Monday, August 21, 2006

Someone buy me a copy of this please

Christianity Today: Calvinism is making a comeback - and shaking up the church. (HT: Justin Taylor)

We need to recover the great doctrines of grace. I'm encouraged to see that in the USA that's happening a bit. Not sure about the UK, though I can think of many promising signs in the local church and in student ministry.

Still, the atmosphere seems saturated with a suffocating blend of man-centredness that diminishes the glory of God...

We must look at God's word afresh, and look at those who have gone before us. Martyn Lloyd-Jones writes in Spiritual Depression (p102):
"[it] is one of the most glorious things in the long annuals of the history of the church, and it is still happening. I never tire of telling Christians to read the stories of the martyrs and the confessors and the Protestant Fathers, of the Puritans and the covenanters. Read their stories and you will find not only strong, courageous men, you will find weak women and girls and even little children dying gloriously for Christ's sake. They could not in and of themselves, but they were given the spirit of power"
The human-centred "gospel" that makes much of us because of God's love doesn't produce such people. That kind of teaching lacks the Spirit's power.

What we surely need is a return to the "plain reading" of God's word... to believe his great promises and humble ourselves. To see that salvation is a great work of God's sovereign grace, not of God's inability to resist me. To see that grace rescues sinners for God's glory. To see that God's love isn't for the sake of making much of us, but to make much of God.

Last night we visited one of the other congregations of our church. It was great to have fellowship with the guys there, and particularly to hear David Horrocks preach brilliantly on Luke 16v19-31. In it Jesus teaches us that being late can be the worst thing ever. We were reminded, through the story of Lazarus and the rich man, that one day there will be a great divide. Then, it will be too late to change sides. And, further, we have all the warning we need now. Jesus speaks of heaven and hell very clearly, and tells us that the scriptures reveal everything we need to know to believe. Those who wont listen to scripture wont be convinced by miracles or anything else, even a resurrection....

Read Calvin. Read the Puritans. Read Owen, Edwards and Baxter. Read Spurgeon, Lloyd-Jones and Piper. And get into the great story. See Carl Trueman's I ♥ Biblical Theology.