Tuesday, 25 August 2015

R C Sproul on Apostasy

Given the denial by many that there is denominational apostasy in Scotland, we need to be able to define apostasy.  Some define it in such a way that it is almost impossible for it to occur. Sadly others define it in such a way that it is almost impossible for it to be avoided. Thus you have, on the one hand, those who say that a denomination that accepts homosexual conduct in its members or permits ministers to deny foundational truths is not apostate. On the other hand you have those who say if you don't use the KJV you must be apostate. Sproul with perfect balance shows the possibility of both doctrinal and moral apostasy:

There are at least two ways in which a religious group fails to meet the standards of being a church.
The first is when they lapse into a state of apostasy. Apostasy occurs when a church leaves its historic moorings, abandons its historic confessional position, and degenerates into a state where either essential Christian truths are blatantly denied or the denial of such truths is widely tolerated.
Another test of apostasy is at the moral level. A church becomes apostate de facto when it sanctions and encourages gross and heinous sins. Such practices may be found today in the controversial systems of denominations, such as mainline Episcopalianism and mainline Presbyterianism, both of which have moved away from their historic confessional moorings as well their confessional stands on basic ethical issues.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Genesis 5:24  Enoch Walked with God

Why have we forgotten the bible commentary of Thomas Scott, the 18th century Anglican evangelical whose conversion was much influenced by John Newton.  Here is a sample that I read this week of the devotional style of Scott's comments:

 Genesis 21 24. " Walking with God," is a figurative description of the intimate communion, which subsists between a merciful God and true believers.  "Can two walk together except they be agreed?" Amos 3:3. Without coincidence in sentiment, judgment, and disposition, there can be no cordial union nor harmony.

But man is naturally propense to those things which God abhors and forbids, and averse from those which he loves and commands. Man's understanding is darkened, his judgment perverted, his affections depraved, and his taste vitiated by sin ; so that, in almost everything, his views, his choice, his desires, and pursuits, are the reverse of those which the Scripture requires. Thus he is induced to walk contrary to God, to contract guilt, and merit condemnation.

A sinner's walk with God, therefore, commences with the change of his judgment and disposition by divine grace. Then he begins to repent of his sins, to despise the world in comparison of the favour of God, to "hunger and thirst after righteousness," to seek forgiveness and acceptance in the way of God's appointment, and to devote himself to his love and service, and the pursuit of holiness.

Having been thus reconciled to God, he walks with him by habitual repentance, and "faith in our Lord Jesus Christ ;" in a realizing regard to the presence of God in his whole conduct ; a daily dependence on the promise, providence, and grace of God, for all things needful for soul and body ; and a continual attention to his word, that from thence he may learn his truth and will, and derive the peace and comfort of his salvation ; by pouring out his heart before the Lord in fervent prayer and grateful praise ; by a believing, reverential, and delightful attendance on all the ordinances of his worship, and an open profession of his faith and love ; by a conscientious obedience to all his commandments, without regarding the praise or censure of men ; by submission to his providential appointments ; and finally, by attention to every relative obligation, a careful improvement of every talent, a circumspect conversation, and endeavouring to " adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things," and to recommend religion to all around him.

The Lord, on his part, answers the expectations of those who walk with him. He supplies their wants, interposes in their emergencies, and evidences his care of them : he meets them in his ordinances, teaches them from his word, answers their prayers, accepts their services : he communicates by his Spirit, wisdom, strength, and consolation to their souls, and is indeed then" Guide, Companion, and Counsellor through life : and at length he meets them at death, and takes them into " his presence, "where is fullness of joy."

Thus ends the walk of faith; for thenceforth they walk by sight, and see him as he is; being forever with him, and like him in holiness and felicity.