Thomas Boston – Regeneration (1 Peter 1:23)


Being born again, not of corruptible seed—but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which lives and abides forever.” 1 Peter 1:23

We proceed now to the state of grace, the state of begun recovery of human nature, into which all who shall partake of eternal happiness are translated, sooner or later, while in this world. It is the result of a gracious change made upon those who shall inherit eternal life: which change may be taken up in these two particulars:

1. In opposition to their natural real state, the state of corruption, there is a change made upon them in regeneration; whereby their nature is changed.

2. In opposition to their natural relative state, the state of wrath, there is a change made upon them in their union with the Lord Jesus Christ; by which they are placed beyond the reach of condemnation.

These, therefore, regeneration and union with Christ, I desire to treat on as the great and comprehensive changes on a sinner, bringing him into the state of grace.

The first of these we have in the text; together with the outward and ordinary means by which it is brought about. The apostle here, to excite the saints to the study of holiness, and particularly of brotherly love, puts them in mind of their spiritual original. He tells them that they were born again; and that of incorruptible seed, the word of God. This shows them to be brethren, partakers of the same new nature: which is the root from which holiness, and particularly brotherly love, springs. We have been once born sinners: we must be born again, that we may be saints.

The simple word signifies “to be begotten;” and so it may be read, Matt. 11:11; “to be conceived,” Matt. 1:20; and “to be born,” Matt. 2:1. Accordingly, the compound word, used in the text, may be taken in its full latitude, the last idea presupposing the two former: so regeneration is a supernatural real change on the whole man, fitly compared to the natural birth, as will afterwards appear. The ordinary means of regeneration, called the “seed,” whereof the new creature is formed, is not corruptible seed. Of such, indeed, our bodies are generated: but the spiritual seed of which the new creature is generated, is incorruptible; namely, “the word of God, which lives and abides forever.” The sound of the word of God passes, even as other sounds do; but the word lasts, lives, and abides, in respect of its everlasting effects, on all upon whom it operates. This “word, which by the gospel is preached unto you,” ver. 25, impregnated by the Spirit of God, is the means of regeneration: and by it dead sinners are raised to life.

Doctrine. All men in the state of grace, are born again. All gracious people, namely, such as are in a state of favor with God, and endowed with gracious qualities and dispositions, are regenerate people. In discoursing on this subject, I shall show,

1. What regeneration is.

2. Why it is so called.

3. Apply the doctrine.

I. Of the Nature of regeneration.

For the better understanding of the nature of regeneration, take this along with you, that as there are false conceptions in nature, so there are also in grace: by these many are deluded, mistaking some partial changes made upon them, for this great and thorough change. To remove such mistakes, let these few things be considered:

(1.) Many call the church their mother, whom God will not own to be his children, Cant. 1:6, “My mother’s children,” that is, false brethren, “were angry with me.” All that are baptized, are not born again. Simon was baptized—yet still “in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity,” Acts 8:13, 23. Where Christianity is the religion of the country, many are called by the name of Christ, who have no more of him than the name: and no wonder, for the devil had his goats among Christ’s sheep, in those places where but few professed the Christian religion, 1 John 2:19, “They went out from us—but they were not of us.”

(2.) Good education is not regeneration. Education may chain up men’s lusts—but cannot change their hearts. A wolf is still a ravenous beast, though it be in chains. Joash was very devout during the life of his good tutor Jehoiada; but afterwards he quickly showed what spirit he was of, by his sudden apostasy, 2 Chron. 24:2-18. Good example is of mighty influence to change the outward man: but that change often goes off, when a man changes his company; of which the world affords many sad instances.

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Dr. D. A. Carson – Must I Learn How to Interpret the Bible?

Hermeneutics is the art and science of interpretation; biblical hermeneutics is the art and science of interpreting the Bible. At the time of the Reformation, debates over interpretation played an enormously important role. These were debates over ―interpretation, not just over ―interpretations. In other words, the Reformers disagreed with their opponents not only over what this or that passage meant, but over the nature of interpretation, the locus of authority in interpretation, the role of the church and of the Spirit in interpretation, and much more.

During the last half century, so many developments have taken place in the realm of hermeneutics that it would take a very long article even to sketch them in lightly. Sad to say, nowadays many scholars are more interested in the challenges of the discipline of hermeneutics than in the interpretation of the Bible—the very Bible that hermeneutics should help us handle more responsibly. On the other hand, rather ironically there are still some people who think that there is something slightly sleazy about interpretation. Without being crass enough to say so, they secretly harbor the opinion that what others offer are interpretations, but what they themselves offer is just what the Bible says.

Carl F. H. Henry is fond of saying that there are two kinds of presuppositionalists: those who admit it and those who don‘t. We might adapt his analysis to our topic: There are two kinds of practitioners of hermeneutics: those who admit it and those who don‘t. For the fact of the matter is that every time we find something in the Bible (whether it is there or not!), we have interpreted the Bible. There are good interpretations and there are bad interpretations; there are faithful interpretations and there are unfaithful interpretations. But there is no escape from interpretation.

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Tim Challies – The History of Christianity in 25 Objects: Wycliffe’s Pulpit

John Wycliffe’s body had been buried outside St. Mary’s Church for more than forty years when his grave was disturbed. Upon the orders of Pope Martin V, his remains were exhumed, his bones burned and the ashes scattered on the river Swift. This act of desecration was deemed fitting for one who had been posthumously condemned as a heretic. But, as Donald Roberts says so eloquently, it was by no means the end of his legacy for, “As history has revealed, Wycliffe’s bones were much more easily dispersed than his teachings, for out of a sea of controversy and angry disputation rose his greatest contribution—the English Bible.”

St. Mary’s Church in Lutterworth is now more than 800 years old and remains an active congregation. Visitors to that church will have the opportunity to see many artifacts related to the life and ministry of John Wycliffe, none of them more noteworthy than the pulpit. Wycliffe’s pulpit is the eighth of the twenty-five objects through which we are tracing the history of Christianity. It was through this pulpit that Wycliffe would preach the Word of God and defy the corrupt doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church.

John Wycliffe was born in a small village in Yorkshire, England in 1330. These were the late Middle Ages, still two hundred years before the Reformation. English was in its infancy, slowly developing into a tongue that would supplant French and Latin as the language of the common people. Whether a man was born high or low, whether he was a peasant or a ruler, the Church would dominate his life; yet the Church was increasingly corrupt and had become a political force as much as a religious body.

Wycliffe attended Oxford University, receiving his Bachelor of Divinity in 1369 and his doctorate in 1372. Gifted with a brilliant mind, he was soon recognized as one of the world’s foremost theologians and philosophers. In 1374 he was appointed rector of Lutterworth and he remained in that position until his death ten years later.

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Mike Ovey – Colonial Atheism: A Very British Vice

As I write this the UK Parliament is considering Clause 1(1) of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill. It reads ‘Marriage of same sex couples is lawful’. Aside from all considerations about how Christians should respond to same-sex attraction and see biblical teaching reflected in the law of the land, what intrigues me here is one of the background assumptions, namely, that same-sex marriage is possible. Now, in the UK same-sex marriage has not been a social norm, to put it mildly. And the assumption of the UK government actually boils down to an assumption that, for the geographical entity of the UK, marriage ‘belongs’ to the UK government. It ‘belongs’ to it in the sense that it has the right to define and shape it. It has the right to ‘name’ what is and is not marriage.

Now, you do not have to have the theological acumen of John Calvin to spot that this is in practical terms atheistic. What I want to propose here is that this kind of atheism has a striking quality to it. It is colonialist. It is colonial atheism. There are no doubt other dimensions to it, but the colonial quality is important. And while I think it is very British, I do not think we Brits have any monopoly on this kind of colonialism.

Why should we describe some aspects of contemporary atheism as colonialist? The terms obviously suggest that colonial history and contemporary atheism have something in common. But what? The common denominator hinges on the idea of what is now called terra nullius, land that belongs to no one. And what I aim to do here is develop a line of thought that came up recently in discussion with the Bishop of St Albans in the UK, Alan Smith (‘colonial atheism’ is his phrase). It is hugely illuminating.

The idea behind terra nullius is quite simple. You declare that some land belongs to no-one, so it then becomes available for occupation. Something like this crops up in ancient Roman law, where it gave an account of how, for example, a newly appeared island in the sea could be reduced into ownership (Justinian’s Institutes II.1.22). This is not unreasonable: it is new land and clearly no one has laid any claim to it, either explicitly or implicitly. But imagine how very different the application is when you come across land where other people are living out their lives and you then declare it belongs to no one, thereby leaving it open to you to occupy for yourself. Now, the provenance of the term terra nullius is certainly a point of contention in academic circles just now, but the idea is found in judgments British authorities make in nineteenth-century Australia which relate to the claims to lands lived on by Aboriginal Australians. Unmistakably, it works to the disadvantage of those Aboriginal Australians.

However, whatever the original intention, there is a ‘Heads-I-win-tails-you-lose’ sense to terra nullius here. This happens in the following way. In order to qualify for recognition as owner, you have to have cultural forms which map onto the culture and practice of the colonial power. If you do have cultural forms which map onto the culture and practice of the colonial power, they are treated as part of the culture and practice of the colonial power. They are not treated as having an independent validity. The risk then is that your own culture has simply been assimilated into the colonial power anyway. Alternatively, because you retain culture and practice which does not fit the colonial power, you are un-personed in one of the most significant ways a property-owning culture knows: you are a non-owner.

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Intelmin Week in Review – 29 April – 5 May 2013

Here is what made it on Intelmin this past week. It was a busy week with lots of great articles, book reviews, and videos to share. Thanks for stopping by.

Amie Patrick – Four Lies About Introverts

Dr. John MacArthur – Principles for Living to God’s Glory: Evangelism

Daniel Darling – How God Uses Relationships to Make You Better

Alexander Tsiaras – Conception to Birth (Visualized)

Joe Carter – 9 Things You Should Know About Planned Parenthood

Jon Morrison – Zeitgeist

Erik Raymond – Idolatry is Robbery and Perversion

Jason Todd – The Socially Acceptable Sin

Anthony Weber – The Shape of Reality: Identifying Evil

Dr. Albert Mohler – Confessional Integrity and the Stewardship of Words

Dave Jenkins – Broussard, Gay Marriage and “Tolerance”

Tony Shepherd – What do Obama, LGBT, and NBA have in common?

J. C. Ryle – 8 Symptoms of False Teaching

Ken Ham – The Chasm Is Widening: Are You on God’s Side?

Jim Daly – Ten Reasons Kids Leave the Church

Book Review – CrossTalk: Where Life & Scripture Meet by Dr. Michael Emlet

Book Review – The Psalter Reclaimed by Dr. Gordon Wenham

Dane Hays – Slaying Porn Through Christ: A Testimony of Hope

Darryl Dash – Playing It Safe?

Tony Payne – The Alien World of the Bible

Jason DeRouchie – The Profit of Employing the Biblical Languages: Scriptural and Historical Reflections

Mike Ovey – Colonial Atheism: A Very British Vice

Eric Ortlund – The Pastoral Implications of Wise and Foolish Speech in the Book of Proverbs

Book Review – The Hebrew Prophets and Their Social World by Victor Matthews

Eric Chabot – The Apologetics of Jesus

Was Jesus an apologist? As we read through the Gospels it could not be more evident that we see Jesus utilize a variety of methodologies to communicate spiritual truths. Since there was no New Testament canon at that time, it is not as if Jesus was cognizant of 1 Peter 3:15-16 where we read, “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. ” So I doubt that Jesus walked around saying, “ I have been called to be an apologist and I need to carry out my task in a faithful manner.” However, Jesus offered reasons on several occasions as to why He is the Jewish Messiah and God incarnate. So let’s take a look at some of these and try to learn some things.

1. Jesus asked questions
For starters, if you read through the Gospels, you will see Jesus asked 153 questions. This is something that needs to be practiced by all Christians. As Christians we tend to be great talkers but poor listeners. If you read through the rabbinical literature, you will see that asking questions is a common occurrence. In all my discussions with my friends that are skeptics, I tend to ask the following questions:

1. If Christianity is true, would you want to be a Christian?
2. If the God of the Bible exists, would you want to know that?
3. If the God of the Bible does exist, would you be interested in looking at the evidence?

In some cases, asking questions helps to cut to the real issue at hand. When I ask these questions, many people realize they really have no intention of surrendering to God. In the end, no evidence will really convince them. And in one case, I even had one skeptic tell me they didn’t want Christianity to be true. It is true that Biblical faith involves the entire person—-the intellect, the emotions, and the will. So follow the methods of Jesus and always try get to the “heart” of the issue.

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A. A. Hodge – Outlines of Theology

CHAPTER 1: Christian Theology; Its Several Branches; And Their Relation to Other Departments of Human Knowledge

1. What is Religion? And what is Theology in its Christian sense?

Religion, in its most general sense, is the sum of the relations which man sustains to God, and comprises the truths, the experiences, actions, and institutions which correspond to, or grow out of those relations.

Theology, in its most general sense, is the science of religion.

The Christian religion is that body of truths, experiences, actions, and institutions which are determined by the revelation supernaturally presented in the Christian Scriptures. Christian Theology is the scientific determination, interpretation. and defense of those Scriptures, together with the history of the manner in which the truths it reveals have been understood, and the duties they impose have been performed, by all Christians In all ages.

2. What is Theological Encyclopedia? and what Theological Methodology?

Theological Encyclopedia from the Greek ejgkuklopaidei>a (the whole circle of general education), presents to the student the entire circle of the special sciences devoted to the discovery, clarity, and defense of the contents of the supernatural revelation contained in the Christian Scriptures, and aims to present these sciences in those organic relations which are determined by their actual genesis and inmost nature.

Theological Methodology is the science of theological method. As each department of human inquiry demands a mode of treatment peculiar to itself; and as even each subdivision of each general department demands its own special modifications of treatment, so theological methodology provides for the scientific determination of the true method, general and special, of pursuing the theological sciences.

And this includes two distinct categories: (a) The methods proper to the original investigation and construction of the several sciences, and (b) the methods proper to elementary instruction in the same.

All this should be accompanied with critical and historical information, and direction as to the use of the vast literature with which these sciences are illustrated.

3. To what extent is the scientific arrangement of all the theological sciences possible? And on whataccount is the attempt desirable?

Such an arrangement can approach perfection only in proportion as these sciences themselves approach their final and absolute form. At present every such attempt must be only more or less an approximation to an ideal unattainable in the present state of knowledge in this life. Every separate attempt also must depend for its comparative success upon the comparative justness of the general theological principles upon which it is based. It is evident that those who make Reason, and those who make the inspired Church, and those who make the inspired Scriptures the source and standard of all divine knowledge must severally configure the theological sciences to the different foundations on which they are made to stand.

The point of view adopted in this book is the evangelical and specifically the Calvinistic or Augustinian one, assuming the following fundamental principles: 1st. The inspired Scriptures are the sole, and an infallible standard of all religious knowledge. 2nd. Christ and his work is the center around which all Christian theology is brought into order. 3rd. The salvation brought to light in the gospel is supernatural and of FREE GRACE. 4th. All religious knowledge has a practical end. The theological sciences, instead of being absolute ends in themselves, find their noblest purpose and effect in the advancement of personal holiness, the more efficient service of our fellowmen, and THE GREATER GLORY OF GOD.

The advantages of such a grouping of the theological sciences are obvious, and great. The relations of all truths are determined by their nature, whence it follows that their nature is revealed by an exhibition of their relations. Such an exhibition will also tend to widen the mental horizon of the student, to incite him to breadth of culture, and prevent him from unduly exalting or exclusively cultivation any one special branch, and thus from perverting it by regarding it out of its natural limitations and dependencies.

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Dr. John MacArthur – Elements of Productive Bible Study: Teach

Early on in my ministry, I discovered the best way to mentally retain something is to teach it to others. Preparing sermons each week has a way of drilling God’s truth into your head. And the things I study deeply to teach to my congregation are the things I have the easiest time remembering.

So when it comes to getting the most out of God’s Word, one of the best ways to cement His truth into your mind is to teach it.

You may not have a congregation, but there are other venues and situations that will afford you the blessings and benefits of preparing to teach God’s Word. You could start a Bible study at work or out of your home, volunteer for local outreach through your church, lead a Sunday school class, help with your church’s youth ministry, or preach the gospel in open-air evangelism in your community. Even setting aside time for a simple family devotional should give you opportunities to study and teach God’s Word.

Regardless of the venue, one of the primary blessings of teaching the Bible is that you’re forced to master the material if you’re going to effectively communicate it to others. The pressure to get the message right is a good thing—it forces you to make good use of your time and study diligently.

I know that no matter what else is going on in my life, I have to be ready to preach on Sunday. It’s an inflexible deadline. I can’t drag my feet and say I’ll have it ready by Tuesday—there won’t be anyone to hear it on Tuesday! The burden of preparing from week to week is actually a great blessing. It’s a powerful encouragement to budget my time and discipline myself for the sake of God’s truth.

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Michael Boling – Reflections on 1 Chronicles 6


1 Chronicles 6

Herein lies a rather long chapter with yet more hard to pronounce names. This particular chapter spends a good deal of time noting the sons of Levi. Of interest are those David placed in charge of the music ministry of the tabernacle once the ark of the Lord came to rest there.

One can note that just as God had commanded long ago, certain Levites had certain duties before God. Some were in charge of the music and some were in charge of other important functions such as the offering of the sacrifices.

This chapter also delineates the territory and towns given to the Levites as they were not granted large swaths of land as an inheritance. Each tribe contributed towns that were provided to the Levites.

While this is perhaps not the most exciting chapter, as with any chapter in Scripture it should not be ignored or rushed through. We can once again through these genealogies see God operating in history and we can see that the commands God gave Israel way back in the days of Moses were still being followed during the time of David and into the time of Solomon.

Dr. John MacArthur – Guard Your Purity (Part 3)

If you’ve spent any time around a toddler, you know that even the simplest, most basic instruction is followed by an unending string of whys. The attitude behind his questions range from inquisitiveness to rebellion, but the inclination to question authority is hardwired into us all.

It’s not enough to be told not to touch the hot stove—we need to know why we shouldn’t touch it. And often, we need firsthand experience of the consequences before we’re willing to do what we’re told. Complete, first-time obedience does not come naturally.

The same is true with the Lord’s commands to believers. We’re not prone to obey immediately, even when He’s clear about the consequences that await our disobedience.

In 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8, Paul spells out the Lord’s command that we abstain from sexual immorality and live pure lives. And he answers the inherent “why” question, telling us what’s in store if we fall short of God’s holy standard.

For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.

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