Posted by: reiterations | August 28, 2015

Regarding the Trinity

Since there is only one form of Godhead in the indivisible unity of His self-revelation as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we believe that He is eternally triune in Himself.  It is, indeed, through the Trinity that we believe in the unity of God, but it is also through acknowledgement of the oneness and identity of being in the Son and the Spirit with the Father that faith in the holy Trinity takes its perfect and full form.  This is the doctrine of God as Trinity in unity and unity in Trinity.  It is hardly surprising, therefore, that Athanasius should equate theologia, in its deepest sense as the knowledge and worship of God as He is known both through Jesus Christ and in the Holy Spirit and as He is eternally in Himself, with the doctrine of the holy Trinity.

From: Trinitarian Perspectives: Toward Doctrinal Agreement by Thomas F. Torrance (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1994), pp. 7-8.

Posted by: reiterations | August 27, 2015

Coram Deo

By the Spirit’s work in our hearts, we should regularly renew our commitment to remain faithful to our Creator.  As we seek to understand the Lord’s ways as they are revealed in His Word, He will grant us comprehension as we determine to do what He says.  We will not be perfect in this, of course, but we should see a general determination to do all that the Lord has commanded us to do throughout our lives.  May God grant us the grace to do what He commands. – Tabletalk, Volume 39, Number 8 (August, 2015), p. 39.  Meditation on Psalm 119.105-112 for Monday, August 10th.

Posted by: reiterations | August 26, 2015

Christianity Indispensable to Science

Apart from God, for minds which do not allow themselves to be influenced by practical prejudices, there remains nothing but scepticism, which is the suicide of reason: God is not, indeed, the explanation of anything.  That is the reason why the effort which leads to the establishment of science is necessary.  But, He is the reason of all things, and this fact renders religious affirmation indispensable to science as a guarantee of the reality of its objective.  How, otherwise, could we know that this vision of a palpable and ponderable world is not a gigantic hallucination, the creation of an ego more unreal still?

From: An Introduction to Reformed Dogmatics by Auguste Lecerf; translated from the French by S. L-H; Lutterworth Library series, Volume 28 (London: Lutterworth Press, 1949), p. 252.  The excerpted portion is from the original French volume, Du Fondement et de la Specification de la Connaisance Religieuse (1938).

Posted by: reiterations | August 25, 2015

On Being Called to Account

When a man believes that all these things shall be on fire ere long, that heaven and earth shall fall in pieces, that we shall be called to give an account, and that, before that time, we may be taken away, is it not a wonder we stand so long when cities’ stone walls fall and kingdoms come to sudden periods?  When faith apprehends and sets this to the eye of the soul, it affects the same marvelously.  Therefore, let faith set before the soul some present thoughts according to its temper: sometimes terrible things to awaken it out of its dullness, sometimes glorious things, promises, and mercies to awaken it out of its sadness, etc.  When we are in a prosperous estate, let faith make present all the sins and temptations that usually accompany such an estate, as pride, security, self-applause, and the like.  If in adversity, think also of what sins may beset us there.  This will awaken up such graces in us as are suitable to such an estate for the preventing of such sins and temptations, and so keep our hearts in “exercise to godliness” (1 Timothy 4.7) than which nothing will more prevent sleeping.

From: The Love of Christ: Expository Sermons on Verses from Song of Solomon Chapters 4-6 by Richard Sibbes; reprint (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2011), p. 87.  The excerpt is from Sermon 4 on Song of Solomon 5.2.  Originally published in 1639 under the title Bowels Opened.  The Banner of Truth Trust reprint is from Volume 2 of the 1862 Nichol edition of The Complete Works of Richard Sibbes.

Posted by: reiterations | August 24, 2015

Christ and the New Testament Writers

Now, then, note that, if this be our Lord’s meaning here, Jesus Christ plainly anticipated that, after His departure from Earth, there should be a development of Christian doctrine.  We are often taunted with the fact, which is exaggerated for the purpose of controversy, that a clear and full statement of the central truths which orthodox Christianity holds is found, rather, in the apostolic epistles than in the Master’s words, and the shallow axiom is often quoted with great approbation: “Jesus Christ is our Master, and not Paul.”

I do not grant that the germs and the central truths of the gospel are not to be found in Christ’s words, but I admit that the full, articulate statement of them is to be found, rather, in the servant’s letters, and I say that that is exactly what Jesus Christ told us to expect – that, after He was gone, words that had been all obscure and thoughts that had been only fragmentarily intelligible would come to be seen clearly and would be discerned for what they were.  The earlier disciples had only a very partial grasp of Christ’s nature.  They knew next to nothing of the great doctrine of sacrifice.  They knew nothing about the resurrection.  They did not, in the least, understand that He was going back to heaven.  They had but glimmering conceptions of the spirituality or universality of His kingdom.  While they were listening to Him at that table, they did not believe in the atonement, but they dimly believed in the divinity of Jesus Christ.  They did not believe in His resurrection.  They did not believe in His ascension.  They did not believe that He was founding a spiritual kingdom, a kingdom that was to rule over all the world until the end of time.  None of these truths were in their minds.  They had all been in germ in His words.  And, after He was gone, there came over them a breath of the teaching of the Spirit and the unintelligible flashed up into significance.

The history of the church is the proof of the truth of this promise and, if anybody says to me, “Where is the fulfillment of the promise of a Spirit who will bring all things to your remembrance?,” I say, “Here, in this book!”  These four gospels, these apostolic epistles, show that the word which our Lord here speaks has been gloriously fulfilled.  Christ anticipated a development of doctrine, and it casts no slur or suspicion on the truthfulness of the apostolic representation of Christian truths that they are only sparsely and fragmentarily to be found in the records of Christ’s life. – Alexander Maclaren (1826-1910), from a meditation on John 14.25-26.

Posted by: reiterations | August 23, 2015

For the Lord’s Day (395)

A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed.  Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established.  If a malicious witness arises to accuse a person of wrongdoing, then both parties to the dispute shall appear before the Lord, before the priests and the judges who are in office in those days.  The judges shall inquire diligently and, if the witness is a false witness and has accused his brother falsely, then you shall do to him as he had meant to do to his brother.  So you shall purge the evil from your midst.  And the rest shall hear and fear and shall never again commit any such evil among you.  Your eye shall not pity.  It shall be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.  (Deuteronomy 19.15-21)

(This is post number 2,800, by the way.)

Posted by: reiterations | August 22, 2015

Saturday Spurgeon (1)

To be with Jesus in the rest which remains for the people of God is a cheering hope indeed, and to expect this glory so soon is a double bliss.  Unbelief shudders at the Jordan which still rolls between us and the goodly land, but let us rest assured that we have already experienced more ills than death, at its worst, can cause us.  Let us banish every fearful thought and rejoice, with exceeding joy, in the prospect that this year we shall begin to be “forever with the Lord.” – Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892), from a meditation on Joshua 5.12.

Posted by: reiterations | August 21, 2015

What Faith Can Do

Faith is the sight of the soul, and it is far better than the sight of the senses.  It is more direct.  My eye does not touch what I look at.  Gulfs of millions of miles may lie between me and it.  But my faith is not only eye, but hand, and not only beholds, but grasps, and comes into contact with that which it is directed.  It is far more clear.  Sense may deceive.  Faith, built upon His Word, cannot deceive.  Its information is far more certain, far more valid. – Alexander Maclaren (1826-1910), from a meditation on John 14.18-19.

Posted by: reiterations | August 20, 2015

Describing Deism

The crucial feature here is a change in the understanding of God and His relation to the world.  That is, there is a drift away from orthodox Christian conceptions of God as an agent interacting with humans and intervening in human history and towards God as architect of a universe operating by unchanging laws which humans have to conform to or suffer the consequences.  In a wider perspective, this can be seen as a move along a continuum from a view of the supreme being with powers analogous to what we know as agency and personality and exercising them continually in relation to us to a view of this being as related to us only through the law-governed structure He has created and ending with a view of our condition as at grips with an indifferent universe, with God either indifferent or non-existent.  From this perspective, Deism can be seen as a half-way house on the road to contemporary atheism.

According to a conception widely canvassed in the Enlightenment and since, what powers the movement along this continuum, either to its half-way mark or all the way, is reason itself.  We discover that certain of the features of the original view are untenable and we end up adopting what remains after the unacceptable elements have been peeled off, be this some kind of Deism, or world-soul, or cosmic force, or blank atheism.  Each variant has its designated end-point.  That of Voltaire is not that of today’s scientific materalists.  But, whatever end-point a variant enshrines is seen as the truth, the residual kernel of fact underlying the husk of invention or superstition which used to surround it.  We’re dealing with the classic subtraction story.

From: A Secular Age by Charles Taylor (Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007), p. 270.

Charles Taylor (born in 1931) is a Canadian philosopher, educator, and author.

Posted by: reiterations | August 19, 2015

Keeping the Church Pure

To adulterate the church is to pollute a well, to pour water upon fire, to sow a fertile field with stones.  May we all have grace to maintain, in our own proper way, the purity of the church as being an assembly of believers and not a nation, an unsaved community of unconverted men. – Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892), from a meditation on Jeremiah 51.51.

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