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Hoeksema: Man’s Coming and God’s Drawing May 21, 2009

Posted by heldveld in Calvinism, Herman Hoeksema.
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I’m currently reading Herman Hoeksema’s “Whosoever Will”. I found this paragraph from his chapter on Man’s Coming and God’s Drawing to be interesting. While there is obviously no guarantee that people do not pray that way, his Arminian prayer definitely doesn’t sound right.

“He that comes to Jesus experiences in this act of coming that drawing of the marvelous and efficacious grace of God, and that, too, in such a way that the latter is first and is the cause of the former. One that is saved will surely acknowledge this. Never will a regenerated child of God present the matter of his salvation as having had its initiative in him. Never will he say that anything on his part preceded the operation of God’s grace in him, that he first willed to come and God’s grace thereupon enabled him to come, that he first accepted Christ and thereupon Christ received him, that he first opened his heart and thereupon Christ entered it. An unmistakable proof of this may be found in the prayer of one that is saved. Here all Arminianism, all boasting of free will in the matter of salvation, is silenced. The reason is that in prayer one speaks to God. Before men one may talk of coming to Jesus as if it were in the power of the sinner to come or to refuse to come. But as soon as one places himself before the face of God all this is changed. Then all is attributed to divine grace. Before the face of God there is no Arminian. Or whoever heard anyone utter an Arminian prayer like this: “I thank thee God that Thou didst wait until it pleased me to come, and that Thou didst knock until I was good enough to open my heart for Thee, and that Thou gavest me grace when I decided to receive it ?” Yet why should not a man express before the face of God what he loudly and boldly proclaims to man? The simple answer is: because before God we cannot lie! Hence, in prayer a saved sinner will attribute all to God and none to self. He will cease speaking about the free will of man, and say: “I thank Thee that Thy irresistible grace overpowered all my resistance, that Thou didst open and enter into my heart, that Thou didst draw me that I might come!” And this is the heart of the assurance and boldness of the sinner as he comes to Jesus. The very fact that in his coming to Jesus the sinner experiences the drawing of the Father is his guarantee that he will surely be received.” (bold mine)

The complete book is available online.

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Machen: The Christian Reformed Church & Christian Education May 13, 2009

Posted by heldveld in Blog Spotting, Christian Education, Christian Parenting, J. Gresham Machen.
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Genva Redux posts some of Machen’s thoughts on the CRC from back in 1936. Unfortunately, much has changed in the denomination and its schools.  Yet there is much to consider from these characteristics. I was especially appreciative of the last section on Christian education:

They love God and love their children too much to allow Christian instruction to be tagged one day in seven as a kind of excrescence upon an education fundamentally non-Christian.  They have tried to make the education of their children Christian throughout.  God has wonderfully blessed them in that effort.

A good note of encouragement to a parent who has just decided to invest in Christian Education for his children.

Belcher: Arthur W. Pink – Born to Write May 4, 2009

Posted by heldveld in A.W. Pink, Book Reviews.
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I picked this biography of A.W. Pink up at a used book sale for $.50.  I really enjoyed reading it, while Pink’s life was certainly not ‘action packed’ his trials and triumphs can serve to edify, challenge and instruct the reader.

Pink had a very unique personality and seeing how he dealt with the various events of his life is very interesting.  The author does good job digging up the details of his entire life even though it is clear that for certain periods little or nothing is known. We find that one reason for this is because of Pink’s humbleness and desire for all of the glory to go to God.

Much of the biography naturally relates to the ‘Sovereignty of God’, both Pink’s teaching on the doctrine and it’s effects on his life. At times we see Pink accepting and searching for God’s sovereign will in his life and at others almost pushing against it. In relating the events at the end of Pink’s pastorate in South Carolina Belcher brings forth the insight:

“That seems to be a problem in many areas of theology–we can learn the doctrine in its definition, but then the practical learning of applying it to real life is not so easy”

How very true and challenging. We also see sovereignty in play in his ministries in Australia leaving him at odds with both Arminian leaning believers and Hyper-Calvinists.

I also found Pinks views on education and finances to be edifying. Pink had no formal Bible/Seminary training and was a bit antagonistic toward it. While I am not against toward it in anyway, I think sometimes higher education can discourage lay people from deep reading of the scripture on their own or lead to acceptance of teaching based on credentials and not Biblical authority. As to finances Pink lived on a tight budget and never asked for money to support his ministries at times he even told people not to send money. How important it is for all Christians to examine the role of money in their lives.

It is sad to see the hurt that Pink dealt with in his failures to receive calls to pastor and preach in conference ministries. His isolationism and overly harsh critiques of organized religion are definitely not a proper reaction, but in returning to God’s sovereignty we see how it contributed to an increase in his written ministry. A ministry that continues to this day. The relation of the last week of Pink’s life is very encouraging as we see a man relying completely on Christ for his salvation and joyously looking forward to going to God’s kingdom.

For those who have read Pink I highly recommend this book.

It can be purchased from Richbarry Press