Charles Hodge on Jesus Christ as the promised Redeemer and the only Way of salvation in both the Old and New Testaments:
Our Lord commanded the Jews to search their Scriptures, because they testified of Him. He said that Moses and the prophets wrote of Him. Beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded to the disciples in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. The Apostles when they began to preach the gospel, not only everywhere proved from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ, but they referred to them continually in support of everything which they taught concerning His person and work. It is from the Old Testament they prove His divinity; His incarnation; the sacrificial nature of His death; that He was truly a Priest to make reconciliation for the people, as well as a Prophet and a King; and that He was to die, to rise again on the third day, to ascend into heaven, and to be invested with absolute authority over all the earth, and over all orders of created beings. There is not a doctrine concerning Christ, taught in the New Testament, which the Apostles do not affirm to have been revealed under former dispensations. They therefore distinctly assert that it was through Him and the efficacy of His death that men were saved before, as well as after His advent. (Systematic Theology, Vol.II, p.370-371)
“There is no attribute more comforting to His children than that of God’s Sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe trials, they believe that Sovereignty has ordained their afflictions, that Sovereignty overrules them, and that Sovereignty will sanctify them all. There is nothing for which the children ought more earnestly to contend than the doctrine of their Master over all creation—the Kingship of God over all the works of His own hands—the Throne of God and His right to sit upon that Throne. On the other hand, there is no doctrine more hated by worldings, no truth of which they have made such a football, as the great, stupendous, but yet most certain doctrine of the Sovereignty of the infinite Jehovah. Men will allow God to be everywhere except on His throne. They will allow Him to be in His workshop to fashion worlds and make stars. They will allow Him to be in His almonry to dispense His alms and bestow His bounties. They will allow Him to sustain the earth and bear up the pillars thereof, or light the lamps of heaven, or rule the waves of the ever-moving ocean; but when God ascends His throne, His creatures then gnash their teeth, and we proclaim an enthroned God, and His right to do as He wills with His own, to dispose of His creatures as He thinks well, without consulting them in the matter; then it is that we are hissed and execrated, and then it is that men turn a deaf ear to us, for God on His throne is not the God they love. But it is God upon the throne that we love to preach. It is God upon His throne whom we trust.” (Charles H. Spurgeon)
Conservative evangelicals believe that the Bible is inspired, and that this inspiration is both plenary and verbal. Verbal means that every word of Scripture is God-given, and plenary means that all parts of the Bible are equally authoritative. There have been many articles and books written on the subject but the following e-book Bible Inspiration: Plenary And Verbal by Dr. W. W. Gardner is the most detailed and thorough I have seen:
“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” 1 Timothy 1:15
Christ Jesus came to save sinners.
Not, then, merely to prepare salvation for them; to open to them a pathway to salvation; to remove the obstacles in the way of their salvation; to proclaim as a teacher a way of salvation; to introduce as a ruler conditions of life in which clean living becomes for the first time possible; to bring motives to holy action to bear upon us; to break down our enmity to God by an exhibition of His seeking love; to manifest to us what sin is in the sight of God, and how He will visit it with His displeasure. All these things He undoubtedly does. But all these things together touch but the circumference of His work for man. Under no interpretation of the nature or reach of His work can it be truly said that Christ Jesus came to do these things. For that we must penetrate deeper, and say with the primitive Church, in this faithful saying commended to us by the apostle, that Christ Jesus came to save sinners.
I am posting an outline of the tenets of Reformed Theology by Dr. James Means. Dr. Means is an Evangelical Free Church pastor and theologian and serves as Senior Professor of Pastoral Ministries and Homiletics at Denver Seminary. The value of this work is that it compares the Reformed position with that of Arminian and Dispensational (antinomian) theology. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
“A Primer On Reformed Theology – Reformed Theology Contrasted with Arminian, Dispensational, Keswick Theologies” by James E. Means, PhD. (2006):
(Posted with permission from Dr. Means)
I am posting another excellent e-book on theology “Fundamental Doctrines Of The Bible” by David Allen Reed. It is in outline format and covers 4 broad areas:
PART I: Concerning God,
PART II: Concerning Man,
PART III: Concerning Sin,
PART IV: Concerning Redemption
The longest and most detailed section is on Redemption, Reed credited A. A. Hodge’s “Outlines Of Theology” for much of the material there.
Some people have drawn wrong conclusions about Spurgeon’s theology because his sermons were frequently very evangelistic. And one popular edition of his sermons edited out his frequent criticisms of Arminianism. According to Andrew Chan “the result of such censorship is that today, while many know Spurgeon to be the “Prince of Preachers,” few know that he was a staunch Calvinist”.
The following article addresses Spurgeon’s strong support of Calvinistic theology.
“Spurgeon, the Forgotten Calvinist” by Godwell Andrew Chan:
The Covenant of Grace
A Key To An Understanding Of The Bible
By Calvin Knox Cummings
An excellent e-book for explaining the basic truths of the Christian faith from a Biblical, Reformed perspective.
Cummings directed this book to ‘young Christians’ which I take to refer not to age but to new Christians. It is used by some Orthodox Presbyterian Churches for new member classes.
The Scottish theologian John Murray is one of my favorite authors. His book “Redemption Accomplished and Applied” is a classic of reformed theology. I highly recommend this book! The following article is an excerpt from the book with Murray’s teaching on Justification:
About the author: Professor John Murray was a Scottish theologian and author. He served on the faculty of Princeton Seminary and Westminster Theological Seminary.
What is saving faith? What is the relationship of faith and repentance? The following e-book contains quotes from 35 evangelical theologians on faith and repentance. Some excellent material!
(I have visited the American Presbyterian Church’s website several times to read their very good articles. I was struck by the fact that, unlike other Presbyterian denominations, they subscribe to Historic Premillennialism in their creed!)
American Presbyterian Church’s Position On Eschatology:
“Reformed theology and Reformed churches have never had a unified position on eschatology (Greek for the doctrine of future things). The Reformed churches of the continent have traditionally favored amillennialism. Presbyterian churches have for the most part historically favored postmillennialism. All three positions were represented at the Westminster assembly and such noted personages as Dr. Twisse, the moderator, and Goodwin, the Independent, were premillennialists. The Westminster standards therefore allow for all three and basically take a position of eschatological liberty.
For those uninitiated in eschatological matters a few definitions may be in order. The millennium is the future period of peace and prosperity foretold by the prophets. It represents a future Messianic age when all these promises will be fulfilled. Amillennial means no millennium. This position basically states that there will be no literal millennium on earth. It spiritualizes the millennium and sees the Lord’s people spending a future eternity in heaven in an exalted spiritual state. Postmillennial means after the millennium. They believe that Christ will return after the millennium. This position does believe that the ancient promises and prophesies of the Old Testament prophets will be literally fulfilled on this earth. But they believe in a postmillennial return of Jesus Christ. They believe that, by the preaching of the gospel and the work of the Spirit, the nations will be progressively converted to Christianity. And they believe this will usher in the promised golden age of peace and prosperity. They have a Messianic age but without the Messiah present. Premillennial means before the millennium. It refers to a belief in the premillennial return of Jesus Christ. It believes that Christ will return and lift the curse and bring in everlasting righteousness. It believes in a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwells righteousness. It believes this will happen at the return of Jesus Christ in power and glory to establish his kingdom, to deliver his saints, and to rule the wicked with a rod of iron as the Judge of all the earth.
Quotes from Charles Spurgeon on repentance:
“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” Acts 3:19.
“Repent signifies, in its literal meaning, to change one’s mind. It has been translated, “after-wit,” or “after-wisdom;” it is the man’s finding out that he was wrong, and rectifying his judgment. But although that be the meaning of the root, the word has come in scriptural use to mean a great deal more. Perhaps there is no better definition of repentance than that which is given in our little children’s hymnbook:
“Repentance is to leave
The sins we loved before,
And show that we in earnest grieve,
By doing so no more.”
Repentance is a discovery of the evil of sin, a mourning that we have committed it, a resolution to forsake it. It is, in fact, a change of mind of a very deep and practical character, which makes the man love what once he hated, and hate what once he loved. Conversion, if translated, means a turning round, a turning from, and a turning to–a turning from sin, a turning to holiness–a turning from carelessness to thought, from the world to heaven, from self to Jesus–a complete turning. . . Regeneration is the implanting of a new nature, and one of the earliest signs of that is, a faith in Christ, and a repentance of sin, and a consequent conversion from that which is evil to that which is good.
The Apostle Peter, addressing the crowd, said to them, “Change your minds; be sorry for what you have done; forsake your old ways; be turned; become new men.” That was his message as I have now put it into other words.”
We Need a Few Men with ‘Grit’ By Charles Spurgeon
“You see a lot of things which are called men, who turn the way the wind blows; a number of preachers who turn north, south, east and west, just according as the times shall dictate, and their circumstances and the hope of gain shall sway them.. You see a lot of things which are called men, who turn the way the wind blows. I pray God to send a few men with what the Americans call ‘grit’ in them; men who when they know a thing to be right, will not turn away, or turn aside, or stop; men who will persevere all the more because there are difficulties to meet or foes to encounter; who stand all the more true to their Master because they are opposed; who, the more they are thrust into the fire, the hotter they become; who, just like the bow, the further the string is drawn, the more powerfully will it send forth its arrows, and so, the more they are trodden upon, the more mighty will they become in the cause of truth against error. Resolve, brothers and sisters, when you are in any sort of persecution, to face it with a full countenance. Like a nettle is the persecutor; touch it gently and it will sting you, but grasp it, and it hurts you not. Lay hold of those who oppose you, not with rough vengeance, but with the strong grip of quiet decision, and you have won the day.
The ‘speaking in tongues’ issue has long been debated. I have read a number of articles both pro and con on the issue of tongues in the church today. The following article by Dr. Fred Zaspel is one of the best I have read. He strongly make the case that the modern Pentecostals have it all wrong and their theology is on shaky Biblical grounds.
About the author: Dr. Fred Zaspel (Free University of Amsterdam) is a New Covenant theologian, author, and pastor of a Baptist Church.
My last post was an article by Bishop J. C. Ryle. He was a conservative Anglican scholar and author. This is what Charles H. Spurgeon had to say about Ryle:
4 Great Doctrines To Always Keep in Mind by Bishop J. C. Ryle:
“I feel that we all need more and more of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, to guide, to teach and to keep us sound in the faith. There are certain great truths, which, in a day like this [written in1874!], we are especially bound to keep in mind. I believe there are times and seasons in the Church of Christ when we are bound to tighten our hold upon certain great leading truths, to grasp them with more than ordinary firmness in our hands, to press them to our hearts and not let them go.”
#1: The Total Corruption of the Human Nature
“The corruption of human nature is no slight thing. It is no partial, skin-deep disease, but a radical and universal corruption of man’s will, intellect, affections, and conscience. We are not merely poor and pitiable sinners in God’s sight: we are guilty sinners; we are blameworthy sinners: we deserve justly God’s wrath and God’s condemnation. I believe there are very few errors and false doctrines of which the beginning may not be traced up to unsound views about the corruption of human nature. Wrong views of a disease will always bring with them wrong views of the remedy. Wrong views of the corruption of human nature will always carry with them wrong views of the grand treatment and cure of that corruption.”
#2: The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible
“Let us boldly maintain, in the face of all the opposition, that the whole of the Bible is given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that all is inspired completely, not one part more than another, and that there is an entire gulf between the Word of God and any other book in the world. We need not be afraid of difficulties in the way of the doctrine of absolute inspiration. There may be many things about it far too high for us to comprehend: it is a miracle, and all miracles are necessarily mysterious. But if we are not to believe anything until we can entirely explain it, there are very few things indeed that we shall believe. We need not be afraid of all the assaults that criticism brings to bear upon the Bible. From the days of the apostles the Word of the Lord has been incessantly ‘tried,’ and has never failed to come forth as gold, uninjured and spotless.”
In 1896 Moody Press issued a book “The Second Coming Of Christ”. The book had 8 chapters written by different authors, one of which was Charles Spurgeon whose chapter formed the title “The Second Coming Of Christ”. Some people have misrepresented Spurgeon’s position on eschatology. He was without a doubt a Historic Premillennialist (see Dennis Swanson’s essay on Spurgeon and his eschatology here).
The chapter by Spurgeon was worth the price of the entire book! Download a copy of the e-book:
J. I. Packer and C. H. Spurgeon on Covenant Theology:
“What is Covenant theology? The straightforward, if provocative answer to that question is that it is what is nowadays called a hermeneutic…A successful hermeneutic is a consistent interpretation procedure yielding a consistent understanding of Scripture that in turn confirms the proprietary of the procedure itself. Covenant theology is a case in point. It is a hermeneutic that forces itself upon every thoughtful Bible reader…” (James I. Packer)
“The doctrine of the covenant lies at the root of all true theology. It has been said that he who well understands the distinction between the covenant of works and the covenant of grace, is a master of divinity…He also said If anyone should ask me what I mean by a Calvinist, ‘I should reply, ‘He is one who says, Salvation is of the Lord.'” (Charles H. Spurgeon).
Following is an article from the American Presbyterian Church website on Historic Premillennialism. The American Presbyterian Church is unique in that it is Premillennial in its eschatology while Reformed in its overall theology. Some of the material was quoted from Alexander Reese’s book “The Approaching Advent Of Christ” (see endnotes):
Historic Premillennialism Defined:
Essential Definition: Premillennialism believes that there will be a literal, physical reign of Jesus Christ with the saints on this earth before the institution of the eternal state. It believes that this will happen at the second coming, at the glorious visible return of Jesus Christ at the end of this age. Hence it is called Premillennialism, believing in a Premillennial return of Jesus Christ.
- The rise of Anti-Christ, and the concomitant persecution of the Church.
- The great tribulation.
- The return of Christ at the end of the age.
- The resurrection of the just and the simultaneous rapture of the living saints.
- The conversion of the Jews at the glorious visible return of Christ.
- The institution of the millennial kingdom.
- The final revolt of the unbelieving at the end of the millennium.
- The resurrection of the wicked and the final judgment.
- The eternal state in the new heavens and the new earth.
The Second Coming Of Christ, A Look At The Any-Moment Theory By James Slater is an excellent book on the return of Christ. In it Slater disassembles the any-moment theory making a strong case for Historic Premillennialism:
Several months ago I posted the e-book The Approaching Advent Of Christ by Alexander Reese and noted that it had some formatting issues. I have updated the book and am reposting it. This book is one of the best presentations of the post-trib premillennial doctrine that I have read. Download it here:
Eschatology has been a fascinating subject for me since the early 1970’s when I worked at Wheaton College. There I became friends with J. Barton Payne and worked with him on a couple projects. Dr. Payne was an OT scholar, professor, and author. I had the privilege of reviewing his pre-publication book Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy (1973) which became a classic work on eschatology. Dr. Payne later wrote an article for the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society titled The Goal Of Daniels Seventy Weeks (JETS 21/2, June 1978, pp. 97-115). I recently came across a copy in the Springfielder, a publication of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana (April 1976, Volume 40, Number 2). It is an interesting interpretation of the 70 weeks of Daniel.
You can download a copy here:
I have read a number of articles explaining the 5 points of Calvinism (TULIP) but this e-book The 5 Points Of Calvinism Explained by Loraine Boettner is by far the best I have seen. Boettner is quite wordy in places because he is so thorough covering all the arguments and objections to each doctrine. If you are interested in Calvinism and the Biblical basis for its theological position this is a ‘must have’ book.
I am posting a chart comparing millennial views: Dispensational Premillennialism, Historic Premillennialism, Postmillennialism, and Amillennialism. I have seen several versions of this chart on the web but do not know the author. The chart is a concise but accurate summation of the different views of the millennium.
The person who brought the Lordship Salvation controversy to the fore-front of evangelical theology was John MacArthur with the publication of his book The Gospel According to Jesus in 1988. The term ‘Lordship Salvation’ was coined by McArthur’s critics who were proponents of the ‘Free Grace’ theology (called “easy-believism” by critics).
Here is McArthur’s statement on Lordship Salvation today:
“The gospel that Jesus proclaimed was a call to discipleship, a call to follow Him in submissive obedience, not just a plea to make a decision or pray a prayer. Jesus’ message liberated people from the bondage of their sin while it confronted and condemned hypocrisy. It was an offer of eternal life and forgiveness for repentant sinners, but at the same time it was a rebuke to outwardly religious people whose lives were devoid of true righteousness. It put sinners on notice that they must turn from sin and embrace God’s righteousness. Our Lord’s words about eternal life were invariably accompanied by warnings to those who might be tempted to take salvation lightly. He taught that the cost of following Him is high, that the way is narrow and few find it. He said many who call him Lord will be forbidden from entering the kingdom of heaven (cf. Matt. 7:13-23).
Present-day evangelicalism, by and large, ignores these warnings. The prevailing view of what constitutes saving faith continues to grow broader and more shallow, while the portrayal of Christ in preaching and witnessing becomes fuzzy. Anyone who claims to be a Christian can find evangelicals willing to accept a profession of faith, whether or not the person’s behavior shows any evidence of commitment to Christ. In this way, faith has become merely an intellectual exercise. Instead of calling men and women to surrender to Christ, modern evangelism asks them only to accept some basic facts about Him.
This shallow understanding of salvation and the gospel, known as “easy-believism,” stands in stark contrast to what the Bible teaches. To put it simply, the gospel call to faith presupposes that sinners must repent of their sin and yield to Christ’s authority. This, in a nutshell, is what is commonly referred to as lordship salvation.”
Wick Broomall, a Presbyterian professor and theologian has a section in his book The Bible And The Future on Dispensational vs. Historic Premillennialism. He provides an interesting chart comparing the differences between these two viewpoints. If you are interested in the subject this extract from Br0omall’s book will prove useful:
Another article by B. B. Warfield on the inspiration of the Bible. In the article Warfield discusses both the Divine and the human elements in the Bible:
B. B. Warfield, successor to Charles Hodge at Princeton Seminary, is considered to be one of the greatest Reformed theologians of the 20th century. This article he wrote on the Divine Origin of the Bible is an excellent presentation of the doctrine of inspiration:
W. H. Griffith Thomas wrote an article on the resurrection of Christ for the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE) that is a classic. In it Thomas discusses the top 6 proofs of the resurrection and then discusses the theological issues. If you don’t have a copy of ISBE this article is worth having as a reference:
The New Covenant Theology (NCT) movement seems to be growing rapidly. Fred Zaspel presents a scholarly but easy to understand essay on the main difference between NCT and CT, which is the relation of the Christian to the Mosaic Law. The essay is New Covenant Theology and the Mosaic Law, A Theological and Exegetical Analysis of Matthew 5:17-20. If you are interested in NCT this e-book covers the subject exceptionally well: