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Martin Luther – How to Hear God Speak

4 Aug

martin-luther
He who wants to hear God speak should read Holy Scripture.




~Martin Luther~






Luther’s Works, Vol. 41: Church and Ministry III, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann, vol. 41 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1999), 332.

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John Calvin – Jesus Christ: The Object of Faith

21 Jul

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Indeed, it is true that faith looks to one God. But this must also be added, “To know Jesus Christ whom he has sent” [John 17:3]. For God would have remained hidden afar off if Christ’s splendor had not beamed upon us. For this purpose the Father laid up with his only-begotten Son all that he had to reveal himself in Christ so that Christ, by communicating his Father’s benefits, might express the true image of his glory [cf. Heb. 1:3]. It has been said that we must be drawn by the Spirit to be aroused to seek Christ; so, in turn, we must be warned that the invisible Father is to be sought solely in this image. Augustine has finely spoken of this matter: in discussing the goal of faith, he teaches that we must know our destination and the way to it. Then, immediately after, he infers that the way that is most fortified against all errors is he who was both God and man: namely, as God he is the destination to which we move; as man, the path by which we go. Both are found in Christ alone. But, while Paul proclaims faith in God, he does not have in mind to overturn what he so often emphasizes concerning faith: namely, that all its stability rests in Christ. Peter, indeed, most effectively connects both, saying that through him we believe in God [1 Peter 1:21].

~John Calvin~






Institutes of the Christian Religion, Volumes 1 & 2, ed. John T. McNeill, trans. Ford Lewis Battles, The Library of Christian Classics (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2011) Vol. 1.3.2.1. p. 543-544.

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Augustine – Made For God

18 Oct

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GREAT art Thou, O Lord, and greatly to be praised; great is Thy power, and of Thy wisdom there is no end. And man, being a part of Thy creation, desires to praise Thee,—man, who bears about with him his mortality, the witness of his sin, even the witness that Thou “resistest the proud,”—yet man, this part of Thy creation, desires to praise Thee. Thou movest us to delight in praising Thee; for Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee.

~Augustine~


The Confessions of St. Augustin (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1886), 45.

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Herman Bavinck – The Personal God That No One Can Deny

17 Oct
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1854-1921. Dutch Reformed Theologian and Churchman. Professor at Free University in Amsterdam.

Belief in a personal God, accordingly, is both natural and normal; it arises in human consciousness spontaneously and universally. But atheism, even the denial of the existence of a personal God, is the exception. It is philosophy, not religion. There is truth in Schopenhauer’s stinging statement: “An impersonal God is no God at all. It is no more than a misused word, a misconception, a contradiction in terms, a shibboleth for professors of philosophy who, after having had to abandon the thing itself, sneak through with the word.” It therefore requires a certain effort not to believe in a personal God: “No one disbelieves the existence of God except the person to whom God’s existence is not convenient.” There are no atheists so thoroughly sure of their unbelief as to be willing to die a martyr’s death for it. Since atheism is abnormal and unnatural, based not on intuitions but on inferential proofs and fallible reasoning, it is never sure of its causes. The arguments for the existence of God may be weak, but in any case they are stronger than those advanced for its denial. It is even impossible to prove that there is no God. To accomplish that feat a person would have to be omniscient and omnipresent, that is, to be God!.

~Herman Bavinck~




Reformed Dogmatics Vol. 2: God and Creation John Bolt and John Vriend (Grand Rapids, MI; Baker Academic; 2004) p. 58-59.

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John Calvin – Prodigious Trifles

20 Aug

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But although the Lord represents both himself and his everlasting Kingdom in the mirror of his works with very great clarity, such is our stupidity that we grow increasingly dull toward so manifest testimonies, and they flow away without profiting us. For with regard to the most beautiful structure and order of the universe, how many of us are there who, when we lift up our eyes to heaven or cast them about through the various regions of earth, recall our minds to a remembrance of the Creator, and do not rather, disregarding their Author, sit idly in contemplation of his works? In fact, with regard to those events which daily take place outside the ordinary course of nature, how many of us do not reckon that men are whirled and twisted about by blindly indiscriminate fortune, rather than governed by God’s providence? Sometimes we are driven by the leading and direction of these things to contemplate God; this of necessity happens to all men. Yet after we rashly grasp a conception of some sort of divinity, straightway we fall back into the ravings or evil imaginings of our flesh, and corrupt by our vanity the pure truth of God. In one respect we are indeed unalike, because each one of us privately forges his own particular error; yet we are very much alike in that, one and all, we forsake the one true God for prodigious trifles. Not only the common folk and dull-witted men, but also the most excellent and those otherwise endowed with keen discernment, are infected with this disease.

~John Calvin~






Institutes of the Christian Religion, Volumes 1 & 2, ed. John T. McNeill, trans. Ford Lewis Battles, The Library of Christian Classics (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2011) Vol. 1.5.10. p. 63-64.

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Geerhardus Vos – What Is God’s Infinity?

11 Jun
10143218

(1862-1949) Professor of Biblical Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary.

19. What is God’s infinity?

That attribute whereby God possesses within Himself all perfection without any limitation or restriction.

It is further distinguished into:
a) Infinite perfection
b) Eternity
c) Immensity

20. Is the concept of infinity negating or affirming?

It has been claimed that it is purely negating and therefore has no content. This is not correct. Certainly it is true:

a) That we cannot form a graphic image of the infinite or of an infinite thing. Beholding is always limited, and what is limited does not comprehend the infinite.

b) That we cannot make a concept of the infinite with our thinking. Thinking also is always limited; thus it is inadequate for comprehending the infinite.

Nevertheless, it remains true that we must hold with conviction that:

a) Behind the finite we comprehend, the infinite exists. It is with the infinite God as it is with space. However far we proceed in our imagination, we know that we have not yet arrived at the end, that we could still take one more step.

b) This infinity for God Himself is not something indeterminate as it is for us, but He Himself perfectly encompasses and governs it. However inconceivable this may be for us, in God it is a reality.

~Geerhardus Vos~






Reformed Dogmatics ed. Richard B. Gaffin and Richard de Witt, trans. Annemie Godbehere et al., vol. 1 (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2013), 13.

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Charles Spurgeon – It Matters What You Do With Your Knowledge

26 May

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Those who boast of their knowledge betray their ignorance. Knowledge is not a possession to be proud of, since it brings with it so great a responsibility that a nurse might as well be proud of watching over a life in peril. Knowledge may become good or ill according to the use which is made of it. If men know God, for instance, and then glorify him as God, and are thankful, their knowledge has become the means of great blessing to them; but if they know God, and fail to glorify him, their knowledge turns to their condemnation. There is a knowledge which does not puff up the mind, but builds up the soul, being joined with holy love. Did not our Lord say, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent”? But for men to know God, and not to glorify him as God, and to be unthankful, is, according to our text, no benefit to them: on the contrary, it becomes a savour of death unto them, because it leaves them without excuse. Our Saviour could plead for some, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” But what plea is to be used for those who know what they do, and yet do evil; who know what they ought to do, and do it not? These have the light, and close their eyes; or, to use another figure, they have the light, and use it to sin by. They take the golden candlestick of the sanctuary into their hands, and by its help they perform their evil deeds the more dexterously, and run in the way of wickedness the more swiftly.


Charles Spurgeon




The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 30 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1884), 61. Vol. 30, Sermon No. 1,763; Titled: Knowledge, Worship, Gratitude Click here for a free PDF of this sermon.

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Herman Bavinck – Everyone Worships Something

20 May
bavinck-sketch

1854-1921. Dutch Reformed Theologian and Churchman. Professor at Free University in Amsterdam.

Taken in an absolute sense, as the denial of an absolute power, atheism is almost unthinkable. In the final analysis, all people again recognize a power that they venerate as God. Just as the Christian believer calls others to reverence his or her God, so Strauss demands a like piety toward his universe. Atheism and materialism again and again changed into pantheism for the obvious reason that humans cannot resist the recognition of a Supreme Power. At the very moment they deny the true God, they fashion for themselves a false God. Religion is too deeply rooted in human nature, and God’s revelation speaks too clear a language for them to resist this tendency

.

~Herman Bavinck~




Reformed Dogmatics Vol. 2: God and Creation John Bolt and John Vriend (Grand Rapids, MI; Baker Academic; 2004) p. 58.

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Herman Bavinck – Nothing Is Atheistic

28 Apr
bavinck-sketch

1854-1921. Dutch Reformed Theologian and Churchman. Professor at Free University in Amsterdam.

According to Scripture the whole universe is a creation and hence also a revelation of God.

In an absolute sense, therefore, nothing is atheistic. And this witness of Scripture is confirmed on every side. There is no atheistic world. There are no atheistic peoples. Nor are there atheistic persons. The world cannot be atheistically conceived since in that case it could not be the work of God but would have to be the creation of an anti-god.

~Herman Bavinck~




Reformed Dogmatics Vol. 2: God and Creation John Bolt and John Vriend (Grand Rapids, MI; Baker Academic; 2004) p. 56-57.

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Herman Bavinck – God: Knowable, Yet Incomprehensible

24 Apr
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1854-1921. Dutch Reformed Theologian and Churchman. Professor at Free University in Amsterdam.

God’s incomprehensibility, so far from canceling out God’s knowability, rather presupposes and affirms it. The riches of God’s being—riches that surpass all knowledge—are in fact a necessary and significant component of our knowledge of God. The fact remains that God makes himself known to us in the manner and measure in which he reveals himself in his creatures.

~Herman Bavinck~




Reformed Dogmatics Vol. 2: God and Creation John Bolt and John Vriend (Grand Rapids, MI; Baker Academic; 2004) p. 56.

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