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May 2013 14 May 14, 2013

I think it was John Piper who said it, but even if not I still agree: The art of living well comes from knowing that dying is gain. Contrary to what many may think, that is not morbid. In fact, there is nothing quite as exhilarating and life-giving and joy-filled as pondering death. At least that’s true for the Christian. For most people, death remains a mystery, a dreaded, unexplored black hole in the future that threatens in the present to suck out of one’...Read More

May 2013 12 May 12, 2013

In the endless dialogue on why a good and powerful God would permit the existence of evil, no one has provided a more cogent and biblical explanation than Jonathan Edwards. It may not answer all our questions; in fact, it even raises a few new ones. But my sense is that this is as close as we’ll ever come to understanding in small measure a mystery that is ultimately beyond our grasp. That being said, let me set forth a few cautious observations about the existenc...Read More

May 2013 11 May 11, 2013

Jonathan Edwards saw a direct cause and effect relationship between the faithful and fervent prayers of God’s people and the authenticity of heaven-sent revival. "When God has something very great to accomplish for his church, 'tis his will that there should precede it the extraordinary prayers of his people; as is manifest by Ezek. 36:37, 'I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them'; . . . And 'tis revealed that when God is abo...Read More

May 2013 10 May 10, 2013

One of the objections Jonathan Edwards often heard during the course of the First Great Awakening was that if the “revival” in New England were real it would conform to revivals in the past. His response is instructive: "What the church has been used to, is not a rule by which we are to judge; because there may be new and extraordinary works of God, and he has heretofore evidently wrought in an extraordinary manner. He has brought to pass new things, stran...Read More

May 2013 9 May 9, 2013

We’ve finally come to the conclusion of this series of articles on what it means to be Reformed. Here is number 10. (10) To be Reformed means that you are a compatibilist. Many insist that God’s exhaustive foreknowledge of everything that comes to pass is incompatible with genuine human freedom of choice. If God knows everything from eternity past, all things will necessarily come to pass in precisely the way known by God. And necessity is incompatible with...Read More

May 2013 9 May 9, 2013

Jonathan Edwards wrote extensively on the nature of genuine, heaven-sent revival. During the First Great Awakening he mentioned that one of the characteristics of revival is that God accelerates and intensifies his normal manner of work. He writes: "God has also seemed to have gone out of his usual way, in the quickness of his work, and the swift progress his Spirit has made in his operations on the hearts of many. It is wonderful that persons should be so suddenly and y...Read More

May 2013 9 May 9, 2013

Although it may sound strange to many of you, consider what I believe to be the inescapable fact that (9) only the Reformed can consistently and sincerely pray for God to save souls. Here is J. I. Packer again: “You pray for the conversion of others. In what terms, now, do you intercede for them? Do you limit yourself to asking that God will bring them to a point where they can save themselves, independently of Him? I do not think you do. I think that what you ...Read More

May 2013 8 May 8, 2013

When it comes to how far is too far in pre-marital sexual activity: “I’ve never heard a Christian couple regret all they didn’t do before they were married” (Kevin Deyoung, The Hole in our Holiness, 114)....Read More

May 2013 8 May 8, 2013

The eighth dimension of a Reformed faith is the shortest of our posts, but is not for that reason less important than the others. (8) To be Reformed means that you will always resist the temptation to become pragmatic or manipulative in your evangelistic outreach. J. I. Packer explains: "While we must always remember that it is our responsibility to proclaim salvation, we must never forget that it is God who saves. It is God who brings men and women under the sound ...Read More

May 2013 7 May 7, 2013

“In more than a decade of pastoral ministry I’ve never met a Christian who was healthier, more mature, and more active in ministry by being apart from the church. But I have found the opposite to be invariably true” (Kevin DeYoung, The Hole in our Holiness, 132). May I add this one thought? In nearly four decades of pastoral ministry I've found it to be even more invariably true!...Read More