Martin Luther’s 7 Characteristics of the Church | W. Robert Godfrey

from Ligonier.org

The Word

“First, the holy Christian people are recognized by their possession of the holy word of God.” Martin Luther always returned to the foundational importance of the Scriptures and the gospel in his approach to any doctrinal question. The church must have and cherish the revelation of God. “And even if there were no other sign than this alone, it would still suffice to prove that a Christian, holy people must exist there, for God’s word cannot be without God’s people, and conversely, God’s people cannot be without God’s word.”

Baptism

“Second, God’s people or the Christian holy people are recognized by the holy sacrament of baptism, wherever it is taught, believed, and administered correctly according to Christ’s ordinance.” The church possessed and administered the sacrament of baptism as taught in the Bible, a visible expression of the gospel.

The Lord’s Supper

“Third, God’s people, or Christian holy people, are recognized by the holy sacrament of the altar, wherever it is rightly administered, believed, and received, according to Christ’s institution. This too is a public sign and a precious, holy possession left behind by Christ by which his people are sanctified so that they also exercise themselves in faith and openly confess that they are Christian, just as they do with the word and baptism.” Again, the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper must be treasured by the church as Christ has taught it in the Bible. Continue reading

Top Five Books on the Five Solas: Sola Gratia | Keith Mathison

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from Ligonier Ministries

In the early fifth century, a theological controversy occurred that would forever shape the thinking of the church. In his Confessions, Augustine of Hippo wrote in the form of a prayer the words, “Give what Thou commandest and command what Thou will.” The British monk Pelagius was upset by these words, believing that they would give Christians an excuse for not obeying God. Pelagius believed that if God commanded something, man was naturally (apart from grace) able to do it. He believed that this was possible because he also believed that Adam’s sin had only affected Adam. All human beings are born in the same state in which Adam was born, capable of either obeying God or disobeying Him. If they obey, their good works merit salvation. If not, they deserve God’s punishment.

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Top Five Books on the Five Solas: Introduction | Keith Mathison

from Ligonier Ministries

Over the next few weeks, we are going to spend some time retracing our path in order to look briefly at some foundational doctrines—the five solas of the Reformation (sola Scriptura, sola fide, sola gratia, solus Christus, soli Deo gloria). When the medieval church lost her way, the rediscovery of these fundamental doctrines helped the church regain her footing. In the past, I have written a series of blogs recommending the best commentaries on each book of the Bible. My goal in this series of blog posts is to do the same with each of the five solas. If we are going to regain our footing, it will require effort. Christians will have to become biblically and theologically literate once again. This will take time, but it will take less time if we have some idea where to start. My goal is to suggest a place to start on these particular doctrines.

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What is the Prayer of Faith? | Sinclair Ferguson

prayingfrom Ligonier.org

Years ago, the editor of a publishing company asked me to write a book on prayer. The theme is a vitally important one. The publishing house was well known. To be honest, I felt flattered. But in a moment of heaven-sent honesty, I told him that the author of such a book would need to be an older and more seasoned author (not to mention, alas, more prayerful) than I was. I mentioned one name and then another. My reaction seemed to encourage him to a moment of honesty, as well. He smiled. He had already asked the well-seasoned Christian leaders whose names I had just mentioned! They, too, had declined in similar terms. Wise men, I thought. Who can write or speak at any length easily on the mystery of prayer?

Yet in the past century and a half, much has been written and said particularly about “the prayer of faith.” The focus has been on mountain-moving prayer by which we simply “claim” things from God with confidence that we will receive them because we believe that He will give them.

But what exactly is the prayer of faith?

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