Are There Multiple Types of True Believers?

July 27, 2009

I found this quote from Holiness by J. C. Ryle to be a very concise answer to the question of whether there are different types of believers, meaning those who just believe and those who are disciples, a separation from conversion and consecration:

Is it wise to draw such a deep, wide, and distinct line of separation between conversion and consecration, or the higher life, so called, as many do draw in the present day?  Is this according to the proportion of God’s Word?  I doubt it.
There is, unquestionably, nothing new in this teaching.  It is well known that Romish writers often maintain that the church is divided into three classes—sinners, penitents, and saints.  The modern teachers of this day who tell us that professing Christians are of three sorts—the unconverted, the converted, and the partakers of the “higher life” of complete consecration—appear to me to occupy very much the same ground!  But whether the idea be old or new, Romish or English, I am utterly unable to see that it has any warrant of Scripture.  The Word of God always speaks of two great divisions of mankind, and two only.  It speaks of the living and the dead in sin—the believer and the unbeliever—the converted and the unconverted—the travelers in the narrow way and the travelers in the broad—the wise and the foolish—the children of God and the children of the devil.  Within each of these two great classes there are, doubtless, various measures of sin and of grace; but it is only the difference between the higher and lower enf of an inclined plane.  Between these two great classes there is an enormous gulf; they are as distinct as life and death, light and darkness, heaven and hell.  But of a division into three classes the Word of God says nothing at all!  I question the wisdom of making newfangled divisions which the Bible has not made, and I thoroughly dislike the notion of a second conversion.

Holiness, J.C. Ryle p. xxx-xxxi


Imitate God

July 9, 2009

Therefore be imitators of God as beloved children and walk in love just as Christ loved us and gave himself on our behalf, an offering and sacrifice as a soothing aroma to God.
But sexual immorality, or impurity, or greed must not even be mentioned among you as is fitting among holy ones, neither obscenity, or foolish talk, or course jesting, which are not proper, but rather thanksgiving.
For know this for certain, that no person who is immoral, impure, or greedy (being an idolater) has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
Let no one deceive you with baseless arguments, for it is because of these things that the wrath of God comes upon all those who are disobedient. Therefore, do not be partakers with them. For you were formally darkness, but now you are children of light in the Lord.  Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), learn what is pleasing to the Lord.
(a translation of Ephesians 5:1-10)


“I will not be a velvet-mouthed preacher”

July 1, 2009

I heard this quote from a Piper sermon on the life of George Whitefield.  It is regarding the accusation that Whitefield was an “actor” in the pulpit.  But more than that, it speaks much to how we should all handle the Word of God.

This is a quote from one of Whitefield’s sermons:

“I’ll tell you a story.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, in the last age, was acquainted with Betterton, the player.  You all have heard of Betterton.  One day the Archbishop of Canterbury said to Betterton the player, ‘Pray inform me, Mr. Betterton, what is the reason you actors on the stage can affect your congregation with things imaginary as if they were real, while we of the church speak of things real, which our congregations only receive as if they were imaginary?’ ‘Why, my Lord Archbishop (says Betterton the player), the reason is very plain.  We actors on the stage speak of things imaginary as if they were real, and you in the pulpit speak of things real as if they were imaginary.’

Therefore, I will bawl.  I will bawl.  I will not be a velvet-mouthed preacher.”

SOURCE: http://books.google.com

“I’ll tell you a story.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, in the last age, was acquainted with Betterton, the player. You all have heard of Betterton. One day the Archbishop of Canterbury said to Betterton the player, ‘Pray inform me, Mr. Betterton, what is the reason you actors on the stage can affect your congregation with things imaginary as if they were real, while we of the church speak of things real, which our congregations only receive as if they were imaginary?’ ‘Why, my Lord Archbishop (says Betterton the player), the reason is very plain. We actors on the stage speak of things imaginary as if they were real, and you in the pulpit speak of things real as if they were imaginary.’

Therefore, I will bawl. I will bawl. I will not be a velvet-mouthed preacher.”