Judge Yourself

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“Sin puts a child of God on self-judging;—he passes a sentence upon himself. ‘I am more brutish than any man.’ Prov. 30:2. It is dangerous to judge others, but it is good to judge ourselves. ‘If we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.’ 1 Cor. 11:31. When a man has judged himself, Satan is put out of office: when he lays any thing to a saint’s charge, he is able to retort and say, ‘It is true. Satan, I am guilty of these sins, but I have judged myself already for them; and having condemned myself in the lower court of conscience, God will acquit me in the upper court of heaven.'”

Thomas Watson, 1620-1686

A Mighty Fortress

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A safe stronghold our God is still

Author: Martin Luther (1529)Translator: Thomas Carlyle (1831)
Tune: EIN FESTE BURG

1 A safe stronghold our God is still,
a trusty shield and weapon;
he’ll keep us clear from all the ill
that hath us now o’ertaken.
The ancient prince of hell
hath risen with purpose fell;
strong mail of craft and power
he weareth in this hour;
on earth is not his fellow.

2 With force of arms we nothing can,
full soon were we down-ridden;
but for us fights the proper Man
whom God himself hath bidden.
Ask ye who is this same?
Christ Jesus is his name,
the Lord Sabaoth’s Son;
he, and no other one,
shall conquer in the battle.

3 And were this world all devils o’er,
and watching to devour us,
we lay it not to heart so sore;
they cannot overpower us.
And let the prince of ill
look grim as e’er he will,
he harms us not a whit;
for why? his doom is writ;
a word shall quickly slay him.

4 God’s word, for all their craft and force,
one moment will not linger,
but, spite of hell, shall have its course;
’tis written by his finger.
And though they take our life,
goods, honour, children, wife,
yet is their profit small;
these things shall vanish all:
the city of God remaineth.

There is a True Emperor, and He has come.

“By the advent of the Saviour, then, paganism decreases, philosophy declines, all dæmoniacal deceits perish. The faith of Christ, on the other hand, spreads, and opposition to it decays.

As the darkness vanishes before the sun, so heathen darkness prevails no longer, and the whole earth is illuminated by Christ’s teaching.

The appearance of the true emperor exposes the usurpers; so the advent of Christ has exposed and silenced the usurpation of dæmons and idols.
The Son of God, the Only-Begotten Word, alone remains, while temporal things are vanishing away.
[Athanasius of Alexandria, Athanasius: On the Incarnation of the Word of God, trans. T. Herbert Bindley, Second Edition Revised. (London: The Religious Tract Society, 1903), 39.]

“For as when the sun is up darkness no longer prevails, but if there is any left anywhere it is driven away; so now, when the Divine Manifestation of the Word of God is come, the darkness of the idols prevails no longer, but every part of the whole earth is everywhere illuminated by His teaching. And just as, when an emperor is reigning in some country and does not appear, but remains within his own house, frequently some disorderly persons, abusing this withdrawal of his, proclaim themselves, and each being invested with the outward show, cheats the simple with his appearance as emperor, and thus men are deceived by the name, hearing indeed that there is an emperor, but not seeing him, p 145 especially as they cannot make their way within into his house; but when the true emperor comes forth and appears, then the disorderly deceivers are convicted by his presence, and men, seeing the true emperor, abandon those who formerly deceived them: so, in like manner, dæmons formerly deceived men, investing themselves with God’s honour; but when the Word of God appeared in a body, and made known to us His Father, at that moment the deceit of the dæmons vanishes and ceases; and men, looking to the true God, the Word of the Father, abandon idols, and themselves come to a clear knowledge of the true God.”

Athanasius of Alexandria, Athanasius: On the Incarnation of the Word of God, trans. T. Herbert Bindley, Second Edition Revised. (London: The Religious Tract Society, 1903), 144–145.

If Truth Exists Outside of Ourselves . . .

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“If truth exists outside of ourselves, we will not know it by pretending that we have no presuppositions, nor will we attain it by embracing all our presuppositions as unchangeable parts of ourselves; we will achieve it only if we submit ourselves, presuppositions and all, to the One who understands and interprets all things rightly.”

–Dan McCartney and Charles Clayton, Let the Reader Understand Wheaton: Victor Books, 1994, pp. 16-17.

When Grace Ceases to be Grace

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“Grace ceases to be grace if God is compelled to bestow it in the presence of human merit.… Grace ceases to be grace if God is compelled to withdraw it in the presence of human demerit.… [Grace] is treating a person without the slightest reference to demerit whatsoever, but solely according to the infinite goodness and sovereign purpose of God.”

Jerry Bridges, Transforming Grace: Living Confidently in God’s Unfailing Love (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2008), 35, quoting C. Samuel Storms.

When the Church Loses Its Saltiness

“Ecclesiastical structures that depart from the faith do so by the loss of distinctiveness, the gradual conformation of their thought and life to that of the larger community. Sociological observations confirm that, by and large, the religious institutions of the United States do not teach values that are distinctive to their own traditions but rather use religious terminology that ratifies the values of the broader society. There is little to distinguish what the churches say from what other institutions teach, and we are left therefore with only an indistinctive religion-in-general.

. . .

Thus, the master of the American church is likely to be whatever cultural or intellectual fad has gained the ascendancy. Christology displays this tendency when the Gospels are used selectively to show that the ‘real Jesus’ was an exemplar of the American middle class, or perhaps a guerrilla fighter, a social democrat, or a model of psychological fitness. That is a recipe for intellectual and spiritual sterility, for by accepting the dead end of the reigning assumption, the church absorbs whatever conclusions ‘enlightened’ people consider current. In sociological terms, the church functions as just another means used by the political and social establishment to integrate society’s values into the next generation. The support it receives depends on the extent to which it uncritically transmits values. Its passivity makes it acceptable and ensures its irrelevance. C. E. M. Joad saw the Church of England being transformed by this process into a ‘mere purveyor of vague ethico-religious uplift.’”

Herbert Schlossberg, Idols for Destruction, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983. Pp. 235-37

The Christian and Social Justice

“The doctrine of grace must also be found unacceptable by humanitarian-based theological pragmatists, because grace allows one to accept without guilt what is not deserved. To have something that another does not have, or to have something that is not earned, by inheritance, by ‘luck,’ by gift—in other words, by grace—is unsupportable for those theorists and requires the imputation of guilt. Only grace can expunge guilt. Social justice advocates are hostile toward Christianity precisely because the latter stands on grace, which the former hates. Christians taken in by the social justice argument have a social ethic at war with their deepest convictions and are, therefore condemned to futility. The only theology consistent with humanitarianism is works-righteousness, or Pelagianism.”

Herbert Schlossberg, Idols for Destruction, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983, p 240

Slapping Daddy

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“In other words, the non-Christian needs the truth of the Christian religion in order to attack it. As a child needs to sit on the lap of its father in order to slap the father’s face, so the unbeliever, as a creature, needs God the Creator and providential controller of the universe in order to oppose this God. Without this God, the place on which he stands does not exist. He cannot stand in a vacuum.”

Cornelius Van Til, Essays on Christian Education (The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company: Phillipsburg, NJ, 1979).

The Frustration of Modern Education

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“Our work as educators would be hopeless and futile if we engaged in it on the principle of synthesis discussed above. But what joy it is to know that Christ has come to save man and his culture! The first Adam by his sin refused to undertake the cultural mandate given him. When he was told to subdue the earth he would not do so as unto God his creator. But the second Adam undertook anew what the first Adam, and all men with him, failed to do. Now then, we who are saved by grace, we who have by the Spirit of God been born from above, need not beat the air. There is for us a true synthesis of all things in Christ. And we may offer this Christ to all men that they too with us might escape the futility and the absurdity, the immorality and the blasphemy, of seeking to synthesize what by their very sinful act they are all the while destroying. The task of educators who do not educate in and unto Christ is like the task of Sisyphus as he rolled his stone to the top of the hill only to see it roll down again. If the facts of the world are not created and redeemed by God in Christ, then they are like beads that have no holes in them and therefore cannot be strung into a string of beads. If the laws of the world are not what they are as relating the facts that are created and redeemed by Christ, these laws are like a string of infinite length, neither end of which can be found. Seeking to string beads that cannot be strung because they have no holes in them, with string of infinite length neither end of which you can find; such is the task of the educator who seeks to educate without presupposing the truth of what the self-attesting Christ has spoken in the Scriptures.”

Cornelius Van Til, Essays on Christian Education (The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company: Phillipsburg, NJ, 1979).