“The Mighty Weakness of John Knox”

Screen shot 2017-10-14 at 10.56.56 AM

Last week at our church, we had a Reformation Conference and Douglas Bond was the teacher. The lectures were very informative and edifying, especially when he spoke about the French Reformers (like the Huguenots). I hope to have him (Lord willing) appear our podcast in the near future to discuss the French Reformers. Pray for that.

It was in the course of that evening that I came across The Mighty Weakness of John Knox written by Bond, edited by Steve Lawson. If there was ever a stack of small books that should encourage your soul concerning the common weakness we all face, and how God’s grace empowers us despite those weaknesses, this should be in the top 5! This book takes the overly divine view we tend to have about our heroes in the faith, specifically here John Knox, and humanizes him in order to highlight the God of John Knox. One of the statements made about John Knox was made by a fellow minister, Thomas Smeaton, who said: “I know not if God ever place a more godly and great spirit in a body so little and frail” (pg 24).  And even though some may portray Knox’s greatest moments in preaching against Roman Catholicism, the fact of the matter is, he was often scared, timid, and even left a room in tears when first called upon to preach. But yet, God inflamed such man to passionately love the glory of God, the salvation of souls, and hate idolatry more than seek to preserve his own life.

Although Knox was a zealous preacher and a thunderous figure, he had many struggles in his lifetime that squeezed the fruitful juices of God’s Spirit out of him. He was targeted by the Roman church, escaped several assassination attempts, lost his wife, was often without sleep, and constantly criticized for his zealous approach to name a few things. But yet, he was a loving shepherd to his people, a minister to the poor, humble prayer warrior, and a fearless preacher when the time came. In reading this book, it seemed obvious to me that many of us, who are often more ready to make excuses about why we can’t be faithful in the most common ways to God, who go on and on about our weakness, would resonate much with Knox. He was but a broken vessel in the hands of his Master.

I benefited tremendously reading about Knox’s weaknesses and how God loves to use men and women who are intimately familiar with their own failings. As Bond stated:

“Knox’s preaching ministry was a microcosm of the mysteries of God’s providence. God called a timid man who trembled in his boots at the thought of preaching and who ran from the room in tears when first called upon to do so. When a man feels in his own strength that he can do something, he tends to not cry out to God in prayer to enable him to do it. He believes he is already capable, so he sees no need to depend on God’s strength. but this was not Knox the preacher. Knox, who never completed seminary, knew that if he was to fulfill his calling as a preacher, he desperately needed God’s power. Weak in terms of physical strength, he turned from himself to find vigor that only comes from God” (pg 65-66) (italics mine)

This information should encourage every home-school mom, deacon, teacher, factory worker, professor, pastor, missionary, widow, single person, public school child, etc., to timidly but ferociously look to God for grace and strength when struggling against ourselves to be faithful witnesses in the world. And to fight our battles on our knees as Knox did, and to trust in the sovereign mercy of Christ to sustain and preserve us even when we are in the midst of what seems to be a losing battle. It is hard to feel in our own person the things that Knox personally faced since we are so far removed from that time frame in history. But the one thing that will always unite us all is that he, like us, needed God’s sustaining mercy in order to be faithful in his day. Who are we to think that God’s hand is too small to sustain such a weak man such as Knox, and yet not do the same for us?

Get your copy of The Mighty Weakness of John Knox and may God heartily encourage you, embolden you, and revive you as you celebrate the God of the Reformation.

-Until we go home

Advertisements

Rethinking Conditionalism (Part 4c) – Irenaeus

saint_irenaeus

I have confronted multiple conditionalists about why Irenaeus didn’t believe in conditionalist/annihilationist doctrine, but they continue to spread this lie even after being corrected. And conditionalists wonder why I say some of their content is deceptive. What’s even more discouraging, is that Chris Date, even after an online debate with Jerry Shepherd, continues to spread this. I am grateful, though, to have come across a gem a few months ago, and have been meaning to share it.

I never read this online debate before writing my first two Irenaeus articles, but yet I was still able to come to some the same conclusions. Jerry Shepherd did what I would encourage many of you to do, and that is simply read the rest of Irenaeus’ work. But just like anything dealing with annihilationist doctrine, proper literary linguistics and context will overturn much of the rhetoric that come from this camp.

Continue reading

Atonement Theories on Echo Zoe Radio

G.Alvarado Profile pic

I had the pleasure of being a guest on Echo Zoe Radio with Andy Olson to speak about the differing views of the atonement. This is a very important topic that I am seeing wedged into my conversations more and more. Whether I am counseling, evangelizing, or defending the faith among heretical teachings, the varying views of the atonement keep coming into play.

Can you tell the differance between substitutionary atonement theories and penal substitutionary atonement? As you listen to this podcast, take notes concerning the language used by those that ascribe to the more damnably heretical forms of atonement. The reason being is that they use words like substitution, sacrifice, atonement, punishment, and the like, but they mean them in entirely different ways. And they apply them differently depending on what other theologies they hold accomodate thier position.  Grab a drink, a snack, sit back, and may God bless the edify the understanding of His atonement in your soul.

http://www.echozoe.com/archives/4156

-Until we go home

Rethinking Conditionalism (Part 4b) – Irenaeus

saint_irenaeus

***Please read part 4a first***

In this continuation of Part 4a, we will look at different chapters of Irenaeus’ work that reveal that he really believed in the wicked who continue in eternal punishment, not annihilation. I worded it that way on purpose because those within the Rethinking Hell network believe that this Church Father (and others) simply used “biblical language” to talk about hell, not meaning that the wicked would reside there forever. In the future, I will show why that is simply not true depending on who you mention. You should read the article I’m referring to here if you have not read it already.

Although, I will not elevate the writing of the Church Fathers above Sola Scriptura, I am only taking the time to write about this simply because a claim is made, and being familiar enough with the Church Fathers’ writing, wanted to re-investigate these claims. And predictably, they are out of context. The principles of textual analysis that I will incorporate here in understanding Irenaeus can easily be applied to other writings if need be. One of them being, systematic study of the whole of their writings. Or at the very least, a good chunk of it.

Below is a list of chapters I will reference so that you can click on each of them and read them at your leisure. They will be numbered, and I will quote from them so that you know which link I am referring to.

1. Against Heresies (Book V, Chapter 27)

2. Against Heresies (Book IV, Chapter 28)

3. Against Heresies (Book II, Chapter 33)

4. Against Heresies (Book IV, Chapter 39)

5. Against Heresies (Book IV, Chapter 40)

1. Regarding Book V, Chapter 27, Irenaeus recognizes that not only will there be a greater punishment awaiting the wicked than those of Sodom and Gomorrah (a city Chris affirms is an example of annihilation), Irenaeus goes on to say:

Continue reading

A Christian’s Duty Through The Heralds of Ancient Greece

Whether a elder in the pulpit, a preacher on the street, or a believer seeking to be a faithful witness, we can all glean from this.

In Ancient Greece, heralds had a specific role in the culture with a specific reputation. It is that reputation that I am going to use as illustrative examples  concerning a believer’s/preacher’s duty to spread the gospel. Although we know that the Bible is sufficient for life and godliness, still, illustrations are a powerful tool to help nail the truths deeper into our mind and make plain what is simply less memorable to some. With that said, here are some points that will help us reaffirm our calling as ambassadors and heralds of the gospel. Once again, these points are purely illustrative, not expository. But they nevertheless communicate biblical truth.

Continue reading

Black Lives Matter, Darwinian Evolution, and Black Liberation Theology

conewasright-690x460

I urge you to take the time to watch this video. It explains the roots of the Black Lives Matter Movement (BLM) which follows a doctrine called Black Liberation Theology. In the beginning of the video, I briefly touch on the hypocrisy of those that support BLM and yet believe in Darwinian Evolution, but then afterward thoroughly expose the history of this movement by dissecting an interview of what is deemed the founder of Black Liberation Theology – James Cone.

Take a seat, turn on your brain, because this one is going to require a lot of your attention. Please share this with other Christians and non-Christians alike.

-Until we go home

Click link to watch:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oP4dhE08KK0