Friday, February 27, 2009

The Climax of the Reformation

In 1977 I wrote an article bearing the title, the Climax of the Reformation, for the Link, the newsletter of the Sandy Creek Baptist Association. In that work I set forth what was accomplished that indicated the Reformation had reached a point where it moved from being a Gospel recovery operation (in which the medieval mind-set was still present - meaning the parties in it persecuted others who disagreed with them) to becoming an outgoing, creative effort). Among the things accomplished was religious liberty (adopted from one of the minor groups in the Reformation - the Baptists who first put it into law in Rhode Island), the great missionary movement (the attempt to win the world by simple persuasion in preaching and not by force), the uniting of Separate and Regular Baptists in 1787 which produced the United Baptists with the result that 50 yrs. later a church was organized in MO bearing in its name the term United, and the writer of this blog would pastor that church in the 1960s for a brief period, the founding of educational institutions (Brown, Furman, et.al.), persuading of 255 Congregational Churches to become Baptists (God must have done that as the Baptists were always squabbling (the ferment that leavens the whole loaf), helping to found the freest nation on earth, beginnings of agitation against slavery (the Friends of Humanity Baptists in VA and KY), using educated and uneducated minsters in the Lord's service, and more. The theology of this period was calvinism or Sovereign Grace (the term I prefer due to Calvin's persecution of people who did not agree with him). Such a theology then involved Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement (Particular Redemption is th preferred term), Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints. Predestination and Reprobation are also included. Dr. John D. Eusden in his introduction to his translation of William Ames' Marrow of Divinity put it well, "Predestination is an invitation to begin one's spiritual pilgrimage." Every one of the above teachings constitute an invitation. Our Lord preached particular redemption and unconditional elction to the syrophonecian woman, when He said, "I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." she was not a Jew, but she treated His teaching as an invitation to worship. She fell down before Him (Mt.15:21-28) It was this theology with the heavenly presence that explains the First and Second Great Awakenings; it is this theology and the heavenly presence that will lead us to the Third Great Awakening, the one in which the whole world is won to Christ by persuasion - not manipulation or force. My prayer is God speed the day. For 36 yrs. I have been praying for such a visitation. Others have prayed even longer. I invite, encourage, and press the reader to join in such prayerful effort on a daily basis, interceding for the whole world and that day, when God shall take it with His truth for the glory of His Son.

11 comments:

  1. I have known James from our college days togeter. He was a then and now a believer in the Reformed faith. He sought to bring me to that understanding, but I rejected it, but do now avow it. God bless you James for remaining true to your convictions amidst all your enemies far and wide.
    Dr. M.E. (Gene) Spurgeon

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  2. I also want to join you in your prayer for revival and renewal, but look to heaven for grace for the days prior to it's coming.

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  3. Revival has broken out in western North Carolina, this is the start of the awakening contact Dr. Ben Carper on facebook for details.

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  4. I have joined Jim Willingham as a result of posts to the Biblical Recorder web site. I join him in the prayers for a 3rd Great Awakening in this wicked and economically depressed time.

    I am Gene Scarborough--don't know if a Spurgeon and Scarborough combination can be tolerated on the same web site!

    My father says we are distant kin of Dr. L.R. Scarborough and my Scarborough grandmother was a Graham before marriage--yeah--distant kin of Billy, no less. These southern kinships go far and wide!!!!

    Anyway, I commend Jesus' words to his disciples when asked "When will you bring in the Kingdom of God?" To which he answered: "The Kingdom of God is within you!"

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  5. I welcome the comments of the Brethren above. It is a rare delight to have Dr. Foltz, Dr. Spurgeon, and Rev. Scarborough (who is the son of a preacher who once served under the Home Mission Board). Yes, Baptists in the South have lots of relatives and kin running around. When I was a student at Columbia Univ. in the Summer of '71, Dr. James P. Shenton informed us that the South foughtthe war on the basis of cousinship. He said family members in one state wrote to family members in another state, and that was how - in part - they got the South united. He said had seen letters from that period to that effect. Probably some of this came from the strong sense of family unity found in the Western world. Interestingly enough, I dare say that the lives of the ministerial friends who have commented, like mine, probably have intersected a multitude of others. There is some truth in that saying that there is only six degrees of separation between each person and all others on the face of the earth. In any case, God grant us that third great awakening for the glory of His Son's name and for the good of souls.

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  6. And then Jesus came upon his disciples and said, "Brethren, may I inquire as to the rumor that I shall be a human sacrifice for the sins of humankind? Praytell, who in the goddamned hell came up with that Neanderthal bullshit!!? What are we, living in the fucking Stone Age!!?
    Blood sacrifice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!? Art thou all fucking insane!!?
    Listen, brethren, as I tell you something of utmost importance. Stop immediately with the blood sacrifice bullshit. It's barbaric, disgusting, sickening, immoral, vile, wicked and fucking outrageous . And makes us all look like a bunch of goddamn Cro-Magnon lunatics!!!"--Jesus Christ, the Thinking Mans Gospel

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  7. http://markmcculley.wordpress.com/2010/01/20/reading-tom-nettles/

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  8. hey, kilo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFo-DqjIh_U&feature=player_embedded

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  9. The Gospel was meant for desperate men in desperate times: clearly these two are in closer and closer proximity.

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  10. " . . . one in which the whole world is won to Christ by persuasion - not manipulation or force." If you don't think "irresistible grace" isn't manipulation and/or force, please examine the definitions of these terms in a dictionary. Please drop the Calvinist smoke and mirrors show.

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