Archive for ‘Soteriology’

January 4, 2018

January Spotlight! Calvinism and Evangelical Arminianism

Cover Calvinism and Evangelical ArminianismBook Description

Since the Remonstrants first defended the teachings of Jacob Arminius at the Synod of Dordt, the system known as Arminianism has undergone a number of expressions by its various advocates. In the nineteenth century, it had become apparent to Dr. John L. Girardeau that the form of Arminianism preached by American Evangelical Arminians as influenced by the preaching of John Wesley had not been sufficiently critiqued and answered in print, along with a corresponding defense of the doctrines of Calvinism.

The book is divided into two parts. In the first part, the doctrines of election and reprobation are stated and proven, and two categories of Arminian objections are answered: appeals to the moral attributes of God, such as his divine justice, goodness, wisdom and veracity, and appeals to the moral agency of man.

The second part is divided into four sections, in which Dr. Girardeau states the Calvinistic doctrine of justification and explains the ground, nature and condition of this essential of Protestant theology and contrasts it with the Arminian alternative.

John L Girardeau

Dr. John L. Girardeau   (1825-1898)

About the Author

John Lafayette Girardeau (1825-98) John Lafayette Girardeau was born as Lafayette Freer Girardeau on November 14, 1825 to John Bohun Girardeau and Claudia Herne Freer Girardeau. The parents of young Girardeau were of French Huguenot descent and, by the time of their eldest son’s birth on James Island (across the Ashley River from Charleston), possessors of a rich colonial ancestry, which included at least one Revolutionary War hero. John Bohun (a planter) and Claudia Freer were also solid Presbyterians of the Scottish type. The Holy Scriptures and Westminster Standards were the standard fare for the Girardeau children with both father and mother active in their religious upbringing.

Also important in Girardeau’s formative years were two notable pastors, Aaron W. Leland and Thomas Smyth. Leland was the wee lad’s pastor on James Island and Smyth nurtured him during his early adolescent years in Charleston. Although Leland was of English ancestry, he was of the Scottish persuasion when it came to his theology and ecclesiology. Smyth was of Scotch-Irish background and pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church in Charleston. The low country Presbyterians had from the first identified with Scotland rather than the Mid-Atlantic Presbyterians. This was no doubt true because of Archibald Stobo, the pioneering Scot who founded the earliest distinctly Presbyterian churches in the South.

Girardeau was educated on James Island and in Charleston, completing Charleston College (now College of Charleston) in 1844 at the age of seventeen. He graduated with first honors (valedictorian) as a Greek and Latin scholar. Upon his graduation, Professor William Hawksworth exclaimed to those around him, “There goes a fine Greek scholar to make a poor Presbyterian preacher.”

After a year of tutoring and teaching on James Island and Mt. Pleasant (to raise money), he matriculated at the Theological Seminary of the Synod of South Carolina and Georgia (later Columbia Theological Seminary). As a ministerial student at Columbia he studied under his childhood pastor, Aaron W. Leland, and the venerable George Howe. Girardeau supplemented his seminary education by regularly attending the pulpit ministrations of Benjamin Morgan Palmer at the Presbyterian Church (now First Presbyterian), a short walk from both the seminary and South Carolina College. The seminarian also placed himself under the tutelage of James Henley Thornwell at the College (now University of South Carolina). Thornwell was at the time Professor of Moral Philosophy and preached or lectured regularly in the college chapel (Rutledge Chapel). Girardeau and other seminary students attended Dr. Thornwell’s addresses assiduously. Indeed, Girardeau attributed Dr. Thornwell’s chapel addresses with giving “shape and form” to his theology, which was already stoutly Westminsterian.

As a child of Claudia Herne Girardeau, the scion of South Carolina had learned to respect the poor and needy of society. During the latter years of college he had held regular meetings for the slaves on his father’s plantation, exhorting them to believe the gospel and rest upon Christ for their deliverance from sin. In seminary he held evangelistic meetings in a warehouse where the poor, enslaved, derelict, and disreputable attended. Shortly after graduation from seminary in 1848 he was ordained to the ministry of word and sacrament and embarked upon a brief series of pastorates-Wappetaw Church and Wilton Presbyterian Church-that would culminate in Charleston as a famous pastor to slaves.

In January 1854, he and his wife Penelope Sarah (“Sal”) moved from St. John Parish and Wilton Presbyterian Church (January 1849-December 53) to Charleston to assume the work begun by John B. Adger and the session of Second Presbyterian Church. The work was designed to establish a church for and of the slaves. In 1850, citizens of Charleston built a meeting house on Anson Street for the exclusive use of the slaves. After Adger’s health failed, Girardeau was handpicked by Adger and Smyth to lead the work forward. The work expanded from thirty-six black members when Girardeau arrived to over 600 at the time of the American Armageddon. He preached to over 1,500 weekly from 1859 through 1861.

In 1858/59 the Anson Street Mission experienced a marvelous revival and in April 1859 they moved into a new building at the prestigious and prime intersection of Meeting and Calhoun Streets. The black membership was given the privilege of naming their church (which was particularized in 1858) and they chose “Zion.” Zion Presbyterian Church became famous for Girardeau’s preaching-he was called “the Spurgeon of America”-, but it was also noteworthy for its diaconal ministry in the community, catechetical training of hundreds in the city, sewing clubs for the women, and missionary activity. The outreach and influence of Zion was of such public notoriety that Girardeau and the session were often criticized and sometimes physically threatened. For example, the catechetical training and teaching of hymns and psalms was so effective that some Charlestonians believed Girardeau was teaching the slaves to read for themselves (which was contrary to state law).

After the War and before Girardeau could return to Charleston, a number of freedmen of Zion Presbyterian Church beckoned Girardeau to return to “the Holy City” and resume his work with them. They desired to have their white pastor whom they knew, loved, and respected, rather than a black missionary from the North. Throughout the post-War and Reconstruction years, he arduously worked amongst both black and white in Charleston. He mightily labored within the Southern Presbyterian Church to see that the freedmen were included in the church and in 1869 he nominated seven freedmen for the office of ruling elder in Zion Presbyterian Church, preached the ordination service, and with the white members of his session laid hands on his black brothers.

Unfortunately, the pressures of Reconstruction and the Freedmen’s Bureau, and the hardened positions of notables like B. M. Palmer and R. L. Dabney brought the church to a pivotal moment. The weight of political and social issues eventuated in “organic separation” of white membership and black membership and the formation of churches along the color line. Girardeau alone dissented against the resolution at the 1874 General Assembly in Columbus, Mississippi, for which he served as Moderator.

In 1875, B. M. Palmer nominated Girardeau for Professor of Didactic and Polemic Theology at Columbia Seminary, a position W. S. Plumer had held since 1866. In January 1876 he began his seminary labors which lasted until June 1895. During his academic career he continued as a popular preacher in the Southern Church, defended biblical orthodoxy against the inroads of modernism in the Woodrow Controversy at Columbia Seminary, labored actively against union with the Northern Presbyterian Church, served the courts of the church tirelessly, contributed many theological, ecclesiological, and philosophical articles to academic journals, and wrote several important monographs on theology, worship, and philosophy. He made significant contributions to the doctrine of adoption and the diaconate.

Girardeau and his beloved wife “Sal” had ten children who crowned their forty-nine years of marriage. Seven Girardeau children lived to adulthood while three died in infancy. Three Girardeau daughters married Presbyterian ministers, including the notable theologian and churchman Robert Alexander Webb. This pastor to slaves and theologian of the Southern Church died quietly at his home in Columbia on June 23, 1898, just a few months after his friend R. L. Dabney had passed away. B. M. Palmer wrote of Girardeau that “It will be long before another generation can produce his equal; and those, who have known him from the first to last, feel that we lay him to rest among the immortals of the past.” His body rests just a few short steps from his mentor and friend James Henley Thornwell in Columbia’s Elmwood Cemetery.

Source: PCA Historical Center

574 Pages
Publisher: Sprinkle Publications

October 5, 2016

Christianity in Crisis: 21st Century

christianity-in-crisis-21st-century-coverStatus: Checked Out

Book Description:

Nearly two decades ago Hank Hanegraaff’s award-winning Christianity in Crisis alerted the world to the dangers of a cultic movement within Christianity that threatened to undermine the very foundation of biblical faith. But in the 21st century, there are new dangers—new teachers who threaten to do more damage than the last.

These are not obscure teachers that Hanegraaff unmasks. We know their names. We have seen their faces, sat in their churches, and heard them shamelessly preach and promote the false pretexts of a give-to-get gospel. They are virtual rock stars who command the attention of presidential candidates and media moguls. Through make-believe miracles, urban legends, counterfeit Christs, and twisted theological reasoning, they peddle an occult brand of metaphysics that continues to shipwreck the faith of millions around the globe:

“God cannot do anything in this earthly realm unless we give Him permission.”

“Keep saying it—‘I have equality with God’—talk yourself into it.”

“Being poor is a sin.”

“The Jews were not rejecting Jesus as Messiah; it was Jesus who was refusing to be the Messiah to the Jews!”

“You create your own world the same way God creates His. He speaks, and things happen; you speak, and they happen.”

Christianity in Crisis: 21st Century exposes darkness to light, pointing us back to a Christianity centered in Christ.

From the Preface:

“Having lost the ability to think biblically, postmodern Christians are being transformed from cultural change agents and initiators into cultural conformists and imitators. Pop culture beckons, and postmodern Christians have taken the bait. As a result, the biblical model of faith has given way to an increasingly bizarre array of fads and formulas.”

hank-hanegraaffAbout the Author:

Hank Hanegraaff is host of The Bible Answer Man, heard daily throughout the United States and Canada. He is president of the Christian Research Institute and author of many bestselling books, including The Prayer of Jesus and The Apocalypse Code

Pages: 432
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: March 3, 2009
ISBN: 0849900069

Library patrons who have read this book are invited to share their comments, reviews, questions or criticisms for discussion in the comments below this post.

September 8, 2016

Christ the Lord: The Reformation and Lordship Salvation

christ-the-lord-coverStatus: Available

Book Description:

This compelling question is central to a debate taking place among evangelicals today. Michael Horton, a preeminent voice for reformation in the church, has drawn together a group of leaders in the evangelical church to answer this question once and for all.

W. Robert Godfrey
Michael Horton
Alister McGrath
Kim Riddlebarger
Rick Ritchie
Rod Rosenbladt
Paul Schaefer 
Robert Strimple

These writers draw on Scripture, theology, and church history to address the Lordship salvation issue. They explain their positions clearly, taking care to avoid promulgating legalistic rules people need to follow to be considered Christian. But neither do they convey the feeling that rules no longer matter.

Source: WTS Books

Michael-Horton-15About the Editor:

Michael Horton is the president of White Horse Inn, a multi-media catalyst for Reformation. He is editor-in-chief of Modern Reformation magazine and co-host of the nationwide radio broadcast, White Horse Inn. His books include Putting Amazing Back into Grace, Christless Christianity, and The Gospel-Driven Life. Dr. Horton is also the J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics at Westminster Seminary California. He serves as the associate pastor of Christ United Reformed Church in Santee, California, and lives in Escondido, California, with his wife Lisa and four children.

Source: White Horse Inn

Publication Date:
Publisher: Wipf and Stock
ISBN 10: 1606083686
ISBN 13: 9781606083680

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November 25, 2015

God Transcendent

God Transcendent CoverStatus: Available

Book Description

J. Gresham Machen ‘was one of the most colourful and controversial figures of his time, and it is doubtful that in the ecclesiastical world of the twenties and thirties any religious leader was more constantly in the limelight’. Machen was a scholar, Professor at Princeton and Westminster Seminaries, church leader, apologist for biblical Christianity, and one of the most eloquent defenders of the faith in the twentieth century.

God Transcendent is a collection of Machen’s addresses. It shows, perhaps more clearly than any of his books, why he was such a great man. In these messages, Machen expounds the greatness and glory of God, the wonder and power of the gospel and the exhilaration of serving Christ in the front line of spiritual warfare.They show why Machen fought so tenaciously for biblical truth against error: ‘It is impossible to be a true soldier of Jesus Christ and not fight’.

This series of popular messages includes Machen’s famous address, “The Active Obedience of Christ,” delivered only weeks before his death on January 1, 1937.

Table of Contents:

1. God Transcendent
2. Isaiah’s Scorn of Idolatry
3. The Fear of God
4. Sin’s Wages and God’s Gift
5. The Issue in the Church
6. The Letter and the Spirit
7. The Brotherhood in Christ
8. The Claims of Love
9. The Living Saviour
10. Justified by Faith
11. The Gospel and Modern Substitutes
12. The Separateness of the Church
13. Prophets False and True
14. The Good Fight of Faith
15. Constraining Love
16. The Creeds and Doctrinal Advance
17. Christ Our Redeemer
18. The Doctrine of the Atonement
19. The Active Obedience of Christ
20. The Bible and the Cross

J Gresham Machen

J. Gresham Machen (1881-1937)

About the Author

John Gresham Machen was born at Baltimore on July 28, 1881, the middle of three sons born to a southern lawyer, Arthur Machen, whose brother had fought for the Confederates in the Civil War. Some time in his youth Machen came to a personal faith in Christ, but there was no dramatic conversion experience. In later years he was not even able to recall the date (4 January 1896) when he had publicly professed faith and become a church member in Franklin Street Presbyterian Church. He was educated at Johns Hopkins and Princeton Universities, Princeton Theological Seminary and the Universities of Marburg and Göttingen in Germany.

Machen taught at Princeton Seminary from 1906 until its reorganisation in 1929. Then he left to help found Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, where he served as professor of New Testament until his death from pneumonia on New Year’s Day, 1937. In 1936 Machen was instrumental with others in founding what became the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and was its first Moderator.

[See also Ned B. Stonehouse, J. Gresham Machen: A Biographical Memoir (Banner of Truth, 1987); Geoffrey Thomas, ‘J. Gresham Machen’, The Banner of Truth, No. 214 (July 1981), pp. 12-20 and Nos. 233-238 (February-July 1983) .]

Source: Banner of Truth Trust

Paperback, 206 pages

Publisher: Banner of Truth Trust

Publication Date(s):

1949 (Wm. B. Eerdman’s Edition)
1982 (First Banner of Truth Edition)
2002 (Banner of Truth Edition Reprinted)

ISBN: 0-85151-355-7

Library patrons who have read this book are invited to share their comments, reviews, questions or criticisms for discussion in the comments below this post.

September 7, 2015

Saved From What?

Saved From What CoverStatus: Available

Book Description

Saved From What? is a penetrating look by well-known pastor and teacher R. C. Sproul at what the Bible really teaches about the nature of salvation.

Christians speak of “being saved,” but all too often don’t follow the phrase to its logical reply: “Saved from what?” How do we answer this question when we share the gospel with others? Far from being a matter of semantics, the issue holds critical importance for believers and non-believers alike. Is it really sufficient to say that we are saved from our sins?

R. C. Sproul uses Scripture to show that the question, in its most important sense, should be phrased, “Saved from whom?” The answer: God himself. God, in righteous wrath, stands against us in our sin. But the glory of the gospel is that the one from whom we need to be saved is the very one who saves us. It is when we truly grasp the significance of Christ’s redeeming work that we begin to understand the serious demands and joys of repentance. Thoughtful readers will be strengthened and challenged by this insightful volume. Now available in paperback.

Dr. R.C. Sproul

Dr. R.C. Sproul

About the Author

R. C. SPROUL is the founder and chairman of Ligonier Ministries and minister of preaching and teaching at Saint Andrew’s in Sanford, Florida. He has written more than sixty books and is featured daily on the Renewing Your Mind radio program.

Book Details

128 Pages
Publisher: Crossway/Good News Publishers
Publication Date: July 2010

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May 11, 2015

Redemption Accomplished and Applied

Redemption Accomplished and Applied CoverStatusAvailable


The atonement lies at the very center of the Christian faith. The free and sovereign love of God is the source of the accomplishment of redemption, as the Bible’s most familiar text (John 3:16) makes clear.

For thoughtful Christians since the time of the Apostle Paul, that text has started, not ended, the discussion of redemption—and few interpreters have explored in depth the biblical passages dealing with the atonement as penetratingly or precisely as John Murray, who, until his death in 1975, was regarded by many as the foremost conservative theologian in the English-speaking world.

In this enduring study of the atonement, Murray systematically explains the two sides of redemption: its accomplishment by Christ and its application to the life of the redeemed. In Part I Murray considers the necessity, nature, perfection, and extent of the atonement. In Part II Murray offers careful expositions of the scriptural teaching about calling, regeneration, faith and repentance, justification, adoption, sanctification, perseverance, union with Christ, and glorification.

Source: WTS Books

John MurrayAbout the Author

Professor John Murray (1898-1975) was recognized in his own lifetime as one of the leading Reformed theologians in the English-speaking world.

Born at Migdale, near Bonar Bridge, Scotland, he attended Dornoch Academy, and served with the Royal Highlanders (Black Watch) in France during the First World War, losing an eye in the conflict. After the War, he pursued studies, first at the University of Glasgow (MA, 1923), and then at Princeton Theological Seminary, USA (1924-27).

In 1929 he was invited to teach Systematic Theology at Princeton, and did so for one year, before joining the Faculty of the newly formed Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. There he shared with such scholars and Christian leaders as J. Gresham Machen and Cornelius Van Til in the great struggle to maintain the old Princeton tradition in theology, represented by the Hodges and B. B. Warfield. He was ordained in 1937 by the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, USA.

John Murray remained at Westminster until his retirement in 1966. He returned to his native Scotland, married Valerie Knowlton in December 1967 and enjoyed a brief period of fatherhood prior to his death in 1975. A careful scholar, an eloquent lecturer, a moving preacher, and the author of many outstanding articles and books, Murray’s driving passions were to declare Christ’s Word, advance his cause, and bless his people.

The Trust publishes his Collected Writings in four volumes, and his Redemption – Accomplished and Applied, in which he expounds particular redemption, stresses union with Christ, and sees adoption as the apex of the redemptive privileges.

Source: Banner of Truth Trust

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