Quote of the day – William Carey, missionary to India

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File:William Carey.jpg“In one period the grossest ignorance and barbarism prevailed in the world; and afterwards, in a more enlightened age, the most daring infidelity, and contempt of God; so that the world which was once over-run with ignorance, now by wisdom knew not God, but changed the glory of the incorruptible God as much as in the most barbarous ages, into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Nay, as they increased in science and politeness, they ran into more abundant and extravagant idolatries.”

William Carey

An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens (1792)

HT: Wikiquotes

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What if we began over again on an island paradise . . .?

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. . . And had a fresh start at being Christians in this sinful, sad world. Could we do better than those who went before us if we made a change? 


It’s been more than a week since I read a post that concerns me, and at last I’ve decided to respond. Mel Wild, of In My Father’s House blog, posted about a hypothetical island where we could start again by preaching a minimal Gospel (four passages about God’s love) to the inhabitants and with it build a vibrant Christian community from the ground up. 

Everything you need to know in ten minutes

“What if you only had ten minutes to show a group of people on a remote island everything they needed to know in order to grow into a vibrant Christian community, and you could only give them four Bible verses (they have no Bibles)? What would you share with them?  To keep it simple, we’ll assume these islanders have heard about Jesus and a few popular Bible stories…

“Here’s what I would share. And I believe, if they followed it, I could reasonably expect to come back 2o years later and find a strong authentic Christian community, filled with believers living out a vibrant faith in Christ…”

16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. (1 John 3:16)

19 We love because he first loved us.  (1 John 4:19)

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.  (John 15:9)

23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (John 17:23)

Questions and thoughts. 

Has the Church truly failed? Have God’s children down through the ages failed to win the world because we’ve preached that man is a sinner instead of chiefly stressing God’s love? Did William Carey, pioneer of modern missions, fail because he saw so few converts initially? Did the Apostle Paul fail when Agrippa wasn’t persuaded to be a Christian? And ultimately, knowing how many people rejected the Lord Jesus Christ, did He fail? 

Will more people come to the Lord if we simply major on love? This passage from Romans is the testimony of Scripture about unregenerate human nature, and since it is true of all people, it will be true of the islanders – those Mel would be preaching to.

Romans 3

10 As it is written:

“There is none righteous, no, not one;
11 There is none who understands;
There is none who seeks after God.
12 They have all turned aside;
They have together become unprofitable;
There is none who does good, no, not one.”
13 Their throat is an open tomb;
With their tongues they have practiced deceit”;
“The poison of asps is under their lips”;
14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 Destruction and misery are in their ways;
17 And the way of peace they have not known.”
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

We were all blind to our sinfulness before the Lord drew us to Jesus. How can people be saved unless they learn of their guilt and need for the Saviour? The Cross is our message. It is the demonstration of God’s love to sinners. 

Romans 5:8

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

1 Corinthians 15

15 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.

To be loving is to preach both our need and God’s Good News, and we can’t do this with a few verses. We certainly can’t make disciples that way because this contradicts Jesus’ command: “19 ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.”

So preaching about sin is essential. The Lord commands all men everywhere to repent for He has fixed the day when He will judge us. We must warn others. This is love.

Acts 17

30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: 31 because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

Again, if all that the people on the island have are a few verses instead of the whole counsel of God, they will not grow up into Christ. In the comments on the post, one reader stated, “Like you said they have no bible and neither did the early church,” and Mel agreed with this. But the early church did have Scripture, the God-breathed Old Testament, and the epistles and Revelation as they were written and disseminated.

Mel is optimistic about his Christian ‘experiment’ that “. . .I could reasonably expect to come back 2o years later and find a strong authentic Christian community, filled with believers living out a vibrant faith in Christ.” But because of human nature – as well as the reality that there will be tares among any wheat – we can be sure that the island community will have the same evils as we have. 

Men will hate love itself when love must be on God’s holy terms, and we need to warn them of judgment and not give them a false sense of security in ‘God’s unconditional love.’ 

Hebrews 12

28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. 29 For our God is a consuming fire.

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Preachers, are you studying to be zealous for the Lord? A Spurgeon Quote

Please read this short and important post – it is essential for pastors and teachers, but truly helpful for all of us!

The Domain for Truth

Spurgeon2

In Charles Spurgeon’s Lectures to My Students the famous Victorian Era preacher he has a chapter on “Earnestness: Its Marring and Maintenance.”  I appreciated how Spurgeon talked about how the preacher could have his zeal or earnestness marred through various predicaments.  Among them is the lack of studying.

I’ll let Spurgeon speak for himself as he said it better than I could:

View original post 394 more words

Cloud of witnesses – James Guthrie

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Proverbs 29:2

When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice;
But when a wicked man rules, the people groan.

Psalm 2

10 Now therefore, be wise, O kings;
Be instructed, you judges of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear,
And rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son, lest He be angry,
And you perish in the way,
When His wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.

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File:Execution of the Rev. James Guthrie, Edinburgh 1661.tiff

Charles was crowned at Westminster Abbey on 23 April 1661. Coronation portrait by John Michael Wright, c. 1661“James Guthrie (1612? – 1 June 1661), was a Scottish Presbyterian minister who was exempted from the general pardon at the restoration of the monarchy and hanged in Edinburgh.”

James Guthrie (minister) – Wikipedia

Some church history is very new to me, such as the history of the Church in Scotland. Intense and complicated, its unfamiliar issues have challenged me to learn and grow. 

Raised and educated as an Anglican, under Samuel Rutherford’s influence James Guthrie became a non-conforming Presbyterian preacher of the Gospel in 1638, the year the National Covenant was signed. Guthrie is counted among the “Scots Worthies” and was dubbed the “short little man who could not bow” by Oliver Cromwell.

A central issue of his age, and a chief reason for his execution, was his rejection of the King as head of the Church and the King’s rule over it through “prelacy”, the rule of bishops. After Cromwell’s death, one year after the British monarchy was restored, King Charles II and his “Drunken Parliament” made an example of Guthrie by executing him. 

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James Guthrie

[Covenanter, Scotland]

by Alexander Whyte

Fire and Ice: Puritan and Reformed Writings

The circumstances under which his faith was tried

All the untold woes of that so woful time came of the sword of the civil power being still grafted on the crook of the Church; as also of the insane attempt of so many of our forefathers to solder the crown of Charles Stuart to the crown of Jesus Christ. How those two so fatal, and not even yet wholly remedied, mistakes, brought Argyll to the block and Guthrie to the ladder in one day in Edinburgh, we read in the instructive and inspiriting histories of that terrible time; and we have no better book on that time for the mass of readers than just honest John Howie’s Scots Worthies…

James Cowie, his precentor, and beadle, and body-servant, also saw his master suffer, and, like Bishop Burnet, he used to tell the impression that his old master’s last days made upon him. ‘When he had received sentence of death,’ Cowie told Wodrow’s informant, ‘he came forth with a kind of majesty, and his face seemed truly to shine.’ 

A characteristic of Guthrie and other faithful men of his time

There is one fine outstanding feature that has always characterised and distinguished the whole of the Rutherford circle in our eyes, and that is their deep, keen Pauline sense of sin. Without this, all their patriotism, all their true statesmanship, and even all their martyrdom for the sake of the truth, would have had, comparatively speaking, little or no interest for us. What think ye of sin? is the crucial question we put to any character, scriptural or ecclesiastical, who claims our time and our attention. If they are right about sin, they are all the more likely to be right about everything else; and if they are either wrong or only shallow about sin, their teaching and their experience on other matters are not likely to be of much value or much interest to us. 

Guthrie’s character was refined by his view of sin.

But in nothing was good James Guthrie’s tenderness to sin better seen than in the endless debates and dissensions of which that day was so full. So sensitive was he to the pride and the anger and the ill-will that all controversy kindles in our hearts that, as soon as he felt any unholy heat in his own heart, or saw it in the hearts of the men he debated with, he at once cut short the controversy with some such words as these: ‘We have said too much on this matter already; let us leave it till we love one another more.’

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Scottish Covenanters – James Guthrie

EIP – European Institute of Protestant Studies (Ian Paisley)

Guthrie’s refusal to bow

One day a friend would have had him compromise a little. Said he, ‘Mr Guthrie, we have an old Scots proverb, “Jouk [duck] that the wave may gang oure ye! Will ye nae jouk a wee bit”‘ And gravely Guthrie replied, ‘There is nae jouking in the Cause of Christ!’ And so it was. That unbending, surefooted, non-ducking soldier of God held his head high until it was taken from him, and shamefully set aloft upon a pike above the thronging Netherbow Port of Edinburgh…

An undaunted fighter in a worthwhile cause, and a hater of everything lower than true godliness, such as he was soon, and always, in conflict with the loose-living King Charles Stuart and his like Committees. He utterly refused such a profane ruler any authority in the affairs of the Church. Although dismissed after one big trial, his refusal to allow the king any power over the conscience of a Christian was made much of against him in his last trials, ten years later…

He helped to write the searching pamphlet, The Causes of the Lord’s Wrath against Scotland, and this paper was the principal pretext for his condemnation and execution. It had the honour of being put on a par with Lex Rex by Samuel Rutherford, and copies of both books were publicly burned by the common hangman…

Every page of the proscribed books is for the Crown Rights of the Redeemer In His Church, the freedom of the conscience, and against the so-called Divine Right of Kings.

From his last words:

‘I take God to record upon my soul, I would not exchange this scaffold with the palace and mitre of the greatest prelate in Britain. Blessed be God who has shown mercy to me such a wretch, and has revealed His Son in me, and made me a minister of the everlasting Gospel, and that He hath deigned, in the midst of much contradiction from Satan, and the world, to seal my ministry upon the hearts of not a few of His people, and especially in the station where I was last, I mean the congregation and presbytery of Stirling. Jesus Christ is my Life and my Light, my Righteousness, my strength, and my Salvation and all my desire. Him! O Him, I do with all the strength of my soul commend to you. Bless Him, O my soul, from henceforth even forever. Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation.’ A copy of his last testimony was handed by him to a friend, for his son William when he should come to years. Then further up the ladder of death he went, exclaiming, ‘Art not Thou from everlasting, O Lord my God. I shall not die but live.’

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James Guthrie – Wikipedia

Guthrie's place of execution, Mercat Cross on Edinburgh's Royal Mile, from geograph.org.uk, author - kim traynor

Guthrie’s place of execution, Mercat Cross on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, from geograph.org.uk, author – kim traynor

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Resources:

Biographia Scoticana (Scots Worthies) by John Howie

The Men of the Blue Banner
(The Scottish Covenanters)
by W.J. Seaton 1968

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