

You can read earlier posts in this series by clicking on the links below:

An Introduction

Augustine’s Two Cities

Two Kingdoms in Luther

The Reformed Confessions (Part I)

The Reformed Confessions (Part II)

The Reformed Confessions (Part III)

Sphere Sovereignty in Kuyper

Redemption and Creation in Kuyper

John the Baptist

The Prophet Amos

The Incarnate Lord (Part I)

The Incarnate Lord (Part II)

The Incarnate Lord (Part III)

Introduction to the Book of Acts

The Ministry of Peter and John in Acts

The Ministry of Paul in Acts, Part I

The Ministry of Paul in Acts, Part II

The Pauline Epistles, Part I – Romans 1-8

The Pauline Epistles, Part II – Romans 9-11

The Pauline Epistles, Part III – Romans 12, 14-16

The Pauline Epistles, Part IV – Romans 13

The Pauline Epistles, Part V – Galatians

The Pauline Epistles, Part IV – 1 Corinthians 1-10

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As mentioned in the previous blog, Paul wrote his first letter to the Corinthian church in order to address several issues within the Church. We now move into a section in which Paul address an issue that directly intersects with our society today: gender and sexuality. Within the Church, 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 has been discussed extensively and the text has been central to numerous debates (such as the egalitarian/complementarian debate and the debate regarding head coverings). However, this passage has much to teach us regarding the meaning of gender and the relationship between the sexes.

The Foundational Analogy

We begin with v. 2-3

“Now I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you. But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:2-3, NASB)

We begin with the first statement that Christ is the head of every man. This affirms the truth that since Christ is the Creator and Preserver of all men, he must therefore be the head (or master and ruler) of mankind. Christ is the head of all men in that all gifts are derived from him and as the….

 

 

 

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A Reformed Baptist Perspective on Public Theology: The Pauline Epistles, Part VI – 1 Corinthians 1-10

William F. Leonhart III

You can read earlier posts in this series by clicking on the links below:

An Introduction

Augustine’s Two Cities

Two Kingdoms in Luther

The Reformed Confessions (Part I)

The Reformed Confessions (Part II)

The Reformed Confessions (Part III)

Sphere Sovereignty in Kuyper

Redemption and Creation in Kuyper

John the Baptist

The Prophet Amos

The Incarnate Lord (Part I)

The Incarnate Lord (Part II)

The Incarnate Lord (Part III)

Introduction to the Book of Acts

The Ministry of Peter and John in Acts

The Ministry of Paul in Acts, Part I

The Ministry of Paul in Acts, Part II

The Pauline Epistles, Part I – Romans 1-8

The Pauline Epistles, Part II – Romans 9-11

The Pauline Epistles, Part III – Romans 12, 14-16

The Pauline Epistles, Part IV – Romans 13

The Pauline Epistles, Part V – Galatians

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When discussing Paul’s letters to the church at Corinth, we must recognize that Paul did not merely write to address one single issue, but several. Corinth had asked several very valid questions of Paul. There were also some concerns about which Paul wanted them to know there was no question, because the answer was so clear. There were also reports that were brought to Paul about matters on which the Corinthian church was settled, but they had settled on the wrong side. In the following article, we will address several of these concerns, because many of them are still concerns for us today. Given the theme of our series, we will primarily be dealing with those concerns that touch the issue of public theology and, sadly, we will not have time to address all of the issues as thoroughly as we might desire.

To the Saints

First, let us recognize the endearment that Paul assigns to this church. He calls them saints: “To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling,” (1Cor. 1:2a; NASB). Yes, this church had some major failings. However, he recognizes that they are beloved of God and, even as an apostle, he does not have the right to rail against Christ’s bride. He will go on to rebuke her, but he desires that she see that his rebukes come from a heart of love, not self-righteousness.

 

 

 

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A Reformed Baptist Perspective on Public Theology: The Pauline Epistles, Part V – Galatians

theroadofgrace/William F. Leonhart III

You can read earlier posts in this series by clicking on the links below:

An Introduction

Augustine’s Two Cities

Two Kingdoms in Luther

The Reformed Confessions (Part I)

The Reformed Confessions (Part II)

The Reformed Confessions (Part III)

Sphere Sovereignty in Kuyper

Redemption and Creation in Kuyper

John the Baptist

The Prophet Amos

The Incarnate Lord (Part I)

The Incarnate Lord (Part II)

The Incarnate Lord (Part III)

Introduction to the Book of Acts

The Ministry of Peter and John in Acts

The Ministry of Paul in Acts, Part I

The Ministry of Paul in Acts, Part II

The Pauline Epistles, Part I – Romans 1-8

The Pauline Epistles, Part II – Romans 9-11

The Pauline Epistles, Part III – Romans 12, 14-16

The Pauline Epistles, Part IV – Romans 13

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Paul, in writing to the Galatian churches, explores some of the same themes as in his letter to the Romans. Paul had noticed in his travels that there were certain very insidious teachings that had seeped in as Jewish believers and Gentile believers began to worship together. He penned his letter to the Galatians to address one such teaching.

Another Gospel

Now, it must be noted on the outset that Paul’s introduction to the letter to the Galatian churches is by far his shortest, shorter even than that of his letter to the Colossians, whom he had not likely ever seen in person (Col. 2:1). The matter about which Paul was writing was of grave importance, and he wanted his readers to feel the urgency of it. Some who had come in among them were teaching a different gospel.

 

 

 

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A Reformed Baptist Perspective on Public Theology: The Pauline Epistles, Part IV – Romans 13

September 28, 2016 Leave a comment

theroadofgrace/William F. Leonhart III

You can read earlier posts in this series by clicking on the links below:

An Introduction

Augustine’s Two Cities

Two Kingdoms in Luther

The Reformed Confessions (Part I)

The Reformed Confessions (Part II)

The Reformed Confessions (Part III)

Sphere Sovereignty in Kuyper

Redemption and Creation in Kuyper

John the Baptist

The Prophet Amos

The Incarnate Lord (Part I)

The Incarnate Lord (Part II)

The Incarnate Lord (Part III)

Introduction to the Book of Acts

The Ministry of Peter and John in Acts

The Ministry of Paul in Acts, Part I

The Ministry of Paul in Acts, Part II

The Pauline Epistles, Part I – Romans 1-8

The Pauline Epistles, Part II – Romans 9-11

The Pauline Epistles, Part III – Romans 12, 14-16

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As we round out our discussion of Romans note that, in our last three articles, we highlighted Paul’s desire to preach the gospel to the church at Rome. Paul’s mention of his desire in Romans 1:15-17 functions as the thesis statement of the letter:

“So, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘But the righteous man shall live by faith,’ (Romans 1:15-17; NASB).

In the first two articles on Romans, we noted four themes in this thesis statement: a gospel for the church, the gospel as God’s power unto salvation, salvation to all without distinction and how, in this way, God will save all His chosen people. These four major themes help us to understand why Paul takes both the first eight chapters of Romans explaining the gospel of Jesus Christ and the following three chapters explaining the relationship between Israel and the church. Since the thesis statement of Romans 1:15-17 sets the framework for all that follows, we are in our present study using it as the lens through which we examine the rest of the book of Romans. In our last article and this one, we are focusing on the theme from faith to faith. Last article, we examined what chapters 12 and 14-16 taught on the matter. This article will focus exclusively on on how the theme is addressed in Romans 13.

 

 

 

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A Reformed Baptist Perspective on Public Theology: The Pauline Epistles, Part III – Romans 12, 14-16

September 21, 2016 Leave a comment

theroadofgrace/William F. Leonhart III

You can read earlier posts in this series by clicking on the links below:

An Introduction

Augustine’s Two Cities

Two Kingdoms in Luther

The Reformed Confessions (Part I)

The Reformed Confessions (Part II)

The Reformed Confessions (Part III)

Sphere Sovereignty in Kuyper

Redemption and Creation in Kuyper

John the Baptist

The Prophet Amos

The Incarnate Lord (Part I)

The Incarnate Lord (Part II)

The Incarnate Lord (Part III)

Introduction to the Book of Acts

The Ministry of Peter and John in Acts

The Ministry of Paul in Acts, Part I

The Ministry of Paul in Acts, Part II

The Pauline Epistles, Part I – Romans 1-8

The Pauline Epistles, Part II – Romans 9-11

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As we observed in our last two articles, Paul’s desire to preach the gospel to the church at Rome provided him the necessary motivation to write his letter to the Romans. In fact, Paul’s mention of his desire in Romans 1:15-17 functions as the thesis statement of the letter:

“So, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘But the righteous man shall live by faith,’” (Romans 1:15-17; NASB).

In the first two articles on Romans, we considered four themes found in this thesis statement: the gospel preached to the church, the gospel as the power of God unto salvation, God’s salvation to all without distinction and, in this way, God will save all His chosen people. These four major themes help us to understand why Paul spends the first eight chapters of Romans explaining the gospel of Jesus Christ and the following three chapters describing the relationship between Israel and the church. Since the thesis statement of Romans 1:15-17 sets the framework for all that follows, we are in our present study using it as the lens through which we examine the rest of the book of Romans. In this offering, we will focus on principles found in these verses that help us to understand why Paul teaches what he teaches in chapters 12, and 14-16.

 

 

 

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A Reformed Baptist Perspective on Public Theology: The Pauline Epistles, Part II – Romans 9-11

September 14, 2016 Leave a comment

theroadofgrace and William F. Leonhart III

You can read earlier posts in this series by clicking on the links below:

An Introduction

Augustine’s Two Cities

Two Kingdoms in Luther

The Reformed Confessions (Part I)

The Reformed Confessions (Part II)

The Reformed Confessions (Part III)

Sphere Sovereignty in Kuyper

Redemption and Creation in Kuyper

John the Baptist

The Prophet Amos

The Incarnate Lord (Part I)

The Incarnate Lord (Part II)

The Incarnate Lord (Part III)

Introduction to the Book of Acts

The Ministry of Peter and John in Acts

The Ministry of Paul in Acts, Part I

The Ministry of Paul in Acts, Part II

The Pauline Epistles, Part I – Romans 1-8

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As we mentioned in our last article, Paul’s desire to preach the gospel to the church at Rome was the impetus for the letter he wrote to the Romans. Scholars have even proposed that Paul’s mention of this desire in Romans 1:15-17 functions as the thesis statement of the letter:

“So, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘But the righteous man shall live by faith,’” (Romans 1:15-17; NASB).

In the last article, we considered two themes that arise out of this thesis statement: the gospel preached to the church and the gospel as the power of God unto salvation. These two major themes help us to understand why Paul spends the first eight chapters of Romans explaining the gospel of Jesus Christ. Being that these verses set the framework for all that follows, we are in our present study using them as the lens through which we examine the rest of the book of Romans. In this article, we will focus on principles found in this thesis statement that help us to understand why Paul teaches what he teaches in chapters 9-11.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 3- Chapter 32- Feed My Sheep

CHAPTER 32-“FEED MY SHEEP” #Joh 21:16

Introduction:

This conversation between our Lord and Peter is one of the most beautiful and interesting stories of the New Testament. Our Lord excelled in conversation for in all things He has the preeminence. Whenever He conversed with anyone there was a sermon rich in truth. Think of His talk with Nicodemus, the fallen woman at Jacob’s well, the pharisees, His disciples.

These words of our Lord to Peter were designed to administer reproof and also to communicate forgiveness. Peter had behaved badly as a disciple of Christ. Along with the other disciples he had forsaken and fled but he had done worse than that. He had denied with cursing that he even knew the Lord. Christ had died and had been buried, but Peter had been to the grave and found it empty. More than that he had seen the risen Christ and was convinced that He was alive. But even so, Peter did not expect the Lord to have any further use for him and so one day he said to the other disciples, “I go a fishing” (#Joh 21:3). And they were in the same mood and said “We also go with thee.” But after a night of so called fisherman’s luck, the Lord appears to them and turns failure into success. He apparently ignores the others and says to Peter, “Lovest thou me more than these?” (#Joh 21:15). This cutting question thrice spoken hurt and humbled Peter. It was like a dagger in his heart. But the command, “Feed my sheep” (#Joh 21:16) also thrice spoken was the way of forgiveness and restoration. Peter had lost his office only temporarily; the Lord would fulfill His promise to wash Peter’s feet and give him a part with Him. He forgave his conduct and recommissioned him. Peter and Judas both fell from an office, the office of apostleship. But with this difference: Judas, as a lost man, lost his office forever; Peter as a saved man lost his only temporarily. Judas was an apostate; Peter was a backslider. Judas was an unbeliever and a devil; Peter was a sheep and a believer. Judas had remorse of conscience; Peter had godly sorrow. Peter came back to Christ with humility and penitence; Judas went away by the suicide route. Judas died at his own hands; Peter died as a martyr.

From this story I have gathered some thoughts that by the Spirit’s blessing may prove helpful.

1. This charge to Peter reveals the love of Christ for His people.

As the Good Shepherd, Christ had just laid down His life for the sheep. He had taken His life again and was about to leave them in the world. But He still loves them. “Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end” (#Joh 13:1). And in His love He commits them to an under shepherd. This command to feed the sheep causes Peter to think of preachers as under shepherds with Christ as the chief shepherd who will reward them for faithful care of His sheep. “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away” (#1Pe 5:4). Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (#Ac 20:28).

1. The interest He claims in them: “My sheep,” “My lambs.” They were His

1a) by a gift from the Father. “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine” (#Joh 17:9).

1b) By purchase. “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (#Ac 20:28);

1c) By reward for His travail of soul. “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities” (#Isa 53:11).

2. The qualifications required in the pastors, or shepherd. There are several but only one mentioned here: Love to Christ. It was on this question of love that Christ examined and cross examined Peter. He would not trust them to one who did not love Him. It is not love for people but love for Christ that is needed. If we love Him we will love His sheep for His sake. If we love Him we will feed His sheep. If we do not love Him our service will be that of a hireling. “But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep” (#Joh 10:12-13). A hireling would starve them or poison them and forsake them. A hireling will fleece them and flog them. He will fleece them for his own interest, or flog them to get something off his chest. I heard of a preacher who boasted of his “sucker list.”

3. Provision of pasture. The word of God is the pasture of the sheep. As pastors we must lead them into the pasture.

2. Duty of the pastor to His people.

There are two words translated “feed”. The word in our text is different from the word in the 15th and 17th verses. In those two verses the word means “give food to,” but in our text it has a wider meaning and means shepherd or take care of. It includes feeding, but includes all that a shepherd is to do for sheep; feed, protect, govern. Requirements:

1. Unselfishness. “Woe to the idol shepherd who leaveth the flock!” (#Zec 11:17). “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?” (#Eze 34:2).

2. Knowledge of the word. The sheep’s food is in this book. We are not to feed the flesh but the best principles the graces of faith, hope, love. Our preaching must not give men faith in themselves but in Christ. Hope is the grace that looks to something better in the future. We are feeding this grace when we preach that this earth has nothing for the saint; that the heavenly country is his fatherland. We nourish the grace of love by preaching the sovereign and gracious love of Christ.

3. What you must be to thrive on the Word.

3a) You must be a sheep or you will not know His voice in His word. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (#Joh 10:26).

3b) You must be a sheep or else you will not relish the food of the Word.

3c) You must be a sheep or else you will listen to false teachers who are thieves and robbers. “All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them” (#Joh 10:8).

3d) You must be a sheep or else you will not enter by the door into salvation. Christ is the door. “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture” (#Joh 10:9).

—- End of Book—-

C. D. Cole-Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 3