Friday, February 15, 2008

Hard To Believe - by John MacArthur

"Self-importance is the reigning reality in human fallenness: man is the master of his own soul, the captain of his own fate, the monarch of his own world." (pg. 14)

"Perhaps the dominant myth in the evangelical church today is that the success of Christianity depends on how popular it is, and that the kingdom of God and the glory of Christ somehow advance on the back of public favor." (pg. 19)

"The gospel is hard to believe, and the people who bring it to the world are nobodies. The plan is still the same for all who are God's clay pots. To summarize, here is Paul's humble, five-point strategy: We will not lose heart. We will not alter the message. We will not manipulate the results, because we understand that a profound spiritual reality is at work in those who do not believe. We will not expect popularity, and therefore, we will not be disappointed. And we will not be concerned with visible and earthly success but devote our efforts toward that which is unseen and eternal." (pg. 51)

"God offers nothing to people who are content with their own condition, except judgment." (pg. 68)

"Fallen people set the Law of God aside, constantly inventing new systems that accommodate their shortcomings, then affirming that they are okay before their gods, based on their own personal criteria or religious beliefs and behaviors." (pg. 79)

"The only visible evidence you will ever have of your salvation is a life lived in the direction of obedience; it is the proof that you genuinely have bowed to the lordship of Jesus Christ and been transformed by His grace into a servant of His righteousness." (pg. 112-113)

"Pride is an illusion that curses greatness. The great are the ones who see their failings and work to overcome, not the ones who fancy themselves to be without weakness." (pg. 142)

"...prepare for the rejection the truth is likely to receive. No matter how many features or enticements you add, and how many difficulties you remove, all except true believers will turn you down in the end." (pg. 162)

"The truth divides people. The more fundamental the truth, the deeper and wider the division. The goal of Christian preaching - the goal of presenting the gospel, the goal of the church - is not just to open the door so wide that we can suck everybody in and make them feel comfortable. The goal is to preach the truth to as many people as possible, so that we can sort out the true from the false." (pg. 173)

"If you don't believe the gospel, you don't know God. If you don't know God, you're going to be judged without regard for your human morality." (pg. 211)

John MacAurthur, Hard to Believe (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2003)

"Fundamentalism" and the Word of God - by J. I. Packer

"We agree that no single human formulation of God's truth can be final or exhaustive; we agree that it will take the combined insight of the whole Church to grasp the whole truth of God, and that all groups within Christendom have much to learn from each other; we know that we are all prone to misunderstand the views of others, and to do so in an unfavourable sense; we recognize that there is at least a grain of truth in every heresy, and that views which are partly wrong are also partly right. It is indeed important in theological discussion to bear these things in mind. But it is even more important to remember that the essential step in sound theologizing is to bring all views - one's own as well as those of others - to the touchstone of Scripture." (pg. 18)

"We shall argue that subjection to the authority of Christ involves subjection to the authority of Scripture. Anything short of unconditional submission to Scripture, therefore, is a kind of impenitence; any view that subjects the written Word of God to the opinions and pronouncements of men involves unbelief and disloyalty towards Christ." (pg. 21)

" Machen insisted, 'the true way in which to examine a spiritual movement is in its logical relations: logic is the great dynamic, and the logical implications of any way of thinking are sooner or later certain to be worked out'." (pg. 26-27)

"Liberalism swept away entirely the gospel of the supernatural redemption of sinners by God's sovereign grace. It reduced grace to nature, divine revelation to human reflection, faith in Christ to following His example, and receiving new life to turning over a new leaf; it turned supernatural Christianity into one more form of natural religion, a thin mixture of morals and mysticism." (pg. 27)

"The Concise Oxford Dictionary is thus right when it defines 'Fundamentalism' as: 'maintenance, in opposition to modernism, of traditional orthodox beliefs such as the inerrancy of Scripture and literal acceptance of the creeds as fundamentals of protestant Christianity.'" (pg. 29)

"The Evangelical is not afraid of facts, for he knows that all facts are God's facts; nor is he afraid of thinking, for he knows that all truth is God's truth, and right reason cannot endanger sound faith." (pg. 34)

"The deepest cleavages in Christendom are doctrinal; and the deepest doctrinal cleavages are those which result from disagreement about authority." (pg. 44)

"There are three distinct authorities to which final appeal might be made - Holy Scripture, Church tradition or Christian reason; that is to say, Scripture as interpreted by itself; Scripture as interpreted (and in some measure amplified) by official ecclesiastical sources; and Scripture as evaluated in terms of extra-biblical principles by individual Christian men. The problem of authority can be answered in three ways, and three only, according to which of the authorities mentioned is given precedence over the other two: we call these three types of answer the evangelical, the traditionalist and the subjectivist respectively. Confessional Protestants give the first; Romanists, some Anglo-Catholics and Orthodox give the second; modern Liberal Protestants give the third." (pg. 46-47)

"To undercut Christ's teaching about the authority of the Old Testament is to strike at His own authority at the most fundamental point." (pg. 61)

"Apostolic utterances are the truth of Christ and possess the authority of Christ; they are to be received as words of God, because what they convey is, in fact, the word of God." (pg. 64)

"...because the Church on earth consists of imperfectly sanctified sinners, there are always two defects in the lives of its members, both corporately and individually. These are ignorance and error, which cause omissions and mistakes in belief and behaviour. The Church, therefore, has two constant needs; instruction in the truths by which it must live, and correction of the shortcomings by which its life is marred." (pg. 68-69)

" is entirely natural for sinners to think of themselves as wise, not by reason of divine teaching, but through the independent exercise of their own judgment, and to try to justify their fancied wisdom by adjusting what the Bible teaches to what they have already imbibed from other sources ('modern knowledge')." (pg. 70)

"...inspiration is to be defined as a supernatural, providential influence of God's Holy Spirit upon the human authors which caused them to write what He wished to be written for the communication of revealed truth to others." (pg. 77)

"But the Bible teaches rather that the freedom of God, who works in and through His creatures, leading them to act according to their nature, is itself the foundation and guarantee of the freedom of their action." (pg. 81)

"There is no such thing as an exhaustive exegesis of any passage. The Holy Spirit is constantly showing Christian men facets of revealed truth not seen before." (pg. 89)

"Our God-given textbook is a closed book till our God-given Teacher opens it to us." (pg. 112)

"Unscriptural ideas in our theology are like germs in our system. They tend only to weaken and destroy life, and their effect is always damaging, more or less." (pg. 123)

"Liberalism, like all Subjectivism, discounts the perfection and truth of Scripture in order to make room for man to contribute his own ideas to his knowledge of God, just as Mediaevalism discounted the perfection of Christ's merits in order to make room for man to contribute his own merits to his acceptance with God. But Christ's merits do not need to be augmented by human works; and God's revealed truth does not need to be edited, cut, corrected and improved by the cleverness of man. To attempt either task is to insult God (by denying the perfection of His gifts) and to flatter ourselves (by supposing that we can improve on them)." (pg. 173)

J. I. Packer, "Fundamentalism" and the Word of God (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1958)