Thomas Brooks (Puritan) – There is nothing that the great God hates– but sin…

Much of what is known about Puritan Thomas Brooks has been ascertained from his writings. Born, likely to well-to-do parents, in 1608, Brooks entered Emmanuel College, Cambridge in 1625, where he was preceded by such men as Thomas Hooker, John Cotton, and Thomas Shepard. He was licensed as a preacher of the Gospel by 1640. Before that date, he appears to have spent a number of years at sea, probably as a chaplain with the fleet.

After the conclusion of the First English Civil War, Thomas Brooks became minister at Thomas Apostle’s, London, and was sufficiently renowned to be chosen as preacher before the House of Commons on December 26, 1648. His sermon was afterwards published under the title, ‘God’s Delight in the Progress of the Upright’, the text being Psalm 44:18: ‘Our heart is not turned back, neither have our steps declined from Thy way’. Three or four years afterwards, he transferred to St. Margaret’s, Fish-street Hill, London.

In 1662, he fell victim to the notorious Act of Uniformity, but he appears to have remained in his parish and to have preached as opportunity arose. Treatises continued to flow from his pen. (Photo and biography via wikipedia)

Poem via reformation21.org

Oh that the Christian reader would seriously consider these twelve things:

There is nothing that the great God hates–but sin.
There is nothing that He has revealed His wrath from heaven against–but sin.
There is nothing that crucifies the Lord of glory afresh–but sin.
There is nothing that grieves the Spirit of grace–but sin.

There is nothing that wounds the conscience–but sin.
There is nothing that clouds the face of God–but sin.
There is nothing that hinders the return of prayer–but sin.
There is nothing that interrupts our communion with God–but sin.

There is nothing that embitters our mercies–but sin.
There is nothing that puts a sting into all our troubles and trials–but sin.
There is nothing that renders us unserviceable in our places, stations, and conditions–but sin.
There is nothing that makes death the king of terrors, and the terror of kings, to be so formidable and terrible to the sons of men, as sin.

And therefore under all your sorrows and sufferings, crosses and losses–
make it your great business . . .
to arm yourselves against sin,
and to pray against sin,
and to watch against sin,
and to turn from sin,
and to cease from sin,
and to get rid of sin,
and to stand forever in defiance of sin!

Thomas Brooks Works:

  • English: Traditional portait of Thomas Brooks,...

    English: Traditional portait of Thomas Brooks, puritan preacher. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Works of Thomas Brooks, Vol. 1, Nichol’s Series of Standard Divines, Puritan Period, with General Preface by John C. Miller, D.D.; Rev. Thomas Smith, General Editor, Edinburgh, James Nichol, 1866. Titles include: Grosart’s Memoir of Brooks; Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices; The Mute Christian Under The Smarting Rod; A String of Pearls

  • Works of Thomas Brooks, Vol. 2, Nichol’s Series of Standard Divines, Puritan Period, with General Preface by John C. Miller, D.D.; Rev. Thomas Smith, General Editor, Edinburgh, James Nichol, 1866. Titles include: An Ark for All God’s Noahs; The Privy Key of Heaven; Heaven On Earth
  • Works of Thomas Brooks, Vol. 3, Nichol’s Series of Standard Divines, Puritan Period, with General Preface by John C. Miller, D.D.; Rev. Thomas Smith, General Editor, Edinburgh, James Nichol, 1866. Titles include: The Unsearchable Riches of Christ; A Cabinet of Jewels
  • Works of Thomas Brooks, Vol. 4, Nichol’s Series of Standard Divines, Puritan Period, with General Preface by John C. Miller, D.D.; Rev. Thomas Smith, General Editor, Edinburgh, James Nichol, 1866. Titles include: The Crown and Glory of Christianity
  • Works of Thomas Brooks, Vol. 5, Nichol’s Series of Standard Divines, Puritan Period, with General Preface by John C. Miller, D.D.; Rev. Thomas Smith, General Editor, Edinburgh, James Nichol, 1866. Titles include: The Golden Key to Open Hidden Treasures
  • Works of Thomas Brooks, Vol. 6, Nichol’s Series of Standard Divines, Puritan Period, with General Preface by John C. Miller, D.D.; Rev. Thomas Smith, General Editor, Edinburgh, James Nichol, 1866. Titles include: London’s Lamentations; The Glorious Day of the Saints’ Appearance; God’s Delight in the Progress of the Upright; Hypocrites Detected; A Believer’s Last Day His Best Day; A Heavenly Cordial; The Legacy of a Dying Mother
  • THE COMPLETE WORKS of THOMAS BROOKS at archive.org

Phil Johnson at Shepherd’s Conference 2012 – The Lessons of Grace

Titus 2:11-15

A few highlights from Phil Johnson’s message with extensive notes below the video:

  • But, just as emphatically, I despise the common evangelical tendency to write off as legalistic every call for obedience and every summons to holiness as if grace were a sanction for disobedience and immorality and as if the Gospel gave us license to continue in sin that grace might increase. May it never be, Paul said. How shall we, who are dead to sin, still live in it?
  • …it is a serious blunder, also condemned in the strongest possible terms by the apostle Paul, to imagine that the Gospel disagrees with the moral standards that are set by the law. To think that justification by faith eliminates the need for obedience or to think that the perfect freedom of God’s grace gives license for unholy living. All of those things are errors as profound as legalism. Good works and obedience to God’s commands and encouragements and admonitions to be holy; those things are necessary aspects of the christian life. Not necessary in the way the legalists suggest, to earn favor with God. In fact, our works are worthless, totally impotent for that purpose.
  • But, obedience is the natural and inevitable and essential expression of love for Christ and gratitude for His grace and this is the chief, practical lesson we learn from the principle of grace. Grace compels us to love and good works. Grace constrains us to renounce sin and to pursue righteousness.
  • …the Gospel is more excellent than the law, but the two do not disagree when it comes to the moral standard. Believing the Gospel sets us free from the law’s condemnation, but it does not release us from the moral standard set by the law.
  • But if we properly understand the principles of sola fide, it should make us zealous for good works, earnest in the pursuit of holiness, eager to obey the Lord’s commands. We don’t need to be the least bit hesitant to provoke one another to love and good works. If you are hesitant like that, especially in your preaching… shame on you.
  • Paul’s point is that the vital, practical duties of holiness and obedience are in perfect accord with sound doctrine. And calls to obedience and exhortations to virtue are not inconsistent with the doctrines of grace, much less are they opposed to grace.
  • The distinction between law and grace has nothing to do with the commandments or the moral content of the law. What grace eliminates and overturns are the law’s curses. As far as the moral imperatives of the law are concerned, grace is in full agreement.

Uploaded by by Grace Community Church  at  VIMEO and with thanks to G.Bogdan for alerting us to this message.

Videourile Vodpod nu mai sunt disponibile.

Phil Johnson at Shepherd’s Conference 2012, posted with vodpod

Notes from Phil Johnson’s message:

Just 3 years ago I spoke from verses 7 and 8 of Titus 2; that’s where Paul tells Titus:

Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.

That message was titled Sound Words, Sound Doctrine”. It was a plea for purity in doctrine and dignity and soundness in our speech, both words and conduct that are beyond reproach.  That was the example Paul was urging Titus to model for the young men in his flock. In Paul’s time, as now, adolescent males were especially prone to bad language and unhealthy companionships and raunchy jokes and undignified conversation about  indecent subject matter and things like that in a similar vein and those things were undermining the church’s testimony in Crete and it seems that the chief culprits were immature young men. Cretan bad boys. Vulgar talk was then, as it is now, the common tendency of adolescent boys. And not just lewd language but also salacious subject matter and boorish behavior and those are today even, in our culture the main features of typical male adolescent misbehavior.

Unless you’ve been sleepwalking through the past decade, you know that those very same characteristics have become common badges of identity among certain celebrity mega church pastors and their acolytes. My point 3 years ago was that the drift of the evangelical movement is the exact antithesis of what Paul is calling for in this chapter. Worst of all, the problem begins too often in the pulpit.

There has been no end in the media, about evangelical preachers who purposefully use profane language, their sermon series relentlessly exploit risqué, sexually oriented subject matter. They do advertising that is deliberately designed to be suggestive. It is a nationwide problem. Literally, hundreds of churches have been sending out tasteless publicity for sermon series after sermon series on sex.  Honestly, I think it has gotten worst in the last 3 years.

In the current climate of evangelicalism you can’t even whisper a word of disapproval about that without someone, somewhere labeling you as a legalist. If you dare to suggest that Christians should not be trying so hard to please this world’s elite, but instead we ought to cultivate sobriety and godliness and righteousness, a chorus of angry voices will rise up to explain to you that all of this is necessary. It’s what contextualization demands. And it’s the only alternative to the world’s obsession with sex and perversion and so christians need to talk about such things almost non stop in Jesus’ name.

Legalism has become the all purpose evangelical retort to any mention of hones and obedience or good works. And it’s a potent „scare” word and legitimately so. I don’t want to be a legalist. I hate legalism. Legalism as defined in Galatians 5:1 is the error of abandoning our liberty in Christ in order to take on a yoke of legal bondage. To the legalist, good works are necessary to earn God’s favor. And I have no sympathy for those who believe that a person with the weakest conscience or the Bible College with the strictest rules should get to define holiness for everyone. I’m quite happy to let scriptures set the parameters of sanctification. And where scripture is silent, I think we should be too.

The principles of Romans 14 are sufficient to cover questions the scripture doesn’t answer either expressly or by giving us clear principles that may be deduced by good and necessary consequence. Where scripture speaks, in either way, explicitly or implicitly, we need to obey scripture. But, beyond that, we should just shut up. I explore every hint of legalism and I want to make that clear.

But, just as emphatically, I despise the common evangelical tendency to write off as legalistic every call for obedience and every summons to holiness as if grace were a sanction for disobedience and immorality and as if the Gospel gave us license to continue in sin that grace might increase. May it never be, Paul said. How shall we, who are dead to sin, still live in it?

The line of demarcation between Gospel and law is absolutely vital and you will never hear me say otherwise. One of the great advances of the Protestant Reformation came in the way Martin Luther stressed the distinction between law and Gospel. Law is not Gospel and vice versa. And I appreciate those who labor to differentiate between the two. There is hardly any more theological distinction and let me say once more with emphasis: To confound law and Gospel is no small error. It’s an easy error to make and let’s be candid. There seems to be something in the fallen human heart that makes us prone to that kind of error. It’s the error that lies at the heart of every kind of legalism and I think it’s a tendency of every fallen human heart to default towards legalism and it’s right that we should resist that tendency. Galatians 5 urges us to resist that tendency. There is no more deadly blunder in all of theology than to confound law and Gospel.

Some of the strongest words of condemnation anywhere in the New Testament were aimed at those who supplanted Gospel promises with legal demands (Galatians 1:6-9). So are we clear on this? I hate legalism with a holy passion. However, it is a serious blunder also condemned in the strongest possible terms by the apostle Paul, to imagine that the Gospel disagrees with the moral standards that are set by the law. To think that justification by faith eliminates the need for obedience or to think that the perfect freedom of God’s grace gives license for unholy living. All of those things are errors as profound as legalism.

Good works and obedience to God’s commands and encouragements and admonitions to be holy; those things are necessary aspects of the christian life. Not necessary in the way the legalists suggest, to earn favor with God. In fact, our works are worthless, totally impotent for that purpose. But, obedience is the natural and inevitable and essential expression of love for Christ and gratitude for His grace and this is the chief, practical lesson we learn from the principle of grace. Grace compels us to love and good works. Grace constrains us to renounce sin and to pursue righteousness.

Listen, the Gospel is more excellent than the law, but the two do not disagree when it comes to the moral standard. Believing the Gospel sets us free from the law’s condemnation, but it does not release us from the moral standard set by the law.Or, to say it another way, the principle of sola fide, justification by faith alone, that principle is not hostile to good works. The Gospel puts good works in their proper place . But if we properly understand the principles of sola fide, it should make us zealous for good works, earnest in the pursuit of holiness, eager to obey the Lord’s commands. We don’t need to be the least bit hesitant to provoke one another to love and good works. If you are hesitant like that, especially in your preaching, shame on you.

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