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God teaches us the truth that He alone is God by commanding us to look to Him alone for salvation, instead of a priest

Spurgeon 12. But the second thought is, the means of salvation. It is, “Look unto me and be ye saved.” You have often observed, I am sure, that many people are fond of an intricate worship-an involved religion-one they can hardly understand. They cannot endure worship so simple as ours. Then they must have a man dressed in white, and a man dressed in black; then they must have what they call an altar and a chancel. After a little while that will not suffice, and they must have flowerpots and candles. The clergyman then becomes a priest, and he must have a variegated dress, with a cross on it. So it goes on: what is simply a plate becomes a paten, and what was once a cup becomes a chalice; and the more complicated the ceremonies are, the better they like them. They like their minister to stand like a superior being.

Charles H. Spurgeon- Sovereignty and Salvation-A Sermon Delivered On Sabbath Morning, January 6

God has taught the Church the truth that He alone is God

Spurgeon 3“Surely,” says one, “the church of God does not need to be taught this.” Yes, we answer, she does; for of all beings, those whom God has made the objects of his grace are perhaps the most apt to forget this cardinal truth, that he is God, and that beside him there is none else. How did the church in Canaan forget it, when they bowed before other gods, and therefore he brought against them mighty kings and princes, and afflicted them sore. How did Israel forget it! and he carried them away captive into Babylon. And what Israel did in Canaan, and in Babylon, that we do now. We too, too often forget that he is God, and beside him there is none else. Doth not the Christian know what I mean, when I tell him this great fact? For hath he not done it himself? In certain times prosperity has come upon him, soft gales have blown his bark along, just where his wild will wished to steer; and he has said within himself, “Now I have peace, now I have happiness, now the object I wished for is within my grasp, now I will say, Sit down, my soul, and take thy rest; eat, drink, and be merry; these things will well content thee make thou these thy God, be thou blessed and happy.” But have we not seen our God dash the goblet to the earth, spill the sweet wine, and instead thereof fill it with gall? and as he has given it to us, he has said-”Drink it, drink it: you have thought to find a God on earth, but drain the cup and know its bitterness “When we have drunk it, nauseous the draught was, and we have cried, “Ah! God, I will drink no more from these things; thou art God, and beside thee there is none else.” And ah! how often, too, have we devised schemes for the future, without asking God’s permission? Men have said, like those foolish ones whom James mentioned, “We will do such-and-such things on the morrow, we will buy and sell and get gain.” whereas they knew not what was to be on the morrow, for long ere the morrow came they were unable to buy and sell, death had claimed them, and a small span of earth held all their frame. God teaches his people every day by sickness, by affliction, by depression of spirits, by the forsakings of God, by the loss of the Spirit for a season, by the lackings of the joys of his countenance, that-he is God, and that beside him there is none else. And we must not forget that there are some special servants of God raised up to do great works, who in a peculiar manner have to learn this lesson. Let a man for instance, be called to the great work of preaching the gospel. He is successful; God helps him, thousands wait at his feet, and multitudes hang upon his lips; as truly as that man is a man, he will have a tendency to be exalted above measure, and too much will he begin to look to himself, and too little to his God. Let men speak who know, and what they know let them speak and they will say, “It is true, it is most true.” If God gives us a special mission we generally begin to take some honor and glory to ourselves. But in the review of the eminent saints of God, have you never observed how God has made them feel that he was God, and beside him there was none else; Poor Paul might have thought himself a god; and been puffed up above measure, by reason of the greatness of his revelation, had there not been a thorn in the flesh. But Paul could feel that he was not a god, for he had a thorn in the flesh, and gods could not have thorns in the flesh. Sometimes God teaches the minister by denying him help on special occasions. We come up into our pulpits, and say, “Oh! I wish I could have a good day to-day!” We begin to labor we have been just as earnest in prayer, and just as indefatigable; but it is like a blind horse turning round a mill, or like Samson with Delilah: we shake our vain limbs with vast surprise, “make feeble flight,” and win no victories. We are made to see that the Lord is God, and that beside him there is none else. Very frequently God teaches this to the minister, by leading him to see his own sinful nature. He will have such an insight into his own wicked and abominable heart, that he will feel as he comes up the pulpit stairs, that he does not deserve so much as to sit in his pew, much less to preach to his fellows. Although we feel always joy in the declaration of God’s Word, yet we have known what it is to totter on the pulpit steps, under a sense that the chief of sinners should scarcely be allowed to preach to others. Ah! beloved, I do not think he will be very successful as a minister, who is not taken into the depths and blackness of his own soul, and made to exclaim, “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.” There is another antidote which God applies in the case of ministers. If he does not deal with them personally, He raises up a host of enemies that it may be seen that he is God, and God alone. An esteemed friend sent me, yesterday, a valuable old MS. of one of George Whitfield’s hymns which was sung on Kennington Common. It was a splendid hymn, thoroughly Whitfieldian all through. It showed that his reliance was wholly on the Lord, and that God was within him. What! will a man subject himself to the calumnies of the multitude, will he toil and work day after day unnecessarily, will he stand up Sabbath after Sabbath, and preach the gospel, and have his name maligned and slandered, if he has not the grace of God in him? For myself, I can say, that were it not that the love of Christ constrained me, this hour might be the last that I should preach, so far as the case of the thing is concerned. “Necessity is laid upon us, yea, woe is unto us if we preach not the gospel.” But that opposition through which God carries his servants, leads them to see at once that he is God, and that there is none else. If every one applauded, if all were gratified, we should think ourselves God; but, when they hiss and hoot, we turn to our God, and cry,

“If on my face, for thy dear name,

Shame and reproach should be,

I’ll hail reproach and welcome shame

If thou’lt remember me.”

Charles H. Spurgeon- Sovereignty and Salvation-A Sermon Delivered On Sabbath Morning, January 6

God has taught empires the truth that He alone is God

Spurgeon 3Mark ye, yet again, how God has taught this truth to empires. Empires have risen up, and have been the gods of the era; their kings and princes have taken to themselves high titles, and have been worshipped by the multitude, But ask the empires whether there is any besides God. Do you not think you hear the boasting soliloquy of Babylon-”I sit as a queen, and am no widow; I shall see no sorrow, I am god, and there is none beside me?” And think ye not now, if ye walk over ruined Babylon, that ye will meet ought save the solemn spirit of the Bible, standing like a prophet grey with age and telling you that there is one God, and that beside him there is none else? Go ye to Babylon, covered with its sand, the sand of its own ruins; stand ye on the mounds of Nineveh, and let the voice come up- ” There is one God, and empires sink before him; there is only one potentate, and the princes and kings of the earth with their dynasties and thrones are shaken by the trampling of his foot.” Go, seat yourselves in the temple of Greece; mark ye there what proud words Alexander once did speak, but now where is he, and where his empire too? Sit on the ruined arches of the bridge of Carthage; or walk ye through the desolated theatres of Rome, and ye will hear a voice in the wild wind amid those ruins-”I am God, and there is none else.” “O city, thou didst call thyself eternal. I have made thee melt away like dew. Thou saidst ‘I sit on seven hills, and I shall last for ever,’ I have made thee crumble, and thou art now a miserable and contemptible place, compared with what thou wast. Thou wast once stone, thou madest thyself marble. I have made thee stone again, and brought thee low.” Oh! how has God taught monarchies and empires that have set themselves up like new kingdoms of heaven, that he is God, and that there is none else!

Charles H. Spurgeon- Sovereignty and Salvation-A Sermon Delivered On Sabbath Morning, January 6

The heathen error of placing angels on the throne of God refuted

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015The heathen error of placing angels on the throne of God refuted.
1. By passages of Scripture.

10. It remains to give warning against the superstition which usually begins to creep in, when it is said that all blessings are ministered and dispensed to us by angels. For the human mind is apt immediately to think that there is no honor which they ought not to receive, and hence the peculiar offices of Christ and God are bestowed upon them. In this ways the glory of Christ was for several former ages greatly obscured, extravagant eulogiums being pronounced on angels without any authority from Scripture. Among the corruptions which we now oppose, there is scarcely any one of greater antiquity. Even Paul appears to have had a severe contest with some who so exalted angels as to make them almost the superiors of Christ. Hence he so anxiously urges in his Epistle to the Colossians, (Colossians 1:16, 20,) that Christ is not only superior to all angels, but that all the endowments which they possess are derived from him; thus warning us against forsaking him, by turning to those who are not sufficient for themselves, but must draw with us at a common fountain. As the refulgence of the Divine glory is manifested in them, there is nothing to which we are more prone than to prostrate ourselves before them in stupid adoration, and then ascribe to them the blessings which we owe to God alone. Even John confesses in the Apocalypse, (Revelation 19:10; 22:8, 9,) that this was his own case, but he immediately adds the answer which was given to him, “See thou do it not; I am thy fellow servant: worship God.”

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 14-Henry Beveridge Translation

Visitors in the Potter’s House

December 1, 2014 6 comments

I was in the charismatic movement for 16 years, until I came across R. C. Sproul on the radio. This prompted me to begin to actually looking at scripture, so that I might understand what the writers of Holy writ were saying when they wrote their letters to the churches. I am blogging this article because it nails down the beliefs and practices of most modern charismatics. I attended small congregations, throughout my years in this movement, nevertheless there was little emphasis on bringing forth the word of God so that the congregation might understand it. Instead there was a huge emphases on stressing the charismatic views of this movement as a whole. Here is the article:


 

 

William F. Leonhart III / 1 week ago

In January 2012, I took a class taught by Justin Peters at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary entitled “Theology of the Word of Faith Movement.” One of the assignments we were given was to attend a Word of Faith church or conference in the area and write an essay detailing our experience.. I chose to attend T.D. Jakes’ church in Dallas: The Potter’s House. The article to follow is the substance of the essay I submitted.

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I attend a church that rents space in another church’s building, so we alternate our service times with them. We usually meet at three o’clock in the afternoon on Sundays. On March 25, 2012, I woke up earlier than I’ve woken up on a Sunday in years. At 8:30am, I found myself having coffee with my friend John, a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and a fellow member at my church. He had agreed to go with me to visit The Potter’s House, the home church of Bishop T.D. Jakes, a well known prosperity preacher and Oneness Pentecostal. What we witnessed that day was baffling to put it lightly. At times, the “service” was theatrical. At times, it was compelling. At times, it was confusing. However, at no point would I classify what was transpiring before my eyes as true, godly worship from God’s people…..

Next was the praise and worship time which was hard to follow because, again, the person of God was not the unmistakable focus of the praise and worship, except perhaps in word. There were dancers who looked more Hindu than Christian as they twirled and waved silken scarves in the air. Those leading the singing seemed more concerned with performing for the people than leading them in worship and admiration of God. Sadly, I cannot say that there was any element in this spectacle to which I had not already been exposed in Southern Baptist mega-churches. Nevertheless, I would argue that, wherever this type of performance exists, it is not God-honoring worship. By about the fifth song, John leaned over to me and said, “Have we really been here an hour already?” Later, he would explain that he was dismayed at the lack of emphasis on the word of God. We had been at “church” for an hour, and the word of God had not been referenced even once…..

 

 

 
Read the entire article here.

Religious worship is due to God alone

August 20, 2014 1 comment

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015Passages of Scripture subversive of the Papistical distinction, and proving that religious worship is due to God alone. Perversions of Divine worship.

3. Laying aside subtleties, let us examine the thing. When Paul reminds the Galatians of what they were before they came to the knowledge of Gods he says that they “did service unto them which by nature are no gods,” (Galatians 4:8.) Because he does not say latria, was their superstition excusable? This superstition, to which he gives the name of dulia, he condemns as much as if he had given it the name of latria. When Christ repels Satan’s insulting proposal with the words, “It is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve,” (Matthew 4:10,) there was no question of latria. For all that Satan asked was “proskunesis”, (obeisance.) In like manners when John is rebuked by the angel for falling on his knees before him (Revelation 19:10; 22:8, 9,) we ought not to suppose that John had so far forgotten himself as to have intended to transfer the honor due to God alone to an angel. But because it was impossible that a worship connected with religion should not savor somewhat of divine worship, he could not “proskunein” (do obeisance to) the angel without derogating from the glory of God. True, we often read that men were worshipped; but that was, if I may so speak, civil honor. The case is different with religious honor, which, the moment it is conjoined with worship, carries profanation of the divine honor along with it. The same thing may be seen in the case of Cornelius, (Acts 10:25.) He had not made so little progress in piety as not to confine supreme worship to God alone. Therefore, when he prostrates himself before Peter, he certainly does it not with the intention of adoring him instead of God. Yet Peter sternly forbids him. And why, but just because men never distinguish so accurately between the worship of God and the creatures as not to transfer promiscuously to the creature that which belongs only to God. Therefore, if we would have one God, let us remember that we can never appropriate the minutest portion of his glory without retaining what is his due. Accordingly, when Zechariah discourses concerning the repairing of the Church, he distinctly says not only that there would be one God, but also that he would have only one name — the reason being, that he might have nothing in common with idols. The nature of the worship which God requires will be seen in its own place, (Book 2, c. 7: and 8.) He has been pleased to prescribe in his Law what is lawful and right, and thus restrict men to a certain rule, lest any should allow themselves to devise a worship of their own. But as it is inexpedient to burden the reader by mixing up a variety of topics, I do not now dwell on this one. Let it suffice to remember, that whatever offices of piety are bestowed anywhere else than on God alone, are of the nature of sacrilege. First, superstition attached divine honors to the sun and stars, or to idols: afterwards ambition followed — ambition which, decking man in the spoils of God, dared to profane all that was sacred. And though the principle of worshipping a supreme Deity continued to be held, still the practice was to sacrifice promiscuously to genii and minor gods, or departed heroes: so prone is the descent to this vice of communicating to a crowd that which God strictly claims as his own peculiar right

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 12-Henry Beveridge Translation

Papists invent distinctions between words in order to continue in their worship of images

August 13, 2014 1 comment

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015The Papists in opposing this pure doctrine, gain nothing by their distinction of julia and latria.

2. The distinction of what is called dulia and latria was invented for the very purpose of permitting divine honors to be paid to angels and dead men with apparent impunity. For it is plain that the worship which Papists pay to saints differs in no respect from the worship of God: for this worship is paid without distinction; only when they are pressed they have recourse to the evasion, that what belongs to God is kept unimpaired, because they leave him latria. But since the question relates not to the word, but the thing, how can they be allowed to sport at will with a matter of the highest moment? But not to insist on this, the utmost they will obtain by their distinction is, that they give worship to God, and service to the others. For “latreia” in Greek has the same meaning as worship in Latin; whereas “douleia” properly means service, though the words are sometimes used in Scripture indiscriminately. But granting that the distinction is invariably preserved, the thing to be inquired into is the meaning of each. “Douleia” unquestionably means service, and “latreia” worship. But no man doubts that to serve is something higher than to worship. For it were often a hard thing to serve him whom you would not refuse to reverence. It is, therefore, an unjust division to assign the greater to the saints and leave the less to God. But several of the ancient fathers observed this distinction. What if they did, when all men see that it is not only improper, but utterly frivolous?

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 12-Henry Beveridge Translation

Scripture is plain that all worship belongs to God alone

August 6, 2014 1 comment

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015Scripture, in teaching that there is but one God, does not make a dispute about words, but attributes all honor and religious worship to him alone.

This proved,
1st, By the etymology of the term.

2rd, By the testimony of God himself, when he declares that he is a jealous God, and will not allow himself to be confounded with any fictitious Deity.

1. We said at the commencement of our work, (chap. 2,) that the knowledge of God consists not in frigid speculation, but carries worship along with it; and we touched by the way (chap. 5 s. 6, 9, 10) on what will be more copiously treated in other places, (Book 2, chap. 8,) viz., how God is duly worshipped. Now I only briefly repeat, that whenever Scripture asserts the unity of God, it does not contend for a mere name, but also enjoins that nothing which belongs to Divinity be applied to any other; thus making it obvious in what respect pure religion differs from superstition. The Greek word “eusebeia” means “right worship;” for the Greeks, though groping in darkness, were always aware that a certain rule was to be observed, in order that God might not be worshipped absurdly. Cicero truly and shrewdly derives the name “religion” from “relego”, and yet the reason which he assigns is forced and farfetched, viz., that honest worshipers read and read again, and ponder what is true. 93 I rather think the name is used in opposition to vagrant license — the greater part of mankind rashly taking up whatever first comes in their way, whereas piety, that it may stand with a firm step, confines itself within due bounds. In the same way superstition seems to take its name from its not being contented with the measure which reason prescribes, but accumulating a superfluous mass of vanities. But to say nothing more of words, it has been universally admitted in all ages, that religion is vitiated and perverted whenever false opinions are introduced into it, and hence it is inferred, that whatever is allowed to be done from inconsiderate zeal, cannot be defended by any pretext with which the superstitious may choose to cloak it. But although this confession is in every man’s mouth, a shameful stupidity is forthwith manifested, inasmuch as men neither cleave to the one God, nor use any selection in their worship, as we have already observed.

But God, in vindicating his own right, first proclaims that he is a jealous God, and will be a stern avenger if he is confounded with any false God; and thereafter defines what due worship is, in order that the human race may be kept in obedience. Both of these he embraces in his Law when he first binds the faithful in allegiance to him as their only Lawgiver, and then prescribes a rule for worshipping him in accordance with his will. The Law, with its manifold uses and objects, I will consider in its own place; at present I only advert to this one, that it is designed as a bridle to curb men, and prevent them from turning aside to spurious worship. But it is necessary to attend to the observation with which I set out, viz., that unless everything peculiar to divinity is confined to God alone, he is robbed of his honor, and his worship is violated.

It may be proper here more particularly to attend to the subtleties which superstition employs. In revolting to strange gods, it avoids the appearance of abandoning the Supreme God, or reducing him to the same rank with others. It gives him the highest place, but at the same time surrounds him with a tribe of minor deities, among whom it portions out his peculiar offices. In this way, though in a dissembling and crafty manner, the glory of the Godhead is dissected, and not allowed to remain entire. In the same way the people of old, both Jews and Gentiles, placed an immense crowd in subordination to the father and ruler of the gods, and gave them, according to their rank, to share with the supreme God in the government of heaven and earth. In the same way, too, for some ages past, departed saints have been exalted to partnership with God, to be worshipped, invoked, and lauded in his stead. And yet we do not even think that the majesty of God is obscured by this abomination, whereas it is in a great measure suppressed and extinguished — all that we retain being a frigid opinion of his supreme power. At the same time, being deluded by these entanglements, we go astray after divers gods.

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 11-Henry Beveridge Translation

Papists follow the traditions of men in worshiping of images

July 30, 2014 1 comment

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015The blasphemous expressions of some ancient idolaters approved by not a few of the more modern, both in word and deed.

16. I come now to monstrous impieties, which it is strange they ventured to utter, and twice strange that all men did not protest against with the utmost detestation. It is right to expose this frantic and flagitious extravagance, and thereby deprive the worship of images of that gloss of antiquity in which Papists seek to deck it. Theodosius Bishop of Amora fires oft an anathema at all who object to the worship of images. Another attributes all the calamities of Greece and the East to the crime of not having worshipped them. Of what punishment then are the Prophets, Apostles, and Martyrs worthy, in whose day no images existed? They afterwards add, that if the statue of the Emperor is met with odors and incense, much more are the images of saints entitled to the honor. Constantius, Bishop of Constantia in Cyprus, professes to embrace images with reverence, and declares that he will pay them the respect which is due to the ever blessed Trinity: every person refusing to do the same thing he anathematises and classes with Marcionites and Manichees. Lest you should think this the private opinion of an individual, they all assent. Nay, John the Eastern legate, carried still farther by his zeal, declares it would be better to allow a city to be filled with brothels than be denied the worship of images. At last it is resolved with one consent that the Samaritans are the worst of all heretics, and that the enemies of images are worse than the Samaritans. But that the play may not pass off without the accustomed Plaudite, the whole thus concludes, “Rejoice and exult, ye who, having the image of Christ, offer sacrifice to it.” Where is now the distinction of latria and dulia with which they would throw dust in all eyes, human and divine? The Council unreservedly relies as much on images as on the living God.

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 11-Henry Beveridge Translation

The twisting of scripture to support the worship of images

July 23, 2014 1 comment

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015Passages adduced in support of the worship of images.

15. When they treat of adoration, great stress is laid on the worship of Pharaoh, the staff of Joseph, and the inscription which Jacob set up. In this last case they not only pervert the meaning of Scripture, but quote what is nowhere to be found. Then the passages, “Worship at his footstool” — “Worship in his holy mountain” — “The rulers of the people will worship before thy face,” seem to them very solid and apposite proofs. Were one, with the view of turning the defenders of images into ridicule, to put words into their mouths, could they be made to utter greater and grosser absurdities? But to put an end to all doubt on the subject of images, Theodosius Bishop of Mira confirms the propriety of worshipping them by the dreams of his archdeacon, which he adduces with as much gravity as if he were in possession of a response from heaven. Let the patrons of images now go and urge us with the decree of this Synod, as if the venerable Fathers did not bring themselves into utter discredit by handling Scripture so childishly, or wresting it so shamefully and profanely.

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 11-Henry Beveridge Translation