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Geerhardus Vos – The Eschatological Complexion of Paul’s Theology

16 May
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1862-1949. Dutch Reformed pastor who became professor of Biblical Theology at Princeton Seminary. Known as the father of Reformed Biblical Theology.

By giving the soteric movement this cosmical setting it claims for it the significance of a central world-process, around the core of which all happenings in the course of time group themselves. By this one stroke order is brought into the disconnected multitudinousness of events. The eschatology, without losing touch with history, nevertheless, owing to the large sweep of its historical reach, becomes philosophico-theological. It no longer forms one item in the sum-total of revealed teaching, but draws within its circle as correlated and eschatologically-complexioned parts practically all of the fundamental tenets of Pauline Christianity… It will appear throughout that to unfold the Apostle’s eschatology means to set forth his theology as a whole.

~Geerhardus Vos~


The Pauline Eschatology (Princeton, NJ; Geerhardus Vos, 1930), p. 11.

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Abraham Kuyper – The Birth of Common Grace

15 May

1837-1920. Dutch pastor, theologian, politician, and even Prime Minister of the Netherlands. Founded the Free University of Amsterdam, formed the Anti-Revolutionary Party. Known for his lectures “On Calvinism” and his views on Common Grace.

Among the perfections of God, it is particularly his forbearance that is not exhausted in this common grace, but rather is magnified in a moving way. God’s holiness and majesty respond against all sin, not merely in part, but completely, in the most absolute sense. If this outworking of God’s holiness against sin were to proceed unimpeded in all of its dreadfulness, there would be no common grace. But the Lord our God is not merely holy, but also in his holiness he is at the same time forbearing, and it is from that forbearance, which yields the divine patience of the Almighty for bearing temporarily with sin, that common grace is born.

~Abraham Kuyper~





Common Grace, Volume 1: God’s Gifts for a Fallen World: The Historical Section. Edited by Jordan J. Ballor, Melvin Flikkema, and Stephen J. Grail. Translated by Nelson D. Kloosterman and Ed M. van der Maas. Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press; Acton Institute, 2015), 7.

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John Owen: Psalm 130 and His Experimental Acquaintance with God Through Christ

12 May

1616 -1683. Preeminent English Puritan theologian, pastor, and independent.

I myself preached Christ… some years, when I had but very little, if any, experimental acquaintance with access to God through Christ; until the Lord was pleased to visit me with sore affliction, whereby I was brought to the mouth of the grave, and under which my soul was oppressed with horror and darkness; but God graciously relieved my spirit by a powerful application of Psalm 130:4, ‘But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared;’ from whence I received special instruction, peace, and comfort, in drawing near to God through the Mediator, and preached thereupon immediately after my recovery.

~John Owen~





A Practical Exposition Upon Psalm 130, The Works of John Owen, Volume 6 (ed. William H. Goold, Edinburgh: T&T Clark, n.d.), 324.

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John Newton – As To Your Opponent

12 Apr

As to your opponent, I wish, that, before you set pen to paper against him, and during the whole time you are preparing your answer, you may commend him by earnest prayer to the Lord’s teaching and blessing. This practice will have a direct tendency to conciliate your heart to love and pity him; and such a disposition will have a good influence upon every page you write. If you account him a believer, though greatly mistaken in the subject of debate between you, the words of David to Joab, concerning Absalom, are very applicable: “Deal gently with him for my sake.” The Lord loves him and bears with him; therefore you must not despise him, or treat him harshly. The Lord bears with you likewise, and expects that you should shew tenderness to others, from a sense of the much forgiveness you need yourself. In a little while you will meet in heaven; he will then be dearer to you than the nearest friend you have upon earth is to you now. Anticipate that period in your thoughts; and though you may find it necessary to oppose his errors, view him personally as a kindred soul, with whom you are to be happy in Christ for ever. But if you look upon him as an unconverted person, in a state of enmity against God and his grace, (a supposition which, without good evidence, you should be very unwilling to admit,) he is a more proper object of your compassion than of your anger. Alas! “he knows not what he does.” But you know who has made you to differ. If God, in his sovereign pleasure, had so appointed, you might have been as he is now; and he, instead of you, might have been set for the defence of the Gospel. You were both equally blind by nature. If you attend to this, you will not reproach or hate him, because the Lord has been pleased to open your eyes, and not his. Of all people who engage in controversy, we, who are called Calvinists, are most expressly bound by our own principles to the exercise of gentleness and moderation. If, indeed, they who differ from us have a power of changing themselves, if they can open their own eyes, and soften their own hearts, then we might with less inconsistence be offended at their obstinacy; but if we believe the very contrary to this, our part is, not to strive, but in meekness to instruct those who oppose, “if peradventure God will give them repentance to the acknowledgment of the truth.” If you write with a desire of being an instrument of correcting mistakes, you will of course be cautious of laying stumbling-blocks in the way of the blind, or of using any expressions that may exasperate their passions, confirm them in their prejudices, and thereby make their conviction, humanly speaking, more impracticable.

~John Newton~





John Newton, Richard Cecil, The Works of the John Newton, vol. 1: Forty-One Letters on Religious Subjects, “Letter XIX: On Controversy” (London: Hamilton, Adams & Co., 1824), 268-270.

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Wilhelmus à Brakel – Struggles With Loving Our Neighbor

9 Jan
Wilhelmus a Brakel 1

1635-1711. Dutch Reformed Pastor in the Netherlands.

Furthermore, if one considers the conduct of many of the truly regenerate, how much they fall short of this standard! It is true: They love the godly because God loves them and because they love God in Christ. Their heart is knit to them in that respect—with the exclusion of all other men. They esteem them, their heart goes out toward them, they rejoice when they perceive the godly in their essential nature; but when it comes to their deeds, it is manifest how weak their love is. They keep to themselves and it is as if all others were strangers to them, or they exercise fellowship with only one or with but a few, and ignore others. If one of the godly has a fault, they will immediately render his godliness suspect. If he is perceived as a challenge to us and he does not act according to our wishes, then displeasure, wrath, strife, and backbiting surface, and one gives him the cold shoulder—acting as if their spiritual life did not proceed from one and the same Spirit. And in regard to the unconverted, where is the heartfelt affection for them? Where is the joy about their prosperity, the grief over their mishaps, and the exercise concerning their spiritual and physical welfare?

It ought indeed to be investigated why it is that there is so little love among the godly, so that everyone would be motivated to remove the causes of his lovelessness which he perceives within himself, and thus enhance his progress in the exercise of love.”

~Wilhelmus à Brakel~





The Christian’s Reasonable Service, ed. Joel R. Beeke, trans. Bartel Elshout, vol. 4 (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 1992), 61.

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John Owen: He Is, He Always Has Been, Precious

11 Aug

1616 -1683. Preeminent English Puritan theologian, pastor, and independent.

Unto them that believe unto the saving of the soul, he is, he always hath been, precious—the sun, the rock, the life, the bread of their souls—every thing that is good, useful, amiable, desirable, here or unto eternity. In, from, and by him, is all their spiritual and eternal life, light, power, growth, consolation, and joy here; with everlasting salvation hereafter. By him alone do they desire, expect, and obtain deliverance from that woful apostasy from God, which is accompanied with—which containeth in it virtually and meritoriously—whatever is evil, noxious, and destructive unto our nature, and which, without relief, will issue in eternal misery. By him are they brought into the nearest cognation, alliance, and friendship with God, the firmest union unto him, and the most holy communion with him, that our finite natures are capable of and so conducted unto the eternal enjoyment of him.

~John Owen~





The Works of John Owen, Volume 1: The Glory of Christ (ed. William H. Goold, Edinburgh: T&T Clark, n.d.), 5.

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Francis Schaeffer – A Dead, Ugly Orthodoxy

10 Aug

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Let us emphasize again as we have before: we believe with all our hearts that Christian truth can be presented in propositions, and that anybody who diminishes the concept of the propositionalness of the Word of God is playing into twentieth-century, non-Christian hands. But, and it is a great and strong but, the end of Christianity is not the repetition of mere propositions. Without the proper propositions you cannot have that which should follow. But after having the correct propositions, the end of the matter is to love God with all our hearts and souls and minds. The end of the matter, after we know about God in the revelation He has given in verbalized, propositional terms in the Scripture, is to be in relationship to Him. A dead, ugly orthodoxy with no real spiritual reality must be rejected as sub-Christian.


~Francis Schaeffer




Two Contents, Two Realities, The Complete Works of Francis A. Schaeffer (vol. 3, Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1982), 416.

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Francis Grimke – A Spurious Evangelism

9 Aug

francis-j-grimke1-604x528There is an evangelism that is genuine… that means accepting Jesus Christ in reality and not in pretense–an evangelism that carries along with it brotherhood, that so presents Jesus Christ that men see, and see plainly, what is involved in accepting him. The Apostle Paul who understood what was in solved in it, and who preached the true evangel, says: ‘Seeing that ye have put off the old man with his doings, and have put on the new man, that is being renewed unto knowledge after the image of Him that created him: where there can not be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bondman, freeman; but Christ is all, and in all.’ An evangelism that permits men to believe that they can be Christians without making an earnest and honest effort to rid themselves of race prejudice is a spurious evangelism.

~Francis J. Grimke~






“Evangelism and Institutes of Evangelism” The Works of Francis J. Grimke, Volume 1: Addresses (ed. Carter G. Woodson, Washington, D.C.: The Associated Publishers, Inc., 1942), 524.

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Charles Spurgeon – Self-Congratulation vs. Wonder

8 Aug

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There is, however, a truth that is even more significant and instructive than that. It is not merely true that we were once Christ’s enemies, and that we were also utterly insignificant, and unworthy of his notice; but it is wonderful that he should lay down his life for such unworthy friends, even as friends, as we are. There are some professing Christians who can speak of themselves in terms of admiration; but, from my inmost heart, I loathe such speeches more and more every day that I live. Those who talk in such a boastful fashion must be constituted very differently from me. While they are congratulating themselves all upon the good things that they find within themselves, I have to lie humbly at the foot of Christ’s cross, and marvel that I am saved at all, for I know that I am saved. I have to wonder that I do not believe Christ more, and equally wonder that I am privileged to believe in him at all;—to wonder that I do not love him more, and equally to wonder that I love him at all;—to wonder that I am not holier, and equally to wonder that I have any desire to be holy at all considering what a polluted, debased, depraved nature I find still within my soul notwithstanding all that divine grace has done in me. If God were ever to allow the fountains of the great deeps of depravity to break up in the best man that lives, he would make as bad a devil as the devil himself is. I care nothing for what these boasters say concerning their own perfections; I feel sure that they do not know themselves, or they could not talk as they often do. There is tinder enough in the saint who is nearest to heaven to kindle another hell if God should but permit a spark to fall upon it. In the very best of men, there is an infernal and well-nigh infinite depth of depravity. Some Christians never seem to find this out. I almost wish that they might not do so, for it is a painful discovery for anyone to make; but it has the beneficial effect of making us cease from trusting in ourselves, and causing us to glory only in the Lord.


Charles Spurgeon




“Sermon #2986: One Aspect of Christ’s Death” The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 52 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1906), 225.

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Charles Spurgeon – Resolve to Keep Close to Christ

6 Aug

Spurgeon

There is yet another stone wall which I will mention, namely, firmness of character. Our holy faith teaches a man to be decided in the cause of Christ, and to be resolute in getting rid of evil habits. “If thine eye offend thee”—wear a shade? No; “pluck it out.” “If thine arm offend thee”—hang it in a sling? No; “cut it off, and cast it from thee” True religion is very thorough in what it recommends. It says to us, “touch not the unclean thing.” But many persons are so idle in the ways of God that they have no mind of their own: evil companions tempt them, and they cannot say, “No.” They need a stone wall made up of noes. Here are the stones, “no, no, NO.” Dare to be singular. Resolve to keep close to Christ. Make a stern determination to permit nothing in your life, however gainful or pleasurable, if it would dishonour the name of Jesus. Be dogmatically true, obstinately holy, immovably honest, desperately kind, fixedly upright. If God’s grace sets up this hedge around you, even Satan will feel that he cannot get in, and will complain to God, “hast thou not set a hedge about him?”


Charles Spurgeon




“The Broken Fence” The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 59 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1913), 558–559.

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