11 comments on “Backsliding and the means of grace

  1. undoubtedly 😉

    Funny that Kiffin’s poster PettyFrance* ranks the saints’ assembly so high, when Bill K is simply saying that

    The signs of declining are these:

    [1] First, a disregarding of the truth of Christ, 2 Chron. 24. 20. {Then the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, who stood above the people, and said to them, “Thus says God: ‘Why do you transgress the commandments of the Lord, so that you cannot prosper? Because you have forsaken the Lord, He also has forsaken you.’”}

    [2] When the minds of men, grow weary of the truths of Christ, and their estimations of truth (which formerly have been) slackens, it’s one shrewd sign of declining.

    [3] A third sign is, unfruitfulness under the means and mercies which God bestows. Luke 13:7. {Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’}

    When men shall rather turn the truth of God which they have received, into notions; and please themselves more with talking of truth than of practicing what they know, then it is a sign that truth is bidding them farewell, and they it.

    * He/ she states: “Is it a big deal when people consistently absent themselves from the meetings of the church? Is it a big deal when people evince a very low prioritization for attendance and participation in the meetings of the church? Aside from providential hindrance, if the local church is the place where the powers of the age to come are manifested in the present through God-appointed means, and if the local church is the place where the good confession is maintained week after week while awaiting the arrival of the bridegroom, and if the local church is the place where the kingdom of God is manifested on earth, any individual who demonstrates a disregard for these supreme blessings (and many more could be added) is in need of loving but firm exhortation not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together.”

    Very big “ifs,” indeed! Sounds a bit like Rome, Eastern Ortho’x, TGC, et. al.

    [The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.]

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  2. PettyFrance has nothing to do with Kiffin’s quote!

    Some would argue that today’s churches are usually so corrupt and the ministers generally so slack, that regard for & estimation of Christ’s truth, and our fruitfulness therein actually increases and better prospers AWAY from most churches!

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  3. No local church is perfect, but I completely and wholeheartedly affirm each of those “if”s. The regular gatherings of the local church is where the means of grace (preached Word, baptism, Lord’s Supper) are found. If one is forsaking the assembly of the saints, he is disregarding the truth of Christ, showing himself to be weary and low in his estimation of the truth, and is separating himself from the most important “means and mercies which God bestows.” The two go hand in hand. It is not Romish to affirm the necessity of assembling together. On the contrary, it is an utterly Reformed and biblical truth.

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  4. I’ll affirm the “ifs” too, IF they’re there.

    But you and Kiffin-fan missed my point. He read into Kiffin what he wanted to read.

    The word “means” probably seduced him (unless there’s more context to the quote PettyFrance posted).

    Kiffin didn’t mention all the stuff you guys are getting excited about.

    And as for means of grace, “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God,” whether or not in a church service…

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  5. The signs of declension are not necessarily these:

    First, a disregarding of the assembling of ourselves together on the New Testament Sabbath ~ “Because you have forsaken the Lord, He also has forsaken you.”

    2ndly, when men grow weary of churchgoing, it’s one sure sign of declension!

    A third sign is, unfruitfulness under the means of grace which God bestows in the kingdom / church.

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  6. “But you and Kiffin-fan missed my point. He read into Kiffin what he wanted to read.”

    Or he simply elaborated on a closely related point.

    “And as for means of grace, “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God,” whether or not in a church service…”

    Agreed, but surely you do not deny that God ordains pastors as means of propagating the written Word. Romans 10:14

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  7. Thanks. And my clarification is still apt: That Romans 10:14 isn’t only about those called & (God-)ordained as “pastors.”

    How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?
    And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?
    And how shall they hear without a preacher?

    Unless “preacher” necessarily equates with “pastor.”

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