Bold is good, accurate is better

October 14, 2007

Act 18:26 He (Apollos) began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him and explained to him the way of God more accurately.

In the previous verse we see that Apollos was speaking accurately about what he knew of Jesus, but he only knew the baptism of John.

More carefully …More accurately than he already knew. Instead of abusing the young and brilliant preacher for his ignorance they (particularly Priscilla) gave him the fuller story of the life and work of Jesus and of the apostolic period to fill up the gaps in his knowledge. It is a needed and delicate task, this thing of teaching gifted young ministers. They do not learn it all in schools. More of it comes from contact with men and women rich in grace and in the knowledge of God’s ways. He was not rebaptized, but only received fuller information. RWP

It was great that Apollos went out there speaking faithfully what he had previously learned. In my own (very limited) understanding of the ‘Baptism of John’ is that it was a baptism of repentance and was intended to prepare the way of the Lord and Apollos had knowledge of some of Christ’s teachings. Repentance is an essential response of those coming to Christ. Perhaps what was missing was information on Christ crucified for sinners and the call of salvation by grace alone through faith alone. Read the rest of this entry »

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Humanity’s radical corruption

October 6, 2007

My current goodnight book is What is Reformed Theology? by RC Sproul. Its very enjoyable and constantly challenges my dodginess. RC has shown me how RT puts God at the centre, is based on God’s Word alone, is committed to faith alone, devoted to Jesus Christ and structured by three covenants. I am currently reading RC’s first point regarding the tulip and I am yet again blown away. Here is a taste of how I am being refined in theological position:

Romans 3:9-18 “For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin …There is none righteous, no, not one. …There is none who does good, no not one.”

…To be under sin is to be controlled by our sin nature. Sin is a weight or burden that presses downward on the soul. In bringing the whole human race before the tribunal of God, Scripture indicts us all without exception, save for Jesus.

…How are we to understand this? Is it not our daily experience that many good deeds are performed by pagan people? The reformers wrestled with this problem and acknowledged that sinners in their fallen condition are still capable of performing what the Reformers called works of “civil virtue.” Civil virtue refers to deeds that conform outwardly to the law of God. Fallen sinners can refrain from stealing and perform acts of charity, but these deeds are not deemed good in an ultimate sense. When God evaluates the actions of people, he considers not only the outward deeds in and of themselves, but also the motives behind these acts. The supreme motive required of everything we do is the love of God. A deed that outwardly conforms to God’s law but proceeds from a heart alienated from God is not deemed by God a good deed. The whole action, including the inclinations of the doer’s heart, is brought under the scrutiny of God and found wanting.

(p. 119, 120)