Sunday, November 9, 2014
Saturday, August 30, 2014
Jellyfish Christianity by J.C. Ryle
The Pastoral Office
Pastors ought never to be spineless jellyfish.
by J.C. Ryle
The consequences of this widespread dislike to distinct biblical doctrine are very serious. Whether we like it or not, it is an epidemic which is doing great harm, and especially among young people. It creates, fosters, and keeps up an immense amount of instability in religion. It produces what I must venture to call, if I may coin the phrase, a ‘jelly-fish’ Christianity in the land — that is, a Christianity without bone, or muscle, or power.
A jelly-fish, as everyone who has been much by the seaside knows, is a pretty and graceful object when it floats in the sea, contracting and expanding like a little delicate transparent umbrella. Yet the same jelly-fish, when cast on the shore, is a mere helpless lump, without capacity for movement, self-defense, or self-preservation.
Alas! it is a vivid type of much of the religion of this day, of which the leading principle is, ‘No dogma, no distinct beliefs, no doctrine.’ We have hundreds of ministers who seem not to have a single bone in their body of divinity! They have no definite opinions; they are so afraid of ‘extreme views,’ that they have no views at all. We have thousands of sermons preached every year, which are without an edge or a point or a corner — they are as smooth as marble balls, awakening no sinner, and edifying no saint!
We have legions of young men annually turned out from our universities, armed with a few scraps of second-hand philosophy, who think it a mark of cleverness and intellect to have no decided opinions about anything in religion — and to be utterly unable to make up their minds as to what is Christian truth. Their only creed, is a kind of ‘nothingism.’ They are sure and positive about nothing!
And last, and worst of all, we have myriads of respectable church-going people, who have no distinct and definite views about any point in theology. They cannot discern things that differ, any more than color-blind people can distinguish colors. They think . . .
everybody is right — and nobody is wrong,
everything is true — and nothing is false,
all sermons are good — and none are bad,
every clergyman is sound — and no clergyman unsound.
They are ‘tossed to and fro, like children, by every wind of doctrine;’ often carried away by some new excitement and sensational movement; ever ready for new things, because they have no firm grasp on the old; and utterly unable to ‘render a reason of the hope that is in them.’
All this, and much more, is the result of that effeminate dread of distinct doctrine which has been so strongly developed, and has laid such hold on many pastors in these days.
I turn from the picture I have exhibited with a sorrowful heart. I grant it is a gloomy one; but I am afraid it is only too accurate and true. Let us not deceive ourselves. Distinct and definitive doctrine is at a premium just now. Instability and unsettled notions are the natural result, and meet us in every direction.
Cleverness and earnestness are the favorite idols of the age!
What a man says matters nothing — however strange and heterogeneous are the opinions he expresses! If he is only brilliant and ‘earnest’ — he cannot be wrong! Never was it so important for believers to hold sound systematic views of truth, and for ministers to ‘enunciate doctrine’ very clearly and distinctly in their teaching.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Life has a funny way of repeating itself...or better yet, recycling itself. You're never quite sure what place or thing will come back into your life again when you thought you parted ways with it forever. Perhaps we did not take advantage or appreciate those things which God thought we ought to have and so placed them back into our lives again. And it always seems to evoke them same response: "wow. I never realized how great it was". Life is funny that way.
Of course it can be the other way around. It can be something horribly negative. Something you dread returning back to you finding its way back to you again.
Something happened to me today that may be one or the other. I'm not sure... I'm hoping for the former, but only time will tell.
Friday, July 25, 2014
Hebrews 3:13 KJV
"But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin."
Sin is a terrible thing in the life of a believer. It is perhaps the only real evil one can experience as a christian. Certainly, we all can experience bad things,and most certainly do, but there is still an assurance of happiness and bliss in the midst of it (acts 16:25). However, with sin it is not so, but an expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God (Hebrews 10:25). In sin there is no hope for Rejoicing.
I have been in a rather sorry state for a while over my failings. Things which I am too ashamed to make known. Shame and guilt work like the venom of the sting of death. They make you cripple in the sense that they make you ineffective for any positive change (i.e. progression). Sins guilt keeps a brother from speaking to another and keeps his sin bubbling inside him like venom. The evil one taunts us with the moniker of a hypocrite. But many times that is not so. For the unbeliever that certainly is so,but for the believer, he or she may hold back for other reasons. Have grace.
Pray for me. You reader. You're the only one I've told and yet I haven't told you anything. Yet pay with the restful assurance that God knows.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Anyone Not Against Us Is For Us9:49 John answered, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.” 50 But Jesus said to him, “Do not stop him, for the one who is not against you is for you.”
Jesus sends out the twelve in the beginning of Luke 9. He endows them with supernatural powers of the Spirit to cast out demons and to cure diseases (Luke 9:1). They now, upon their return (most likely many days after due to all the events that occurred post their return 9:10-48), tell Christ of a man they rebuked. They apparently saw him during this time in-between, apparently this gift to remove spirits was not present in this era and was exclusively a power belonging to Christ prior to his sending his twelve out. Certainly if this fringe Christian had this ability prior this time, those closest to Christ would have this ability without Christ having to bestow it upon them. This fellow undoubtedly must have witnessed the Apostles perform a casting out of a demon and sought to imitate them. This was most likely out of a desire to aid Christ’s kingdom and not for his own glory, for Christ says he is "for Him". (The apostle Paul also speaks of people who perform religious acts in the name of Christ, but he does not say they are necessarily for him, but that they are doing a thing that aids Christ’s kingdom, Philippians 1:15-18. Even the devil unwittingly aids God's kingdom yet we would never assume his is "for Christ" because of it.)
Let's look closer at verse 50 . . .
There's much that can be said about this verse, but let us focus on the topic at hand, which is total depravity. "the one who is not against you is for you". A definitive statement that can be said in reverse: no one who if for you is against you. It's pretty much stating the obvious. "My disciples, isn't it clear that if he is not against you he is for you? Why are you rebuking him, therefore?" We can deduce from this that there is no way you can be "not against" Christ and at the same time not "for Christ". THERE IS NO NEUTRAL GROUND. Many arminians assume that the natural man is not too hostile to God. They are not spiritually dead, but sick. Their lip-service to total depravity is a contradiction. If total depravity falls short of causing a man to be spiritually dead it is totally lacking. The natural men are at enmity with God (Col. 1:21).
We mind as well cover all possible scenarios
Can you be against "against Christ" and "for Christ", obviously not (though we have already discussed how we can be God's enemies and yet still in God's wisdom and in man's foolishness still work to advance the kingdom of God. In a very practical sense). Can a man be "against Christ" and "not for Christ", of course, and this is the only other option. Christ says if he is for you he is for Christ and is a believer, if not, then he is lost and against you.