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Thread: Entreaties and Exhortations

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    Entreaties and Exhortations

    The following is taken from Jerome Zanchius's " Reprobation " .

    But to come closer still . That absolute predestination does not set aside , nor render superfluous the use of preaching , exhortation , etc. , we prove from the examples of Christ Himself and his apostles , who all taught and insisted upon the article of predestination , and yet took every opportunity of preaching to sinners and enforced their ministry with proper rebukes , invitations and exhortations as occasion required . Though they showed unanswerably that salvation is the free gift of God and lies entirely at His sovereign disposal , that men can of themselves do nothing spiritually good , and that it is God who of His own pleasure works in them both to will and to do , yet they did not neglect to address their hearers as beings possessed of reason and conscience , nor omitted to remind them of their duties as such ; but showed them their sin and danger by nature , and laid before them the appointed way and method of salvation as exhibited in the Gospel .

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    Re: Entreaties and Exhortations

    The following extracts are taken from A.W.Pink's : " The Doctrine Of Man's Impotence " , within the chapter called : " Problem " .

    ... [ Some ] do not perceive the justice in exhorting sinners to perform acts altogether beyond their power . But we do insists that , in the past , withholding the gospel effectually blunts its point . Ministers err grievously if they allow their hands or their mouths muzzled , thus disobeying Christ .

    [ On the Gospel Standard Articles ] : Their whole argument rests not on anything actually stated in Scripture , but on certain notions respecting the reasons why God issued these commands and exhortations , and respecting the ground upon which moral responsibility rests .

    ... They cannot produce a single passage from God's Word which declares that the unregenerate must not be urged to perform spiritual duties . They cannot point to any occasion on which the Saviour Himself warned His apostles against such a procedure , not even when He commissioned them to go and preach His gospel . They cannot even discover a word from Paul cautioning either Timothy or Titus to be extremely careful when addressing the unsaved lest they leave their hearers with the impression that their case was far from being desperate .
    Not only are the hyper-Calvinists unable to produce one verse of Scripture containing such prohibitions or warnings as we have mentioned above , but they are faced with scores of passages both in the Old and the New Testaments which show unmistakably that the servants of God in biblical times followed the very opposite course to that advocated by these twentieth century theorists . Neither the prophets , the Saviour , nor His apostles shaped their policy by the state of their hearers . They did not accomodate their message according to the spiritual impotence of sinners , but plainly enforced the just requirements of a holy God . How , then , do these men dispose of all those passages which speak directly against their theories ? By what is called ( in some lawcourts ) a process of " special pleading . "

    ... They object to indiscriminate exhortations because they cannot see the consistency of such a policy with other doctrines . Just as exteme Arminians reject the truth of fallen man's moral impotence because they are unable to reconcile it with the exhortation principle , so Antinomians throw overboard human responsibility because they consider it out of harmony with the spiritual helplessness of the sinner .

    It will be no surprise to most of our readers that those ministers who are restricted from calling on the unsaved to repent and believe the gospel are also very slack in exhorting professing Christians . The divine commandments are almost entirely absent from their ministry . They preach a lot on doctrine , often on experience , but life conduct receives the scantiest notice . It is not too much to say that they seem to be afraid of the very word " duty . " They preach soundly and benefically on the obedience which Christ gave to God on behalf of His people , but they say next to nothing of that obedience which the Lord requires from those He has redeemed . They give many comforting addresses from God's promises , but they are woefully remiss in delivering searching messages on His precepts .

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    Re: Entreaties and Exhortations

    FIH;

    May I ask a favor? Can you interact with your posts of these men? I honestly do not know why you are posting them? Post a clip, give your understanding and what fruit you believe wil grow from it.

    I like the articles, but I can read them myself at my leisure. But if I knew why you were posting them, I may be able to comment on them!!!!

    This is not meant to be disrespectful.. But you have posted 14 papers of men. And I dont know whether you agree or not!!!! LOL

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    Re: Entreaties and Exhortations

    Thank you Joe.

    FIH, I request that you start interacting and engaging in discussion as opposed to simply posting quotes from theologians.

    Brandan
    This is my signature.

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    Re: Entreaties and Exhortations

    I agree with all the content of the posts that I have made . What I have posted differs with the views of a number of people here . I thought the quotes could be a launching pad for discussion . They should be thought-provoking .

    Here are some more words from Pink on the same subject . It is from Chapter 13 -- Enjoying God's Best , in Practical Christianity ( pages 214-216 ) .

    ... What can be of greater practical importance than for the Christian to be instructed in how to please God and have His providential smile upon his life ?... How much more profitable [ for preachers to deal with than ] to deliver abstract disquisitions upon what are termed " the doctrines of grace , " or uttering contentious declamations against those who repudiate the same . The practical side of the Truth is sadly neglected today , and in consequence not only are many of God's dear children living far below their privileges , but they have never been taught what those privileges are , nor what is required in order for them to enjoy them in this life .

    ... When we attempt to philosophize about God's sovereignty and human accountability we are out of our depth . They are to be received by faith , and not reasoned about . Each of them is plainly taught and enforced in the Scriptures , and both must be held fast by us , whether or no we perceive their " consistency . "

    If our minds be dominated by our outlook upon life , narrowed down to a consideration of the inexorableness of the Divine determinations , then a spirit of irresponsibility will necessarily ensue . It is with the revealed and not with the secret will of God we need to be concerned ... It is the Divine precepts and promises which are to engage our attention . " According unto your faith be it unto you " ( Matt. 9:29 ) said Christ , not " according unto the Divine decrees . " Are we intimating that faith can set aside the Divine decrees or obtain something superior to them ? Certainly not : instead , we are pointing out where the great Teacher placed His emphasis . We must not resolve all of God's dealings with us into bare sovereignty : to do so is to lose sight of His righteousness . The unbalanced teaching of hyper-Calvinism has produced a most dangerous lethargy -- unperceived by them , but apparent to " lookers on . " Those who dwell unduly upon the Divine decrees are in peril of lapsing into the paralysis of fatalism . ... Let those who have succeeded [ J. C. Philpot ] devote more of their endeavours into pressing God's precepts upon His people , and stressing the necessity , importance , and value of an obedient walk ; and in faithfully showing the serious losses incurred by disobedience .

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    Re: Entreaties and Exhortations

    What Pink said seems to be in reply to many on this board who are in large measure right about some things , but go to extremes in some ways . I appreciate Pink , Hoeksema , Bunyan and others who dealt at some length on the theme of reprobation . It is a neglected doctrine in some quarters . If election isn't mentioned , then surely reprobation doesn't surface in sermons .

    But many on this forum do indeed dwell rather exclusively on the doctrine of the decrees and reprobation . I do not revel in reprobation . It is a holy , sobering truth of God's Word -- but should be taught in proportion to other teachings in the Bible . Some look as though they want to get Doctorates in the Decrees and Reprobation .

    Holy , Christian living is not a popular topic here . But isn't that part and parcel of God's Word ? I agree with Pink that the precepts need to be emphasized more . And a non-Christian ( some here charge me with being unregenerate ) looking at this forum will notice a lot of nasty trash-talking much of the time . You may pontificate on the esoteric nature of some lofty doctrine - but when you communicate with those whose views differ from your own -- show some respect . Sin is sin . If any would speak in the manner that some have here face-to-face -- they would know it is sin -- unless their conscience is calloused . If one uses filthy language -- how can that be a sign of Christian maturity ? You might gain points with some of your buddies here , but not with God . You may disagree with Phil Johnson's opinion of this board -- but consider again if he was telling the truth about the ungodly characteristics of this forum . If you want to advance your views do it in a godly manner . And please , pause before you charge someone with being an unregenerate one just because your emotions took over . And consider apologizing to the offended party . That would give the insulted one hope that there was a sanctifying element here afterall . Doctrine without application is just a clanging gong . If the Bible is really breathed-out by God -- then take the whole of it seriously . You don't have the right to pick and chose the parts you have to accept . One evidence of an elect one is their love for brothers and sisters in the Lord . I would like to see that a lot more here . Less hacking ruthlessly away at others and more evidence of a desire to walk worthily before the Lord is honorable . I have not arrived , I just thought I should make these observations in the interest of us all .

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    Re: Entreaties and Exhortations

    Quote Originally Posted by foundinHim
    I agree with all the content of the posts that I have made . What I have posted differs with the views of a number of people here . I thought the quotes could be a launching pad for discussion . They should be thought-provoking .

    Here are some more words from Pink on the same subject . It is from Chapter 13 -- Enjoying God's Best , in Practical Christianity ( pages 214-216 ) .

    ... What can be of greater practical importance than for the Christian to be instructed in how to please God and have His providential smile upon his life ?... How much more profitable [ for preachers to deal with than ] to deliver abstract disquisitions upon what are termed " the doctrines of grace , " or uttering contentious declamations against those who repudiate the same . The practical side of the Truth is sadly neglected today , and in consequence not only are many of God's dear children living far below their privileges , but they have never been taught what those privileges are , nor what is required in order for them to enjoy them in this life .

    ... When we attempt to philosophize about God's sovereignty and human accountability we are out of our depth . They are to be received by faith , and not reasoned about . Each of them is plainly taught and enforced in the Scriptures , and both must be held fast by us , whether or no we perceive their " consistency . "

    If our minds be dominated by our outlook upon life , narrowed down to a consideration of the inexorableness of the Divine determinations , then a spirit of irresponsibility will necessarily ensue . It is with the revealed and not with the secret will of God we need to be concerned ... It is the Divine precepts and promises which are to engage our attention . " According unto your faith be it unto you " ( Matt. 9:29 ) said Christ , not " according unto the Divine decrees . " Are we intimating that faith can set aside the Divine decrees or obtain something superior to them ? Certainly not : instead , we are pointing out where the great Teacher placed His emphasis . We must not resolve all of God's dealings with us into bare sovereignty : to do so is to lose sight of His righteousness . The unbalanced teaching of hyper-Calvinism has produced a most dangerous lethargy -- unperceived by them , but apparent to " lookers on . " Those who dwell unduly upon the Divine decrees are in peril of lapsing into the paralysis of fatalism . ... Let those who have succeeded [ J. C. Philpot ] devote more of their endeavours into pressing God's precepts upon His people , and stressing the necessity , importance , and value of an obedient walk ; and in faithfully showing the serious losses incurred by disobedience .
    Well, again, the opportunity for me to join this discussion has arisen out of these few last posts from FHI.

    It seems that people tend to embrace an exaggerated form of "Decrees Only" type of doctrine and others present as an antidote for such a doctrine, which makes God impersonal, insatiable and mean, with another type of God who is flaky, a reactive bad manager who can only see things coming once they are at the brink of insolubleness. God is the God of the Bible. A God of decrees, purposes and a proactive God who planned everything in a very detailed way and with perfection.

    The author of the article quoted here cites Mathew 9:29 as the basis for his arguments against the "Decrees only doctrine" (my words) and he does it to prove the point of those who BIBLICALLY defend the teachings of God's decrees and he does it because he totally ignores, deliberately or because of gross misinterpretation, the context and what had been stated before which prompted Jesus to say: "According to your faith be unto you". Allow me to elaborate, please:

    Jesus had asked a blind man: "Believe ye that I am able to do this?". Jesus is asking the man something that, although the blind man cannot identify, relates to God's decrees about Christ's earthly ministry. One can deny the literary meaning of some of the O.T. prophecies about Christ, but they clearly include that he was going to come with "healing in His wings". Malachi 4:2 promises that the Sun of Righteousness would come with healing in His wings.

    The word "wings" in O.T. Hebrew means "something that sticks out of your body" such as the "hem of a garment". No wonder the woman with the issue of blood risked her life leaving her ceremonial uncleanness aside and facing and bumping the crowd saying to herself: "If I can only touch the hem of His garments". She knew the O.T. and she would not settle for any less than what God had decreed about the Sun of Righteousness.

    My point is that the expression "According to your faith be done unto you" CANNOT be used to deny, disprove or impeach the doctrine a God of Decrees, neither to lead anyone to the extreme of saying that God will merely react to our prayers and to our faith. I guarantee you that some may have all the faith in the world that God will give them Paris Hilton for a steamy evening with them and that will not happen! Yes, it is exaggerated and irreverent, but it demonstrates nonetheless as absurd it can be when teachers purport that God will react to man's faith in spite or over-against His eternal decrees.

    In the other hand, it also shows how many people in the reformed faith and even those who adamantly defend "God Decrees Only" do not understand that some, if not all of His decrees, which have to do with our life here on earth have already been revealed by Him in the Bible and in the ministry of Jesus. I pray for healing because in every single example that Jesus questioned and/or was questioned about healing He promoted and dispensed healing.

    In talking to a Pastor whom I befriended not long ago, he mentioned to me that he left his reformed as a youngster because when His father decided to begin to drink, after years of reformed ministry, and then became sick to die because of alcohol, some perverse, wicked, mean spirited and evil so called minister told him that he should not cry at his father death bed because what was happening was God decree. This devilish minister even told him that his, the son's, prayers would go unheard, and there was no point in engaging in spiritual warfare because it was God decree and all the young bereaving man could do was to accept it. Later his mother died. Out of sadness, depression or who know what, after the death of the father, the mother dies. The same minister came with the same demonic reasoning slandering God as if God was simply having a "good time" in making this young man suffer. I would leave that kind of "religion" as well.

    Of course I know that if God did not intend for the man to die, or even to drink, God would have had prevented the whole thing from happening. But God also reveals through Paul that "we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers in heavenly places" or in the "heavenlies". Then Paul tell us, "to be praying with all PRAYERS and SUPPLICATIONS, in the Spirit (same expression as in 1 Cor. 14), and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplications for all saints. Ephesians 6:18.

    We are not only encouraged but also commanded to seek to pray for the things that we know are God's decrees so they will become the substance of our lives!

    Now, to the core of this discussion: God also revealed that He decreed that Jesus' sheep will hear His voice; He also decreed that those who come to Jesus in no way will be cast out; and that no one of His will be irreversibly lost. So, I know by God's decrees that the announcement of the Gospel will produce the results decreed by God. God also decreed that the tares must grow with the wheat. So I know that when I hurled the seed on fertile ground, the wheat will grow out of that seed and may be the devil has planted some tares to grow alongside it. It would be unthinkable not to sow the seed based upon the excuse that the devil is also planting tares among the wheats.I can plant the Holy Seed, I can preach the Holy Word anywhere because I know God will produce fruit from it: It is His revealed decree that He will!

    So, the accusation of those who deny mildly or bluntly the decrees of God against those who believe in His decrees that they are against evangelism and not at all interested in spreading the Gospel among those who could very well be tares is false and unfair. So is the accusation of those who believe in God's Holy Decrees that those who preach indiscriminately, both to wheat and tares, incapable of detecting the difference, stating that those are somehow cheapening the Gospel and going against God's will is also unfair.

    This reply may be too long and not necessarily "a piece of literature". But I believe all of us can grasp on it. I accept any comments on it, even if they are harsh and come from people I love and respect. But before I finish, one extra concept that I have learned with my years of experience:

    I have seen people preaching about God's decrees exactly how the preacher I mentioned above in the case of my friend does. Until some tragedy occurs in their lives! A baby that is sick to die... A cancer... a adulterous affair on the part of their own spouses. Then, their theology suddenly becomes another. No! They are not hypocrites. "Theory" theology is often different, cold and harsh if we had to apply it in our own lives! Then they call my number and say: "Well, brother Milton, I heard you pray for the sick. My baby is sick to die. Would you ask God to heal him". I feel like asking: If you preached all your life that sickness was God's decrees, why are you disrespecting me asking me to sin going against God's decrees? But I don't. I just help them in prayer and I allow God to be God.

    Others, go to the mission field (believe me, this happens more often that you can imagine) and face demonic powers that they never acknowledged before and again, in practice their theology is confronted and they have to check the book again! "Oh, my! There is a devil!"

    Proportionally, the same tragedies happen to those who think God is a "manager by contingency" a term that I used when a management consultant when I identified a manager that could only react to reports and situations but could not plan and manage so they would not happen. God is God and He will not be manipulated by our pouting neither will He budge by any type of our "convincing arguments".

    "...I will do my pleasure..." saith God!

    I will post this without editing. Comment all you want.

    Milt


    Grace Ambassador
    A pitiful servant of God; a pitbull guardian of the message of Grace

    My pledge to other members:
    A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. Prov 15:1
    A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver - Prov. 25:11

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    Re: Entreaties and Exhortations

    Hi FIH:
    I imagine the scripture in James 1:22 that says "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves" addresses part of what you are trying to say, would you agree?

    In part it depends on what you come to this forum for, doesn't it? I personally come to study and learn of the great doctrines of the scripture. I have heard many a good, practical sermon from the pulpit on how to apply the scriptures to live a godly life, I have been exhorted by 'true friends' who know me and my sinful propensities, but above all I am led by the Holy Spirit in daily living and in application of these truths and the Lord directs my steps in being a doer of the Word.

    Look around the forum a bit too and you will find many an example of encouragment that brothers and sisters have given to one another in the mode of 'Practical Christianity'.

    Does this make sense, what I am saying?

    Eileen~
    "To those who have no works-phobia, I will state that you are not trembling before the gospel" Robert R. Higby

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