31 March 2019

Would you like to influence three worlds?

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Your weekly Dose of Spurgeon


The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from the lifetime of works from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  The following excerpt is from The MTP, volume 62, sermon number 3,543, "Speaking on God's behalf." 

"I would venture to press this upon any of you who are backward in avowing your faith. You cannot conceive what blessing it would bring you were you distinctly and persistently to speak for Jesus."

That timidity which now embarrasses you would speedily cease to check your zeal. After you had once openly professed Christ, gifts that now slumber unconsciously to yourself would be developed by exercise. Rich comfort the service of God would then bring you.

Were you ever to win a soul for Jesus, you would be happier than the merchantman when he found the goodly pearl. You would think that all the happiness you ever knew before was less than nothing compared with the joy of saving a soul from death, and rescuing a sinner from going down into the pit.

The bliss of speaking a word that should affect three worlds, making a change in heaven, and earth, and hell, as devils grind their teeth in wrath because one of their victims is snatched out of their jaws; as men on earth wonder and admire the change that grace has wrought; and as angels rejoice when they hear of sinners saved.

For the sake of him who bought your with his precious blood, seek out others who have been redeemed at the same inestimable price. For the sake of that blessed Spirit who brought you to Jesus, and who now moves in you that you may move others to come to Jesus, be up and doing, steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

You have yet to speak on God’s behalf, and these are the motives that ought to move you.

24 March 2019

How to meet the evils of the age

Your weekly Dose of Spurgeon



The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from the lifetime of works from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  The following excerpt is from An All Round Ministry, page 105, Banner of Truth. 




"Landmarks are laughed at, and fixed teaching is despised. "Progress" is their watchword, and we hear it repeated ad nauseam." 


What are we to do to meet this superstition, and this unbelief, and this disintegration, and this growing worldliness and drunkenness? I have only one remedy to prescribe, and that is, that we do preach the gospel of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, in all its length and breadth of doctrine, precept, spirit, example, and power.

To give but one remedy for many diseases of the body, is the part of an empiric; but it is not so in the affairs of the soul, for the gospel is so divinely compounded as to meet all the evils of humanity, however they may differ from one another.

We have only to preach the living gospel, and the whole of it, to meet the whole of the evils of the times. The gospel, if it were fully received through the whole earth, would purge away all slavery and all war, and put down all drunkenness and all social evils; in fact, you cannot conceive a moral curse which it would not remove; and even physical evils, since many of them arise incidentally from sin, would be greatly mitigated, and some of them for ever abolished.

The spirit of the gospel, causing attention to be given to all that concerns our neighbour’s welfare, would promote sanitary and social reforms, and so the leaves of the tree which are for the healing of the nations would work their beneficial purpose.

Keep to the gospel, brethren, and you will keep to the one universal, never-failing remedy. You have read of sieges, in which the poor inhabitants have been reduced to skeletons; and fevers and diseases,
scarcely known at other times, have abounded: when the city has at last surrendered, if you wished to give the people what would meet all their wants, you would begin by giving them food.

Hunger lies at the bottom of the fever, hunger has caused the other diseases, gaunt and grim; and when the constitution is again built up by food, it will throw off most of the other ills. Give the bread of life to the multitude, and the maladies and diseases of fallen humanity will be divinely removed; I am sure it is so.

17 March 2019

Who cares what you think?

Your weekly Dose of Spurgeon


The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from the lifetime of works from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  The following excerpt is from The MTP, volume 12, sermon number 676, "Man's thoughts and God's thoughts." 

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"God's thinkings are declared by himself to be exceedingly above man's, and yet if ever man is to dwell with God, he must think as God thinks."

A more current idea still is, that God will put away the past and give men a new start, and that if they go on well for the future, then in their dying hour, when it comes to a wind-up, God will speak pardon. But soul, there is nothing of that kind in the Word of God.

That truthful book tells us solemnly that as far as the matter of keeping the law is concerned, and being saved by our good works, we have all of us but one opportunity, and the moment we commit one sin that opportunity is over; nay, before we began life our father Adam had spoiled that chance for us by his sin. The Word of God never speaks about giving us a second trial.

The law says, “Cursed is every man that continueth not in all things that are written in the book of the law to do them.” It says nothing whatever of starting you in business again, in the hopes that you may at last make your spiritual fortune; nothing of the kind: and those of you who are trying your hands at reformation, and so hope that in a dying hour you will get peace to your souls, are spending your money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which profiteth not, for if you never sinned in the future, what would that have to do with the past?

Will a man’s paying ready money in the future defray the debts, which he has already incurred? God has a right to the obedience of your whole life; do you suppose that giving him the obedience of a part of it will be accepted as a satisfaction for the whole?

Moreover, who art thou that thou shouldst be holy? Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one. Thou wilt only repeat thy former life, thou wilt go back again like the dog to its vomit, and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

As for peace in the hour of death, he who is not pardoned living is not likely to be pardoned dying. Nine out of ten, perhaps nine hundred and ninety-nine out of every thousand of professed death-bed salvations are a delusion.

We have good facts to prove that. A certain physician collected notes of several hundreds of cases of persons who professed conversion who were supposed to be dying. These persons did not die but lived, and in the case of all but one they lived just as they had lived before, though when they were thought to be dying they appeared as if they were truly converted.

Do not look forward to that, it is a mere snare of Satan. God save you from it; for in this case his thoughts are not your thoughts.

15 March 2019

The Difference Between Sexual Abuse and "Race" Offenses

by Hohn Cho



A    few days ago, an ordained PCA pastor from Washington, DC—Duke Kwon—said the following:



When people hear "reparations" many retort
"forgiveness is better"
which is also what some say to victims of abuse
"no, forgive"
but forgiveness and justice are not at odds
what I release as a cross-bearer
what I'm owed as an image-bearer
alas, racial oppression is abuse

Kwon is part of a developing cadre of Asian American social justicians that includes folks like Raymond Chang and perhaps the most extreme of the group, Timothy Isaiah Cho (#NotAllChos), the former Director of Operations of Michael Horton's White Horse Inn. I was busy last week at our church's annual Shepherds Conference, but I set aside the comment above for a reply, because the mentality behind it is one of my pet peeves, the false equivalence that flattens types of offense. (There's another big issue to discuss as well, specifically the increasingly popular idea of reparations, but I'll save that for another time.)

I've written previously about sexual (and physical) abuse, and although the exact extent of the problem in certain contexts and communities may be unclear, it is a problem which is common and substantial enough that reports ought to be taken very seriously. There are many reasons for this, not least of which is the fact that complementarians in particular have a Scriptural responsibility toward women, who are by far the more frequent recipients of sexual and physical abuse, as well as the fact that such types of abuse constitute actual crimes, which pursuant to Romans 13:1-7 and 1 Peter 2:13-17 are under the jurisdiction of the governing authorities, who are to wield the sword for the protection of the good and the punishment of the wrongdoer.

It appalls me, then, when I see social justicians attempt to elevate matters such as microaggressions, or increased socioeconomic status in an already wealthy nation like the United States, or the unbiblical attempt to punish children and grandchildren for the sins of their ancestors, to the same level of importance as major, tangible, current sins and crimes, such as sexual and physical abuse. It is truly a false equivalence. And it is even more appalling when social justicians attempt to equate their pet issues to the holocaust of abortion, which kills nearly a million unborn children per year in the United States alone, a disproportionate number of which are from ethnic minorities. Some like to cite the importance of speaking up for the voiceless and destitute from Proverbs 31:8-9 as a call to "justice" work, but in our age of social media, who is more voiceless than a baby in the womb, and in our rich land where starvation is basically unheard of, who is more destitute than a precious little one who has no possessions or even rights at all?

Even in cases of "race" related sins and crimes, the actual numbers pale in comparison to cases of sexual and physical abuse, as well as abortion, by multiple orders of magnitude. I already mentioned the nearly million unborn children aborted each year, and in the United States in 2016, the most recent year with available data, rapes and sexual assaults actually reported (estimated at 23.2% of all rapes and sexual assaults) numbered 298,410, while domestic violence incidents numbered 1,068,120.

Compare and contrast these numbers with 7,175 hate crimes of all types and categories in the United States in 2017, of which 5,084 were crimes against persons (as opposed to property), and the great majority (79.2%) of those crimes against persons were classed as intimidation or simple assault, while 15 were murders (0.3%). Similarly, on the much-sensationalized issue of police shootings, as I stated in point E of a past article, more people die each year from constipation (189) than unarmed people of all ethnicities die at the hands of police.

If we are to be people of the Book, we need to care about equal weights and measures, because God cares about them, and considers unequal ones to be an abomination, as we see in Proverbs 11:1, 16:11, 20:10, 20:23. Similarly, there are matters of first importance in Scripture, a concept which clearly shows that it is not biblically appropriate to attempt to draw false equivalences between certain types of actions and offenses. Indeed, while any sin will send anyone without the saving grace of Jesus Christ to hell, all sins are not the same in type or degree, and in particular, while hating a brother might be as sinful before God as murder, and looking at a woman with lust might be as sinful before God as adultery, you'd better believe that the horizontal consequences of actual murder and actual adultery will far exceed their mere heart equivalents!

So too it is with Kwon's attempt to compare "victims of abuse" to "racial oppression"—and I would argue that before his comparison can have any weight, he would need to establish precisely what he means by "racial oppression" rather than just handwave it or otherwise assume facts not in evidence. Yes, on those rarer occasions when there are actual crimes being committed against people on the basis of their ethnicity, absolutely, the subjects of those crimes have every right to call the governing authorities and see appropriate consequences visited upon the perpetrators, including restitution wherever and whenever appropriate. And when we see restitution in the Bible, most commonly under the Old Testament civil laws of ancient Israel, it invariably takes the form of a definite and determinable sum levied against the actual wrongdoer. Even if there's no crime committed, but there is sin—such as actual, demonstrable racism within the church, as opposed to the epidemic of heart reading we see from many social justicians—it may be that an appropriate authority to enforce order is indeed the church, via the exercise of church discipline.

Based on what I've read and heard, everyone reputable agrees that actual incidents of racism are wrong and unacceptable, and indeed, the unanimously strong denouncement of racism by pretty much every sector of our society is both telling and encouraging, especially when we look back over the course of history when that has not always been the case. But most of the time, what social justicians today call "racial oppression" really amounts to marginal or even imagined personal slights, disputable statistical data that according to multivariate analyses have many different causes, and the admittedly bitter fruit resulting from the sins of our ancestors which were horrific but are simply not attributable to people today, as my pastor, John MacArthur, masterfully exposited from Ezekiel 18 and other passages in the sermon series starting here.

On a practical level, I perceive many of these false equivalency efforts to bootstrap certain types of ethnic discrimination into more dire problems to be a symptom of the current disease of identity politics and intersectionality, whereby activists regularly compete for finite attention spans and capacity for outrage. The thing is, when identity politics and intersectionalism work their way into practice, women often simply lose out, whether they're stacked against groups centered around ethnicity, national origin and immigration, Islam, or more recently transgenderism.

Much of this is due to the worldly philosophy of "allyship" in which identity groups work together out of political expedience rather than biblical righteousness. Allyship says, "You support my cause, I'll support yours, and hey, we'll just shut up about any annoying inconsistencies in the other's case... maybe we'll get to that after we finish sticking it to the man." On the level of political effectiveness, this philosophy might manage to score some points. On the level of biblical ethics, however, it leaves much to be desired. Better by far to speak the truth in love and put away falsehood per Ephesians 4:15, 25, and to walk blamelessly and do what is righteous per Psalm 15:2, and to have integrity per Proverbs 10:9, 11:3, 19:1, 20:7, 28:6, and to have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way per Hebrews 13:18, and to avoid worldly alliances and plans that are not of the Spirit per Isaiah 30:1-3.

I am glad to speak up and take action in my own Christian liberty and stewardship with respect to actual injustices, whether of the limited "social justice" variety or more broadly in the area of biblical justice, such as protecting the innocent and the weak from lawbreakers in Romans 13:3, or punishing the evildoer and the violent man from Romans 13:4, or understanding the truth from our Savior in Matthew 26:52 that he who lives by the sword will die by the sword, or submitting even to harsh and oppressive authority such as the mad Roman emperor Nero in 1 Peter 2:13, or valuing the importance of work in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 especially if you want to eat, or making it our ambition to live quietly and mind our own affairs in 1 Thessalonians 4:11, or to pray for those in authority so that we can live peaceful, quiet, godly, dignified lives per 1 Timothy 2:1-2, or even proclaiming biblical understandings relating to marriage, divorce, family, and gender.

And the reason I would do those things is because they're right, and not because certain "allies" expect me to. After all, if God is for us, who can be against us? Meanwhile, all of the allies in the world will avail me nothing if either the means or the end is ungodly, as is so often the case with the unequal weights and measures and myopic temporal focuses of many social justicians.

Hohn's signature

10 March 2019

Private deeds of love


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Your weekly Dose of Spurgeon


The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from the lifetime of works from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  The following excerpt is from We Endeavour, pages 96-97, Pilgrim Publications.


"Study carefully the story of the enthusiastic Christian woman who poured the alabaster box of very precious ointment upon the head of our blessed Lord and Saviour. Her first and last thoughts were for the Lord Jesus Himself."

Seek to do something for Jesus which shall even be above all a secret sacrifice of pure love to Jesus. Do special and private work towards your Lord. Between you and your Lord let there be secret love tokens. You will say to me, “What shall I do?” I decline to answer. I am not to be a judge for you; especially as to a private deed of love. 

The good woman did not say to Peter, “What shall I give?” nor to John, “What shall I do?” but her heart was inventive. I will only say, that we might offer more private prayer for the Lord Jesus. “Prayer also shall be made for Him continually.” Intercede for your neighbours; pray for yourselves; but could you not set apart a little time each day in which prayer should be all for Jesus? 

Could you not at such seasons cry with secret pleadings, “Hallowed be thy name! Thy kingdom come! Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven”? Would it not be a sweet thing to feel at such a time—I shall now go up to my chamber, and give my Lord a few minutes of my heart’s warmest prayer, that He may see of the travail of His soul? That is one thing which all saints can attend to. 

Another holy offering is adoration—the adoring of Jesus. Do we not too often forget this adoration in our assemblies, or thrust it into a corner? The best part of all our public engagements is the worship—the direct worship; and in this the first place should be given to the worship of the Lord Jesus. 

We sing at times to edify one another with psalms and hymns, but we should also sing simply and only to glorify Jesus. We are to do this in company; but should we not do it alone also? Ought we not all, if we can, to find a season in which we shall spend the time, not in seeking the good of our fellow-men, not in seeking our own good, but in adoring Jesus, blessing Him, magnifying Him, praising Him, pouring forth our heart’s love towards Him and presenting our soul’s reverence and penitence. 

I suggest this to you. I cannot teach you how to do it. God’s Holy Spirit must show your hearts the way.

03 March 2019

Silly putty


Your weekly Dose of Spurgeon


The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from the lifetime of works from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  The following excerpt is from The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, volume 11, sermon number 651, "A sermon from a rush."

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"If you do not mean your godliness, do not profess it."

The hypocrite will yield to good influences if he be in good society. “Oh yes, certainly, certainly, sing, pray, anything you like.” With equal readiness he will yield to evil influences if he happens to be in connection with them. “Oh, yes, sing a song, talk wantonness, run into gay society, attend the theatre, take a turn with the dice; certainly, if you wish it; ‘When we are at Rome we do as Rome does.’”

Anything to oblige anybody is his motto. He is an omnivorous feeder, and like the swine can eat the vegetable of propriety, or the flesh of iniquity. One form of doctrine is preached to him,—very well, he would not wish to contend against it for a moment; it is contradicted by the next preacher he hears,—and really there is a great deal to be said on the other side; so he holds with hare and hounds too.

He is all for heat when the weather is hot, and quite as much for cold when it is the season; he can freeze, and melt, and boil, all in an hour, just as he finds it pay best to be solid or liquid. If it be most
respectable to call a thing black, well, then, it is black; if it will pay better to call it white, well then it is not so very black, in fact it is rather white, or white altogether if you like to call it so.

The gross example of the Vicar of Bray comes at once to one’s mind, who had been a papist under Henry VIII., then a protestant under a Protestant reign, then a papist under Mary, then again a Protestant under Elizabeth; and he declared he had always been consistent with his principle, for his principle was to continue the Vicar of Bray.

Some there are, who are evidently consistent in this particular, and in the idea that they will make things as easy for themselves as they can, and will get as much profit as they can, either by truth or error. Do you not know some such? They have not an atom of that stern stuff of which martyrs are made in the whole of their composition.

They love that modern goddess, charity. When Diana went down Charity went up; and she is as detestable a goddess as ever Diana was. Give me a man who will be all things to all men to win souls, if it be not a matter of principle; but give me the man who, when it comes to be a matter of right and wrong, will rather die than deny his faith; who could burn, but could not for a moment conceal his sentiments, much less lay them aside until a more convenient season.

True godliness, such as will save the soul, must not be the mere bark, but the heart, the sap, the essence of a man’s being—it must run right through and through, so that he cannot live without it. That religion is not worth picking up from a dunghill which you do not carry every day about with you, and which is not the dearest object for which you live. Beloved, we must be ready to die for Christ, or we shall have no joy in the fact that Christ died for us.