Monday, April 25, 2016

The Saints' Walk by Faith - Chapters 1 through 4

I'm reading Faith by Jeremiah Burroughs and decided to blog the hidden treasures within this book.  It is one book that contains two of Burroughs' treatises: (1) Precious Faith: A Treatise on 2 Peter 1:1 - "To them that have obtained a like precious faith," and (2) The Saints' Walk by Faith on Earth and by Sight in Heaven: A Treatise on 2 Cor. 5:7 - "For we walk by faith, not by sight."  Both treatises were first published in 1654.  In 2011, they were edited by Dr. Don Kistler and reprinted into one book by Northampton Press.

In his second treatise on 'The Saints' Walk by Faith on Earth and by Sight in Heaven' , Mr. Burroughs expounds 2 Corinthians 5:7 and specifically looks at:

Chapter 1 - The Scope and Meaning of the Words
Chapter 2 - The Text Opened
Chapter 3 - The Great Evil of Walking by Sense
Chapter 4 - The Saints Do Not Walk by Sense
Chapter 5 - An Admonition to Young Converts
Chapter 6 - Worldly Men Walk According to What They Apprehend to Be Reason
Chapter 7 - Reason Is Not That Which Should Guide a Christian
Chapter 8 - Reason Carries Men Upon Corrupt Principles
Chapter 9 - Spiritual Truths Are Above the Light of Natural Reason
Chapter 10 - The Danger of Men Walking by Reason
Chapter 11 - The Application of the Doctrine
Chapter 12 - Saints Can Expect Greater Glory Than They Understand
Chapter 13 - The Walk of a Saint on Earth Is the Walk of Faith
Chapter 14 - The Saints In All Ages Have Walked by Faith
Chapter 15 - The Necessity of Walking by Faith
Chapter 16 - The Excellence of Faith
Chapter 17 - The Exhortation to Strengthen Faith
Chapter 18 - Help For the Soul In Walking by Faith
Chapter 19 - Encouragements to the Soul In Walking by Faith
Chapter 20 - Motives to Draw the Heart to Believe in the Want of Sense
Chapter 21 - More Motives to Stir Up Weak Believers to Exercise Their Faith When They Want Sense
Chapter 22 - Directions For the Exercise of Faith In the Want of Sense
Chapter 23 - Further Directions for the Exercise of Faith in the Want of Sense
Chapter 24 - Helps to Walk by Faith When God Appears as an Enemy to the Soul
Chapter 25 - Encouragement For a Saint When God Lets the Devil Out Upon Him
Chapter 26 - Saints Must Walk by Faith In Times of Affliction
Chapter 27 - More Ways Faith Helps the Soul In Times of Affliction
Chapter 28 - Exhortation to Exercise Faith In the Evil Day

In Chapter 1, Mr. Burroughs explains the meaning of 'we walk':  "That is, the constant course of our hearts and of our lives is acted and guided by faith, and not by sight...Sight is taken either largely for sense, not only of the eye, but for all other senses both internal and external, one being put for all...as carnal sense: We do not walk according to what we see with our eyes before us...we do not walk by spiritual sense either, that is, in what we feel in respect of spiritual things...we are guided and acted by faith, for that's the higher principle.  Again, by 'sight' is not only meant sense, but reason...First, carnal reason.  We do not walk according to the carnal reason of our minds, as if we were acted by nothing else but what we apprehend by our own natural reason.  Second, we do not walk by our spiritual reason only, for we have a principle beyond spiritual knowledge...our faith goes beyond our sense of the presence of God and goes beyond our knowledge of God," (pp. 83-85).

In Chapter 2, he emphatically states that "[a] Christian does not walk by sight...other men walk by sight, but those that are saints do not," (p. 86).  "Now those who are carnal and natural, the end that they propound to themselves is some sensual good.  They judge things according to sense, and their hearts are taken and affected with things according as they are to sense," (pp. 86-87).  "[E]very man who does not have the Spirit of God to act and guide him is sensual and led according to sense," (p. 88).

In Chapter 3, Mr. Burroughs notes that "this is a very great evil, for men to have their hearts taken by what they see with their eyes, and by what their senses tells them to be pleasant and delightful to them," (p. 91).  "There is a great evil in this, to go according to the sight of eyes, for these reasons: (1) It is beneath a rational creature, (2) [It is] beneath the Holy Spirit of God, (3) [It makes those who walk by sight] liable to thousands and thousands of temptations continually, and (4) Those who live according to the sense live without God in the world," (pp. 91-94). 

In Chapter 4, he contends that "the saints do not walk according to the sight of their eyes, nor according to sense.  No, they have mortified the flesh and crucified the lusts of it.  The work of grace consists in mortifying the flesh and beating down the body," (p. 100).  Then, he charges the Christian: "You have given liberty to your eyes to look after vanity, to the eyes of your body and the thoughts after this idle thing and the other vain thing.  This is enough to deaden your hearts in that which is good, and you will never have a quick and lively spirit in that which is good until you come to make conscience of looking after vanity.  Therefore, pray to God to turn your eyes away from beholding vanity so that you may be quicker in the Law of God, in the ways of holiness," (p. 101).

I will look at chapters 5 through 10 in my next post.


***
"Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)," (2 Cor. 5:6-7).

Friday, April 22, 2016

Book Review: Counseling One Another

In Counseling One Another: A Theology of Interpersonal Discipleship, Paul Tautges "counters the problem [of the acceptance of integrationism in the ministry of counseling] by replacing it with a biblical theology of discipleship that is truly God-centered," (Kindle location 200).  He defines biblical counseling as "an intensely focused and personal aspect of the discipleship process, whereby believers come alongside one another...to help the other person consistently apply Scriptural theology...[to] warn their spiritual friend, in love, of the consequences of sinful action, and [to] lead that brother or sister to make consistent progress in the ongoing process of biblical change," (Kindle location 258).

Shortly after his biblical counseling definition, Mr. Tautges goes to say that "[a]uthentic biblical counseling is nothing more, and surely nothing less, than the fulfillment of the Great Command [the Great Commission from Matthew 28:19] to make disciples of Jesus Christ by the delegated authority of God and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit," (Kindle location 289).  This statement is at odds with his earlier definition of biblical counseling.  The author conflates salvation and sanctification when he forces biblical counseling into the Great Commission: "the content of the Great Command demands a commitment to biblical counseling since discipleship is the very core of counseling...True biblical counseling is that which functions within relationships which exist as fruit of the ongoing command to make disciples of Jesus Christ by moving others farther down the road of obedience to His Word...Discipleship is helping another believer make biblical change toward Christlikeness--helping others in the sanctification process," (Kindle location 347).  A person is not saved through biblical counseling, but through the foolishness of preaching (1 Cor. 1:21).  The Great Commission involves the preaching of the Word of God to bring salvation to the elect of God.  Biblical counseling deals with the sanctification of that person once he is saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8).  It does no good to counsel a lost person with the things of God; he is at enmity with God (Rom. 8:7) and the things of the Spirit of God are foolishness to him (1 Cor. 2:14).

In addition, Mr. Tautges's definition of sin is weak and very man-centered: "Sin is willful independence from God," (Kindle location 650), "Sin, in reality is self-worship," (Kindle location 663), and "Sin is more than a choice: it is also the powerful influence...which holds the sinner in voluntary bondage," (Kindle location 696).  You cannot adequately counsel someone when you're not willing to identify the problem.  In addition, if your talking to an unregenerate person, he can do nothing BUT sin; he is a slave to sin until the Holy Spirit regenerates his heart and gives him a new nature.  From the Baptist Catechism, Question #17 What is Sin?: "Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God."

Finally, here is an example of the author's conflation of salvation and sanctification when giving advice for biblical counseling: "It is clear that that warning in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 is very useful in biblical counseling.  All who practice these sinful lifestyles will not 'inherit the kingdom of God' (v. 10).  Paul's point is that these sins will keep a person out of heaven because they are worthy of condemnation and therefore must be treated seriously and repented of as sin, not excused as 'sickness'," (Kindle location 931).  However, a justified person is someone who has true saving faith; he will sin because he still has a sin nature, but he will work toward holiness through the sanctification process.  This person will never lose their salvation because of sin.  If he walks away from faith, then he was never truly had saving faith (1 John 2:19).  On the other hand, if a person is not a true believer, then yes, sin will keep him out of heaven.  Mr. Tautges is not clear as to which person is being counseled; therefore, his advice is confusing and not helpful in any counseling situation.

Since I do not agree with the author's exposition of the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19, his definition of sin, nor his biblical counseling advice, I cannot recommend this book for any Christian.

Full Disclosure:  I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

***
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen," (Matt. 28:19-20).

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Precious Faith - Chapters 15 through 18

I'm reading Faith by Jeremiah Burroughs and decided to blog the hidden treasures within this book. It is one book that contains two of Burroughs' treatises: (1) Precious Faith and (2) The Saints' Walk by Faith on Earth and by Sight in Heaven.  Both treatises were first published in 1654. In 2011, they were edited by Dr. Don Kistler and reprinted into one book by Northampton Press.  In his first treatise on Precious Faith, Mr. Burroughs expounds 2 Peter 1:1.  You can see my summary for Chapters 1 to 4 here, Chapters 5 to 9 here, and Chapters 10 to 14 here.

In Chapter 15, Mr. Burroughs gives Christians seven rules for obtaining faith:
  1. "Faith is the gift of God, yes, but though it is, you know the Scripture says that faith comes by hearing the Word of God...Do not neglect hearing, but wait at wisdom's gates; and though God does not work in one sermon, He may work in another.  Therefore let it be your care to attend upon the Word, and to attend for this very end, that God might work faith," (pp. 61-62).
  2. "When you do come to hear the Word, you must hear every truth as that which infinitely concerns your souls and your eternal estates...whatever truths you hear, know that they do concern your lives, and therefore weigh and ponder them; and by this God works faith in the soul," (p. 62).
  3. "When you come to hear the Word, though you cannot find abilities to close with it as you should do, [then question yourself that] if these things should prove to be true...[you would be] a most miserable man to lose all the glory of heaven...for the enjoyment of some base sinful lust," (p. 63).
  4. "If you would have God work faith (which is the gift of God), add prayer to your hearing," (p. 63).
  5. "Do  not give liberty to yourselves to please your sense too much...be willing to beat down your body, and not to please your sense too much, and that will be a way for you to get faith in your souls," (pp. 63-64).
  6. "You must not only deny sense, but you must deny your reason too...Do not therefore cast off a truth of God because you cannot understand it," (p. 64).
  7. "If you would have God to work faith, this precious faith in your hearts, do not sin against that historical faith that God has given you...take heed of sinning against this historical faith, if you would ever come to have justifying faith.  Many a man come to hear the Word, and believes that those who walk thus and thus shall not inherit eternal life; and many go away, and sin against the very light of their own consciences.  And because of this God leaves their souls forever in unbelief so that they shall never come to have justifying faith to unite their souls to Jesus Christ...Though you cannot work this precious faith in your own souls, you need not wilfully [sic] go and sin against any light that God puts in to your hearts," (p. 65).

In Chapter 16, he considers another use of the doctrine that faith is a most precious faith.  "[I]f faith is so precious, then what a great pity it is that those who have it should not make use of it," (p. 66).  I found his exhortation very convicting:  "I say this because you hear that Christians usually, when they come to any trials, into great afflictions, or under any temptations, whereas the first thing that they should do should be to exercise their faith; and the main that that they should do should be to put their faith to work, but you shall observe that the first thing, and the chief thing that they do, is to loosen and to give liberty to themselves to such thoughts as may most weaken their faith," (p. 66).  He asks, "[W]hen you come to any great affliction, what is it that your hearts are most busied about?  If you examine it, it is that which most weakens your faith," (pp. 66-67).  Mr. Burroughs concludes: "[I]t's that which the devil exceedingly troubles Christians with, that when God expects that they should put forth their faith, the main thing that they do it to spend the strength of their spirits about those things that only serve to weaken their faith.  Take heed of this...seeing God has given you this faith, make use of it upon all occasions," (p. 67).

In Chapter 17, he opens the second doctrine: "The faith of the weakest believer is equally precious with the faith of the strongest...As the election is the same with all saints, so their faith is of the same nature.  As such is equally precious," (p. 68) because:
  1. "It is wrought by the same almighty power," (p. 68).
  2. "Your faith justifies you as much as the faith of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, though there may be a difference in sanctification...a weak faith does not sanctify as much as a strong faith, but is justifies just as much as a strong faith," (pp. 68-69).
  3. "Your faith as truly interests you in God and unites you to Jesus Christ as the strongest faith in the world," (p. 69).
  4. "Your faith as truly brings you to such privileges to be a child of God and an heir," (p. 69).
  5. "Your faith as truly interests you in the covenant as the faith of the strongest...And your faith is of as everlasting a nature as well as the faith of the strongest," (p. 69).

In Chapter 18, Mr. Burroughs applies the second doctrine in five uses:
  1. "[Y]ou do not have the same precious gifts that others men have...yet you have the same like precious faith that such a saint has...therefore comfort yourselves when you see what difference God has made between you and between others.  Sometimes when men and women do but look upon others in whom God has made a great difference between them and us, it affects the heart much...Faith or no faith, that is what makes the great difference between man and man...if God has given you any faith, know that there is no man in the world that is at any great distance from you," (pp. 72-73).
  2. "We may see that the faith of most is surely not true faith, because it is not like precious faith with the saints...if it is faith that will carry you to heaven, it is the same faith," (p. 73).
  3. "You say you have faith, but whose faith is it like?  It may be that it's not beyond the faith of the devils," (p. 74).
  4. "If the faith of the weakest is the same with that of the strongest, then there is nothing that we read in Scripture that any believer did but every one should labor to get to the height that they did," (p. 74).
  5. "Let all Christians who thing they are higher than others in their graces learn to have an honorable esteem of their brethren, thought they have less degrees of grace than themselves." (p. 76).  "Certainly, there is many a poor broken-hearted soul that the world little takes notice of who honors God more by believing than a hundred of your talking Christians whose greatest part of religion lies in their tongues.  Therefore do not lift yourself up because of your gifts and parts, but look upon others as having the like precious faith that you have," (p. 77).

This concludes my look at Jeremiah Burroughs' treatise on Precious Faith.  In my next post, I'll look at his second treatise on The Saints Walk by Faith.


***
"My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons," (James 2:1).

Friday, April 8, 2016

Robert Haldane on Faith

I'm slowly reading through Robert Haldane's Exposition of the Epistle to the Romans.  Currently, I'm studying Romans 10 verses 1 through 12, and I find Mr. Haldane's comments helpful in light of my book study through Jeremiah Burroughs' Faith.

Mr. Haldane defines faith as the only "appointed medium or means of our union with Christ, through which we receive this righteousness [Rom. 10:10], and not the righteousness itself," (p. 507).  "Justifying faith is the belief of the testimony of Christ, and trust in Him who is the subject of that testimony.  It is believing with the heart...Faith is necessary to obtain the gift of righteousness.  Confession is necessary to prove that this gift is received.  If a man does not confess Christ at the hazard of life, character, property, liberty, and everything dear to him, he has not the faith of Christ.  In saying, then, that confession is made unto salvation, the Apostle [Paul] does not mean that it is the cause of salvation, or that without it the title to salvation is incomplete.  When a man believes in his heart, he is justified.  But confession of Christ is the effect of faith, and will be evidence of it at the last day," (p. 508).  "Faith does not save us by being strong or weak.  It is Jesus Christ by whom we are saved; and not by our faith, which is only the instrument or hand by which we receive him," (p. 509).


***
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed," (Rom. 10:9-11).

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Precious Faith - Chapters 10 through 14

I'm reading Faith by Jeremiah Burroughs and decided to blog the hidden treasures within this book. It is one book that contains two of Burroughs' treatises: (1) Precious Faith and (2) The Saints' Walk by Faith on Earth and by Sight in Heaven.  Both treatises were first published in 1654. In 2011, they were edited by Dr. Don Kistler and reprinted into one book by Northampton Press.  In his first treatise on Precious Faith, Mr. Burroughs expounds 2 Peter 1:1.  You can see my summary for Chapters 1 to 4 here and Chapters 5 to 9 here.

In Chapter 10, Mr. Burroughs contends that faith enables the soul to do glorious things.  First, it's "the prayer of faith that can prevail; if any prayer prevails with God, it is through faith," (p. 43).  Next, faith is the "grace that has the power to resist temptations...and that dispels fears," (pp. 43-44).  Faith "rises above all discouragements...and carries the soul through all kinds of difficulties," (p. 44).  Faith "rejoice[s] in tribulations, and it knows how to make up all our wants in God himself," (p. 47).  In addition, faith "overcomes the world, not only because it keeps the world from doing it mischief, but it can make use of the world for its own good," (p. 47).  Finally, faith "can look upon the face of the holy and just God with joy, and upon the face of death, and of judgment with joy," (p. 47).

In Chapter 11, he states that "faith is the special grace that glorifies God...To believe is the greatest work of all, that which brings glory unto God more than anything else," (p. 48).  God is honored when Christians can rest their souls upon His faithfulness so that in temptations, trials, and oppositions, they can say, "Though He kills me, yet will I trust Him," (p. 49).  "[I]f faith is the great grace that glorifies God, then unbelief is the great sin that dishonors God in the world," (p. 50).

In Chapter 12, Mr. Burroughs reminds the Christian that faith puts his soul into a state of happiness that he can never lose.  "It is that by faith the state of a Christian comes to be better than the state of Adam was in innocence, before he even sinned against God...[a Christian comes] not only to be united to the Fountain and Root of life, but whereby [he comes] to fetch a continual supply of life.  Therefore certainly a Christian cannot perish because he lives by a principle of life that is without himself, in Christ," (p. 52).

In Chapter 13, he sets froth the idea that faith is only a condition of the second covenant.  I struggled with this chapter because it is by faith that all men are saved in the Old and New Testament.  From the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith, Chapter 11, paragraph 6: "The justification of believers under the Old Testament was, in all these respects, one and the same with the justification of believers under the New Testament. (Gal. 3:9, Rom. 4:22-24)"  Mr. Burroughs states that "it is faith only that is the condition of the second covenant that God has made with the soul in Jesus Christ," (p. 53).  I think this statement can be clarified by Sam Renihan's teaching on Redemptive History: "In the Old Testament Christ had not come and the New Covenant had not yet been established; there was no New Covenant.  However, the New Covenant was as good as done because it is part of God's eternal decree.  God revealed the New Covenant in His progressive promises throughout the Old Testament; therefore, the Covenant of Grace [the promised Seed found in Gen. 3:15] is the progressive revelation of the New Covenant."  If interested, you can read my post on Mr. Renihan's discussion of the different covenants found in the Word of God here.

In Chapter 14, Mr. Burroughs looks at three uses of faith: to comfort, to encourage, and to exhort.  He reiterates that the "precious jewel of faith is given instead of all riches...you need not fear any evil, for you have that within your own soul that may help against any kind of evil that possibly can befall you here in this life," (p. 58).  "You are unfit to live in these times if you do not have this precious grace of faith.  Therefore be restless in your spirits till you have it," (p. 60).


***
"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it," (Matt. 13:45-46).