Spurgeon on the “Business” of Prayer

“Some brethren get up in our prayer meetings, and say some very good things; but what they really ask for, I am sure I do not know. I have heard prayers of which I have said, when they were over, ‘Well, if God answers that prayer, I have not the least idea of what he will give us.’ It was a very beautiful prayer, and there was a great deal of explanation of doctrine and experience in it; but I do not think that God needs to have doctrine or experience explained to him. The fault about the prayer was, that there was not anything asked for in it. I like, when brethren are praying, that they should be as business-like as a good carpenter at his work. It is of no use to have a hammer with an ivory handle, unless you aim it at the nail you intend to drive in up to the head; and if that is your object, an ordinary hammer will do just as well as a fine one, perhaps better…

“When I pray, I like to go to God just as I go to a banker when I have a cheque to be cashed. I walk in, put the cheque down on the counter, the clerk gives me my money, I take it up, and go about my business. I do not know that I ever stopped in a bank five minutes to talk with the clerks; when I have received my change, I go away and attend to other matters. That is how I like to pray; but there is a way of praying that seems like lounging near the mercy-seat, as though one had no particular reason for being found there. Let it not be so with you, brethren. Plead the promise, believe it, receive the blessing God is ready to give, and go about your business.”

-Charles Haddon Spurgeon, “The Two Guards, Praying and Watching” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 38 (London: Passmore & Alabaster), 206-207.

A Review of James Dolezal’s “All That Is in God”

I really wish I had not waited as long as I did to read James Dolezal’s 2017 book All That Is in God: Evangelical Theology and the Challenge of Classical Christian Theism (Reformation Heritage, 2017). As it is, I only picked it up a month or so ago, but I would have picked it up much sooner if I had realized what an important book this is. It’s only 137 pages, but it is without question one of the most significant books that I have ever read. I don’t agree with everything in this book. In fact, there are parts of it that I found quite frustrating. Nevertheless, the main thesis of this book is one that needs to seep down into every nook and cranny of evangelical theology. Continue Reading →

Amazon bans books on “conversion therapy”

I am a Christian. I hold to what Christians have always believed about sexuality—that the only legitimate context for sexual activity is between one man and one woman in the covenant of marriage. Any other kind of sexual activity—including the homosexual kind—is against God’s design for His creation and is prohibited by scripture. I also believe that we are all sexual sinners of some sort. 

Nevetheless, I affirm that the grace of God in Christ gives both merciful pardon and transforming power, and that this pardon and power enable a follower of Jesus to put to death sinful desires and to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord. I deny that the grace of God in Christ is insufficient to forgive all sexual sins and to give power for holiness to every believer who feels drawn into sexual sin.

This is all standard fare Christian doctrine. It is the unbroken testimony of the Christian church for its entire 2,000-year history. And I think—if I understand this news story correctly—it is a perspective that Amazon has banned (or is about to ban) from the books that it sells on its site. Let me explain. Continue Reading →

How a Christian Patriot Might Love His Wayward Country

I love G. K. Chesterton’s reflections on what it means to be a Christian patriot. If you have never read it, I encourage you to read “The Flag of the World” in his classic work Orthodoxy. Chesterton contends that love of one’s homeland is not like house-hunting—an experience in which you weigh the pros and cons of a place and choose accordingly. He writes:

A man belongs to this world before he begins to ask if it is nice to belong to it. He has fought for the flag, and often won heroic victories for the flag long before he has ever enlisted. To put shortly what seems the essential matter, he has a loyalty long before he has any admiration.

We do not choose our homeland. It is something that we are born into. Thus our acceptance of our home is not like a house that we can leave when we tire of it. It is like the love we have for our family: Continue Reading →

The PCA General Assembly Affirms the Nashville Statement

Last night I stayed up until after 1am watching the annual General Assembly (GA) of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). The debate went into the wee hours of the night because the assembly had several measures before it relating to sexuality and gender identity. The most controversial measure was Overture 4, which is titled “Declare the Council on Biblical Manhood & Womanhood’s ‘Nashville Statement’on Biblical Sexuality as a Biblically Faithful Declaration.”

Overture 4 is remarkable not only because it affirms the Nashville Statement, but also because it calls on the PCA to use the Nashville Statement in discipleship materials produced by the denomination. Here are the relevant lines from the overture: Continue Reading →

LGBT Pride Month as Religious Observance

Joe Carter has a really important article about LGBT Pride Month as a religious observance. You need to read the whole thing, but here is the heart of it:

Because the LGBT agenda of normalizing homosexuality and transgenderism conflicts with Christianity (at least in its non-apostate forms), to “eliminate prejudice” requires anathematizing the beliefs of Bible-believing Christians. In the future the celebration of LGBT views will likely be compelled. But for now, every American is simply required to choose a side.

This is why LGBT Pride Month is also, as my colleague Betsy Howard says, a form of Passover. In the original Passover, the Israelites put the blood of a lamb on the doorposts so that God would “pass over” their house and not bring judgment upon the people within (Ex, 12:7-13). Today, the American people fly a rainbow flag, wear an “ally” pin, or change their social media avatars to show they observe LGBT Pride Month. In doing so, they show they’ve bent the knee to the LGBT cause and will not incur their wrath that will be poured out those who are not “affirming.”

We should expect such submissive behavior from corporations, who have uncritically adopted “woke capitalism.” We can also expect it from government agencies, such as U.S. embassies, since they are often overseen by LGBT-affirming presidents, like Clinton, Obama, and Trump. Corporations and governments can be absolved for showing their support for anti-Christian causes. But what excuse do Christians have?

Why do so many professed believers adopt a symbol that shows the world they are opposed to God’s Word? And why do we overlook such displays of idolatry by those who claim to be both LGBT “allies” and our brothers and sisters in Christ?

Seriously, read the whole thing. The most disconcerting thing about Pride month is not that unbelievers are acting like unbelievers. That is no surprise. The most unsettling aspect of all this is how many professed Christians are accommodating themselves to this idolatry. They fly the rainbow flag in their yard or on their car or Facebook profile. It is as if they don’t understand that following Christ cannot be reconciled with celebrating sexual immorality, that there is no fellowship between light and darkness (2 Cor. 6:14).

Joe’s final question is the correct one. I hope believers who are teetering on the brink of LGBT affirmation with soberly consider it. He writes:

We do not love our neighbor when we tell they can continue to engage in unrepentant rebellion against God. We cannot continue with the “go along to get along” mentality that is leading those we claim to love to destruction. If we truly love our LGBT neighbors, we must speak the Word of God with boldness (Acts 4:31). We may have to accept the fact that those who have fallen away may not ever return, but we shouldn’t lead them to hell because we are too craven to tell them the gospel requires repentance.

We must choose whom we will serve. Will we love our neighbors and stand with the only wise God, or will we hate our LGBT friends by allying with the foolish idol-makers of LGBT Pride Month?

That is the question that no Christian can hide from.

The First Sin of the Day

O LORD OF GRACE,
I have been hasty and short in private prayer,
O quicken my conscience to feel this folly,
to bewail this ingratitude;
My first sin of the day leads into others,
and it is just that thou shouldst withdraw thy presence
from one who waited carelessly on thee.
Keep me at all times from robbing thee,
and from depriving my soul of thy due worship;
Continue Reading →

The Heart and Sin

Sin is an issue of your heart long before it is an issue of your deeds.

“He did evil because he did not set his heart to seek the Lord.”

2 Chronicles 12:14

Divine Discipline

Better to learn in the gentle classroom of God’s word than in the hard chambers of his discipline.

“So the princes of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, ‘The Lord is righteous.’ When the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah, saying, ‘They have humbled themselves so I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some measure of deliverance, and My wrath shall not be poured out on Jerusalem by means of Shishak. But they will become his slaves so that they may learn the difference between My service and the service of the kingdoms of the countries. They will become his slaves so that they may learn the difference between serving me and serving the kings of other lands.’”

2 Chronicles 12:6-8 [emphasis mine]

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