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Today's Cancel Culture

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn once said, "If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being."

Every day in our cities, we are witnessing social justice advocates toppling statues and cancelling those who have had sin in their past. It is quite a sight to behold and reminds me somewhat of actions taken during the Chinese cultural revolution (1966-1976). Last night some rioters burned the 120-year-old Thompson Elk statue in downtown Portland, where I live. I am still trying to figure out what the elk did to anybody. Others in my city have toppled a Thomas Jefferson statue. Some Hollywood stars have been cancelled because of various racially insensitive things they have done in their past.

Do these people (living and dead) justly deserve to be cancelled? Absolutely.... But so do I. In fact, I deserve it more than most. And if we all think about it, who among us is without any sin worth being cancelled over? Consider when the Pharisees caught a woman in sin and took her to Jesus to ask what might be done to her. Jesus answered, 'Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her'...when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”" (John 8:7=10)

Sat, 07/04/2020 - 16:24 -- john_hendryx

The Sign of a Heart Changed by Grace

See the humility and wisdom of the woman of Canaan, Matt 15, 17. She follows Christ; be he listens not to her, but gives her a sore foil, and calls her a dog, and saith, "you Gentiles are dogs; and the gospel of grace and salvation are the children's bread." Now if she had only considered the words of Christ, and only looked to herself and her own baseness, she had never come to have received either mercy or comfort from him. But she saith, "truth Lord, I am a dog, yet the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table." This was her resolution. Wherein there are two things which express and set forth the frame of a gracious heart; a heart that is truly wise to attend to its own baseness., with faith: and that is her humility and wisdom. "Yet though I am a dog, I will not go out of door, but lie under the table for mercy:" there is her wisdom. And thus she; and so we must. and when our corruptions, as I said, flood in upon us, and we see ourselves quite lost, and damned in our sins, we must then say, "in truth Lord, I am as bad as thy word can make me, yet let me not fly from mercy, but lie at the feet of my Savior's mercy, till he look upon me as once upon Peter, Luke 22, 61.

It is fit and we ought to see our sins: but stay we must not too long there. See them we must, but not fasten on them, so as to shackle us from coming to Christ.

-----

From Thomas Hooker, The Poor Doubting Christian Drawn to Christ

Fri, 07/03/2020 - 11:36 -- john_hendryx

Objection: The terms "monergism" and "synergism" ain't in the Bible

Visitor:
The terms "monergism" and "synergism" ain't in the Bible. The Bible is an invitation to man, he has the free-will choice to either accept or reject. (Isa. 45:22; Jn. 3:19; Rev. 22:17). Frame it as the Bible does or not at all. God does not save by fiat. That's what monergism means.

Response
The concept of "free will" is not found in the bible. So your argument is self defeating. We affirm that the gospel is to be proclaimed indiscriminately to all people. God does not hold anyone back from believing. Their rejection of Christ is because men love darkness, hate the light and will not come into the light (john 3:19). To claim man has a free will assumes the unbiblical idea that fallen man is willing to come to Christ apart from the Holy Spirit. But no one can say Jesus is Lord apart from the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:3) so we cannot ascribe our faith and repentance (even partly) to our own humility, wisdom, good intentions, or sound judgment but to grace.

Jesus declared, "the Spirit quickens, the flesh counts for nothing...that is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me grants it" John 6:63, 65

And if no one comes to faith in Christ unless God grants it then no one by their natural free will ever comes to him.

The Apostle Paul said, "we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God." 1 Cor 1:23-24

The call of the gospel is universal but, according to Paul, all men reject it (folly, stumbling block) but to those among them who are called by God, the power and wisdom of God.

Thu, 07/02/2020 - 18:39 -- john_hendryx

The More I See of Jesus

by Mary Winslow

"My ears had heard of You, but now my eyes have seen You! Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes." Job 42:5-6

The more I see of Jesus, the more He opens to me His loving heart—the deeper is my sorrow for sin. I lie down in the dust at His feet closer than ever I did before. I can truly say I abhor myself in dust and ashes before Him. My heart seems ready to melt into contrition in view of the ten thousand thousand sins, willful and aggravating—that I have committed against Him who loved me with an everlasting love, and with loving kindness drew me to Himself.

So eternal and deep, so sovereign and boundless is the love of Jesus, that angels cannot fathom it! He is nothing but sincere, constant, and unabating love—to the weakest, the most unworthy of all His little flock.

I feel such a weariness of this world that nothing here gives me anything more than a momentary, passing pleasure—and it is gone at a glance.

Oh, to have such a Friend as Jesus, who feels all our sorrows, carries all our burdens, and has promised to bring us safely through this trying world, and place us at last at His own right hand, where neither sickness nor sorrow shall ever come!

Oh for Heaven! Nothing else will satisfy my longing soul, but the sight of Him it loves.

Jesus is all in all to me, and He will be all in all through eternity!

Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name!

Sat, 06/27/2020 - 17:11 -- john_hendryx

What is the Reason You Abstain From Sin?

by Jeremiah Burroughs

Thou abstainest from sin, what is the reason? not because of any great evil thou seest in sin, but because of affliction; thy conscience tells thee it will bring thee to trouble, and into affliction, and this keeps away sin: ‘Tis true, it is good for men and women to avoid sin upon any terms, and this is one motive God propounds to avoid sin by, but this is not all or the chief motive; because of affliction, and trouble, conscience tells thee, God will be even with thee, and the wrath of God pursues thee: very few come so far, to have such apprehensions of the evil consequences of sin, and to avoid sin upon them grounds: But you should labor, not only to avoid sin from the evil consequences of sin, but for the evil of sin it self; for if thou avoid sin only from the evil consequences of sin: Know,

1 This may be without change of Nature; a man or a woman may be in such an estate, as they may not dare to commit some sin out of fear of trouble that may follow, and yet not his Nature changed: as a Wolf chained up, may be the same that he was before he was chained up; his nature is not changed.

2 If merely for fear of trouble thou forbearest sin; then know, thy service and obedience is forced service and obedience, and so not accepted when merely forced.

3 If thou avoid sin merely for fear of affliction, then thou art not yet released off from thy self, not quite taken off from thy self.

Fri, 06/26/2020 - 16:57 -- john_hendryx

The Root of All Injustice is Sin

by Darrell Bernard Harrison

In Mark 7:21-23, Jesus makes it clear that the seed of every sinful attitude and act that you and I exhibit toward one another is the sin that resides in our hearts.

For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.

I've been writing and speaking about the "gospel" of social justice, and its various and sundry layers and aspects, for nearly a decade. In that time, I've been consistent and unwavering in my insistence that Scripture is unambiguous that the root of all injustice in the world, regardless of how the injustice may manifest itself, is sin—period.

But as I continue to engage with evangelical social justicians on the matter of "social justice," I'm finding that many of them want the problem to something other than sin, that is, they want the problem to be something that is outside of them that they can fix, not something that is innate to them that only God can fix.

Interestingly, if not ironically, their desire that the problem of injustice be something other than the sinfulness of the human heart makes many of them angry and indignant because that reality means that there's nothing they themselves can do about it—absolutely nothing at all—which likewise means they are powerless in and of themselves to bring about the kind of structural and institutional changes they desire to see in the world.

Wed, 06/24/2020 - 15:04 -- john_hendryx

Is God Being Unfair to the Non-Elect?

Visitor:
"Bet you wouldn't be so hard hearted by saying it's "just" if you were one of the non elect. Actually I would like an explanation of how a person professing to care for his fellow man have such an attitude. Can you justify that?"

Response:
Thank you for your email. Per your inquiry, it begins by understanding that my attitude cannot change the facts. If I warn you that there is a large precipice, to be careful, I did not arrive at this conclusion because I discovered it by an attitude, but from the fact that there is really something dangerous to look out for.

Sat, 06/20/2020 - 14:17 -- john_hendryx

Co-operative or Effectual Grace

by John Calvin

IT IS NOT A CASE OF THE BELIEVER'S "CO-OPERATION" WITH GRACE; THE WILL IS FIRST ACTUATED THROUGH GRACE

But perhaps some will concede that the will is turned away from the good by its own nature and is converted by the Lord's power alone, yet in such a way that, having been prepared, it then has its own part in the action. As Augustine teaches, grace precedes every good work; while will does not go before as its leader but follows after as its attendant. This statement, which the holy man made with no evil intention, has by Lombard been preposterously twisted to that way of thinking. But I contend that in the words of the prophet that I have cited, as well as in other passages, two things are clearly signified: (1) the Lord corrects our evil will, or rather extinguishes it; (2) he substitutes for it a good one from himself.

In so far as it is anticipated by grace, to that degree I concede that you may call your will an "attendant." But because the will reformed is the Lord's work, it is wrongly attributed to man that he obeys prevenient grace with his will as attendant. Therefore Chrysostom erroneously wrote: "Neither grace without will nor will without grace can do anything." As if grace did not also actuate the will itself, as we have just seen from Paul [cf. Philippians 2:13]! Nor was it Augustine's intent, in calling the human will the attendant of grace, to assign to the will in good works a function second to that of grace. His only purpose was, rather, to refute that very evil doctrine of Pelagius which lodged the first cause of salvation in man's merit.

Tue, 06/16/2020 - 19:56 -- john_hendryx

Making a Savior of Politics

One of the most egregious sins of our time is political idolatry. Now, as you may know, idolatry is not merely bowing down to an idol crafted by hands, but setting something up in your heart as that which exceeds all others in importance. It is often taking a good and God-ordained thing (like government) and making it the ultimate thing, thus making it into a god, as if it could save, or bring about utopia.

But there is only one Savior, and his name is Jesus Christ. He is not a partisan...a Democrat or a Republican: He is the King of kings and only He reigns supreme over all. All sin is rebellion against Him first. He is not against our participation in the political process (He ordained it), but He makes it clear that we should be under no illusions that any laws or government can deliver us from our captivity to sin. And since human beings cannot save themselves, the solution to total depravity is not law, but gospel. This means that the wickedness of things like abortion and racial injustice will not go away by mere legislation. Certainly it will restrain the evil of it to some degree, so it is clearly necessary to implement better laws. I am all for it. But just as politics is downstream from culture, so culture is downstream from theology. If we simply force a law through an unwilling culture, like curbing or abolishing abortion, the backlash will be severe, because many in our debased culture view this crime against humanity as a sacred rite. It is only as hearts are changed through the gospel, will people begin to see the need to treat all divine image bearers with dignity. So my friends, make it a priority to bring people to the gospel of Christ. Apart from that we are not even beginning to solve the underlying problem.

Sun, 06/14/2020 - 20:48 -- john_hendryx

A Prisoner Awaiting Execution

by Jeremiah Burroughs

Suppose a malefactor is condemned, but now execution is not till two or three days after; in that space of time he has granted unto him liberty to have meat and drink, and friends come to him, and he may refresh himself in those two or three days; but he has forfeited all his estate, and the tenure now upon which he holds any comfort, it is not the same which he had before, but merely through the bounty of the prince it is that he has comforts. 

So it is here. Wicked men have committed sin, and the sentence of death is out against them, and they have forfeited all the comforts of their estates, and of their lives, only God in patience grants unto them some outward comforts here a few days before execution; and upon this tenure do all wicked men hold their estates: I will not say that every wicked man is an usurper of their estates, as some perhaps have held, that they have no right at all before God; some right he has, as you cannot say a malefactor has no right (when he is condemned) to meat and drink before execution; he has right to what is given to him of donation and bounty, but not that right which he had before. 

So I say, for wicked men that have estates in this world, they have a kind of right to that they have; but how? Just that right that a condemned man has to his dinner or supper before execution; this is the right of wicked men to their estates; that is, God of his bounty grants a little while before execution they shall have a few comforts to them in this world: And this is the evil of sin, and the least sin, there is not any one sin, but the fruit of it is condemnation. And brethren, you must not mistake, to think that wicked men are never condemned until they come before God in the day of Judgment; they be condemned here, mark that, John, 3. 18. He that believes not is condemned already: now condemned, not hereafter, but a condemned man already: this is a sad condition indeed. 

Wed, 06/10/2020 - 20:50 -- john_hendryx

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