Whatever “call” a man may pretend to have, if he has not been called to holiness, he certainly has not been called to the ministry.
—CHARLES H. SPURGEON
He that is more frequent in his pulpit to his people than he is in his closet for his people is but a sorry watchman. —JOHN OWEN
To love to preach is one thing—to love those to whom we preach, quite another.
As a young pastor I once asked an aging pastor about his readily apparent spiritual life. He explained to me that he arose at 4:00 every morning to begin his two-hour daily, private prayer life. He spent the first hour each day acknowledging the Lord's wonderful attributes and His goodness. Then he moved into requests for the remaining hour. He said that those two hours were the most important of his daily functions.
“Will this do?” asked a seminary student, anxiously awaiting the professor’s evaluation of his sermon.
“Do what?” the professor replied, trying to make the student realize that every sermon must have some purpose. Scripture does not present truth in the abstract, but in applied form. In his famous Yale lectures on preaching, Henry Ward Beecher said, “A sermon is not like a Chinese firecracker to be fired off for the noise it makes. It is a hunter’s gun, and at every discharge he should look to see his game fall.”
—MacArthur, J. (2001). Foreword. In Practical wisdom for pastors: words of encouragement and counsel for a lifetime of ministry (p. 239). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
Regarding Absolute Separation of Church and State
“… civil society and religion cannot exist together upon the principle of an absolute and total separation. The disavowal of all connection with religion by the civil magistrate, and the carrying out of such a disavowal in practice, would unloose the bonds of human society; and the penalty of religion denied and rejected by the state, would be the not distant destruction of the state that did so. Without the sanction of religion, natural or revealed, and more especially without the obligation of an oath to unite together the elements of civil life, the magistrate must abdicate his functions, and declare his duties to be impossible.”
From, The Church of Christ, by James Bannerman, p148. The Banner of Truth Trust 2015
Man Has No Free Will:
The idea that God is above law can be explained in another particular. The laws that God imposes on men do not apply to the divine nature. They are applicable only to human conditions. For example, God cannot steal, not only because whatever he does is right, but also because he owns everything: There is no one to steal from. Thus the law that defines sin envisages human conditions and has no relevance to a sovereign creator.
As God cannot sin, so in the next place, God is not responsible for sin, even though he decrees it. Perhaps it would be well, before we conclude, to give a little more Scriptural evidence that God indeed decrees and causes sin. 2 Chronicles 18:20-22 read: “Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord, and said, ‘I will persuade him.’ The Lord said to him, ‘In what way?’ So he said, ‘I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And the Lord said, ‘You shall persuade him and also prevail; go out and do so.’ Now, therefore, look! The Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of these prophets of yours, and the Lord has declared disaster against you.” This passage definitely says that the Lord caused the prophets to lie. Other similar passages ought easily to come to one’s remembrance. But that God is not responsible for the sin he causes is a conclusion closely connected with the preceding argument.
Another aspect of the human conditions presupposed by the laws God imposes on man is that they carry with them a penalty that cannot be inflicted on God. Man is responsible because God calls him to account; man is responsible because the supreme power can punish him for disobedience. God, on the contrary, cannot be responsible for the plain reason that there is no power superior to him; no greater being can hold him accountable; no one can punish him; there is no one to whom God is responsible; there are no laws which he could disobey. The sinner, therefore, and not God, is responsible; the sinner alone is the author of sin. Man has no free will, for salvation is purely of grace; and God is sovereign.
—Excerpt from God And Evil: Problem Solved by Gordon Clark
The Center for Reformed Theology and Apologetics (CRTA) is dedicated to providing biblically sound online resources for the edification of God's people. The Center is committed to the system of doctrine known as Calvinism, which we see to be the most biblically faithful systematization of the Bible's teachings. The Owner is a Reformed Christian committed to a strict subscriptionist view of the Westminster Standards, yet many of the articles on this site represent a wider view of the Faith. Please use discretion in all that you read here -- and everywhere else too.
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