In volume 3 of The Rational Biblical Theology of Jonathan Edwards John Gerstner, an Edwardian scholar, sets forth Edwards’ doctrine of “seeking.” It is a very helpful section in understanding Jonathan Edwards’ puritan roots in evangelism. Gerstner surveys the doctrine of “seeking” systematically through Edwards’ writings and sermons, even his unpublished sermons that are still not available to the public. In the midst of such a survey, Gerstner created a hypothetical letter for an unregenerate seeker to pray based upon what Edwards was thinking as a result of this compilation of information.
The following is that letter.
Just in case you are unclear on this, the letter below is an attempt to set forth what Jonathan Edwards would have counseled a seeker to actually pray based on his own ideas, though we do not have anything in his writings practically as such. As you will notice, this prayer would be considered as anti-evangelistic in contemporary circles – the church today repudiates such thoughts and would be abhorred to see it in print in any form.
They would never counsel someone to pray a prayer as this. But in light of the survey of puritan teaching, up and through Edwards, this is surely what the puritans did say, did counsel and did preach from their pulpits. The doctrine of seeking is essentially gone from 21st century Christendom, but it needs to be revived. Here we see the outworking of such a doctrine practically. Where are you on the evangelistic theological scale?
After reading this prayer, ask yourself “Does this shock you?”
Dear God, whom I hate with all my being precisely because you hate and threaten me with hell, I hate this punishment perhaps even more than I hate you. Or, maybe I should say that I love my comfort even more than I hate you. For that reason I am asking a favor of you. I want you to make me love you, whom I hate even when I ask this and even more because I have to ask this. I am being frank with you because I know it is no use to be otherwise. You know even better than I how much I hate you and that I love only myself. It is no use for me to pretend to be sincere. I most certainly do not love you and do not want to love you. I hate the thought of loving you but that is what I'm asking because I love myself. If you can answer this 'prayer' I guess the gift of gratitude will come with it and then I will be able to do what I would not think of doing now—thank you for making me love you whom I hate.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
Then he said, “Hear now, O house of David! Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.
And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.”
So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.
Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
“ Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
My apologies to all of you who sometimes stop by to see what's going on. It's a crazy time right now and I have not had a chance to sit down and post anything original or even something I found that might be of interest.
I'm on vacation from now to the New Year but finding time to post is a challenge. Plus, I officially have my surgery scheduled for December 29th. If all goes well I should just spend one night in the hospital and then relax at home for the rest of the week.
Isaac Watts humbly described his lyric writing ability, “I have made no pretence to be a poet. But to the Lamb that was slain, and now lives, I have addressed many a song, to be sung by the penitent and believing heart.” Hugh Wilson wrote the music to this hymn.
The manner in which we do God’s will is as important as the thing itself. We obey acceptably when we obey from the heart. We do God’s will acceptably when we do his will as it is done in heaven, that is, as the angels do it.
How do the angels obey?
(1.) They do it regularly, without wavering. Angels do not do anything but that which is commanded. Obedience must be set by the sundial of God’s Word.
(2.) Angels obey God’s will entirely with nothing cut away. The least command cannot be left undone. Every command has the same authority, and if we do God’s will uprightly, we do it uniformly; we obey every branch of his will with unlimited obedience. Many do God’s will by halves. They pick and choose like a lame horse that favours one leg. To play a lute you must strike every string or spoil the music. Hypocrites profess fair, but when it comes to sacrificing their Isaac, crucifying a beloved sin, or parting with some estate for Christ, they pause and say as Naaman, ‘In this matter may the Lord pardon your servant’ (2 Kings 5:18). It is acceptable with God, though we fail in some measure, that we desire to do all of God’s will and that it grieves us that we do not do better.
(3.) Angels obey sincerely; first, by pure respect to his command. It was a hard service for Abraham to sacrifice his son, and though he surely did not feel present joy, he obeyed, because God commanded it. The command, not comfort, is the ground of duty. Secondly, we obey sincerely when we do God’s will with a pure eye to his glory. The Pharisees obeyed for vain-glory.
He that does God’s will rightly desires God’s honour to be lifted up in all the world rather than his own glory. A gracious soul makes God his focus and obeys his commands with the pure motive of lifting up his glory.
The Eritrean government arrested 30 elderly, Christian women this past weekend, a Christian persecution watchdog reported Monday.
Security forces on Dec. 5 rounded up a group of mostly elderly women praying together at a house and took them to a police station in Asmara, the capital city, according to International Christian Concern.
The women are mostly members of the Faith Mission Church, an evangelical church with a Methodist background. The church has an over 50-year history in Eritrea but became a target of government crackdown after a law requiring churches to register with officials was adopted in 2002.
“We condemn the arrest of the 30 women by Eritrean officials,” said ICC’s regional manager for Africa and South Asia, Jonathan Racho, in a statement. “We urge officials of Eritrea to release the detainees and all the imprisoned Christians in the country. We call upon Eritrea to stop violating the freedom of religion of its people.”
In recent years, the Eritrean government has cracked down even on registered churches. The head of the Eritrean Orthodox Church has been under house arrest for years and there have been reports of raids on Christian functions, such as weddings.
Reports have also indicated that the torturing of Christians in prison is common. Christians are locked in outdoor metal shipping containers and have to endure unbearable heat, disease and mental distress. The containers are said to only be about 20 feet long and many of them contain 15 to 20 people.
I relate much to this devotion. Especially, "The burden is not lifted away--but we are sustained beneath it."
As many of you know I struggle with a body that produces kidney stones. The stones can sometimes pass without trouble and hardly any pain. Other times the pain can be very intense, even if the stone is very small.
At the end of this month I am scheduled to have a 2cm+ sized stone surgically removed from my kidney via a process called nephro-lithotripsy. Nephro-lithotripsy is an evasive surgery that will require a surgeon to make an incision into my back and insert a tube into my kidney directly to the stone. My urologist will then dilate the tube and begin to break up the stone with a laser and then pull the fragments out through the tube. I will be in the hospital one to two days and then spend a week at home taking it real easy if everything goes perfectly.
I said all that to say that God is sovereign and in control of all things.
My burden has not yet been lifted away but I am sustained by Him through this suffering.
Through the suffering of these stones God has brought me closer to Himself by revealing just a fraction more of His holiness through the study of His providence and sovereignty in all things. I am comforted in knowing that all things work together for good for those who love God and are the called according to His purpose.
Sixty-five years ago, more than 2,400 Americans lost their lives in a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. On National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, we think of those who died on December 7, 1941, and honor all those who sacrificed for our liberty during World War II.
On that peaceful Sunday morning, our country suffered a vicious, unprovoked attack that changed the course of history. Though our Pacific Fleet was nearly destroyed, our citizens were inspired by the great acts of heroism from those who survived and from those who did not. In the days that followed, our grief turned to resolution, and America embarked on a mission to defeat two of the most ruthless regimes the world has ever known. We pledge to always remember the character and sacrifice of the brave individuals at Pearl Harbor. Their selfless service helped deliver a great victory for the cause of freedom and, ultimately, transformed adversaries into the closest of friends.
After the devastating attacks on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared, "We are going to win the war and we are going to win the peace that follows." In the 21st century, freedom is again under attack, and young Americans have stepped forward to serve in a global war on terror that will secure our liberty and determine the destiny of millions around the world. Like generations before, we will answer history's call with confidence, confront threats to our way of life, and build a more peaceful world for our children and grandchildren.
The Congress, by Public Law 103-308, as amended, has designated December 7 of each year as "National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day."
"Since he had no sword, he ran over and pulled Goliath's sword from its sheath. David used it to kill the giant and cut off his head!" 1 Samuel 17:50-51
If he had not cut off the giant's head--the old Philistine champion would have gotten up by and by, and walked away; for he was only stunned, not killed, by the stone. David made sure work of his victory!
A great many of our attacks upon sin in our own hearts, and in the world--only stun, and do not kill the evil. We walk away, thinking we have done a fine thing. But shortly, we meet the 'old giant' again, stalking abroad as before! He soon recovers from our blow, and we have to fight the battle over; and perhaps we fight it again in the same half-hearted way--and thus on and on, to the end of our life!
Most of us have had just such experience as this, with our own evil lusts and passions. We overcome them very often, and think each time that we are through with them--but soon again they are as active as ever.
We need to learn a lesson from David--and finish our victories by cutting off the head of every giant we strike down!
There is no other way of killing sins!
The life is in the head--and the head must be struck off--or the enemy will be facing us again in a day or two, with but a scar on his forehead!
The only way to get a real victory over vices--is to decapitate them! Bruises and wounds are not enough. There must be thorough work done, in the name of the Lord. Half-way measures will not avail.
"Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry." Colossians 3:5
"Samuel hewed Agag to pieces before the Lord." 1 Samuel 15:33. Like Samuel, we must hew our Agags to pieces!
Two things a master commits to his servant's care--the child and the child's clothes. It will be a poor excuse for the servant to say, at his master's return, "Sir, here are all the child's clothes, neat and clean, but the child is lost." Much so of the account that many will give to God of their souls and bodies at the great day. "Lord, here is my body; I am very grateful for it; I neglected nothing that belonged to its contents and welfare; but as for my soul, that is lost and cast away forever. I took little care and thought about it."