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No Such Thing as Grace

Originally posted on Live Life! God's way:

I’ve been blessed this summer to be working through “Newton on the Christian Life,” an excellent book by Tony Reinke. (Crossway)

A few extracts from the chapter entitled, “Amazing Grace”….. He entitles this section – “No Such “Thing” as Grace.” (emphasis – bold or CAPITALIZATION is mine – K.E.)

“The absence of the word ‘grace’ from my book title and subtitle is not accidental. By personifying grace, “Amazing Grace” can be somewhat mileading to modern readers. It is certainly not wrong to put verbs after grace (e.g. Titus 2:11)

Grace saves wretches.

Grace searches out lost sinners.

Grace removes spiritual blindness and gives spiritual sight.

Grace teaches us to fear God.

Grace relieves fear.

But in our modern culture, where ‘grace’ has become a synonymn for kindness, “Amazing Grace’ becomes a sort of hymn to the transforming power of niceness or, a little better, grace becomes abstracted divine benevolence…

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M’Cheyne on the New Covenant

Originally posted on Contrast:

From Robert M’Cheyne’s “The New Covenant” reprinted in Spurgeon’s Sword and Trowel in 1870.

First of all, let us inquire into the covenants that are spoken of in the word of God.—The first covenant that is mentioned in the word of God is the covenant of works, which was made in Paradise with Adam. Now, it is evident that it is not called a covenant in the Bible, and therefore it has been quarreled with by some people, —namely, our calling it a covenant ; but if we look at the transaction, we will see, that, by whatever name we call it, it was a covenant or agreement. When God placed Adam in the garden of Eden, he promised that he would give him life on condition of perfect obedience. We have no mention, indeed, of the promise ; but the ever-green tree of life showed, that it would…

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Reflections on the Collapse of the American Republic

Originally posted on chantrynotes:

fireworks So now that the fireworks are over…

As I told my people yesterday morning, I endeavor to never do two things in our church: preach the newspaper and preach the secular calendar. Nevertheless, I did both in one sermon, noting the passage of the republic’s birthday with a sermon addressing its recent demise.

And why do I say that the Republic has collapsed?

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Expositional Preaching is ‘Empowered Preaching’

Originally posted on Via Emmaus:

empoweredLast month I attended a Charles Simeon Trust workshop with about 40–50 pastors in Indianapolis, Indiana. As a preacher unapologetically-committed to expositional preaching, I was deeply encouraged to join such large number of other ‘expositors.’

In the three-day seminar, we walked through the whole book of 2 Timothy and ‘worked out’ with a number of hermeneutic tools (i.e., reading strategies) for understanding and preaching epistles. Space doesn’t permit me to share all the highlights of seminar, but one thing is worth mentioning: In defining expositional preaching, David Helm reshaped my thinking about exposition with his emphasis on “empowered preaching.” He defined expositional preaching as “empowered preaching that rightfully submits the shape and emphasis of the sermon to the shape and emphasis of a biblical text.”

Helm’s point is that “expositional preaching” is not just limpidly restating the truths of Scripture. Empowered preaching is Spirit-filled preaching that reveals the living Christ through the…

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Believing and Belonging: Which is the Source for True Fellowship?

Originally posted on Via Emmaus:

fellowsThe next time you read through the books of Acts, underline every time you find the word “believe.” At the same time, circle every time you find a mention of the Scriptures, the word, or preaching. What you will soon discover is how radically committed the New Testament church was to proclaiming the Word of God and calling for belief in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Everywhere the apostles went they proclaimed the Word. Empowered by the Spirit, they were called to be witnesses (Acts 1:8). Indeed, filled with the Spirit they fulfilled their calling of proclaiming the Word (Acts 4:31). As a result, in just a few short decades churches were planted all over the Mediterranean. And within three centuries, the early church would become the dominant world religion.

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John Newton and Encouragement in Dark Times

Originally posted on Every Last One:

Soon, my family and I will be alone in the tribe, and, I anticipate, our marriage, our parenthood, and our relationship with our Savior will face some difficult tests. 7-8 months from now, when the Williams’ return, we’ll be different people – we’ll have gone through a gauntlet of trials handed down by our Shepherd to draw us nearer to Him, conform us to His likeness, and to shape our affections: negatively, away from the transient; positively, towards the only Person who can satisfy the longings of our hearts.

God has graciously used this text and John Newton’s insight to catch our attention and prepare our hearts for what’s ahead:

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
Therefore I…

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Coming Soon – God without Passions: A Primer

Originally posted on Particular Voices:

Back in January, I announced God without Passions: A Reader. The intent of this book was to provide access to original source writings from the 16th and 17th centuries relevant to the classical confessional Reformed doctrine of divine impassibility. While that book included an introduction designed to help understanding and processing the authors’ arguments, there were no further comments on the content of the writers.

Coming out very soon from RBAP, God without Passions: A Primer is a new (and much shorter) book that explains the doctrine of divine impassibility as it is drawn from the Scriptures and understood in the contexts of the human and divine natures. God without Passions: A Primer has been peppered (and salted) with quotations from Reformed authors (their language updated), written with a personal and pastoral perspective, and it includes study questions at the end of each of the five chapters. The chapters…

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An Addendum on “Reality”

Originally posted on chantrynotes:

argument Another Irenic Day on the Internet

I know some of my readers understood yesterday’s post perfectly; others perhaps did not. I thought I would add a quick word of clarification, which may not help anyone who is committed to one or another of the narratives of the Duggar disaster.

I thought I was obvious enough when I opened by saying, “Truth be told, I don’t know much about what happened, or about how it was handled.” (emphasis today) Nothing in my post addressed the question of whether or not parents are required to report crime to the police, and nothing in the post addressed the question of whether or not the Duggars did so adequately. I don’t know, and frankly, it is not my concern. When I spoke of “privacy,” I was talking about something altogether different.

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A Severe Mercy: Rediscovering the Holiness of God

Originally posted on Via Emmaus:

ok
Note then the kindness and severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen,
but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness.
— Romans 11:22 —

When God created Adam and Eve, he endowed them with a holy calling to worship Him. In fact, made for God’s glory, it was the chief design of humanity to worship and serve the Creator—not only in holy assembly but in every human endeavor (cf. Col 3:17, 23).

Sadly, this original design was lost when the first couple rebelled against God (Gen 3:1–6). Seeking to be like God, they spurned their Creator. As Paul puts it, “For although they knew God, they did no honor him as God or give thanks to him, . . . Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images” of created things (Rom 1:21–23).

The Idolatry of…

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Questioning “Reality”

Originally posted on chantrynotes:

reality “I was merely . . . acting!”

I’m not going to say anything about the Duggars scandal per se. Truth be told, I don’t know much about what happened, or about how it was handled. I don’t want to know. It’s frankly none of my business. I do, however have something to say to the Duggars’ fans. It’s simple, really: What did you expect?

I have never really understood the “Reality TV” phenomenon. I don’t find any of it the least bit interesting. It is all quite obviously scripted, and the main difference between Reality TV and traditional TV is that in the traditional version the canned lines were at least delivered by trained experts. Reality TV is more like watching an eighth grade play; most of the roles are filled by people who will never, no matter how hard they try, be actors.

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