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What Is Reformation Day? (via Stephen Nichols at Ligonier)

May churches will acknowledge the Reformation tomorrow, the Sunday before October 31.
Stephen Nichol provides a summary of why.

What is Reformation Day? It is the day the light of the gospel broke forth out of darkness. It was the day that began the Protestant Reformation. It was a day that led to Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Knox, and may other Reformers helping the church find its way back to God’s Word as the only authority for faith and life and leading the church back to the glorious doctrines of justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. It kindled the fires of missionary endeavors, it led to hymn writing and congregational singing, and it led to the centrality of the sermon and preaching for the people of God. It is the celebration of a theological, ecclesiastical, and cultural transformation.

Read the whole post at Ligonier.


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Letting The Word Do Its Work – Again

At Ligonier, Steven Lawson recalls the well-known quote from Martin Luther about his belief that the event we know as the Reformation was primarily a ministry of God’s Word.
As Lawson goes on to add, tomorrow at MGPC we’ll be setting the Bible loose again confident that it will do its work.

As the Reformation began to break, Luther was approached: “Explain what is taking place here in Europe?” “Explain the Reformation?” Luther gave this famous answer: “I simply taught, preached, wrote God’s Word. Otherwise, I did nothing. And then I slept. And the Word so greatly weakened the Papacy that never a prince and never an emperor inflicted such damage upon it. I did nothing. The Word did it all.”

We’re not looking for gospel gimmicks in these days. We’re not looking trendy little techniques. We’re looking for men, and women, and churches, and seminaries, and ministries, and denominations who will stand up with the Word of God—teach it, preach it, write it, sing it, counsel it, lift it up, let it out, and let it fly. And let the Word do its work.

source


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Many Years, One Message – R.C. Sproul

Ligionier Ministries has released a three-minute video compilation of the late R.C. Sproul teaching on his signature subject, the holiness of God.
Though fashions change and the body ages, Sproul’s theme remains consistently the same.


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Faith And Repentance (via Sinclair Ferguson)

Sinclair Ferguson considers faith and repentance.
Because they can be experienced differently and distinctly we might think they are separate.
But that is unhelpful.
From Ferguson:

In grammatical terms, then, the words repent and believe both function as a synecdoche — the figure of speech in which a part is used for the whole. Thus, repentance implies faith and faith implies repentance. One cannot exist without the other.
But which comes first, logically? Is it repentance? Is it faith? Or does neither have an absolute priority?
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We cannot separate turning from sin in repentance and coming to Christ in faith. They describe the same person in the same action, but from different perspectives. In one instance (repentance), the person is viewed in relation to sin; in the other (faith), the person is viewed in relation to the Lord Jesus. But the individual who trusts in Christ simultaneously turns away from sin. In believing he repents and in repenting believes.

Read the whole post at Ligonier.


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Vale R.C. Sproul

R.C. Sproul’s The Holiness Of God was one of the first Christian books I read.
(Recommended by my pastor Roger Stone, naturally)
It was a formative influence in understanding the Bible.
Sproul died today and there are many tributes all over the internet.

Here’s a topical hymn, the lyrics of which were penned by Sproul.
Now he is seeing the reality of that which his words could only imagine.
This is Highland Hymn.


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What Is The Greatest Of All Protestant “Heresies”? (via Sinclair Ferguson)

If you worshipped as a Christian yesterday assured of your salvation, that’s a fruit of the Reformation.
Sinclair Ferguson writes about a lesser acknowledged fruit of the Church’s great awakening, by interacting with one of its contemporary critics:

Let us begin with a church history exam question. Cardinal Robert Bellarmine (1542–1621) was a figure not to be taken lightly. He was Pope Clement VIII’s personal theologian and one of the most able figures in the Counter-Reformation movement within sixteenth-century Roman Catholicism. On one occasion, he wrote: “The greatest of all Protestant heresies is _______ .” Complete, explain, and discuss Bellarmine’s statement.
How would you answer? What is the greatest of all Protestant heresies? Perhaps justification by faith? Perhaps Scripture alone, or one of the other Reformation watchwords?
Those answers make logical sense. But none of them completes Bellarmine’s sentence. What he wrote was: “The greatest of all Protestant heresies is assurance.”
A moment’s reflection explains why…

Read the rest of the post at Ligonier.


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Still A Great Salvation? (via Sinclair Ferguson)

A salvation that is eternal in scope, personal in application, and expresses the character of God.
It is not wonder the Scriptures describe it as great.
Sinclair Ferguson wonders how a salvation that embraces the past, present, and future could ever be taken for granted:

So it is in the Gospel. God has a plan. It has been called the covenant of redemption, or the covenant of peace (pactum salutis). Theologians as great as Thomas Boston and Jonathan Edwards have disagreed as to whether the plan should properly be described as a covenant at all. But the debates over nomenclature are incidental to the thing itself.
The triune God had a plan, involving the mutual commitment of Father, Son and Spirit to save a people. About this the reformed theologians speak with one voice.
Before all time; prior to all worlds; when there was nothing “outside of” God himself; when the Father, Son and Spirit found eternal, absolute and unimaginable blessing, pleasure and joy in their holy triunity — it was their agreed purpose to create a world which would fall, and in unison — but at infinitely great cost — to bring you (if you are a believer) grace and salvation. This deeper grace from before the dawn of time — pictured in the rituals, the leaders and the experiences of the Old Testament saints (cf. Heb. 11:39–12:3) — is now ours. These are the dimensions of what the author of Hebrews calls “such a great salvation” (Heb. 2:3). Our salvation depends on God’s covenant, rooted in eternity in the plan of the Trinity, foreshadowed in the Mosaic covenant, fulfilled in Christ, enduring forever. No wonder Hebrews calls it “great.”
You considered your salvation to be “great” early in your Christian life didn’t you? Do you still think about it that way today?

From Ligonier blog.