Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Communion With The Triune God - by John Owen (edited by Kelly M. Kapic and Justin Taylor)

"Now, communion is the mutual communication of such good things as wherein the persons holding that communion are delighted, bottomed [grounded] upon some union between them." (pg. 93)

"Our communion, then, with God consists in his communication of himself unto us, with our return unto him of that which he requires and accepts, flowing from that union which in Jesus Christ we have with him." (pg. 94)

The Father communicates no issue of his love unto us but through Christ; and we make no return of love unto him but through Christ. He is the treasury wherein the Father disposes all the riches of his grace, taken from the bottomless mine of his eternal love; and he is the priest into whose hand we put all the offerings that we return unto the Father." (pg. 117)

"Love in the Father is like honey in the flower - it must be in the comb before it be for our use. Christ must extract and prepare this honey for us. He draws this water from the fountain through union and dispensation of fullness - we by faith, from the wells of salvation that are in him." (pg. 117)

"There are three things in general wherein this personal excellency and grace of the Lord Christ does consist: (1) His fitness to save, from the grace of union, and the proper necessary effects thereof. (2) His fullness to save, from the grace of communion; or the free consequences of the grace of union. (3) His excellency to endear, from his complete suitableness to all the wants of the souls of men:" (pg. 148)

"This is the first thing on the part of Christ - the free donation and bestowing of himself upon us to be our Christ, our Beloved, as to all the ends and purposes of love, mercy, grace, and glory; whereunto in his mediation he is designed, in a marriage covenant never to be broken. This is the sum of what is intended: The Lord Jesus Christ, fitted and prepared, by the accomplishment and furniture of his person as mediator, and the large purchase of grace and glory which he has made, to be a husband to his saints, his church, tenders himself in the promises of the gospel to them in all his desirableness; convinces them of his goodwill toward them, and his all-sufficiency for a supply of their wants; and upon their consent to accept of him - which is all he requires or expects at their hands - he engages himself in a marriage covenant to be theirs forever." (pg. 157)

"Let it be evinced that all true and solid knowledge is laid up in, and is only to be attained from and by, the Lord Jesus Christ; and the hearts of men, if they are but true to themselves and their most predominate principles, must needs be engaged to him." (pg. 183)

"That we may have a saving knowledge of the properties of God, attended with consolation, these three things are required: (1) that God has manifested the glory of them all in a way of doing good unto us. (2) that he will yet exercise and lay them out to the utmost in our behalf. (3) that, being so manifested and exercised, they are fit and powerful to bring us to the everlasting fruition of himself; which is our blessedness." (pg. 197)

"For the knowledge of ourselves, which is the second part of our wisdom, this consists in these three things, which our Savior sends his Spirit to convince the world of - even 'sin, righteousness, and judgment' (John 16:8). To know ourselves in reference unto these three is a main part of true and sound wisdom; for they all respect the supernatural and immortal end whereunto we are appointed; and there is none of these that we can attain unto but only in Christ." (pg. 200)

"...it is not enough that we are not guilty, we must also be actually righteous - not only all sin is to be answered for, but all righteousness is to be fulfilled." (pg. 213)

"The more abilities the mind is furnished with, the more it closes with the curse, and strengthens itself to act its enmity against God. All that it receives does but help it to set up high thoughts and imaginations against the Lord Christ. So that this knowledge comes short of what in particular it is designed unto; and therefore cannot be that solid wisdom we are inquiring after." (pg. 225)

"If in any things, then, we are straitened, it is in ourselves; Christ deals bountifully with us. Indeed, the great sin of believers is that they make not use of Christ's bounty as they ought to do; that we do not every day take of him mercy in abundance. The oil never ceases till the vessels cease; supplies from Christ fail not but only when our faith fails in receiving them." (pg. 269)

"And thus have we a twofold bottom of the necessity of our obedience and personal holiness: God has appointed it, he requires it; and it is an eminent immediate end of the distinct dispensation of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, in the work of our salvation." (pg. 306)

"This is the great mystery of faith in this business of our acceptation with God by Christ: that whereas the soul of a believer finds enough in him and upon him to rend the very caul [membrane; the pericardium] of the heart (Hos. 13.8), to fill him with fears, terror, disquietments all his days, yet through Christ he is at perfect peace with God (Isa. 26:3; Ps. 4:6-8). Hence do the souls of believers exceedingly magnify Jesus Christ, that they can behold the face of God with boldness, confidence, peace, joy, assurance - that they can call him Father, bear themselves on his love, walk up and down in quietness, and without fear. How glorious is the Son of God in this grace!" (pg. 314)

"This is that which I intend by this habit of grace - a new, gracious, spiritual life, or principle, created and bestowed on the soul, whereby it is changed in all its faculties and affections, fitted and enabled to go forth in the way of obedience unto every divine object that is proposed unto it, according to the mind of God." (pg. 326)

"...adoption is the authoritative translation of a believer, by Jesus Christ, from the family of the world and Satan into the family of God, with his investiture in all the privileges and advantages of that family." (pg. 335)

"The Comforter may always abide with us, though not always comfort us; he who is the Comforter may abide, though he do not always that work. For other ends and purposes he is always with us; as to sanctify and make us holy." (pg. 367)

"A soul does never glorify or honor Christ upon a discovery or sense of the eternal redemption he has purchased for him, but it is in him a peculiar effect of the Holy Ghost as our Comforter." (pg. 377)

"When we find any of the good truths of the gospel come home to our souls with life, vigor, and power, giving us gladness of heart, transforming us into the image and likeness of it - the Holy Ghost is then at his work, is pouring out of his oil." (pg. 387ff)

John Owen (edited by Kelly M. Kapic and Justin Taylor), Communion With The Triune God (Wheaton, IL; Crossway Books, 2007)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Courage to Be Protestant: Truth-lovers, Marketers, and Emergents in the Postmodern World - by David F. Wells

"When all is said and done today, many evangelicals are indifferent to doctrine - certainly they are when they 'do church.' Privately, no doubt, there are doctrines that are believed. But in church...well, that is different because, many think, doctrine is an impediment as we reach out to new generations." (pg. 3)

"The truth is that without a biblical understanding of why God instituted it, the church easily becomes a liability in a market where it competes only with the greatest of difficulty against religious fare available in the convenience of one's living room and in a culture bent on distraction and entertainment." (pg. 11)

"For seeker-sensitives, by their own reckoning, traditional evangelical belief is their dance partner but, in building their churches, they cannot be seen dancing with their partner. They must dance alone, theologically speaking. Actually, in place of the old partner is the new one. The new partner is the customer. It is the customer who is their theology!" (pg. 40)

"Those who were once the unconverted have become the unchurched. This spares us the embarrassment of uttering theological truth. And that is the tip-off that something is amiss here. What is amiss is that the Christianity being peddled is not about theological truth. Christianity is not just an experience, we need to remember, but it is about truth." (pg. 45)

"My conclusion is that absolute truth and morality are fast receding in society because their grounding in God as objective, as outside of our self, as our transcendent point of reference, is disappearing. There is nothing outside the individual that stands over against the individual, that remains as the measure for the individual's actions, the standard for what is right and wrong, or as the test of what is true and what is not." (pg. 61)

"The short answer, then, to the question why life has lost its center has a beguiling simplicity to it. The center has not been lost. It has only been lost to our view. And that is because our disposition, the orientation of our nature from birth, leads us inexorably to replace God with our own selves, to substitute our interests for his, and to redefine life around its new substitute center in ourselves." (pg. 104)

"When the (post)modern self becomes religious, it may become liberal, emergent, or loosely evangelical. But when it becomes (post)modern in these ways, it will no longer be historically Protestant. It will not be biblical. It will not be apostolic. It will be Christian in name but not in thought." (pg. 142ff)

"To speak of Virtue, then, is to speak of the moral structure of the world God has made. Rebellious though we are, we have not broken down this structure, nor dislodged God from maintaining it. It stands there, over against us, whether we recognize it or not. We bump up against it in the course of life and we encounter its reflection in our own moral makeup. And from all sides a message is conveyed to our consciousness: 'Beware! This is a moral world that you inhabit!'" (pg. 145)

"Our world is filled with offers of help and of hope, of meaning and of fulfillment, and even of surrogate regeneration, but they all come from a world that is spiritually dead and therefore ultimately worthless. That is an extraordinary, a breathtakingly radical, position to take. The New Testament takes it unapologetically." (pg. 195)

"The gospel, understood as a product, loses its depth and cost. ... The result is a set of damaging triumphs: the triumph of appeal over depth, of technique over truth, and of consumption over cost." (pg. 213)

"An authentic church is one that is God-centered in its thought and God-honoring in its proclamation and life. It can be authentic only when it honors, reflects, and proclaims who God is and what he has done in Christ." (pg. 242)

David F. Wells, The Courage to Be Protestant: Truth-lovers, Marketers, and Emergents in the Postmodern World (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2008)