Trinity, Person, etc, as necessary to unmask false teachers


With all the fuss of late on the Trinity and Elephant Room II, I have found it interesting that my reading of Calvin’s Institutes this year has brought me to a particular section.  Book I, Chapter 13, Section 4 is titled “The church has regarded expressions like “Trinity,” “Person,” etc., as necessary to unmask false teachers.  As you probably know nothing is new under the sun.  Enjoy the section.

4. Such novelty (if novelty it should be called) becomes most requisite, when the truth is to be
maintained against calumniators who evade it by quibbling. Of this, we of the present day have too
much experience in being constantly called upon to attack the enemies of pure and sound doctrine.
These slippery snakes escape by their swift and tortuous windings, if not strenuously pursued, and
when caught, firmly held. Thus the early Christians, when harassed with the disputes which heresies
produced, were forced to declare their sentiments in terms most scrupulously exact in order that
no indirect subterfuges might remain to ungodly men, to whom ambiguity of expression was a kind
of hiding-place. Arius confessed that Christ was God, and the Son of God; because the passages
of Scripture to this effect were too clear to be resisted, and then, as if he had done well, pretended
to concur with others. But, meanwhile, he ceased not to give out that Christ was created, and had
a beginning like other creatures. To drag this man of wiles out of his lurking-places, the ancient
Church took a further step, and declared that Christ is the eternal Son of the Father, and
consubstantial with the Father. The impiety was fully disclosed when the Arians began to declare
their hatred and utter detestation of the term μ . Had their first confession—viz. that Christ
was God, been sincere and from the heart, they would not have denied that he was consubstantial
with the Father. Who dare charge those ancient writers as men of strife and contention, for having
debated so warmly, and disturbed the quiet of the Church for a single word? That little word
distinguished between Christians of pure faith and the blasphemous Arians. Next Sabellius arose,
who counted the names of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as almost nonentities; maintaining that
they were not used to mark out some distinction, but that they were different attributes of God, like
many others of a similar kind. When the matter was debated, he acknowledged his belief that the
Father was God, the Son God, the Spirit God; but then he had the evasion ready, that he had said
nothing more than if he had called God powerful, and just, and wise. Accordingly, he sung another
note—viz. that the Father was the Son, and the Holy Spirit the Father, without order or distinction.
The worthy doctors who then had the interests of piety at heart, in order to defeat it is man’s
dishonesty, proclaimed that three subsistence were to be truly acknowledged in the one God. That
they might protect themselves against tortuous craftiness by the simple open truth, they affirmed
that a Trinity of Persons subsisted in the one God, or (which is the same thing) in the unity of God.

Text copied from CCEL PDF version.  Slightly different translation than the McNeill version linked above at WTS Books which I am reading.

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A Cry for Deliverance

Heavenly Father,

Save me entirely from sin.

I know I am righteous through the

righteousness of another,

but I pant and pine for likeness to thyself;

I am thy child and should bear thy image,

Enable me to recognize my death unto sin;

When it tempts me may I be deaf unto its voice.

Deliver me from the invasion as well as

the dominion of sin.

Grant me to walk as Christ walked,

to live in the newness of his life,

the life of love, the life of faith,

the life of holiness.

I abhor my body of death,

its indolence, envy, meanness, pride.

Forgive, and kill these vices,

have mercy on my unbelief,

on my corrupt and wandering heart.

When thy blessings come I begin to idolize them,

and set my affection on some beloved object –

children, friends, wealth, honour;

Cleanse this spiritual adultery and give me chastity;

close my heart to all but thee.

Sin is my greatest curse;

Let thy victory be apparent to my consciousness,

and displayed in my life.

Help me to be always devoted, confident, obedient,

resigned, childlike in my trust of thee,

to love thee with soul, body, mind, strength,

to love my fellow-man as I love myself,

to be saved from unregenerate temper,

hard thoughts, slanderous words, meanness,

unkind manners,

to master my tongue and keep the door

of my lips.

Fill me with grace daily,

that my life be a fountain

of sweet water.

Valley of Vision – A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions

Wondrous Cross

As of late I have been doing a lot of thinking about what type of music I fill my head with.  Does this mean I have given up the relm of secular music, No.  I still love the Allman Bros, Railroad Earth, Country Music, but I will be trimming down some of my selection of the other stuff.  In particular most of what is on the radio today, which leaves much to be desired in regards to wholesome lyrics.  So leaves me looking at new “Christian” music (I use that term loosely) on the market which also leaves much to be desired.  Maybe I’m getting old or maybe it is as bad as I think both lyrically and quality!  Not much compares to the lyrics of Psalms and Hymns to contemporary music IMHO.  Speaking of which there is a group called Page CXVI that is on task to make hymns known and accessible again.  Novel concept huh!?  Make music which deep and rich lyrically known in what appears to be a shallow and wide world.  One of my favorites by them is the remake of When I Survey the Wonderous Cross by Issac Watts.  So much truth.  Enjoy the lyrics by Watts and Page CXVI version to music below.

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

His dying crimson, like a robe,
Spreads o’er His body on the tree;
Then I am dead to all the globe,
And all the globe is dead to me.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

To Christ, Who won for sinners grace
By bitter grief and anguish sore,
Be praise from all the ransomed race
Forever and forevermore.

Public Prayer

As of late Carl Trueman has become one of my favorite bloggers to read which is hosted over at Reformation 21.  I found his blog Another Thing We Do Badly yeterday particularly striking.  I have personally been in the presense of some bad prayer and some magificient prayer.  It was convicting and challenging as I get the opportunity to pray publicly somewhat frequently during the adult Sunday School class I lead.

In fact, pulpit prayer should be a vital part of the worship service.  It is at those moments that the pastor has the task of leading the people into the very presence of God.  This is an awe inspiring task, not to be undertaken lightly.  Such leading should be clear, suffused with biblical allusions and shaped by biblical thought patterns.  It should be built on the foundation of a solid grasp of the mediation of Christ and should reflect that in its content.

To listen to a lot of public prayer in churches is too often like listening in to a private quiet time — and that is not meant as a compliment.  The erosion of the boundary between public and private and the relentless march of the aesthetics of casualness have taken their toll here.  It seems that unless somebody prays in public precisely as we think they might do in private, we all fear that this might be a form of affectation which prevents the prayer from being `authentic’ — whatever that might mean.  Yet often there are people in the congregation on Sunday who have come from a week of pain, worry and confusion; they may be spiritually shattered; they might barely be able to string two words of a prayer together; and at this moment a good pastor can through a well-thought out and carefully expressed prayer draw their eyes heavenwards, lead them to the throne of grace and give them the words of adoration, confession, thanksgiving and intercession which they cannot find for themselves.

Read the rest here at Reformation 21.

Don’t forget the books that are linked as well to give us a healthy example.

Valley of Vision : A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions

Pastor in Prayer by Charles Spurgeon

Pray the Bible by Matthew Henry

Discipleship fighting for our friends!

Do we fight for our friends sanctification?  I don’t mean the stereotypical accountability groups.  These are defined well in Fight Clubs by the statement, “All too often Christians are either wimps or bullies.  Wimps wuss out of the fight of faith, pathetically following the vain promises of the world.  Bullies beat one another up over petty issues instead of fighting together.  When Christians fight, very few fight in faith for one another.” pg 19

Does this define your view and/or experience with accountability?   Lets not make discipleship and accountability a legalistic checklist of yes’s and no’s and stop there!  Should we act and ask the questions of our Christian duty?  Of course!  But lets not stop there with a pitty party when we fail, lets stick together, address the root issue, and attack it with the forgiveness and power that has been given by accepting the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

“Only then will we find something truly worth fighting for…. What will motivate us, and how can we keep the gospel central in our obedience?” pg 22

My charge for you and me is to find others to fight for and with and keep the gospel central in the fight.

But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
(Hebrews 3:13 ESV)

Completely and Unreservedly

Great post by Derick Thomas over at Reformation 21.

Completely and Unreservedly

From the post:

Within weeks of my conversion I came across Stott’s latest publication (published in 1972), Your Mind Matters. I vividly recall reading these words, “one of the most neglected aspects of the quest for holiness is the place of the mind.” In Basic Christianity, Stott had urged that in addition to a disciplined study of Scripture, Christians ought to “read good Christian books.”

That’s My King

Never gets old.

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