Saturday, July 16, 2011

FIFTEEN THEOLOGIANS "PULL THE PIN" ON THE ROMANS 9 GRENADE

"I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion."

Few doctrines of the Christian Faith have received more attention or sparked more debate than that of the Sovereignty of God in the Salvation of Men. Now, all Christians agree that God is Sovereign. No question about that. No believer denies that God is sovereign in his power or in his authority.  The question that has given rise to much controversy is this: Is God Sovereign in His Grace?  Is a person's salvation entirely of God from beginning to end, or does it ultimately depend on something that we do, e.g. "making a decision" or our "persevering to the end of our lives?" This is arguably the issue that ignited the Reformation and gave birth to the Protestant churches. Later, it would be the issue that divided Protestantism into Calvinistic and Arminian factions.


In the ensuing war of words, that continues to this day, each side has it's "weapons," in the form of Scripture passages, in it's armory and employs them in defence of their respective positions. The ninth chapter of Paul's Epistle to the Romans has long been a favorite of the Calvinist, or Reformed camp, and they have found it to be especially effective when cited in conjunction with the words of Jesus in John 6.

"Corky"

Cartoonist Eddie Eddings ( Calvinistic Cartoons ) calls this "weapon" the Romans 9 Grenade, and has created a character named Corky, who wears a grenade costume, to represent this polemical tactic employed by Calvinistic apologists when engaged in friendly dialogue with their Arminian opponents. Corky is often featured on the Calvinistic Cartoons blog.



The following is a list of 26 quotes from 15 different theologians, both ancient and modern, giving their insights on what Romans 9 teaches about the Sovereignty of God in our salvation.




Romans Chapter Nine

Paul’s Sorrow Over Unbelieving Israel (Romans 9:1-5)

Augustine: "Hence, as far as concerns us, who are not able to distinguish those who are predestinated from those who are not, we ought on this very account to will all men to be saved ... It belongs to God, however, to make that rebuke useful to them whom He Himself has foreknown and predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son" (On Rebuke & Grace, ch. 49).

Calvin on Romans 9:2: "... the obedience we render to God’s providence does not prevent us from grieving at the destruction of lost men, though we know that they are thus doomed by the just judgment of God; for the same mind is capable of being influenced by these two feelings: that when it looks to God it can willingly bear the ruin of those whom he has decreed to destroy; and that when it turns its thoughts to men, it condoles with their evils. They are then much deceived, who say that godly men ought to have apathy and insensibility, lest they should resist the decree of God."

Herman Hoeksema on Romans 9:3: "What the apostle means is: were I placed before the alternative that my brethren according to the flesh be saved, or I; were I permitted to choose between their salvation and my own, could I effect their salvation by my being accursed, I could indeed wish to be accursed from Christ in their behalf ... Without wishing to place ourselves on a par with the apostle, we may safely say that, in a degree, we can often repeat these words after him. Just imagine a parent who experiences the grief of seeing one or more of his children walk the way of sin and destruction. Just imagine a pastor, who, in the course of years becomes attached to his flock and earnestly desires their salvation, but who beholds many of them that are not the objects of God’s electing love. And what is true of our own flesh and blood in the narrowest sense of the word and of the Church of Christ in the world in general can be applied to mankind as a whole. Out of one blood God has made the whole of the human race, and they are, according to the flesh, all our brethren. And we can understand a little, at least, of the attitude of the apostle when he speaks of the great heaviness that burdens his soul and says that he could wish to be accursed from Christ for his kinsmen according to the flesh. And in as far as we could wish in our present flesh and blood, we could indeed desire all men to be saved."

They are Not All Israel Which are of Israel (Romans 9:6-9)

Calvin on the organic idea of the Church: "We must at the same time bear in mind what I have reminded you of elsewhere - that the Prophet directs his discourse one while to the faithful only, who were then few in number, and that at another time he addresses the multitude indiscriminately; and so when our Prophet threatens, he regards the whole body of the people; but when he proclaims the favour of God, it is the same as though he turned his eyes towards the faithful only, and gathered them into a place by themselves. As for instance, when a few among a people are really wise, and the whole multitude unite in hastening their own ruin, he who has an address to make will make a distinction between the vast multitude and the few; he will severely reprove those who are thus foolish, and live for their own misery; and he will afterwards shape his discourse so as to suit those with whom he has not so much fault to find. Thus also the Lord changes his discourse; for at one time he addresses the ungodly, and at another he turns to the elect, who were but a remnant. So the Prophet has hitherto spoken by reproofs and threatenings, for he addressed the whole body of the people; but now he collects, as I have said, the remnant as it were by themselves, and sets before them the hope of pardon and of salvation" (Comm. on Zephaniah 3:9).

Calvin on the organic idea of the Church: "If one objects and says, that this statement militates against many others which we have observed, the answer is easy, and the solution has already been adduced in another place, and I shall now only touch on it briefly. When God distinctly denounces ruin on the people, the body of the people is had in view; and in this body there was then no integrity. Inasmuch, then, as all the Israelites had become corrupt, had departed from the worship and fear of God, and from all piety and righteousness, and had abandoned themselves to all kinds of wickedness, the Prophet declares that they were to perish without any exception. But when he confines the vengeance of God, or moderates it, he has respect to a very small number; for, as it has been already stated, corruption had never so prevailed among the people, but that some seed remained. Hence, when the Prophet has in view the elect of God, he applies then these consolations, by which he mitigates their terror, that they might understand that God, even in his extreme rigour, would be propitious to them. Such is the way to account for this passage" (Comm. on Hosea 11:8-9).

Elect Jacob & Reprobate Esau (Romans 9:10-13)

John Murray: "... the differentiation which belongs to Israel as a whole in virtue of the theocratic election does not meet the question the apostle encounters in this whole passage, namely, the unbelief of the mass of ethnic Israel. There must be another factor at work which will obviate the inference that the word of God has come to nought. This factor is found in the particularity of election, that is, in a more specific and determinative election than is exemplified in the generic election of Israel as a people."

D. M. Lloyd-Jones on "that the purpose of God according to election might stand" (Rom. 9:11): "That is it! It is the purpose of God; He is carrying it out Himself, nothing can frustrate it. And God, he says here, does it in this way through this process of election and selection, in order that it may stand, that it may never fall" (Romans 9, p. 130).

God’s Hatred of Esau (Romans 9:13)

Augustine: "He who said, ‘I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy,’ loved Jacob of His undeserved grace, and hated Esau of His deserved judgment" (Enchiridion, xcviii).

Martin Luther: "the love and hate of God towards men is immutable and eternal, existing, not merely before there was any merit or work of ‘free-will,’ but before the world was made; [so] all things take place in us of necessity, according as He has from eternity loved or not loved ... faith and unbelief come to us by no work of our own, but through the love and hatred of God" (The Bondage of the Will, pp. 226, 228-229).

Calvin "the reprobate are hateful to God, and with very good reason. For, deprived of his Spirit, they can bring forth nothing but reason for cursing" (Institutes 3.24.17).

Jerome Zanchius: "When hatred is ascribed to God, it implies (1) a negation of benevolence, or a resolution not to have mercy on such and such men, nor to endue them with any of those graces which stand connected with eternal life. So, ‘Esau have I hated’ (Rom. 9), i.e., ‘I did, from all eternity, determine within Myself not to have mercy on him.’ The sole cause of which awful negation is not merely the unworthiness of the persons hated, but the sovereignty and freedom of the Divine will. (2) It denotes displeasure and dislike, for sinners who are not interested in Christ cannot but be infinitely displeasing to and loathsome in the sight of eternal purity. (3) It signifies a positive will to punish and destroy the reprobate for their sins, of which will, the infliction of misery upon them hereafter, is but the necessary effect and actual execution" (Absolute Predestination, p. 44).

Francis Turretin: "For as he who loves a person or thing wishes well and, if he can, does well to it, so true hatred and abhorrence cannot exist without drawing after them the removal and destruction of the contrary" (Elenctic Theology, vol. 2, pp. 237-238).

Robert Haldane: "Nothing can more clearly manifest the strong opposition of the human mind to the doctrine of the Divine sovereignty, than the violence which human ingenuity has employed to wrest the _expression, ‘Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.’ By many this has been explained, ‘Esau have I loved less.’ But Esau was not the object of any degree of the Divine love ... If God’s love to Jacob was real literal love, God’s hatred to Esau must be real literal hatred. It might as well be said that the phrase, ‘Jacob have I loved,’ does not signify that God really loved Jacob, but that to love here signifies only to hate less, and that all that is meant by the _expression, is that God hated Jacob less than he hated Esau. If every man’s own mind is a sufficient security against concluding the meaning to be, ‘Jacob have I hated less,’ his judgment ought to be a security against the equally unwarrantable meaning, ‘Esau have I loved less’ ... hardening [is] a proof of hatred" (Romans, pp. 456, 457).

A. W. Pink: "‘Thou hatest all workers of iniquity’—not merely the works of iniquity. Here, then, is a flat repudiation of present teaching that, God hates sin but loves the sinner; Scripture says, ‘Thou hatest all workers of iniquity’ (Ps. 5:5)! ‘God is angry with the wicked every day.’ ‘He that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God’—not ‘shall abide,’ but even now—‘abideth on him’ (Ps. 5:5; 8:11; John 3:36). Can God ‘love’ the one on whom His ‘wrath’ abides? Again; is it not evident that the words ‘The love of God which is in Christ Jesus’ (Rom. 8:39) mark a limitation, both in the sphere and objects of His love? Again; is it not plain from the words ‘Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated’ (Rom. 9:13) that God does not love everybody? ... Is it conceivable that God will love the damned in the Lake of Fire? Yet, if He loves them now He will do so then, seeing that His love knows no change—He is ‘without variableness or shadow of turning!’" (The Sovereignty of God, p. 248).

John Murray: "[Divine hatred can] scarcely be reduced to that of not loving or loving less ... the evidence would require, to say the least, the thought of disfavour, disapprobation, displeasure. There is also a vehement quality that may not be discounted ... We are compelled, therefore, to find in this word a declaration of the sovereign counsel of God as it is concerned with the ultimate destinies of men" (Romans, vol. 2, pp. 22, 24).

Homer C. Hoeksema: "All history, in which vessels unto honor or unto dishonor are formed, is the revelation and realization of the counsel of God according to which He loved Jacob and all His elect people, but hated Esau and all the reprobate."

James Montgomery Boice: "although hatred in God is of a different character than hatred in sinful human beings—his is a holy hatred—hate in God nevertheless does imply disapproval ... [Esau] was the object of [God’s] displeasure ... Since the selection involved in the words love and hate was made before either of the children was born, the words must involve a double predestination in which, on the one hand, Jacob was destined to salvation and, on the other hand, Esau was destined to be passed over and thus to perish" (Romans, vol. 3, p. 1062).

John MacArthur, Jr.: "In a very real sense, God hated Esau himself. It was not a petty, spiteful, childish kind of hatred, but something far more dreadful. It was divine antipathy—a holy loathing directed at Esau personally. God abominated him as well as what he stood for" (The Love of God, pp. 86-87).

D. A. Carson: "Fourteen times in the first fifty psalms alone, we are told that God hates the sinner, his wrath is on the liar, and so forth" (The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God, p. 79).

Is God’s Election Unrighteous? (Romans 9:14-16)

Herman Hoeksema: "A man wills because God shows him mercy. God does not show mercy because a man wills. But when God shows mercy to a man, the result is that he wills, he runs. His willing is not the cause, but the effect. God’s mercy is first. And although it is true that one cannot enter into the kingdom of God unless he wills, the cause of this willing is not in man, but in God. God’s mercy is sovereign." (Righteous By Faith Alone, p. 401).

Is God’s Reprobation Unrighteous? (Romans 9:17-18)

John Calvin on hardening: "But the word hardens, when applied to God in Scripture, means not only permission, (as some washy moderators would have it,) but also the operation of the wrath of God: for all those external things, which lead to the blinding of the reprobate, are the instruments of his wrath; and Satan himself, who works inwardly with great power, is so far his minister, that he acts not, but by his command ... Paul teaches us, that the ruin of the wicked is not only foreseen by the Lord, but also ordained by his counsel and his will; and Solomon teaches us the same thing,—that not only the destruction of the wicked is foreknown, but that the wicked themselves have been created for this very end—that they may perish. (Prov. 16:4.)"

A.W. Pink on Pharoah: "It is clear that God raised up Pharaoh for this very end—to ‘cut him off,’ which in the language of the New Testament means ‘destroyed.’ God never does anything without a previous design. In giving him being, in preserving him through infancy and childhood, in raising him to the throne of Egypt, God had one end in view" (Sovereignty of God, p. 107).

John Piper on Romans 9: "There is a correspondence between ‘Jacob I loved and Esau I hated’ (9:13), on the one hand, and ‘He has mercy on whom he wills and he hardens whom he wills’ (9:18), on the other hand ... the implication that must then follow is that God’s act of hardening is just as unconditional as the loving and hating of 9:13, which God determined ‘before they were born or had done anything good or evil.’"

The Ultimate Theodicy (Romans 9:19-24)

Herman Hoeksema: "The vessels of wrath are so constituted that their entire make-up and design and institution serves the purpose of reaching that end of destruction. If we abandon the figure of the vessel, the meaning is that there are men so instituted as to their personality, their power and talents, their position in the world and their place in the whole of the works of God, that everything tends to their destruction, serves the purpose of leading them, not to temporal destruction, but to eternal desolation. Unto this they are fitted" (God’s Eternal Good Pleasure, p. 93).

D. M. Lloyd-Jones: "’What if God, willing to shew his wrath ...’ Now this word ‘willing’... really means ‘wishing’, and it is even stronger than that; it could be translated ‘What if God inclined to ...’ And then even that is not strong enough because it means ‘a deep and a strong desire’ ... ‘His holy will disposes Him not to leave unmanifested His wrath and His power.’ That is a very good way of putting it. It is a paraphrase but it does bring out the meaning: ‘Notwithstanding that His holy will disposes Him.’ And it disposes Him very strongly. God, with this whole disposition of His nature, [wills to show his wrath upon the reprobate] ..." (Romans 9, p. 211).

J. M. Boice: "Every person who has ever lived or will ever live must glorify God, either actively or passively, either willingly or unwillingly, either in heaven or in hell. You will glorify God. Either you will glorify him as the object of his mercy and glory, which will be seen in you. Or you will glorify him in your rebellion and unbelief by being made the object of his wrath and power at the final judgment" (Romans, vol 3, p. 1108).
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These quotes are from the website of Covenant Protestant Reformed Church , Ballymenda, Northern Ireland.
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And someScriptures:

Romans 9:14-18
What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.
   15For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
   16So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
   17For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
   18Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

John 6:35-37
   35And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
   36But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.
   37All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.



John 6:44
   No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.



John 6:65
   And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

THE REAL PRESENCE OF CHRIST IN THE PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL

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 For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.                                                                   I Thessalonians 2:13

Christ Speaking Through Preaching

Chrysostom on I Thessalonians 2:13: "For in hearing us, you gave such heed, as if not hearing men, but as if God Himself were exhorting you."

Augustine: "Yes it is I who admonish, I who order, I who command, it is the bishop who teaches. But it is Christ who commands through me." "The preacher explains the text; if he says what is true, it is Christ speaking."

Luther: "Flesh and blood are an impediment. They merely behold the person of the pastor and brother ... They refuse to regard the oral Word and the ministry as a treasure costlier and better than heaven and earth. People generally think: ‘If I had an opportunity to hear God speak in person, I would run my feet bloody’ ... But you now have the Word of God in church ... and this is God’s Word as surely as if God Himself were speaking to you."

Calvin: "When the Prophet says, by the breath of his lips, this must not be limited to the person of Christ; for it refers to the Word which is preached by his ministers. Christ acts by them in such a manner that He wishes their mouth to be reckoned as his mouth, and their lips as his lips; that is, when they speak from his mouth, and faithfully declare his Word (Luke 10:16)" (Comm. on Isa. 11:4).

Second Helvetic Confession (1566): "Wherefore when this Word of God is now preached in the church by preachers lawfully called, we believe that the very Word of God is preached, and received of the faithful; and that neither any other Word of God is to be feigned, nor to be expected from heaven: and that now the Word itself which is preached is to be regarded, not the minister that preaches; who, although he be evil and a sinner, nevertheless the Word of God abides true and good."

Archbishop Sandys (c.1516-1588): "... when thou hearest the minister preaching the truth, thou hearest not him, but the Son of God, the teacher of all truth, Christ Jesus" (Theology of the English Reformers, p. 125).

William Perkins (1558-1602): "Thus every [preacher’s] task is to speak partly as the voice of God (in preaching), and partly as the voice of the people (in praying): ‘If you take out the precious from the vile, You shall be as My mouth’ (Jer. 15:19)" (The Art of Prophesying, p. 7).

Westminster Larger Catechism, Q. & A. 160: "What is required of those that hear the word preached? It is required of those that hear the word preached, that they attend upon it with diligence, preparation, and prayer; examine what they hear by the scriptures; receive the truth with faith, love, meekness, and readiness of mind, as the word of God ..."

Jeremiah Burroughs (a member of the Westminster Assembly): "First, when you come to hear the Word, if you would sanctify God’s name, you must possess your souls with what it is you are going to hear, that what you are going to hear is the Word of God. It is not the speaking of a man you are going to attend, but you are now going to attend upon God and to hear the Word of the Eternal God ... Therefore you find that the Apostle, writing to the Thessalonians, gives them the reason why the Word did them as much good as it did. It was because they heard it as the Word of God, I Thess. 2:13 ... Mark, so it came effectually to work because they received it as the Word of God. Many times you will say, ‘Come, let us go hear a man preach.’ Oh no, let us go hear Christ preach, for as it concerns the ministers of God that they preach not themselves, but that Christ should preach in them, so it concerns you that hear not to come to hear this man or that man, but to come to hear Jesus Christ" (Gospel Worship, p. 200).

Wilhelmus รก Brakel (1635-1711): The minister must "remind himself in a lively manner that God has sent him, that he ascends the pulpit as an ambassador of God, speaks in the name of God, and is as the mouth of the Lord unto the congregation" (The Christian’s Reasonable Service, vol. 2, p. 138).

W. Sanday & A. C. Headlam (critical scholars) on Romans 10:14: "‘how can they believe on Him whom they have not heard preaching?’ ... must be so translated, and what follows must be interpreted by assuming that the preaching of Christ’s messengers is identical with the preaching of Christ Himself." 

D. M. Lloyd-Jones: "It is not only man preaching, as he says to the Thessalonians in I Thessalonians 2:13: You listened, he says to them, and you realized it was not merely the word of man but it was indeed what it actually is, the Word of God. This is his preaching, and this should be true of our preaching" (Knowing the Times, p. 276).

John Murray on Romans 10:14: "... Christ is represented as being heard in the gospel when proclaimed by the sent messengers. The implication is that Christ speaks in the gospel proclamation."

Herman Hoeksema: "Through the preaching it pleases God through Christ, the exalted Lord, the chief prophet of God, who alone gathers his church, to speak to his people unto salvation. This is evident from Romans 10:14, which, according to the original, asks, 'How shall they believe in him whom they have not heard?' Through the preaching, therefore, you do not hear about Christ, but you hear him. The difference is easily understood. When you hear about or of someone, he is not present. You do not hear his own voice, but the voice of someone else who tells you something about him. But when you hear someone, you hear his own voice. He is present with you. He is addressing you personally. This is the sense of Romans 10:14, which teaches that you cannot believe in Christ unless you have heard him speak to you, unless you have heard his word addressed to you. This is exactly the meaning of the words, 'How shall they believe in him whom they have not heard?'" (Reformed Dogmatics, vol. 2, p. 289).

Leon Morris: "... Christ is present in the preachers; to hear them is to hear him."

James Montgomery Boice: "‘He who listens to you listens to me [Christ]’ and ‘he who rejects you reject me’ (Luke 10:16). It is the same today. When I (or any other minister) stand up to teach the Bible, if I do it rightly, it is not my word you are hearing. It is the Word of God, and the voice you hear in your heart is the voice of Christ. So, if you do not like what I am saying, do not get angry with me. I am only the postman. My job is just to deliver the letters. And when you respond, do not think that you are responding to me. You are responding to Jesus, who is calling you through the appointed channel of sound preaching" (Romans, vol. 3, p. 1241).

J. I. Packer: "A true sermon is an act of God, and not a mere performance by man. In real preaching the speaker is the servant of the Word & God speaks & works by the Word through his servant’s lips ... The sermon ... is God’s ordained means of speaking and working."

Klaas Runia: "The Pauline Epistles frequently use such expressions as ‘the word of God’ or ‘the word of the Lord’ or, in an even shorter formula, ‘the word’ (cf. 1 Thess. 1:6, 8; 3:1; Col. 4:33; II Tim. 2:9; 4:1; etc.). In all these passages the terms refer to the preached word. This is also the reason why the word preached by Paul and the others is effective. This efficacy is not due to the talents of the preacher, but the secret lies in the genitive: it is the word of God or of the Lord. In the apostolic message (the emphasis being always on the content) the voice of the living God is being heard. This emphasis was shared by the Reformers. Both Luther and Calvin were convinced that, when the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ is being proclaimed, God himself is heard by the listeners" (New Dictionary of Theology, p. 529).

Edmund Clowney: "As [ministers] are obliged to preach, so others are obliged to hear. Their message must be received as the word of God (I Thess. 2:13)" (Called to the Ministry, p. 50).

Hughes Oliphant Old: "Fides ex auditu [faith comes by hearing] is a corollary to a strong Augustinian theology which believes that it is essentially God himself who reaches out to his people in the preaching of the word, and therefore it is what God does in and through these means of grace which makes them effective. That faith comes by hearing follows naturally from the doctrine of grace ... when the word of Christ is truly preached, then Christ is present" (The Reading and Preaching of the Scriptures, vol. 1, pp. 183, 186).

J. Mark Beach: "... according to the classical Reformed tradition, the preaching of the Word of God is the Word of God. Or to state it more accurately, preaching, when accompanied by the Spirit’s presence and power, is Christ’s living voice to the church and world today. Christ is really present in the preaching of the gospel" ("The Real Presence of Christ in the Preaching of the Gospel," Mid America Journal of Theology, 1999, p. 77).

Robert Spinney (American Baptist): "Good preaching is not merely correct proclamation of the truth; it is God himself proclaiming his Truth ..." ("Looking for Grace in All the Wrong Places: The Marginalization of Preaching," Modern Reformation, Nov./Dec. 2000, p. 38).

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This list of quotes is from the web site of Covenant Protestant Reformed Church, Northern Ireland.

Related Article: from Luther and Calvin on the Nature of Preaching. Please take the time to read this excellent article by J. Mark Beach.

"There is no such thing as a wise atheist"



Atheist: 
"I need proof. Are you telling me that I am unwise in refusing to believe in something that I can not see?"

Eddie Eddings:
"...you can't believe in everything you SEE either. Photoshop, TV and movies can attest to that.

Love is something you can't see but I'm pretty sure you believe in it.

The "unwise" part in the life of an atheist is his or her neglecting so great a salvation.

You can't SEE your future but, you definitely have an eternal one.

I have no way to "prove" this to you. But, proof will come eventually.

Inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once, and after this, judgment. I would consider gambling with your soul an unwise practice."

Calvinistic Cartoons

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Happy 502nd Birthday John Calvin

John Calvin was born on July 10, 1509. He was one of the most significant figures in the Reformation. His scholarly writing, and preaching were instrumental in returning the church to the true gospel.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

GOSPEL WEEKEND: "JUSTIFICATION"

I am slowly making my way through Derek Thomas' book, How the Gospel Brings Us All the Way Home.  It is not a long book, only about 140 pages.  One could easily complete it in a day.  It is not difficult reading.  The subject matter does not extend beyond the essential doctrines of the Christian Faith.  But I find myself needing to pause frequently to meditate on what I have just read, even after a paragtaph or two. As the author of Hebrews says, "...we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip."[1]   Today, the Gospel is being diluted in many nominal Christian churches and "ministries."  Besides that, there is the temptation in all of us to lose the appreciation of how great the Gospel is, and need to be reminded of how our Father loves us, and how through the Holy Spirit, is transforming us into the image of Christ.

The following quote is from the chapter I read this morning.  It covers Romans 8:28-30, the beloved passage known to many as "The Golden Chain of Salvation."

"...[J]ustified.  We are called into union with Jesus Christ, and thereby we find ourselves in a right relationship with God.  God judicially credits our sins to Jesus Christ, and credits Christ's righteousness to us.  By faith, we receive all that Christ has done for us, propitiating God's wrath against sin by His sufferings on the cross on our behalf.  Through an act of substitution, Jesus is reckoned sin and judged accordingly, and we are reckoned "the righteousness of God" in union with Christ and accepted into fellowship with God (cf. 2 Cor. 5:20-21).

Being "justified by faith we have peace with God"  (Rom. 5:1)"


[1] Heb. 2:1
"Romans 8 is a description of the Christian life...from justification to glorification, from trial and suffering to the peace and tranquility of the new heavens and new earth."   __ DEREK W. H. THOMAS

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

100

Today, July 6th, is my father, Bernard B. Boyd's birthday. He would have been 100 years old.

Dad was born in Washington, D.C. to Edgar and Nellie (Pritchard) Boyd. They lived in the John Jay apartments on East Capitol Street, three blocks from the capitol building. He had one brother, Rheymond, and two sisters, Eleanor and Marye. When he was a boy, his best friend was Henry Camper. Henry was to one day become my father's brother-in-law, when he married Marye.

My father would spend summers at Aunt Louie's farm near Linden, Virginia in the Blue Ridge Mountains. He loved that region, and the nearby Shenandoah Valley. He would also spend time with family in Front Royal. As fond as he was of the Blue Ridge area, he had developed "wanderlust," and was always curious to discover what was over that ridge on the horizon. In a few years he would head west, but at the age of 18 his desire to travel would first lead him to hitch-hike to New York, where he joined the Merchant Marine. He sent a telegram to his father with the message: "PLEASE WIRE ME TWENTY DOLLARS. I AM GOING TO EUROPE." His father responded: "HERE IS A HUNDRED DOLLARS. GO AROUND THE WORLD."

During the Great Depression, Dad set off across the country, finding odd jobs along the way. The journey took him to Montana, where he worked on a ranch, then to Oregon, and finally down the Pacific coast to Los Angeles, California. His Aunt Edda owned an apartment building on 37th Place, across from the University of Southern California. He lived there and found work doing roofing and siding.

When the United States entered World War 2, Dad was drafted into the Army. He was assigned to the 6th Armored Division at Fort Knox, Ky. Soon, the division was sent to Louisiana for training, and that is where Bernard Boyd met Effie Droddy (my mother). After the 6th went to California for more training, he sent for her. She took a train to Los Angeles, and they were married in January of 1943.

The  next day after returning from their  honeymoon in Oakland, (Yes, Oakland) the 6th Armored shipped out for England. His bride got a job as a teller at Security First National Bank. On July 18 and 19th, 1944, the 6th Armored Division landed on Utah beach in Normandy, six weeks after the D-Day invasion of Europe. Among the notable operations that they participated in was the Battle of the Bulge and the liberation of  the Buchenwald concentration camp .

 After Dad returned from the war, he bought a fishing boat, the Bonnie Margaret, and became a commercial fisherman. He operated out of San Pedro. Eventually, he saw the need to be closer to his family (by then, my brother Keith and I had been born). He sold the boat, got his contractors license, and established his own roofing business (like his father before him). In 1955 our family (which now included my sister Carol) moved to Anaheim. There was a construction boom in Orange County and we needed to live closer to where Dad's work was.

After many years in construction, Dad decided to go into the R.V. business. He bought Bush Buggy Center, a dune buggy shop in Garden Grove, and re-named it Boyd's Buggy Center. The shop was very popular with off-road enthusiasts. After my mother's death, and then his having heart surgery, Dad closed the Buggy shop and retired at the age of 76. His quintuple bypass, and later surgery for an aortic aneurysm , only slowed him down temporarily. He remained strong and active, even flying back to North Carolina to visit his sister Eleanor, until just before he died at the age of 83.

This has only been a brief snapshot of some of the events of my Father's life. Later, I may write something about my personal memories of him and times we shared.


Bernard Blair Boyd was baptised on Palm Sunday, 1921, at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Washington D.C.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

INDEPENDENCE DAY

The Blue Angels, United States Navy flight Demonstration Squadron
USAF Thunderbirds
Courtesy creativecommons

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Mind Set On The Spirit

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"A Beethoven piano sonata, a painting by Rembrandt, a poem by Wordsworth - these are among the most sublime artifacts of human creation and have the capacity to reach beyond the authors' grasp. But none of these works can sit alongside the simplicity of the words in the prologue of John's Gospel: 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.' (John 1:1) Here we are on another level, a dimension to which the natural man has no access."     _____Derek W. H. Thomas

This quote is from the book I am currently reading, How The Gospel Brings Us All The Way Home, by Derek Thomas. (Reformation Trust Publishing) It is about Romans 8, which the author calls, "THE BEST CHAPTER IN THE BIBLE," and, "the heart of the Epistle to the Romans."

I have made one of the aims in my life to know the Gospel as well as I am able to (by the grace of God, even beyond my own ability). When I first saw Derek Thomas' latest book advertised on line, along with a sneak preview of the entire first chapter to tempt me, I decided to make How The Gospel Brings Us All The Way Home part of my summer reading. This volume has exceeded my expectations by shedding light on some facets of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ that should illuminate the Christian's heart and mind. 

TELL THE GOSPEL,
AND TELL IT WELL.