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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, April 06, 2012

Primitive Baptist Rebuke

I was praying about getting a minister to officiate at the graveside service for my nephew, Neil Moreno Ray, Jr.  Since I'm a classical and hardcore Calvinist, I wanted to find a Calvinist minister.  Many of my family members are buried at Payne's Creek Primitive Baptist Church in Bowling Green, Florida.  My brother decided to lay Bubba to rest there so I called a couple of the elders or pastors in the local Primitive Baptist churches. 

The first minister I called was Elder Lloyd Cunningham, pastor of Corinth Primitive Baptist Church in Berea, Florida.  As I described to him our situation and that my nephew may have been murdered or that he might have killed himself, Brother Cunningham rebuked me gently and said that there is no mention of suicide in the Bible.  In fact, God gives life and God takes it away.  No one can take their own life except that God takes their life.  (Job 12:10; Acts 17:28).  As I thought about it I realized that Brother Cunningham was absolutely right.  If someone takes their own life they are not the ones doing it because only God can take someone's life.  It is the Lord who gives and the Lord who takes away.  (Job 1:21).   God sends both grace to regenerate (John 3:3-8; 6:44, 65) and grace to repentance (Acts 11:18).  Only God can open the heart to the Gospel (Acts 16:14).  And it is God who elects (Romans 9:11-13; Ephesians 1:4, 5, 11) and God who reprobates (1 Peter 2:8; Romans 9:13, 17).

It is God who puts it into a man's heart to do what he does and yet God is not the agent who acts.  As the late Gordon H. Clark said, when a man shoots his wife it was God's will that he do so.  Yet man is a responsible moral agent and will give an account to God for everything he has done.   (Deuteronomy 29:29; Ezekiel 18:25-27; Isaiah 14:24; 46:10).  Nothing happens by mere chance.  (Proverbs 16:33; Proverbs 21:1).  God can send madness (Daniel 4:30-37; Deuteronomy 28:28) or God can send the light (Ephesians 1:18).  He can send blindness and hardness of heart as well.  (Matthew 13:13-17; Acts 28:26-28; Exodus 4:21).

Too many so-called Calvinists these days are not Calvinists at all.  They are closet Arminians.  While I may be hurting because of what happened to my nephew, ultimately God took Bubba's life.  Anyone who does not agree with that should logically become an atheist.  Why?  Because God is God and He does whatsoever He pleases (Psalm 115:3; Ephesians 1:11).  God answers to no one, not even me or you.  (Romans 3:4-9; 9:20; Job 40:1-4).

The Thirty-nine Articles of Religion confirm that the Church of England at one time believed in absolute predestination and the double decree to both election and to reprobation.  Not many Anglican ministers preach the Bible or the doctrines of the 39 Articles, which draw their most certain warrant from the Holy Scriptures.  Article 17 teaches the double decree and absolute predestination:
XVII. Of Predestination and Election.
PREDESTINATION to life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby, before the foundations of the world were laid, He hath constantly decreed by His counsel secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom He hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation as vessels made to honour. Wherefore they which be endued with so excellent a benefit of God be called according to God's purpose by His Spirit working in due season; they through grace obey the calling; they be justified freely; they be made sons of God by adoption; they be made like the image of His only-begotten Son Jesus Christ; they walk religiously in good works; and at length by God's mercy they attain to everlasting felicity.

    As the godly consideration of Predestination and our Election in Christ is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons and such as feeling in themselves the working of the Spirit of Christ, mortifying the works of the flesh and their earthly members and drawing up their mind to high and heavenly things, as well because it doth greatly establish and confirm their faith of eternal salvation to be enjoyed through Christ, as because it doth fervently kindle their love towards God: so for curious and carnal persons, lacking the Spirit of Christ, to have continually before their eyes the sentence of God's Predestination is a most dangerous downfall, whereby the devil doth thrust them either into desperation or into wretchlessness of most unclean living no less perilous than desperation.

    Furthermore, we must receive God's promises in such wise as they be generally set forth in Holy Scripture; and in our doings that will of God is to be followed which we have expressly declared unto us in the word of God.
I believe that even someone like my nephew can be one of God's elect since salvation is all of God's sovereign grace and choice.  I shared the Morning Prayer Service with Bubba from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer a couple of months back.  There is a very clear presentation of the first use of the moral law and a clear presentation of the Gospel promises in those readings.   Only God can open blinded eyes or raise the spiritually dead to new life in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17-21).  I can only trust that God broke through to Bubba and spoke to him during our time together that Sunday morning.  Salvation truly is an amazing grace.


ALMIGHTY God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, judge of all men; We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, Which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed, By thought, word, and deed, Against thy Divine Majesty, Provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent, And are heartily sorry for these our misdoings; The remembrance of them is grievous unto us; The burden of them is intolerable. Have mercy upon us, Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; For thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ's sake, Forgive us all that is past; And grant that we may ever hereafter Serve and please thee In newness of life, To the honour and glory of thy Name; Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Then shall the Priest (or the Bishop, being present,) standing up, and turning himself to the people, pronounce this Absolution.
ALMIGHTY God, our heavenly Father, who of his great mercy hath promised forgiveness of sins to all them that with hearty repentance and true faith turn unto him; Have mercy upon you; pardon and deliver you from all your sins; confirm and strengthen you in all goodness; and bring you to everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Then shall the Priest say,
Hear what comfortable words our Saviour Christ saith unto all that truly turn to him.
COME unto me all that travail and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you. St. Matth. xi. 28.  (Matthew 11:28).
    So God loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, to the end that all that believe in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. St. John iii. 16  (John 3:16).
Hear also what Saint Paul saith.
    This is a true saying, and worthy of all men to be received, That Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. 1 Tim. i. 15.  (1 Timothy 1:15).
Hear also what Saint John saith.
    If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the propitiation for our sins. 1 St. John ii. 1.  (1 John 2:1).  (From the Lord's Supper, 1662 BCP).

1 comment:

Brandon R. Burdette said...

A brother wrote this to me awhile back:

"Christians are not perfect; they can commit all kinds of sins, even suicide. That God may chastise a believer with suicide, that God may cause a person to wish to do something that kills himself, is not foreign to Scripture. Did not Samson ask that his final act kill himself, as well as his enemies? Samson wanted to kill himself, and God wanted Samson to kill himself, too. Yet, Samson is recorded as one of the faithful, one of the elect, in the Book of Hebrews! Shall we take good from God and not evil? Amen."

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