Friday Round Up

(1) Science, properly understood, is no enemy to the truth. Scientism, on the other hand, often over reaches. This article explains.

(2) Some quotes:

“Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” – G.K. Chesterton

“There are no sinners from whom sin was transferred to Christ on the cross, to whom Christ’s righteousness will not be transferred to them by grace.” – Justin Edwards

“There would be no manifestation of God’s grace or true goodness, if there was no sin to be pardoned, no misery to be saved from.” – Jonathan Edwards

“The ascension of Jesus was the supreme political event of world history.” – R.C. Sproul

“The very assertion that a Christian can lose their salvation is tantamount to saying that what Christ accomplished on the cross was insufficient to save completely and, as such, you would need to trust (partly) in yourself to either attain or maintain your own just standing before God.” – John Hendryx

(3) There’s a variety of resources in this week’s Friday Ligonier $5 sale worth considering. Especially recommended are “The Truth of the Cross” audio book and “Five Things every Christian should know” CD series, both by Dr. Sproul. They can be found here.

The Promise of the Law

Ray Ortlund writes about something very few have grasped…

“Against those forms of Judaism that saw the law-covenant not only as lex [law] but as a hermeneutical device for interpreting the Old Testament, Paul insists that the Bible’s story line takes precedence and provides the proper hermeneutical key.” – D. A. Carson, “Reflections on Salvation and Justification in the New Testament,” JETS 40 (1997): 585.

There are two ways to read the Bible. We can read it as law or as promise.

If we read the Bible as law, we will find on every page what God is telling us we should do. Even the promises will be conditioned by law. But if we read the Bible as promise, we will find on every page what God is telling us he will do. Even the law will be conditioned by promise.

In Galatians 3 Paul explains which hermeneutic is the correct one. “This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise” (Galatians 3:17-18).

So, if we want to know whether we should read the Bible through the lens of law or grace, demand or provision, threat or promise — if we want to know how to read the Bible in an apostolic rather than a rabbinic way — we can follow the plot-line of the Bible itself and see which comes first. And in fact, promise comes first, in God’s word to Abram in Genesis 12. Then the law is “added” — significant word, in Galatians 3:19 — the law is added as a sidebar later, in Exodus 20. The hermeneutical category “promise” establishes the larger, wraparound framework for everything else added in along the way.

The deepest message of the Bible is the promises of God to undeserving law-breakers through his grace in Christ. This is not an arbitrary overlay forced onto the biblical text. The Bible presents itself to us this way. The laws and commands and examples and warnings are all there, fulfilled in Christ and revered by us. But they do not provide the hermeneutic with which we make sense of the whole. We can and should understand them as qualified by God’s gracious promise, for all who will bank their hopes on him.

Calvin’s Zeal for Missions and Church Planting

John Starke is an editor for The Gospel Coalition and lead pastor of All Souls Church in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. He writes:

So long as some Christians have called themselves Calvinists, other Christians have probably alleged that Calvinists care little about evangelism, missions, and church planting. The critique isn’t new. But only recently have we learned the extent of the zeal and effectiveness of the early reformers in evangelism, missions, and church planting. Elias Medeiros, Harriet Barbour professor of missions at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi, will lead a workshop on The Reformer’s Commitment to the Propagation of the Gospel to All Nations at TGC’s National Conference in April, likely presenting this wider understanding.

But in this short article, I want to give a small taste of John Calvin’s missionary and church planting zeal in particular. If you want to get a sense of Calvin’s theology of missions and activity, you can read Calvin’s sermon on 2 Timothy 1:8-9, “The Call to Witness,” Herman J. Selderhuis’s John Calvin: A Pilgrim’s Life, and Frank James III’s series of lectures, The Calvin I Never Knew. From these works, I have compiled several fascinating, surprising, and convicting facts about the missionary and church planting movement John Calvin launched in France and throughout Europe.

Calvin, Equipper and Sender of Missionaries

In the 1550s the population of Geneva doubled as refugees, many of them from France, poured in. Many of them sat under Calvin’s preaching five times each week.

They heard sermons like this one on 2 Timothy 1:8-9, where he said:

If the gospel be not preached, Jesus Christ is, as it were, buried. Therefore, let us stand as witnesses, and do him this honor, when we see all the world so far out of the way; and remain steadfast in this wholesome doctrine. . . . Let us here observe that St. Paul condemns our unthankfulness, if we be so unfaithful to God, as not to bear witness of his gospel; seeing he hath called us to it.

Something happened to a number of these French refugees. As they listened to Calvin’s preaching their hearts were stirred for their homeland. Many of them yearned to go back to France and preach the gospel. Calvin agreed to commission some of them to return but wanted to train them first. “A good missionary is a good theologian,” he told them.

He trained them to preach, taught them theology, and assessed their moral character, making sure they were qualified to be ministers of the gospel.

Calvin, Missionary Correspondent

But he didn’t just train them, give them money, and send them off. Even after he sent them, he corresponded with them frequently. We have thousands of letters back and forth between the missionaries and Calvin. They weren’t just magnets on a refrigerator, Frank James notes. They were his brothers in Christ. When troubles came, they asked Calvin, “What should we do next?”

James reminds pastors, “You need to keep in close contact with your missionaries. You’ll be a good Calvinist if you do.”

Calvin, Leading Church Planter in Europe

By 1555, Calvin and his Geneva supporters had planted five churches in France. Four years later, they had planted 100 churches in France. By 1562, Calvin’s Geneva, with the help of some of their sister cities, had planted more than 2,000 churches in France. Calvin was the leading church planter in Europe. He led the way in every part of the process: he trained, assessed, sent, counseled, corresponded with, and prayed for the missionaries and church planters he sent.

Pete Wilcox, writing in a doctrinal dissertation cited by James, concluded that in the last 10 years of Calvin’s life, missions was his absolute preoccupation.

One French church in Bergerac exulted to Calvin:

There is, by the grace of God, a movement in our region that the devil is already driven out for the most part and we are able to provide ministers for ourselves [churches were now able to start planting their own churches in the region]. Day to day, we are growing and God has caused his work to bear such fruit that on sermons on Sunday, there are between 4,000-5,000 people at worship.

Another letter from Montpellier rejoiced, “Our church, thanks to the Lord, has so grown and so continues to grow every day that we are obliged to preach three sermons on Sundays to a total of five- to six-thousand people.” A pastor in Toulouse wrote to the Genevan Consistory,”Our church has grown to the astonishing number of about eight- to nine-thousand souls.”

Calvin and Geneva sent missionaries not only to France but also to Italy, the Netherlands, Hungary, Poland, and the free Imperial city-states in the Rhineland. We even know of two missionaries sent from Geneva in 1557 to Brazil. “Missions was not a ‘section’ of his systematic theology,” Keith Coleman says, “it was central to what he was trying to accomplish in his ministry.”

Church planting and missions aren’t a byproduct of the young Reformed resurgence of the last decade but something embedded in the Reformation’s God-centered commitment to advancing the gospel.

Necessity v. Sufficiency

Many will speak of the need for grace; the Bible teaches that we not only need grace, but that God’s grace is sufficient to save.
Many will speak of the need for faith; the Bible teaches that we are justified by faith alone.
Many will say that Christ saves; the Bible teaches that Christ is the only and all sufficient Savior.
Many will appeal to the Scripture; the Bible teaches that Scripture alone is God breathed – the sole infallible rule of faith for the people of God.
Many speak of God’s glory, but that glory is diminished unless God Himself does the saving, all by Himself.

The dividing line of the Gospel has always been NECESSITY v. SUFFICIENCY:

Grace v. Grace Alone
Faith v. Faith Alone
Christ v. Christ Alone
Scripture v. Scripture Alone
The Glory of God v. the Glory of God Alone

Christians

From the unknown author of The Epistle to Diognetus, Chapter 5, written perhaps between 117 and 225 AD, capturing the paradoxical nature of Christian identity and practice:

For Christians are not distinguished from the rest of humanity by country, language, or custom.

For nowhere do they live in cities of their own, nor do they speak some unusual dialect, nor do they practice an eccentric way of life.

This teaching of theirs has not been discovered by the thought and reflection of ingenious people, nor do they promote any human doctrine, as some do.

But while they live in both Greek and barbarian cities, as each one’s lot was cast, and follow the local customs in dress and food and other aspects of life, at the same time they demonstrate the remarkable and admittedly unusual character of their own citizenship.

They live in their own countries, but only as nonresidents; they participate in everything as citizens, and endure everything as foreigners.

Every foreign country is their fatherland, and every fatherland is foreign.

They marry like everyone else, and have children, but they do not expose their offspring [to kill them].

They share their food but not their wives.

They are in the flesh, but they do not live according to the flesh.

They live on earth, but their citizenship is in heaven.

They obey the established laws; indeed in their private lives they transcend the laws.

They love everyone, and by everyone they are persecuted.

They are unknown, yet they are condemned; they are put to death, yet they are brought to life.

They are poor, yet they make many rich; they are in need of everything, yet they abound in everything.

They are dishonored, yet they are glorified in their dishonor; they are slandered, yet they are vindicated.

They are cursed, yet they bless; they are insulted, yet they offer respect.

When they do good, they are punished as evildoers; when they are punished, they rejoice as though brought to life.

By the Jews they are assaulted as foreigners, and by the Greeks they are persecuted, yet those who hate them are unable to give a reason for their hostility.

HT: JT

Practical Advice for Guest Preachers, and the Churches That Invite Them

Dane Ortlund has outlined some very good, practical advice for both guest preachers and the Churches that invite them. He writes: Preached recently at a church that hosted me with remarkable thoughtfulness and it caused me to reflect on how inviting churches can host as well as my most recent experience, and also what should be the specific aims of a guest preacher. To be filtered through your own wisdom and good sense.

For the inviting church:

1. Give him guidance about what to preach on. Or not to preach on–it’s awkward to be told ‘Preach on whatever you want’ only to show up and discover you’re preaching the same text as the previous week.

2. If he wasn’t your first choice to pinch hit that day, don’t tell him.

3. Tell him what time to show up, and how long he should preach for.

4. Tell him who is going to greet him, and where. Be sure he has directions to the church. Tell him about any road-work to avoid.

5. Let him know what kind of mic he’ll be using, and if he has a choice, let him know that and ask his preference. Explain how the mic works when it is given to him. Tell him if powerpoint is an option. Tell him if there will be a podium, pulpit, or nothing. Give him guidance about dress code. In short, don’t assume anything; err on the side of giving him too much information rather than too little.

6. Don’t ask him to administer a sacrament. Do the sacrament another day, or ask an elder or pastor of the church to do it. He is in a strange place and doesn’t know the particulars of your church’s practices, which for you seem totally normal and obvious. Let him focus on the preaching event.
Continue reading

16 Rules of Bible Interpretation

Jesus, in the preamble to quoting a verse from the Old Testament said, “…have you not read what was spoken to you by God…” (Matt. 22:31). He then went on to quote a verse from the book of Genesis. Think about that for a moment. Jesus believed (and held people accountable for doing so) that when someone read a verse from the Old Testament, they were reading something spoken to them by God. That is a very high view of Scripture, to be sure.

The testimony of Jesus and of the Bible is that “All Scripture is God breathed” (2 Tim. 3:16). Therefore, when we open up a page in our Bibles, we are treading upon holy ground. The Bible, although a book, is also unlike any other book. It is not simply a book giving facts about God. The Bible is a book written by God. Certainly, human writers were involved, but the text of Scripture is inspired or breathed out by God Himself. Just having this concept in place would greatly help us in our Bible studies.

What do I mean by that?

Well, many people view the interpretation of God’s Word as “no big deal” really. To them it is nothing more important than the reading of any other book, at least in their methodology.

The Jews would wash their hands before touching the sacred scrolls, because these scrolls were seen as Divinely inspired. Though we do not need to become superstitious about the physical book called the Bible, so as to wash our hands before picking up or opening the book, the text of the Scripture is the very word of God Himself. We should approach the Word of God humbly, and with the utmost reverence and respect.

And that leads us to talk about how we interpret the Bible. When we recognize that we are handling the very truth of God, we should not be quick to come to conclusions about what it means. That is because if the Bible is God’s holy word, we should seek to gain the correct meaning before we attempt to speak for God.

I can’t think of a more holy assignment that to be called to preach or teach the Word of God to the souls of men. I feel the weight and privilege of this calling immensely. Scripture in fact tells us “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” (James 3:1) It is actually a scary business, and its meant to be. Therefore, before someone stands in a pulpit to preach or teach the Word of God, he needs to make sure he has interpreted the text correctly. The preacher’s job is not to merely entertain the crowd or to tell a few stories that will connect with the audience.

Please don’t misunderstand me. God gives no prizes to boring preachers who can’t connect with people! But we must always remember that the goal of preaching is the honor and glory of God in accurately proclaiming the word of truth. It is a serious and holy thing to be responsible to proclaim God’s truth and it should never be done lightly, whether we are heard by thousands, or simply by one precious human soul.

But what is true for the preacher is also true for every Christian. When we sit down and start reading the Bible for ourselves we need to remember that though there may be a thousand applications of Scripture, there is only ONE correct interpretation – the one the Holy Spirit meant when He inspired the sacred words of the Bible. We should be prepared to do some serious study to seek to understand what the Holy Spirit was and is communicating to us. Handling the word of God is a priceless duty and delight, not a trivial passion or pursuit.

We would never consider someone qualified to practice as a medical physician after reading just one paper containing a dozen or so rules on being a good doctor. Though knowing these rules would be helpful, I’m sure we would agree that there’s far more that is needed. Certainly, before a Medical Board would certify a person as competent to practice medicine they would need to know far more than a few rules for good health. In the same way, there’s so much more that could and should be said about how to study the Bible. Yet, with this qualifier, here are some simple rules of interpretation (hermeneutics) which should at least get us started. May God use these brief words to encourage you as you search out the truths of God’s word, for His glory:

1. Consider the Author – who wrote the book? – what was his background, language, culture, vocation, concerns, education, circumstance, what stage of life?

2. Consider the Audience (why was the book written? who was the audience? what would these words have meant to its original recipients?)

3. The Meaning of Words (this has become a lot easier in our day with all the information and technology at our disposal. The computer program Bibleworks 8 is especially recommended).

4. Historical Setting (avoid anachronism – trying to understand the past while viewing it wearing 21st century glasses – will not help toward understanding the original meaning of the author).

5. Grammar – (how things are being expressed – imperative is a command, a subjunctive would be “would you like to do this?” – two quite different meanings result)

6. Textual Issues – (are there any questions about the earliest or most authoritative manuscripts in comparison with others of a later date – and how does this influence our understanding of what was originally written?)

7. Syntax – this refers to words and their relationship with one another. For example, Romans 5:1 says “Having been justified (a past tense action) by faith, we have peace with God.” It would be incorrect to think that we have to gain peace with God before justification takes place. The syntax is clear that it is a result of first being justified that peace ensues. Correct syntax is a vital component of sound interpretation. Continue reading

Holy Spirit, Living Breath of God

I would like to introduce you to the beautiful hymn “Holy Spirit, Living Breath of God” written by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend and sung by Kristyn Getty. The violin solo at the beginning is “Gabriel’s Oboe” by Ennio Morricone, from the soundtrack to the movie “The Mission” and the melody itself is heavily influenced by J.S. Bach. Also included is a reading of The Lorica (Breastplate), a prayer of protection traditionally attributed to Saint Patrick of Ireland.

Keith Getty explains, “the lyric of ‘Holy Spirit, Living Breath of God’ is as much an explanation of what Scripture states the Holy Spirit does as it is a prayer for our utter dependence on the Holy Spirit in our lives. The first verse is a petition for inward renewal as we are confronted with the living and written Word of God. The second verse is a prayer that the outward fruit of our lives will reflect Christ in every action. The final verse is then a prayer for the church around us, that the Spirit will ‘show your power once again on earth; cause your church to hunger for your ways.’ As we worked to find an appropriate climax to the song, we were continually reminded through our studies that the Holy Spirit works to make us less and exalt Christ. So rather than making the third verse a huge finish, we turn in the sixth line and express, “lead me on the road to sacrifice.”

Lyrics

Holy Spirit, living Breath of God,
Breathe new life into my willing soul.
Bring the presence of the risen Lord
To renew my heart and make me whole.
Cause Your Word to come alive in me;
Give me faith for what I cannot see;
Give me passion for Your purity.
Holy Spirit, breathe new life in me.

Holy Spirit, come abide within;
May Your joy be seen in all I do—
Love enough to cover ev’ry sin
In each thought and deed and attitude,
Kindness to the greatest and the least,
Gentleness that sows the path of peace.
Turn my striving into works of grace.
Breath of God, show Christ in all I do.

Holy Spirit, from creation’s birth,
Giving life to all that God has made,
Show your power once again on earth;
Cause Your church to hunger for Your ways.
Let the fragrance of our prayers arise.
Lead us on the road of sacrifice
That in unity the face of Christ
Will be clear for all the world to see.

The Humbling Doctrine

From “Morning and Evening,” written by C.H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg.

Romans 9:15: For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”

In these words the Lord in the plainest manner claims the right to give or to withhold His mercy according to His own sovereign will. As the prerogative of life and death is vested in the monarch, so the Judge of all the earth has a right to spare or condemn the guilty, as may seem best in His sight. Men by their sins have forfeited all claim upon God; they deserve to perish for their sins—and if they all do so, they have no ground for complaint. If the Lord steps in to save any, He may do so if the ends of justice are not thwarted; but if He judges it best to leave the condemned to suffer the righteous sentence, none may call Him to account.

All those discourses about the rights of men being placed on the same footing are foolish and impudent and ignorant; worse still are the arguments against discriminating grace, which are just the rebellions of proud human nature against God’s rule. When we are brought to see our own utter ruin, and the justice of the divine verdict against sin, we no longer scoff at the truth that the Lord is not bound to save us; we do not murmur if He chooses to save others, as though He were doing us an injury, but feel that if He deigns to look upon us, it will be His own free act of undeserved goodness, for which we will forever bless His name.

How will those who are the subjects of divine election sufficiently adore the grace of God? They have no room for boasting, for sovereignty most effectually excludes it. The Lord’s will alone is glorified, and the very notion of human merit is cast out to everlasting contempt. There is no more humbling doctrine in Scripture than that of election, none more deserving of gratitude, and consequently none more sanctifying. Believers should not be afraid of it but adoringly rejoice in it.

Miscellaneous Quotes (57)

“When you say, ‘Can God make me become a Christian?’ I tell you ‘yes,’ for herein rests the power of the gospel. It does not ask your consent; but it gets it. It does not say, ‘Will you have it?’ but it makes you willing in the day of God’s power. The gospel wants not your consent, it gets it. It knocks the enmity out of your heart. You say, I do not want to be saved; Christ says you shall be. He makes our will turn round, and then you cry, ‘Lord save, or I perish!’” – C. H. Spurgeon

“The preaching of the gospel is not mere man’s talk; it is Christ riding on his white horse, going forth conquering and to conquer.” – C. H. Spurgeon

“Missions, after all, is simply this: Every heart with Christ is a missionary, every heart without Christ is a mission field.” – Count Zinzendorf

“The Holy Spirit does not draw attention to himself. He does not draw attention to us. He does not draw attention, primarily, to particular results. He glorifies the Son. He, as it were, hides himself, even as the Son did when he was here in the world. Our Lord came incognito, in the likeness of a man. And, in a measure, that is true of the Spirit. He seems to hide himself, in order that everybody may look at the Son. Therefore, if you hear people talking perpetually about the Spirit and hardly ever about the Son, you have good reason for believing that they may well be the subjects of a delusion.” – D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

“The creation of the world seems to have been especially for this end, that the eternal Son of God might obtain a spouse, toward whom he might fully exercise the infinite benevolence of his nature, and to whom he might, as it were, open and pour forth all that immense fountain of condescension, love, and grace that was in his heart, and that in this way God might be glorified.” – Jonathan Edwards, ‘The Church’s Marriage to Her Sons, and to Her God,’ in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Volume 25: Sermons and Discourses, 1743-1758 (ed. Wilson Kimnach; Yale University Press, 2006), 187

“All that we receive in time, all the streams that come to our souls, are but so many streams flowing from that inexhaustible fountain, God’s electing, God’s sovereign, God’s distinguishing, God’s everlasting love.” – George Whitefield, ‘The Righteousness of Christ an Everlasting Righteousness,’ in Lee Gatiss, ed., The Sermons of George Whitefield (2 vols; Crossway, 2012), 1:290

“To call a Christian a ‘theist’ is roughly equivalent to calling the space shuttle Atlantis a ‘glider.'” – R. C. Sproul

“Although fallen persons are capable of externally good acts (acts that are good for society), they cannot do anything really good, i.e., pleasing to God (Rom. 8:8). God, however, looks on the heart. And from his ultimate standpoint, fallen man has no goodness, in thought, word, or deed. He is therefore incapable of contributing anything to his salvation.” – John Frame

“I choose to believe the Bible because it’s a reliable collection of historical documents written by eyewitnesses during the lifetime[s] of other eyewitnesses. They report supernatural events that took place in fulfillment of specific prophecies and claim that their writings are divine, not human in origin. And oh, by the way- I tried it. Changed my life.” – Voddie Baucham

“This book… will simply be about growing in our enjoyment of God and seeing how God’s triune being makes all his ways beautiful. It is a chance to taste and see that the Lord is good, to have your heart won and yourself refreshed. For it is only when you grasp what it means for God to be a Trinity that you really sense the beauty, the overflowing kindness, the heart-grabbing loveliness of God. If the Trinity were something we could shave off God, we would not be relieving him of some irksome weight; we would be shearing him of precisely what is so delightful about him. For God is triune, and it is as triune that he is so good and desirable.” – Michael Reeves, Delighting in the Trinity: An Introduction to the Christian Faith (IVP, 2012)

“We need again Luthers, Calvins, Bunyans, Whitefields — men fit to mark eras—whose names breathe terror in our enemies’ ears. We have dire need of such! Where are they? From where will they come to us? We cannot tell in what farmhouse or village smithy, or schoolhouse such men may be, but our Lord has them in store. They are the gifts of Jesus Christ to the Church and will come in due time. He has power to give us back, again, a golden age of preachers, a time as fertile of great Divines and mighty ministers as was the Puritan age which many of us account to have been the golden age of theology! He can send, again, the men of studious heart to search the Word and bring forth its treasures! The men of wisdom and experience rightly to divide it! The golden-mouthed speakers who, either as sons of thunder or sons of consolation, shall deliver the message of the Lord which the Holy Spirit sent down from Heaven. When the Redeemer ascended on high He received gifts for men and those gifts were men fit to accomplish the edification of the Church, such as evangelists, pastors and teachers. These He is still able to bestow upon His people! It is their duty to pray for them, and when they come, to receive them with gratitude. Let us believe in the power of Jesus to give us valiant men, and men of renown, and we little know how soon He will supply them!” – C. H. Spurgeon, Sermon #1200, The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, The Power of the Risen Saviour, October 25, 1874.

“Although fallen persons are capable of externally good acts (acts that are good for society), they cannot do anything really good, i.e., pleasing to God (Rom. 8:8). God, however, looks on the heart. And from his ultimate standpoint, fallen man has no goodness, in thought, word, or deed. He is therefore incapable of contributing anything to his salvation.” – John Frame

“A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves.” – Henry Ward Beecher

“I believe that very much of current Arminianism is simply ignorance of gospel doctrine; and if people began to study their Bibles, and to take the Word of God as they find it, they must inevitably, if believers, rise up to rejoice in the doctrines of grace.” – C. H. Spurgeon

“Let us resolve to talk more to believers about the Bible when we meet them. Alas, the conversation of Christians, when they do meet, is often sadly unprofitable! How many frivolous, and trifling, and uncharitable things are said! Let us bring out the Bible more, and it will help to drive the devil away, and keep our hearts in tune. Oh, that we may all strive so to walk together in this evil world; that Jesus may often draw near, and go with us, as He went with the two disciples journeying to Emmaus!” – J.C. Ryle

“‘Love covers a multitude of sins.’ In other words, it protects the scope of who has knowledge about another’s sin. This literally means that genuine love will shut up and not gossip about someone else. Are you showing Christ-like love today? Are you part of someone’s restoration and repentance or are you content to savor the sin of others and just talk about them?” – Steve Camp

“If you love anything better than God you are idolaters: if there is anything you would not give up for God it is your idol: if there is anything that you seek with greater fervor than you seek the glory of God, that is your idol, and conversion means a turning from every idol.” – C. H. Spurgeon

“To say that we are able by our own efforts to think good thoughts or give God spiritual obedience before we are spiritually regenerate is to overthrow the gospel and the faith of the universal church in all ages.” – John Owen