A Modern Puritan

Lost in wonder, love and praise. Follow along as we seek to uneclipse Christ in our lives.


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Execution by God

Athanasius on the death of Arius (in a letter to fellow pastor)

“You have asked me to tell you about the death of Arius.

I debated with myself for a long time about whether or not to give you an answer, afraid that someone might assume I was taking pleasure in his death. But, since there has been a debate among your colleagues concerning the Arian heresy — in which the question was raised as to whether or not Arius was restored to the church before he died — I think it is necessary to give an account of his death. That way your question will be put to rest, and, at the same time, it will silence those who are contentious. My guess is that, when the incredible circumstances surrounding his death become known, even those who raise such questions will no longer doubt that the Arian heresy is hateful in the sight of God.

I was not in Constantinople when he died, but Macarius the presbyter was there, and I heard about what happened from him.

Arius, on account of his politically-powerful friends, had been invited to appear before the emperor Constantine. When he arrived, the emperor asked him whether or not he held to the orthodox beliefs of the universal church. Arius declared with an oath that he did, and gave an account of his beliefs in writing. But, in reality, he was twisting the Scriptures and not being honest about the points of doctrine for which he had been excommunicated.

Nonetheless, when Arius swore that he did not hold the heretical views for which he had been excommunicated, Constantine dismissed him, saying, “If your faith is orthodox, you have done well to swear; but if your beliefs are heretical, and you have sworn falsely, may God judge you according to your oath.”

When Arius left the emperor, his friends wanted to immediately restore him to the church. But the bishop of Constantinople (a man named Alexander), resisted them, explaining that the inventor of such heresies should not be allowed to partake in communion. But Arius’s friends threatened the bishop, saying, “In the same way that we brought him to the emperor, against your wishes, so tomorrow — though it be contrary to your wishes — Arius will have communion with us in this church.” They said this on a Saturday.

When Alexander heard this, he was greatly distressed. He went into the church and stretched out his hands before God, and wept. Falling on his face, he prayed, “If Arius is allowed to take communion tomorrow, let me Your servant depart, and do not destroy that which is holy with that which is unholy. But if You will spare Your church (and I know that You will spare it), take note of the words of Arius’s friends, and do not give Your inheritance to destruction and reproach. Please remove Arius from this world, lest he should enter the church and bring his heresy with him, and error would be treated as if it were truth.” After the bishop finished praying, he retired to his room deeply concerned.

Then an incredible and extraordinary thing happened. While Arius’s friends made threats, the bishop prayed. But Arius, who himself was making wild claims, unexpectedly became very ill. Urged by the necessities of nature he withdrew, and suddenly, in the language of Scripture, “falling headlong, he burst open in the middle,” and immediately died where he lay. In an instant, he was deprived not only of communion, but of his very life.

That was the end of Arius.

His friends, overwhelmed with shame, went out and buried him. Meanwhile, the blessed bishop Alexander, amidst the rejoicing of the church, celebrated communion on Sunday with holiness and orthodoxy, praying with all the brethren. They greatly glorified God, not because they were taking joy in a man’s death (God forbid!), for “it is appointed for men once to die,” but because this matter had been resolved in a way that transcended human judgments.

For the Lord Himself had judged between the threats of Arius’s friends and the prayers of the bishop Alexander. He condemned the Arian heresy, showing it to be unworthy of communion with the church. God made it clear to everyone, that although Arianism might receive the support of the emperor and even all mankind, yet it ought to be condemned by the church.

(Note: [Nate Busenitz] has updated and paraphrased the story in a few places for the sake of readability. Those interested can find Philip Schaff’s original translation here.)”

http://thecripplegate.com/death-of-historys-worst-heretic/


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Preach on Hell

“If you would ever be a healthy and scriptural Christian, I entreat you to beware of any ministry which does not plainly teach the reality and eternity of hell. Such a ministry may be soothing and pleasant, but it is far more likely to lull you to sleep than to lead you to Christ or build you up in the faith. It is impossible to leave out any portion of God’s truth without spoiling the whole. That preaching is sadly defective which dwells exclusively on the mercies of God and the joys of heaven and never sets forth the terrors of the Lord and the miseries of hell. It may be popular, but it is not scriptural; it may amuse and gratify, but it will not save. Give me the preaching which keeps back nothing that God has revealed.”

J.C. Ryle, Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties, and Roots, “A Woman To Be Remembered”, [Moscow, ID: Charles Nolan Publishing, 2001], 212.

http://jcrylequotes.com/2011/08/23/preach-on-hell-because-it-is-scriptural/

 


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Biblical Exegesis

“An evangelical believes that God humbled Himself not only in the incarnation of the Son, but also in the inspiration of the Scriptures. The manger and the cross were not sensational. Neither is grammar and syntax. But that is how God has chosen to reveal Himself.

A poor Jewish Peasant and a prepositional phrase have this in common, that they are both human and both ordinary. Therefore, if God humbled Himself to take on human flesh and to speak human language, woe to us if we arrogantly presume to ignore the humanity of Christ and the grammar of Scripture.”

–John Piper, Biblical Exegesis: Discovering the Meaning of Scriptural Texts, as cited on http://www.desiringgod.org/media/pdf/booklets/BTBX.pdf (accessed November 10, 2009).


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Quench Your Thirst

“There is no royal road to rest of soul. Let that never be forgotten. There is only one way to the Father—Jesus Christ; one door into heaven—Jesus Christ; and one path to heart-peace—Jesus Christ. By that way all “laboring and heavy-laden” ones must go, whatever be their rank or condition. Kings in their palaces and paupers in the workhouse, are all on a level in this matter. All alike must come to Christ, if they feel soul-weary and thirsty. All must drink of the same fountain, if they would have their thirst relieved.”

-J.C. Ryle, Old Paths, “Christ’s Invitation”, 371, 372.


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The Best Method to Kill Sin

Wyatt Graham gives us needed clarity on fighting the war with sin.

“Sin blows devastation into our path. Hating sin, we brandish our weapons to scrap with it. What’s more, we create steps, implement programs, use accountability partners, and start content blockers on the internet among a multitude of other means to kill sin.

This is practical, reasonable, pragmatic, and manifestly wrong. I know many people who fight sin with every method under the sun, yet fail to subdue their foe. Finally, they abjure their spiritual tug-of-war against sin.

What gives? No method, plan, system, steps, persons, helps, accountability partners or anything of that sort will quench your vainglory, your proclivity to wickedness.  James 1:21 provides a simple way to snuff out sin….”

See full post at:

http://wagraham.wordpress.com/2011/08/24/want-to-kill-sin-put-away-the-methods-and-pick-up-the-gospel/


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The Death of Postmodernism

“No obituary appeared in The New York Times. Television newscasts offered no tribute. But make no mistake: postmodernism is dead. Even those who could foresee this end could do nothing to prevent its suicide. Demise was built into its very DNA.

If you’re a church leader, you probably missed this news. Many of our publishers, culture gurus, and so-called futurists have been touting postmodernism as the next big thing, an unstoppable force. Adapt or die, they told us for much of the last decade, neglecting 2,000 years of history when the church built by Jesus Christ has withstood nearly every imaginable assault. But next month you can attend the funeral for postmodernism at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. That’s when the art exhibit “Postmodernism—Style and Subversion 1970-1990” will open….”

Read the full article here:

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2011/08/23/postmodernism-dead-but-not-gone/


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Don’t Be a Self-Appointed Sheriff with a Plastic Badge

“What is the call to ministry?

It is becoming popular these days in certain circles to become bolder in claiming that God audibly called you to the ministry. Being from South Africa, I am often curious as to which English accent God employs. From the aggregate location of the claims, I’m guessing it’s North West Coast American. (If you are curious about my views on these claims, readHeaven is for Real, Well Duh.)

Other than from my distracted guidance counselor in high school I’ve never personally heard an audible voice telling me what to do with my life. I merely have the inspired word of God with all things pertaining to life and godliness in it to help me determine if I’m called to teach. So for those of you who don’t have the red telephone some claim to use, I hope you find this helpful.

There are four widely recognized aspects to the biblical call to a teaching ministry in the church.”

Read Clint Archer’s post at:

http://thecripplegate.com/are-you-a-sheriff-with-a-plastic-badge-the-call-to-teach/


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A Cure for Spiritual Dullness

“Sometimes when my heart has been hard, dead, slothful, blind, and senseless, which indeed are sad frames for a poor Christian to be in, yet at such a time, when I have been in such a case, then has the blood of Christ, the precious blood of Christ, the admirable blood of the God of Heaven, that run out of His body when it did hang on the Cross, so softened, livened, quickened, and enlightened my soul, that truly, reader, I can say, O it makes me wonder!”

John Bunyan, The Doctrine of the Law and Grace Unfolded, 1708, 183.

http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/do-you-feel-spiritually-dull–2

 


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The “Problems” with Biblical Prophecy

“Fulfilled prophecy is one of the strongest evidences for the truthfulness of the Bible and the authenticity of Jesus Christ.

Numerous Old Testament predictions were fulfilled perfectly in Christ. As the apostle Peter preached: “To Him all the prophets bear witness, that everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name” (Acts 10:43).

Our Lord Himself, on the road to Emmaus, demonstrated how the Old Testament pointed to Him as the Messiah. “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27). Jesus’ life, which culminated in His death, burial, and resurrection, was the perfect fulfillment of God’s prior revelation (Matt. 5:17); everything took place “according to the Scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3–4).

Though the evidence is overwhelming, unbelieving critics and skeptics raise objections nonetheless. In their unwillingness to embrace the truth, they propose alleged “problems” with biblical prophecy. But how are Christians to answer those kind of critical attacks?”

Nathan Busenitz addresses five common objections to Biblical prophecy here.

http://thecripplegate.com/the-problems-with-prophecy/

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