Charles E Whisnant
I am the Pastor/Teacher of Rivers of Joy Baptist Church in Minford, Ohio since August 2008. I am married to Charity since June 14, 1969. I have four grown children. Having served in the local church for over forty years as Pastor/Teacher, Asso., Youth Pastor, Minister of Education, Building Upkeep, Camp Director, Sunday School Teacher, etc. Also I have worked in the public place for as many years as I have preached. Charity and her sister are co owner of Union Mills Conf. (Bakery) in West Portsmouth Ohio
John MacArthur was asked in this video what he thinks may come about in the church in the years to come and MacArthur is quick to comment on the essential component missing from so many churches and pastors today in the reformed faith. In part one he talks about how having reformed soteriology doesn’t give you a pass in regard to the role as a shepherd or with the way you conduct yourself.
In part 2 of this interview, MacArthur again challenges us in a wonderful way. Are our pastors involved in the life of the church? Are you attending a church that has a video screen playing the sermon, which MacArthur calls “Flat Screen Preaching”? How can you tell if this man is qualified to be an elder and above reproach if he only exists on a video screen? What sort of church is that? We should not allow a rock-n-roll event on Sunday morning replace the shepherding care of our souls.
Let us not forget how Paul instructs Timothy regarding overseers of the church in his first letter to Timothy. These words are tragically ignored, forgotten, pushed aside, and downplayed way too much today:
1 Timothy 3:1-7
The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2 Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.
I know, I’m late to the Spiritual Depression party. I’ve heard it quoted often. Many people have shared personal testimonies about how much it’s helped them. And on the strength of the quotes (often extended), the personal recommendation of friends, and my general love and trust for Lloyd-Jones, I’ve recommended the book a number of times myself. But until now, I’ve actually never read it. I’m excited to be correcting that omission over the next couple days. And along the way, I’m equally excited to hear the good Doctor’s original sermons that became this classic treatise on the Christian life.
So, over the next few days, Lord willing, I hope to post some reflections and thoughts as I read through the book. Today, I want to offer a brief summary of Thomas’ biographical foreword and Lloyd-Jones’ brief preface.
Thomas, a faithful Welsh minister himself, gives us a helpful introduction to Lloyd-Jones and his counseling philosophy in eight summary statements. As much as a biographical introduction to Lloyd-Jones, Thomas’ summary gives us insight into Lloyd-Jones’ dependence upon the word of God as the means of change and growth. Below are the eight major headers and a couple sentences from those sections used by Thomas to introduce us to Lloyd-Jones:
1. He was such a well-rounded, intelligent, and tender personality. Although a mighty intellect with a formidable presence he was accessible and not at all intimidating. There was not a trace of snobbery in him whatsoever; he loathed that sin.If I might, I want to commend Lloyd-Jones’ Great Doctrines of the Bible (Crossway) to anyone interested in (a) studying their Bible’s more systematically, (b) interested in getting to know the Doctor, or (c) interested in learning to preach doctrine with light and passion. Through these volumes, Lloyd-Jones became my first teacher in systematics. I will forever sing God’s praises for leading me to purchase these volumes as the first books I read as a new Christian.
2. He was also utterly committed to the faith of the Scriptures. Confessionally he stood in the tradition of the 1823 Confession of the Calvinistic Methodist Church of Wales. In 1952 he began a series of sermons on Friday nights which was to last for three years on the Great Doctrines of the Bible. They have been published in an 800 page book and they show his grasp of the subtlety of biblical theology, his total trust in the teaching of the Bible and his desire that all his thinking should be controlled by it.
3. He was a man who maintained the disciplines of private devotion. He had from the early days of his ministry adopted Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s daily Bible passage as his own…. (pdf | app)
4. He was a man to whom people went for spiritual help. Thomas includes this instruction on counseling from Lloyd-Jones to a gathering of medical doctors:
“What is needed is great patience and sympathy, and the power to put oneself in those people’s situation. The adviser must not hold to his own rigid position otherwise the man will simply become a tangent to a closed circle. The adviser may end by feeling that he has taken the ‘Christian stand’ and said all that was right. He may feel happy; but he may, by this very fact, have left the person in extreme misery. This is obviously bad counseling. The point is that we must be very careful not to foist our opinions on others. The counsellor is not a dictator, he is simply there to give help. While he may give his views and, with care, put them quite strongly if asked, yet all that is put to the patient must be in a spirit of real sympathy, love and understanding. As counsellors we must never be in the position of dictating to another person’s conscience. We have no right to imagine ourselves as ‘the conscience’ of another! We are there to share with those who consult us experience, knowledge, wisdom and suggestions concerning the way of cure. There are, unfortunately, Christians who feel it their duty to impose their own legalistic views of others. Our business, however, is to persuade, never to force. We must always be careful to avoid condemnation–especially in the case of a sick or agitated person. If the plain truth of the situation comes home to the patient that is one thing; but it is not our place to condemn.”
5. He believed in the sufficiency of Scripture. This meant he had confidence that the weekly preaching of the Bible would encourage Christians to understand and appreciate the person and work of Christ, that they would come thus under the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, and would be so energized by him as to give obedience to the ethical demands of the Word of God. Preaching the Word in the power of the Spirit, he believed, would itself lift up the downcast–transforming, elevating, ennobling and enriching their lives beyond measure.I love that second sentence as a partial statement on what should be happening, with God’s blessing, in our preaching. We should fill the people with the word of the Lord so that the people know they are being addressed by the Lord of the word. Thomas is exactly correct to see that such preaching puts cares in perspective and magnifies the majesty of God. As Lloyd-Jones himself said, “I can forgive a man for a bad sermon, I can forgive the preacher almost anything if he gives me a sense of God, if he gives me something for my soul, if he gives me a sense that, though he is inadequate in himself, he is handling something which is very great and very glorious, if he gives me some dim glimpse of the majesty and the glory of God, the love of Christ my Savior, and the magnificence of the Gospel.”
6. He was a man who was prepared to help people in every way he could. He would stay at Westminster Chapel until the last person had been counseled. He would write letters to people all over the world. … He also journeyed extensively all over the United Kingdom to support ministers and evangelical causes.
7. He was a man with a lucidity in explaining the human condition, engaging men’s minds in such an interesting and increasingly gripping manner that the troubles and fears that they had brought with them soon became forgotten distractions. The were being filled with the word of the Lord as they felt themselves addressed by the Lord of the word. So their cares were put into perspective as God was magnified before them.
8. He was a man persuaded that the person who had come to seek his counsels had more knowledge of all the circumstances involved than he himself had. So he would interrogate the inquirer, who might have wanted a straight directive word to his problem, asking him, “Now what do you think?”Lloyd-Jones writes a short, direct preface to the original volume. In his foreword, Lloyd-Jones states the reason for preaching these sermons and compiling this volume. ”Believing as I do that the greatest need of the hour is a revived and joyful Church the subject dealt with in these sermons is to me of greatest possible importance. Unhappy Christians are, to say the least, a poor recommendation of the Christian Faith; and there can be little doubt but that the exuberant joy of the early Christians was one of the most potent factors in the spread of Christianity.” Lloyd-Jones preached these sermons, he says, “‘for the common people’ and those who are in need of help’.” It’s my pastoral experience that “the common people,” everyday Christians, which is to say all of us, need from time to time biblical help to acquire spiritual joy. That spiritual joy goes hand-in-hand with flowering revival.
The challenge of John Stott
Read this article about John Stott very good
John Piper, a hugely influential exponent of Calvinism, wrote:
To this day I have zero interest in watching a preacher take his stand on top of the (closed) treasure chest of Bible sentences and eloquently talk about his life or his family or the news or history or culture or movies, or even general theological principles and themes, without opening the chest and showing me the specific jewels in these Bible sentences. John Stott turned the words of Bible sentences into windows onto glorious reality by explaining them in clear, compelling, complete, coherent, fresh, silly-free, English sentences... This is what I was starving for and didn’t even know it. Amazing! Someone is telling me what these sentences mean! Someone is making light shine on these words. It is shining so bright, I can’t sleep in this light! I am waking up from decades of dull dealing with God’s word. Thank you. Thank you. I could care less if you tell me any stories. I want to know what God means by these words!
Therefore, seeing we are surrounded by a great cloud of preachers, and laying aside every inadequate view of language and any homiletical approach that does not properly acknowledge Scriptural authority, let us preach the word, having our eyes fixed on Jesus the Logos of God, who is indeed, according to Hebrews 1:1–2, God's final revelation.
1A Academic conference seeks to normalize pedophilia[i]
I hope he doesn’t mind if I share it here:
power to conceive, incubate, nurture, rear, role model and prepare young, vulnerable human life for adulthood is to serve the security, development and well-being of children born of a male-female marital union. Procreation serves the couple, their extended family and the community at large at such a fundamental level that the distinct protections of authentic marriage must be reserved and preserved. True, natural marriage serves the common good in unique and vital ways that same-sex relationships just do not.
Defining a professed commitment in a same-sex relationship as a marriage because the assertion of commitment bears superficial similarities to authentic marriage or to other committed arrangements such as between two business partners, an employer and employee, or a long term customer service relationship, truly institutionalizes a lie to gratify a particular constituency. To classify such relationships as marriage would qualify them for the same prerogatives regarding parenting, adoption, foster care and similar special considerations appropriate for marriages when relationships defined merely by sexual or other narrowly selective behavior, by their very nature, fall short of the needs of children.
privileges and responsibilities in recognizing the differences, for
example, between a lawyer and school teacher, an accountant and
electrician, etc. To normalize and institutionalize placement of children with same sex couples would be systemic injustice and abuse of minors.
groups based upon their sexual behavior and preferences over the welfare, needs and interests of vulnerable children, invalidates its role as an authoritative professional organization serving the truth entrusted to its professionals, scientists and clinicians on behalf of the human beings they serve. Clearly, true psychologists, genuine mental health professionals, need a new organization to represent their fidelity to truth, professional ethics, scientific integrity, and service to all humanity.
I’m not saying the process is easy, and it may depend on degree of how deeply-rooted the SSA is, but most folks report varying degrees of help. Fordham University also published a 2010 journal study confirming such help is possible. http://www.onenewsnow.com/Culture/Default.aspx?id=991110
3A American Psychological Association supports same-sex ‘marriage’ 157-0[vi] Note footnote on this.
Quinlan knows first-hand that the "sexual orientation change efforts" are effective, as they helped him leave the homosexual lifestyle. This study, he contends, is a blow to activist groups that claim homosexuals are "born that way" and that homosexuality is merely one variation of normal human sexuality
"I accepted the manufacturer's guidelines and decided to follow them, and they're working for me, as they are for thousands of others who've decided to leave the homosexual lifestyle," he shares.
The PFOX president says that if a homosexual is open to hearing what the Bible teaches, then it is essential in helping a person halt homosexual conduct and developing heterosexual views. He adds, though, that Christians often take the wrong approach on the subject