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Category: Christ-Centered Renewal

Jonathan Edwards on Revival, series p. 3

Jonathan Edwards on Revival, series p. 3

Why is it impossible for self-love to be the foundation of genuine Evangelical spirituality?

4a.  For Edwards there is no room for self-love in the believer as foundational.  John 4:19 says, “We love him, because he first loved us.”  God is the mover the first initiator to regenerate a man and therefore once a man sees the awesomeness, majesty, beauty, and holiness of God he should be captivated by it apart from its personal benefits.  To see God as He really is should produce holy fear and humiliation in a believer’s heart thus seeing himself as he really is compared to the glories of God. Edwards, referring to John 4:19 gives three points to its support.  (1) The saints’ love to God, is the fruit of God’s love to them; as it is the gift of that love.  God gave them a spirit of love to him, because he loved them from eternity.  (2) The exercises and discoveries that God has made of his wonderful love to sinful men, by Jesus Christ, in the work of redemption, is one of the chief manifestations, which God has made of the glory of his moral perfection, to both angels and men. (3) God’s love to a particular elect person, discovered by his conversion, is a great manifestation of God’s moral perfection and glory to him, and a proper occasion of the excitation of the love of holy gratitude… arising primarily form the excellency of divine things, as they are in themselves, and not from any conceived relation they bear to their interest.”

 

Is Edwards refusing to allow any place for self-love in our love to God?

4b. Edwards does allow a place for self-love but it is not anywhere as foundational to man’s authentic affection for God’s glory and beauty.  This reality is touched by man’s self-love as explained in Psalm 116:1, “I love the Lord, because he hath heard the voice of my supplication.” God first loves man and by this love man is changed and now loves God for who He is and because of this has godly gratitude for the personal benefits he receives from this great divine love.

Jonathan Edwards on Revival, series p. 2

Jonathan Edwards on Revival, series p. 2

What constitutes a “spiritual” person in the perspective of the New Testament?

3a.  A spiritual person has the Spirit of God in him. The spiritual person means sanctified and gracious.  This does not mean perfectionism, but it does mean the spiritual person is in a notable process of sanctification and grace.  Christians are called “spiritual,” because they are born of the Spirit and because of the indwelling and holy influences of the Spirit of God in them, writes Edwards.  The spiritual mind means to be graciously minded, Rom. 8:6.  Because believers are spiritual God communicates Himself to the saints by His Spirit to their spirit.  The affections of the Saints are acted upon, by influences that are spiritual and divine.  According to the N.T. the spiritual person has the spirit of truth (John 14:17)

What are the differences between a “spiritual” person and a “natural” person?

3b. The natural man is different than the spiritual man because the natural man was born of the flesh and is therefore born of corruption with a corrupt nature.  The natural man cannot understand spiritual things, to him they are utter foolishness.  Regarding the Spirit’s affects on the natural man, Edward writes; “The Spirit of God, in all his operations upon the minds of natural men, only moves, impresses, assists, improves, or some way acts upon natural principles; but gives no new spiritual principle.” This reveals that if a natural man has a vision or a revelation of sorts there is nothing supernatural, spiritual or divine in it.  The natural man can and does have many of the same gracious affections as the spiritual man in the sense that a love for God for the spiritual man is similar to the natural man’s love for his friend etc.

What are the implications of Edwards’ discussion in these pages for the designation of some Christians as “carnal Christians”?

3c. The “carnal Christian” is a bit of an oxymoron because Edwards quotes Rom. 8:6, “To be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” Edwards connects carnal with unsanctified or rather the unspiritual man. The spiritual man has the special, gracious, and saving influences of the Spirit in his life where the natural, carnal man does not. Natural man will experience the influences of the Spirit but not in relation to the gifts, qualities, or affections that characterize the spiritual man.

Jonathan Edwards on Revival, series p.1

Jonathan Edwards on Revival, series p.1

What happened under Edwards’ ministry at Northampton during the winter of 1734–1735?

2a. A stirring of interest in the Lord began in the young people in 1734 and an outpouring of the Spirit began to “turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers,” (Mal. 4:6) The interest of the young people spread to their parents and God began to illuminate their hearts to the truth of the gospel and dead orthodoxy started to become alive as the people began to see a renewed vision of God’s glory.

What is the significance of Edwards’ works on revival?

2b. Edward’s contribution to the revivals was the theological groundwork that he laid down This theology was to explain how times of revival were to be seen not as a special season of extra-ordinary religious excitement but as a restoration to a normal spiritual life after an outpouring of the Spirit. This is necessary because; “Periods of spiritual decline occur in history because the gravity of indwelling sin keeps pulling believers first into formal religion and then into open apostasy.

What is the main structure of his teaching regarding revival?

2c. The main structure of Edward’s teaching on revival followed his postmillennial theology.  “(1) The calling of the Gentiles at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem; (2) the overthrowing of Roman persecution and the Christianizing of the empire in the Constantinian revolution; (3) the destruction of Antichrist [Roman Catholicism and all other pseudo-Christianity] and the establishment of a revived church in a new state of purity and glory to rule among the nations for a thousand years; and (4) the destruction of a final rebellion against God effected by the return of Christ and leading to the last judgment and to the establishment of the eternal state.” Each of these times would be met with God’s judgment and an outpouring of His Spirit.  Edwards believed that a revived American church would become the base for the missionary expansion of the gospel. The Puritans at large also believed God would use England and the Colonies to impact the world and thus it has.   This theology undergirded Edward’s view of revival.

How was the Evangelical Revival in New England attacked?

2d.  The revival in England was attacked by disorders and confusion.  The enemy attacked the subjects of revival directly and internally with despair and discouragement.  This especially happened towards the end of 1734.  The enemy also sought to create division among the revival leaders, produce zealous extremes called enthusiasm, and to sow tares in among the wheat.  All of this work by the enemy was to discredit the work of the Holy Spirit.  Men like Charles Chauncy directly criticized the revivals for evidence of, “donatism; separatism; presumptuous dependence on the Holy Spirit and despising the use of means including the Bible, scholarship and reason; and insisting that a knowledge of the time of one’s conversion was essential to assurance, and assurance necessary to salvation.”

How did Edwards generally respond to these attacks?

2e.  Edwards generally responded to these attacks with biblical and reverential assessments of the happenings.  Edwards was logical, methodically, confessional, and hopeful in all the happenings of the revivals.  His response was to write a treatise, acknowledging the concerns and taking them quite serious.  Edwards did not diminish the concerns but neither did he downplay the outpouring of the Holy Spirit among the people.  The revival did have true spiritual effect that was from God and though there were abuses and scandals it was not to take away from the glories of God’s divine workings.

Author Interview: Burns on Judson

Author Interview: Burns on Judson

On February 15, 2017, Dr. Marv Newell, Senior VP of Missio Nexus, aired an interview of Dr. Evan Burns, highlighting the new book: A Supreme Desire to Please Him: The Spirituality of Adoniram Judson. The mission of Missio Nexus is to advance the effectiveness of the Great Commission community in North America in global mission. Here is the audio interview:

Chiang Mai: What Could Have Been

Chiang Mai: What Could Have Been

How would Chiang Mai City of Thailand be described if it were the city that could-have-been, the city that-is and the city that-will-be?

In Dr. Roger Greenway’s book, Cities: Missions’ New Frontier, and in his audio-taped lecture for the course on Urban Mission and Ministry, he fascinatingly described three city scenarios. The three contrasting scenarios include the cities that-could-have-been without the Fall of Man, the city that-will-be in Revelation 21 and the cities-that-are with all their fallen characteristics, quirks and beauty and all their expressions of God’s common graces despite all of the ill-effects and deathly damages caused by Adam’s sin. The beautiful cities and their holy inhabitants of the could-have-been past and the New Jerusalem of the future are indeed magnificent descriptions of the things that God wants done through His people for this sinful world and all of its dwellers.

Seeing a vision of Chiangmai city that could have been and what it will be can fire up a Christian’s heart. It will, as well, ignite the passion and the compassion of many believers and Christian workers for Chiangmai and the whole of Thailand and all of their populace of today. Chiangmai (which means New City in English) and, of course, all of the cities and provinces of Thailand and all of their native and foreign residents and guests can be viewed more differently and with great hope and compassion.

What would Chiangmai be like if the Fall of Man did not happen at all? How will Chiangmai be described if it is ‘incorporated’ in the New Jerusalem of the Lord God’s new heaven and new earth?

With God’s common graces still filling this fallen planet, Chiangmai, like all of the other modern cities, is still a livable and habitable place. Mountain ranges surround the ‘New City’ with Doi Inthanon, Thailand’s highest mountain, stands tall and proud like the city’s populace. It is nested quite comfortably within the tropics with 70% of the province covered by mountains and vegetation. (See here).

Imagine Chiangmai that-could-have-been without the ill effects of the Fall. How wonderful would it be to see that its 1.5 million people could have been worshippers of the only true God and the Lord Christ. The more or less than 300 Buddhist temples in Chiangmai with all of their intricate architecture and creative designs would have been splendid temples of the Lord Jesus filled with God’s “chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of His own possession who proclaim the excellencies of the Almighty” (1 Peter 2:9).  The 1.5 million souls would have lived and moved and had their beings – loving the Triune God and one another; seeking each other’s interests and well-being and serving one another with pure intentions and joyful motivations. The Chiangmai that could have been without the damning effects of the Fall and the Chiangmai that will be with the new earth should be a city without the impoverished, the exploited and the exploiters. Chiangmai would have been filled with holy men, highly respected women and honorable noble children. There wouldn’t have been 70,000 to 2.8 million sex workers nationwide – most of whom are young girls from the North and the Northeast recruited to prostitution and sex slavery. In the Chiangmai that could have been and will be, there would be no HIV/AIDS victims and victimizers. There would have been no inefficient social services of the local government. There would have been no corruption in the police force which help facilitate the rapid growth of sex tourism in the city. In God’s holy city of Chiangmai, there would have been no “visiting of prostitutes which is seen as a male bonding experience, and many Thai men think it natural to entertain business clients and friends by taking them to brothels.” There would have been no heart-rending data such as “A study at Chiang Mai University found that, in Thai society, boys begin to buy women when they are around 13 years old; 50 percent of 16-year-old boys and 90 percent of university students go to brothels” (see here). These sex-crazed fornicators, adulterers and idolaters would have been non-existent in a Chiangmai that could have been without the Fall. Nothing unclean would have been in the city nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Revelation 21:27)

In the Chiangmai that could-have-been, the genius and creative powers of its residents would have been all displayed in great splendor to the honor and praise of God and to the joy and Shalom of every man, woman and child. “Craftsmanship, technology, arts and all potentials of human genius without the devastating effects of sin would be awesome creations of the image bearers of God – interacting, complementing, producing everything good in the city” (Greenway, Audio-Lecture #2).

Chiangmai could have been God’s dwelling place – a magnificent God-honoring cultural center and a  temple city – with all of its 1.5 million inhabitants acting, reacting and interacting for the praise of God’s glory (Ephesians 1:3-14).  Only pure love and no lust at all; only holy joy and no sorrow at all; only true peace and no conflict and sin at all and only life and perfect health and no death and pain and mourning at all should have ruled and filled the people and their city. (Revelation 21:3-4) Oh, that Chiangmai and all of its inhabitants are of the new heaven and the new earth! Oh, that they may know Him, love Him and serve Him – the only true God and the Lord Jesus Christ whom He has sent! Oh, that God will dwell with them and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God! (Revelation 21:3) Blessed, indeed, are the people who dwell in the holy city of God and live with the Triune