5 Hours on the Dividing Line

As you might already be aware, for the last couple of weeks I have had the distinct honor and privilege of hosting Dr. James White’s “Dividing Line” broadcast while he was away on a ministry trip to Europe. For those of you would wish to have all five youtube videos at one internet link, view here they are:

Hour 1. “Law and Gospel.”

Hour 2. “The Five Solas of the Reformation.”

Hour 3. The “T” in the TULIP, “Total Depravity:

Hour 4. The “U” in the TULIP, “Unconditional Election.”

Hour 5. The “L” in the TULIP, “Limited Atonement.”

What Luther really said… and didn’t say

Its worth keeping in mind that ‘close’ is very different from being contradictory.

though none of them are exact actual quotes, and a few of them are things that Luther would have disagreed with!

Alleged Luther quote #1:

If I believed the world were to end tomorrow, I would still plant a tree today.

Luther didn’t say this. For a thorough discussion, see Martin Schloemann, Luthers Apfelbäumchen: Ein Kapitel deutscher Mentalitätsgeschichte seit dem Zweiten Weltkrieg (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1994), 246-251 (via Frederick Gaiser, HT: Garrett Lee). Schloemann argues that it’s not only something Luther didn’t say but wouldn’t say, unless it was put into a Christocentric eschatology emphasizing “creaturely service of neighbor and world.”

Alleged Luther quote #2:

The maid who sweeps her kitchen is doing the will of God just as much as the monk who prays—not because she may sing a Christian hymn as she sweeps but because God loves clean floors.

The Christian shoemaker does his Christian duty not by putting little crosses on the shoes, but by making good shoes, because God is interested in good craftsmanship.

Luther didn’t say this. As with the quote from the first example, Gaiser argues that it doesn’t sit very well with Luther’s actual views on vocation. The idea that God is pleased with our work because he likes quality work “would be the American work-ethic version of vocation, theologically endorsing work as an end in itself. In the hands and mouth of a modern boss, good craftsmanship and clean floors (or a clean desk or a signed contract) to the glory of God could be a potent and tyrannical tool to promote the bottom line. . . . [W]hat marks Luther’s doctrine of vocation is the insistence that the work is done in service of the neighbor and of the world. God likes shoes (and good ones!) not for their own sake, but because the neighbor needs shoes. . . .”

Alleged Luther quote #3:

If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the Word of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Him. Where the battle rages there the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battle front besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.

Luther didn’t say this exactly, but this one is closer. Denny Burk looked into this one: Continue reading

The Great Commission

Dr. Dan Wallace writes:

DanWallaceI don’t know the source, but I suspect it is from a Christian magazine article written in the last 75 years. My guess is that this idea would have found fertile soil during the Great Depression (when funds were definitely low and excuses for lack of action could be high; for a parallel, see Jas 2.1-13). There’s a myth foisted on the Christian public about the meaning of the Great Commission (Matt 28.19-20). It goes something like this: “In the Greek, the word translated ‘Go’ is really a participle and it literally means, ‘as you are going.’ But the words ‘make disciples’ are an imperative in Greek. That’s the only imperative in these two verses. Therefore, the Great Commission is not a command to go; rather, it is a command to make disciples as you are going, or make disciples along the way.” The exposition based on this understanding of the Greek text then attempts to salve the consciences of the congregation, permitting them to do nothing about the lost if it at all means going out of their way.

There are two major problems with this treatment of Matt 28.19-20. First, it is a misunderstanding of the Greek. Second, it is a misunderstanding of the historical context. This blog will deal with the first issue. Continue reading

Miscellaneous Quotes (98)

quotes“There are no easy steps to witnessing! No painless, thinking about Him, boasting of Him, speaking about and for and to Him, thrilled and entranced with His perfections and beauty, finding ways to serve and exalt Him, tirelessly exploring ways to spend and be spent for Him, growing in character to be more and more like Him – and I will show you a person who IS filled with the Holy Spirit. We should learn what the Bible says about the Holy Spirit. We should teach what the Bible says about the Holy Spirit. We should seek to live lives full of the biblically defined ministry of the Holy Spirit. But we should never lose sight of this: To the degree that we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we will be targeted on, focused on, the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.” – Dan Phillips

“When a believer has fallen into a low, sad state of feeling, he often tries to lift himself out of it by chastening himself with dark and doleful fears. Such is not the way to rise from the dust, but to continue in it. As well chain the eagle’s wing to make it mount, as doubt in order to increase our grace. It is not the law, but the gospel which saves the seeking soul at first; and it is not a legal bondage, but gospel liberty which can restore the fainting believer afterwards. Slavish fear brings not back the backslider to God, but the sweet wooings of love allure him to Jesus’ bosom.” – C. H. Spurgeon

“The apostle says that Rock was Christ, 1 Cor. 10:4, it was a type of him. While the curse of God might justly have been executed upon our guilty souls, behold the Son of God is smitten for us. Let us ask and receive. There was a constant, abundant supply of this water. Numerous as believers are, the supply of the Spirit of Christ is enough for all. The water flowed from the rock in streams to refresh the wilderness, and attended them on their way towards Canaan; and this water flows from Christ, through the ordinances, in the barren wilderness of this world, to refresh our souls, until we come to glory.” – Matthew Henry

“Sooner could a fish live upon a tree than the wicked in Paradise.” – C. H. Spurgeon

“The doctrines of grace humble a man without degrading him and exalt a man without inflating him.” – Charles Hodge

“I will not believe that you have tasted of the honey of the gospel if you can eat it all by yourself.” – C. H. Spurgeon

Paraphrasing the Puritan, John Owen from his book, A Treatise of the Dominion of Sin and Grace, Sinclair Ferguson says,

There are actually only ever two pastoral problems you will ever encounter. The first is this: persuading those who are under the dominion of sin that they are under the dominion of sin. That’s the task of evangelism. And [second], persuading those who are no longer under the dominion of sin that they are no longer under the dominion of sin because they’re Christ’s.

“Effective executives know that they have to get many things done — and done effectively. Therefore, they concentrate — their own time and energy as well as that of their organization — on doing one thing at a time, and on doing first things first.” – Peter Drucker

“If God does not meddle with your free will, you will free will your way to hell.” – John Samson

“God uses chronic pain and weakness, along with other afflictions, as his chisel for sculpting our lives.” – J.I. Packer

“Humility is not simply feeling small and useless – like an inferiority complex. It is sensing how great and glorious God is, and seeing myself in that light.” – Sinclair Ferguson

“We are plainly taught in the Word of God that as many as have believed are one with Christ: they are married to him, there is a conjugal union based upon mutual affection. The union is closer still, for there is a vital union between Christ and his saints. They are in him as the branches are in the vine; they are members of the body of which he is the head. They are one with Jesus in such a true and real sense that with him they died, with him they have been buried, with him they are raised; with him they are raised up together and made to sit together in heavenly places. There is an indissoluble union between Christ and all his people: I in them and they in me.

Thus the union may be described: “Christ is in his people the hope of glory, and they are dead and their life is hid with Christ in God. This is a union of the most wonderful kind, which figures may faintly set forth, but which it is impossible for language completely to explain.

Oneness to Jesus is one of the fat things full of marrow. For if it be so, indeed, that we are one with Christ, then because he lives we must live also; because he was justified by his resurrection, we also are justified in him; because he is rewarded and forever sits down at his Father’s right hand, we also have obtained the inheritance in him and by faith grasp it now and enjoy its earnest.” – C. H. Spurgeon

“Not all that seem to be branches are branches of the true Vine. Many branches fall off the trees when the high winds begin to blow—all that are rotten branches. So, in times of temptation, or trial, or persecution, many false professors drop away. Many that seemed to be believers went back, and walked no more with Jesus. They followed Jesus, they prayed with Him, they praised Him; but they went back, and walked no more with Him. So it is still. Many among us doubtless seem to be converted; they begin well and promise fair, who will fall off when winter comes. Some have fallen off, I fear, already; some more may be expected to follow. These will not be blessed in dying. Oh, of all deathbeds may I be kept from beholding the deathbed of the false professor! I have seen it before now, and I trust I may never see it again. They are not blessed after death. The rotten branches will burn more fiercely in the flames.Oh, think what torment it will be, to think that you spent your life in pretending to be a Christian, and lost your opportunity of becoming one indeed! Your hell will be all the deeper, blacker, hotter, that you knew so much of Christ, and were so near Him, and found Him not.” – Robert Murray McCheyne

“The spouse of Christ cannot be adulterous; she is uncorrupted and pure. She knows one home; she guards with chaste modesty the sanctity of one couch. She keeps us for God. She appoints the sons whom she has born for the kingdom. Whoever is separated from the Church and is joined to an adulteress, is separated from the promises of the Church; nor can he who forsakes the Church of Christ attain to the rewards of Christ. He is a stranger; he is profane; he is an enemy. He can no longer have God for his Father, who has not the Church for his mother.” – Cyprian, Treatise on the Unity of the Church, 6.

“After our preaching of the law rightly pushes people under water, we all too often lead them to think that they must “save” themselves by giving them swimming lessons: ‘Paddle harder, kick faster.’ I want the last word I speak over Christians when I preach to be the last word God speaks over Christians – ‘Paid in full.’ The Gospel always has the last word over a believer. Always. When it’s all said and done there are two types of sermons: Jesus + Nothing = Everything or Jesus + Something = Everything. May God raise up a generation of bold preachers who storm the gates of works-righteousness in all its forms with nothing more and nothing less than, “In my place condemned he stood, and sealed my pardon with his blood. Hallelujah, what a Savior.'” – Tullian Tchividjian

“The trouble with all false evangelism is that it does not start with doctrine, it does not start by realising man’s condition… If you and I realised that every man who is yet a sinner is absolutely dominated by the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience, if we only understood that he is really a child of wrath and dead in trespasses and sins, we would realise that only one power can deal with such an individual, and that is the power of God, the power of the Holy Spirit. And so we would put our confidence, not in man-made organisations, but in the power of God, in the prayer that holds on to God and asks for revival and a descent of the Spirit. We would realise that nothing else can do it. We can change men superficially, we can win men to our side and to our party, we can persuade them to join a church, but we can never raise the spiritually dead; God alone can do that.” – Martyn Lloyd-Jones (Ephesians – God’s Way Of Reconciliation)

“You are always on duty in the Christian life, you can never relax. There is no such thing as a holiday in the spiritual realm.” – Martyn Lloyd-Jones

“Meaninglessness does not come from being weary of pain. Meaninglessness comes from being weary of pleasure.” – G.K. Chesterton

Tract Project for India

Pappy DanielUPDATED, 2014

Pappy Daniel is a man of God from Kerala, India whom I have known since I started out in ministry back in 1987. I have been out to minister there with him in India on numerous occasions, doing many Gospel Crusades through the years. Pappy Daniel’s sincere passion for the gospel has resulted in many souls reached for Christ and his ongoing care of orphans has given hundreds of local children both a place to stay as well as a first class Christian education.

He recently read my newly written Gospel tract called “The Trial” and wrote to me today as follows:

Dear Brother John,

I have carefully read the tract, ‘The Trial’ and showed it to some other people here to see what they think about it. I was told that it will help our outreaches among the students of high schools, colleges, universities, law colleges and other institutions of higher learning if the tract is translated and printed in Malayalam language we speak here.

If you will give us an okay we shall translate and typeset the copy to make a pdf file for printing.

Would you be in a position to help us print a quantity between 10,000 and 25000? Please let us know how the Lord leads you on this. Thank you. PappyDaniel-Kerala

With love from all here,

In His abundant grace,

Pappy Daniel.

I am currently in a start up church situation here on the west side of Phoenix and this means that there is little in the way of finances to help with the printing here. Perhaps in sharing this letter, some who read of this request might feel led of the Lord to partner with Pappy Daniel to see many of “The Trial” tracts translated and printed. If so, please contact me and I will be happy to provide further details.

God bless,
John Samson

Update: Here’s an email I received from Pappy Daniel today (Monday, Feb 17):

Dear Brother John,

We have translated and typeset the copy ‘The Trial’ in Malayalam. The cover page is being attached herewith. Trial - Malayalam

It is estimated that it will cost US$250 to print 10,000 copies.

The cost will be reduced to some extent for 25,000 copies – $576.20.

The tract will be three fold as the English copy.

We pray that the Lord will make it possible to complete this project.

In His mighty grace,

Pappy Daniel.