FEATURED FREE MP3
Election, Reprobation & Predestination In The Reformed Creeds & Confessions -- Refuting The Heresies Of Arminianism & Pelagianism by Dr. Matthew McMahon (Free MP3) This is the best individual audio message on the topic in the title which we have heard!
Calvinism In the Early Church Fathers
Ignatius (Student of the Apostle John), Cyprian, Augustine, et al. (Free MP3s & More)
By William Cunningham, Dr. Matthew McMahon, W.G.T. Shedd, Dr. Curt Daniel, John Calvin, Dr. Kenneth Talbot, Jerome Zanchius, et al.
Calvinism in the Early Church By the Early Church Fathers by Dr. Matthew McMahon (Free Online Article)
The Roots of Calvinism (Quotes from the early Church Fathers on "Calvinism") by Dr. Matthew McMahon and Dr. Kenneth Talbot (Free MP3)
"This is therefore the predestination which we faithfully and humbly preach." - Cyprian (A.D. 250)
Historical Theology: A Review of the Principal Doctrinal Discussions in the Christian Church Since the Apostolic Age (2 Volume Set) by William Cunningham (Digital Download PDF)
History and Theology of Calvinism (2 of 75): Augustine and Pre-Calvinism by Dr. Curt D. Daniel (History and Theology of Calvinism Series)
A History of Christian Doctrine (2 Volume Set, 1865) by William G. T. Shedd (Digital Download PDF)
Augustine and the Doctrines of Grace, Part 1, by Dr. Matthew McMahon and Dr. Kenneth Talbot (Free MP3)
Augustine and the Doctrines of Grace, Part 2, by Dr. Matthew McMahon and Dr. Kenneth Talbot (Free MP3)
A Treatise on the Predestination of the Saints (c. 428) by Aurelius Augustine (Digital Download PDF)
A Treatise on the Predestination of the Saints (1 of 2) by Aurelius Augustine (Free MP3)
A Treatise on the Predestination of the Saints (2 of 2) by Aurelius Augustine (Free MP3)
Calvinism in History (1882) by N. S. McFetridge (Digital Download PDF)
The Sovereignty of God by Al Martin (17 Free MP3s)
Predestination and Election (Free Online Text At Covenanter.org)
The Doctrine of Absolute Predestination by Jerome Zanchius (Free MP3 Audio Book From Still Waters Revival Books)
Election and Reprobation by John Calvin (13 Free MP3s)
"To the predestined ones before all ages, that is, before the world began, united and elect in a true passion, by the eternal will of the Father."
- Ignatius of Antioch, Martyr and Student of John the Apostle, emphases added
"According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love. ... In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will."
- Ephesians 1:4,11 (KJV, emphases added)
Election & Predestination
Free Resources & More!
Highly Recommended Free MP3: Harmonizing Predestination & Human Freedom - & Jonathan Edwards' Freedom of the Will by Dr. Steven Dilday
"According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will. - Ephesians 1:4, 5 (emphases added)
Predestination & the Decrees of God - Three Lectures by Presbyterian Covenanter Hugh Binning (The book, The Works of Hugh Binning, from which this section of text is excerpted, is on the Puritan Hard Drive)
The Doctrine of Absolute Predestination by Jerome Zanchius (The full book, Absolute Predestination by Jerome Zanchius, is on the Puritan Hard Drive)
Of Election to Everlasting Life by Thomas Boston (The book, Commentary on the Shorter Catechism by Thomas Boston, from which this section of text is excerpted, is on the Puritan Hard Drive)
Of the Decrees of God by Thomas Boston (The book, Commentary on the Shorter Catechism by Thomas Boston, from which this section of text is excerpted is on the Puritan Hard Drive)
Of God's Eternal Decree - from David Dickson's Truth's Victory Over Error (David Dickson's full book, Truth's Victory Over Error [A Commentary of the Westminster Confession of Faith], is on the Puritan Hard Drive)
A Sermon on Creation, Providence, and Predestination by Henry Bullinger (The book, The Decades of Henry Bullinger, from which this section of text is excerpted, is on the Puritan Hard Drive)
Predestination and Providence (at PuritanDownloads.com)
BOOKS ON PREDESTINATION AND UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION
Spurgeon's Sovereign Grace Sermons by Charles Spurgeon
A Crook in the Lot, The Sovereignty of God in the Trials, Tribulations & Troubles of This Life by Thomas Boston
Arminianism - Another Gospel by William MacLean - With Comments On the Arminianism of John Wesley, D.L. Moody, Billy Graham, et al.
An Antidote Against Arminianism (1700) by Christopher Ness
The Doctrine of Absolute Predestination by Jerome Zanchius
A Letter to John Wesley Relative to His Pretended Abridgment of Zanchius on Predestination by Augustus Toplady
God's Sovereignty, A Practical Discourse (1673, 1831 edition) by Elisha Coles
A Display of Arminianism by John Owen
The Works of John Knox Volume 5 of 6
(Includes John Knox "On Predestination, in Answer to the Cavillations by an Anabaptist" (462 pp.), which Boettner, in his Reformed Doctrine of Predestination, calls John Knox's "chief theological work.")
Predestination and Providence by Hugh Binning
Election and Reprobation (1870) by James Henley Thornwell
What is Calvinism? or, the Confession of Faith in Harmony with the Bible and Common Sense by William Smith
Puritan (Westminster, Covenanter) Fast Sermons (1640 to 1653), Complete 34 Volume Set, by Many Prominent English Puritans, Westminster Divines and Scottish Covenanters of the Second Reformation (Including Rutherford, Watson, Owen, Manton, Gillespie)
The Works of Jonathan Edwards 2 Volume Set
Defending the Reformation: John Calvin Debates the Romanist Sadolet by John Calvin
The Mystery of Providence by John Flavel
The Decades of Henry Bullinger (4 Volume Set) Fifty Sermons Divided Into Five Decades Containing the Chief and Principle Points of Christian Religion (1849-1852 edition)
God Sovereign and Man Free: or the Doctrine of Divine Foreordination and Man's Free Moral Agency, Stated, Illustrated, and Proved from Scriptures (1850) by N. L. Rice
The Bondage of the Will, (De Servo Arbitrio, Martin Luther's Reply to Erasmus of Rotterdam Concerning Free Will) by Martin Luther
A Treatise on the Predestination of the Saints (c. 428) by Aurelius Augustine
The Collected Writings of James Henley Thornwell (Volume 2) The Doctrines of Grace; Sermons; Discourses on Truth
The Scripture Doctrine Concerning Some Important Points of Christian Faith: Particularly Eternal Election, Original Sin, Grace in Conversion, Justification By Faith, and the Saints Perseverance by Jonathan Dickinson
Historical Theology: A Review of the Principal Doctrinal Discussions in the Christian Church Since the Apostolic Age (2 Volume Set) by William Cunningham
The Canon Ratified in the National Synod of the Reformed Church Held at Dordrecht (1618-19) by Synod of Dort
A Commentary on Romans by Charles Hodge
Spurgeon's Sermons on Sovereignty by Charles Spurgeon
Some Foundation Truths of the Reformed Faith In Brief Doctrinal Outlines by Donald Beaton
Lectures on Theology (2 Volume Set, 1850) by John Dick
The Mute Christian Under the Smarting Rod; With Sovereign Antidotes for Every Case, A Christian with an Olive Leaf in His Mouth, When Under the Greatest Afflictions, Trials, Troubles, and Darkest Providences... by Thomas Brooks
Arminian Inconsistencies and Errors; In Which It Is Shown That All the Distinctive Doctrines of the Presbyterian Confession of Faith are Taught by Standard Writers of the Methodist Episcopal Church (1856) by Henry Brown
Puritan Sermons 1659-1689 (Volume 6 reprinted 1844) The Morning Exercises at Cripplegate, St. Giles in the Fields, and in Southwark by 75 Ministers of the Gospel in or Near London with Notes and Translations by James Nichol
The Best of "The Original Covenanter and Contending Witness" Magazine by Covenanted Reformed Presbyterian Publishing
Calvin's Selected Works, Tracts and Letters (Volume 5) by John Calvin
A Refutation of Arianism; Or, A Defence of the Plenary Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, The Supreme Deity of the Son and the Holy Ghost, The Atonement, Original Sin, Predestination, The Perseverance of the Saints, etc. (1828) by John Paul
The Nature, Possibility, and Duty, of a True Believer's Attaining to a Certain Knowledge of His Effectual Vocation, Eternal Election, and Final Perseverance to Glory (1675, reprinted 1845) by Richard Fairclough
Alexander and Rufus; or a Series of Dialogues on Church Communion, in Two Parts... by John Anderson
The Cause of God and Truth (An Exegetical Work On The Five Points Of Calvinism And Reprobation) by John Gill
Romans Commentary (1879) by William G. T. Shedd
Sermons (of Cunningham) from 1828 to 1860 by William Cunningham
Remarks on Important Theological Controversies by Jonathan Edwards
An Explanation and Defence of the Terms of Communion, Adopted by the Community of Dissenters, etc. by Reformed Presbytery
Christ Dying, and Drawing Sinners to Himself by Samuel Rutherford
Gospel Truth Accurately Stated and Illustrated by Thomas Boston, James Hog, Ebenezer and Ralph Erskine, et al.
The Progress of Divine Providence by William Gouge
Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians by Charles Hodge
Exercitationes Apologeticae Pro Divina Gratia- in Latin by Samuel Rutherford (This book is written in Latin).
The Glass of God's Providence Toward his Faithful Ones by Herbert Palmer
The Works of Hugh Binning (1858)
The National (1638) and Solemn League and Covenant (1643) by Alexander Henderson
The Canterburians Self-Conviction... by Robert Baillie
Against an Anabaptist: In Defense of Predestination by John Knox
The Glory, Majesty, Dominion and Power of Jesus Christ (1643) by Samuel Rutherford
Systematic Theology (3 Volume Set) by Charles Hodge
Click on the links below for many MP3 (audio) sermons and MP3 audio books about predestination and unconditional election from Still Waters Revival Books.
And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. - Acts 13:48 (emphases added)
The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. - Revelation 17:8 (emphases added)
Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. - Romans 11:5 (emphases added)
What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded. - Romans 11:7 (emphases added)
Calvinism (the Sovereignty of God, TULIP, etc.) Shown To Be Biblical, Dave Hunt and the Jesuit Connection (Dave Hunt's Arminianism Refuted), Arminianism, Semi-Pelagianism, Pelagianism, etc., Refuted Too, and Much More! Hundreds of free Reformation resources related to Calvinism, predestination and election at swrb.com.
The cartoon above is by James Lawson, author of the Calvinistic cartoon book,
Therapeutic Insanity! (used by permission).
"At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight." - Matthew 11:25-26 (emphases added)
"(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy." - Romans 9:11-16 (emphases added)
"It is no novelty, then, that I am preaching; no new doctrine. I love to proclaim these strong old doctrines that are called by nickname Calvinism, but which are truly and verily the revealed truth of God as it is in Christ Jesus. By this truth I make my pilgrimage into the past, and as I go, I see father after father, confessor after confessor, martyr after martyr, standing up to shake hands with me ... Taking these things to be the standard of my faith, I see the land of the ancients peopled with my brethren; I behold multitudes who confess the same as I do, and acknowledge that this is the religion of God's own church."
- Charles Spurgeon, Spurgeon's Sovereign Grace Sermons, Still Waters Revival Books, p. 170, emphases added).
There are 320 Reformation resources(books, MP3s and videos) under the category "Predestination and Providence," and 1,840 Reformation resources (books, MP3s and videos) under the category "Calvinism and the Sovereignty of God," on the Puritan Hard Drive.
There are also 85 Reformation resourceswith the word "election" in the title and 106 Calvinistic resources with the word "predestination" in the title. The word "predestination" also occurs 42 times in resource descriptions, and the word "election" occurs 46 times in the Puritan Hard Drive resource descriptions.
Moreover, and this is where some of the greatest search and research opportunities exist on the Puritan Hard Drive, a search for "election," using the Master Search Index on the Puritan Hard Drive returns 17,867 results in 998 documents, and a search for "predestination," using the Master Search Index on the Puritan Hard Drive returns 3,778 results in 416 documents, all available in the context of one line (and listed alphabetically by book title, including the author of each book).
Furthermore, if you click on any of these individual Master Search Index results for "election" or "predestination," the Puritan Hard Drive opens the book to the correct page and highlights "election", "predestination", or any word or phrase you use in the Master Search Index! The Master Search Index on the Puritan Hard Drive drive gives you unparallelled biblical research power to mine the gems of the biggest and best Puritan and Reformed book collection ever offered, with the ability to accomplish searches and research like this -- never before have such powerful research capabilities existed! May our Lord get all the glory for the great things He has done!
For example, this gem of a quote, from Christopher Ness, on foreknowledge, election and predestination, was found during a search, using the Master Search Index on the Puritan Hard Drive,
Objection. Some may object, saying, We grant God's prescience or foreknowledge to be eternal, but not His predestination; that choice or election mentioned in I Cor. 1:27-29 must be a temporal, not an eternal, election.
Answers. 1. With God, the knowledge of things that shall come to pass must follow the decree thereof; for things must first be decreed, and then foreseen in that being which they have in the decree; in this sense prescience presupposes predestination. "Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world" (Acts 15:18). God hath not an imperfect but a thorough foreknowledge of all future things; the means and the end; not only as they may be, but also as they shall be, by His Divine determination.
2. Prescience, or fore-knowledge, is taken for God's love from eternity. "Whom He did foreknow He also did predestinate" (Rom. 8:29); that is, "whom He fore-loved" so Zanchius reads it. Whom He foreknew, not only with the knowledge of observation, but with the knowledge of approbationalso; He foreknew them to be His. So it is predestination itself; and to grant an eternal prescience without an eternal predestination, is to break the links of that golden chain in Rom. 8:29, 30. "God hath not," and God will not, "cast away His people which He foreknew" (Rom. 11:2).
3. Some grant a predestination eternal to the elect only, but to the non-elect only a prescience or naked foresight (without any pre-ordination), lest they should make God the author of the creature's sin and ruin. But these men fear where no fear is; for the worst evil that ever was committed in the world, to wit, the crucifying of the Prince of glory, Jesus Christ, did not only fall under the foreknowledge of God, but also under His determinate counsel, "Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain" (Acts 2:23; 4:28); the taking and apprehension of Christ was not barely foreknown but unchangeably determined.
- Christopher Ness, An Antidote Against Arminianism, pp. 11-12 (on thePuritan Hard Drive ), emphases added. This quotation was located using theMaster Search Index on the Puritan Hard Drive, during a search for the word "predestination."
- Pastor W.J. Mencarow, Reformation Church, Boerne, Texas - San Antonio area, and on Sermonaudio (Reformation Church) .
Also see the amazing testimony of Dr. Francis Nigel Lee, to God's sovereign grace, on the Reformation Church Web site, in "The Sovereignty of God in the Salvation of My Father's Slayer." As also noted on this page, Dr. Lee passed into paradise, to be with his LORD forever in glory, Friday, December 23, 2011, after a short battle with Lou Gehrig's disease. Many of Dr. Lee's MP3s are online, free of charge, on SWRB's sermonaudio page.
PAUL WASHER ON THE PURITAN HARD DRIVE
"In the history of extra-biblical study and research tools there has never before been a resource as useful as the Puritan Hard Drive. Having the Puritan Hard Drive is like owning the largest Puritan and Reformed Library in the world along with a full time research assistant with his PhD in Puritan Studies from Oxford or Cambridge. With the click of a button, you can easily do ten hours worth of research in just seconds! Imagine not only owning the largest Puritan and Reformed library, but having a full-time team of world-class research assistants at your beck and call. It is almost as if God is saying, 'Here is a tool that will lead you to more truth faster than ever before. Make the best possible use of it and bring much glory to My Name.' (2 Timothy 2:15, Ephesians 5:16). The Puritan Hard Drive is a tremendous blessing." - Pastor Paul Washer, HeartCry Missionary Society (click here to see Paul Washer's full review of the Puritan Hard Drive)
"In the history of the church's sanctification
(mortification and vivification - ed.) I don't believe there has been a more valuable extra-biblical resource and tool than the Puritan Hard Drive." - Dr. C. Matthew McMahon, A Puritan's Mind
"To have that much information from a consistent, biblical, orthodox, and gospel-centered point of view is simply astonishing. Anyone who admires the Puritans simply must have the Puritan Hard Drive."
- Dr. Voddie Baucham, Jr., Voddie Baucham Ministries
"The Puritan Hard Drive has been such a superb blessing to me personally and for my ministry, that I lack words to adequately praise the Lord! " - Richard Bennett (former Roman Catholic priest who now preaches Reformation truth), Berean Beacon
MANY MORE PURITAN HARD DRIVE REVIEWS (Click Here)
"As a member of the HeartCry Missionary Society, I am witness to the great needs of Christians throughout the globe. Possibly the greatest need is sound Christian literature. Even though many Third World pastors read English, they have very few good books available to them. Even if we could afford to buy each indigenous minister a small library, the cost of shipping would be astronomical. With the Puritan Hard Drive we can provide pastors throughout the globe with one of the most complete Puritan and Reformed libraries at a fraction of the cost." - Pastor Paul Washer, HeartCry Missionary Society (click here to see Paul Washer's full review of the Puritan Hard Drive)
Question. How shall we know that God has a purpose to save us?
Answer. By being effectually called. "Give diligence to make your calling and election sure" (2 Peter 1:10). We make our election sure, by making our calling sure. ''God hath chosen you to salvation through sanctification'" (2 Thes. 2:13). By the stream, we come at last to the fountain. If we find the stream of sanctification running in our souls, we may by this come to the spring-head of election. When a man cannot look up to the firmament, yet he may know the moon is there by seeing it shine upon the water: so, though I cannot look up into the secret of God's purpose, yet I may know I am elected by the shining of sanctifying grace in my soul. Whosoever finds the Word of God transcribed and copied out into his heart, may undeniably conclude his election.
- Thomas Watson, All Things for Good, p. 126 (Thomas Watson's full book, A Divine Cordial, or The Transcendent Privilege of Those That Love God and Are Savingly Called [All Things for Good], is on the Puritan Hard Drive)
Francis Turretin, on predestination, writes,
It (predestination - ed.) is one of the primary gospel doctrines a foundation of our faith. It cannot be ignored without great injury to the church and to believers. For it is the fountain of our gratitude to God, the root of humility, the foundation and most firm anchor of confidence in all temptations, the fulcrum of the sweetest consolation and the most powerful spur (incitamentum) to piety and holiness. ...
Although wicked men often abuse this doctrine (improperly understood), its lawful use towards the pious ought not therefore to be denied (unless we wish to have more regard for wicked men than believers). (2) If, on account of the abuse of some persons, we should abstain from the proposition of this mystery, we must equally abstain from most of the mysteries of the Christian religion which the wicked abuse or laugh at and satirize (such as the mystery of the Trinity, the incarnation, the resurrection and the like). (3) The calumnies launched against the doctrine of Paul by the false apostles could not cause him to suppress it; yea, he thoroughly discussed it in his inspired way so that he might shut the mouths of adversaries. Why then should we refrain from its presentation? Let us only follow in the footsteps of Paul and, with him, speak and be silent.
If some abuse this doctrine either to licentiousness or to desperation, this happens not per se from the doctrine itself, but accidentally, from the vice of men who most wickedly wrest it to their own destruction. Indeed there is no doctrine from which more powerful incitements to piety can be drawn and richer streams of confidence and consolation flow (as will be seen in the proper place).
The mystery of predestination is too sublime to be comprehended by us as to the why (to diod) (as he is rash who would attempt to find out or to assign the reasons and the causes of it). But this does not hinder it from being taught in Scripture as to the fact (to hoti) and from being firmly held by us. Two things therefore must be distinguished here: the one, what God has revealed in his word; the other, what he has concealed. The former we cannot despise (unless rashly). "The secret things,' says Scripture, 'belong unto God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children' (Dr. 29:29). To neglect things revealed argues ingratitude, but to search into things concealed argues pride. "We must not therefore deny what is plain because we cannot comprehend what is hidden," as Augustine expresses it (On the Gift of Perseverance 37 [NPNF1, 5:540; PL 45.10161). ...
Not that we should curiously unroll "the book of life" in order to see if our names are written therein (which is forbidden to us), but that we should diligently consult "the book of conscience" which we are not only permitted, but also commanded to do, that we may know whether the seal of God is stamped upon our hearts and whether the fruits of election (viz., faith and repentance) may be found in us (which is the safest way of proceeding to the saving knowledge of that doctrine). In one word, all curious and fruitless questions must be avoided here, and what Paul calls 'foolish and unlearned questions' (apaideutous zetesis kai aperantous, 2 Tim. 2:23) -- which usually engender strifes and contentions. Our only object should be to increase our faith, not to feed curiosity; to labor for edification, not to strive for our glory.
The complete article from which the excerpts above (with emphases added) are taken is at Predestination of the Elect of God by Dr. Francis Turretin. The full article is excellent and is highly recommended by Still Waters Revival Books.
Dr. Matthew McMahon, on predestination and human exertion, writes,
Since the contents of the divine counsel of God have not been revealed to us in their entirely, that makes life more difficult. It really does. And it makes life more interesting. It would be great to know what tomorrow brings. It would be nice to know that your interview will go well, you will get the job, and one day own the company as a result. But who knows what will happen. We do know some basics. But we do not have a moment-by-moment playbook that explains everything that will go on in our lives. Instead of relying on the divine counsel for our daily direction, we rely on the affect of God's decree that centers on the revealed Word of God. Man is obliged to read, study and know the Word of God because in it lie the principles of Christian obedience and sanctification. Christians have no right to say, "Well, if God decrees that I will get the job then it will just happen." No, it will not if you do not get up out of bed and get to the interview dressed and prepared. Instead, Christians should say, "His word says....(such and such)...so I will obey it."
For example, His word says in 2 Thessalonians 3:10, "If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat." So, attend your job interview with a sharp mind and be prepared so you can find some work. Stop saying, "If God wants me to pay my bills, then He will provide." We know He will, but not at the expense of human exertion. Stop kidding yourself on that point in whatever situation you apply this basic principle. God is not going to deliver you from debt if you do not work. He is not going to evangelize Harry if you do not go next door and witness to him. He is not going to sanctify your soul if you do not pray or read the Word. He is not going to deliver you from drunkenness if you keep going back to the bar. The decrees of God, though they are true, cannot be the rule and guide for the life of the Christian simply because of the fact that their contents are not revealed to us. God's will for His people is revealed in the Word of God. If you want to know "God's will for you life" then go read the Bible, and know it inside out and backwards. Apply biblical principles to daily life and God will richly reward you as He providentially guides your steps. But stop thinking that He is going to appease your laziness in life by "zapping" you by some magical decree.
Thirdly, God's decrees include the means as well as the ends. God's subordinate ends in general are accomplished by means. Harry is not going to be saved because God simply "zaps" him. No, God uses various means to accomplish an end. He will use a preacher, the Bible, and yes, you as a next-door neighbor. Do you know Harry will be saved? No, you have no idea. Maybe he will, maybe he will not. But the contents of God's decreed will do not override your obligation to go over there and witness to him because the decree is not revealed to you. Maybe you have a sickly wife. She is in the hospital. Will you pray for her? If God already knows the answer, why pray? God has decreed "something for her." But you have no inkling as to what that is. Pray! Stop your incessant laziness around the revealed Word of God that commands you to pray, and go pray for your wife. Where in the Word of God does it say, "Since God already knows everything and has decreed everything you ought not to pray?" Does God know everything? Yes. Does God decree everything? Yes. But that has nothing to with the fact that God commands you to pray. Never mix up the decree of God with human exertion. Psalm 116:4, "Then I called on the name of the LORD: "O LORD, I pray, deliver my soul!" Matthew 6:6, "But when you pray... (Not "if" you pray). Matthew 6:9, "Pray then like this..." 1 Thessalonians 5:17, "pray without ceasing."
Clever Christians will say, "Jeremiah was told by God not to pray. Sometimes God does not hear us at all!" Jeremiah 11:14 says, "Therefore do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer on their behalf, for I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their trouble." This is actually not so clever. This is God's revealed Word to Jeremiah. It is God's revealed word to us as well, but in a very different context. If you are Jeremiah, and you are in prison, and you are threatened with exile as a result of a stubborn Jewish nation, then go right ahead and claim that verse. Otherwise, stop making excuses and pray. God revealed His will to Jeremiah specially in this circumstance. He specifically told Jeremiah that he should not pray in this one instance. In other instances, Jeremiah prayed fervently because he too did not know God's decreed will - Jeremiah 42:4, "Jeremiah the prophet said to them, 'I have heard you. Behold, I will pray to the LORD your God according to your request, and whatever the LORD answers you I will tell you. I will keep nothing back from you.'" So pray!
The means to a subordinate end is as much intended by God as a decree to reach the final goal. Prayer is part of that end. Witnessing is part of that end. Using your gifts in the church is part of that end. Going to work is part of that end. Never neglect the means. The means are as important to the decreed end as the end itself. Without the means, the end would never come to pass. That is why Paul presses this point home forcefully in Philippians 2:12-13, "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure." Salvation is of the Lord, but we are commanded to work out our salvation daily. Salvation is never really true salvation without demonstrating the truth of that saving power by walking in God's statures and commands. That is why Ephesians 2:10 says, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." Good works are part of the Christian life. By walking in good works we demonstrate we are God's people for faith without works is dead. God works in us to affect His decreed end for us, but we must walk as well. This is not synergism as is theologically argued, but really understanding how decrees and human exertion go hand in hand as theologically practical issues. Without walking, we go nowhere. God supplies us with what we need to accomplish the end and to run the good r ace, but without running the race is never won.
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So, to recap - 1) there is no contradiction between God's decree and human exertion. They are exclusive theological concepts and have different relations to both God, and us, though they are complimentary in our systematic thought. 2) The decrees of God are not addressed to man as the rule of action, and cannot be our rule of action because their contents are not disclosed to us each day for the day before. Instead, His revealed will is the means by which Christians know the mind of Christ. 3) The decree of God includes the means as well as the end in a given situation or instance. The means are just as important as the ends since those means are the steps to see the end realized.
Great controversies have arisen (such as Dordt's synod to eject all heretical preachers from the Netherlands) through church history because there has been an incessant desire to wed the decrees of God with human exertion in a way that empties the content of the decree into our hands. Simple, God never does this, and His word never does this. The two remain true, and mutually exclusive theologically in this light. We know there is a decreed counsel. But the secret things of such a counsel belong to the Lord. What He desires us to know is revealed in the Word of God. That is why it is imperative for the church to have such a high view of the Scriptures, because there, and only there, are the directives and principles of Christian sanctification found.
The complete article from which the excerpts above (with emphases added) are taken is at Decrees & Human Exertion By Dr. C. Matthew McMahon. The full article is excellent and is highly recommended by Still Waters Revival Books.
Over 12,500 Puritan (Owen, Watson, et al), Reformation (Calvin, Knox, Luther, et al.), Covenanter (Rutherford, Gillespie), Presbyterian (Hodge), Calvinistic (Edwards), Reformed Baptist (Spurgeon, Bunyan, Pink, et al) Books, MP3s, & Videos - With Powerful, Practical and Proprietary Reformation Research and Bible Study Software and a Massive Embedded Data With Over 15,000,000 Records (Which Helps You Find Exactly What You Need In An Instant!).
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Amazing Puritan Hard Drive Fact and Hint: A search, using the master index on the Puritan Hard Drive and the "Open Full Reader Search" (in Acrobat reader), for the word "prayer", returns 97,170 results (in 1,378 documents) - all in context, arranged by book, and clickable (i.e., when you click on your individual search result the book opens to the page with your result highlighted)! How helpful is that for learning more about prayer, or any other subject you can think of, through the Puritan Hard Drive? Download the free PDF, How to Find Specific Words and Phrases in Searchable Books.pdf, to learn more.
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If funds are tight, remember that you can purchase the Puritan Hard Drive using interest free deferred monthly payments as low as $50.00 per month. We also ship your Puritan Hard Drive as soon as your deferred monthly payments have reached $100.00. You may also pay $100.00 down, for faster shipping, then $50.00 per month thereafter. Call us at 780-450-3730 for more details about our interest free deferred monthly payments offer, or to get started today. You may also place an interest free deferred monthly payments order for the Puritan Hard Drive by using our Secure Online Order form. If you use our Secure Online Order Form, please make sure to enter your shipping address, phone number, email address and payment information (credit or debit card and expiry date). Also mention if you need the Single Platform Edition (Windows or Mac) or Dual Platform Edition (Windows and Mac) of the Puritan Hard Drive, and what size of Puritan Hard Drive you are ordering (size options, and the cost for each, are above the "Add to Cart" button at the SWRB Puritan Hard Drive page). Interest free deferred monthly payments orders must be placed by calling 780-450-3730 (in Canada) or using our Secure Online Order Form (click here). Scroll down at Phone/Contact Us to find the exact phone number to use from your country. We are open for calls six days a week (we are closed on the Lord's Day [Sunday]) and often cover the phones 24 hours a day. However, if you call and get our answering machine, it is safe to leave your order on the answering machine, or to leave us your phone number, with a message about why you are calling, and the best time to call you back, and we will call you when it is convenient for you. This applies to all nations worldwide.
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Gospel Covenant Publications
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Would you like to volunteer some of your time to read classic Puritan and Reformed books and sermons to MP3, to make permanent digital audio versions of the best Puritan and Reformed books for our generation and for posterity? If so, we then list the Puritan and Reformed MP3s you have read on the Web, to give them away for free to people in every nation of the world - and, by God's grace, we reach between 45,000 to over 100,000 people each month with these free Puritan and Reformation MP3s! You may listen to other readings, by people just like yourself (who love the Lord and want to reach others with the love of the Lord Jesus Christ and the truth of His holy Word, the Bible) at FREE PURITAN & REFORMATION MP3 AUDIO SERMONS/BOOKS and from our "Audio Book" section on SWRB's sermonaudio site. You may also use the FREE SWRB iPHONE, iPAD, iPOD (Touch) APP to listen. It is very easy to get started with your new international Reformation reading ministry, just email us at email@example.com
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It may also be of interest to you to know that at SWRB we strive to use as much of the proceeds from sales, as is possible, to produce more free and discounted Puritan books, Reformation MP3s and Calvinistic videos. This is how, by God's grace, we have published so many books, MP3s and videos over the years (with a relatively small staff and the help of volunteers) and why we are able to distribute so much material for free and at such low prices - may our Lord get all the glory! With your continued prayers, support and purchases we will be able to reach even more people, in the future, all around the world with the truth of the Scriptures - using the latest and best technologies available, in the service of the Lord, to greatly multiply all the good that can be done, and aiming to fill the world with the best Christian (Puritan and Reformation) resources available (Acts 17:6).
Your Servant in Christ (for the Third Reformation),
Dr. Reg Barrow
Still Waters Revival Books
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"In the history of the church's sanctification I don't believe there has been a more valuable extra-biblical resource and tool than the Puritan Hard Drive... It holds some of the most priceless Reformed works of God-centered and Christ-glorifying truth that were ever penned." - Dr. Matthew McMahon, A Puritan's Mind
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Charles Spurgeon preached:
"What is the heresy of Rome, but the addition of something to the perfect merits of Jesus Christ--the bringing in of the works of the flesh, to assist in our justification? And what is the heresy of Arminianism but the addition of something to the work of the Redeemer? Every heresy, if brought to the touchstone, will discover itself here. I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the gospel, if we do not preach justification by faith, without works; nor unless we preach the sovereignty of God in His dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah; nor do I think we can preach the gospel, unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of His elect and chosen people which Christ wrought out upon the cross; nor can I comprehend a gospel which lets saints fall away after they are called, and suffers the children of God to be burned in the fires of damnation after having once believed in Jesus. Such a gospel I abhor (From the Spurgeon sermon A Defense of Calvinism).