Credo’s Cache

Posted by on Oct 31, 2014 in Credo's cache | No Comments
Credo’s Cache

Each week we will be highlighting important resources. Check back each Friday to see what we have dug up for you. From this week’s cache:

1. The Media, Evangelicals, and Me: On Being a Pessimist in a Progressive AgeBy Matthew Lee Anderson - Anderson says: “The paradox which I face, and which I cannot escape, is that in bearing the message I engage in the same vices. The messenger is, in this case, highly unsuited for the task he discerns necessary. Such are, perhaps, the deepest and most profound sources for my pessimism.”

2. This Argument Has Reached Retirement AgeBy Brain Mattson - Mattson notes: “Readers can judge for themselves the merits of these things, but there is one thing I can no longer do: sit idly by and let Enns continue to trot out his argument that Exodus 12:8-9 and Deuteronomy 16:5-7 contradict each other.”

3. What is Reformation Day All About?By Robert Rothwell - Rothwell says: “As we consider his importance this Reformation Day, let us equip ourselves to be knowledgeable proclaimers and defenders of biblical truth. May we be eager to preach the Gospel of God to the world and thereby spark a new reformation of church and culture.”

4. Open the Door to HalloweenBy Jonathan Parnell – Parnell says: “It is easy for us to get locked into Christian bubbles and soon lose contact with those who desperately need to know the good news. And it’s easy to mistake sanctification to mean separate from the world instead of separated for God’s work in the world.”

5. Recovering from EvangelismBy Jonathan Dodson - Dodson says: “Evangelism is something many Christians are trying to recover from. The word stirs up memories of a bygone era—Christendom—where rehearsed presentations, awkward door-to-door witnessing, a steady flow of tracts, and conversions in revival-like settings were commonplace.”

6. Reformation Brazil, Part 1: By White Horse Inn – “On this program Michael Horton will talks with Augustus Nicodemus Lopes about the opportunities for Reformation in the country of Brazil.”

7. Reformation Brazil, Part 2: By White Horse Inn – “During the second half of the program, Mike talks with Heber Campos Jr. about the state of Brazilian Christianity.”

Matt Manry is the Assistant Pastor at Life Bible Church in Canton, Georgia. He is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Religion at Reformed Theological Seminary and a Masters of Arts in Christian and Classical Studies from Knox Theological Seminary.

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Why remember the solas of the Reformation? Five sermons by Matthew Barrett

Posted by on Oct 30, 2014 in Matthew Barrett | No Comments
Why remember the solas of the Reformation? Five sermons by Matthew Barrett

October 31st marks the anniversary of the Reformation, specifically that day when Martin Luther posted his 95 theses. Reformation Day is an excellent opportunity to reflect upon the five solas of the Reformation: Sola scriptura (scripture alone), solus christus (Christ alone), sola gratia (grace alone), sola fide (faith alone), and soli Deo gloria (to God alone be the glory). These doctrines, however, should not merely be of historical importance, but should impact the church today. Matthew Barrett recently devoted five sermons to these doctrines, not only bringing to life the history of the Reformation, but demonstrating why these truths matter so much for the church today. Barrett is assistant professor of Christian Studies at California Baptist University and executive editor of Credo Magazine. He is also senior pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church, where these sermons were preached.

Sola Scriptura – By Scripture Alone

 

Solus Christus – By Christ Alone

 

Sola Gratia – By Grace Alone

 

Sola Fide – By Faith Alone

 

Soli Deo Gloria – To God Alone be the Glory

 

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Reflections: One Year Later (Fred G. Zaspel)

Posted by on Oct 30, 2014 in Fred Zaspel | 7 Comments
Reflections: One Year Later  (Fred G. Zaspel)

It’s been a year tomorrow (Oct.31) since we lost our daughter, Gina. What a treasure she was to us, and throughout the year since her passing she has been at the same time both the most painful and the most delightful topic of our conversation. We can scarcely talk about her without tears, and yet there is scarcely a topic or experience that does not bring happy reminders of her and bring us to talk about her again. We were an unusually close family, and she is always on our mind and never more than a breath away from our discussions.

There are lessons we learn in “the house of mourning” that are not learned elsewhere – or at least not so fully appreciated. And so for what it’s worth I thought I’d share some reflections on some things we have learned since October 31 of last year.

We have learned the encouragement of friends. It’s an awkward thing, and we’ve all been there – a friend suffers, and we just don’t know what to say. So we stumble and stammer a bit and finally say something like, “I’m so sorry,” and then walk away wishing we could have thought of something better. We’ve all felt that, and when Gina died we saw our friends struggle with that frustration as they would talk to us. But we learned that not just profundity of thoughts but obvious expressions of love and concern from our friends are wonderfully encouraging and enormously appreciated. Know that showing love and concern, however your words may stumble, means a lot.

Gina picAnd yet those uncommon, well-chosen words are of course helpful in their own way. We of course received many cards and emails from friends, all of whom expressed love and care, and each was helpful in its own way. Some friends, however, were particularly well-considered in their expressions of sympathy, and one in particular stood out as the most thoughtful, heartfelt, and compassionate. It was a pastor-theologian friend who had known our children since they were young, and although he said nothing that was new, nothing we didn’t already know, his words were very well chosen, and his heart of loving concern was obvious. He taught me to think ahead in ministering to others, to speak with empathy and substance. “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”

We have also learned some things about gospel consolation rightly applied. For many years I have thought that quoting Romans 8:28 too quickly to a grieving Christian can come across as insensitive, as though we perhaps should not be feeling the grief but rather be happy. Indeed, ultimately it is only in Romans 8:28 and related gospel truths that we will find our encouragement. But to rush there too soon as a consoler can be ill-advised. So I have tried to begin on the level of human sympathy and support and then try as I can to direct the conversation to the things of Christ. We have experienced all this now ourselves – reminders of gospel truths somehow seem much more encouraging when spoken by friends who in love share in our pain.

This brings me to the value of gospel truth. We all pray that God will encourage the hearts of friends in grief, but we have learned afresh just how God does that. There is indeed something mystical (can I use this word?) about the secret working of the Spirit of God in our hearts and minds, renewing the inner man daily, as the Apostle Paul puts it. Yet it is not pure mysticism. It is not the Spirit alone but the Spirit and the Word. God works in us by means of the truths he has revealed to us. And we have learned in all this the practical, real-life value of gospel truth. The Spirit of God does indeed fortify our minds and hearts, and he does indeed shed abroad in our hearts a sense of God’s love for us. He does not do this in a vacuum, however, but by impressing the glorious truths of the gospel deeply in our hearts and minds and assuring us of our interest in them.

Many years ago it occurred to me that part of a pastor’s responsibility is to prepare his people for suffering – to prepare them by fortifying their minds with gospel truth. So I preached a rather lengthy series of sermons on the subject – evil and the sovereignty of God, suffering and the sovereignty of God, suffering and the justice of God, suffering and the goodness of God, God’s purposes in suffering, faith and suffering, and so on. It was well received by our patient congregation, but I distinctly recall thinking in my study one day during those sermon preparations, “I wonder when I will need this stuff myself.” I was young, my family was young, and to that point we had a relatively “charmed” life. It was not too long after this that Gina’s suffering began. And we love to tell anyone who will hear us of the value of gospel truth planted deeply in our minds and hearts, anchoring our souls and preparing us for “the evil day.” Theology is incomparably practical, and there is just no substitute for learning and knowing the gospel … in all its glorious dimensions and implications.

From the parents’ perspective we have learned that bringing up our children for Christ really is priority #1. I realize that God is sovereign in saving, and I realize that many a faithful father has had a foolish son. There are no guarantees. But God uses means to accomplish his decreed ends, and faithful parental guidance is a major one of those means. And now at this point, looking back, what else could we want but to remember a daughter who in her lifetime came to know Christ – or, rather, was known by him – and whose heart was aflame, despite her suffering, for the saving grace of God in the gospel – a daughter who still today is safe in Christ. There really is nothing else. In the past year I have often offered this counsel to young parents: Enjoy your children while you have them. Thank God for them daily. And above everything else bring them up for Christ.

We’ve also learned that time really does not heal all wounds. I am told by other parents who have lost a child that it does get easier in time, and I’m sure that must be true. But very honestly, I don’t see time healing anything. But it is a matter of great joy to us that what time cannot heal eternity can … and will. Romans 8:18.

Finally, we have learned – as we have always believed – that God really is enough. We have learned that his promises are trustworthy, and we have learned that he has provided in the gospel of Christ all we will ever need. We miss Gina terribly, but anchored in the cross and in things eternal our joy in Christ continues to grow stronger.

Fred Zaspel (Ph.D., Free University of Amsterdam) is pastor at the Reformed Baptist Church of Franconia, PA. He is also Professor of Systematic Theology at Calvary Baptist Seminary in Lansdale, PA, and is the executive editor of Books At a Glance. He is the author of The Theology of B.B. Warfield: A Systematic Summary  and Warfield on the Christian Life: Living in Light of the Gospel.

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Barrett’s (Reformation) Book Notes: Martin Luther, Part 1

Posted by on Oct 29, 2014 in Matthew Barrett, Reformation, Reformers | No Comments
Barrett’s (Reformation) Book Notes: Martin Luther, Part 1

Perhaps you are wondering where you should begin when it comes to reading the Reformers. After all, given how many Reformers there were and how much they wrote, this can be an overwhelming task. So today I would like to be of help, if possible. Rather than pointing you to several different Reformers (see here), or to secondary works on the Reformers (see here and here), I would have you begin with Martin Luther himself. And while you will find a variety of ways to read Luther, I would suggest going to the Fortress Press edition of his Luther’s Works, which also provide helpful introductions to each volume.

indexCareer of the Reformer (vols. 31-33).

Start with vol. 31, Career of the Reformer: 1. This volume will take you all the way back to 1517 and dunk you down into some of the first treatises and debates that ignited the Reformation in Germany. Here we have:

Disputation Against Scholastic Theology, 1517
Ninety-five Theses, 1517
Heidelberg Disputation, 1518
Preface to the Complete Edition of a German Theology, 1518
Explanations of the Ninety-five Theses, 1518
Proceedings at Augsburg, 1518
Two Kinds of Righteousness, 1519
The Leipzig Debate, 1519
The Freedom of a Christian, 1520
Why the Books of the Pope and His Disciples Were Burned by Doctor Martin Luther, 1520

Right now I am almost done writing a book on sola scriptura, so I am especially inclined to recommend that you read The Leipzig Debate, 1519. But each of these shows you Luther’s theology at the start of his Reformation breakthrough.

Vol. 32, Career of the Reformer II, is also significant. But focus in specifically on “Luther at the Diet of Worms, 1521.” I would advise reading Roland Bainton’s colorful account of Worms as well to give you background to Luther’s famous “Here I Stand” speech.

Vol. 33, Career of the Reformer III is solely devoted to Luther’s Bondage of the Will (1526). In Luther’s mind, this is one of his most important works (if not his most important work!) in his lifetime. As Stephen Nichols has said, here we get to the “centerpiece of the Reformation.” Really, Luther brings us directly to the doctrine of sola gratia itself, and reveals man’s slavery to sin and total dependence upon the sovereign grace of God, in contrast to Erasmus’ synergism.

0800603540bTable Talk (vol. 54). 

In the last three volumes I have pumped you full of Luther’s theology. Now it is time to sit down with Luther at the dinner table. Luther’s Table Talk is well-known. Luther, Katherine von Bora, and their six children lived in the Black Cloister in Wittenberg, which was abandoned by Augustinian friars since the Reformation took root. The Luthers constantly hosted guests, including poor students. As you can imagine, dinner, which was typically at 5pm, was filled with conversation, as students and other guests asked Luther all kinds of questions. These students would often jot down what Luther said for their own personal use.

As you might have guessed, with Luther the conversation was typically full of energy and sometimes got quite spirited. John Mathesius describes the atmosphere:

Although our doctor often took weighty and profound thoughts to table with him and sometimes maintained the silence of the monastery during the entire meal, so that not a word was spoken, yet at appropriate times he spoke in a very jovial way. We used to call his conversation the condiments of the meal because we preferred it to all spices and dainty food. …If the conversation was animated, it was nevertheless conducted with decent propriety and courtesy, and others would contribute their share until the doctor started to talk. Often good questions were put to him from the Bible, and he provided expert and concise answers. When at times somebody took exception to what had been said, the doctor was able to bear this patiently and refute him with a skillful answer. Reputable persons often came to the table from the university and from foreign places, and then very nice talks and stories were heard.

Well, now that you have a flavor for these talks, pick up and read them. Here you will not only find Luther’s replies to all sorts of questions and subjects, but his personality as well.

Come back tomorrow for more book recommendations from the pen of the Luther.

Matthew Barrett (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is Assistant Professor of Christian Studies at California Baptist University, as well as the founder and executive editor of Credo Magazine. Barrett is also Senior Pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church. He is the author and editor of several books, including Salvation by Grace: The Case for Effectual Calling and Regeneration. You can read about Barrett’s other publications at matthewmbarrett.com.

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Timothy George on Luther and Calvin

Posted by on Oct 28, 2014 in Reformation | No Comments
Timothy George on Luther and Calvin

In the following two messages Timothy George takes us back in time to the sixteenth century Reformation. The first message, “Captive to the Word of God,” draws our attention to Martin Luther. The second message, “Suddenly Calvin,” focuses on the Genevan reformer, John Calvin.
 

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Making Our Souls Happy in the Lord

Posted by on Oct 28, 2014 in Jeremy Kimble, Scripture | No Comments
Making Our Souls Happy in the Lord

When we think about the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) we can often conceive of ourselves as doing fairly well in a number of areas, by God’s grace. One area that can be overlooked is the second on the list, namely, joy. To some Christians this may seem like a rather unimportant reality, particularly if they are working hard to dutifully obey the Lord. Nevertheless, we are told by Paul, numerous times in Philippians, to rejoice in the Lord. This is not mere icing on the proverbial cake of Christianity, it is an essential part. Joy rooted deeply in God will allow us to face difficulties, take up our cross, and follow Jesus, no matter the cost, because we are satisfied in Him.

As such, we must ask ourselves what strategies we are utilizing to be sure that our joy is deeply rooted in the Lord. One quote that gripped me years ago came from the pen of George Mueller. We asserted that the first and greatest business of the day as we arose in the morning was to regain our joy in God above all else. While the quote does not reflect this (perhaps in a subsequent post), Mueller was clear that the way this occurred was through prayer and the Word. Many of us are in the habit of doing this each day, but perhaps this quote from Mueller will push our motivations and goals in a slightly different direction than they are presently. May we be so satisfied with God that the world’s temptations and difficulties hold no sway over us as we deny self and follow Jesus with passion and joy.

According to my judgement the most important point to be attended to is this: above all things see to it that your souls are happy in the Lord. Other things may press upon you, the Lord’s work may even have urgent claims upon your attention, but I deliberately repeat, it is of supreme and paramount importance that you should seek above all things to have your souls truly happy in God Himself! Day by day seek to make this the most important business of your life. This has been my firm and settled condition for the last five and thirty years. For the first four years after my conversion I knew not its vast importance, but now after much experience I specially commend this point to the notice of my younger brethren and sisters in Christ: the secret of all true effectual service is joy in God, having experimental acquaintance and fellowship with God Himself.

Jeremy Kimble (PhD, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) is Assistant Professor of Theological Studies at Cedarville University. He is an editor for Credo Magazine as well as the author of That His Spirit May Be Saved: Church Discipline as a Means to Repentance and Perseverance and numerous book reviews. He is married to Rachel and has two children, Hannah and Jonathan.

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Martin Luther and the 16th Century Reformation

Posted by on Oct 27, 2014 in Reformation, Reformers | One Comment
Martin Luther and the 16th Century Reformation

This Friday, October 31st, is Reformation Day. We will be devoting posts on the blog this week to the Reformation.

To start us off are several messages by R. C. Sproul on Martin Luther.

 

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Credo’s Cache

Posted by on Oct 24, 2014 in Credo's cache | No Comments
Credo’s Cache

Each week we will be highlighting important resources. Check back each Friday to see what we have dug up for you. From this week’s cache:

1. God’s School of WaitingBy Jeff Robinson - Robinson says: “I pray that God will sanctify my impatience. After all, isn’t that the word that really describes our distaste for waiting? Perhaps it really is a sign of God’s love for me that I seem to find the rush hour traffic jam virtually every day.”

2. Cheerful Confidence after ChristendomBy Timothy Larsen - Larsen notes: “God is looking for men and women who are glad to be alive; who count as a privilege to be his servants at this moment; who are thrilled to be taking part in the coming of the kingdom of God in this generation.”

3. Sin is Worse Than HellBy Johnathon Bowers - Bowers says: “When Isaiah stood before the thundering magnificence of God, he saw his sin in its true light and it undid him. I suspect that in that moment, Isaiah would have thought no punishment too severe for his crimes.”

4. Reigning with Christ on Daily MissionBy Jason Garwood – Garwood says: “Parents: train up your children in the knowledge of God. Farm the land; build business and do economics; do accounting to the glory of God. Why? Because you reign with Christ. And Christ is in the process of putting all his enemies under his feet (1 Cor. 15:25).”

5. Jesus saves, faith does notBy Scott Swain - Swain says: “Jesus and faith go hand in hand. But they do so in a definite order and relation. Confuse that order and relation and you–as well as those who overhear your confusion–will have serious spiritual problems.”

Matt Manry is the Assistant Pastor at Life Bible Church in Canton, Georgia. He is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Religion at Reformed Theological Seminary and a Masters of Arts in Christian and Classical Studies from Knox Theological Seminary.

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How Infant Immersion is Similar to Alligator Wrestling; Or, Why the Mode of Baptism is Actually Important (Timothy Raymond)

Posted by on Oct 23, 2014 in Baptism, Timothy Raymond | 9 Comments
How Infant Immersion is Similar to Alligator Wrestling; Or, Why the Mode of Baptism is Actually Important  (Timothy Raymond)

So I’m preaching through the Gospel of John and the other day I came across a fascinating little sentence by John Calvin.  Commenting on John 3:23 (“…water was plentiful there…”, ESV), Calvin writes:

“From these words, we may infer that John and Christ administered baptism by plunging the whole body beneath the water.”

– John Calvin, Commentary on the Gospel According to John

I remembered Calvin said something similar in The Institutes:

“It is evident that the term ‘baptize’ means to immerse, and that this was the form used by the primitive Church.”

– John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, IV, xv, 19

I did a little digging and discovered that Luther, Wesley, and several other revered paedobaptists scholars were also rather forthright in confessing that the early church practiced baptism by complete immersion.

Now in both of the above contexts Calvin is quick to go on to say that the mode of baptism is completely irrelevant and that we should not feel bound to practice baptism by immersion today.  But it got me thinking.  Why is Calvin so concerned to stress that churches need not follow the biblical pattern today?  Why is there frank admission that baptism in the New Testament was the complete dunking of an individual in water but rare is the evangelical paedobaptist who immerses babies today?  If baptism as practiced by both John the Baptist and Jesus was baptism by complete submersion, why have I never seen or heard of this performed (at least on infants) by my Presbyterian and Reformed brethren?

I realize it’s possible that I’m just sheltered and that there are plenty of Presbyterian and Reformed pastors completely dunking infants under water.  But I doubt it.  And I think that here we get at one reason why the mode of baptism is relevant to the baptism debate.  Let me put it bluntly: if true baptism is and should be (to use Calvin’s words) the “plunging the whole body beneath the water”, infant baptism becomes highly unlikely.  For how many infants excel at being fully immersed in water?  And how many mothers would be comfortable with some strange pastor completely submerging their infant in water?

As the father of five youngsters who has administered countless infant baths (though no infant “baptisms”), I know how much young children enjoy going under water.  By which I mean, they positively hate it.  On more than one occasion, bathing my children has somehow transformed into alligator wrestling with both father and child winding up frustrated and soaked.  Young kids just don’t like going under water.  And simply renaming it “baptism” won’t help one bit.

Just imagine for a minute that New Testament baptism is immersion and that we should follow the biblical pattern (crazy thought, huh?).  This would strongly suggest that baptism is really only appropriate for those who can safely go through the biblical experience (i.e., those with enough cognitive sense to hold their breath when they see themselves about to go under).  Obviously I’m not going to have my infant mow my lawn or take out the trash; those duties require somebody with the capacities to perform them.  Likewise, if baptism is and should be immersion, then infant baptism becomes dubious at best.

And I really think this is why Calvin and his heirs have been so quick to emphasize that we need not follow the biblical pattern today.  They realize that infant submersion is a hurdle too high to jump for most.  (Unless, of course, you want to say that it’s necessary for salvation, like the Eastern Orthodox, which is another conversation altogether.)  But infant sprinkling?  That’s much more palatable.

If you’re one of our faithful paedobaptist friends, thank you for reading.  If you trust the Lord Jesus, you are my brother, our differences on this point notwithstanding.  Believe it or not, but I named three of my children after paedobaptists.  But here’s my challenge.  The next time you’re going to baptize an infant, just ask the mother if she’d be okay with you baptizing her infant by immersion.  What does her reaction tell you about the appeal of immersing infants?  And how many babies do you think you’d baptize in a year if you were committed to following the New Testament mode of baptism?

Now the reason I’m emphasizing this is because I’ve heard in recent times even Baptists claiming that the mode of baptism is basically irrelevant and that we should focus our argument for credobaptism chiefly on the candidates of baptism (i.e., believers).  While I entirely agree that the candidate for baptism is the more important point, I don’t believe that the mode of baptism is pointless.  If Calvin’s right, that New Testament baptism was immersion, and if we should follow that biblical pattern (and why wouldn’t we?), let’s teach, emphasize, and practice that.  For that will make infant baptism all the more implausible.

Timothy Raymond is an editor for Credo Magazine and has been the pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Muncie, Indiana since April 2006. He received his MDiv from the Baptist Bible Seminary of Pennsylvania in 2004 and has pursued further education through the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation.

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How to lead your worship service this Reformation Day – Soli Deo Gloria (Matthew Barrett)

Posted by on Oct 22, 2014 in Matthew Barrett, Reformation | 2 Comments
How to lead your worship service this Reformation Day – Soli Deo Gloria (Matthew Barrett)

In this series of posts we have explored what it might look like to devote 5 services around the 5 solas of the Reformation. In this last post we will tease this out with the doctrine of soli Deo gloria, to God alone be the glory.  Out of all of the solas, this sola smoothly corresponds to worship itself where we are praising and glorifying our great God for what he has done to redeem us and what he is now doing to help us live for him. My hope, then, is that this last sola will bring things to a climax.

This Sunday my church will begin with a song of worship that is really meant to be a call to worship itself. The hymn is: “Brethren, We Have Met to Worship.” (I especially appreciate Michael Card’s version of this song.) However, before the song the worship leader will have the people recite together the first answer to the Westminster Larger Catechism:

Q 1: What is the chief and highest end of man?

Ans.: Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God and fully to enjoy him for ever.

Could there be a more fitting way to start a service on soli Deo gloria?

acht_reformatoren_bock_hieronymus_buchenhagen_johann_calvin_johann_hus_johannes_luther_martin_melanchthon_philipp..._teaserAfter this first hymn comes a reading from John Calvin on the glory of God in worship:

Shifty, slippery, inattentive is the mind toward thinking of God unless exercised by prayerful speech and song. The glory of God ought to shine in the various parts of our bodies, especially in the tongue, created to sing, speak forth, tell, proclaim the praise of God. And the tongue’s chief task is, in the public prayers offered in the assembly of believers, with one common voice, with a single mouth, to glorify God together, to worship him together in one spirit, one faith.

This paragraph by Calvin is followed by a prayer that voices the congregation’s desire to glorify God and praise him for the great redemption he has accomplished through his Son and applied by his Spirit.

After this reading from Calvin are two more songs of worship that fit the theme: “To God be the Glory” and Luther’s “A Might Fortress is Our God.” Since I have talked about the latter already, consider some of the words of the former:

To God be the glory, great things He hath done,
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life our redemption to win,
And opened the life-gate that all may go in.

As you can see, this classic hymn brings our minds to the very gates of this doctrine, soli Deo gloria, not focusing on what we have done but on what God has done through his Son in order to bring glory to his name.

After this hymn is our time to take our morning offering, accompanied by another hymn: “Holy, Holy, Holy.” Once again, this hymn exalts God, reminding us just how holy and righteous he is.

Then comes the scriptural reading, this time from Psalm 29. I won’t quote it all, but I do want you to hear the first couple verses which relate to soli Deo gloria:

Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings,

Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.

Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;

Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.

Finally, the sermon on soli Deo gloria is preached. While this sermon will eventually turn to the practical implications of the doctrine in one’s vocation, that is not the starting point. Rather, I will begin with how all the solas are wrapped up in this final sola, demonstrating that our redemption has as its primary purpose the glory of God’s name. Only then will we understand what it means to live for his glory in a God-centered way. Of course, I will start the sermon, as I have done with the others, by telling a story from the Reformation that focuses on this particular sola.

The service concludes with “To God be the Glory” once more, followed by a benediction from 1 Timothy 1:17, “To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”

I hope these posts on the 5 solas have been instructive. My hope is that they give you hope if you are a pastor of a church where these solas may never be talked about or studied. Perhaps they can be an avenue into which God himself ignites a fire in the hearts of your people for the gospel of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Matthew Barrett (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is Assistant Professor of Christian Studies at California Baptist University, as well as the founder and executive editor of Credo Magazine. Barrett is also Senior Pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church. He is the author and editor of several books, including Salvation by Grace: The Case for Effectual Calling and Regeneration. You can read about Barrett’s other publications at matthewmbarrett.com.

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