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Category: THEOLOGY

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.

The Book of Heavenly Wisdom

The Book of Heavenly Wisdom

Adoniram Judson believed deeply in the power of the written Word. So firmly did he rely on the power of the Scripture that he printed and distributed his own tracts to a people who were not highly literate. Though the common person had some elementary literacy level, it was uncommon to spread news in general through the printed page. However, Judson still sought to spread the gospel through literature and Bible. Against all conventional wisdom, he was remarkably successful in his tract distribution. Having seen the amazing conversion fruit of tract distribution in Burma, he penned this poem, relishing the Word and its power to draw souls to Christ.

He never saw

The book of heavenly wisdom, and no saint

Had told him how the sinner might be saved.

But to his hut

A little tract—a messenger of love,

A herald of glad tidings—found its way.

The hue

Of death was on his cheek.

His burning brow

Told of the pain he felt.

Still no saint was near

To tell of joys to come.

No man of God

Stood by his bed to soothe the final hour;

But he had peace.

“When I am dead,” he saith, “put ye the little book

Upon my breast, and let it go with me

Down to my sepulcher.  It taught me all

That I have learned of God, and heaven, and hell.

I love the man who wrote it, and that God

Who brought it to my home.”[1]

 

[1]Middleditch, Burmah’s Great, 288-289.

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:

Four Essential Traits of a Cross-Cultural Urban Christian Mission Agent (P2)

Four Essential Traits of a Cross-Cultural Urban Christian Mission Agent (P2)

For the followers of Christ to effectively obey the Great Commission to preach the gospel into all the world and make disciples of all the nations, it is indispensable, indeed, for an urban Christian mission agent to have a cross-cultural, multilingual mindset.

We already mentioned in the first part of this discussion two of the four habits of the mind that a cross-cultural urban Christian mission agent should develop, namely:

  1. A passionate love for the Triune God and a strong love for people. (Matt 22:36-40)
  2. A healthy self-love and self-esteem in Christ. (Rom. 12:1-3)

Equally important with the first two traits, the next two are a must have as well.

  1. An attitude of lifelong learning and open-mindedness is an essential attribute of a fruitful urban mission agent of change.
    1. As a lifelong learner, he continues to develop and expand his competencies in evangelizing, establishing and equipping of the saints and re-think these ministry skills from a different cross-cultural perspective. He will learn the biblical and contextualized ways of ministering to men, women and children of different cultural backgrounds.
    2. When the urban discipler is humble, teachable and open-minded, he’ll do everything in his power to be diligent in learning the language and studying the cultural milieu of his target ethnic groups. He will learn of their ways of thinking, communicating and doing things. In fact, he, with an open mind and a learner’s heart, can learn a lot of life lessons from these international immigrants whom he seeks to reach out and minister.
  1. A teacher-developer-capacity builder mindset is absolutely necessary for an urban Christian ‘missionary’ to be effective in reaching the metropolitan dwellers of different socio-economic, educational, cultural, work and family backgrounds.
    1. For the urban missionary to be able to effectively evangelize, establish and equip people, he should have the creative ability to do and teach the Scriptures from the spiritual milk of the very basic presentation of the Gospel of Christ to the more spiritual solid food of the reign of the Triune God through all eternity (Heb. 5:12; 1 Cor. 3:2).
    2. It is only through the Spirit-empowered teaching and learning of the Word of God can lives be truly transformed. Besides the knack of teaching one-on-one, small group or a large crowd, the urban Christian worker should be passionate in developing disciplers, training disciplemakers and raising leaders from among the people of his target international ethnic groups. (2 Timothy 2:2)

Indeed, there could be more of the important traits and mindsets needed for urban Christian workers, disciplers and lay leaders to have. But anyone can’t do without these four essentials.