Monday, November 30, 2009

Holiness and Self-Esteem

"We need to work at ensuring that our commitment to holiness is a commitment to God, not to our own self-esteem. Frederick W. Faber, a nineteenth-century British writer, showed me great insight into this tendency (I've paraphrased his words for clarity): 'When we sin we are more vexed at the lowering of our self-esteem than we are grieved at God's dishonor. We are surprised and irritated at our own lack of self-control in subjecting ourselves to unworthy habits....The first cause of this is self-love, which is unable to stand the disappointment of not seeing ourselves in time of trial come out beautiful, erect, and admirable.'"

- Jerry Bridges, Holiness, 'Sin and Self-Esteem', p. 119

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Beauty, Purity, and Simplicity of Reformed Worship

"Reformed worship is beautiful, but it does not have the beauty of sensual things. Rather, it has the beauty mentioned in several of the psalms. 'Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness' (Ps. 29:2).

It is for this reason that Reformed worship has always been marked by what some have called 'a stark simplicity.' The beauty is found in the faithful preaching of the Word of God, in the simple, unadorned, but faithful administration of the sacraments, and in the maintenance of faithful discipline. Reformed people find their delight in truth and in the spiritual things that Christ spoke of when he said that we must worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). Abraham Kuyper spoke of 'the serious danger with which symbolism menaces the future of our Calvinistic Church life.' When 'symbolism replaces revelation,' he said, it 'makes us fall back from conscious to unconscious religion. The Reformed faith always places revelation in the foreground, and tolerates no other performances than such as are able to echo it and remain carefully under its sway.' This simplicity is a hallmark of the worship conducted in Reformed churches."

- Thomas E. Tyson and G.I. Williamson, What is the Reformed Faith?, Part IV, p. 34

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Undefeatable Decalogue

"The Reformed faith insists upon God's supreme authority. 'The duty which God requireth of man, is obedience to his revealed will' (WSC, Q.39). That revealed will (the moral law) is 'summarily comprehended in the Ten Commandments' (WSC, Q.41), which are found in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5. It is not difficult to relate all of the commands in the Bible to one or more of the Ten Commandments (cf. Matt 5:17—48). That moral law is binding upon all men for all time. Prior to our conversion, it 'was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith' (Gal. 3:24). That is, it revealed our sin and need of a Savior. After conversion, it is a rule of gratitude for the covenant people of God in their thankful service to their Deliverer."

- Thomas E. Tyson and G.I. Williamson, What is the Reformed Faith?, Part II, p. 22

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Calvin and the Comfort Zone

The brief snippet below blessed me in that it showcases what it means to live radically outside of our comfort zones in order to render pure, undefiled obedience to Christ, as exemplified in Calvin's life.

"Calvin knew whereof he spoke. There was a period of murkiness as he became an evangelical. There must have been a period of transition in Paris, an inward wrestling with whether or when to stop attending Mass. Whether and when to identify with the evangelicals. How? Where? At what cost? His public identification with the evangelical church in Geneva, his virtual imprisonment by Farel, being pressed into service in Geneva against his will, having been unceremoniously dismissed by the City Council and then recalled from a much more pleasant place–Calvin only wanted to study and write–these were all crosses he bore. He considered that living in Geneva was like being crucified 1000 times a day. He did it at the expense of his own health, his own happiness, his own peace of mind, against his better judgment and personal inclinations, because his Savior did it for him." (emphasis mine)

- R. Scott Clark, To the Evangelical Nicodemites, Part 4

Friday, November 6, 2009

Satanic "Christianity"

"What would things look like if Satan actually took over a city? The first frames in our imaginative slide show probably depict mayhem on a massive scale: Widespread violence, deviant sexualities, pornography in every vending machine, churches closed down and worshipers dragged off to City Hall. Over a half-century ago, Donald Grey Barnhouse, pastor of Philadelphia's Tenth Presbyterian Church, gave his CBS radio audience a different picture of what it would look like if Satan took control of a town in America. He said that all of the bars and pool halls would be closed, pornography banished, pristine streets and sidewalks would be occupied by tidy pedestrians who smiled at each other. There would be no swearing. The kids would answer 'Yes, sir,' 'No, ma'am,' and the churches would be full on Sunday ... where Christ is not preached.

Not to be alarmist, but it looks a lot like Satan is in charge right now."

- Michael S. Horton, Christless Christianity, Getting in Christ's Way

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Prayer of Confession

"Our Father, we are sinful and You are holy. We recognize that we have heard in Your Law difficult words knowing how often we have offended You in thought, word, and deed, not only by obvious violations, but by failing to conform to its perfect commands, by what we have done and by what we have left undone. There is nothing in us that gives us reason for hope, for where we thought we were well, we are sick in soul. Where we thought we were holy, we are in truth unholy and ungrateful. Our hearts are filled with the love of the world; our minds are dark and are assailed by doubts; our wills are too often given to selfishness and our bodies to laziness and unrighteousness. By sinning against our neighbors, we have also sinned against You, in Whose image they were created. Lord have mercy on us; Christ have mercy on us; Lord have mercy on us."

- Dr. Michael Horton, J. Gresham Machen professor of apologetics and systematic theology at Westminster Seminary California (Escondido, California), host of The White Horse Inn national radio broadcast, and editor-in-chief of Modern Reformation magazine. He is author of several books, including Power Religion, A Better Way, Putting Amazing Back Into Grace, God of Promise: Introducing Covenant Theology (Baker, 2006), and Too Good to be True: Finding Hope in a World of Hype (Zondervan, 2006).

Related Posts with Thumbnails