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The Wednesday Word: The Cities of Refuge part 4: Bezer

November 10, 2021 Leave a comment

Again, just to stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance, Israel, by the command of the Lord, established 6 cities as cities of refuge. Any person guilty of manslaughter could flee to anyone of these places and find a refuge and a place of safety (Numbers 35:11; Joshua 20:7-8). The names of these cities tell us a great deal about Jesus. To date we have covered three of them, Kedesh, Shechem and Hebron. Today we encounter the fourth, a city named …

4) Bezer.

So, let’s ask, does the name Bezer tell us anything about Jesus? Well, yes it does. Bezer literally means “Stronghold,” or Rock. Jesus is our stronghold, the rock on which we stand. We may be surrounded by danger, but in Jesus we find safety. Indeed, the Scriptures tell us that though an army encamp against us we need not fear (see Psalm 27:3).

And, what an awful force encamps against the believer!

First, there are the Daggers of Moses with their terrible threatenings and curses. That Law cries out defiantly, “Do this and live.” But we cannot. The Law finds us guilty for we can no more love the Lord with ‘all’ than can the man on the moon. However, when believers are sheltered in the true BEZER, the Lord Jesus, we can triumphantly say to the Law, “It is finished (John 19:30). We can declare “It is God that justifies” (Romans 8:33) and by faith inquire, “Who is he that condemns it is Christ who died (Romans 8:34).

Then there is Satan with his artful dodges and countless assaults. He is that wicked spirit who, if he could, would make us as miserable as he is himself. But, if you have fled for refuge to our gospel Bezer, the Lord Christ, then you can boldly declare to him, “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold (Psalm 18:2).

In addition, we learn that in the gospel the Lord Christ has thwarted the prince of darkness at Calvary (Colossians 1:13; 2:15). We say a huge Hallelujah for that.

Then there is our FLESH which wages war against us. Our flesh with its sinful thoughts, and imaginations is a horrible enemy (Romans 7:18).

Because of the flesh, we find we are in a war against ourselves.

Because of the flesh, my worst foe is me.

Because of the flesh, your worst foe is you.

Our flesh is unchanged and unchangeable. Our flesh abhors God. May we learn to give it no place. As believers, we can rejoice that the name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe (see Proverbs 18:10).

And then there is DEATH the ‘King of terrors and Terror of kings,’… Death is the last enemy of all. However, if we believe the gospel, we can point our finger at death and declare, “O death, where is your sting?” In Christ, death is defeated. We may stand in grief at the grave of a loved one who has died or been killed … but this is not the final chapter. The end of the age will demonstrate the majesty of Jesus for the dead in Christ shall rise. We will see His victory in its fulness at the glorious Morning of the Resurrection.

Finally, “The Lord is good, a STRONGHOLD in the day of trouble; and he knows them that trust in him” (Nahum 1:7).

In Christ, Death has been destroyed.

In Christ, the Devil has been routed.

In Christ, the Flesh will completely disappear … at His returning.

To remind you, BEZER means “Rock” and “stronghold.” May we learn to sing to the Lord,

“Dear Name, the Rock on which I build,

My shield and hiding-place;

My never-failing treasury, fill’d

With boundless stores of grace!”

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com  

The Wednesday Word: The Cities of Refuge Part 3

Just to stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance, Israel, by the command of the Lord, established 6 cities as cities of refuge. Anyone guilty of manslaughter could flee to anyone of these places and find a refuge and a place of safety (Numbers 35:11; Joshua 20:7-8). We have also discovered that the names of these cities tell us a great deal about Jesus. To date we have covered Kedesh and Shechem. Today we encounter the third city,

3) Hebron.

Hebron is one of the most ancient of all the cities in the world. After wandering about from place to place in the land of promise, it was here, at Hebron, the patriarchs had, for the first time, a settled home. It was probably near here that the Lord appeared to Abraham when he was seated at his tent door (Genesis 13:18; 18:1). It was in Hebron that David was anointed king of Israel (2 Samuel 5:3-5). It was in this area that John the Baptist grew up before he appeared in the wilderness of Judea to fulfil his prophetic ministry.

So, what does the name ‘HEBRON’ tell us about Jesus?

In Hebrew, the name Hebron means “fellowship,” or “friendship.” This tells us that those who have sheltered in Jesus have been brought into a place of fellowship and friendship with God. We come into fellowship with God not by any self-effort but rather through the work Christ accomplished on our behalf.

As you well know, our sin had made it impossible for us to be friends of God. We treated God, not as our friend, but as our enemy. We were in full rebellion against Him. We were walking dead men (Ephesians 2:1) cut off from communion with Him. The bridge between heaven and earth had been destroyed by sin.

Jesus, however, is the true Hebron – the friendship maker between the Father and the fallen. He is the true bridge between heaven and earth. Jesus has now reconciled the believer to God (2 Corinthians 5:18). We have been raised up together and made to sit together in heavenly places with Him (Ephesians 2:6). We who were once “afar off” have been “brought near by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13).

In Christ we have fellowship with the Father.

In Christ, the Father reveals Himself to His people.

In Christ, we come to the Father.

In Christ we come to understand who the Father is and what He is like.

There is no other way to come to the Father than by the Lord Jesus.

Think of what we would have been without Jesus, our Hebron, our City of Refuge. We were outcasts, pursued by death. But in Jesus, all is changed. In Christ we see that the Father loves us.

In Christ, our city of refuge, we find fellowship with God! But not only so, we find that there are others dwelling in spiritual Hebron. Others who have seen their guilt and who have fled for forgiveness and safety to Jesus. We can also find fellowship and friendship with them! How good it is for believers to meet in the name of Jesus and fellowship around Him. We can learn from each other and discover more about the splendor and majesty of the Lord.

His is a lasting fellowship. He will never leave or forsake us.

“Earthly friends may pain and grieve me,

One day kind, the next they leave me;

But this Friend can ne’er deceive me —

Oh, how He loves!”

Jesus is our Hebron our friendship and fellowship with God.

And that the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com   

The Wednesday Word: The Cities of Refuge (Part 2)

“Then you shall appoint cities to be cities of refuge for you, that the manslayer who kills any person accidentally may flee there. (Numbers 35:11).

In Joshua 20:7-8, they appointed six cities to which a person, guilty of manslaughter, could flee for refuge. When inside the city, the guilty person was safe. As you remember, from last week, each city, in its name, gives us a beautiful picture of the Lord Jesus.

Last time we considered the city of Kedesh and in it saw Christ as our Holiness. This time let’s think about Christ, our Shechem.

2) Shechem.

What does the name Shechem tell us about Christ? In the Hebrew language, Shechem means ‘shoulder.’ A shoulder is often used for carrying things and so it is that Jesus carries His people.

Moses speaks of God conducting the children of Israel through the wilderness as a man carries his weak and weary child (see Deuteronomy 1:31). Carrying is the kind of thing the Almighty does. And David knows something of this carrying for he says, ” I am poor and needy; yet the LORD thinks upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer (Psalm 40:17). Yes indeed, we are helped, we are delivered, we are carried by the Lord. Jesus is our Shechem!

Jesus is the true Shechem. It was prophesied of Him that “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:4). This prophesy was fulfilled by Christ at Calvary. Literally, our sins have been lifted off us and carried away by Him.

This lifting and taking away is a fact. Think of Him in the garden of Gethsemane when the pressure of our sins was coming upon Him. See the drops of blood falling from His brow (Luke 22:44)! What immense pressure! By the way, only Jesus could have carried such an awful load and burden as this. Neither angel nor archangel could have carried this. But Jesus, being the God/Man, was alone “able to save unto the uttermost” because His shoulders, as it were, could sustain the entire weight of the sins of His people.

Another way of seeing Jesus as our Shechem is in Isaiah 9:6. There we read that the “The government shall be upon His shoulder.” This indicates that Jesus, the God/Man, whether we see it or not, is ruling all things in heaven and earth.

Let’s break that down. Simply speaking, it means the Lord Jesus, right this moment, is graciously in charge of our lives. He is able to carry and bear those things that weigh us down. The poorest and weakest of believers are welcome in Shechem. He can bear the entire weight of His people. Right this moment, He is loving, caring and providing for us all. Food, clothing, health, sickness, difficulties, strength, friends and home, are all gifts from Him. He is our Shechem. He can be trusted!

So, what should we do in times of trial? We are invited to flee to the city of refuge, the Lord Jesus, our Shechem, and remember that He bears us on His shoulders!

You say, ’I’m too far gone to even flee. Then consider the New Testament picture of Jesus, the good Shepherd, carrying the lost lamb back home. That poor creature had gone astray but the great and gracious Shepherd had gone after it and found it; and when He found it, He laid it on His shoulders rejoicing and brought it back to the fold (Luke 15:4-5).

What wonderful security and safety we have in the Lord Jesus. Just as the guilty one, back in Israel, was safe inside the city of refuge so the believer, today, is safe in Christ. We can say in full confidence, “I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep; because thou, Lord, only makes me to dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8).

He is our Shechem.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com  

The Wednesday Word: Good News for Believers Part 2

Romans 8: 38-39, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Notice the ‘US.’ Nothing shall separate ‘us.’ Who are the ‘Us he’s talking about?’ Last time we discovered that they were the foreloved, the predestinated, the called,the justified and the glorified ones. Here, therefore, is good news for believers … we can never be separated from the love of God. There will never be a moment in history when God will cease to love us.

Paul says, I am persuaded that death cannot separate us from Christ’s love. The long icy finger of death could grip any of us at any time … no one is immune.

But the cold clammy hand of death cannot separate us from the love of God. When we pass through the valley of the shadow of death the Lord will be there (see Psalm 23)

Death will not separate us from His love.

“In peace let me resign my breath,

And thy salvation see.

My sins deserved eternal death,

But Jesus died for me.”

Death cannot separate us from Jesus for He has died for us. Life cannot separate us for Jesus is ever living for us.

Life with all its problems,

Life with all its perplexities,

Life with all its difficulties,

Life with all its disappointments.

Life with all its trials,

Life with all its temptations,

Life with all its tears and storms. Cannot separate us from the love of God in Christ. No matter how much you may feel that you have failed or let the Lord down. None of this can separate you from the love of God. Dear believer, He still loves you. No matter what you’ve done.

Then Paul continues, “I am persuaded that neither death nor life nor angels…”

Angels are mighty beings – of which there are 2 classes. “Yes” said the wee boy in Sunday School, there are 2 classes of angels, there’s bad angels and there’s Charlie’s Angels!”

Well, no!

There are good angels (Luke 15:10; Hebrews 1:14) and bad angels (Jude 1:6; Psalm 78:49).

Good angels would never dare to separate us from God’s love. And bad angels cannot even if they dared.

“I am persuaded that neither death nor life nor angels nor principalities nor powers… “

Principalities and powers? That’s the organized array of Satan’s army … not even that can separate us from the love of God in Christ.

The worst onslaught from Hell can’t separate you. You will not be destroyed. The Lord will stand with you and not abandon you. Don’t listen to Satan’s lie … What’s Satan’s lie? His lie is that God doesn’t care for you anymore.

Then Paul says, I am persuaded that ‘Things present.’ cannot separate us

We live in a world of change but there is nothing new in it.

Look at the news and see rape, theft, hurt, bad things, un- happy things. But they have all happened before. Nothing is new, it is just the same bad old things happening to different people.

But none of these things can separate you.

Things present cannot separate you … your present state cannot separate you. What is your state? You may feel very backslidden. There was once a time when you felt remarkably close to the Lord but things present have taken their toll.

Listen to me. God loves you just the same. He has not been shocked by you. Your sins may indeed bring dishonour to the name of Jesus. They may have made you blush. You may have changed, but God hasn’t.

He loves you still – come back home to him.

I am persuaded that things to come cannot separate us from His love.

The future is filled with uncertainty but there’s one thing of which we can be certain … Judgment day ! It is appointed once to die and afterwards the Judgment (Hebrews 9:27). And we can face judgment because the judge and our lawyer are one and the same (Isaiah 33:22; 1 John 2:1).

Then Paul says, “I’m persuaded that Height nor depth cannot separate us from the love of God.” What is height and depth?

What does this term mean? Recent scholarship shows this to mean superstitious.

Superstition cannot separate us from God’s love. A true Christian can sit down at a table with 13 people, can spill salt, break a mirror, put an umbrella up inside a room, walk under a ladder, have a black cat run across his path, and all this can happen to him on Friday 13th yet none of it can separate him from the love of God in Christ.

Then there’s ‘Any other Creature’ – literally any created thing.

What can possibly separate us from God’s love? What can possibly stop God from loving us? Sometimes life is a fog. Everything is as clear as mud. We don’t know where to turn. It feels as if God has forsaken us. It feels as if God doesn’t love us.

Well, that’s a lie!

Believer if you want to know who God loves and for whom He went to the cross then look in the mirror. Look to Calvary and there see the holy, harmless lamb of God dying in your place and stead.

Listen to these amazing truths again.

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com  

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter XXVIII- Calvinism in History

December 2, 2020 1 comment

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

Chapter XXVIII

CALVINISM IN HISTORY

11e. CONCLUSION

This tree,” to adopt the eloquent paragraph of another, “may have, to prejudiced eyes, a rough bark, a gnarled stem, and boughs twisted often into knotted shapes of ungraceful strength. But, remember, it is not a willow-wand of yesterday. These boughs have wrestled with the storms of a thousand years; this stem has been wreathed with the red lightning and scarred by the thunderbolt; and all over its rough rind are the marks of the battle-axe and the bullet. This old oak has not the pliant grace and silky softness of a greenhouse plant, but it has a majesty above grace, and a grandeur beyond beauty. Its roots may be strangely contorted, but some of them are rich with the blood of glorious battlefields, some of them are clasped around the stakes of martyrs; some of them hidden in solitary cells and lonely libraries, where deep thinkers have mused and prayed, as in some apocalyptic Patmos; and its great tap-root runs back, until it twines in living and loving embrace around the cross of Calvary. Its boughs may be gnarled, but they hang clad with all that is richest and strongest in the civilization and Christianity of human history.”[76]

As we survey this system we feel as one sitting at the manual of a great organ. Our fingers touch the keys, as stop after stop opens of the swell, until the full chorus responds, a grand harmony. Calvinism touches all the music of life because it seeks the Creator first and above all and finds Him everywhere. Or again, we have been out upon the deep, the great celestial dome overhead, the wide expanse of eternity all around our souls and in and above all, there is GOD. Or again, we stand, as it were, at the rifting of the rocks, with the landscape behind, the gorge before us, the mighty river of time flowing forth out of and into eternity, the sun in its zenith overhead, all ablaze with light and warmth, and in a whisper first, our souls have echoed back the words, “O the depth of the riches!” For Calvinism shows us God and traces His footsteps, — God, in all His greatness, majesty, wisdom, holiness, justice, love. Calvinism shows us God high and lifted up; and our souls cry out again, “What is man that THOU . . . art mindful of him?”

This is no vain and empty eulogy of Calvinism. With the above facts and observations every enlightened and impartial reader of history will agree. Furthermore, the author would say of this book what Dr. E. W. Smith in his book, “The Creed of Presbyterians,” said at the close of the chapter on, “The Creed Tested By Its Fruits,” — namely that these facts and observations are “set forth, not to stimulate denominational vanity, but to fill us with gratitude to God for that past history and that present eminence which should be to every one of us

A vantage-ground for nobleness‘;

and above all to kindle in our hearts a holy enthusiasm for that Divine system of truth, which, under God, has been the foremost factor in the making of America and the modern world.”

In conclusion we would say that in this book the reader has found some very old fashioned divinity — divinity as old as the Bible, as old and older than the world itself, since this plan of redemption was hidden in the eternal counsels of God. No attempt has been made to cloak the fact that the doctrines advocated and defended in these pages are really wonderful and startling. They are enough to electrify the sleepy sinner who has taken it for granted all his life long that he can square matters with God any time he pleases, and they are sufficient to horrify the sleepy “saint” who has been deluding himself in the deadening repose of a carnal religion. But why should they not cause astonishment? Does not nature teem with wonders? Why should not revelation? One needs to read but little to become aware that Science brings to light many astonishing truths which an uneducated man finds it hard, if not impossible, to believe; and why should it not be so with the truths of Revelation and the spiritually uneducated ? If the Gospel does not startle and terrify and amaze a man when presented to him, it is not the true Gospel. But who was ever amazed at Arminianism with its doctrine that every man carves out his own destiny? It will not suffice merely to ignore or ridicule these doctrines as many are inclined to do. The question is, Are these doctrines true? If they are true, why ridicule them? If they are not true, disprove them. We close with the statement that this great system of religious thought which bears Calvin’s name is nothing more or less than the hope of the world.

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter XXVIII- Calvinism in History

November 25, 2020 Leave a comment

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

Chapter XXVIII

CALVINISM IN HISTORY

11d. CONCLUSION

The famous English Baptist Charles Hadden Spurgeon (1834-1892), one of the world’s greatest preachers, spoke as follows:

I am never ashamed to avow myself a Calvinist. I do not hesitate to take the name of Baptist; but if I am asked what is my creed, I reply, ‘It is Jesus Christ.’”

And again, “Many of our Calvinistic preachers do not feed God’s people. They believe election, but they do not preach it. They think particular redemption true, but they lock it in the chest of their creed, and never bring it out in their ministry. They hold final perseverance, but they persevere in keeping quiet about it. They think there is such a thing as effectual calling, but they do not think they are called frequently to preach it. The great fault we find with them is, that they do not speak right out what they believe. You could not know if you heard them fifty times what were the doctrines of the Gospel, or what was their system of salvation. And hence God’s people get starved.”

When we come to a study of foreign missions we find that this system of belief has been the most important agency in carrying the Gospel to the heathen nations. St. Paul, whom the more liberal opponents of Calvinism admit to have been responsible for the Calvinistic cast of the theological thought of the Church, was the greatest and most influential of missionaries. If we call the roll of the heroes of Protestant Missions we find that almost without exception they have been disciples of Calvin. We find Carey and Martyn in India, Linvingstone and Moffat in Africa, Morrison in China, Paton in the South Seas, and a great host of others. These men professed and possessed a Calvinism which was not static but dynamic; it was not their creed only, but their conduct.

And in regard to foreign missions, Dr. F. W. Loetscher has said: “Though like all our sister Churches we have reason, in view of our unprecedented resources and the appalling needs of heathen lands, to lament that we have not accomplished more, we may at least thank God that our venerated fathers made so good a beginning in establishing missions all over the world; that the Calvinistic Churches today surpass all others in their gifts to this cause; and in particular that our own denomination has the unique honor and privilege of discharging her farreaching responsibities by actually confronting every one of the great non- Christian religions, and preaching the gospel on more continents, and among more nations, peoples, and tongues, than any other evangelical Church in the world.” [74]

Although to some it may sound like an unwarranted exaggeration, we have no hesitation in saying that through the centuries Calvinism, fearlessly and ringingly polemic in its insistence upon, and defense of, sound doctrine, has been the real strength of the Christian Church. The traditionally high standards of the Calvinistic Churches in regard to ministerial training and culture have borne a great harvest in bringing multitudes to the feet of Jesus, not in temporary excitement, but in perpetual covenant. Judged by its fruits Calvinism has proven itself incomparably the greatest evangelizing force in the world.

The enemies of Calvinism are not able honestly to confront the testimony of history. Certainly a glorious record belongs to this system in the history of modern civilization. None more noble can be found anywhere. “It has ever been a mystery to the so-called liberals,” says Henry Ward Beecher, “that the Calvinists, with what they have considered their harshly despotic and rigid views and doctrines, should always have been the staunchest and bravest defenders of freedom. The working for liberty of these severe principles in the minds of those that adopted them has been a puzzle. But the truth lies here: Calvinism has done what no other religion has ever been able to do. It presents the highest human ideal to the world, and sweeps the whole road to destruction with the most appalling battery that can be imagined.

It intensifies, beyond all example, the individuality of man, and shows in a clear and overpowering light his responsibility to God and his relations to eternity. It points out man as entering life under the weight of a tremendous responsibility, having on his march toward the grave, this one sole solace — of securing heaven and of escaping hell.

Thus the Calvinist sees man pressed, burdened, urged on, by the most mighty influencing forces. He is on the march for eternity, and is soon to stand crowned in heaven or to lie sweltering in hell, thus to continue for ever and ever. Who shall dare to fetter such a being? Get out of his way ! Hinder him not, or do it at the peril of your own soul. Leave him free to find his way to God. Meddle not with him or with his rights. Let him work out his own salvation as he can. No hand must be laid crushingly upon a creature who is on such a race as this — a race whose end is to be eternal glory or unutterable woe for ever and ever.”[75]

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

The Wednesday Word: HERE’S THE QUESTION (Part 2)

November 18, 2020 Leave a comment

Here’s the Question …

What does it take for a believer to lose their salvation and perish?

Here’s the Answer … (continued)

15. For a believer to become lost and perish, something would have to separate him from the love of God. But God promised this would never happen (Romans 8:35-39).

16. For a believer to become lost and perish, Christ’s prayer that the Father would keep His followers would have to fail (John 17:11). If you believe that saved people can become un-saved you are saying that Christ’s prayers are ineffective.

17. For a believer to become lost and perish, God would have to remember sins and iniquities once more … something He promised never to do (Hebrews 8:12; 10:17).

18. For a believer to become lost and perish, the child of God would have to become un-adopted. But this is out of the question. When God adopted us, He knew what sins and failures we would commit. In this world, there is such a thing as an unwanted pregnancy, but an unwanted adoption is unheard of (see Luke 15:11-32).

19. For a believer to become lost and perish He who was delivered from so great a death would have to be given back over to so great a death (see 2 Corinthians 1:10). If that’s the case, the cross is not an effective deliverance and 2 Corinthians 1:10 deserves no place in the Bible.

20. For a believer to become lost and perish, He who became an heir of God would have to be disinherited (Romans 8:17; Titus 3:7). But the gifts of God are irrevocable (Romans 11:29).

21. For a believer to become lost and perish He who was seated in heavenly places would have to lose his seat (Ephesians 2:6). But see Ecclesiastes 3:14 “I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be forever: …”

22. For a believer to become lost and perish, that person who was called unto eternal glory would have to be uncalled (1 Peter 5:10). On top of that, it would mean that glory is not eternal.

23. For a believer to become lost and perish, Christ would have to lose part of His bride (Ephesians 5:27). If that’s the case, what a careless groom we have in Jesus.

24. For a believer to become lost and perish, He would have to be un-kept and un-preserved (Jude 1).

25. For a believer to become lost and perish, God, who promised to keep him from falling would have to allow him to fall and fail. If the believer can lose his salvation, Jude 24 would cease to be true.

26. For a believer to become lost and perish, His reservation in heaven (an inheritance “reserved in heaven”) would have to fail or become invalid (1 Peter 1:4).

27. For a believer to become lost and perish, the Father would have to undo His work of making him fit for sharing the portion of the saints in light, and un-translate him out of the kingdom of the Son of his love, and deliver him back into the authority of darkness (Colossians 1:12-13).

28. For a believer to become lost and perish, it means Acts 26:18 is all wrong. Christ would have to shut that person’s eyes, turn him back into darkness and the power of Satan, un-forgive his sins, take back the inheritance. But God did not forgive us to forsake us, He did not deliver us to desert us, redeem us to release us or save us to shipwreck us.

We uphold the integrity, faithfulness and character of the Lord Jesus by denying that, as the Good Shepherd, He loses sheep.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter XXVIII- Calvinism in History

November 18, 2020 Leave a comment

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

Chapter XXVIII

CALVINISM IN HISTORY

11c. CONCLUSION

We shall now turn our attention to Calvinism as an evangelizing force. A very practical test for any system of religious doctrine is, “Has it, in comparison with other systems, proved itself a success in the evangelization of the world ?” To save sinners and convert them to practical godliness is the chief purpose of the Church in this world; and the system which will not measure up to this test must be set aside, no matter how popular it may be in other respects.

The first great Christian revival, in which three thousand people were converted, occurred under the preaching of Peter in Jerusalem, who employed such language as this: “Him being delivered up by the determinate council and foreknowledge of God, ye by the hands of lawless men did crucify and slay,” Act 2:23. And the company of disciples, when in earnest prayer shortly afterward, spoke in these words: “For of a truth in this city against thy holy servant Jesus, whom thou didst anoint, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, were gathered together, to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel foreordained to come to pass,” Act 4:27, Act 4:28. That is Calvinism rigid enough.

The next great revival in the Church, which occurred in the fourth century through the influence of Augustine, was based on these doctrines, as is readily seen by anyone who reads the literature on that period. The Reformation, which is admitted by all to have been incomparably the greatest revival of true religion since New Testament times, occurred under the soundly predestinarian preaching of Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin. To Calvin and Admiral Coligny belongs the credit of having inspired the first Protestant foreign missionary enterprise, the expedition to Brazil in 1555. True, the venture proved unsuccessful, and the religious wars in Europe prevented the renewal of the enterprise for a considerable period.

McFetridge has given us some interesting and comparatively unknown facts about the rise of the Methodist Church. Says he: “We speak of the Methodist Church beginning in a revival. And so it did. But the first and chief actor in that revival was not Wesley, but Whitefield (an uncompromising Calvinist). Though a younger man than Wesley, it was he who first went forth preaching in the fields and gathering multitudes of followers, and raising money and building chapels. It was Whitefield who invoked the two Wesleys to his aid. And he had to employ much argument and persuasion to overcome their prejudices against the movement. Whitefield began the great work at Bristol and Kingswood, and had found thousands flocking to his side, ready to be organized into churches, when he appealed to Wesley for assistance. Wesley, with all his zeal, had been quite a High- Churchman in many of his views. He believed in immersing even the infants, and demanded that dissenters should be rebaptized before being taken into the Church. He could not think of preaching in any place but in a church. ‘He should have thought,’ as he said, ‘the saving of souls almost a sin if it had not been done in a church.’ Hence when Whitefield called on John Wesley to engage with him in the popular movement, he shrank back. Finally, he yielded to Whitefield’s persuasions, but, he allowed himself to be governed in the decision by what many would rate as a superstition. He and Charles first opened their Bibles at random to see if their eyes should fall on a text which might decide them. But the texts were all foreign to the subject. Then he had recourse to sortilege, and cast lots to decide the matter. The lot drawn was the one marked for him to consent, and so he consented. Thus he was led to undertake the work with which his name has been so intimately and honorably associated ever since.

So largely was the Methodist movement owing to Whitefield that he was called ‘the Calvinistic establisher of Methodism,’ and to the end of his life he remained the representative of it in the eyes of the learned world. Walpole, in his Letters, speaks only once of Wesley in connection with the rise of Methodism, while he frequently speaks of Whitefield in connection with it. Mant, in his course of lectures against Methodism, speaks of it as an entirely Calvinistic affair. Neither the mechanism nor the force which gave rise to it originated with Wesley. Fieldpreaching, which gave the whole movement its aggressive character, and fitted and enabled it to cope with the powerful agencies which were armed against it, was begun by Whitefield, whilst ‘Wesley was dragged into it reluctantly.’ In the polite language of the day ‘Calvinism’ and ‘Methodism’ were synonymous terms, and the Methodists were called ‘another sect of Presbyterians.’ ….

It was Calvinism, and not Arminianism, which originated (so far as any system of doctrine originated) the great religious movement in which the Methodist Church was born.

While, therefore, Wesley is to be honored for his work in behalf of that Church, we should not fail to remember the great Calvinist, George Whitefield, who gave that Church her first beginnings and her most distinctive character. Had he lived longer, and not shrunk from the thought of being the founder of a Church, far different would have been the results of his labors. As it was, he gathered congregations for others to form into Churches, and built chapels for others to preach in.”[73]

It should also be said at this point that Wesley was a believer in witchcraft. Failure to believe in witches was looked upon by him as a concession to infidels and rationalists. Many of his biographers have passed over this subject in silence, although some of those most friendly to his cause have admitted that he stated his beliefs in words which cannot be misunderstood. In his Journal we read this report of a girl who was subject to fits: “When old Doctor Alexander was asked what her disorder was, he answered, ‘It is what formerly they would have called being bewitched.’ And why should they not call it so now? Because the infidels have hooted witchcraft out of the world; and the complaisant Christians, in large numbers, have joined them in the cry.” Although Calvin lived two and a quarter centuries before Wesley and had not the advantages of the scientific and intellectual progress that had been made during that time, we find no such strange credulity in him. His writings are not only free from witchcraft but contain numerous warnings against such belief.

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

The Wednesday Word: HERE’S THE QUESTION (Part 1)

November 11, 2020 Leave a comment

Here’s the Question …

What does it take for a believer to lose their salvation and perish?

Here’s the Answer …

l. For a believer to become lost and perish, Christ would have to become a liar for He promised that believers could never perish (John 10:28).

2. For a believer to become lost and perish, Christ would have to become a promise breaker for He promised to never cast us out (John 6:37).

3. For a believer to become lost and perish, Christ would have to leave him to his own devices. But, will Christ ever leave his people? He promised He would never do that (Hebrews 13:5).

4. For a believer to become lost and perish, He would have to become un-chosen (Ephesians 1:4). That would mean that Christ was mistaken about him when He chose him in the first place. So much for a God who knows all things!

5. For the believer to become lost and perish, He would have to become un-redeemed. But, when we are redeemed, we are removed from the marketplace and are not for re-sale (Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 1:18-19).

6. For the believer to become lost and perish, the Holy Spirit would have to leave him. This is an impossibility since believers are sealed unto the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30).

7. For a believer to become lost and perish would mean that Christ is un-reliable for He promised that this could never happen (John 10:28).

8. For a believer to become lost and perish, he would have to cease being a sheep. He would have to become a goat (John 10:27-28; Matthew 25:31-46). But sheep don’t become goats … that’s ridiculous.

9. For a believer to become lost and perish, God would have to break His promise of Philippians 1:6 and not complete the great work which He began.

10. For a believer to become lost and perish, he would have to pass from life unto death. This means that at first, he passed from death unto life and now he somehow manages to pass back from life unto death (John 5:24). Neither process, however, is possible for a human being. We were saved by God (brought from death unto life) and He will not un-save us (Ecclesiastes 3:14).

11. For a believer to become lost and perish, He would have to come into judgment. But how is this possible since God promised that such a thing would never happen? (John 5:24).

12. For a believer to become lost and perish, He would have to be plucked out of the Father’s hand … a thing which Christ promised would never happen (John 10:28-29).

13. For a believer to become lost and perish, God’s power to keep would have failed. The Bible says we are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (1 Peter 1:5). Therefore, we conclude that if a believer perishes, God’s word is invalid.

14. For a believer to become lost and perish, Christ would have to cease to intercede for him (Hebrews 7:25; Romans 8:34; Luke 22:32).

The true believer is safe and secure in Christ … forever. If we don’t believe this truth, we are making Jesus either a liar or a lunatic. If Christ lets His followers perish, He breaks His word. He is, therefore, unreliable.

Is that what you think of Christ? God forbid!

The Lord’s sheep are safe in the hands of the Chief and Good Shepherd … the faithful One who always keeps His word.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter XXVIII- Calvinism in History

November 11, 2020 Leave a comment

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

Chapter XXVIII

CALVINISM IN HISTORY

11b. CONCLUSION

We have said that Calvinistic theology develops a liberty loving people. Where it flourishes despotism cannot abide. As might have been expected, it early gave rise to a revolutionary form of Church government, in which the people of the Church were to be governed and ministered to, not by the appointees of any one man or set of men placed over them, but by pastors and officers elected by themselves. Religion was then with the people, not over them. Testimony from a remarkable source as to the efficiency of this government is that of the distinguished Roman Catholic, Archbishop Hughes of New York: “Though it is my privilege to regard the authority exercised by the General Assembly as usurpation, still I must say, with every man acquainted with the mode in which it is organized, that for the purpose of popular and political government its structure is little inferior to that of Congress itself. It acts on the principle of a radiating center, and is without an equal or a rival among the other denominations of the country.”[70]

From freedom and responsibility in the Church it was only a step to freedom and responsibility in the State; and historically the cause of freedom has found no braver nor more resolute champions than the followers of Calvin.

Calvinism,” says Warburton, “is no dreamy, theoretical creed. It does not, — despite all the assertions of its adversaries, — encourage a man to fold his arms in a spirit of fatalistic indifference, and ignore the needs of those around him, together with the crying evils which lie, like putrifying sores, upon the open face of society.”[71] Wherever it has gone marvelous moral transformations have followed in its wake. For purity of life, for temperance, industry, and charity, the Calvinists have stood without superiors.

James Anthony Froude has been recognized as one of England’s most able historians and men of letters. For a number of years he was professor of History at Oxford, England’s greatest university. While he accepted another system for himself, and while his writings are such that he is often spoken of as an opponent of Calvinism, he was free from prejudice, and the ignorant attacks upon Calvinism which have been so common in recent years aroused in him the learned scholar’s just impatience.

I am going to ask you,” says Froude, “to consider how it came to pass that if Calvinism is indeed the hard and unreasonable creed which modern enlightenment declares it to be, it has possessed such singular attractions in past times for some of the greatest men that ever lived; and how — being as we are told, fatal to morality, because it denies free will — the first symptom of its operation, wherever it established itself, was to obliterate the distinction between sins and crimes, and to make the moral law the rule of life for States as well as persons. I shall ask you, again, why, if it be a creed of intellectual servitude, it was able to inspire and sustain the bravest efforts ever made by man to break the yoke of unjust authority. When all else has failed, — when patriotism has covered its face and human courage has broken down, — when intellect has yielded, as Gibbon says, ‘with a smile or a sigh,’ content to philosophize in the closet, and abroad worship with the vulgar, — when emotion, and sentiment, and tender imaginative piety have become the handmaids of superstition, and have dreamt themselves into forgetfulness that there is any difference between lies and truth, — the slavish form of belief called Calvinism, in one or other of its many forms, has borne ever an inflexible front to illusion and mendacity, and has preferred rather to be ground to powder like flint than to bend before violence or melt under enervating temptation.”

To illustrate this Froude mentions William the Silent, Luther, Calvin, Knox, Coligny, Cromwell, Milton, and Bunyan, and says of them: “These men are possessed of all the qualities which give nobility and grandeur to human nature, — men whose life was as upright as their intellect was commanding and their public aims untainted with selfishness; unalterably just where duty required them to be stern, but with the tenderness of a woman in their hearts; frank, true, cheerful, humorous, as unlike sour fanatics as it is possible to imagine anyone, and able in some way to sound the key-note to which every brave and faithful heart in Europe instinctively vibrated.”[72]

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination