f The Wittenberg Door: February 2011

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Commenting on Christendom, culture, history, and other oddities of life from an historic Protestant perspective.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Notable Quote: Michael Horton

Dr. Michael Horton on natural law . . .

God secretly governs the nations just as he does his church, although he governs the former through natural law and common grace and the latter through His Word written and preached. Calvin considers it erroneous to believe, for example, that a government must be framed according to “the political system of Moses;” rather, it is to be “ruled by the common laws of nations.” Natural law — the law of God written upon the conscience of every person — allows for marvelous “diversity” in constitutions, forms of government, and laws. The Mosaic theocracy was limited to the old covenant and is no longer the blueprint for nation-states.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ignatius of Antioch - Earliest Post-New Testament Martyr

Christian History and Biography posted a fascinating article about Ignatius at their site. Here’s how it begins . . .

"Now I begin to be a disciple. … Let fire and cross, flocks of beasts, broken bones, dismemberment … come upon me, so long as I attain to Jesus Christ."

Ignatius was going to die. He knew it. He wanted it. The only possible problem, as he saw it, was meddling Christians.

You can read the rest here.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Humility and Truth

Great thoughts on humility and truth over at bethinking.org:

Humble: bethinkers know that our understanding of some truths is fallible, and will not press a point beyond what the evidence allows."

Being less sure doesn't make you humble. That's just a plain fact. In the past, humility was the opposite of pride. But now it has become the opposite of conviction. Being sure of something is now often considered a character flaw. There are three basic reactions to being challenged. Reaction one is to turn the volume up. For example Fundamentalists seemed to have more "certainties" than they could every justify from Scripture. The next reaction is to turn the volume right down. This might seem humble, however, the danger might be that we overreact with equally arrogant assertions of uncertainty when God has clearly spoken. The third and final reaction is to turn the volume to a level so that you can actually hear the conversation or challenge and interact with it, but while you still keep the music on.

In the wake of all of this we should ponder carefully this question - Do we have the humility to doubt ourselves while having the courage to witness to the truth as it has been revealed?



Sunday, February 06, 2011

Notable Quote: John Bunyan

Let the most Blessed be my Guide,
If’t be his blessed Will,
Unto his Gate, into his Fold,
Up to his Holy Hill:
And let him never suffer me
To swerve or turn aside
From his Free Grace, and Holy Ways,
Whate’er shall me betide

The Pilgrim’s Progress (1678)


Thursday, February 03, 2011

Notable Quote: John Calvin

John Calvin on our destitute state, God’s unfathomable mercy, and those who would disagree . . .

For what is more consonant with faith than to recognize that we are naked of all virtue, in order to be clothed by God? That we are empty of all good, to be filled by him? Blind, to be illuminated by him? Lame, to be made straight by him? Weak, to be sustained by him? To take away from us all occasion for glorying, that he alone may stand forth gloriously and we glory in him? When we say these and like things our adversaries interrupt and complain that in this way we shall subvert some blind light of nature, imaginary preparations, free will, and works that merit eternal salvation . . . For they cannot bear that the whole praise and glory of all goodness, virtue, righteousness, and wisdom should rest with God. But we do not read of anyone being blamed for drinking too deeply of the fountain of living water.

The Institutes of the Christian Religion (1559)


Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Notable Quote: John Murray

John Murray (1898 – 1975) on our adversary and the modern denial of him . . .

Back of all that is visible and tangible in the sin of this world there are unseen spiritual powers. Satan is the god of this world, the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the sons of disobedience. The arch-foe of the kingdom of God is not the visible powers arrayed against it; for behind these visible agents and manifestations of evil is the ingenuity, craft, malicious design, instigation and relentless activity of the devil and his ministers. It was this of which Paul was fully aware when he said, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritualities of wickedness in the heavenlies” (Eph. 6:12). Because we have given way to the impact of naturalistic presuppositions, and to the anti-supernaturalistic and anti-praeternaturalistic bias, we are far too liable in these days to discount this truth of Christian revelation. We are liable to discard it in our construction and interpretation of the forces of iniquity. To the extent that we do so, our thinking is not Christian.