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Tozer on real faith

It is always dangerous to quote or read Tozer. At some point we actually might believe what he says. It is much easier to applaud what he says while keeping a safe distance.

This is from The Shepherdâ??s Scrapbook:

“Pseudo faith always arranges a way out to serve in case God fails. Real faith knows only one way and gladly allows itself to be stripped of any second way or makeshift substitutes. For true faith, it is either God or total collapse. And not since Adam first stood up on earth has God failed a single man or woman who trusted Him.

The man of pseudo faith will fight for his verbal creed but refuse flatly to allow himself to get into a predicament where his future must depend upon that creed being true. He always provides himself with secondary ways of escape so he will have a way out if the roof caves in.

The faith of Paul or Luther was a revolutionizing thing. It upset the whole life of the individual and made him into another person altogether. It laid hold on the life and brought it under obedience to Christ. It took up its cross and followed along after Jesus with no intention of going back. It said goodbye to its old friends as certainly as Elijah when he stepped into the fiery chariot and went away in the whirlwind. It had a finality about it â?¦ It realigned all lifeâ??s actions and brought them into accord with the will of God.

What we need very badly these days is a company of Christians who are prepared to trust God as completely now, as they must do at the last day. For each of us the time is surely coming when we shall have nothing but God! Health and wealth and friends and hiding places will all be swept away and we shall have only God. To the man of pseudo faith that is a terrifying thought, but to real faith it is one of the most comforting thoughts the heart can entertain.

It would be a tragedy indeed to come to the place where we have no other but God and find that we had not really been trusting God during the days or our earthly sojourn. It would be better to invite God now to remove every false trust, to disengage our hearts from all secret hiding places and to bring us out into the open where we can discover for ourselves whether we actually trust Him. This is a harsh cure for our troubles, it is a sure one! Gentler cures may be too weak to do the work. And time is running out on us.

- A.W. Tozer (source unknown)”

Newton speaks again

I’ll never get tired of John Newton. I’ve been listening to the Desiring God Conference mp3’s from two weekends ago, and I was greatly blessed by the address by Tim Keller. One thing that he continually did during his lecture was quote John Newton — a sure way to gain MY favor. Here’s one that he quoted in full:

Prayer answered by crosses.

I asked the LORD that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of his salvation know,
And seek, more earnestly, his face.

‘Twas he who taught me thus to pray,
And he, I trust, has answered prayer!
But it has been in such a way,
As almost drove me to despair.

I hoped that in some favored hour,
At once he’d answer my request;
And by his love’s constraining pow’r,
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.

Instead of this, he made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry pow’rs of hell
Assault my soul in every part.

Yea more, with his own hand he seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.

LORD, why is this, I trembling cried,
Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?
“‘Tis in this way, the LORD replied,
I answer prayer for grace and faith.

These inward trials I employ,
From self, and pride, to set thee free;
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou may’st find thy all in me.”

She is a blue ribbon wife.

You have to check out Kim’s 15 minutes of fame over at the Dallas Morning News State Fair blog. They even have a picture of her.

Are you OF this world or IN it?

Sometimes I feel postmillennial and I just want to “redeem the culture” and I suspect that this world IS my home. And the weird thing is that there is a way in which it is true! God never meant for us to exist without a world to take care of. There will be a new heaven and a NEW EARTH. We will always be taking care of the earth, the earth the way it should have been all along. But THIS world… is not my home.

Once again I have been challenged by John Piper’s sermon on Romans 12:1-2. I hope that every single one who reads this will download the audio from June 27, 2004, and listen carefully to it.

Piper quotes a guy named Andrew Walls as saying that there are two equally true principles which must be held in tension; he called them “the pilgrim principle” and “the indigenous principle.” The pilgrim principle holds the world, and this life, loosely: I’m ready to go, and you can come with me if you will. The indigenous principle says that the Gospel has something to say to every culture, and we better get ready to contextualize and speak to our culture.

In other words, the gospel can and must become indigenous in every (fallen!) culture in the world. It can and must find a home in the culture. It must fit in. Thatâ??s the indigenous impulse. But at the same time, and just as powerful, the gospel produces a pilgrim mindset. It loosens people from their culture. It criticizes and corrects culture. It turns people into pilgrims and aliens and exiles in their own culture. When Paul says, â??Do not conformed to this world,â? and â??I became all things to all people,â? he is not confused; he is calling for a critical balance of two crucial biblical impulses.

I find that this disctinction helps explain a lot of the contradictions in the Christian life, and it is very dangerous to adopt just one of the two principles. Alone, the pilgrim principle produces wonderful, death-defying missionaries, but with no appreciation for the idea of “common grace” or the link we have with fallen humanity. Alone, the indigenous principle could produce something like mainstream liberal theology, with concern for “the poor” but no concern for their eternal souls. We must have both, somehow.

The Gospel Worthy Of All Acceptation

Andrew Fuller’s classic book of the above title was published in the late 1700’s. Depending on your perspective, it either killed Calvinism or revived it. My perspective is that it revived Calvinism and that it was a legitimate development of the Puritans and the Great Awakening evangelists. Fuller’s friend William Carey was the first Protestant English missionary to foreign lands, and is usually credited with kicking off the modern missions movement.

Fuller’s accomplishment was to provide the theological underpinnings for the new foreign missions, by combating the deadening hypercalvinism/antinomianism that had gripped English Baptist life. Drawing heavily upon the thought of Owen and Edwards, Fuller showed that because it was moral inability, not natural inability, that prevented men and women from receiving the gospel, the gospel was to be preached to all, indiscriminately. This seems so obvious to us now, but there are dear brothers even today who believe that Fuller was the source of all heresy and apostasy and that he perverted the doctrines of salvation.

I believe that Fuller is important and that the doctrines contained in The Gospel Worthy Of All Acceptation are mostly the pure doctrine of Scripture. (Whether Fuller in later life can be charged with any other errors is not in my area of knowledge, and it doesn’t affect my opinion of this book.)

I used to access this book at a site called, now known as, but it seems to be out of date and broken. So I’ve republished the files on my site here. As far as I know, they are available nowhere else on the web.

Fellowship of Reformed Churches conference

A group based near Ft Worth (actually Glen Rose), called the Fellowship of Reformed Churches, has not only a website, but an annual conference. The information is located here. It looks great! The date is Oct 14 (during the State Fair, yikes) and the location is Southwestern Baptist Seminary. The title of the conference is “Humble Orthodoxy.”

Ralph Erskine’s poems

Wow. How about a Reformed Presbyterian preacher who uses poetry to make fun of, and refute, false doctrine? Such a man was Ralph Erskine (1685-1752). But on the White Horse Inn last week, Michael Horton quoted one of his more mainstream poems, a selection from his Gospel Sonnets entitled “Redemption in Christ.” Here is a selection; the complete poem is in Section II of this page at Reformation Ink.

The second Adam, sov’reign Lord of all,
Did, by his Father’s authorizing call,
From bosom of eternal love descend,
To save the guilty race that him offend;
To treat an everlasting peace with those,
Who were, and ever would have been his foes.
His errand, never-ending life to give
To them, whose malice would not let him live;
To make a match with rebels, and espouse
The brat which at his love her spite avows.
Himself he humbled, to depress her pride,
And make his mortal foe his loving bride.
But, ere there marriage can be solemniz’d,
All lets must be remov’d, all parties pleas’d.
Law-righteousness requir’d, must be procur’d,
Law-vengeance threatned, must be full endur’d,
Stern justice must have credit by the match,
Sweet mercy by the heart the bride must catch.
Poor Bankrupt! all her debt must first be paid,
Her former husband in the grave be laid:
Her present Lover must be at the cost,
To save and ransom to the uttermost.

Flattering Harmony Hill pictures

If you let Everett loose with a camera, you’re bound to get some fun. Here is Kim’s reaction to some of the times Everett wanted to point a camera at her:

On the other hand, when he does catch you unaware, you might not totally like the result. Thus the hand in the face. Here, he catches his Mama from below:

But I love it when he caught his teacher in a great teaching moment:

But sometimes, he hits it just right. Here, he captures two of my favorite people at the lunch table.

Jaroslav Pelikan, R.I.P.

A short post in tribute of one of the great scholars of our time - Jaroslav Pelikan of Yale, preeminent historian of Christian doctrine, Lutheran convert to Eastern Orthodoxy, and one of the great storytellers. Yale’s article is here. His five-volume The Christian Tradition has been a great book to have in my life. It would be nice if people who think The Da Vinci Code was based on scholarship could read something like this instead. Real life is more thrilling anyway than fiction.

Also a belated thank you to my Texas Tech “History of Christian Thought” professor Rev. Arthur Preisinger, now retired from Texas Lutheran University, for introducing me to this magnificent author. You can also read Al Mohler’s tribute to Dr. Pelikan here.

Trivia: If you look closely at the credits for the classic B&W Martin Luther movie from the 50’s, you will see Dr. Pelikan credited as a consultant there.

He who finds a wife…

In honor of our 25th anniversary (Seven weeks ago! … yes, you can send gifts if you want to), I offer this English folk song that expresses how we all love our wives:

Both sexes give ear to my fancy,
While in praise of dear woman I sing;
Confined not to Moll, Sue, or Nancy,
But mates from a beggar to king.

When old Adam first was created,
And lord of the universe crowned,
His happiness was not completed,
Until that an helpmate was found.

He’d all things in food that were wanting
To keep and support him through life;
He’d horses and foxes for hunting,
Which some men love better than wife.

He’d a garden so planted by nature,
Man cannot produce in his life;
But yet the all-wise great Creator
Still saw that he wanted a wife.

Then Adam he laid in a slumber,
And there he lost part of his side;
And when he awoke, with a wonder,
Beheld his most beautiful bride!

In transport he gazed upon her,
His happiness now was complete!
He praised his bountiful donor,
Who thus had bestowed him a mate.

She was not took out of his head, sir,
To reign and triumph over man;
Nor was she took out of his feet, sir,
By man to be trampled upon.

But she was took out of his side, sir,
His equal and partner to be;
But as they’re united in one, sir,
The man is the top of the tree.

Man without a woman’s a beggar,
Suppose the whole world he possessed;
And the beggar that’s got a good woman,
With more than the world he is blest.

Then let not the fair be despised
By man, as she’s part of himself;
For woman by Adam was prized
More than the whole globe full of wealth.

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