Daily Archives: August 1, 2013

“Amazing Grace! (How Sweet the Sound)” by John Newton (1779)

If America had a national folk hymn, this would probably be it. This well-loved and oft-sung hymn, written by John Newton in the late eighteenth century, is a powerful assurance and declaration of the grace of God working in all our lives. When Newton was just eleven, he joined his father at sea and began a tumultuous life in the Navy, eventually becoming captain of a slave ship. In a period of four years, however, his life was drastically turned around: he nearly drowned, he married a very pious Mary Catlett, and he read through Thomas à Kempis’ Imitation of Christ. In 1754 he gave up the slave trade and joined forces with the great abolitionist, William Wilberforce. A number of years later, he was ordained for ministry, and soon after wrote this great text, declaring that we are saved only the grace of God. Newton wrote, “I can see no reason why the Lord singled me out for mercy…unless it was to show, by one astonishing instance, that with him ‘nothing is impossible’” (Newton, The Life of John Newton). As we sing the very familiar words of this hymn, how powerful it is to think of ourselves as an “astonishing instance” of God’s grace and mercy.

View this Featured Hymn
Articles concerning John Newton and “Amazing Grace”

This month’s ‘Featured Article’ is actually a collection of short, online articles that all relate to John Newton and his hymn, “Amazing Grace.”

“The Dissemination of ‘Amazing Grace'” available at The Library of Congress.

“Amazing Grace, The Story of John Newton, Author of America’s Favorite Hymn” by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson available at Joyful Heart Ministires.

The John Newton Project available at http://www.Johnnewton.org
Olney Hymns
by John Newton

This collection of hymns published in 1779 contains some of the most popular Christian songs of all time, “Amazing Grace” among them. By 1836, the book had gone through at least another 37 editions. There are over 300 hymns, some of which still appear in modern church worship. John Newton and his friend, William Cowper, one of the most respected and influential English poets of the 18th century, worked together on this project. Both men shared passion for showing others that they could befriend God personally, receiving forgiveness, freedom, and love. In many ways, their collection epitomizes the booming Evangelical movement of their time.

-The Christian Classics Ethereal Library

Read this classic

“All of Grace” by C. H. Spurgeon

A sermon based on Ephesians 2:8

Spurgeon begins this sermon with an entertaining story about a time when he preached a sermon on grace with his grandfather. After discussing the importance of grace, he proceeds to cover 5 major points in this sermon:

I. There is present salvation.

II. A Present salvation must be through grace.

III. Present salvation by grace must be through faith.

IV. Salvation by grace, through faith, is not of ourselves.

V. By grace are you saved through faith and that not of ourselves – it is the gift of God.

The sermon concludes with this thought, “If my Lord Jesus gives you salvation at this moment, you have it and you have it forever! He will never take it back—and if He does not take it from you, who can? If He saves you, now, through faith, you are saved—so saved that you shall never perish, neither shall any pluck you out of His hand. May it be so with all of us! Amen.

Read this featured sermon

The Most Important Number In The Entire U.S. Economy

There is one vitally important number that everyone needs to be watching right now, and it doesn’t have anything to do with unemployment, inflation or housing. If this number gets too high, it will collapse the entire U.S. financial system. The number that I am talking about is the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries. When that number goes up, long-term interest rates all across the financial system start increasing. When long-term interest rates rise, it becomes more expensive for the federal government to borrow money, it becomes more expensive for state and local governments to borrow money, existing bonds lose value and bond investors lose a lot of money, mortgage rates go up and monthly payments on new mortgages rise, and interest rates throughout the entire economy go up and this causes economic activity to slow down. On top of everything else, there are more than 440 trillion dollars worth of interest rate derivatives sitting out there, and rapidly rising interest rates could cause that gigantic time bomb to go off and implode our entire financial system. We are living in the midst of the greatest debt bubble in the history of the world, and the only way that the game can continue is for interest rates to stay super low. Unfortunately, the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries has started to rise, and many experts are projecting that it is going to continue to rise. (Read More….)

Ariel Castro: The Logical Consequence of a Society Which Refuses to Take Responsibility for its Deeds

Zwinglius Redivivus

Castro is what happens when a person rejects the concept of personal responsibility.  His disgusting ‘testimony’ betrays the fact that he never has, and never will have, any sense of accountability or responsibility for his decisions.  Like so many others in our society, he blames others.  I’m surprised he hasn’t said he was ‘born this way’.

The problem with all that, however, is that we are all responsible, ultimately and absolutely, for out own behavior, regardless of the excuses we offer others and ourselves.

Still, whether we wish to admit it or not, Castro is a symptom of a sick society which has for a long time now attempted to evade responsibility.  We’re just reaping what we’ve sown and there are more Castros in the wings waiting to be revealed.

At his sentence hearing this afternoon, Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro was given the opportunity to address the court and…

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Late July 2013 Presuppositional Apologetics Links

In Christ Alone: Living the Gospel Centered Life — Free eBook

During the month of August, Reformation Trust is giving away the eBook edition of Sinclair Ferguson’s In Christ Alone. This book explores various aspects of the person and work of Jesus. It has been written to help believers gain a better understanding of their Savior and the Christian faith, and to live out that faith in their day-to-day lives. In Christ Alone is packed full of nuggets of Scriptural truth that will spark and fan the flames of the believer’s love for the Savior who is so beautiful in His person and so faithful in His work on behalf of His beloved sheep.

“Whether you are a new Christian looking for basic Christian doctrine or a more mature one wanting a refresher, this book will both instruct you and delight you. I warmly commend it to all Christians who want to grow in their faith.”

Jerry Bridges

“The title In Christ Alone is enough to make hearts brave and souls stand at attention. And Sinclair Ferguson, the consummate teacher, takes great pains to explain the supreme sufficiency of Jesus Christ and why He is ‘enough.’”

Joni Eareckson Tada

Download the ePub edition from the Ligonier Store.

Source: http://www.ligonier.org/blog/christ-alone-free-ebook/

Free Audiobook of the Month: John Stott’s “Basic Christianity”

Download it here. Thanks to Christian Audio for this wonderful gift.

You may want to consider if there are believers or unbelievers in your circle of influence who might benefit from this free audio book.

Source: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2013/08/01/free-audiobook-of-the-month-john-stotts-basic-christianity/

How to Help an Angry Person

We Don’t Do Well Being God

The angry man is a sad man. The angry man is a reckless man. Did you know the angry man is a scared man too? Anger is most often born out of insecurity. The angry man is afraid he is not going to get his way, so he resorts to anger as a mechanism or means to get what he wants.

This is part of what it means to be in Adam. Fear, shame, and guilt were the first outpourings of Adam’s heart, shortly after he chose to not believe God. To walk away from God, as Adam chose to do, meant he had to become god. (Genesis 3:5).

The sad news for us is we don’t do well being god. It is hard to control everything, to be self-reliant, and to keep life well-managed. Therefore, anger becomes one of the tools in the arsenal of the fearful person who must have life on his terms.

Read More Here: http://biblicalcounselingcoalition.org/blogs/2013/08/01/how-to-help-an-angry-person/

What the Faith of Our Teenagers Is Telling The American Church

According to sociologists Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton, most American teenagers believe in something dubbed “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism” (MTD). Within this MTD “religion,” God is a cosmic therapist and divine butler, ready to help out when needed. He exists but really isn’t a part of our lives. We are supposed to be “good people,” but each person must find what’s right for him or her. Good people will go to heaven, and we shouldn’t be stifled by organized religion where somebody tells us what we should do or what we should believe. ….. Click here for full story

Iran: Syrian Revolution Could Be Catalyst For Return Of The Mahdi

Iran is again asserting that Armageddon is at hand and that the Islamic regime’s followers, indeed all of Islam, must prepare for a monumental change in the world. Officials of the Islamic regime last month held their annual conference on the Mahdism Doctrine to prepare for the coming of the last Islamic messiah, the Shiites’ 12th Imam, Mahdi…… Click here for full story

The Name Of Jesus Has Become A Dirty Word In Politically Correct America

In the United States today, there are very few words that provoke as much outrage as the name of Jesus. It is being banned from graduation ceremonies, chaplains all over America are being forbidden from using His name in their prayers, and many school officials all over the nation have become absolutely fanatical about eliminating every trace of Christian expression from their schools….. Click here for full story

XKeyscore: NSA tool collects ‘nearly everything a user does on the internet’

A top secret National Security Agency program allows analysts to search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals, according to documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The NSA boasts in training materials that the program, called XKeyscore, is its “widest-reaching” system for developing intelligence from the internet.

Read More Here

Wake up, and smell truth

When God took care of Sodom and Gomorrah, he didn’t send the two angels down to have a calm, nice dialogue with the men of the city, who were rampantly engaging in homosexuality, explaining to them, “it’s not that we have a problem with your lifestyle, guys… please, feel free to hang out in each other’s company… we wouldn’t want to deprive you of companionship…,” etc. No; the angels came to deliver out Lot and his family, before the judgment of the Lord on a wicked city, whose inhabitants had turned from His gracious hand.

God is not compromising with homosexuality; how come so many “evangelicals” are?

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Question 30-Puritan Catechism

Reformedontheweb's Blog

Spurgeon 3Q. What is effectual calling?

A. Effectual calling is the work of God’s Spirit (2 Timothy 1:9) whereby, convincing us of our sin and misery, (Acts 2:37) enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ, (Acts 26:18) and renewing our wills, (Ezekiel 36:26) he does persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ freely offered to us in the gospel. (John 6:44,45)

Charles Haddon Spurgeon-A Puritan Catechism

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Why Millennials Are Leaving the Church: A Response to Rachel Held Evans

In a recent column for CNN, Rachel Held Evans offers some thoughts on “why millennials are leaving the church.” Her post struck a chord with readers. She is addressing a perennial topic of conversation among church leaders and church goers: what will happen to the next generation.

Like Rachel, I’m 32 – right on the border of the millennials, and many of the questions and doubts I hear from the millennial generation resonate with me too. But my analysis differs somewhat from Rachel’s.

Read More Here: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/trevinwax/2013/08/01/why-millennials-are-leaving-the-church-a-response-to-rachel-held-evans/

You Asked: Am I Disqualified from Ministry?

Because of the personal and sensitive nature of this question, we changed the name, city, and state.

Rick R. from Runfield, Wisconsin, asks:

I have moments where my past of sexual immorality haunts me. I’m 23. A few years ago I used to lead worship in college ministry but was walking in sexually immorality. God convicted me of what it really meant to be a member of church, and I joined a church and quickly confessed my sin to older men in the church who removed me from worship leading and got me help. Two years later, I’m married now and walking in light and confessing little parts of my flesh that still desire old sinful ways (I’ve been faithful to my wife and pray God will continue to protect my new marriage).

My question comes still, am I disqualified from ministry? I wasn’t married during that time, but I fear sometimes I’ve just sinned too much to be used in formal church ministry. I was sinning as a leader in a ministry. I’m not doubting my salvation, just haunted sometimes about if I’ll ever be able to be used by God or not.

We posed this question to Scotty Smith, founding pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee, and a Council member with The Gospel Coalition.

Read More Here: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2013/08/01/you-asked-am-i-disqualified-from-ministry/

Ravenous Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

15 Προσέχετε ἀπὸ τῶν ψευδοπροφητῶν, οἵτινες ἔρχονται πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἐν ἐνδύμασιν προβάτων, ἔσωθεν δέ εἰσιν λύκοι ἅρπαγες. (Matthew 7:15 NA28)

15 “Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but within are ravenous wolves.”  (Matthew 7:15 translated from the NA28 Greek text)

With the ever increasing move away from Orthodox Christianity into various forms of experiential religion that we are witnesses of here and now, it seems that the bottom is falling out of Christianity, at least in the USA. It’s bad enough that we have all of these “wolves in sheep’s clothing” drawing the unaware into false religions while pretending to be Christian, but there are seemingly endless numbers of our “Christian” leaders falling all over themselves embracing these heretics. For example, it was not that long ago that someone like Robert Schuller was known for the heretic he is. When John MacArthur spoke…

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Scoffers: It’s getting worse

As we get closer to the end, the scoffers will come. We’re told that those who hate God will be hardened and given over to their sinful nature. Does it look like that’s where we are right now?

As previously reported, two movies are captivating audiences and tickling their funnybones: Rapture Palooza and This is the end. I’ve embedded the disgusting trailers of these movies into the following article from Olive Tree Ministries:

Read More Here: http://standupforthetruth.com/2013/07/scoffers-its-getting-worse/

Social Justice Jesus: Great Commission of Coexistence

Using some satire Apprising Ministries warns you that an mythological “Jesus” of liberal theology has found his way into evangelical teachings.


Dates, Doctrines, & Dead People

Introducing a series about church history … and why you should care about it.

Over the course of our lecture, I will give my students ten reasons why the study of church history matters. Over the next few weeks, I’d like to share those reasons with you here on the Cripplegate.

Today, I’ll give you just one.

1. Studying church history is important because most contemporary Christians are clueless about it. And they shouldn’t be.

Read More Here