Posts by John Fonville

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Why Do We Like To Be Constantly Told What To Do?

Graeme Goldsworthy explains why we like to be constantly told what we are to do and why we like to be battered and bruised by preachers....

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Baptism Is Far From Automatic

Michael Green discussing The Gorham Judgement and clarifying the Anglican position on baptism and regeneration....

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Confirmation Cannot Be a Sacrament

Confirmation cannot be a sacrament- a means of grace. Rather, confirmation is one's profession of faith- the believer's act, a response to the promise made in baptism....

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Why are the means of grace restricted to Word and sacrament?

J.V. Fesko, in his book, Word, Water and Spirit: A Reformed Perspective on Baptism, explains why the means of grace are restricted to Word and sacrament....

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Reconciliation: The Good News of the Gospel

Jerry Bridges discussing the good news of God's initiative in reconciling His enemies to Himself. ...

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Clarifying, “ecclesia reformata, semper reformanda”

Martin Davie clarifying the often misunderstood post-World War II Latin phrase, “ecclesia reformata, semper reformanda."...

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There Are No “Non-Liturgical” Churches

There is no such thing as a “non-liturgical church.” The choice is not between liturgy or no liturgy, but between having an agreed-upon, well-thought-out liturgy or leaving things to the spur of the moment and the discretion of the leader. As one wag has rightly observed, if you think “organized religion” is bad, try disorganized religion....

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The Protestant Reformation: A Two-Front War

The Protestant Reformation was waged on two fronts: the errors of Rome and the errors of the radical Reformation (i.e., so-called Anabaptists)....

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The Double-Edged Nature of the Gospel and Sacraments

The Double-Edged Nature of God's Revelation- The sacraments are means of grace. However, because they are linked to the covenant and more broadly to divine revelation, they are not always means of grace but sometimes means of judgment apart from a Spirit-wrought faith....

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Christ has Redeemed us through His Obedience

John Calvin: Christ has Redeemed us through His Obedience, which He practiced throughout His Life (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2.16.5)...

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"Christ is not divided. You cannot have half a Christ."

Walter Marshall on how true saving faith embraces Christ for both justification and sanctification. He shows that God's grace is twofold (i.e., the duplex [twofold] beneficium [benefit]). Justification is the first benefit (beneficium) and sanctification is the second benefit (beneficium). ...

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Andy Stanley, Marcion, and the Bible

According to Andy Stanley, the 21st century church must “unhitch the Christian faith from their Jewish scriptures.” Is this correct? No! We know this from Jesus' attitude towards the Old Testament, as well as the Apostles' and NT writers. We also object to Stanley's suggestion because of the nature of progressive revelation and the Scriptures central witness to Christ ...

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How Do I Know I'm A Christian?

Assurance lies in the very direct act of faith as one is presented with Christ, the object of faith. The reflex act of faith can support our profession but it cannot become the ground our assurance....

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The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification Outlines: Chapter 1

Detailed chapter outlines of Walter Marshall's book, The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification....

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The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification Outlines: Chapter 2

Detailed outline of Chapter 2 in The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification...

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The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification Outlines: Chapter 3

Detailed outline of Chapter 3 in The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification...

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The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification Outlines: Chapter 4

Detailed outline of Chapter 4 in The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification...

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The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification Outlines: Chapter 5

Detailed outline of Chapter 5 in The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification...

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The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification Outlines: Chapter 6, Part 1

Detailed outline of Chapter 6 in The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification...

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The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification Outlines: Chapter 6, Part 2

Notes...

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The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification Outlines: Chapter 7

Notes...

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The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification Outlines: Chapter 9

Detailed outline of Chapter 9 in The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification...

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The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification Outlines: Chapter 10

Detailed outline of Chapter 10 in The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification...

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The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification Outlines: Chapter 11

Detailed outline of Chapter 11 in The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification...

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The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification Outlines: Chapter 12

Detailed outline of Chapter 12 in The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification...

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The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification Outlines: Chapter 14

Detailed outline of Chapter 14 in The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification...

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The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification Outlines: Appendix

Detailed outline of the Appendix in The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification...

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The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification Outlines: Chapter 13

Detailed outline of Chapter 13 in The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification...

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The Mountain of Law vs. The Mountain of Grace

In Hebrews 12:18-24, the author of Hebrews expresses deep concern about where his readers stand in relation to the God who asks, “Adam, where are you?” To prevent his readers from a calamitous reversion to Jewish beliefs and practices, the author of Hebrews sets forth two contrasting relationships with God, determined by two antithetical covenants. By contrasting the...

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The Movement of Baptism: From God to Us

Why does understanding the movement of baptism matter?...

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Eternal Functional Subordination and the Problem of the Divine Will

The doctrine of eternal functional subordination (hereafter EFS) has been growing in support in evangelical circles in recent years. EFS claims that the Father and the Son are eternally distinguished by an “authority-submission structure”1 such that the Son eternally submits to the Father and the Father eternally has au- thority over the Son. This structure is the patt...

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Good-Day, Bad-Day and the Covenant of Grace

Why is the covenant of grace important for the Christian life? We will consider two radically different days in a Christian's life to understand....

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The Collapsing of the Covenants: Narrow is the Way that Leads to Destruction

Collapsing the covenants into one overarching theme of grace confuses law and gospel and effectively eliminates an explicit law-gospel distinction in Scripture....

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Dishonoring the Spirit?

Does placing primary emphasis upon justification for assurance understate the importance and necessity of good works (i.e., sanctification)? Does this emphasis dishonor the Holy Spirit’s indwelling work?...

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John Calvin on the Four Causes of Salvation

John Calvin discusses the four "causes" of salvation (i.e, the efficient cause- God the Father's mercy; the material cause- Christ's obedience/death; the formal/instrumental cause- faith alone; the final cause- the glory of God)....

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Law and Gospel: The Chief and Most Expressive Mark of the True Church

Zacharias Ursinus, author of the Heidelberg Catechism, discusses the law and gospel. Ursinus refers to the law and gospel the "chief and most expressive mark of the true church."...

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Theodore Beza on how the Gospel changes the effect of the preaching of the Law in believers

Theodore Beza on how the Gospel changes the effect of the preaching of the Law in believers....

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Theodore Beza on the Law and Gospel, Part 2

Theodore Beza on the similarities and the differences between the Law and the Gospel....

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Theodore Beza on the Law and Gospel, Part 3

Theodore Beza on what end (purpose) the Holy Spirit uses the preaching of the Law....

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Theodore Beza on the Law and the Gospel, Part 4

Theodore Beza on the Gospel and its authority, why, how and for what end (purpose) it was written....

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Theodore Beza on the Law and Gospel, Part 5

Theodore Beza on the manner in which the Gospel includes, in substance, the books of the Old Testament....

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Theodore Beza on the Law and Gospel, Part 1

Theodore Beza on the two parts of the Word of God....

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Confusing Law and Gospel: A Review of David Platt's book, Radical.

A review of David Platt's book, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From The American Dream....

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Keeping Baptism Central: How Baptism Transforms Our Daily Lives

To their detriment, it never occurs to a great deal of believers that their baptism has application to their current daily walk. This paper is written to help believers view their baptism as more than an event that happened in their past and to consider how the Scriptures set forth the benefits of baptism for the believer’s daily life....

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Dispositional Soteriology: Jonathan Edwards on Justification by Faith Alone

George Hunsinger shows how Jonathan Edwards crosses the fine line laid down by the Reformation concerning justification sola fide. Edwards taught that works are not simply external evidence that faith exists. Rather, works are necessary to the efficacy of faith. Works, as the external expression of faith, play a role in justification....

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Abba is not Daddy

James Barr carefully argues for the correct meaning of the Aramaic term, "abba," showing that this word doesn't mean, "daddy." Since “abba” doesn’t mean “daddy or papa” one must not use these infantile ideas when addressing his or her heavenly Father in prayer. Otherwise, one may be addressing God the Father without the honor that is due Him....

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The Role of Music in the Worship and Witness of the Church

The Bible sets forth a high view of the role of music in the church’s worship and witness and believers should as well. Why then does the church gather to sing? What is the role of music in the worship and witness of the church? This paper seeks to explore and answer this question....

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Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God

There often exists a widespread suspicion that belief in the sovereignty of God”"particularly election”"undermines or even inhibits zeal for missions and evangelism. Dr. J.I. Packer in his book, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, persuasively demonstrates that such a misunderstanding is, in his words, “nonsense.” Election, faith, the gospel and evangelism go ...

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