Wednesday, November 04, 2009


"If we had more sleepless nights in prayer, there would be far fewer souls to have a sleepless eternal night in hell."
(Leonard Ravenhill - "Revival God's Way" - Page 52, [1983])


In a word, God, looking on all ages, from the creation to the consummation, as a moment, and seeing at once whatever is in the hearts of all the children of men, knows every one that does or does not believe, in every age or nation. Yet what he knows, whether faith or unbelief, is in nowise caused by his knowledge.
(The Works of John Wesley (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI) (1996) Volume 6 – See Page 227)


What is then the perfection of which man is capable while he dwells in a corruptible body? It is the complying with that kind command, "My son, give me thy heart." It is the "loving the Lord his God with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his mind." This is the sum of Christian perfection: It is all comprised in that one word, Love. The first branch of it is the love of God: And as he that loves God loves his brother also, it is inseparably connected with the second: "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself:" Thou shalt love every man as thy own soul, as Christ loved us. "On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets:" These contain the whole of Christian perfection.

Several persons have enjoyed this blessing, without any interruption, for many years. Several enjoy it to this day. And not a few have enjoyed it unto their death, as they have declared with their latest breath; calmly witnessing that God had saved them from all sin till their spirit returned to God.
(The Works of John Wesley (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI) (1996) Volume 6 – See Pages 413-420)

By perfection I mean the humble, gentle, patient love of God, and our neighbour, ruling our tempers, words, and actions. ... As to the manner. I believe this perfection is always wrought in the soul by a simple act of faith; consequently, in an instant. ... I believe this instant generally is the instant of death, the moment before the soul leaves the body. But I believe it may be ten, twenty, or forty years before. I believe it is usually many years after justification; but that it may be within five years or five months after it, I know no conclusive argument to the contrary.
(The Works of John Wesley (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI) (1996) Volume 11 – Page 446)


"Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died," (Rom. xiv. 15,) - a clear proof that Christ died, not only for those that are saved, but also for them that perish:
(The Works of John Wesley (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI) (1996) Volume 7 – Pages 380-381)

"What! Can the blood of Christ burn in hell? Or can the purchase by the blood of Christ go thither?" I answer, ... If the oracles of God are true, one who was purchased by the blood of Christ may go thither. For he that was sanctified by the blood of Christ was purchased by the blood of Christ. But one who was sanctified by the blood of Christ may nevertheless go to hell; may fall under that fiery indignation which shall for ever devour the adversaries.
(The Works of John Wesley (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI) (1996) Volume 10 – Page 297)

Clearly, John Wesley was speaking heretical blasphemies, and was as ignorant of the gospel as the most hardened atheist.


"It has also been suggested, that 'Mr. Wesley is a very laborious man;' not more laborious, I presume, than a certain active being, who is said to go to and fro in the earth, and walk up and down in it: nor yet more laborious, I should imagine, than certain ancient Sectarians, concerning whom it was long ago said, 'Woe unto you Scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites; for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte:' ... Mr. Sellon, moreover, reminds me (p. 128) that, 'while the shepherds are quarrelling, the wolf gets into the sheep fold;' not impossible: but it so happens that the present quarrel is not among 'the shepherds,' but with the 'wolf' himself; which 'quarrel' is warranted by every maxim of pastoral meekness and fidelity."
(Augustus Toplady, Complete Works, p. 54)

Monday, September 28, 2009


My desire is . . .

1. To exalt the grace of God.

2. To proclaim salvation alone through the blood and righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ.

3. To declare the sinfulness, helplessness, and hopelessness of man in a state of nature.

4. To describe, as far as I am able, the living experience of the saints of God in their trials, temptations, and sorrows – and in their consolations and blessings.

By J.C. Philpot


The Gospel of God’s grace in Christ is an old and eternal message. Man comes up with new ways, but they are false and deadly to the soul.

Our salvation has been accomplished by Christ who died on the cross and arose again for our justification. Our salvation is secured by His shed blood and righteousness imputed, and the Holy Spirit gives life from Christ to all of God’s elect.

Nothing new can replace or rival this.

This statement is also true when it comes to God’s revealed Word. The revelation is complete – “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” (Revelation 22:18-19).

When men come up with new doctrines and search the Bible to find verses to support these notions, they are not seeking the Lord or His truth, but self-affirmation. You can be sure they will find verses to support their view because they see everything through the cloud of their own invention.

It is sad that they will lead many astray. Many are always looking for new things, and this is deadly. Divine truth is never new. It may be new to us as God is pleased to reveal it anew, but it will never deny, contradict, or challenge the Gospel and the old, eternal truths of God’s Word.

That which God reveals newly to me will only build upon the old, eternal truths of the Gospel of Christ. Also, many people are so enthralled with men (especially preachers) that they will follow them anywhere, even into a cloud of their own making. This causes division among professing believers.

What is the answer?

Stay with the tried and the true – “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:” (Ephesians 4:14-15).

Saturday, August 29, 2009


Preached at Providence Chapel, London, on August 30, 1846, by J. C. Philpot

"Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away."
(2 Timothy 3:5)

Writing to his beloved son, Timothy, Paul in this Epistle tells him that "in the last days perilous times shall come." But why should "the last days" be so particularly "perilous?" He says, "For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy," and so on. But were men not always thus? Was there ever a time known when men were not "lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers?" The root of these evils is so deeply seated in fallen man that these fruits must and do continually appear.

Why, then, should the apostle point out "the last days" as so particularly "perilous," when men always were as he describes them here? The reason is, "Having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof." It was that which made the last days "perilous;" because men would no longer be such as he describes them in this black catalogue openly and profanely as before, but would be covered over by the mask of profession. It was that which made them perilous, that is, dangerous to the people of God, lest they should be ensnared and deceived thereby.

I shall, with God's blessing, for the sake of communicating my thoughts and feelings on these words more clearly and intelligibly, adopt five leading divisions of the subject.

God alone, I well know, can give the blessing. I shall endeavor to show–
I. What godliness is.
II. What the power of godliness is.
III. What the form is.
IV. What it is to deny the Power.
V. The exhortation, "from such turn away."

I. What godliness is. Godliness in the Scriptures of the New Testament seems to have two distinct meanings. Sometimes it means the whole work of grace upon the heart; all that makes and manifests a man to be a child of God; in a word, that which we call 'experimental religion,' with all the fruits accompanying it. For instance, "godliness with contentment is great gain" 1Ti 6:6. "Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come" 1Ti 4:8. "Exercise yourself rather unto godliness" 1Ti 4:7. "According as his divine power has given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness" 2Pe 1:3. "Yes, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution" 2Ti 3:12.

But there are other passages in which the word godliness seems to have a more limited meaning. For instance, where the apostle exhorts Timothy to pursue after certain Christian graces – "Follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness" 1Ti 6:11; there godliness does not signify the whole of the experimental religion, but one particular branch of it, namely, devotedness of heart to the Lord. So also we find the Apostle Peter saying, "Giving all diligence, add to your faith, virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness" 2Pe 1:5-7. Godliness is here spoken of as a distinct fruit of the Spirit's work upon the heart. Used in this sense, I understand it to signify, that devotedness of heart to the Lord which is the effect of divine teaching in the soul.

It may be asked, then, "In what sense do you understand the term godliness in the text?" I answer, that by it I understand the whole of the Spirit's work upon the soul, the teachings of God in the heart, all that is generally conveyed by the expression, experimental religion, with all the fruits and consequences which flow out of that divine work. Thus godliness in this sense has a very comprehensive signification. It embraces the whole of experimental religion; it includes the whole work of grace from first to last, from the first teachings of the Spirit in the heart of the babe, up to the last hallelujahs of the expiring saint. And not only so, but it comprehends all the external fruits and manifestations of the work of grace upon the soul. Thus, in this sense, godliness has a very extensive signification; and therefore many spiritual branches will be found to grow out from this deep and broad stem.

1. "Godliness," therefore, will comprehend in the first place, that divine work, which is called in the Scriptures repentance. What were the chief features of Paul's ministry? He tells us, he preached "repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" Acts 20:21. These were the two leading points that he dwelt upon. Wherever, then, there is godliness in a man's heart, in other words, wherever there is a work of grace in the soul, there must be repentance.

What is repentance? The conviction of sin produced by the operation of the Spirit upon the conscience, piercing and penetrating the soul with the guilt of transgression, and creating self-loathing and self-abhorrence on account of the manifested evils of our hearts, lips, and lives. Honest confessions of our sins at the footstool of mercy; a broken heart and a contrite spirit; a truly penitent soul, melted, dissolved, and laid low in tears of godly sorrow at the feet of Christ, will ever accompany that repentance unto life which is the gift of Jesus.

2. Again – if "godliness" comprehends the whole work of grace upon the heart, it must also include faith in Christ. Whence springs faith in Christ? It is the gift of God; as we read, "For by grace are you saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast" Eph 2:8,9. But when do we begin to believe in Christ? When is there first any real faith in our heart towards his precious name? When there is some spiritual revelation of him to the soul; when there is some divine discovery of his Person, his blood, his righteousness, his love, his grace, his glory – when these are brought with a divine testimony by the Spirit's heavenly unction into the heart, then faith springs up. No sooner does Jesus show his lovely face and unfold himself to the soul, than faith springs up to receive, lay hold of, and embrace him, and brings him into the heart in his atoning blood, dying love, and justifying grace.

3. Love to the brethren is also another feature of "godliness." For by this "we know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren" 1Jo 3:14. If there be faith in Christ, there must be love to Christ; one cannot exist without the other. And if there be love to him who begat, there must be love to those that are begotten of him. If then we have seen Christ by the eye of faith, and that sight has drawn forth the affections of our heart towards him, we must love his image wherever seen; and love, pure love, must needs flow forth out of our heart towards that image, however outward circumstances may differ, or whatever there may be unpleasing or unlovely to the natural eye. We love Christ, though we see him beneath a beggar's rags. The features of Christ are ever lovely to those who know Christ, however defaced and degraded they may be in the eyes of the world; and we cannot but love them, wherever we see them visibly manifested in the heart and life of those who are his.

4. If "godliness" signify the Spirit's work upon the soul, it must also comprehend the spirit of prayer, which is a main branch of divine teaching. That worshiping, therefore, of God "in spirit and in truth," that flowing forth of desire in the bosom, that wrestling with him at the footstool of mercy, that pleading with him that he would be gracious, that longing, that languishing, that hungering, that thirsting, that breathing of the soul after his blessed presence and manifested power which spring from the secret operations of the Spirit upon the heart, all are a part of that "godliness" which is "profitable unto all things."

5. It must also comprehend the fear of the Lord, which is "the beginning of wisdom." For if "godliness" means the whole of the Spirit's work upon the heart, it will embrace the beginning, as well as the end; it will include in its capacious arms all the quickened family of God; and therefore it must needs comprehend the first teachings of the Spirit in raising up godly fear, in making the conscience alive and tender, in impressing upon the soul a godly reverence of Jehovah's holy name, and stamping upon the heart a sense of his dread perfections and dreadful majesty.

6. It will also comprehend all that springs out of the Spirit's work upon the soul; self-denial, mortification of sin, crucifixion of the flesh, separating from the world, deadness to the things of time and sense, a life of devotedness to the Son of God. It will further comprehend the fruits of the Spirit's work upon the heart, such as kindness, liberality to the brethren, an open heart and open hand; walking consistently and becomingly with our profession, avoiding the very appearance of evil; giving no room to the adversaries of Christ to bring a reproach upon the cause through us, but living as in the presence of the Lord, and with a sense of his eye being continually upon us.

In a word, as "godliness" embraces the whole of the Spirit's work upon the heart, from his first teachings and quickenings until the soul finally departs in peace, with all the fruits and graces which flow out of it, it must needs be a most comprehensive expression.

II. What the POWER of godliness is. But, you will observe, the text speaks of the power of godliness. Godliness, and the power of it, then, are two distinct things. For instance, the Lord has in mercy quickened your soul, and made Christ precious to your heart; he has in mercy done that for you which will save you with an everlasting salvation. But are you always, are you often under the "power" of this godliness? Must we not confess, if we would speak honestly, that the seasons and occasions when the power is felt in our hearts are comparatively very rare? If God has indeed implanted the blessed Spirit in your hearts; if your bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit; if Jesus dwells in you, and is formed in you "the hope of glory," you are never destitute of godliness. But you are often destitute of the "power of godliness." For instance–

1. Are you not often destitute of the power to repent, and confess your sin before God? Does not conscience often bring to view a melancholy retrospect of carnal thoughts, wicked desires, vain imaginations, foolish words, frivolous speeches, and all that catalogue of evils, that huge bill which godly fear sometimes files in the court within, as seen in all our departures from the life of God? But are you able to repent? are you able to feel cut to the very heart? are you able to mourn and sigh because conscience brings against you this long indictment? Can you always feel your soul melted down with sorrow on account of it? Are you always able to feel contrition because you are proud, worldly, covetous, everything that is evil, everything that is hateful in God's sight?

But then, there are times and seasons when the Lord is pleased to work upon the conscience, to move and stir the soul, to touch the heart with his gracious finger--then repentance and godly sorrow flow forth. It is with us as with the rock that Moses struck. There was water in the rock; but it required to be struck with the rod before the waters flowed out. So we may have the grace of repentance in our souls; but it requires the divine hand to strike the rock, to cause the waters of godly sorrow to gush forth.

2. So, with respect to faith in Jesus. If the Lord has ever blessed you and me with faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we never cease to believe in him. But there is often an apparent suspension of that faith. And it needs the same almighty power which first created it to draw it forth into living act and exercise. He that possesses faith possesses "godliness;" but it is only as faith is drawn out to look to, and live upon the Lord Jesus Christ that we have the "power of godliness."

3. Again, if ever you have loved Jesus with a pure affection; if ever you have felt him near, dear, and precious to your soul, that love can never be lost out of your heart. It may lie dormant; it does lie dormant. It may not be sweetly felt in exercise; but there it is. "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema" 1Co 16:22. You would be under this curse if the love of the Lord Jesus Christ were to die out of your hearts.

But this love is often sleeping. When the mother sometimes watches over the cradle, and looks upon her sleeping babe with unutterable affection, the infant knows not that the mother is watching its slumbers; but when it awakes, it is able to feel and return its mother's caresses. It is so with the soul sometimes when love in the heart is like a babe slumbering in the cradle. But the babe opens its eyes, and sees the mother smiling upon it, it returns the smiles, and stretches forth its arms to embrace the bending cheek. So, when we see the face of Jesus stooping to imprint a kiss of love, or drop some sweet word into the heart--there is a flowing forth toward him of love and affection--this is the power of love to Christ.

4. Is it not so with love to the brethren? Are we not often cold and dead toward them, if not a great deal worse, even so as to feel enmity against them? No, perhaps when we have seen them coming down one street, we have turned round the corner of another, to avoid meeting them. Such is the aversion of our carnal mind at times to even the most highly favored of God's people. But let us be brought into their company; let conversation turn upon spiritual things; let them speak of the feelings of their soul; let them tell out a little of what they have known and felt of divine things; and let us have experienced a measure of the same, at once all coldness, iciness, reserve, suspicion, and enmity flow down like the mountains at the Lord's presence--and love, union, kindness, tenderness, and Christian sympathy are sweetly and blessedly experienced. This is the power of Christian love.

5. So it is with prayer. I know not how it is with you; but I know that real prayer is not at my command. I cannot, God forbid that I should, cease to bend no knee before the throne of the divine Majesty. But can I command spiritual and heavenly desires? Can I create feelings of longings and languishings after his manifested presence? Can I produce a mind fixed upon eternal things? Can I raise up hungering and thirsting after his manifested love? Can I command that faith in Jesus whereby alone I can boldly approach him? Can I give myself feeling access into the presence of the King of kings, and a sweet manifestation in my soul that he is hearing and answering me? Can I open a door of utterance to express my desires, or raise up a sure confidence that the Lord will fulfill them? I cannot.

But there are times and seasons when the Lord the Spirit is pleased to breathe upon the believer's heart. The grace of prayer is no more dead in his soul than the grace of repentance, or the grace of faith, or the grace of love. But lively goings forth, spiritual actings, and pourings out of the soul, often lie dormant in the saint's bosom. But when the Lord is pleased to give us a spirit of prayer; when he is pleased to overshadow us in some measure with his felt presence, and draw the desires of our souls after himself, then to pray is indeed a sweet enjoyment to the soul. And we pray, not because it is our duty, nor because it is our privilege; but because it freely flows forth into the bosom of a prayer-hearing and a prayer-answering God. This is the power of prayer.

6. So with respect to the different fruits by which "godliness" is always accompanied. I may go out of the world; I may separate myself from all outward evil; I may not be entangled with the pleasures and amusements which the children of men please their vain minds with; no more, I may do many things that seem to be the result and fruit of the Spirit's work upon my heart; and yet no divine power, whence alone they rightly spring, may have been communicated to my heart.

But when, on the other hand, by the power of God resting upon me, by applying some portion of his word, as "Come out, and be separate," I am enabled to come out of the world; when I am enabled to hate every sin by the workings of a tender conscience; when I am enabled to overcome temptations by the fear of God as a fountain of life to depart from the snares of death; when I am enabled thus by God's grace and teaching, and under the special operation of the Spirit of God upon my heart and conscience to walk as becomes the Christian, then I have the power of godliness.

Thus there is a distinction ever to be borne in mind between "godliness" and the "power of godliness." You that are born of God, who have the teachings of God in your soul, are never destitute of "godliness." If you were, you would be ungodly people. But you are often, very often, destitute of "the power of godliness," and of the sweet manifestations, blessed revivings, and precious discoveries of the Spirit.

III. What the FORM is. But there is also such a thing as the form. Here we come to the distinction between the people of God and mere empty professors, who have nothing of the life and teaching of God in their souls. You that are the people of God may often write bitter things against yourselves because you do not feel the power of godliness; but that does not prove you not to be godly people. If ever you have had repentance unto life; if ever you have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; if ever you have felt him precious to your soul; if ever you have loved the brethren with a pure heart fervently; if ever you have prayed out of a sincere and spiritually taught heart, you are godly people, though you may not often feel the power of the blessed operations and heavenly communications of the Spirit vitally and divinely within.

But then, there are those who have neither "godliness," nor "the power" of it. They have but the "form." And what is the form? Why, a form is an outside appearance, merely the pretense of the thing without the reality. And this is what makes the last days so "perilous"--that there should be such a wide profession; that there should be so many who come near the truth, and yet not be partakers of the truth; who approach so near the borders of godliness, who have never been brought over the line of vital godliness. It is because there are so many that have the form without the power, that renders the last days perilous times for God's people, lest they should be entangled in the same snare, and deceived by false pretensions.

If this be the case, then, this form of godliness must come very near to the genuine. It is not perilous to the child of God to see the Papist worshiping a crucifix; or to see the Puseyite, [A follower of Dr. Pusey, one of the founders of the "Oxford Movement", which was the forerunner of Anglo-Catholicism] with his two wax candles upon the altar. It is not perilous to the child of God to see thousands crowding into a Wesleyan meeting-house; nor perilous to see hundreds approving a motley mixture of freewill and free grace; nor perilous to hear a man preaching the doctrines of grace, and sneering at the felt experience of them. These various degrees of error and delusion are not dangerous to the people of God, because usually they are not deceived by them.

But when two things very nearly resemble each other, there lies the peril; lest the poison should be mistaken for the remedy. Thus peril lies in the wide-spread profession of experimental truth, for it is that alone which deserves the name of "godliness," lest in the wide profession of experimental truth we should deceive ourselves, or others should deceive us, by the form without the power.

It seems to me, that in this day we have a very wide spread of experimental truth. That much-read book that I see upon the table, and its wide extension in all directions, I mean the "Gospel Standard", carries with it a degree of peril lest by its wide diffusion it may raise up a numerous crop of professors who have all the form, and pretension of experimental godliness, yet know nothing of the inward power, teachings, and operations of the Spirit upon the heart. So I have observed of late years a raising up of little causes of experimental truth, and the opening of pulpits in many parts. I believe when I reach home I shall have occupied twenty-seven pulpits within these thirteen weeks. And this is perilous to the people of God lest they should be entangled by the wide-spread profession of experimental truth and the mere exterior of vital godliness, without the heart-felt possession of spiritual knowledge and enjoyment of it.

Not that I am speaking, God forbid, against the extension of experimental works; not that I am speaking, God forbid, against the opening of fresh places where experimental truth is preached. No, I rejoice at it, and would say with Moses, "The Lord God... make them a thousand times as many as they are, and bless them as he has promised" De 1:11. God works by these means. But there is a peril attending them, lest Satan should come in by this door to deceive many to their own downfall, and even entangle God's people in a profession beyond what they know of the vital, experimental power.

But what is the "form?" A form is something that comes very near, and yet is not the thing itself. It is something like what painters call 'a lay figure;' and from which they draw when they have not a living subject to copy. The lay figure represents a man with all the limbs, sinews, and muscles; but life, breath, and motion are wanting. For instance:

1. There is the form of repentance. A person may profess to be very sorry for, and to have great conviction of sin, talk about a law-work, and guilt on account of his transgressions; and yet not have that life-giving power of the Spirit upon his soul producing real contrition and true repentance. It may be only the workings of natural conscience, and not that peculiar teaching of God the Spirit in the heart of a sinner whereby he is broken down into godly sorrow and deep penitence of heart before the Lord.

2. So with respect to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. There is a natural faith in Christ as well as a spiritual faith. A man may have heard so much about Jesus Christ under ministers who extol him highly, speak of his Person, proclaim his blood, and dwell upon his justifying righteousness, that he may fancy he has faith in Christ, because he has heard so much of him with the outward ear; and yet be all the time without living, genuine faith. This special gift and work of God upon the soul may be still fatally lacking.

3. So with respect to love to the Lord Jesus Christ. There may be a natural love toward him. A man may have heard and read so much of his kindness to sinners, and such glowing descriptions of the beauty of his Person, that he may have fallen in love with him. Just as Roman Catholics have their crucifixes and paintings of Christ, and in admiring their crucifixes and adoring their paintings, feel the workings of fleshly love towards him whom they suppose to be there represented; so a man may have heard so much about the love of Christ, that he may have his fleshly affections roused up, and mistake them for that pure love which is shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Spirit.

4. So we may have something that draws us towards the Lord's people. We may feel that there is an amiableness about them; we may believe that they are the Lord's living family, and wish to be like them; to talk as they talk, and speak as they speak; and this we may mistake for love to the brethren; while all the time our heart may be completely destitute of that true love to the brethren, the fruit and effect of the Spirit's work upon the soul.

5. So with respect to the gift of prayer. It may seem to ourselves, and those who hear us, so simple, so fervent, so earnest, so humbly expressed, that surely it must be a spiritual prayer. And yet, we may often mistake a mere natural gift for that special grace of God whereby we are enabled to pour out our heart before him.

6. So we may be able by what we have felt under the convictions of natural conscience to live a life of separation from the world, to overcome sin when not very strong, to walk in the commandments and ordinances of God blameless; and yet be destitute of the vital power of the Spirit's teachings and operations, without which all these things are but as the convulsive twitchings of a dead body under the action of an electric battery. Like Herod, a man may do many things, and yet be absolutely devoid of the vital power of godliness brought into the heart by the Spirit of God.

IV. What it is to deny the Power. 'Well,' some may say, 'if this be the case, how may I know that I am not deceived altogether?' 'If a man may go so near, and yet not be a real character, what evidence have I,' says some poor tempted child of God, 'that I am not deceived?' Now what is said of these characters? They deny the power. Have you done that?

But what is it to "deny the power?" The power may be denied in various ways.

1. It is denied by some publicly and openly. There are some preachers professing the doctrines of truth, who cut down all experience, and say, 'it is nothing but frames and feelings.' This is to deny the power of godliness. If we have no frames, if we have no feelings, I am very sure the Spirit of God has not made our bodies his temple. If we have never had frames of sweet meditation, a frame of living faith, a frame of divine love, a frame of spiritual-mindedness, a frame of heavenly affections, I am very sure the Spirit of God has never blessed our soul. Again, if I am without feelings--a feeling of sorrow for sin, a feeling of faith towards Jesus, a feeling of love towards his name, a feeling of love towards the brethren; if we are without these gracious feelings, we are dead as stones as to any possession of the life of God. So that, to cut down experience, and say, 'it is nothing but a parcel of frames and feelings,' is to deny the "power of godliness."

You will observe these men do not deny godliness; they dare not do that; but they deny the power of it in the heart of a saint, under the operation of the Spirit. Every jeer and sneer, every taunting speech thrown out against frames and feelings just manifests what a man's heart is; it is opening a door through which you can look indeed into the secrets of his bosom, and there see the serpent coiled up and hissing enmity against God's truth and against his living people.

2. Others deny it by their life and conversation. If a man walks in the lusts of the flesh; if he wallows in uncleanness or drunkenness; if he be altogether given up to the power of pride and covetousness, he denies the power of godliness by his actions as much as the preceding deny it by their words.

Both these characters deny the power of godliness outwardly the one in word, the other in deed.

3. Others, having more regard to conscience, cannot go that length of outward enmity; yet they too deny it inwardly. For instance, are there not those who secretly think there is no absolute need for the soul to be emptied and stripped, and to have a revelation of Christ; and that they can be saved without such an experience of the bitter and the sweet, the sorrows and the joys that the Lord's people speak of? And are not these secret thoughts much strengthened and fostered by those ministers who profess to preach Christ as distinct from, and far superior to experience? What more common than such language as this from the pulpit – 'I cannot bear to hear people talk of their castings down and liftings up; they dwell and pore so much upon self; why do they not go out of self, and look to a precious Jesus?'

I want to know if this is not inwardly denying the power? They dare not say there is no such thing; but they speak of looking out of self to Christ, as if there were no inward experience of Christ, no visitations of his presence and love; and as if all religion consisted in a dry, speculative knowledge, without one inward grain of life and feeling. Their talk of looking to Christ is very plausible and subtle; but its real aim and drift is to deny the power of vital godliness in the heart of a saint.

4. But there are others who deny it virtually and actually by the non-possession of it. For instance, there are many who say they approve of, and that there is nothing like experimental preaching; they will crowd and cram a chapel to hear the experience of God's people traced out; and yet all the while they virtually and actually deny the power of it by the non-possession of it in their hearts. They have imbibed such a knowledge of the plan of experience from constantly hearing it preached, and they are so certain that it is the truth, that they will hear nothing else, and yet the vital power has never reached their conscience.

V. The exhortation, "from such turn away." But how do we turn away from them? We turn away from them when we feel no union with them. I have thought sometimes that we may divide the quickened family of God into three classes. There are those whose religion is commended to our judgment; there are those whose religion is commended to our conscience; and there are those whose religion is commended to our judgment, conscience, and affections. Have you not felt in conversing with people professing godliness that there are some whose religion you receive in your judgment? You dare not say that they have not the fear of God – nor that what they have told you of the dealings of God upon their soul is not genuine. But still what they say does not much enter into your conscience.

Again; there are others who speak of the dealings of God upon their soul so clearly and plainly, so distinctly and undeniably, that what they say is at once commended to our conscience; but still there is something lacking; it does not kindle a secret flame of love within, nor lay hold of our affections. And then there are others whose religion is not merely commended to our judgment and conscience, but to our very heart and soul. These at once leap into our affections; we love them, and cleave to them, and feel a vital union of soul with them.

Now if we can get hold of people in this threefold way, or in any one of them, we are not to "turn away" from them. None of these deny the power of godliness. If we can receive them into our judgment, it is not so good as receiving them into our conscience; and receiving them into our conscience, is not so good as receiving them into our affections. But if we can get them into our judgment, we must not "turn away" from them. But there are those whom we cannot even get into our judgment; their religion seems to be nothing but deceit and delusion. We cannot trace the hand of God in them; we cannot see any distinct marks of the Spirit upon them. From these we are called upon to "turn away."

But we "turn away" from those who deny the power of godliness in several ways.

1. First, we "turn away" from them as regards conversation with them. If people talk to us about religion, and we speak in an approving tone to them, while there is something in our heart which does not believe they are vitally partakers of grace, we are but playing the hypocrite; we are sanctioning that which we know in our conscience we do not approve of. If therefore any person talks to you about divine things, and you cannot receive him into your judgment – if you drop any word that seems to sanction that man's religion, you are plastering him over with untempered mortar, and sewing pillows under his arm-holes. The word of truth bids you "from such turn away;" that is, have no such conversation with him; give him no false hope; bolster him up with no vain expectations.

2. But secondly, the precept implies that you are to "turn away" from receiving him as a member of the church. If a man or woman comes before you wishing to be received into your church – and you cannot in your conscience believe the work of God with all his profession is begun upon him, you are to "turn away" from receiving him.

3. But you are also commanded to "turn away" from those that deny the power of godliness as regards their company. Unless you are persuaded in your judgment, or your conscience, or your affections, that they are living people of God, you are to "turn away" from them so as not to walk with them in seeming fellowship and union. You cannot indeed as the Apostle says 1Co 5:10 go altogether out of the world; nor would we wish to be otherwise than courteous and civil to those who address us in terms of civility and courtesy. But that is another thing from endorsing their religion, and stamping it with our approval, by freely or frequently associating with them. For myself, if I speak a word whereby I express union to those whom I do not receive in my heart, I feel that I am telling God and man a deliberate lie, going against the conviction of my conscience, and doing what I hope God may ever keep me from.

But then, on the other hand, courtesy, kindness and civility are due to all. And if we "turn away" from any because we are not able to take them into our bosom, and cannot, consistently with a good conscience, foster their vain hopes and bolster up their delusive expectations, that is no reason why we should treat them with contempt. The word of truth commands us to "honor all men," and towards the people of God to "put on affections of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, patience."

Now, what testimony have we who desire to fear God's name that we have anything more than a "form of godliness?" We have a form; that is very clear. But have we any living testimony in our conscience that we have something more than the form? Have we ever felt the power? We have no testimony that we are possessors of godliness unless we have felt its power.

But there are children of God there may be some here present this morning who are now, and have been for weeks, or even months, without the feeling power; and they are perhaps writing bitter things against themselves because they are not under those lively feelings that they once enjoyed. But since you have once felt it, have you ever denied the power, or with all your darkness and deadness, do you deny it now? Is not this rather the feeling of your soul? "O that I were as in months past, as in the days when God preserved me; when his candle shined upon my head, and when by his light I walked through darkness" Job 29:2,3. Is not this rather the language of your heart, 'O that the Lord would bless me indeed! would revive his work upon my heart, and give me life and power, to enable me to believe in his name! O that he would visit my soul with some discovery of his love, and bring me out of that gloomy and dark state in which I am so sadly sunk!'

These are the feelings of a living soul. But those who have but the "form of godliness," deny all these exercises. They want no revivings; they are sighing after no manifestations; they never plead with the Lord to look down upon them and bless them; they are satisfied with an outside religion; they are contented with the mere form. If they can deceive themselves and one another, it is enough. But the living soul, who has the fear of God alive in his bosom, is not so satisfied; he wants living manifestations of God's presence, sweet communications of God's mercy, and the blessed overshadowings of the Spirit upon his heart. If he has not them, he feels he has nothing.

Thus, while this text cuts to a thousand pieces those who have but the form, it does not wound the poor mourning child of God who is sighing and crying after the power. Every sigh, cry, and groan that he has on account of his dark, dead, gloomy state are so many living evidences of that power. Whence arise your sighs? What makes you mourn upon your bed? Whence spring those breathings in your soul as you sit by your fire-side after the Lord's presence--that he would speak to your soul, and manifest himself to you? Why, they spring from this conviction deeply wrought in your heart, that nothing but the power of God can reach your soul. All short of that is stamped upon your conscience as nothing.

Now these are the people we are to receive to our bosom, those who have godliness, and those who have the power of godliness. But those that deny it, be it in word, or in deed; be it virtually by their life and conversation, or inwardly and secretly--from such we are to "turn away." This may bring us a bad name; this may load us with hatred and reproach; this may often prove very cutting to our feelings; but we shall in the end reap the benefit of it, in having the secret testimony of an honest conscience, and the smiles of an approving God.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


“Christ died for all sinners, so that IF you will repent and believe in Christ, then the death of Jesus will become effective in your case and will take away your sins. ‘Died for you,’ means if you believe, the death of Jesus will cover your sins. Now, as far as it goes, this is biblical teaching.”
(John Piper - "Taste and See" - Multnomah, 1999, Page 325)

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Mark Driscoll's Heretical View of the Atonement

First, some Christians (e.g., Nazarene, Assemblies of God, Foursquare, Calvary
Chapel, Methodist, Christian Church) believe that Jesus died for the sins of all people.
This position is commonly referred to as Arminianism, after James Arminius,
Wesleyanism, named after John Wesley, or Unlimited Atonement. They appeal to those
Scriptures which speak of Jesus dying for all people (2 Cor. 5:14-15; 1 Tim. 2:1-6; 4:10; Titus 2:11), the whole world (John 1:29; 3:16-17; 1 John 2:2; 4:14; Rev. 5:9), everyone
(Isa. 53:6; Heb. 2:9), and not wanting anyone to perish (1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9).
Arminians then teach that to be saved, all someone needs to do is simply choose

But, critics point out that if Jesus died to forgive everyone, then everyone would
be saved, which is the heresy of universalism. Additionally, they state that no one will
ever choose Jesus because sinners are spiritually dead (1 Cor. 2:14; Eph. 2:1), hostile
to God (Rom. 8:7), never seek God (Rom. 3:11), cannot find God (Luke 19:10), do not
choose God, and are only saved when God chooses them (John 15:16) and draws
them (John 6:44, 65).

Second, some Christians (e.g., Presbyterians, Reformed Baptists, some
Independent Bible churches) believe that Jesus dies only for the sins of the elect. This
position is commonly referred to as Calvinism, named after John Calvin, Reformed
Theology, or Limited Atonement. They commonly appeal to those Scriptures which
speak of Jesus dying only for some people but not all people (Matt. 1:21; 20:28; 26:28;
Rom. 5:12-19), His sheep (John 10:11, 15, 26-27), His church (Acts 20:28; Eph. 5:25),
the elect (Rom. 8:32-35), His people (Matt. 1:21), His friends (John 15:3), and all
Christians (2 Cor. 5:15; Titus 2:14).

At first glance, Unlimited and Limited Atonement are in opposition. But, that
dilemma is resolved by noting two things. First, the two categories are not mutually
since Jesus died for the sins of everyone
that means that He also died for the
sins of the elect. Second,
Jesus' death for all people
does not accomplish the same
thing as His death for the elect. This point is complicated,
but is in fact taught in
(1 Tim. 4:10; 2 Peter 2:1).

by dying for everyone,
Jesus purchased everyone as His possession
and He then applies His forgiveness to the elect by grace and applies His wrath to the
non-elect. Objectively,
Jesus' death was sufficient to save anyone,
and, subjectively,
only efficient to save those who repent of their sin and trust in Him. This position is
called Unlimited Limited Atonement or Modified Calvinism.

Therefore, Modified Calvinists like the Mars Hill elders
do not believe anything
different than Arminians; we simply believe what they believe and more.

Lastly, perhaps the Old Testament sacrificial system provides the best illustration of this both/and position. The High Priest would offer a sacrifice for the sins of the whole nation on the
Day of Atonement; this is, in effect, unlimited atonement. Then, each worshipper would
repent of their own sins as demonstrated by the giving of their own sacrifices for their
sins; this is, in effect, limited atonement.
(Mark Driscoll - Unlimited, Limited Atonement)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


"So Piper, just be simple a minute, do you believe Jesus died for all people?

Just give us a straight out answer. And I'm not going to play politics, I'm not going to answer another question. I'm going to do this.
Before I answer it, i'm going to force you to define for all people, i'm going to say, now just tell me exactly what you mean and i'll answer you, because I dont want to answer in a way that would cause you to misunderstand.

What do you mean by for all people?

Now I think I know what most, is it okay if I use the word arminians? just, just most people who, who are having a hard time, they're not all arminians, having a hard time with limited atonement. That is the atonement that effects something special for a limited group.

I think I know what they all mean, and i'm going to quote Miller's Erikson's theology because I think he's right. He says:

"God intended the atonement to make salvation possible for all persons. christ died for all persons but this atoning death becomes effective only when accepted by the individual. This is the view of all arminians." closed quote.

If that's the view of all arminians I totally agree with it. No qualifications. So if you say "did christ die for all people" and I say "what do you mean for all people?" and you answer "I mean did he die in such a way so that anybody anywhere who believes will be saved by that blood."
I say "absolutely he did." That's John 3:16 pure and simple. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son in such a way that whoever believes will not perish, I believe that totally without qualification. Every individual person on planet earth who believes in Jesus has their life covered by the blood of Jesus. so you preach that, you stand up on sunday morning and you say christ died in such a way so that anybody in this room who believes, your sins are covered by the blood of Jesus.
(John Piper - Acts 29 conference - The Whole Glory of God - Imputation - Impartation of His righteousness - Part 2)

Sunday, March 15, 2009


"The Lord also tells me to tell you, in mid 90s, about '94 or '95, no later than that, God will destroy the homosexual community of America. But He will not destroy it with what many minds have thought Him to be. He will destroy it with fire. And many will turn and be saved, and many will rebel and be destroyed."
(Benny Hinn - Prophecy spoken: Orlando Christian Center, December 31st, 1989)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


But if this be so, then is all preaching vain. It is needless to them that are elected; for they, whether with preaching or without, will infallibly be saved. … This, then, is a plain proof that the doctrine of predestination is not of God, because it makes void the ordinance of God; and God is not divided against himself. A Second is, that it directly tends to destroy holiness which is the end of all the ordinances of God. … the doctrine itself, - that every man is either elected or not elected from eternity, and that the one must inevitably be saved, and the other inevitably damned, - has a manifest tendency to destroy holiness in general; for it wholly takes away those first motives to follow after it, so frequently proposed in Scripture, the hope of future reward and fear of punishment, the hope of heaven and fear of hell. … This doctrine tends to destroy the comfort of religion, the happiness of Christianity. … How uncomfortable a thought is this, that thousands and millions of men, without any preceding offence or fault of theirs, were unchangeably doomed to everlasting burnings! … This uncomfortable doctrine directly tends to destroy our zeal for good works. … this doctrine not only tends to destroy Christian holiness, happiness, and good works, but hath also a direct and manifest tendency to overthrow the whole Christian Revelation. … For supposing the eternal unchangeable decree, one part of mankind must be saved, though the Christian Revelation were not in being, and the other part of mankind must be damned, notwithstanding that Revelation. And what would an infidel desire more? … it is a doctrine full of blasphemy … this doctrine represents our blessed Lord, “Jesus Christ the righteous, “the only begotten Son of the Father, full of grace and truth,” as an hypocrite, a deceiver of the people, a man void of common sincerity. For it cannot be denied, that he everywhere speaks as if he was willing that all men should be saved. Therefore, to say he was not willing that all men should be saved, is to represent him as a mere hypocrite and dissembler. It cannot be denied that the gracious words which came out of his mouth are full of invitations to all sinners. To say, then, he did not intend to save all sinners, is to represent him as a gross deceiver of the people. … You represent him as mocking his helpless creatures, by offering what he never intends to give. You describe him as saying one thing, and meaning another; as pretending a love which he had not. … It overturns both his justice, mercy, and truth; yea, it represents the most holy God as worse than the devil, as both more false, more cruel, and more unjust. … This is the blasphemy clearly contained in the horrible decree of predestination! And here I fix my foot. On this I join issue with every assertor of it. You represent God as worse than the devil; more false, more cruel, more unjust. … This is the blasphemy for which (however I love the persons who assert it) I abhor the doctrine of predestination … Sing, O hell, and rejoice, ye that are under the earth! For God, even the mighty God, hath spoken, and devoted to death thousands of souls, from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof! Here, O death, is thy sting! They shall not, cannot escape; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. Here, O grave, is thy victory! Nations yet unborn, or ever they have done good or evil, are doomed never to see the light of life, but thou shalt gnaw on them for ever and ever!
(The Works of John Wesley (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI) (1996) Volume 7 - Pages 376-384)

Q. 74. What is the direct antidote to Methodism, the doctrine of heart-holiness?

A. Calvinism: All the devices of Satan, for these fifty years, have done far less toward stopping this work of God, than that single doctrine. It strikes at the root of salvation from sin, previous to glory, putting the matter on quite another issue. … Be diligent to prevent them, and to guard these tender minds against the predestinarian poison.
(The Works of John Wesley (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI) (1996) Volume 8 - Page 336)

The observing these melancholy examples day by day, this dreadful havoc which the devil makes of souls, especially of those who had begun to run well, by means of this anti-scriptural doctrine, constrains me to oppose it from the same principle whereon I labour to save souls from destruction. Nor is it sufficient to ask, Are there not also many who wrest the opposite doctrine to their own destruction? If there are, that is nothing to the point in question; for that is not the case here. Here is no wresting at all: The doctrine of absolute predestination naturally leads to the chambers of death.
(The Works of John Wesley (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI) (1996) Volume 10 - Pages 257-258)

I apprehend, then, this is no fallacious objection, but a solid and weighty one; and defy any man living, who asserts the unconditional decree of reprobation or preterition, (just the same in effect,) to reconcile this with the scriptural doctrine of a future judgment. I say again, I defy any man on earth to show, how, on this scheme, God can “judge the world in righteousness.”
(The Works of John Wesley (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI) (1996) Volume 10 - Page 374)

I do not believe (what is only preterition or reprobation in other words) any such absolute election, as implies that all but the absolutely elect shall inevitably be damned. I do not believe the doctrine of irresistible grace, or of infallible perseverance; because both the one and the other implies that election which cannot stand without preterition or reprobation. I do not believe salvation by works. Yet if any man can prove (what I judge none ever did, or ever will) that there is no medium between this and absolute predestination; I will rather subscribe to this than to that, as far less absurd of the two.
(The Works of John Wesley (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI) (1996) Volume 10 - Page 379)

If the salvation of every man that ever was, is, or shall be, finally saved, depends wholly and solely upon an absolute, irresistible, unchangeable decree of God, without any regard either to faith or works foreseen, then it is not, in any sense, by works.
(The Works of John Wesley (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI) (1996) Volume 11 - Page 494)

But if such a Minister should at any time deliberately, and of set purpose, endeavour to establish absolute predestination, or to confute scriptural perfection; then I advise all the Methodists in the congregation quietly to go away.
(The Works of John Wesley (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI) (1996) Volume 13 - Page 246)


That are the benefits we receive by baptism, is the next point to be considered. And the first of these is, the washing away the guilt of original sin, by the application of the merits of Christ’s death. … By baptism, we who were “by nature children of wrath” are made the children of God. And this regeneration which our Church in so many places ascribes to baptism is more than barely being admitted into the Church, though commonly connected therewith; being “grafted into the body of Christ’s Church, we are made the children of God by adoption and grace.” This is grounded on the plain words of our Lord: “Except a man be born again of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John iii. 5.) By water, then, as a means, the water of baptism, we are regenerated or born again; whence it is also called by the Apostle, “the washing of regeneration.” … Herein a principle of grace is infused, which will not be wholly taken away, unless we quench the Holy Spirit by long-continued wickedness.

(The Works of John Wesley) (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI) (1996); (Volume:10 Page:192)