It has been asked about the doctrine of Total Depravity, “If we are totally depraved, then how did we come to know of this estate of sin and misery?” Beza, in his works discussing the question “For what ends the Holy Spirit use the preaching of the Law?” is helpful here.
Citing John 9:41, (Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains) Beza reminds the reader that in our fallen estate, corruption reigns in us to such an extent, that we are ignorant of our ignorance. In our fallenness, we are pleased with those things which ought to displease us. We suppress the light of truth that we have as Paul states in Romans:
Rom 1:20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
Rom 1:21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Rom 1:22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools;
Rom 2:1 Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.
In Select Works of Theodore Beza, Theodore Beza in divides the Word (Books of the Old and New Testament) into two principal parts. One called the “Law” and the other “Gospel”. The Law, for Beza, is a doctrine whose seed is written in our hearts by nature. But this Law is written in the Bible so that we can have a more exact knowledge of it. This list of the two tables (10 Commandments) are a summary of the obedience and perfect righteousness we owe to God and our neighbor. The terms: perpetual life for those who keep the Law perfectly and death for those who do not. (Deut 30:15-20; James 2:10)
While the Law is known to us because it’s written on our hearts by nature, the Gospel is not at all in us by nature. The Gospel is revealed from heaven (Matt 16:17; John 1:13) and “surpasses natural knowledge”. It is through the Gospel that God proclaims to us that he has intended to save us freely by Jesus (Rom 3:20-22) by faith. Jesus must be trusted on for our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption (1 Cor 1:30). Through the Gospel proclamation God not only testifies to us all of this, but by his grace he renews us in way that we can embrace those benefits freely offered (1 Cor. 2:4).
I have just returned from two weeks visiting family in Texas and Louisiana. It was trip that went by fast because everyday we were somewhere different. Perhaps you are familiar with these types of vacations that are more exhausting than relaxing. Everyday was a time to play “catch up” with someone. Say goodbyes and pray it wouldn’t be so long till the next time we could sit down with a cup of coffee, beer, etc. Thankfully many of us are on Facebook so we can keep in touch there.
One interesting moment for my household is when we are on vacation and our time away will include a Sunday. If we’re on vacation on the Lord’s Day do we just not go to church? Do we go to a church with different theology? How different can it be? The Lord’s Day in wife’s family was always a day to attend church even if they were on vacation. That was not the case for me when I grew up. I appreciated that my wife’s dad set that example for his children and I wanted to leave my children with that memory as well. So far, every time we have been on vacation, we have found a way to attend a service on the Lord’s Day
For those in PCA circles who have been in the sanctification, law, Gospel discussions lately this is a helpful reminder of the declarations by the study committee of the PCA on the Federal Vision. R. Scott Clark had posted the points as adopted by the URCNA on his blog here recently and I thought it would be helpful to see the points adopted by the PCA as well. //
In light of the controversy surrounding the NPP and FV, and after many months of careful study, the committee unanimously makes the following declarations:
Below is a guest post by Brandon Addison for the Roman Catholic website Called to Communion. Brandon is a graduate of Westminster Seminary California. (2012, M.Div.) He is currently licensed in the Pacific Presbytery (PCA) where he preaches occasionally. I spoke with Brandon after he wrote this post and posted this with his permission.//
Bryan Cross has graciously asked me to write down my thoughts, as a Protestant, on the idea that Jesus founded the Roman Catholic Church (Hereafter RCC). From the outset I want to express sincere appreciation and the hope that Protestants and Catholics will come to better mutual understanding, which may lead to greater unity and proclamation of the Gospel. One of the things that I appreciated most about Evangelii Gaudium is Francis’s emphasis on the mission of the Church. As important as the theology and dogma associated with the Gospel message is, that theology and dogma serve the purpose of bringing the Good News to people who need it most. Even if we disagree about the content of the Gospel message and how it is to be promulgated, I believe that this commitment to the Gospel allows for a charitable spirit as we discuss our differences.
To that end, I would actually make a request because ecumenical dialogue cannot take place without a commitment to prayer. I would ask that readers of this article would invest time into praying for clarity, understanding, and humility. As I prepared this article, I began the process the way that you would approach any topic of this nature—with rigorous reading, writing, and analysis. All of these are vital to fruitful ecumenical dialogue, but I’ve found that these things are not enough to break my heart of pride and hubris. True ecumenical discussions can only take place when we realize that reason alone is not sufficient for us to grasp knowledge of Divine things. We require the grace of God to break down the pride in our hearts and to see things that our stubborn hearts refuse to see. I would simply ask that those who read and or comment to take a moment to reflect and pray for a spirit of humility and understanding. (more…)
The council of Constantinople held in 754 was a significant council. It considered itself to be ecumenical
“The holy and Ecumenical synod, which by the grace of God and most pious command of the God-beloved and orthodox Emperors, Constantine and Leo,  now assembled in the imperial residence city, in the temple of the holy and inviolate Mother of God and Virgin Mary, surnamed in Blachernae, have decreed as follows….” (Percival, Henry R (2013-06-23). The Seven Ecumenical Councils (p. 681). Veritatis Splendor Publications. Kindle Edition.) (more…)
Jesus as revelation is the fulfillment of Scripture
The coming of Christ did not happen in a vacuum. In one sense, the Incarnation was the most important event in the history of Israel. In an other sense, a true Jew should not have been surprised by the appearance of Jesus. They were in possession of the Scriptures and therefore had a possession of the revelation of God. The nature of revelation is progressive. It builds on itself and continues to point forward. Jesus as revelation is climatic. Revelation is given by God in history progressively. Vos spoke of God’s revelation like rings in a tree. Each successive ring has grown out of the preceding one. God reveals and in doing so sets up another revelation. We are always looking forward for more revelation and more of God. (more…)