Saturday, 31 December 2011

Have a Most Blessed 2012.

Since time of God's creation and His gift to the world, may I wish all my readers and visitors God's richest blessing in 2012.  Some of you will have already entered 2012, and the rest of us have to wait a short time longer to do so.  But our God is the God of time and space, and He has His sovereign hands firmly at the controls, and whatever 2012 brings for us, we can be assured that He is the Master of time and history.

Put your trust in Him for your future and for the future. God bless you all.

Paul Preaches the Cross.

What did Paul preach that brought down Holy Spirit?  “Jesus Christ and Him crucified,” (1 Cor.2:2).  He preached the Cross.  He preached the death of Christ for lost mankind. “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”  “There is none righteous, no, not one.” “There is none that does good, no, not one.”  All are sinners, therefore all need the Saviour.  Jn.3:16 tells us that sent One Who was to be that very Saviour the world needs so badly.  Only at the Cross is there salvation for anyone.  Christ died for you, my friend.  God does not want anyone, not even you, to perish, but to come to repentance, (2 Pet.3:9).  And all means all.  There are no exceptions, no exclusions but those who exclude themselves.  Paul  preached this mess “in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.”  
Oh for Spirit-filled preachers in our churches today! Pray for men who will be so surrendered to Christ and so filled with His Spirit this 2012, that we will see great advances for the Kingdom of God.  Pray for a mighty revival in, and reformation of, the Church.  For preaching will be totally useless without this.  Plead with God to give Him in great measure.  Pray to God to bring preachers back to the Cross, and to declare it without fear or favour, and regardless of the smiles or frowns of those who listen to them.   This was Paul's message – it must also be ours.

Friday, 30 December 2011

Preaching the Cross!

I think that evangelical preachers need to be very careful when preaching about, or better, preaching, the Cross, and not be lulled into the old bankrupt liberalism that distorted and even denied the Bible's own teaching on this vitally important doctrine.

What was achieved at the Cross was more than expiation, more than the dealing with man's sin and guilt.  Man's sin was not not the only that confronted God ( and I do not intend to be irreverent here); there was the greater problem of God's wrath to be considered and dealt with, a fact that is often missed by evangelical preachers.  The problem is not only on man's side - there is a problem on God's side that has to be addressed, namely, His wrath, His holiness, righteousness and justice.

Let us all be careful to maintain the Bible's own perfect balance.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

No Fear of God.

Do you know what's wrong with many of us?  I will tell you: we have no fear of God.  If only we feared God more, we’d worship and serve Him better.  If you and I knew what it was to fall prostrate before His awful majesty and His blinding purity, then we’d be much better Christians.  But alas, that is not the case. And do you know what the consequence of that is?  We have no fear of treating God and things of God with utter contempt.  We have no genuine concern for God’s people – anything goes and anything will do; nor have we any great concern for God’s prophets.  We despise His people and His prophets. And why? Because we do not fear God. The fear of God is not in our hearts.  We treat Him as a religious commodity, as a kind of spiritual insurance policy, as a nice thing to believe in.  But no more.

That’s why God gave us His Word, and especially the Psalms – they teach us Who and what He is.  They teach us His ways; they show to us the wonder of His grace;  and they show us how much He really loves us.  He wants us to kn Him really well; He wants our knowledge of Him to increase daily.  When we truly know God, we will fear Him.  We will stand in awe of His awful Majesty. We will shut our mouths at very thought of His dreadful power and  might.  And we’ll wonder at His marvellous providence in the world and in our lives.

Our problem is that we talk too much, not only about God but. to God. We do not know what it is to stand in dreadful silence before Him. We rush in and babble away, as if we were speaking to our best mate.  We have no idea of the fear of God in our hearts.  

Did DMLJ's Publishers Distort His Teaching?

For over 40 years I have been an avid reader of DMLJ, and I will be eternally grateful to the Banner for making so many of his books and sermons available to a wider reading Christian public.  

In my reading, I have noticed something to which I wish to draw your attention.  First, when reading through his sermons, he always quoted frequently from the hymns of the great hymn-writers of the past, and used these to illustrate some point he was making.  This practice gave me a greater appreciation of Christian hymnody, and saw how hymns could be used to light up a text of Scripture or some truth that was being expounded.

However, when I turned to his sermons on Ephesians, I discovered either that he deliberately skipped that portion (5:19, 20) which is most unlikely, given the Doctor's concern to deal exhaustively with his text; or else someone else made the decision to delete his exposition of these verses for some other reason.  If the reason is the former, then that's one thing, however unlikely it might be, but if it is the latter, then someone has decided to distort the Doctor's theology and practice by removing these sermons for the published series.  In this series, as in all his preaching, he deals thoroughly with every text, so it is most strange that he skipped over these two verses and proceeded on to v.21.

A similar policy decision was taken by Banner editors not to include DMLJ's sermon on Roman Catholicism (originally sermon 16) also in the Ephesians series where the Doctor was expounding "the wiles of the devil" in Eph.6.  One must ask, Why was this done and who authorised such an omission?  This can be viewed as shewing the Doctor's teaching, and again I ask, What was the thinking behind this move?

Another Right Question!

In an earlier post I suggested that in churches where the minister is having difficulty through opposition to the Gospel, the right question to ask is, What is God doing in our midst?

Another pertinent question that ministers can ask is, What is the Lord doing in my life?  This is a profoundly personal question, and one that can shake us to the core.  And if the question can do that, what effect will the answer not have on us!

Yet it is a vitally important question to ask.  If God is working within His church, it follows as night does the day that He is also working in us.  So what is He doing in us?  What lessons is He teaching us?  What does He want us to learn?

Unnerving questions indeed!  But we must ask them if we are to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Christ. We must face up to what God is doing, not only through us, but IN us. 

Monday, 26 December 2011

New Book on Calvin and Calvinism

I trust you have a really blessed time as you remembered and celebrated the birth of the Saviour of the world, our Lord Jesus Christ.  As we often say, it is as far behind as ever, and we are looking at a brand new year still unspoiled by human sin and corruption.  

My reason for writing is to tell you that our new book, John Calvin 500, has just come off the printing presses, and I received mine just before Christmas.  This contains the reports/lectures/papers delivered by six speakers and dealt with six different aspects of Calvin's life and thought.

The six chapters are:
1.  Calvin and Christ - The Faith (David Bond)
2.  Calvin and Calvinism - Amyraut et al (Rev. Dr Alan C. Clifford, the editor of the book)
3.  Calvin and Church - Presbyterian Order (Dr Ronald Barnett)
4.  Calvin and Covenant - Baptism (Rev. Stephen Quinton)
5.  Calvin and Comfort - Assurance (Rev. J. Nigel Westhead)
6.  Calvin and Courage - Under the Cross (Rev. Dr J. E. Hazlett Lynch).

A seventh chapter was added, being the paper delivered by Dr Alan Clifford at the International Calvin Congress held in Geneva in May 2009, entitled John Calvin and John Wesley: an English Perspective.

I am sure that not everyone who reads this book will agree with everything that is said, given that its emphasis is thoroughly Calvinistic and therefore Presbyterian in orientation.  That said, I doubt if readers will not derive some benefit from these papers, all of which seek to expound authentic Calvinism, or the Calvinism of John Calvin, in a clear and practical way.

You can order your copies from me, price £12.50 plus P&P. 

If you know of others who would benefit from this book, please give them my contact details, or perhaps you could order the book for them from me.  This will help sustain my work as well as promote the church of the Gospel.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

God Sent Forth His Son.

God has shown remarkable patience with the world.  In His patience, He has given the human race more than sufficient time to prove that it cannot save itself.  The world had all the wisdom of the Egyptians, but this could not save the world.  The Persian and Assyrian empires were also given time to prove what they could do to change man, but they too failed.  Then we had the Grecian and Roman empires with all their great philosophy and debating skills, and all their legal and administrative expertise, but still no improvement came to the world.  In fact, the longer man tried to improve the world, the more it nose-dived into moral and spiritual corruption. All these purely human attempts to save humanity from itself, let alone from the coming wrath of God, failed lamentably. 

But God!  Here are Paul's great words.  But God.  When the fulness of the time had come, when men had more than sufficient time to prove themselves, and failed, God stepped in and did what man could not do and never can do - save the world.  All man's solutions were but treating the symptoms and did nothing to resolve man's estranged relationship with God, his Creator and Judge.  If the world were ever going to be saved, God must do it. And he did.  He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world, born of a woman, the virgin Mary, and born under the law, that He might redeem those under the law.

You see, man's greatest need was for redemption.  He needed to be redeemed; and everything he did throughout the whole of history was woefully inadequate.  But God's action was adequate, adequate to save the entire human race, on condition of faith. If man would but believe in the only Saviour of the world, he would be saved.  God would redeem him and bring him into fellowship with Himself.  He would deliver him from this present evil world/age. 

But man still thinks he knows best, better than God.  Man is still trying to work his own salvation, but he is destined to fail, and face divine judgement. Man still needs Christ.  And the Christ he needs was sent on the first Christmas to redeem mankind.  This is what Christmas is all about.  It is about God's way of salvation.  The Son of the Virgin is our only hope for time and for eternity.  His mother cannot do anything for you, so don't be deceived by those religious people who tell you she can.  That blessed woman was a saved sinner like me and many others; she too needed a Saviour.  So she cannot help you.  But the fruit of her womb can and will do for you what no one else, including yourself, can do - he can save you the moment you trust in Him alone for salvation.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Unbiblical Authoritarianism Within the Churches.

The sad reality amongst some of the churches in Northern Ireland is that some of God's dear servants are being opposed by professing evangelical and reformed ministers.  It is strange, but true.  These are reformed evangelicals who have elevated the church denomination way above the Gospel.  For them, being a 'good servant of the church' equates with being a 'good servant of the Gospel.' These ought to be synonymous realities, but the truth is that this is not the case. It is so sad that Gospel preachers within these denominations are being harried and 'monitored' and 'watched' by the "eyes and ears" of the establishment bodies, namely, their colleagues in the ministry and their 'agents' in the pews.

Now there are also ministers who are being - at this very time - opposed and persecuted by non-believers who have been accepted as Christians by the church's elders and therefore as church members.  This is what Gospel ministers must expect in what are imperfect churches.  But the servants of Satan masquerading as Christians is another matter altogether.  Even within the ministry there are those who not only do not preach a clear Gospel message but even undermine and deny it.

My heart yearns for these brethren, knowing, as I do, what this means in experience, not only for the minister, but for his wife and children as well.  That's why, I believe, the important place of the Christian minister within the churches and his teaching role there, must be reinforced robustly because they are people within the churches that are determined to silence the preaching of the gospel, and therefore the upbuilding of the Kingdom of God.  There is too much at stake in our province to allow this to happen.  Irish writer James Joyce once said, "Evil triumphs when good men do nothing."  I do not intend this to happen in my country without a passionate effort on my part to maintain the centrality of the preaching ministry within the churches.

We often hear of the persecution of ministers in foreign lands, and we pray for these brothers who are facing death every day.  But we are allowing the devil to proceed uninhibitedly in Ulster when we believe that this is still a Gospel preaching land, and that the churches here are faithful to the Gospel.  I only wish this were the case, and pray that ere long, this will be a Gospel preaching and Gospel believing land once again.

The church in Ulster is in a sorry mess.  So deep are the spiritual problems that it defies understanding to know what way to move in order to form a biblical church.  These churches belong to high orthodoxy, so for anyone to question their adherence, say, to the WCF, would be tantamount to heresy.  These churches have been paralysed to an alarming degree by their official acceptance of Owenism, that it is difficult to see how such churches can be reformed according to the Scriptures, and to live under the Lordship of Christ.  Have you ever heard of an Owenite church being reformed?  " They that are whole have no need of a physician, but they that are sick." These are righteous churches that "need no repentance." Only God by His Spirit can bring such dead orthodox churches to see the need to seek Christ to revive and reform them.  In addition, clericalism is becoming a real problem, if not a nuisance, with reformed evangelical churches in Ulster.  Thankfully there are some who are prepared to confront and challenge this unbiblical authoritarianism. 

Amyraldian Unorthodoxy?

Reflecting on the view of some concerning the orthodoxy of Amyraldianism, I reckon that those same men would not have DMLJ, J. C. Ryle, Thomas Chalmers, R. M.McCheyne, John or Chas Wesley, Philip Doddridge, J. Edwards, Joseph Bellamy, Richard Baxter, Jean Daille, Moise Amyraut, or even the great John Calvin himself, to preach in their pulpits. How sad!  But, I trust that those who hold such views will come to see that my theological position, according to Macleod and Muller, is an integral part of our cherished reformed tradition; more importantly it is biblical because it takes the doctrine of the perspicuity of Scripture with utmost seriousness.  How Owen can exegete "world" in John 3:16 to mean "the world of the elect" defies comprehension!  This is to prostitute Scripture. 

The rush by reformed men to squeeze the texts of Scripture into the WCF, or any other, mould, is a denial of the supremacy of Scripture in the life and witness of the Christian and of the church.  It is surely a cardinal aspect of Romanism that Scripture alone (sola Scriptura) is not enough, having to be supplemented by the church's magisterium. Is the WCF, in the minds of many reformed men, not their equivalent of the Roman magisterium?  How would they answer that?  It is no good their saying that it is a 'subordinate standard' when they elevate it in practice above Scripture!  Does it not smack of Rome's elevation of Mary above Christ?  I think so.  Oh, I hope wiser counsels prevail.

How dangerous a thing it is for men to defer in everything to any man-made document, however good it is deemed to be, while not granting to Scripture its rightful place!  What does God think of that, I wonder?  Is He pleased that a subordinate standard has been elevated over His infallible Word?  Has the church prospered when this has happened in the past?  I don't think so. 

Thursday, 22 December 2011

John Calvin 500 Now Available.

I am so pleased to inform you that the book "John Calvin 500 - a reformation affirmation" has now come off the presses, and is available for you to read and study.  Published by Charenton Reformed Publishing, the book deals with Calvin and Christ, Calvin and Calvinism, Calvin and Church, Calvin and Covenant, Calvin and Comfort, and Calvin and Courage. £12.50 (postage extra).  The six lecturers provide us with a lot to think about and assess.  The author of this blog is privileged to be amongst them.

Get your copy NOW through this blogsite.  £12.50 plus p&p.

Have a Blessed Christmas!

May I take this opportunity to wish all my readers and followers a very blessed Christmas, the time of the year when we remember with thanksgiving the glorious and miraculous birth of the Saviour of the world. 

Thank you so much for following this website; I hope you are challenged and convicted by what you read, but also encouraged and built up in your faith.  When going through troubles times, it is an encouragement to know that there are others who are experiencing the same things in different places.  We are not on our own, as Satan would want us to believe. And he also wants us to believe that he is supreme! He's NOT!  Christ, by His coming, life, death and resurrection has defeated him totally, and what we are experiencing are merely the dying flings of a fatally wounded enemy.  Praise the Lord. 

This is the message of Christmas.  Our Saviour is victorious.  As Calvin maintained, GOD MUST WIN!

May God bless you all at this time, and give you a most blessed 2012.

The Right Question!

I think the one big question we have to ask ourselves in church work is this: What is the Lord actually doing here?  How easy it is to get our eyes off Him and see only the activity of Satan through his servants.  We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the whole range of the forces of darkness at every level.  When God removes the unbelievers from a church and replaces them with true Christians, then He is at work; and so is Satan!  Then He will start to draw other unbelievers in under the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom, the Gospel of God's sovereign rule and reign over all things.
I am just finishing DMLJ on The Christian Warfare, and hope to move on to The Christian Soldier very shortly.  What a read, and what ministry to my soul.  While there are church ministers whose decided purpose in life is to oppose the Gospel ministers amongst them, DMLJ was the very opposite.  He was the great encourager of Gospel preachers regardless of denominational alignment.  He wasn't too concerned about the accuracy of a man's theology so long as he gave him a sense of the presence of God.  Orthodoxy is important and we should always strive to be as orthodox as we can; but never at the expense of the Gospel.  I am also reading Francis Schaeffer's books, and what a taste of heaven these are.  His ability to dissect what passes for Christianity, especially within the evangelical world, is unsurpassed.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Perverted Pastors

When the Bible condemns the false prophets who preach error to their people, the danger is for us to see the reference to those other churches, the 'unfaithful' ones, but not ours, the 'faithful' ones.  Our church, our denomination, is faithful and true to the Gospel, but these others have 'sold the pass' and have apostasised.  In the northern kingdom of Israel, the church and her prophets were condemned by Jeremiah, and rightly so.  Now, the southern kingdom, Judah, would have breathed a sigh of relief because he condemned the northerners.  But now, he turns to the south and he says they are no better. Come right into the HQ of the Jewish church, and what do you see?  "I have seen ... evildoers," (Jer.23). He sees "a horrible thing," a thing that causes horror, terror, fear.  And He sees this "in the prophets of Jerusalem." 

Here, too, the preachers come under the searchlight of God's Word, and what is exposed is not impressive.  Jeremiah tells us plainly what he sees in the clergy class: "they commit adultery, and walk in lies." Adulterers in the church's ministry!  Ministers who walk in lies - in the church! Now what do these people do, what is their purpose and intent of their ministry?  "They strengthen also the hands of evildoers that no one returns from his wickedness."  In other words, no repentance is preached.  Why?  Because to do so might resurrect all these skeletons in the cupboard of the preachers' lives.  They have no moral authority to preach the truth.  Preachers who "walk in lies" have no authority to peach the truth.  If they say too much, their hearers might know secrets about them and expose them; so they preach a cosy message that keeps their people anesthetised , spiritually paralysed and inert.  That's a safe place fr such people and pastors - each admiring the other.

With this obtaining within the churches of today, is it any wonder that the situation in the nation is so bleak!  If the church is rotten inside, we cannot expect the society within which she lives to be any better. 

Irresponsible Preachers

Dr F. A. Schaeffer wrote, " our generation, when men listen at the doors of many churches, what they hear is non-truth."  In other words, they are hearing the negative of truth which may be understand as error and falsehood.  Truth has been undermined by these 'prophets,' and what they substitute in place of the true Gospel  is not Gospel (Gal.1:7), but the opposite; it is a soul-destroying message that allows condemned sinners to go on in their rebellion and guilt to a Christless eternity.  It is a message that not only enrages God, but does an irreparable dis-service to those who hear them.  It is the very height of spiritual irresponsibility, and will result in eternal loss for all those who preach thus and to those who hear them and it.  Whatever else they might imagine it to be, it is not Gospel; it is non-Gospel.

Now. when the preachers of non-Gospel messages do so, it has a clearly designed result; it causes "my people Israel to err," (Jer.23:13-16).  It is the wrong messages that the people listen to in good faith that causes them to err - in thought and in action.  While the responsibility for choosing to listen to error lies rightly with the people themselves, the greater responsibility lies with the pedlars of false doctrine, error, falsehood, non-Gospel. What a condemnation awaits such people!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Jesus Means Saviour

Mary was told to call the Child's name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.  The birth of Christ is about redemption, salvation, reconciliation.  It is about God taking the initiative and acting for man's eternal salvation.  His action is seen in His sending His only Son into this world, with a set purpose.  That purpose was one of salvation.  He came to save His people from their sins.  He is "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world," (Jn.1:29).  He came to save.

Christmas is about God's saving action in Christ, and specifically in Christ's death on the Cross for our sin.  He was our Substitute, the divine Substitute.  "He died the Just for the unjust to bring us to God," (1 Pet.3:18). 

If you see Christmas in this way, you are seeing it properly. If not, then you are turning it into a truly pagan festival.

Do Not Harm My Prophets!

The Lord's prophets are those men called and set apart by God to declare His Word to the whole world. They are God's special servants who have vouchsafed to them the protection of the Lord of hosts, God almighty.  They have been separated from the rest of God's people to this very special work and the highest of all callings - the work of declaring His Gospel to all men.

The man who dares to harm these called servants of the Lord are placing himself in great eternal jeopardy.  He does not realise that to do so will bring dire consequences for him, and for his family.  God calls out to the world, "Do not harm my prophets."  Yet men do this very thing.

How utterly blind and foolish they are!  Only a man inspired with deep hatred for the Gospel and the Saviour would stop to do such a thing.  "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God," (Heb.10:31).  The God of the Christian church is the living God.  To fall into His hands is a thing too terrible for words.  It strikes fear into the heart at the very though of it. 

Is anyone out there reading this doing that very thing? Then desist immediately otherwise you will face the living God in a terrible judgement.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Touch Not My Anointed!

What a timely warning!  What an urgent reminder! And why is it needed? Because many within the visible church do not seem to know that this is in the Bible (Ps.105:15 and also in 1 Chron.16:22). They appear to have this idea - where they got it from one can guess! - that they have the right to abuse God's children in whatever way they choose, and get away with it.  They believe that if the prophet of the Lord challenges the church or their own lives from the Word of God, that they can retaliate in kind.

Have they not read their Scriptures? Do they not know their Bible?  God said DO NOT TOUCH THEM!  Yet they go on and touch them.  What a foolish thing to do.  They are going against the express command of the LORD to His people.  And they do it to their own peril.

God's Favourites

In the light of God's precious truth, let us remember that men cannot wrong us unless He allows them to do so.  But even then, they are culpable before God for what they do.  For any man or woman to breach the divine protection of a saint of God and to harm that saint, is to do massive injustice to the man; but it is also to do despite to the God under whose protection he is.  Woe is that man who dares to breach God's hedge of protection that He has placed around that saintly man. 

Yet, sometimes in our experience, we find that God allows our enemies to come perilously close to us.  But they cannot lay a finger upon us without His permission.  He has issued a restraining order on them so that it is 'thus far and no further.'  The wicked would devour us if they could, but they cannot do so.  Even strangers must be made to respect the servants of God, yea, kings.  But C. H. Spurgeon is correct: "the greatest kings are very second-rate persons with God in comparison with his chosen servants."

Divine Protection All The Way.

When the Patriarchs wandered about from country to country, they were singularly preserved by Almighty God.  That little wandering family might have been cut off root and branch had not a special mandate from the Throne for their protection.  It was not the gentleness of their neighbours that screened them; nor was it their own cunning and craftiness that enabled them to avoid hurt; they were, rather, hedged about by a mysterious guardianship of heaven.  God was with them all the way.  Whether they found themselves in Egypt, or in Philistia, or in Canaan, they were being kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.  These heirs of salvation, these inheritors of the promises, dwelling in their tents, were always secure.

And this was written for our learning!  What God did for the covenant people long ago, He will do for them today.  Wherever they go, whatever their circumstances, God is with them to protect and bless them.  He will not leave us nor forsake us; He is faithful who promised, and who also will do it.  He kept them long ago, and He will keep us too.

Immanuel - God is with us!  Let us rejoice in this most glorious of messages.  Let us fix our eyes upon Jesus. 

Christmas - God's Declaration of War Against Satan!

The apostle John tells us that the reason the Son of God was manifested was "that he might destroy the works of the devil," (1 Jn.3:8).  No, it's not just a nice little children's story about a Baby being born in poverty and in filth in a stable, though that is part of His humiliation.  The birth of Jesus Christ was God's declaration of war against the devil and his angels.  It was God putting Satan on final notice that his time was up. 

Yes, He came to die for our sins, and to reconcile us to God.  And in order to do that He had to defeat the devil and his hellish forces and powers that are at work in this sinful world.  He came for that very purpose.  It was no accident that He came.  It was charged with heavenly purpose.  God was up to something cosmic when He sent his Son into the world.  And we have seen some of what He has in mind;but we must await another day to see fully what was involved in that majestic plan.

Are you excited by the prospect of seeing God's plan unfold before your very eyes?  Are you glad that you are part of this great plan?  Or are you afraid that this plan might be directed against you, because you still belong to the devil's kingdom and people? 

Don't Blame the People!

Dr Francis A. Schaeffer denies that most of the blame for the current state of the church lies with the opposing powers outside of her, but with the religious leaders who have set about destroying her from the inside.  This was true in OT times, and it is also true today.  They knew the truth, but deliberately turned away from it into relativism and apostasy, and became a mere echo of modern secular thought.

True, the biblical diagnosis is not comfortable reading, especially for those charged with responsibility for feeding the sheep, and teaching the people.  Jeremiah describes these unfaithful servants as "profane" and "wicked," (23;11).  They have brought their wickedness into the very house of God.  Imagine that!  Profane prophets and priests have brought their filth, their worldly-mindedness into God's sanctuary!  The very thought of it is appalling!  They cannot blame the people for making them do it, as Aaron did at the bottom of Mount Sinai.  No, they introduced their wickedness into the house of God.  They polluted God's house with their evangelised secularism; they 'christened' the world, and brought it into the church; they baptised heathenism, and made it part of the worship of God. And on and on it goes.

Ministers cannot seem to get enough of the world - its popular applause, its riches, its plaudits, its recognition.  What they forget, of course, is that the praise of man rules out the praise that comes from God, and is an abomination in His sight.

What gross wickedness it is for God's appointed servants to bring what is anti-God right into His house.  How will they answer for their wickedness?  And how will those who support them and turn a blind eye to what they are doing will be punished by the sovereign Lord.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Christ's First Coming.

"Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners."  That's the Christmas message in a nutshell. That's why He came.  Forget about all the hype and the commercialisation, etc.  Christ's coming into the world was a mercy mission that is directed towards YOU.  He came because He needed to come if ever you were to be saved.  Without His coming into the world as Man, indeed as God-Man, you could never be saved.  But He came, willingly and in obedience to His Father's will, to save a wretch like you. 

But it was not just His coming that saves; in act that by itself does not save anyone.  His coming was to die on Calvary. But not just that.  He came to die the cruel death of the Cross so that you might never taste the wrath of God towards sin.  And the message of Christmas is God's offer of salvation to you.

Don't put this matter off.  You might not even see Christmas this year, let alone 2012.  Do it now.  Get right with God NOW!

Christmas Resolves Life's Emptiness.

Dr John "Rabbi" Duncan was born in Aberdeen at the end of the eighteenth century, the son of a shoemaker. He was brought up in a Christian home by his parents, John and Ann, being the only remaining child of the marriage.  His mum died when he was just 5 or 6.  He was sent to grammar school, and then moved on to university where he engaged in a philosophical search.  And the result?  He discovered a godless humanity.  Man without God is a godless spectacle that is to be pitied.  He is lost, not knowing who or what he is, what purpose he is, or what the future holds for him. 

This is true of mankind without Christ.  He is heading for the rocks, for shipwreck, and is going to be dashed against the Rock, Christ Jesus, on the great and terrible Day of Judgement.

Man without Christ is like other beasts - living for himself, and for nothing higher than going through the degrading sameness of natural wants and daily supplies.  He was born to eat and drink and digest, and then die.

If that is all you have to look forward to, then Christmas time will give you pause to reconsider your life and were it is heading to.  Christ came into the world to save the human race, and that includes you.  He came to give life, not destroy it.  He came to fulfil, not to destroy.  He came to give life more abundant and life that is real.

Do you know this life?  Remember, Christmas is not a festival; it is an experience.  To truly observe Christian, or the birth of Christ, then you must receive Him into your heart.  He must be born in your heart spiritually, just as He was born in a stable long ago.  He must come and live permanently within your soul, for you to experience the real meaning of Christmas.

Wheat and Arsenic?

Could it be said of the church today that what is being served up by preachers is a cocktail of "wheat and arsenic"?  Whether a soul perishes in hell forever depends entirely on the proportions ("Rabbi" Duncan).  Atheism has no redeeming grain of wheat, nor has any of its children - liberalism, relativism, secularism, pantheism or ecumenism. 

Think about that!

Does Believer's Baptism Advance Spirituality?

If it is a spiritual thing for Christians who belong to 'reformed' churches to be baptised again as adult believers, the obvious conclusion is that they become much better Christians as a result of having passed through the "waters of baptism." This is a great and practical and observable test of their 'obedience' to God, as they see it and as the pretext for being re-baptised.  Those who have done this must assess their spiritual experience and live by this.  Are they more spiritual Christians now as a result of being re-baptised as adult believers than before?  Are they more obedient to Christ now than they were before?  Are they better church members now than they were before? Are they easier to live for now than before?  Are they less self-centred now than before?  Is Christ seen more in their lives now than before? Are they dying more to sin and living more to Christ and to righteousness than before?

Let a man examine himself - and women too.

Mary the Saved Sinner!

The virgin Mary, so she tells us herself in Luke 1:46,47, was a sinner who needed a Saviour, like everybody else.  She tells us that her "soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour."  This is her personal testimony; Mary is telling us about her spiritual pilgrimage.  She came to see herself as a condemned and guilty sinner, lost and undone; then by the work of the Holy Spirit, she came to see that the Saviour she so urgently needed was the God about whom she had been taught as a child.  God became her Saviour, therefore, she needed to be saved; and God saved her precious soul.

How facile and wrong it is for Romanism to claim that Mary was immaculately conceived, a doctrine that was only invented in 1854; Rome's theologians were, and are, slow learners, taking almost 1900 years to work out this erroneous doctrine or dogma of the immaculate conception of the virgin Mary.  For a religion that accepts the Scriptures as a church authority, her denial of Luke 1:46,47 is culpable.  That's why it is very wise to expose and oppose Rome's dogmas, and it is even more wise to have nothing to do with her false doctrines.

Calvin's Conception of Christmas.

Why did God send His Son into the world, an event that is commemorated at this time of year?  Let the reformer from geneva tell us his view:

"The Son of God became the Son of Man so that the sons of man might become the sons of God."

His purpose in sending His to the Cross is thoroughly evangelistic, redemptive, salvific.  Christ came into the world to save sinners, and "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God."  So He came to save all who believe in Him. 

Are you saved?  Have you come to the Saviour?  Do you see your need of the Saviour? 

Thursday, 15 December 2011

John Calvin Quincentenary Papers 2009

The John Calvin Quincentenary (1509-2009) proved to be an event of immense importance and fascination. All who admire the Genevan reformer clearly welcomed every opportunity to express their acknowledgment of his greatness as a man of God and Christian leader. Recognising the tendencies to either ‘adore’ or ‘abhor’ Calvin, even the most determined detractors of the protestant reformer par excellence cannot deny his impact on sacred and secular history. It is doubtful if the most vehement enemies are able entirely to ignore him, however hard they might try. In which case, unavoidable bad publicity—as opposed to ‘no publicity’—has probably stimulated even the most ignorant to explore the legacy of the godly genius of Geneva.

Of course, Calvin’s memory continues to be lamented by the vast majority of Roman Catholics whose medieval monopoly on religious truth was so comprehensively assaulted by his magisterial contribution. Liberals of all traditions doubtless respond with a mixture of admiration and scorn, unable as they are convincingly to re-write history to their satisfaction. Conservative Protestants of all hues—in varying degrees—welcomed the Calvin celebration insofar as his emphases appear to vindicate their own. Reformed, Presbyterian and other Christians unashamed to be known as ‘Calvinists’—including Amyraldians—doubtless rejoiced in the opportunity to highlight their doctrinal distinctives at a time when biblical truth is increasingly held in contempt across great swathes of religious as well as secular opinion. This book consists of papers presented at the 2009 Amyraldian Association Conference.

A Reformation Affirmation
Edited by Alan C. Clifford
Price:  £12.50 (p&p extra).

Book your copy now from this site.  Limited edition.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Calvin 500

The long-awaited book, Calvin 500, being the lecturers delivered at the Amyraldian Association conference in 2009 and to be available very soon.  This event marked the 500th anniversary of the reformer's birth, and examined various aspects of Calvin's thinking.

To secure your copy, please get in touch with me ASAP.  When details of price are available, you can then decide if you want to get your copy.  This will be a tremendous read; it will teach and enlighten you, challenge and inspire you.

So don't lose out - order your copy on this site today

Amyraldianism is just Calvin's Calvinism!

Reflecting on the views of some concerning my orthodoxy, I reckon that those same men would not have DMLJ, JCRyle, McCheyne, John or Chas Wesley, Philip Doddridge, J. Edwards, Joseph Bellamy, Richard Baxter, Jean Daille, Moise Amyraut, or even the great John Calvin, to preach in their pulpits. How sad!  But, I trust they will come to see that my theological position, according to Macleod and Muller, is an integral part of our cherished reformed tradition; more importantly it is biblical because it takes the doctrine of the perspicuity of Scripture with utmost seriousness.  How Owen can exegete "world" in John 3:16 to men "the world of the elect" defies comprehension!  This is to prostitute Scripture.  

The rush by reformed men to squeeze the texts of Scripture into the WCF, or any other, mould, is a denial of the supremacy of Scripture in the life and witness of the Christian and of the church.  It is surely a cardinal aspect of Romanism that Scripture alone (sola Scriptura) is not enough, having to be supplemented by the magisterium. Is the WCF in the minds of many reformed men not their equivalent of the Roman magisterium?  How would they answer that?  It is no good their saying that it is a 'subordinate standard' when they elevate it in practice above Scripture!  Does it not smack of Rome's elevation of Mary above Christ?  I think so.  Oh, I hope wiser counsels prevail.

How dangerous a thing it is for men to defer in everything to any man-made document, however good it is deemed to be, while not granting to Scripture its rightful place!  What does God think of that, I wonder?  Is He pleased that a subordinate standard has been elevated over His infallible Word?  Has the church prospered when this has happened in the past?  I don't think so.  

Monday, 12 December 2011

Sin is...

“Sin is a daring rebellion against the Majesty of heaven; and would if it were possible, pluck the Eternal God from His throne! Every particle of sin contains an infinity of evil, and deserves everlasting damnation! Sin transformed the angels of light into demons of darkness. Sin rendered the happy pair in Eden wretched outcasts in a world of woe. Sin was the cause of the universal deluge, and the fiery overthrow of the cities of the plain. Sin has ever marked its steps by misery and blood. Pride,malice, envy, murmuring, uncleanness, and every abomination hateful to a holy God, and destructive to our wretched race, spring from this poisonous root.”

Thomas Reade

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Don't let them see eternity!

The church today is holding her hands over the eyes of her members who are going into a Christless eternity by keeping them pre-occupied with doing insignificant tasks around the life of the church.  Ministers know full well the awful and frightening eternity that awaits those who do not know Christ personally and Saviour and Lord, and worse, for those who die rejecting the only Saviour of the world. This is a fact that the church, in many places, does not want her members to see. 

But this only demonstrates just how callous and unloving and uncaring these ministers are.  If individuals do not care about their souls, some ministers do!  How critically important it is for ministers to tell their people plainly the whole Gospel, including what awaits all who die without the Saviour!  How desirous it is that they are impelled to seek Christ before it is forever too late, to seek Him urgently, and to seek Him in faith! If we do not tell them of their pending perdition, who will?  If the church fails to urge them to trust Christ alone for eternal salvation, no one else will!  And sadly the church has effectively placed a blindfold over their eyes so that they can sit in the church week by week as they journey to a lost eternity.

Why isn't the church in many places failing to do this Christ-commanded work?  Because they prefer their own peace long before they prefer the eternal peace of those who listen to them.  Also, when the church elders accept people as Christians on profession of faith, why ought they to be concerned about their soul's salvation? The church says they are Christian; how dare any Gospel preacher even suggest that some of them might not be! 

No, it is not the Gospel preacher who is in the wrong, but the church elders who accept into membership those who are not regenerate.  And why do the elder accept such people?  Because they know that many of them are unregenerate themselves. 

Unless and until the church gets back to biblical standards for church membership, she will continue to cannabolise Christ's ministers, the prophets of God/

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Harassment of Christians in Northern Ireland

An organisation that supports people with legal counsel who have got themselves on the wrong side of the law for whatever reason told me that of the six cases they are currently working with, five of them involves Christians.  These Christian people are being set up to be knocked down by others who, in the main, are 'church christians' - whatever they are?  Church people cannot stand true believers; the children of the bondwoman have never liked the children of the free woman, (Gal.4:21-31).

They have always persecuted them; and where this is seen most clearly is within the ranks of the church.  Can you imagine a "Christian" congregation working to evict a Gospel minister and his family from their home?  That happens - it is happening today in 2012, and happened to us in 1993! Can you imagine a Gospel minister's wife being so badly treated that she ends up in psychiatric hospital for four months, and he had to take time off work to look after the family, which includes a handicapped child?  That happened in 2011 in NI!  Can you imagine the use that unscrupulous people have made of a minister's family in a bid to get at the minister?  That happened to us in the 1980s, and again in 1992; and it is happening to ministers in 2012 in NI!  Can you imagine a minister and his wife being afraid to answer the telephone?  Is it possible that their hearts miss a beat when the phone rings or when the door bell goes?

How do you explain the growing number of Gospel ministers who are having to take time off because of being unable to cope with the bullying that they are experiencing within their congregations and denominations?  Why does no one in church leadership recognise that there is a massive problem within the churches caused by the number of ministers who are forced to leave their work? 

This is going on in NI, and all because the children of the bond woman are persecuting the children of the free woman.  the Gospel is not welcome in many churches today because those churches have become used to a very weak presentation of the Gospel, and have been lulled to sleep by it. They have received a small dose of the real thing, and have thereby been inoculated against the real thing.  They hear the Gospel, don't like what they hear, but know enough to know that it is what they do not want under any circumstances. 

When the Gospel of Christ arrives in some churches, the offense of the Cross intensified and made very visible.  Would that the church authorities saw exactly what is going on, and took the right action - and it is not to dismiss the minister!

Friday, 9 December 2011

Where Liberalism Leads!

The wellbeing of the Christ church on earth is largely bound up with the quality if teaching and preaching the church receives, and often tolerates.  In OT times, the pastors have divine condemnation pronounced upon them for destroying and scattering the sheep of God's pasture.  The people primarily, if not altogether, responsible for scattering the sheep are the religious leaders at every level - local church right up to national level.  What have they done?  They have scattered God's flock and driven them away, and have visited them, Jer.23:1. 

When people leave one church to go to another, we give the flimsiest of reasons for such behaviour.  They were opposed to the Gospel - and in many cases this is the truth! They fell out with the minister - and sometime this happens too.  The preaching was too hot for them to handle - sometime the reason but not always.  Seldom do church people say that the reason why Christians have been driven from one branch of the church to another is precisely because the Gospel is no longer preached there in the power of God's Spirit.  There is no visitation of God among the people.  God is not even welcome in His church on earth, and the preachers and elders make jolly sure that He is kept on the outside; after all, it is their church, not God's. 

When Christians leave one church for another, the blame must pint primarily at the minister.  What is he doing, or not doing, that caused such a move?  What is he saying or not saying that caused these believers to move elsewhere?  Why has he scattered believers to the four winds?  Why has he neglected their never-dying souls?  Why did he ensure that God was not visiting the church under his watch?

Do you know what God says about such a situation as this?  He says He will visit them with the evil of their own doings.  They do not care for the sheep, so God will show them that He will care for them and take up their cause.  He will visit upon the church the natural and unsurprising results of what they have taught the people.  Liberalism, even of the evangelical type, will bring down the judgement of God upon the church. 

Sir Malcolm Muggeridge saw from his own liberal background exactly where liberalism has led.  It has eliminated the categories that make the difference between love and non-love, write Dr Francis Schaeffer in his book Death in the City (p.46).  It has actually taken us right in the practice of 'Murder without guilt and love without meaning.'  Just look at what is happening in the world today, and you will see exactly that happening before our very eyes.  Free sex is the order of the day.  So long as people make sex 'safe,' it is OK to fornicate and adulterate.  Violent men can commit murder, and there are plenty of people who will go out of their way to explain away this horrific, because irreparable, act. 

But it has gone even further than that!  It can and has led people into the rare predicament where they can no longer tell the difference between the external world and fantasy.  The sheep are scattered and their minds are blown by pseudo-science/knowledge. 

And who have done this?  The shepherds of the sheep, pastors and ministers.  What a judgement there is that awaits them!  Even the good ministers have lost their credibility because they tolerate those who preach a non-gospel!  And they explain it away by saying that there are different views of what the Gospel is, what a Christian is, and how someone becomes a Christian. They say that maybe God has them in the church's ministry because they could reach people that the evangelical could never reach. 

What a load of poppycock!  What theological and ecclesiastical cowardice!  What acceptance of ecclesiastical apostasy!  How can they still claim to be faithful men of the Gospel when they close their pragmatic eyes to what is going on around them?  Liberalism is theological poison, it is fatal, it is utterly offensive to God, and amounts to trampling under foot the precious blood of Christ.  It makes the Bride of Christ dirty and unacceptable to Him.  That's why He has practically left her! 

Do you agree with this analysis?  Let me hear your response in the 'comments' box below.

The Book of Origins

Genesis is the Book of Origins - the origin of the universe, the origin of life and of man, the origin of sin and rebellion against God.  It places man in his cosmic setting, and shows his particular uniqueness; it also explains his wonder and his flaw.  Also, it begins to trace the flow of human history through space and time.

The sad reality today is that many no longer believe this.  Rather, they see it as a books of myths, unhistorical and unscientific, useful for understanding how the Hebrew mind sees things, but it certainly not a record of what really happened in the beginning." 

Did God create the universe out of nothing, by the word of His power?  Is man the divine image-bearer on earth? Did the Fall of man into sin and rebellion against God really happen?  If Genesis just a myth, like the Babylonian genesis or the Gilgamesh Epic?  Is it really the kind of nonsense that educated and cultured 21st century man does not believe?

What are your thoughts on this?

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Every Sin Forgiven

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” So says Paul in Rom.3:23.  And that’s so true! We are all sinners, therefore we are no different from each other.  Whether we have done really bad things or not, is not the issue. When it was done is immaterial. Who was with us, or if we were on our own, counts for nothing. The Bible says “there is no difference; for all have sinned...”
Now, the devil knows this as well. He knows we fall short of God’s glory every day we live. That is a standard we cannot attain to in this life. That is also a daily reality for us all.
But he comes to us with all his evil cunning and seeks to bring us down by referring us back to what we have done in the past. He will say to us, “Some Christian you are! Remember the day you said that? Remember the time you did this? You’re no Christian; you’re a sham, a hypocrite, a fake. There’s no forgiveness for that, you know. No point in going to God to ask forgiveness for that!”
And he’ll torment you profoundly because he does not want you to know that “With God there is forgiveness,” (Ps.130:4). Our God, your God forgives sins! Jesus Christ came into the world to forgive sinners! And He did that by saving them! (1 Tim.1:15). He will forgive you, too.
That means that there is no point in your bemoaning what you did because that will change nothing. There’s no point in you condemning yourself for your sin, because that is a useless exercise, too. No, you must think; and you must think about what God has said, and not listen to those other voices that will tear you apart.
Do you remember the children’s hymn that we learned and sang? “There’s a wicked spirit watching o’er you still; and he tries to tempt you to all harm and ill.” That is the truth! Satan hates you! And he wants you to think that God hates you, too. But the hymn goes on: “but you must not hear him, tho’ ‘tis hard for you to resist the evil and the good to do.” It is hard. It is very difficult, especially when you place yourself in a vulnerable position. But the word comes back to you that “you must not hear him,” however hard it is for you to resist him. 
Satan will also come to you and tell you that you are too bad to be forgiven by a holy God, your sin is too great, you’ve sinned for too long; or you are too old to be forgiven; or indeed, you’re too good to need forgiveness. He has no want of ploys to present to you. “But you must not hear him...”
Now, here’s the good news: God gives the grace you need to turn your ear away from the devil’s enticing suggestions.  When he tells you how great a disaster you are, turn on him and rebuke him in the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Tell him that what he is suggesting about how sinful you are is true, but that there is another more glorious truth that he is forgetting – you belong to Jesus, not to him! And that is why he is after you. If you still belonged to him, he’d leave you alone. Why? Because he already has you. But the fact is that he no longer has you, and wants you back. He’s a bad loser. So he’ll do whatever it takes to bring you back under his dominion and authority and rule.
Look! In God’s economy, it matters little what a Christian does when he sins; we all sin every day and keep on falling short of His glory. But what we must not do, after coming to Him in repentance and faith, trusting God for Christ’s sake to cleanse us from all sin, is to keep bringing up our sin. That’s a sure-fire way to depress yourself to the very depths. Of course, groan over the weight of your sin, but once you come to the Christ of Calvary and the burden of your heart rolls away, get up, look the devil straight in the eye, and tell him you belong to Jesus now and that you love Him with all your heart.
Rev. Robert Murray McCheyne wrote these wonderful words of encouragement. He said, “I ought to go to Christ for the forgiveness of each sin.  In washing my body, I go
over every spot, and wash it out.  Should I be less careful in washing my soul?"
No, you should not be less careful when it comes to being rid of your sin.  Be thorough in repentance and be thorough in confession; but equally thorough in forsaking all known sin in your life. The best proof that a sinner has been forgiven by God is his forsaking the sin of which he repented and sought forgiveness.
The apostle John wrote, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” (1 John.1:9).
Don’t allow the devil to keep you in bondage any longer. Defy him in the strong Name of Jesus, and come afresh every day to Christ, the only Saviour of the world.
If you want to speak to someone about these matters, feel free to speak to a Gospel minister, or contact me.
You can get me on 028 7963 4684, or on 07835 028 057. Alternatively, you can contact me at and I will get back to you.
The Christian life is to be enjoyed, but Satan’s purpose is to destroy your enjoyment of God’s grace.  But Christ came to destroy the works of the devil, (1 John 3:8).