The Reformation and the Men Behind It

As Reformation Day (Oct. 31) approaches Ligonier will be posting a series of articles on the major reformers in the sixteenth century. They will be excerpted from Dr. Steven Lawson’s book Pillars of Grace. I greatly enjoyed the first article and I’m looking forward to reading the rest as they come out. Read and enjoy:

“The Protestant Reformation stands as the most far-reaching, world-changing display of God’s grace since the birth and early expansion of the church. It was not a single act, nor was it led by one man. This history-altering movement played out on different stages over many decades. Its cumulative impact, however, was enormous.

Philip Schaff, a noted church historian, writes: “The Reformation of the sixteenth century is, next to theintroduction of Christianity, the greatest event in history.It marks the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of modern times. Starting from religion, it gave, directly or indirectly, a mighty impulse to every forward movement, and made Protestantism the chief propelling force in the history of modern civilization” (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. VII: Modern Christianity—The German Reformation [1910; repr., Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980], 1).

The Reformation was, at its heart, a recovery of the true gospel of Jesus Christ, and this restoration had an unparalleled influence on churches, nations, and the flow of Western civilization.Under the guiding hand of God, the world scene had been uniquely prepared for the Reformation. The church was greatly in need of reform. Spiritual darkness personified the Roman Catholic Church. The Bible was a closed book. Spiritual ignorance ruled the minds of the people. The gospel was perverted. Church tradition trumped divine truth. Personal holiness was abandoned. The rotten stench of manmade traditions covered pope and priest. The corruption of ungodliness contaminated both dogma and practice”

To read the rest of the article click here.

 

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Stories are Soul Food

Here is a portion of a blog post by N.D. Wilson, one of my favorite author’s, on stories, magic and the Bible.

“Bible-believing Christians frequently have a deep mistrust of fiction. In particular, they have a deep mistrust of, ahem, magic. This is impossible for me to understand, partly because I was weaned on C. S. Lewis and Tolkien, but more profoundly because I was marinated in Scripture at a very young age (by my parents). And Scripture is full of . . . stories. More than that, Scripture is full of the miraculous and the amazing. “Throw water on the altar,” Elijah says. “Fire will still fall from Heaven.” A famous shepherd boy takes down an infamous six-fingered giant. Don’t let the long-haired man near a jawbone. Collect the animals and build a boat. Whatever you do, don’t listen to that serpent.

Bible pop-quiz: Did Pharaoh’s magicians really turn staffs into snakes? (Hint: yes.)

Christians serve the Man who walked on water. We serve the Man who could not be kept in the belly of the great fish, the Man who shattered the grave, and all alone, ripped the city gates off a place called Death.”

To read the rest of Wilson’s excellent post please click here.


Eyes Wide Open

“I cannot say that I sympathize with those people who shut their eyes to the beauties of nature. I have heard of good men traveling through fine scenery, and shutting their eyes for fear they should see. I always open mine as wide as ever I can, because I think I can see God in all the works of his hands, and what God has taken the trouble to make I think I ought to take the trouble to look at.”

– Charles Spurgeon


Should Christians read non-Christian books?

 

Should Christians read non-Christian books? I would say yes, but I’m young and you probably shouldn’t heed too much of what I say. However, there are several old, and very much dead church leaders who have said the same thing. Perhaps you should listen to them. (Please do note that when Calvin says “profane authors” he does not mean raunchy romance writers, but merely thoughtful non-Christian writers.)

“Therefore, in reading profane authors, the admirable light of truth displayed in them should remind us that the human mind, however much fallen and perverted from its original integrity, is still adorned and invested with admirable gifts from its Creator. If we reflect that the Spirit of God is the only fountain of truth, we will be careful, as we would avoid offering insults to him, not to reject or condemn truth wherever it appears. In despising gifts, we insult the giver.” ~ John Calvin

“All truth is from God; and consequently, if wicked men have said anything that is true and just,  we ought not reject it; for it has come from God. Besides, all things are of God; and, therefore, why should it not be lawful to dedicate to his glory everything that can properly be employed for such a purpose.” ~ John Calvin

“All branches of heathen learning have not only false and superstitious fancies and heavy burdens of unnecessary toil, which every one of us, when going out under the leadership of Christ from the fellowship of the heathen, ought to abhor and avoid; but they contain also liberal instruction which is better adapted to the use of truth, and some most excellent precepts of morality; and some truths in regard even to the worship of the One God are found among them.” ~ Augustine of Hippo

“Heathen learning is not unprofitable for the soul…”~ Basil of Caesarea

“For the journey of this life eternal I would advise you to husband resources, leaving no stone unturned, as the proverb has it, whence you might derive aid.” ~ Basil of Caesarea


Man is a paradox

“We human beings are a mystery to ourselves. We are rational and irrational, civilized and savage, capable of deep friendship and murderous hostility, free and in bondage, the pinnacle of creation and its greatest danger. We are Rembrandt and Hitler, Mozart and Stalin, Antigone and Lady Macbeth, Ruth and Jezebel.” ~ Daniel Migliore

 

 

 

 


John Owen – Labor to Fill Your Hearts with the Cross of Christ

As to the object of your affections, in a special manner, let it be the cross of Christ, which has exceeding efficacy toward the disappointment of the whole work of indwelling sin: “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, whereby the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Gal. 6:14). The cross of Christ he gloried and rejoiced in; this his heart was set upon; and these were the effects of it—it crucified the world unto him, made it a dead and undesirable thing. The baits and pleasures of sin are taken all of them out of the world, and the things that are in the world— namely, “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.” These are the things that are in the world; from these does sin take all its baits, whereby it entices and entangles our souls. If the heart be filled with the cross of Christ, it casts death and undesirableness upon them all; it leaves no seeming beauty, no appearing pleasure or comeliness, in them. Again, says he, “It crucifies me to the world; makes my heart, my affections, my desires, dead unto any of these things.” It roots up corrupt lusts and affections, leaves no principle to go forth and make provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof. Labor, therefore, to fill your hearts with the cross of Christ. Consider the sorrows he underwent, the curse he bore, the blood he shed, the cries he put forth, the love that was in all this to your souls, and the mystery of the grace of God therein. Meditate on the vileness, the demerit, and punishment of sin as rep resented in the cross, the blood, the death of Christ. Is Christ crucified for sin, and shall not our hearts be crucified with him unto sin? Shall we give enter tainment unto that, or hearken unto its dalliances, which wounded, which pierced, which slew our dear Lord Jesus? God forbid! Fill your affections with the cross of Christ, that there may be no room for sin. The world once put him out of the house into a stable, when he came to save us; let him now turn the world out of doors, when he is come to sanctify us.

~John Owen


When Death Dies – Gungor

Here’s a new song by Gungor entitled “When Death Dies”. Gungor is an insanely talented group of musicians that put out some really beautiful tunes. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Like the waters flooding the desert
Like the sunrise showing all things

When it comes, flowers grow
Lions sleep, gravestones roll
Where death dies, all things live
When it comes, poor men feast
Kings fall down to their knees
When death dies, all things live
All things live

Like a woman searching and finding love
Like an ocean buried and bursting forth

Where it comes, flowers grow
Lions sleep, gravestones roll
Where death dies, all things come alive
Where it comes, water’s clean
Children fed, all believe
When death dies, all things live
All things live

All things live

Where it comes, flowers grow
Lions sleep, gravestones roll
When death dies, all things live

Also, here is a video where the band introduces their new album “Ghosts Upon The Earth”. I got the album a couple of hours ago and am already in love with it. Go buy it.