What David Helm Calls, “Staying on the Line”

charles-spurgeon

The following quote is from Charles Spurgeon. For more information on what “Staying on the Line” is all about, please visit the Charles Simeon Trust.

More information here.

Never strain passages when you are expounding. Be thoroughly honest with the word: even if the Scriptures were the writing of mere men, conscience would demand fairness of you; but when it is the Lord’s own word, be careful not to pervert it even in the smallest degree. Let it be said of you, as I have heard a venerable hearer of Mr. Simeon say of him, “Sir, he was very Calvinistic when the text was so, and people thought him an Arminian when the text was that way, for he always stuck to its plain sense.” A very sound neighbor of ours once said, by way of depreciating the grand old reformer, “John Calvin was not half a Calvinist,” and the remark was correct as to his expositions, for in them, as we have seen, he always gave his Lord’s mind and not his own. In the church of St. Zeno, in Verona, I saw ancient frescoes which had been plastered over, and then covered with other designs; I fear many do this with Scripture, daubing the text with their own glosses, and laying on their own conceits. There are enough of these plasterers abroad, let us leave the evil trade to them and follow an honest calling. Remember Cowper’s lines—

“A critic on the sacred text should be
Candid and learn’d, dispassionate and free;
Free from the wayward bias bigots feel,
From fancy’s influence and intemperate zeal;
For of all arts sagacious dupes invent,
To cheat themselves and gain the world’s assent,
The worst is—Scripture warped from its intent.”
C. H. Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students: Commenting and Commentaries; Lectures Addressed to the Students of the Pastors’ College, Metropolitan Tabernacle., vol. 4 (New York: Sheldon & Company, 1876), 55–56.

Either the Empire Saves, or the Saviour Saves: the Politics of the Gospel of Luke

Luke’s Gospel is a political challenge to the Roman Empire:

The angel declares to the shepherds that “a savior” is born (Lk 2:11) in the city of David, but theAugustus of Prima Porta unspoken fact is that a “saviour” is already enthroned in Rome-Caesar Augustus, whose monuments declare him “saviour of the world.” Against this backdrop the anticipation of a savior within Israel seems fraught with danger, as the pious figures we meet in Luke’s Gospel invoke OT promises of deliverance. Zechariah speaks of a “mighty saviour” and of being “saved from our enemies” (Lk 1:69, 71 NRSV). Simeon, who has been looking for the “consolation of Israel,” thanks God that he has lived to see God’s “salvation” (Lk 2:30) in the face of the infant Jesus. And the aged Anna rejoices over the child in the presence of all who are “looking for the redemption of Jerusalem” (Lk 2:38 NRSV). John the Baptist also speaks of a great judgment and renewal within Israel associated with the coming of the Lord. Luke summarizes John’s activity with the biblical image of preparing a highway for the divine warrior so that “all flesh shall see the salvation of God” (Lk 3:6 NRSV; cf. Is 40:5 LXX).

Leland Ryken et al., Dictionary of Biblical Imagery (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), 441.

On the Affirmation of Scripture

With respect to the authority of Scripture, the greatest challenge facing Bible-believing churches today is not the disbelief aimed at the Bible from outside the faith; nor is it the attack against it from unbelieving theologians cloaked with Christian terminology.

The greatest challenge facing Christians are pulpits where the inerrant Word is wholeheartedly affirmed but routinely side-stepped and ignored. If your preacher is not preaching the text, he is not preaching the Bible, and functionally denies its authority. It does little for the church to affirm the authority of the Scriptures, if the church’s preachers are not shaped by it. If the preachers and elders of the church are not fed on the Word of God, with what do they feed the sheep entrusted to them?

Obstacles

 

 

2 Samuel 6:6–9 (ESV)

And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God. And David was angry because the Lord had broken out against Uzzah. And that place is called Perez-uzzah to this day. And David was afraid of the Lord that day, and he said, “How can the ark of the Lord come to me?”

Simeon on 2nd Samuel

 

“If, when engaged in the service of our God, we meet with obstacles which we did not expect, let us search to find wherein we have done amiss; but let us not yield to despondency, as if it were impossible to please the Lord. Let us examine the Sacred Records, and pray for the teachings of the Holy Spirit, that ‘we may know what the good and perfect and acceptable will of God is:’ then may we hope for success in our undertakings, and shall have tokens of God’s acceptance both in this world and the world to come. [This may be applied to Ministers with good effect.]”

–Charles Simeon, 1836

Screwtape’s take on current events… | BaylyBlog

Sometimes, ministers of the Gospel are the biggest problem.

“Abortion and Planned Parenthood will never end until pastors realize God will hold us accountable for our intensely defended indifference to the innocents being slaughtered down the street from our church-houses. It’s no wonder simple Christians living under the authority of such pastors are silent about Planned Parenthood’s murder of little babies. Add the R2K ridiculosity and the witches brew is vintaged finely.”

 

Screwtape's take on current events… | BaylyBlog

Sometimes, ministers of the Gospel are the biggest problem.

“Abortion and Planned Parenthood will never end until pastors realize God will hold us accountable for our intensely defended indifference to the innocents being slaughtered down the street from our church-houses. It’s no wonder simple Christians living under the authority of such pastors are silent about Planned Parenthood’s murder of little babies. Add the R2K ridiculosity and the witches brew is vintaged finely.”

 

Spiritual Warfare

We should remember that the Christian is only taking back from Satan that which was never his in the first place–the Christian conducts warfare to repossess in Christ’s name what was ceded to Satan through sin. There is not one element of Creation that rightfully belongs to the Devil; not children, not the family, not marriage, not education, not civil government, not science, not the arts, not language, not labour nor economics. All this and more has been usurped by him, and gladly given over to him through human sinfulness.