Saturday, February 26, 2011

Our Needs and God's Mercy

John Flavel (1627-1691), an English Presbyterian clergyman said "When our needs are permitted to grow to an extremity, and all visible hopes fail, then to have relief given wonderfully enhances the price of such a mercy" (Isaiah 41:17-18)

Isaiah 41:17-20 (ESV)

17When the poor and needy seek water,
and there is none,
and their tongue is parched with thirst,
I the LORD will answer them;
I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
18 I will open rivers on the bare heights,
and fountains in the midst of the valleys.
I will make the wilderness a pool of water,
and the dry land springs of water.
19 I will put in the wilderness the cedar,
the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive.
I will set in the desert the cypress,
the plane and the pine together,
20that they may see and know,
may consider and understand together,
that the hand of the LORD has done this,
the Holy One of Israel has created it.

I am reminded of a song Everett Geis Jr., our former music minister used to sing periodically while he led music at Calvary Baptist Church. He shared how the words ministered to him in a mighty way, due to his own personal testimony, and as we grow older and go through more in this life, I think we can all be ministered to by the lyrics in the same way. My wife and I often talk about how Everett blessed us many times with this song (as well as many other specials he would sing right before the sermon), and we wish we could hear him sing again sometime. No one could sing (and put their heart into it) like Everett. He's gone on to become a Preacher of the Word since then.

The chorus was as follows:

There's light at the end of the darkness,

So look up when you are down and try to believe.

Sometimes we have to be knocked down to make us look upward.

I was looking up through the bottom when it finally shined on me.

The song in its entirety is as follows:


There's a light at the end of the darkness,

And it shines for all the world to see.

It will shine on your life if you will let it.

I was blind when it finally shined on me


There is hope in that land for the hopeless,

And there's soothing balm for pain and misery.

It's as near as your faith, but sometimes seems fleeting.

I was blind when it finally shined on me.


There's light at the end of the darkness,

So look up when you are down and try to believe.

Sometimes we have to be knocked down to make us look upward.

I was looking up through the bottom when it finally shined on me.


I was looking up through the bottom when it finally shined on me.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Spurgeon quotes on the Doctrines of Grace

I came across this excellent selection of Charles Spurgeon's quotes on the Biblical Doctrines of Grace.  The author of the website graciously agreed to allow me to reproduce it here if linked to his website.

I believe nothing merely because Calvin taught it, but because I have found his teaching in the Word of God. 2584.402

The doctrines of original sin, election, effectual calling, final perseverance, and all those great truths which are called Calvinism—though Calvin was not the author of them, but simply an able writer and preacher upon the subject—are, I believe, the essential doctrines of the Gospel that is in Jesus Christ. Now, I do not ask you whether you believe all this—it is possible you may not; but I believe you will before you enter heaven. I am persuaded, that as God may have washed your hearts, he will wash your brains before you enter heaven. 12.92

I believe the man who is not willing to submit to the electing love and sovereign grace of God, has great reason to question whether he is a Christian at all, for the spirit that kicks against that is the spirit of the devil, and the spirit of the unhumbled, unrenewed heart. 277.424

“But,” say others, “God elected them on the foresight of their faith.” Now, God gives faith, therefore he could not have elected them on account of faith, which he foresaw. There shall be twenty beggars in the street, and I determine to give one of them a shilling; but will any one say that I determined to give that one a shilling, that I elected him to have the shilling, because I foresaw that he would have it? That would be talking nonsense. In like manner to say that God elected men because he foresaw they would have faith, which is salvation in the germ, would be too absurd for us to listen to for a moment. 41,42.317

Our Arminian antagonists always leave the fallen angels out of the question: for it is not convenient to them to recollect this ancient instance of Election. They call it unjust, that God should choose one man and not another. By what reasoning can this be unjust when they will admit that it was righteous enough in God to choose one race—the race of men, and leave another race—the race of angels, to be sunk into misery on account of sin. 303.134

Some, who know no better, harp upon the foreknowledge of our repentance and faith, and say that, “Election is according to the foreknowledge of God;” a very scriptural statement, but they make a very unscriptural interpretation of it. Advancing by slow degrees, they next assert that God foreknew the faith and the good works of his people. Undoubtedly true, since he foreknew everything; but then comes their groundless inference, namely, that therefore the Lord chose his people because he foreknew them to be believers. It is undoubtedly true that foreknown excellencies are not the causes of election, since I have shown you that the Lord foreknew all our sin: and surely if there were enough virtue in our faith and goodness to constrain him to choose us, there would have been enough demerit in our bad works to have constrained him to reject us; so that if you make foreknowledge to operate in one way, you must also take it in the other, and you will soon perceive that it could not have been from anything good or bad in us that we were chosen, but according to the purpose of his own will, as it is written, “I will have mercy upon whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” 779.621

Recollect also that God himself did not foresee that there would be any love to him in us arising out of ourselves, for there never has been any, and there never will be; he only foresaw that we should believe because he gave us faith, he foresaw that we should repent because his Spirit would work repentance in us, he foresaw that we should love, because he wrought that love within us; and is there anything in the foresight that he means to give us such things that can account for his giving us such things? The case is self-evident—his foresight of what he means to do cannot be his reason for doing it. 1299.341
There was nothing more in Abraham than in any one of us why God should have selected him, for whatever good was in Abraham God put it there. Now, if God put it there, the motive for his putting it there could not be the fact of his putting it there. 303.135
A controversialist once said, “If I thought God had a chosen people, I should not preach.” That is the very reason why I do preach. What would make him inactive is the mainspring of my earnestness. If the Lord had not a people to be saved, I should have little to cheer me in the ministry. 2167.551

I believe that God will save his own elect, and I also believe that, if I do not preach the gospel, the blood of men will be laid at my door. 2303.171

Our Saviour has bidden us to preach the gospel to every creature; he has not said, “Preach it only to the elect;” and though that might seem to be the most logical thing for us to do, yet, since he has not been pleased to stamp the elect in their foreheads, or to put any distinctive mark upon them, it would be an impossible task for us to perform; whereas, when we preach the gospel to every creature, the gospel makes its own division, and Christ’s sheep hear his voice, and follow him. 2937.262

God neither chose them nor called them because they were holy, but He called them that they might be holy, and holiness is the beauty produced by His workmanship in them. ME329

Grace does not choose a man and leave him as he is. 801.162

Reproduced and used with permission from the following website:

For more Spurgeon quotes (including an alphabetical listing) click on the link here.
Posted by John Samson on February 7, 2006 11:14 AM

The basis and groundwork of Arminian theology lies in attaching undue importance
to man, and giving God rather the second place than the first. 406.465

I believe that very much of current Arminianism is simply ignorance of Gospel
doctrine; and if people began to study their Bibles, and to take the Word of God as
they find it, they must inevitably, if believers, rise up to rejoice in the Doctrines of
Grace. 60

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The "Village" of "Radical" "Crazy Love"

Thoughts on David Platt , Frances Chan, and Matt Chandler.  
(I came up with this blog title by combining Chandler's church's name-"The Village Church", Platt's book "Radical", and Chan's book "Crazy Love"...I know, kind of cheesy, but its the best I could come up with-lol).  For those unaware of who they are, these 3 young pastors are currently taking the younger generation of American Christians by storm, including protestants, evangelicals, and reformed believers, and they have a passion and zeal for the Glory of Christ that has been lacking among our young people in recent years.

Rest assured-I admire, respect, and recommend reading and listening to each of these young men of God.  The questions and topics of discussion put forth in this blog are meant to be constructive and in no way disrespectful to these guys, who are part of the next generation of Godly men who will hopefully be leading people in this country and people from all parts of the world to saving faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
One thing I want to commend them for is that they all, for the most part, preach the Sovereignty of God in a mighty way.  Platt, Chan, and Chandler lift Jesus higher, and put man lower, (like John the Baptist said-He must increase and I must decrease) more so than many of the authors and preachers that are so popular today.  They are, in my opinion, worlds ahead of pastors like Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, Osteen, etc., and authors like John Eldredge, Philip Yancey, etc., some of whom like to lift man higher and bring God lower, just the opposite John the Baptist's statement.

That being said, many of my younger Christian friends, some of whom are not (although a few are) as fond of reading or listening to the older/wiser/more mature Pastor/Theologians of our day as I am, such as John MacArthur, Albert Mohler, Alistair Begg, R.C. Sproul, John Piper, etc., (just to name a few) have been highly recommending that I read and listen to some younger preachers like Platt, Chan, and Chandler.  I love to read and listen to good theology, sermons, books, etc., so in order to see what they're seeing, and hear what they're hearing, I've read Chan's book "Crazy Love", and listened to well over 100 sermons combined from all three of these guys, especially Platt and Chandler on MP3 over the last year or two.  So I'm not writing from a non-informed perspective.  I really like all three of them, have learned from and been blessed and challenged by them, and think God is greatly using them.  They are greatly glorifying Jesus, but I can see a few areas in each of them that needs some maturing. I hope as they continue to grow, they will look to the older men of God of our day for wisdom, and read, study, listen to their sermons, read their books, commentaries, etc., as well as the "dead theologians" such as the Reformers like Luther, Calvin, John Knox, etc., the later Puritans like Charnock, Baxter, Flavel, Owen, Henry, etc., and later men like Whitfield, Edwards, Spurgeon, missionaries like William Carey, Adoniram Judson, etc.,  and more recently deceased preachers and authors like D.Martyn Lloyd-Jones, James Montgomery Boice, Donald G. Barnhouse, A.W. Pink, etc., just to name a few.

Another young minister, who I think is somewhat more mature and discerning at this stage in his walk than these other 3 guys, Kevin DeYoung- Senior Pastor at University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan wrote an excellent review on David Platt's new book, "Radical".  He and Platt are friends, and Platt was given an invitation to write a response after his review.
I started to write a comment on his blog, but it quickly became too long. I decided to post my comment here, where I had more room. Please read Kevin DeYoung's gracious review, and David Platt's gracious response first.
Here's the link.

Now, here's what my comment was going to be before deciding to just post it here:

Thanks for the excellent review, Kevin.

I'm in full agreement with you, and have the highest respect for Dr. David Platt. I've not read his book in it's entirety, but I've skimmed it, and have listened to all of Platt's sermons on MP3 that the book was taken from, plus dozens more, after a few younger guys at church recommended him. I, like you, think the Lord has and will continue to use him in a mighty way for His Glory. He has a great passion and zeal for Jesus Christ that many of us would do well to learn from and emulate.

However, I feel he, Frances Chan, and a few others of the younger generation have some maturing to do. My pastor addressed this topic a few weeks ago in the morning sermon, and said he sees a "pride of poverty" in their message. My pastor wisely said (paraphrasing) "if these guys down-size and give everything away, they've only shifted the burden to someone else to take care of their needs." I agree, and also get the sense they think "one size fits all" in how each of our lives lived for Christ should look. I got the sense from David Platt's sermons that if you were in Platt's church, and didn't down-size and sell your house, AND move into the "housing project" so you could evangelize the poor people from the inside-out, like many of the members were already doing, and encouraging the rest to do, AND adopt at least one child from a 3rd world country, AND get rid of every non-essential you owned, would have tremendous peer pressure from within his church making you feel spiritually inferior, guilty, and less than "radical".

I also recently listened to several dozen MP3 sermons of another big name with the younger generation, Matt Chandler. He's a great young man of God, with a passion and zeal for Christ like the other guys mentioned. My prayers are with him with his cancer, and his faith exhibited through this time is truly inspiring. But one thing I noticed in his sermons seemed to go along with that mentioned above. He seemed to be overly bragging on the "modesty" of his small house, and seemed almost prideful in bragging on himself for driving an older worn out vehicle. And he seems to encourage "tatooes", saying "Jesus has a "cool-tatt", then uses Revelation's passage of Jesus coming on the white horse for his proof-text. He did this in not one, not two, but in multiple sermons which I listened to on MP3.  I thought "this is very strange, what's his infatuation with defending tattoes so often"?  He seems to be really stuck on promoting/endorsing/condoning tattoes, probably because most of the people he deals with has them, and he feels the need to be "relevant" (although I'm not really sure why, just a guess). I realize a lot of people make or have made stupid mistakes pertaining to tattoes which they can't erase later when they surrender to Christ, but that's a lot different than promoting it to Christians as an acceptable Christ-like practice after salvation.  Again, I've heard him do this several times in different podcast sermons, not just once. Chandler also arrogantly brags repeatedly on their church meeting in an old Albertson's grocery store/warehouse instead of a traditional church building, like that makes them more spiritual and in more favor with God or something.   He seems to have a major problem with church buildings. I've heard Chandler, Chan, and Platt speak negatively repeatedly about churches who meet in buildings on numerous occasions. I"ve heard Chandler (or Platt, can't remember which) preach a passage on Solomon's temple, and totally miss the whole point of the passage, and instead tried to use it as a way to bash modern church buildings while patting themselves on the back for meeting in a warehouse.  Quite a stretch of the text.  Didn't use exegesis at all, but complete eisogesis.
As to Frances Chan, I bought the book "Crazy Love", because it was being promoted by people in my church, and the book itself was later taught in a classroom setting.  I read it, underlined many things that I questioned, but didn't mention them to anyone, trying not to be devisive.  Then one evening my wife and I sat down to discuss it, and guess what?  She had marked the same things that I had.  Without going into much detail, the first thing we both had marked was where Frances Chan said (paraphrasing) that if we as the Church will do our job, we can literally wipe out poverty worldwide. I understand and appreciate his concern for the poor, and I'm aware that we as individuals as well as the Church as a whole could do better in this area, but, I also read in Scripture where Jesus said "the poor you will have with you always".  I'd like to ask Frances what does "always" mean?  I think it's another example of their immaturity, and how naive they are.  

Hopefully, if they will keep the humble perspective as David did in his response to your review, the Lord will continue to mature them to be used for His Glory in a mighty way.
ClJ. Mahaney's website had these good quotes by Kevin DeYoung.
• Our generation in particular is prone to radicalism without follow-through. We want to change the world and we have never changed a diaper.
• Can we be the young generation that loves and respects and looks up to the older generation?