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Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Friday, October 24, 2008

Excerpt from an Interview with John Hendrix of Monergism.com

GD: There has been resurgence of the Reformed Christianity in the USA. What factors under God have led to this?

JH: Some book publishers like Banner of Truth certainly helped lay the early foundation by re-publishing so many great Reformed and puritan works. But it also appears that God has used the Internet in some amazing ways. This is my theory so take it with a grain of salt, but prior to the Internet many Christians lived in relatively isolated denominational cloisters and had limited engagement with the ideas and exegesis of other Christian traditions. The Internet allows all ideas to be put on the table and when people take the time to read about Reformed Theology, I believe many see it as being the most faithful to Scripture. This is why so many Christians have been persuaded when weighing it against the ideas of their own denomination or tradition. So in theory, the role that the Internet has played has been to place ideas side by side and let the readers determine which ideas best fit the Biblical data. The Holy Spirit has used this medium mightily in this difficult time to be alive. Ultimately it is God who opens people’s eyes and understanding, but the means of grace is more widely available with the advent of the Internet.

GD: It is evidently a good thing that sites like "Monergism" have made Reformed theological resources readily available on the internet. We should use modern means of communication just like the Reformers utilised the printing press. But do you think that there is a danger that "Googling" can sometimes replace proper thought, reflection and research? What can be done to avoid producing "instant experts" who have read something on the net and then think they know it all?


JH: Phil Johnson once said: “My advice to young Calvinists is to learn your theology from the historic mainstream Calvinist authors, not from blogs and discussion forums on the Internet. Some of the forums may be helpful in pointing you to more important resources.” I have to agree with Phil here. Understanding the Scripture takes a great deal of reflection and prayer. It is true that many of us are quick to claim expertise but I believe when something novel appears we need to take the time to weigh it carefully with the Christians who have gone before us. After having debated with non-Calvinists for many years now I have some advice for those who wish to persuade others of the same: patience, patience, patience. You would think that proving beyond a doubt that something is scriptural would be enough to persuade someone but this is not usually the case. Like a farmer we must seed the garden and let God do the rest. Many of us are often too eager to bring others on board. It is not necessary. Just stick with the text of Scripture, reason with them, but be humble and patient for the outcome. I have witnessed some of the most unlikely folks come to embrace the fullness of God’s grace in Christ this way.

1 comment:

Charlie J. Ray said...

I quote this from Phil Johnson not because I agree with everything he says but because on this point he is correct. Phil has another blog post on "hyper-Calvinism" which totally misses the mark and relies more on strawman misrepresentation of other views rather than any serious and objective presentation of the opposing views.

I do not think that the historic Reformed position was ever in favor of common grace before Abraham Kuyper and Herman Bavinck became innovators of a neo-Reformed position. Also, I hardly think the Protestant Reformed Church of America can be classified as "hyper-Calvinist," though in some ways I might agree that they tend to toward a more fundamentalist view on the issues of a literal 6 day creation or the use of higher and lower criticism by Evangelical scholarship.

Unfortunately, the fundamentalists are correct that eventually buying into higher and lower criticism leads to a compromise of the truth and to liberalism.

Perhaps there is a link between the doctrine of common grace and the compromise with reason and higher criticism? I think there is, though I do not know what the solution is. Even Carl F. H. Henry's work, God, Revelation and Authority, does not adequately deal with how to preserve orthodoxy in the face of an overly optimistic view of human reason.

Soli Deo Gloria!

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