“Grant, Almighty God, since thou settest before us so clear a mirror of thy wonderful providence and of the judgments on this ancient people, that we may also be surely persuaded of our being under thy hand and protection: – Grant, that relying on thee, we may hope for thy guardianship, whatever may happen, since thou never losest sight of our safety, so that we may invoke thee with a secure and tranquil mind. May we so fearlessly wait for all dangers amidst all the changes of this world, that we may stand upon the foundation of thy word which never can fail; and leaning on thy promises may we repose on Christ, to whom thou has committed us, and whom thou has made the shepherd of all thy flock. Grant that he may be so careful of us as to lead us through this course of warfare, however troublesome and turbulent it may prove, until we arrive at that heavenly rest which he has purchased for us by his own blood. – Amen.”
John Calvin, prayer concluding his 1st lecture on the book of Daniel
“The thesis of this study is that Charles Hodge manifested the attributes associated with Calvinistic confessionalism (strong adherence to creedal religion, liturgical forms, and corporate worship) as well as characteristics of evangelical pietism (the necessity of vital religion marked by conversion, moral activism, and individual pious practices)…
The unique combination of confessionalism and pietism characterized Charles Hodge’s spiritual life from the cradle to the grave.”
Hoffecker pp. 32 – 3
From his forthcoming Center Church:
To illustrate what is needed for effective contextualization, let’s turn to the world of demolition. Say you are building a highway and want to remove a giant boulder. First, you drill a small shaft down into the center of the rock. Then you put explosives down the shaft into the core of the stone and detonate them. If you drill the shaft but never ignite the blast, you obviously will never move the boulder. But the same is true if you only blast and fail to drill—putting the explosives directly against the surface of
the rock. You will simply shear off the face of it, and the boulder will remain. All drilling with no blasting, or all blasting with no drilling, leads to failure. But if you do both of these, you will remove the rock.
To contextualize with balance and successfully reach people in a culture, we must both enter the culture sympathetically and respectfully (similar to drilling) and confront the culture where it contradicts biblical truth (similar to blasting).
“Give me all of you!!! I don’t want so much of your time, so much of your talents and money, and so much of your work. I want YOU!!! ALL OF YOU!! I have not come to torment or frustrate the natural man or woman, but to KILL IT! No half measures will do. I don’t want to only prune a branch here and a branch there; rather I want the whole tree out! Hand it over to me, the whole outfit, all of your desires, all of your wants and wishes and dreams. Turn them ALL over to me, give yourself to me and I will make of you a new self—in my image. Give me yourself and in exchange I will give you Myself. My will, shall become your will. My heart, shall become your heart.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
The sovereignty and freeness of grace are the principles of laborious activity, not the allowance of Anitnomian ease. Thus the doctrines of the Gospel not only explain the nature and obligation, but are themselves the principles – nay the only principles – of holiness. We must live every moment by faith, and as we live, we shall love – overcome the world – crucify sin – delight in the service of God. No mere precepts will extirpate the natural love of sin, or infuse this new bias in the heart. The doctrine of faith alone effects this mighty change, by exhibiting Christ as the source of life, and detailing all the exercises of holy practice, flowing from that life…
It is the promise, and not the precept; it is encouragement, and exaction; it is grace, and not nature, which consecrates a course of moral beauty and blessing, and convinces the believer, that, whether grace is to be exercised or duty discharged, he is eminently ‘God’s workmanship,’ the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Charles Bridges The Christian Ministry (265-66) emphasis original
Calvin: Indeed, this life, however crammed with infinite miseries it may be, is still rightly to be counted among those blessings of God which are not to be spurned.
“Man belongs to two spheres. And Scripture not only teaches that these two spheres are distinct, it also teaches what estimate of relative importance ought to be placed upon them. Heaven is the primordial, earth the secondary creation. In heaven are the supreme realities; what surrounds us here below is a copy and shadow of the celestial things. Because the relation between the two spheres is positive, and not negative, not mutually repulsive, heavenly-mindedness can never give rise to neglect of the duties pertaining to the present life. It is the ordinance and will of God, that not apart from, but on the basis of, and in contact with, the earthly sphere man shall work out his heavenly destiny.”
Connections, if any, to two kingdoms?
Art can glorify God because of the intrinsic good of creation, not because it has some transformative, redemptive power to usher in spiritual redemption… Poorly written novels — no matter how pious and edifying the behavior of the characters — are not good in themselves and are therefore not really edifying.
So how does Christ now rule the many institutions and communities of this world other than the church? The answer is that He rules them through the Noahic covenant, for they are institutions and communities of the common kingdom. They operate according to the same basic principles and purposes as before Christ’s first coming. What is different is that God now rules them through the incarnate Lord Jesus, the last Adam who has entered into the glory of the world-to-come.
VanDrunen, Living in God’s Two Kingdoms p. 118