The Divine Word of God

Matt Foreman: In the book, “Taking God At His Word”, Kevin DeYoung writes, “Scripture, because it is the breathed out word of God, possesses the same authority as the God-man Jesus Christ. Submission to the Scriptures is submission to God.”[1] Over the last 200 years, many critics have disputed such a claim. They have accused Christians of worshiping the Bible and not making necessary distinctions between the Bible and God. Some have said that we need to see the truths behind the Bible, and not worry so much about the Bible itself. However, the Bible itself actually supports DeYoung’s claim, and often deliberately blurs any distinction between God and the Scriptures. Hebrews 4:12-13 is one of the most famous statements in the Bible about the Bible: “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the

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The Design and Scope of the Atonement

R.C. Sproul: In an age wherein the ground of theology has been saturated by the torrential downpour of existential thinking, it seems almost suicidal, like facing the open floodgates riding a raft made of balsa wood, to appeal to a seventeenth-century theologian to address a pressing theological issue. Nothing evokes more snorts from the snouts of anti-rational zealots than appeals to sages from the era of Protestant Scholasticism. “Scholasticism” is the pejorative term applied by so-called “Neo-Orthodox” (better spelled without the “e” in Neo), or “progressive” Reformed thinkers who embrace the “Spirit” of the Reformation while eschewing its “letter” to the seventeenth-century Reformed thinkers who codified the insights of their sixteenth-century magisterial forebears. To the scoffers of this present age, Protestant Scholasticism is seen as a reification or calcification of the dynamic and liquid forms of earlier Reformed insight. It is viewed as a deformation from the lively, sanguine rediscovery of biblical thought to a deadly capitulation to the “Age of

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Learning from a Giant: 3 Reasons to Read John Owen

By Matthew Barrett and Michael A. G. Haykin. They are the coauthors of Owen on the Christian Life: Living for the Glory of God in Christ, published by Crossway. Why should we read, get to know, and learn from a Puritan like John Owen? As J. I. Packer has argued, we need to read the Puritans, and John Owen especially, because we are spiritual dwarfs by comparison.  Far too often in the recent past the focus of Christians has shifted away from the glory of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ and has instead made Christianity man-centered and success-oriented. Consequently, Christian spirituality has become sentimental and self-indulgent. In short, we lack spiritual maturity. In contrast, John Owen was a spiritual giant. Many reasons could be listed as to why, but we will focus on just three. 1. He Had a Big View of God First and foremost, Owen had a big view of God and a passion to see this

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John Owen: What Is Sanctification?

  Sanctification is an immediate work of the Spirit of God on the souls of believers, purifying and cleansing of their natures from the pollution and uncleanness of sin, renewing in them the image of God, and thereby enabling them, from a spiritual and habitual principle of grace, to yield obedience unto God, according unto the tenor and terms of the new covenant, by virtue of the life and death of Jesus Christ. Or more briefly:—It is the universal renovation of our natures by the Holy Spirit into the image of God, through Jesus Christ. The Works of John Owen, ed. William H. Goold, vol. 3: Pneumatologia: A Discourse Concerning the Holy Spirit (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, n.d.), 386. (HT: The Old Guys)

John Owen on the Four Main Functions of the Holy Spirit

John Owen: The chief and principal ends for which the Holy Spirit is promised and received may be reduced to these four heads:—(1.) Regeneration; (2.) Sanctification; (3.) Consolation; (4.) Edification. There are, indeed, very many distinct operations and distributions of the Spirit, as I have in part already discovered, and shall yet farther go over them in particular instances; but they may be reduced unto these general heads, or at least they will suffice to exemplify the different manner and ends of the receiving of the Spirit. And this is the plain order and method of these things, as the Scripture both plainly and plentifully testifies: — (1.) He is promised and received as to the work of regeneration unto the elect; (2.) As to the work of sanctification unto the regenerate; (3.) As to the work of consolation unto the sanctified; and, (4.) As unto gifts for edification unto professors, according to his sovereign will and pleasure. (HT: The

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In Christ Your Sin Is Publicly and Legally Cancelled, Nailed Up for All to See

John Owen: Sin being removed, and righteousness bestowed, we have peace with God—are continually accepted before him. There is not any thing to charge us with: that which was, is taken out of the way by Christ, and nailed to his cross—made fast there; yea, publicly and legally cancelled, that it can never be admitted again as an evidence. What court among men would admit of evidence that has been publicly cancelled and nailed up for all to see it? So has Christ dealt with that which was against us; and not only so, but also he puts that upon us for which we are received into favor. He makes us comely through his beauty; gives us white raiment to stand before the Lord. This is the first part of purchased grace wherein the saints have communion with Jesus Christ. In remission of sin and imputation of righteousness does it consist; from the death of Christ, as a price, sacrifice,

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How John Owen Might Have Responded to the Modern Charismatic Movement

In an essay on “John Owen on Spiritual Gifts” in A Quest for Godliness, J. I. Packer points that spiritual gifts were not much debated in Puritan theology and that Owen’s Discourse on Spiritual Gifts (published posthumously) is the only full-scale treatment of the subject by a major writer. Some of the questions we are asking today were not even raised at this time. For example, Packer writes, “Seventeenth-century England did not, to my knowledge, produce anyone who claimed the gift of tongues. . . .” So how would the great John Owen have interacted with our contemporary debates? Packer writes: “it may be supposed (though this, in the the nature of the case, can only be a guess) that were Owen confronted with modern Pentecostal phenomena he would judge each case a posteriori, on its own merit, according to these four principles:” 1. Since the presumption against any such renewal is strong, and liability to ‘enthusiasm’ is part of the infirmity of every

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How to fight for truth

“When the heart is cast into the mould of the doctrine which the mind embraces, . . . when not the sense of the words but of the things is in our hearts, when we have communion with God in the doctrine we contend for, then shall we be garrisoned by the grace of God against all the assaults of men.  Without this, all our contending is of no value to ourselves.  What am I the better, if I can dispute that Christ is God but have no sense that he is a God in covenant with my soul? . . . It is possible to contend for truth in a spirit most opposite to its nature, and most warmly to advocate the rights of a cause from which we ourselves may derive no benefit.  In all cases, it should be remembered, that the wrath of man works not the righteousness of God.” John Owen, in The Works of John Owen,

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For whom did Christ die?

From John Owen’s incredible treatise: The Death of Death in the Death of Christ. “The Father imposed His wrath due unto, and the Son underwent punishment for, either: 1. All the sins of all men 2. All the sins of some men, or 3. Some of the sins of all men. In which case it may be said: a. That if the last be true, all men have some sins to answer for, and so none are saved. b. That if the second be true, then Christ, in their stead suffered for all the sins of all the elect in the whole world, and this is the truth. c. But if the first be the case, why are not all men free from the punishment due unto their sins? You answer, ‘Because of unbelief.’ I ask, Is this unbelief a sin, or is it not? If it be, then Christ suffered the punishment due unto it, or He did not. If He

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