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J.C. Ryle on the Leading Marks of a Forgiven Soul


old-pathsHow do you know if your sins have been forgiven? It would be practically impossible to overstate the importance of knowing the answer to that question for oneself.

In his book, Old Paths, J.C. Ryle (1816-1900) offers five (5) distinguishing characteristics or “leading marks” of those who have truly found forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ:

  1. Forgiven souls hate sin.  If you hate only the consequences of your sins, and would really much prefer to continue in them if only the consequences were once removed, then you have good reason to question whether or not you have truly experienced the grace of forgiveness. As Ryle adds, “If you and sin are friends, you and God are not yet friends” (p.188).
  2. Forgiven souls love Christ. As Jesus says of the woman who wiped His feet with both her tears and her hair (!) in Luke 7:47, “Therefore I…

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Dozens arrested at India call center linked to IRS scam calls

Indian police have arrested 70 people and are questioning hundreds more after uncovering a massive scam to cheat thousands of Americans out of millions of dollars by posing as U.S. tax authorities …

Source: Dozens arrested at India call center linked to IRS scam calls




It may surprise you to learn that the Westminster Shorter Catechism contains a rather lengthy section (Q.41-81) dealing with the ten commandments. That is more than 40 total questions!.  In other words, well over 1/3 of the Shorter Catechism is spent focusing on this summary of the moral law of God.

That alone should be instructive to us. How much time do we as believers spend considering God’s law or meditating upon it?  Psalm 1 calls us to delight in “the law of the LORD, and so to meditate upon it “day and night” (Psalm 1:2). Frankly, how many of us meditate upon the law of God at all, much less day and night?

It may further surprise you to know that the Shorter Catechism spends no less than 6 of those questions (Q.57-62) dealing with the 4th commandment in particular. That being the case, the Westminster divines clearly saw great…

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Thoughts on the 4th Commandment (Keeping the Sabbath Holy)


Chantry SabbathIn his book, Call the Sabbath a Delight, Walter Chantry makes a simple statement that should go without saying, but actually serves as a much-needed and timely reminder in our day:

“Whether or not people keep the Sabbath holy is not an incidental or insignificant matter.” (p.12)

How do we know this to be true? Simply because it is included in the 10 commandments! (It is in God’s top 10, so to speak.) The 10 commandments contain a summary of God’s moral law (Westminster Shorter Catechism Q.41), so remembering the Sabbath to keep it holy is still just as much our moral duty before God as any of the other nine commandments. And the fact that the 4th commandment is located in the first table of the law (as commandments 1-4 are often referred to) means that it has to do particularly with love for God. In other words, remembering the Sabbath to keep…

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Working out Salvation with Fear and Trembling

Two recent events have made me think a bit about how we represent our ideals or our beliefs or ultimately our God in the world around us.

Ryan Lochte’s recent fabrication of a robbery while in Rio for the Olympics but a black mark not only on his corporate sponsors (many of which have dropped supporting him) but on the nation he represents; the United States of America. A certain decorum and behavior is expected of America’s athletes. So, when a late night party with great consumption of alcohol leads you to accuse your host nation of robbery, you don’t just make yourself look bad, you make your home nation of America look bad. 

Closer to home for us Christians, Tony Perkins, director of the Family Research Council, presumed to speak for God in the past that natural disaster in the US was judgment of God for our acceptance of…

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Eternal Subordination of the Son and CBMW

A Daughter of the Reformation

Continuing the series on books and resources where ESS/EFS/ERAS appear, this article focuses on the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW). In a recent article, CBMW’s new president, Denny Burk, attempts to distance himself and CBMW from the Trinity debate. While I appreciate the effort, the evidence shows that ESS/EFS/ERAS has been embraced and taught by many who represent CBMW from the beginning. To date there has been no statement by CBMW to reject ESS/EFS/ERAS.

John Piper and Wayne Grudem’s Recovering Biblical  Manhood and Womanhood was published in 1991 for CBMW as a collection of essays explaining their view of biblical manhood and womanhood. ESS appears in a couple of essays.

In Raymond Ortlund’s essay “Male-Female Equality and Male Headship Genesis 1-3,” he gives a more orthodox explanation of authority and submission in the Trinity, but the focus is still there:

After all, God exists as one Godhead…

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Nehemiah Coxe: Cordwainer and Confession-maker

Particular Voices

If you’d like to know a little more about Nehemiah Coxe and the probability of his involvement in the editing of the 1677 confession, the following data will be of interest to you.
The first two entries are from Thomas Pottenger, an English Baptist minister, published in the May, 1845 edition of “The Church.”

The Church, Thomas Pottinger, pdf pg 182

The Church, Thomas Pottinger, pdf pg 182 (2)

Pottenger is almost certainly reproducing the earlier work (1823) of Joseph Ivimey who, speaking of Nehemiah Coxe and his co-pastor William Collins, said:

Joseph Ivimey, Vol. III, 332

For curious readers, the background image of this blog is the Petty France church book opened to the page containing that entry.

With no other viable theory as to the identity of the editor(s) of the confession, this material provides a “strong possibility” that Coxe and Collins were indeed the co-editors of the confession. Comparison of the confession with the works of Coxe as well as Collins’ relation to the catechism bolster this…

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Assertions Are Not Arguments


lindblad Pastor Stefan Lindblad

A Guest Post from Stefan Lindblad*

An assertion is not an argument. Obvious, right? Sadly, much of the current internet imbroglio over the doctrine of the Trinity and the novel doctrine of the eternal functional subordination of the Son (henceforth EFS, and oh yes it is novel!) belies the obviousness of this basic distinction.

I realize this is a broad generalization, but let’s be honest: the battle lines have been drawn largely on twitter, a medium that is necessarily incapable of providing the space requisite for substantial analysis and argumentation. The medium is the message; and this medium provides the platform for a lot of messengers, many of them ready to assert rather than analyze and argue (biblically, theologically, and logically, of course). There is plenty of arguing; much less argumentation. But I digress.

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Confessional Orthodoxy and Evangelical Union

Particular Voices

Anon, A Brief History of Presbytery

Evangelicalism has often been criticized for its lack of creeds and confessions. Yet there has been a consistent assumption, and perhaps assertion, that since evangelicals share a common subjective commitment to the Bible they must share a common commitment to the objective deposit of doctrine and the pattern of sound words in the Bible.

In the recent controversy relating to the triunity of God, one wing of evangelicalism is now holding another wing doctrinally accountable, in brotherly love. But it is becoming clear that the common doctrinal foundation that was assumed to be shared, is not in fact shared. As a result, those being held accountable resent and oppose the accountability as an imposition of a foreign standard to which they have made no commitment. But the standard by which they are being measured is the faith of the church throughout the ages, and this on the doctrine of God…

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The Trinity-Subordinationism Debate and the Opportunity Before Us

opportunitiesIn an insightful recent post, Christopher Cleveland explains “Why the Trinitarian Controversy Was Inevitable.” Cleveland’s diagnosis is perceptive, and I would like to extend it somewhat further and also suggest a way forward in terms of the opportunities our situation presents.

Cleveland points to the neglect, and in some quarters the rejection, of properly theological work which lasted decades. This neglect was fueled by distrust of the categories and doctrines of traditional dogmatics, which more and more frequently were run through the filter of modern reconstructive (in fact destructive) criticism. No doctrine emerged from the filter unscathed; everything was reconsidered and the commitments belonging to a new and better “orthodoxy” was up for grabs.

In reaction to these developments within liberalism, conservatives predictably and importantly pushed hard on the doctrine of Scripture itself. Alongside an arguably antinomian and conversion-type model of “salvation by grace,” evangelicalism became, in essence, a position taken on the…

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