Skip to content

An Intro of sorts…

July 30, 2008
Greetings to all those in the Blogosphere.My name is Jono Macfarlane and I’ve felt a desire to get some thoughts out into the open over time, hopefully with a readership of slightly more than just my mother. The blog title, ‘Here We Stand’, alludes to the words of Martin Luther, the father of the Protestant Reformation. Standing before the powers that be of the Roman Catholic Church at the Diet of Worms, he uttered these famous words:

“”Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason – I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other – my conscience is captive to the word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand; I can do no other. God help me.”

I believe in the Reformation as an important part of our Christian history. So often today your average Evangelical will shrug their shoulders at the mere mention of Luther, or worse yet, reply: “Wasn’t he the guy who did that ‘I have a dream’ speech?” Contemporary ignorance of church history means the average believer knows little to nothing of the great hardships that men and women faced in standing for the true gospel of Jesus Christ; not to forget delivering the Holy Bible that many have sought to keep from the hands of the common person. Now I don’t mention the Reformation for the sake of the Reformation. The Reformation was uniquely used by God to reclaim the true gospel of salvation by faith alone, by grace alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone, according to Scripture alone.

The Reformation is not important as a mere Reformation of the church. The Reformation is important in that it was the divinely ordained means of bringing the true gospel out from an enslaved silence. After hundreds of years of darkness, there was light. The Reformation is important for the sole purpose that it allowed multitudes to be reconciled to God!

Nearly half a millennium later after Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door at Wittenburg, I can say with certainty that we will see another Reformation. Instead of one man standing in submission to God and in defiance of tyranny, we will see the remnant of God’s people standing in submission to Him and standing up for the truth of the gospel. This won’t be a Reformation where we discover something new, a new method of evangelism, a new method of discipleship or new truth. No, the gospel is sufficient unto it’s end, the salvation of the soul to the glory of God. The Bible is sufficient to it’s end, the equipping of the believer for every good work.

This won’t be a Reformation of the unsaved, but one that takes place amongst the redeemed. As I hear of stories around the world and in my home country of New Zealand, I see that what is called the church, is largely sleeping. The church is to be the bride of Christ. Look at this bride and see that she seems to have followed the world into adultery. Purification of this body must take place and God will accomplish such a work. As the Apostle said to the Philippians, “I am confident in this, that He who began a good work in you, shall finish it.”

I anticipate a New Reformation where the truths of the gospel, the truths of the Bible, will be used by the Holy Spirit to breathe new life into the church. This is already happening, I cannot explain it, but God is doing it and will continue to do it, for His own name.

I don’t see the need for a new kind of Christian, instead I see a need for believers who will seek after the heart of God, standing without compromise on the hills to die on. Many seek to dilute the gospel, trying to drown it with a flood of uncertainty and looking to negate man’s need for atonement from sin. They will not succeed.

God will make His name great throughout the world. I hope those who call themselves Christians will awake from their slumber and seek that same goal.

I guess that summarises just some of my feelings at this present moment. I’m not exactly sure where I want this blog to go, whether it will die a quick death or grow to be a thriving group-blog, but if I can use it to inspire, educate or help anyone (myself included!), then it has achieved something.

I’d like to post up a testimony before getting into things further.

-Jono

 

Advertisements
20 Comments leave one →
  1. Rhett permalink
    July 30, 2008 10:28 pm

    Welcome to the Blogosphere! I can’t believe you’re linking to the Contemporary Calvinist… I still get visitors from the post they once did dissing me. 🙂

  2. bigjonnymac permalink*
    July 30, 2008 10:39 pm

    Thank you. I deleted it just for you, sir. I only read it occasionally for the week in Calvinism sometimes. That’s as much as you’re getting me to delete for now. 😛

  3. servant permalink
    July 30, 2008 10:40 pm

    Wow. I think I like it… but I want to challenge one idea that seems present.

    The Reformation is important in that it was the divinely ordained means of bringing the true gospel out from an enslaved silence. After hundreds of years of darkness, there was light.

    Do you really think God was silenced for hundreds of years? That darkness reigned for hundreds of years? That the gates of hell were prevailing against His Church for hundreds of years?

    You seem to give the impression that this is also happening now and must have been for some time if the Church is sleeping? The God leading that Church seems a little limp.

    I’ll be the first to say there are always those present preaching a stack of guff that doesn’t rightly present Christ…. but to carry that through to great periods of the Gospel being suppressed by the very vehicle committed to carrying it is to look to a small God wouldn’t you say?

  4. July 30, 2008 10:50 pm

    For what it’s worth, I think Jono is absolutely right in characterizing the gospel as having been essentially lost. They don’t call them the Dark Ages because it was dark.

    Jono, may I ask: are you interested in apologetics?

    Regards,
    Bnonn

  5. servant permalink
    July 30, 2008 10:58 pm

    So you guys must hold extremely strongly to free will then… much more so than even me, because clearly you think human will suppressed the Gospel for hundreds of years.

  6. July 30, 2008 11:02 pm

    You might need to explain your inference Frank.

  7. servant permalink
    July 30, 2008 11:16 pm

    If the Gospel isn’t being spread (I’m guessing we all believe it is God’s desire for the Gospel to be spread) and God’s Church pretty much goes into non-existence until Martin Luther, then the will of man, in your eyes, must be an extremely powerful force as it (in your thinking) successfully suppresses God’s Church and His message of salvation.

  8. servant permalink
    July 30, 2008 11:17 pm

    By the way, I’m really looking forward to reading your story Jono. You have a very real conviction and I’d love to read how God entered your life and has inspired that conviction 🙂

  9. Rhett permalink
    July 30, 2008 11:19 pm

    Gosh, you didn’t need to remove the link, bro!

    I’d like to hear your response to Frank’s question. When we had coffee I came out thinking that your brand of Calvinism was a bit mellower than I had perhaps given credit for so I’m sure you have a good explanation.

  10. servant permalink
    July 30, 2008 11:21 pm

    Let me say, I’m not trying to be antagonistic here… sorry if it comes across like that. I am genuinely interested as I can see we probably see things a little differently.

    If Rhett speaks highly of you Jono, then I’m willing to think there’s a lot of depth there (which you have demonstrated in this post) 🙂

  11. bigjonnymac permalink*
    July 30, 2008 11:33 pm

    Hahahaha.

    Frank, I appreciate your probing questions, and yes I can see how that could be taken from my statements.

    I would like to get to free will at some point in the future.

    I think you’re reading more into what I said than needed. When I say that what is called the church is LARGELY sleeping, that does not mean it has died or completely withering in apathy. Amongst many other things, easy believism, and a desire to often at all costs become a friend with the world, has in part stifled the purpose of the church.

    However, we know that God is faithful and will accomplish His purposes. So yes, I would say that the sin of man allowed the gospel to have been essentially lost, in part coupled with the wrath of abandonment by God. The RCC hardly personified Jude 3.

    Though all throughout history, God keeps a remnant to himself. At the time of Noah, that was 8 believers. During the Dark ages there still would have been some believers, even within the RCC as there are today. Today, I believe that number has grown immensely, which is a great thing as I’m sure you will agree. God is doing a work and bringing people to His name.

    When you approach the whole issue from the perspective that man has sinned and does not deserve salvation, the issue begins to look different. Does God want the gospel spread, yes! How much that happens is up to Him.

    On the other side of the coin, what do we say about those who claim to speak for God and follow Him, yet so clearly disobey His commands? Is He doing a shoddy job leading them?

    Frank, I don’t believe the Reformation ultimately came down to the will of man. When we look at things from our finite perspective of a few decades; hundreds of years of an essentially lost gospel, does not seem to be a very comforting thing. Though, when we see the the sovereignty of God over all things throughout history and realise that He will accomplish His purposes, whatever they may be, we see things in a different light.

    Which would bring up the subject of Israel. Romans 11:25 shall occur long after the Messiah was rejected. Do I think God will be faithful to His chosen people? Yes, even though they have sinned and gave the Messiah to be crucified. (Please, no disp vs replacement vs premill vs preterist vs anything debates yet!)

    Anyway. Interesting start to the blog.

  12. bigjonnymac permalink*
    July 30, 2008 11:42 pm

    Woops… Romans 11:26, not 25.

    Thanks guys. I appreciate the kind words.

    Dominic, where you at DA Carson on the Easter weekend? You look somewhat familiar.

    Yes, I have an interest in apologetics. I nearly went down to see William Lane Craig, but his writings on Molinism don’t exactly fill me with admiration for the guy. I see apologetics as a very legitimate ministry and hugely respect the work of men like Sproul and Zacharias. Though it’s just not something that tends to consume my thoughts. I’ll leave that for smarter men.

  13. servant permalink
    July 30, 2008 11:51 pm

    Great response, Jono. I can see your thinking in that 🙂

    I’ll avoid the Israel issue… for now 😀

    Welcome to the blogging world. Glad to have you around.

  14. July 30, 2008 11:58 pm

    If the Gospel isn’t being spread (I’m guessing we all believe it is God’s desire for the Gospel to be spread) and God’s Church pretty much goes into non-existence until Martin Luther, then the will of man, in your eyes, must be an extremely powerful force as it (in your thinking) successfully suppresses God’s Church and His message of salvation.

    I’m still not sure how your reasoning works, though, Frank. It seems to be something like this:

    1. The gospel was stifled in the dark ages.
    2. God desires the gospel to be spread.
    3. Therefore, God was not the agent which brought about (1).
    4. The only other possible agent is humanity.
    5. Therefore, humanity as an agent is more powerful than God as an agent in bringing about its desires.

    But (2) is simplistic, making (3) both simplistic and wrong; (4) is wrong; and (5) doesn’t follow…

  15. servant permalink
    July 31, 2008 12:16 am

    Dom,

    What Jono has said makes sense to me… the idea that there were still faithful within the RCC prior to the Reformation. That’s exactly what I would hold to. That remains faithful to the idea that God desires the gospel to be spread, that humanity unites in that and that God’s Church has always stood strong.

    Yes, I was being simplistic, but I see no reason to further any disagreement around the original post.

  16. July 31, 2008 12:27 am

    The Reformation was uniquely used by God to reclaim the true gospel of salvation by faith alone, by grace alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone, according to Scripture alone.

    Nice to hear the 5 “solas” from time to time. I’m not one for predicting the future, so I guess God will reveal in time whether your vision of a new Reformation becomes a reality. Also, perhaps Jono meant “hundreds of years of darkness” as relative in comparison with the impact of Martin Luther’s actions.

    Still need to get that Habakkuk stuff off ya!

  17. July 31, 2008 1:20 am

    Jono, yes I was at the Easter Convention. Sorry I can’t say I recognize you, though. I was a bit distracted at the time as we’d just had our first child, and I was also using the occasion to meet with Jason Kumar in getting Thinking Matters up and running—which is the reason I asked about whether you’re into apologetics. If you ever feel the urge to contribute to apologetics in New Zealand, or you know anyone who is looking for collaborators in that effort, I hope you’ll consider joining/mentioning us. We’re trying to place ourselves as an umbrella organization for anyone interested in contributing to apologetics in New Zealand with the hope that we can offer a locus for first connecting and second equipping kiwi Christians to defend their faith. It’s our view that apologetics is a key area in which the church needs to grow if we are to see any kind of reformation or revival of the sort you describe. We’re not ecumenical though; we’re basically Reformed but welcome non-Reformed contributors within reason.

    I agree with you that Craig’s molinism is bunk, but he has done a lot of good for Christian philosophy, and I think he’s right on the money when he says that apologetics is critical to the survival of Christianity in the West: without it, our faith will be excluded from the public mindspace as an intellectually respectable belief system. And if our faith is not seen as intellectually respectable, the obstacles we’ll face in evangelism and in Christian education will be enormous.

    Regards,
    Bnonn

  18. July 31, 2008 5:33 am

    “I don’t see the need for a new kind of Christian, instead I see a need for believers who will seek after the heart of God, standing without compromise on the hills to die on. Many seek to dilute the gospel, trying to drown it with a flood of uncertainty and looking to negate man’s need for atonement from sin. They will not succeed.”

    This bit resonated with me. I’ve been a part of a church denomination that did exactly this – dilute the gospel with uncertainty and trash the work of Christ (not just the atonement but everything that flows from his resurrection). We may have some different looking churches and some different looking Christians around the body of Christ, but if the central confessions of the orthodox Christian faith are left behind, then we have something less than Christianity./

  19. bigjonnymac permalink*
    July 31, 2008 6:11 am

    Dominic, great to hear. Amazing the different giftings we find in the body. I agree, there is a definite need for apologetics, especially in this current culture. As I’m sure you’ve heard, why proclaim the Christian faith if it is not worth defending? I’m hoping to attend Nigel Shailers lectures on Revelation in Hamilton mid-August, might see you there.

    Brett- Absolutely. I’ve been alowly trying to hammer home the point with the Baptists in NZ. As Rhett said. The gospel of grace is the foundation for correct social action, Deuteronomy 10:12-22 being a key text.

    “if the central confessions of the orthodox Christian faith are left behind, then we have something less than Christianity”

    Beautiful.

  20. Rhett permalink
    August 6, 2008 2:43 am

    I want an update!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: