Arhive pe categorii: Calvinism

FORBIDDEN SCRIPTURES -8 BY PUGH CURTIS

FORBIDDEN SCRIPTURES #8

            Here is test #8.Read the verses, please, and try to remember if you ever heard a sermon on them.  Probably you have not because they contradict popular ideas.  Most preachers will not preach them, except to try to explain them away, assuring folks that they do not really mean what they say.  Read on.  Decide if you, your preacher and your church really believe “all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27).

“And he spake this parable unto them, saying, What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost” (Luke 15:3-6).

A parable has a special double purpose.  Jesus said, “…Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them” (Mark 4:11, 12).  The purpose of parables is to make truth clearer to those to whom “it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God” and at the same time keep the truth hidden from those who are “without” or outside God’s elect.  If those “without” could “perceive” and “hear” they would “be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.”So, Jesus spoke in parables to clarify truth to the chosen ones and to hide it from those whom God in His wisdom and justice determined to leave alone.  Few preachers preach on God’s sovereign election (choice) of those whom He will save, but the Bible is full of this doctrine.  Preachers often say that it is God’s will that all people be saved.  The God they preach is therefore a failure because He cannot save all whom He wants to save.  According to their unbiblical theory, God cannot even get the Gospel to all people for in every generation there are millions who have never heard it.

This same crowd of preachers thinks that sinners come to Christ by their own power.  They are forced to say this, because if it is necessary for God to draw men to Christ, why does He not draw all men?  Or, perhaps according to them, God tries to draw all men to Christ but is unable to do so because they resist Him.  The old Babylonian king new better than that!  He said that God“…doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, Whatdoest thou?” (Dan. 4:35).  But most modern religionists have a “god” whose hand can be stopped and who cannot do according to his will either in heaven or on earth.  The parable above teaches about Christ, the Good Shepherd.  First of all note that the lost sheep belongs to theGood Shepherd.  Itis the Good Shepherd who is searching for His sheep.  Lost sheep do not search for the shepherd.  Paul made that clear when he wrote, “There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God” (Rom. 3:11).  Being God, the Good Shepherd knows exactly where His lost sheep is and goes and gets His sheep.  After finding His sheep, the Shepherd rejoices because His sheep is found.

People who are religious by nature or who fear eternal punishment may seek after the perceived benefits of salvation. Many preachers today insist that physical healing is in the atonement.  Because of this teaching, some folks seek after healing.  Some teach that God will make His children prosperous and some folks “come to Christ” because they want prosperity.  Many preachers preach the supposed benefits of the Gospel and entice people to “pray the prayer” or “open their heart’s door” or some other equally unscriptural invention of man.  People do this thinking they are going to be healthy, wealthy and escape the fires of eternal punishment just because they prayed or “made a decision” or were “baptized” or met some other religious requirement.  Many religious lies are told over pulpits every Sunday, but Jesus said, “no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father” (John 6:65).  “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time” (1 Pet. 5:6).

Contact: Curtis Pugh, 505 NanihWaiya Ln., Poteau, OK 74953 – Telephone: (918) 647-7322

Authorized by the Bible Baptist Church, Denham Springs, Louisiana

Ads paid for by authorizing Church and other Churches of like faith and practice

FORBIDDEN SCRIPTURES -7 BY PUGH CURTIS

FORBIDDEN SCRIPTURES #7

            Here is test #7.Read the verses, please, and try to remember if you ever heard a sermon on them.  Probably you have not because they contradict popular ideas.  Most preachers will not preach them, except to try to explain them away, assuring folks that they do not really mean what they say.  Read on.  Decide if you, your preacher and your church really believe “all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27).

Jesus prayed thus to His Father:“…As thou hast given him (Jesus)power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:2, 3).

Notice 3 things Jesus tells us here.  He tells us who it is that gives eternal life; what eternal life is; and to whom eternal life is given.  First of all we learn that it is the Son (Jesus) who gives eternal life.  About His sheep Jesus said, “I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish” (John 10:28).Christ Jesus Himself gives eternal life! We also learn that eternal life is a matter of knowing God the Father (“the only true God”)and Jesus Christ.  Jesus said, “no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him”(Luke 10:22).  If Christ does not reveal the Father to you, you cannot know Him.  Unless and until Christ reveals the Father to you, you do not have eternal life!  Do not think you can go to God or Christ in a one-time prayer and come away knowing Him and His Son! When Paul wrote about his salvation experience he said, “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace,To reveal his Son in me…” (Gal. 1:15, 16).  Paul had been set apart for salvation from before his birth.  In time God called Paul by grace for the purpose of revealing His Son in him.  True salvation is a supernatural experience brought about by a personal, supernatural revelation of Christ (not voices, visions, dreams, etc.) in the heart and life of the sinner.  Has that happened to you?

A third thing we learn is to whom Christ gives eternal life.  Jesus said that He gives eternal life “to as many as thou (the Father) hast given him.”The Bible does not teach that eternal life is dispensed indiscriminately, but rather is given to those whom God chose in eternity.  The Bible is clear: “For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matt. 22:14).  The Bible says, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4).  “God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth” (2 Thes. 2:13).  God has chosen some to life.  God also makes it clear that all are welcome to come to Christ.  “Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it” (Mark 8:34, 35).  But apart from the work of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, sinners will not come.  They are “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (2 Tim. 3:4).  They do not want to deny themselves, bear a cross, and lose their lives as Jesus said they must.  They are welcome to come, but they will not.  Jesus said, “And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life” (John 5:40). The flesh wants nothing to do with God or Christ!

That God’s election or choosing is unto salvation is made clear by Paul’s statement regarding his suffering. He wrote “Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (2 Tim. 2:10).  God has His “elect” and they shall obtain salvation!  In time God’s elect are brought to repentance and faith in Christ.God has determined the means to bring them to Himself.  Do you have biblical evidence that you are one of God’s elect?  Do you have a desire to really follow Christ – to do God’s will?  “It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).Paul wrote, “Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God” (1 Thes. 1:4).  Paul knew those people were the elect of God.  He saw the evidence.  Do you know that you are one of God’s elect?  Have you experienced godly sorrow over your sin?  Has God worked in you “repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ?”(Acts 20:21).

Contact: Curtis Pugh, 505 NanihWaiya Ln., Poteau, OK 74953 – Telephone: (918) 647-7322

Authorized by the Bible Baptist Church, Denham Springs, Louisiana

Ads paid for by authorizing Church and other Churches of like faith and practice

FORBIDDEN SCRIPTURES -6 BY PUGH CURTIS

FORBIDDEN SCRIPTURES #6

            Here is test #6.Read the verses, please, and try to remember if you ever heard a sermon on them.  Probably not because they contradict popular ideas and most preachers will not preach them, except to try to explain them away, assuring folks that they do not really mean what they say.  Read on.  Decide if you, your preacher and your church really believe “all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27).

“Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.  And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church” (1 Corinthians 14:34, 35).

These verses show just how far most churches are from theteaching of the New Testament.  Nearly all Protestants and many Baptists disobey theseplain words.  They allow women to speak in their church meetings.  Some even ordain women into theministry.  Feminists think this doctrine is against women and rail against it.  Some preachers who secretly believe this teaching are afraid of the women in their churches (and perhaps in their own homes) and therefore will not teach what the Bible says.  But this teaching is not against women.  It does not mean that women are inferior to men.  There are many women who are just plain smarter than men. Some are even smarter than their own husbands!  Many women are more talented than men, harder working, more creative, more ambitious, more successful, more knowledgeable, etc., and even more spiritually mature.  But God has an order which He commands and that is what this passage sets forth.  Just as a soldier of lower rank may be superior in all ways to the higher officers under whom he or she serves, and just as an employee may know more than his or her boss, so many women are superior to men.  The issue here is not a matter of superiority.  It is a matter of God’s order – an order He has commanded to be followed in churches.

The apostle also wrote, “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.  For Adam was first formed, then Eve.  And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression” (1 Tim. 2:11-14).  The headship of man over woman in the churches is a matter of order.  Adam was created first.  Adam bore the responsibilityfor the first sin.  The woman was deceived.Adam sinned willfully.  His was the greater sin because of his responsibility before God as Eve’s head.Preachers maytry to explain away God’s order by saying that it was just a cultural matter of thosetimes or was just Paul’s opinion.  Paul destroyed that idea and all other liberal objections.  Just after he wrote that women are to be silent in church meetings, he wrote, “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.  But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant” (1 Cor. 14:37, 38).  So, if you think yourself a prophet (preacher) or consider yourself spiritual, Paul says you are to agree that his words on this matter “are the commandments of the Lord.”If you believe the Bible, you must agree that it is wrong for women to say anything in church meetings. They are to learn in silence. They are not to teach or usurp authority over the men.  (Usurp is an old word that means to take or hold office or power without legal right.  If a woman holds authority in a church over a man, she is a usurper.)

Paul finishes by saying, “But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.”  Ignorance is a terrible thing.Especially is it harmful when it is ignorance of God’s Word. The consequences are catastrophic.  No wonder America’s families are in ruins and her churches powerless against sin.  God’s order is ignored.  How can preachers and churches think to please God when they continue knowingly, service after service,to break this commandment of the Lord by allowing women to speak in their meetings?  Repent of this disobedience! Obey this commandment of the Lord and “Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Cor. 14:40).

Contact: Curtis Pugh, 505 NanihWaiya Ln., Poteau, OK 74953 – Telephone: (918) 647-7322

Authorized by the Bible Baptist Church, Denham Springs, Louisiana

Ads paid for by authorizing Church and other Churches of like faith and practice

FORBIDDEN SCRIPTURES -5-PUGH CURTIS

FORBIDDEN SCRIPTURES #5

            Here is test #5.  Read the verses, please, and try to remember if you ever heard a sermon onthem:probably not.  Because they contradict popular ideas most preachers will not preach them, except to try to explain them away, assuring their hearers that they do not really mean what they say.  Read on.  Decide if you, your preacher and your church really believe “all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27).

“…My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?  But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons” (Hebrews 12:5-8).

God says, “Man that is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble”(Job 14:1).We are all bornboth spiritually dead and dying physically for “by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Rom. 5:12).  All suffer the consequences of Adam’s disobedience!  That is one kind of suffering, but there is another.  First Peter 2:20 speaks of being buffeted for your own faults.  Let me illustrate that: a man gets drunk, wrecks his car,and loses his legs.  It is his fault.  God may forgive him, but He does not give him new legs.  He suffers the rest of his life for his own sin.

A third kind of suffering exists.Our text saysGod loves some people.  Because He loves them He disciplines them by means of suffering.  They are His sons. God “chasteneth and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth.”Hepurifiesall His childrenthis way.The phrase “whom the Lord loveth”speaks of one group of people and means there is another group.  God is not said to love these others.  He does notchasten them.  They are designated in the text as illegitimate. They are not true sons of God.  They sufferbecause of Adam’s sin. They also suffer the consequences of their own sins, but they receive no spiritual benefitfrom their sufferingnot beingchastened of God.  God just leaves them alone.

Did you ever hear a preacher at “invitation time” tell the lost that if they come to Christ they will be chastened and scourged: that God will put them through great trials and difficulties?  I thinkyou never have!  That wouldnot fit with the new, false gospel of enticing people to make a decision orto pray the magic prayer!  It just would not be enticing to the flesh!  Many preachers attempt to deceive people with enticing words (read 1 Cor. 2:4 and Col. 2:4).  They appeal to fleshly desires.  They promise a great family life, good health, prosperity,etc., etc., as well as eternal life,trying to get folksto come and pray “the prayer.”They do not tell them “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12) or “that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). Neither do they tell themthatJesus said “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.  And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household”(Matt. 10:34-36).Jesus meant that often some family members would reject Him and oppose their believing relatives causing great sorrow and trouble in the family circle.  In spite of these Bible truths, most preachers use smooth words that tickle the ears of pleasure-loving people promising them eternal life for a one-time prayer.  They do not preach that“God is angry with the wicked every day” (Psa. 7:11) or that God“hatest all workers of iniquity”(Psa. 5:5). Instead they do what no preacher in the New Testament ever did.  They falsely assure lost sinners that God loves them and has a wonderful plan for their lives.They minister to the sinner’s pride.  As a result,proud people who are blind to their total depravity andinability to do anything pleasing to God,pray the magic prayermotivated only by carnal desires.  They are healed,butnever wounded.  They are saved before they are lost.  They do not “hunger and thirst after righteousness” (Matt. 5:6). Thefalseness of their professions is seen after a time in their lives.  If God has not, may Heenlighten you to see the awfulness of sin – your sin – and give you the twin graces of repentance and faith.  Jesus said, “…except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3, 5).

Contact: Curtis Pugh, 505 NanihWaiya Ln., Poteau, OK 74953 – Telephone: (918) 647-7322

Authorized by the Bible Baptist Church, Denham Springs, Louisiana

Ads paid for by authorizing Church and other Churches of like faith and practice

FORBIDDEN SCRIPTURES -4 BY PUGH CURTIS

FORBIDDEN SCRIPTURES #4

            Here is test #4: Read the Scriptures below, then try to remember the last time you heard a sermon on this text.  Probably you never have because these verses are among those which contradict the beliefs of most people.  Most preachers have never preached on such verses.  Often they have never dealt with them except to try to explain them away, assuring their hearers that they do not really mean what they say.  So, take the test.  Read these verses and decide if you and your preacher and your church really do believe all that the Bible says.  Perhaps you will decide that some changes need to be made – not in the Bible – but in your thinking and understanding.  Here is another of the “Forbidden Scriptures.”

“The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it” (Luke 16:16).

In this verses Jesus said that something ended with John the Baptist and something began with him.  The Old Testament legal system ended with John.  Many people have the idea that the Old Testament age ended either when Jesus was nailed to the tree on Calvary or on the famous Day of Pentecost that followed.  Nothing could be farther from the truth!  It ended with the ministry of John the Baptist!  Jesus said so!  But something also began with the Baptist.  It was the preaching of the Gospel of the kingdom.  The Bible says, “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:1, 2).  This is God’s message to man – repent!  After John the Baptist was imprisoned, we learn that the Lord Jesus Christ began to preach the same message – the message at first preached by the first Baptist.The Bible says, “Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee… From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:12,16). Jesus took up preaching John’s message. True repentance is brought about only by broken heartedness or what the Bible calls “godly sorrow” (See 2 Corinthians 7:10).  This is not a popular subject and few really preach it.  Do not let anyone fool you: repentance is not just making a decision!  If all that is required is making a decision, would not God have plainly said so?  God requires more than a decision in the matter of salvation!

Some try to say that John the Baptist’s message and his baptismended and have been replaced by another gospel andsomething they call “Christian baptism.”  How can this be?  John’s baptism is the only baptism that Christ’s Church had because all His disciples were baptized by the Baptist. John´s was the only baptism that Jesus had.  Are we to believe that Christ and His Church did not have Christian baptism?  We would be happy if someone could show us in the Scriptures where this new gospel and this “Christian baptism” began and who was sent by God to initiate them.  (The Baptist said that it was God that “sent me to baptize” in John 1:33.)  The Bible makes it clear that Jesus and His apostles continued both John’s message and John’s baptism for no other is known in the Scriptures to be valid.Remember, you cannot give what you do not have!  John’s baptism is still valid today!  But back to John’s gospel: When Paul was nearing the end of his ministry he said that his message (gospel) to both Jews and Gentiles was the same.  He went everywhere, “Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21).  His was a message requiring real repentance!  Repentance which changes lives!  Paul wrote these words: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,  Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21).These last two texts prove that Paul preached the same message of repentance as a requirement for inheriting the kingdom as did both Christ and the Baptist before Him.  Do you not see that in order to be saved you must repent of your sins?  Jesus said, “…except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3, 5).  Do not be deceived!  Neither praying a magical prayer nor making a decision nor any other religious experience will save you!  May God be pleased to show you your awful depravity, work godly sorrow in your heart, and grant you repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus.

 

Contact: Curtis Pugh, 505 NanihWaiya Ln., Poteau, OK 74953 – Telephone: (918) 647-7322

Authorized by the Bible Baptist Church, Denham Springs, Louisiana

Ads paid for by the authorizing Church and other Churches of like faith and practice

FORBIDDEN SCRIPTURES-3 BY PUGH CURTIS

FORBIDDEN SCRIPTURES#3

            Here is test #3: Read the Scriptures below, then try to remember the last time you heard a sermon on this text.  Probably you never have.  That is because these verses are among those which contradict the beliefs of most people.  Most preachers have never preached on such verses.  Often they have never dealt with them except to try to explain them away, assuring their hearers that they do not really mean what they say.  So, take the test.  Read these verses and decide if you and your preacher and your church really do believe all that the Bible says.  Perhaps you will decide that some changes need to be made – not in the Bible – but in your thinking and understanding.  Here is another of the “Forbidden Scriptures.”

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:21-23).

The Lord Jesus Christ spoke these wordsto religious people.  He spoke about a future day.  He says that not everyone who calls Him “Lord” will enter the kingdom of Heaven!  Then Christ startles His hearers even more by saying that when people stand before Him in “that day” there will be “many” who think their religious experiences and spiritual power will get them into Heaven.  He lists prophesying, casting out demons and the working of awe inspiring miracles as things they think are proof they are saved.  Interestingly, Jesus does not deny that they have done these supernatural works.  He does not deny that they have called Him “Lord, Lord.”  Christ does not deny any of their claims.  But their claims are irrelevant!

Such people are all around us today.  Often they are regarded as “successful Christians.”  They are full of religious zeal.  Their churches may be large and filled with activities for young and old alike.  Their worship services are often lively and well attended.  Perhaps they claim to work healing miracles and claim to have supernatural or spiritual gifts.  They claim to know Christ and make much of His being “Lord.”“Jesus is Lord” they often say. Because these things are irrelevant Christ prophesied that He will say to them in that day, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”Living in a man-centered world, they have a man-centered religion.  Christ said their religion was “iniquity” – just plain old religious sin!  Their faith is in some religious work they did that they think will cause God to look favorably upon them.  But Christ will say to them all “I never knew you…”Your eternal salvation does not depend upon your religious activities!  The question is this: Does Christ know you?  The question is not whether or not you think you know Christ, but does He know you? Jesus said of His people, “…I know them…” (John 10:27).  Jesus knows His sheep!  Paul wrote, “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (2 Timothy 2:19).  God not only knows about those that are His, He knows them!He knows all about everyone, but He has established an intimate personal relationship with those that are His.

When that judgment day for lost men and women comes, will you be among those who will think they have a right to Heaven because of their religious experiences?  Will you list all of your supernatural experiences thinking these things prove you are saved?  Will you cite healings, tongues, interpretation of tongues, great evangelistic meetings, or the great numbers of people whom you have gotten to repeat the magical sinner’s prayer?  What is your reason for thinking you have a place in Heaven?  Spiritual power, real or imagined, does not prove that Christ knows you!  In the Bible we learn that lost people can work miracles!  Whether or not you spend eternity with God or in the eternal Lake of Fire depends on whether Christ knows you or not.  Will Christ say to you on that day, “…depart from me, ye that work iniquity”?   All the religious “stuff” that you do is just plain old sin unless Christ knows you!  Jesus said, “…Except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish”(Luke 13:3, 5).  “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:6).

 

Contact: Curtis Pugh, 505 NanihWaiya Ln., Poteau, OK 74953 – Telephone (918) 647-7322

Authorized by the Grace Bible Baptist Church, Denham Springs, Louisiana

These ads paid for by the authorizing Church and other Churches of like faith and practice.

FORBIDDEN SCRIPTURES-2

FORBIDDEN SCRIPTURES #2

Here is test #2: Read the verses below, then try to remember the last time you heard a sermon taken from this text.  Probably you never have.  That is because these verses are among those which contradict the beliefs of most people.  Because of this most preachers have never preached on these verses.  Probably they have never dealt with them except to try to explain them away, assuring their hearers that they do not really mean what they say.  Think of it!  Modern professing Christians who refuse to believe all that the Bible teaches while claiming to believe that the Bible is God’s Word!  So, take the test.  Read these verses and decide if you and your preacher and your church really do believe all that the Bible says.  Perhaps you will decide that some changes need to be made – not in the Bible – but in your thinking and understanding.  Here is another of the “Forbidden Scriptures.”

“But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.  My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” (John 10:26-29)

Jesus says that His Father gave Him some people whom He calls sheep.  Thus He divides mankind: some are “sheep” and some are not.  Some people have been given to Christ by the Father and some have not. Those who are not sheep do not follow Christ. But the sheep do hear the voice of Jesus and theydo follow Him and He gives them eternal life.  These shall never perish!Now either they follow Christ or they do not!  Jesus said they do!  But today most “evangelical Christians” do not believe this.  They believe in something they call “carnal Christians.”  Most of Christendom in America says that if you will pray a prayer “asking Jesus into your heart” (or some such unscriptural idea) then you are saved.  They take Paul’s words in 1st Corinthians 3 completely out of context and have promoted the idea that you can be truly saved and still live like the world.  They say that Christians can dope, be drunken, dress immodestly, curse and tell dirty jokes, live immoral lives and otherwise live just as they did before they prayed the magical sinner’s prayer.  They say such people are just “carnal Christians.” But Jesus said His sheep follow Him!  Hebrews 12:14 says, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.”Remember this verse: it says that without holiness no man shall see the Lord!  If you claim to have been saved and your life has not radically changed, you did not experience the broken heartedness that brings about a lifetime of true repentance (turning from) sin and which results in salvation.  Paul wrote: “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” (2 Corinthians 7:10)

Do not think you are saved because you once prayed a prayer asking for salvation.  The Bible says, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (2 Corinthians 13:5)  Does the Bible really teach that a person can have Jesus Christ in them and still live like the enemies of Christ?  Does not the Bible say that “If any man be in Christ he is a new creature?”(2 Corinthians 5:17)  Many who are still “reprobates” think themselves to be children of God because they prayed a prayer one time and someone told them they were saved because they prayed.  Do not be deceived!  “Examine yourselves.”

Neither you nor I nor anyone is saved because they “did something.”  Salvation is by grace alone, “Not of works lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians. 2:9)  If you are saved it is because you are one of Christ’s sheep and He died for you.  Jesus said in John 10:11, “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” And again in John 10:15 He said, “…I lay down my life for the sheep.” The Bible does not say that Christ died for thosewho are not His sheep.  You have no right to presume that Christ died for you and that you are saved if you are not a spiritual sheep.  And the evidence that you are a “sheep” is that you hear Christ’s voice and you follow Him.Are you really saved? “Examine yourselves!”Remember: “Except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3, 5)

 

FORBIDDEN SCRIPTURES

FORBIDDEN SCRIPTURES

Try this test: Read the verses below from the Bible and then think back and try to remember the last time you heard a sermon taken from this text.  Probably you never have.  That is because these verses are among a good number which contradict the beliefs of most modern preachers and churches.  Because of this most preachers have never preached on these verses.  Probably they have never dealt with them except to try to explain them away, assuring their hearers that they do not mean what they say.  Think of it!  Modern professing Christians who refuse to believe all that the Bible teaches while claiming to believe that the Bible is God’s Word.   So, take the test.  Read these verses and decide if you and your preacher and your church really do believe all that the Bible says.  Perhaps you will decide that some changes need to be made – not in the Bible – but in your thinking and understanding.  Here are some of the “Forbidden Scriptures” about salvation that only a few people believe.

“As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.  What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.  For hesaith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.   So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.  For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.  Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.”

These words are quoted from Paul’s Letter to the Romans chapter 9, verses 13 through 18.  Those who believe that salvation is offered to all men universally and that whether or not a person is saved is entirely up to him or her find their theory devastated by these verses. God saves whom He will when He wills to do so.  Your eternal destiny is not a matter of your making a decision or exercising your will.  Your destiny is completely in the hands of God!  Will you believe God’s Word or will you follow the theories and ideas of men?

Will you humble yourself before the Sovereign God or do you dare to think that your deeds (believing, praying, going forward in a religious meeting, being immersed, speaking in tongues, etc.) will cause God to save you?  Do you really believe that you can initiate you own salvation – that you can do something (works) that will result in your salvation?

Think about it: You cannot break your own heart over your sin and yet it is this broken heartedness (called in the Bible “godly sorrow”) that works repentance.  The Bible says exactly that in 2Corinthians 7:10.  There we read:“For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.”Have you repented to salvation?  Let no one (including yourself) give you a false assurance of salvation.  Without the kind of repentance brought about by godly sorrow you have not experienced “repentance to salvation”regardless of your religious experiences.  Jesus said, “…except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” May God be pleased to grant you repentance!

 

AN ESSAY READ BEFORE THE Georgia Baptist Ministers’ Institute, AT MARIETTA, GA., AUGUST 13, 1868 BY P. H. MELL

AN ESSAY
READ BEFORE THE
Georgia Baptist Ministers’ Institute,
AT MARIETTA, GA., AUGUST 13, 1868
BY P. H. MELL

PUBLISHED BY VOTE OF THE INSTITUTE

ATLANTA, GA:
GEO. C. CONNOR.
1868

„Calvinism” has been assigned to me as the theme for an essay. Though the subject is embraced in a single word, the topics it contains are too numerous to admit of thorough discussion within the limits assigned me. My essay, therefore, will rise only to the dignity of notes on Calvinism.
What is Calvinism? It is a system of doctrine believed to be contained in the Bible, developed first more elaborately and consistently by John Calvin, and therefore called by his name. This term, though, is used merely for convenience as a designation, and not to imply, either that these doctrines owed their origin to the Genevan Reformer, or that Calvinists are responsible for all the sentiments advanced by him.
The distinctive characteristic of Calvinism is that it maintains God’s sovereignty over all things, sin not excepted; and that His will is shown either efficiently or permissively in all existences and all events on earth. He is not only a creator and preserver, but a sovereign and efficient ruler. His providence and His grace, therefore control all things and events, great and small, good and bad, material and mental. From intelligent choice, he permits everything in men that is morally wrong, and by his grace, efficiently works in them everything that is morally right. As creator, an upholder, and a governor, he has intelligence enough to know what objects he would accomplish; and his wisdom and power are adequate to all the demands of the undertaking in its incipiency, its process, and its consummation. The world, therefore, in all its physical and moral details, is just as he designed it to be; and in all the terms of its history—in its special as well as its general results, he will accomplish that which he designed in its creation, in its preservation, and in its government. He did not err in his plan; therefore nothing operates in his system unexpectedly to him. He is not deficient in power, therefore nothing operates there in spite of him. „God disposes of and directs to some particular end, every person and thing to which he has given, or is yet to give, being; and makes the whole creation subservient to and declarative of his own glory.” „The Lord hath made all things for himself; yea, even the wicked for the day of evil” (Prov. 14:4). „Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places” (Ps. 135:6). „The Lord of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass: and as I have purposed so shall it stand. This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth; and this is the hand that is stretched out upon all the nations. For the Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? And his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back!” (Isa. 14:24, 26, 27). „For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen” (Rom. 11:36).
Descending to particulars, and limiting our view to the scheme of salvation, Calvinism teaches,
First, in regard to men in a state of nature.
1st. That they are totally depraved, utterly destitute of any remaining natural good, or any communicated spark of grace. This total depravity is not to be confounded with corruption, nor to mean that men are as depraved as they can be; for it is consistent with the admission that they have amiable feelings and upright deportment among themselves; but to be understood to mean a total destitution of any principle of conformity to God’s law, which requires supreme love to God, and deportment towards men regulated by a design to please and glorify Him. In a state of nature, God is not in all their thoughts. „I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing” (Rom. 5:18).
2nd. As to the origin of this depravity, Calvinism teaches that it was in consequence of Adam’s sin. The progenitor of the race was the federal head of his descendants, submitting to the test for all. His sin, therefore, was imputed to his posterity; and in his fall, they fell. „By the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation” (Rom. 5:16).
3rd. As to the means of recovery, Calvinism teaches man’s utter helplessness. Being sinners in character and conduct, none are able to renew their hearts, nor make atonement for their sins. Even after the atonement of Christ is offered in the gospel to their acceptance, none, without divine influence, are willing to accept Christ as Saviour, nor are able to understand experimentally the truth as it is in Jesus. „The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned.” In this condition, and without divine influence—while they will never attempt to glorify God—nothing that they can do can please him; for „they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”
4th. As to justification, it teaches that men are just with God, through the righteousness of Christ imputed to them. Nothing that they can do will be accepted as the ground of justification; for „by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in his sight.” „To him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Rom. 4:5). „By the obedience of one shall many be made righteous” (Rom. 5:19). „Being justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him” (Rom. 5:9). „He hath made him to be sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Cor. 5:21). „David describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputed righteousness” (Rom. 4:6). „Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness” (4.3). „For us also, to whom it shall he imputed, if we believe” (4:24).
Second, As it respects Divine agency in the scheme of redemption, Calvinism teaches,
1st. That God is the efficient author of everything morally good in the creature. Whatever he does in man’s behalf, is done in accordance with a purpose entertained from eternity. This purpose found its development in the covenant of redemption entered into by the persons of the Trinity, and its execution in the work thus assigned to them severally. The Father, as the representative of the godhead, devised the plan and sent his Son to execute it; the Son, as the substitute for the sinner, makes atonement and works out complete righteousness; and the Spirit applies the work of Christ in the regeneration, justification, sanctification, and salvation of the sinner.
Calvinism teaches, again,
2nd. That God proceeds in the salvation of sinners on a definite plan which descends to all the details. In the covenant of redemption he gave to his Son a definite number of the human race to be his people, whom he would redeem from the curse of the law, bring into newness of life by regeneration, justify freely by his grace, keep by his power through faith unto salvation, guide by his counsel, and afterward receive into glory. „Whom he did predestinate, them he also called, and whom he called, them he also justified, and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” Those thus chosen and saved, are designated not because of faith and good works foreseen in them; but, in part, that they might have faith and might perform good works. Those not chosen are not reprobated in the sense that, they are prohibited from seeking the benefits of salvation; nor in the sense that any influence is imparted to them inducing them to reject the gospel; but they are simply passed by and permitted to follow their own inclinations, without any invincible influence adequate to make them willing in the day of his power. In this election and rejection, God is influenced by no difference of natural character in the parties perceived, nor in any conduct foreseen; but only by his will, sovereign and infinitely wise; and this, too, for the manifestation of his glorious perfections. „For he saith to Moses, I will mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion” (Rom. 9:15). „What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, with much longsuffering, the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: and that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory?” (9:22, 23).
II. Though this system, as a whole, is sustained by the general tenor of the Scriptures, and in all its parts by definite passages, men sometimes hesitate to receive it because serious objections seem to lie against it. All such objections may be resolved into the three following:
1. The system seems to make God the author of sin:
2. It seems to exhibit God as a partial being:
3. It seems to represent that he makes men merely to damn them.
Before taking them up in order, it is proper to remark that these objections do not lie exclusively against the Calvinistic system.. It can he shown that they press just as heavily against the Arminian, with others just as grave superadded. [This the present writer has shown in a published work on predestination; the part answering these objections can be read in this connection if the Institute desire it.] The only way to escape the objections is to deny, with the Pelagians and Socinians, God’s foreknowledge; and if this be denied, then there comes in a flood of other objections more pressing and more weighty still.
The great difficulty in the Calvinistic system, is the sovereignty which it ascribes to God over sin; and the occasion it offers, therefore, for the plausible objection that if sin exists by his will of purpose, he is then, if not the author, at least in some sense the favorer of it. It is easy and safe to admit that his will is all-powerful in everything that is morally good; and that his agency can he efficient in securing such good without doing violence to human freedom; for we can easily see how he can legitimately and philosophically work in men to will and to do of his good pleasure. But how can we, consistently with correct views of his character, say that in any manner wicked men perform wicked actions in accordance with his will? It may help us to elucidate this question if we consider it in connection with the two most prominent instances of sin recorded in the Bible:
1st. Take the first instance given—Adam’s sin. Did God have no volition concerning it before it occurred? Was he taken by surprise? Having failed in his first intention, viz.: to have nothing but good in his system, did he reluctantly submit to the existence of evil, and doing the best he could in the circumstances, set up against it an antagonistic influence which should wage war against it a precarious warfare that, after a struggle of six thousand years, leaves sin, if not triumphant, at least unsubdued and unexpelled? Did God not know before he created Adam, that if he made and placed him in the Garden of Eden, he would sin and fall? We are bound to answer in the affirmative, not only because we admit God’s Infinite foreknowledge, but because we are told (2 Tim. 1:9) that a provision was made in eternity in anticipation of that event; for there was a purpose and a grace given us in Christ Jesus before the world began. Did he not, then, permit Adam to sin? We must reply in the affirmative; for, foreseeing the event, he could have declined to create him; or he could have kept the tempter away from him; or he could have strengthened him against his wiles. Having permitted him to sin, did he not will to do so? And having willed to permit him to sin, did he so will from necessity; i.e., as a choice of evils which he could not entirely escape, or did he have some infinitely glorious end to attain, of which Adam’s sin was to be the occasion?
We do not escape this difficulty by saying Adam was a free agent, whose nature it was not God’s purpose to violate; that he was placed in the Garden of Eden, endowed with reason and a moral constitution, possessing all the light necessary to discriminate between right and wrong, and having impressed upon him all the motives to impel him to choose the right and reject the wrong; that Adam, then, in the exercise of his native freedom, on very natural principles, by his own voluntary choice, in spite of God’s will of precept, wickedly transgressed and fell. All this we also grant and maintain; but it does not remove the difficulty. Did not God know, before he had created him, that this voluntary agent whom he would make, subjected to this test which he would impose, would, acting upon these natural principles, transgress and fall? Admitting God’s foreknowledge, we must admit that before he created Adam, he knew that he would fall and willed to permit it. Can any reason be suggested why God by His will of purpose should ordain that an event so heinous and, in some respects, so disastrous as the sin of Adam should occur? We can at least, see this, that if sin had not entered into the world neither would there have been a Savior. God would not have been manifested in the flesh. Christ would not have been preached as the Savior of sinners. The attributes of God would not have been exhibited and harmonized before the intelligent universe by the cross of Christ at which mercy and truth meet together and righteousness and peace kiss each other. We know that the intelligent universe has gained infinitely more by the acquisition of Christ than it lost by the sin of Adam. Now if God knew from eternity the infinite value of the mission of Christ, and saw that the sin of man was necessary as the occasion for that mission, does He necessarily become either the author or the favorer of that sin because He resolved to permit Adam to commit it? For Calvinism, while it asserts God’s sovereignty over sin, abhorrently rejects the supposition that He tempts men, or works within them to influence them to sin. In what respect, then, is it unphilosophical or unscriptural to say that God, looking at Adam’s transaction in its character as a sin, by His will of precept, forbid it, and, by his judicial dispensation, punishes it; but regarding it as the indispensable occasion for the bestowal of his glorious grace, by His will of purpose, ordained it, and in His providence furnished the occasion for it? And is not Calvinism philosophically and scripturally sustained, then, when it discriminates between God’s will of precept and His will of purpose, and asserts that the former is the rule prescribed for the government of his creatures, which, when violated, justly brings condemnation and punishment upon its infractors: while the latter is a rule to govern himself, which will he infallibly secured whether men obey him or sin against him ? If the mere fact that God willed to permit Adam to sin, makes him the author or the favorer of that sin, then no system of doctrine would relieve him from such embarrassment excepting one which would ascribe to him profound ignorance of that transaction, both before and at the time of its performance, and would banish him, like the God of the Epicureans, to some remote part of his universe, away from all cognizance of human affairs.
2nd. Again: passing over the many other instances recorded in the Bible which illustrate the doctrine of God’s sovereignty over sin, take the case of the crucifixion of Christ. In regard to this, without hesitation, we must admit two things: 1st that the crucifixion of Christ was the most atrocious and heaven-daring crime recorded in earth’s annals; and 2nd, that, wicked as it was, God ordained that it should occur just as it did. Had the Jews not despised and rejected Christ he could not have been crucified; and if he had not died in the place, at the time, and in the way in which he did, multitudes of prophecies would have failed of fulfillment; God’s plan of recovering mercy would have been thwarted; and all men would have perished in their sins. Should we hesitate therefore to say that God ordained the crucifixion of Christ, wicked as it was? And, should we say so, would we in effect be charging God, with being the author or the favorer of that horrid crime? Did the company of disciples misrepresent the holy God, or admit that he was the author or favorer of the atrocious sin, when he said, „For of a truth, against thy holy child, Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done?”—(Acts 4: 27, 28) Did Peter speak unadvisedly, and does his language admit of the dreadful interpretation that God was the author or the favorer of this great sin, when he asserted, „Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken and with wicked hands have crucified and slain?”
Peter’s assertion, when analyzed, contains three propositions. 1st, That the Jews acted with perfect freedom when they crucified Christ. 2nd, That God exercised complete sovereignty over their sin. And 3rd, that their wickedness suffered no abatement because it was in harmony with God’s determinate counsel and foreknowledge. And this, in a nut-shell, is the doctrine of Calvinism. But how can God’s sovereignty over sin and man’s free-agency in it be both true, and yet God be free from all complicity with it? Pelaganism and Socinianism escape the difficulty by severing the Supreme Being, in some sort, from connection with his creatures, and banishing him to some remote region of his universe, where he is kept in profound ignorance of sins at least until after they have been committed. Arminianism, while it admits God’s foreknowledge, and grants that he permits the commission of sin, thinks it relieves itself from embarrassment by denying his sovereignty over it. According to this system, God makes man a free-agent, gives to him a constitution that enables him to make moral distinctions, sets before him the right as distinguished from the wrong, and plies him with motives in the shape of arguments, persuasions, warnings, threatenings and promises of reward; but he has in advance no purpose to subserve by men’s sins. All that he does, acting contemporaneously with the sin, is to restrain it; overrule it for good; in the best way possible counteract it; and, in the last resort, punish it. But the system strangely shuts its eyes to the fact, that, in admitting God’s foreknowledge and his permission of sin, it logically grants his sovereignty over it. Before the world was, he foreknew that Adam would sin, and that the Jews would crucify Christ; and, in eternity, he resolved to permit these sinful deeds. Now, whether he thus resolved for ulterior objects, as Calvinism asserts, or for no reason beyond the mere resolution itself, in the view of the objector to Arminianism he is seriously complicated with those sins. If he resolved to permit sin for ulterior purpose, then the objector to Arminianism may charge that it exhibits God as favoring sin because of the good of which it is made the occasion. If he resolved to permit it for no reason beyond the mere resolution itself, then the objector may denounce Arminianism for intimating the horrid proposition that God resolved to permit sin for the mere pleasure that he found in it.
1st. Calvinism holds that man’s free-agency in the commission of sin and God’s sovereignty over it are both true, though to harmonize them may be above human faculties. Consciousness and the word of God both assure us, that, when we sin against God, we do so, not by compulsion, but freely and willingly; and reason and scripture both teach that God is sovereign ruler of the universe, accomplishing his ends in great things and in small, by bad things as well as by good, making the wrath of man praise him, and where, in its excess, it would fail of this, restraining it. Did God, who by his determinate counsel and foreknowledge delivered Christ, authorize the Jews to crucify him, or put it in their hearts to do so? Calvinism, abhorrently and with emphasis, answers no! How, then, can God secure his determinate counsel in the wicked actions of free agents without influencing them in those actions? Calvinism has no answer to give. This is one of the deep things the human mind cannot fathom; one of the high things it cannot reach. But our want of capacity does not vitiate the truth. What human mind can form of the Triune God a conception which could be transferred to the canvas? But what renewed heart has not demonstrated in its experience the subsistence of the Godhead in the persons of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit? So, knowing from consciousness and the word of God that we are free agents; believing from reason and from scripture that God is a sovereign and almighty ruler, who accomplishes all his pleasure; and seeing, as well from what God says as from his treatment of sin, that he is neither the author nor the favorer of it; we may well refuse to give up any or all of these truths, so clearly revealed and so easily understood, because there springs out of their combination another question pertaining to the working of the Infinite Mind, and the operations of the Infinite Agent, which our ignorant and finite minds cannot solve.
2nd. The second objection, viz.: That Calvinism represents God as a partial Being, springs from a confusion of ideas, or from a misapprehension of terms. Partiality results from some quality in the object, or connected with it, to attract favor. Now, Calvinism teaches, that all men are equally destitute of such quality; and all are equally the subjects of God’s condemnation and disfavor. He feels, therefore, no partiality to any; for all are, by nature, children of wrath. He chooses some to salvation and eternal life; not because he feels any peculiar complacency towards them, but influenced solely by the good pleasure of his will, to the praise and glory of his grace. He has a reason, infinitely wise, for choosing one and rejecting another; but that reason is not to be found in the character of the chosen. The very statement of the Calvinistic doctrine, therefore, is a sufficient answer to the objection. If this is not satisfactory, let the fallacy of the objection be exposed in another way. God has, towards some, a love of benevolence, which is exhibited in choosing them to eternal life. Is that, properly, called partiality? Very well call it so, if you please. Then, it becomes a proposition to be disproved, if denied, and not a series of words to be shaped into the form of an objection to itself.
3rd. The objection, that God seems, by this system, to make men merely to damn them, does not lie against Calvinism, because of any essential difference between it and Arminianism. Indeed, no system, acknowledging future punishments, can entirely escape it, excepting by a denial of God’s foreknowledge. If to decree, from eternity, to permit men to follow their own inclinations, and to punish them for their sins, is equivalent to resolving to make men merely to damn them, then, to foreknow from eternity, that if they were created, they would thus perish, and to resolve to create them notwithstanding, though there was no invincible necessity to do so, is equivalent to the same thing. We would not, then, escape this difficulty, by abandoning our ground and going over to Arminianism. The only sure way to escape it, is to believe with the Universalists—that there are no future punishments; or, with the Pelagians—that there is no divine foreknowledge. But, neither of these opinions can we receive, so long as the Bible teaches—that they that believe not shall be damned; and, that known unto God are all his works, from the beginning.
III. While the scriptural support to the Calvinistic system is ample and entire, and reason can furnish the most irrefragable arguments, from admitted premises, to sustain it, the system finds not a mean corroboration from the character of its influence and effects.
It will, no doubt, be admitted, that in their lives, Calvinists, as a class, do not fall below the standard of morality and piety, attained by the advocates of other systems; and, that in good works, and in the enterprises of benevolence, they are not outstripped by those who differ from them. We waive, therefore, all argument on this point. For, no doubt, it will be readily admitted by all intelligent and candid persons, that Antinomians and Fatalists are as essentially different from Calvinists, as they are from Arminians or Pelagians.
1st. What is the influence of Calvinism upon the unconverted? Its tendency is to produce in them that conviction, without which they cannot be induced to take the first step towards attaining the salvation wrought out by Christ. The great difficulty in the way of their prompt movement, is the lurking hope, if not belief, that their case is not a desperate one; that their sins are not so heinous but that they can be obviated, very easily. In their delusion, they suppose it is only necessary for them to will, which they can easily do at any time; and put into execution their resolution, which is also, completely in their power; and their salvation is at once secured. They, consequently, act upon the principle, that it is running no great risk to postpone salvation to a more convenient season. Give me, say they, but a day’s notice, while on my dying bed, and I will make my peace with God. Now, let the doctrine that Calvinism teaches be received by the sinner, and his self-complacency is gone, and his sense of security is gone. Seeing that he is totally destitute of any good—that he is inexcusably complicated with sins of the darkest dye—and that he is utterly helpless—he abhors himself repents in dust and ashes, and cries to God for help. It is no offset to this to say that sinners, who hear the Calvinistic doctrines, plead that if such things are true, there is no need for any action on their part, at all; since, if they are to be saved, they will be, any how. This is not the language of a candid man, who believes the doctrine of his own sinfulness, and helplessness, but a disbeliever, who thinks that by this pretended reductia ad absurdum, he can best parry the thrusts of truth, and best maintain himself in the determination to postpone salvation, and to continue in sin. The one beyond his depth, away from shore, will feel but little, if any, concern, so long as he is convinced that the water is not deep, or that by a few muscular strokes, directed by his own will, he can reach firm footing. But, let him feel that he is in unfathomable depths, and that his skill and strength are less than nothing; and he will make the welkin ring with his cries for help. So Calvinism teaches the sinner that he is utterly lost, and that in God alone is his help; and urges him to look to God, and to call upon him.
2nd. The awakened sinner is in danger of taking up with a refuge of lies. The most common is the temptation to make himself the object of his trust. He is in danger of making, what he does, or what he feels, or both, a substitute for his Savior. He has done certain things, he has experienced certain feelings, and he is in a certain state; he has felt, first, very badly, and then, by a sudden transition, very good, therefore, he has been accepted. Calvinism tells him, that not deeds, and feelings, and frames, but Christ, is his Savior; that, at this point, there is nothing for him to do, but to believe in Jesus. Just as he is, must he accept Christ as his Savior; for, „he that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith shall be counted to him for righteousness.” Never until, if not in theory, at least, experimentally, he can. receive the Calvinistic doctrines of his utter sinfulness and helplessness; of God’s sovereign grace; and of a righteousness wrought out for him by Christ, and imputed to him on his believing, can he obtain scriptural comfort, and eternal life.
3rd. The system finds confirmation in the experience of the Christian. Only while he admits, in all its force, the total depravity of his heart by nature, does he experience humility and self abasement. So long as he has no doubt, that God, by his own sovereign grace, without any merit perceived or foreseen in him, regenerated him by his Spirit, and adopted him into his family, does he experience the depths of gratitude, and ascribe praise to him for that salvation. So far from being paralyzed by a sense of dependence upon God, it is only when he admits, in all its force, that it is God who works in him, to will and to do, that he works out his own salvation with fear and trembling. He knows, and demonstrates, in his own experience, Paul’s paradox: „When I am weak, then am I strong.” Placed upon his knees, he never uses the language of the Pharisee: „God, I thank thee that I am not as other men are;” but rather the sentiment of the poet
Why was I made to hear his voice,
And enter while there’s room;
While thousands make a wretched choice,
And rather starve than come?
‘Twas the same love that spread the feast,
Which sweetly forced me in;
Else I had still refused to taste,
And perished in my sin.
In his confessions, he admits his ignorance, his native depravity, and his helplessness, and looks to God, not only for forgiveness, but for help, in his petitions he recognizes God’s sovereignty. Does he ask for blessings for himself? He bases his plea upon no merit in himself, even the least, but upon Christ’s merits, and upon God’s free, undeserved favor. Does he beseech blessings for others? He appeals to God on the supposition, that he rules in all things. Without reserve, he asks him to renew the hearts of unconverted friends; to bestow upon them conviction, and repentance, and faith; and to draw them by the cords of love. Whatever may be the Christian’s theoretic belief, in his prayers he acts upon the assumption, that salvation, in himself and in others, is all of God.
4th. The doctrines of Calvinism, if believed, are a sovereign remedy against the two great heresies in the so-called Christian world, viz.: ritualism, or sacramental salvation, on the one hand, and rationalism, on the other; the one the offspring of superstition, the other, the product of infidelity. The former, a mere bodily exercise, substitutes ceremony and the manipulations of the priest, for the work of the Spirit and the experience of the heart: the latter makes religion a mere intellectual exercise, and exalts reason above the authority of God’s word. Rejecting everything in the Bible above human comprehension, it selects, of the comprehensible, only that which the understanding ratifies as reasonable and proper. An infallible safeguard against each of these, is Calvinism, if its doctrines are cordially embraced. No one accepting, in its fulness, the doctrines of human depravity, and the necessity of a change wrought by a supernatural agency—who believes in regeneration effected by the mysterious operations of God’s Spirit, and justification by the imputed righteousness of Christ—in short, no one who believes in a spiritual religion and that grace reigns, through righteousness, unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord, can ever be foolish enough to risk his soul’s salvation upon forms and ceremonies; or presumptuous enough to prescribe what God ought to teach or to reject anything that He reveals, because it does not meet the demands of his finite reason. Rather would such a man say, „Let God be true, but every man a liar.” True, some of the „Reformed churches,” who hold the Calvinistic system, have, in their formularies, expressions which would seem to indicate that baptism, administered to unconscious infants, will, somehow, work the regeneration of their souls. But this results because they inconsistently brought out with them, from Rome, this relic of Popery. Under the influence, though, of the Calvinism they preach these utterances have become a dead letter; for their intelligent advocates explain them away, and indignantly deny, that in their practice they are influenced by any such unscriptural and inconsistent dogma.
5th. It is no inconsiderable argument in favor of the Calvinistic system that, as one of its effects, it presents God in a dignified and honorable aspect. It is surely a worthy view of God, to represent him as a sovereign and efficient ruler, who accomplishes all his pleasure and is never thwarted; who is the author of everything good in his system and who is especially entitled to all the praise of our salvation. What a contrast is there between this system, and that which would represent him as anxious and impotent—as waiting with solicitude for men to give him a pretext to interpose; now, passing a decree in their favor, upon the supposition that they have furnished justifiable occasion, and then, reconsidering and reversing, when he has discovered that he acted on insufficient grounds; and all the while, surrounded by inextricable confusion, which, an invincible necessity prevents him from abating, and which he must reluctantly content himself with overruling, and directing to results that are attainable, since he cannot secure the highest and the best. Such a God, impotent, and subordinate, and changeable, dependent on contingencies that he does not ordain, and distracted by confusion that he cannot control, is not the God of Calvinism. Our God is in the heavens; he hath done whatsoever he pleased. For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things. To whom be glory forever. Amen.
In conclusion, it becomes a serious and practical question—whether we should not make these doctrines the basis of all our pulpit ministrations. If this be, indeed, the gospel system, sustained by such arguments, and attested by such effects, every minister should be imbued with its spirit, and furnished with its panoply. It is not necessary, indeed, that we should present its truths, always in the form of dogmatic or polemic theology—though, even these should not he entirely neglected, if our people are not, as yet, thoroughly indoctrinated—but our hearers should never be left in doubt as to the fundamental truths, that sinners are totally depraved, and utterly helpless that men must he regenerated by God’s Spirit, and justified by the righteousness of Christ imputed to them, before they can obtain God’s favor; that God’s people are created by him, in Christ Jesus, unto good works, which he had before ordained that they should walk in them, and that they are kept by God’s power, through faith, unto salvation that God is the sovereign ruler of the universe, and the author of every thing, morally good, in the creature. In short, that the sinner has destroyed himself, but in God is his help. And, surely, it will not impair the efficiency of the minister himself, for him ever to remember that his sufficiency is of God.
Savannah, Georgia:
J. H. ESTILL, Public Printer.
1875

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