The Reformed Freedom of the Will vs. Determinism

Much of Calvinism today conceives of the outworking of predestination as a physical determinism, like pool balls hitting each other.  Thus, due to the forces of the created order, the choices people make could not be otherwise.

This paradigm is a departure from the reformed theology of the Reformation and Confessional era, which taught that God’s decree does not fall out simply by necessary causation, but also by free and contingent causes.  Sinners, even under the spiritual bondage of sin, have the power of contrary choice in the external, civil and common affairs of daily life.

The Reformation doctrine of a theological and spiritual bondage of the will has been largely turned into a doctrine of natural necessity, thanks to the Enlightenment.

Return to the old paths by learning more about the Biblical teaching on the subject here:

The Reformed Freedom of the Will vs. Determinism

Antinomiansim = ‘Against the Law’

Antinomiansim is rife in the Christian world today.  Jesus says, ‘If you love me, keep my commandments.’ (Jn. 14:15)  And yet how often do Christians say that trying to keep God’s commandments is legalism?

We seek to keep God’s commandments not to earn our salvation, but in being saved by grace through faith, apart from our works, we seek to obey God by his Spirit in order to glorify Him.  As long as we are creatures, God’s Moral Law by Creation morally binds us.  Faith does not make the Law void, but rather establishes it. (Rom. 3:31)

John ‘Rabbi’ Duncan called Antinomianims the only heresy.  Find out why, and many more things on this page we put together on the topic:

Antinomianism

You will learn much from this webpage; it is worth your time.

 

 

Godly Children’s Books

We have put together a collection of godly stories and books for children and youth, which we hope will be a blessing to you and your kids, especially if you don’t have a lot of money.

Many of the older children’s books that are sold by Christian publishers are free on the net.  We have gathered as many of them as we could.

My (Travis Fentiman’s) children enjoyed being read to off of our laptop, and most of these books have formats available for your hand-held devices.

We have sections on Bible stories, theology, books for boys, books for girls, biographies from the Reformation, and be sure to check out the 16 different versions of Pilgrim’s Progress for children that we found.  My kids loved them!

Godly Stories & Books for Children & Youth

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“Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord.”

Ps. 34:11

 

Family Worship

Do you love God and your family?

If you love God, you love more than anything in life communing with Him and worshipping Him, above the distractions of life.

If you love your family, you desire to provide them the best things.

And if you love both God and your family, you will find worshipping God with your family to be of the utmost desire. 

Learn more of what the Bible teaches about family worship, how to start doing it, be encouraged in continuing on with it, and find resources for help with it through the resources here:

Family Worship

The Covenant of Redemption

The Covenant of Redemption is the eternal covenant between the Father and the Son whereby the Son guarantees to purchase and bring God’s chosen people to eternal life and Heaven forever, laying the foundation for the Covenant of Grace as it is offered and entered into by mankind-sinners in time through the preaching of the Gospel.

The Covenant of Redemption often does not receive the attention it deserves, and is sometimes denied.

For your help and growth in grace in Scripture’s exceedingly certain and precious promises, here are numerous resources on this topic (the most on the net):

The Covenant of Redemption

(We previously had some material up on this page previously, but we greatly beefed it up)

Experiential Religion

What is Experiential Religion?

Jonathan Edwards:

“A gracious experience arises from operations and influences which are spiritual, from an inward principle which is divine, a communication of God, a participation of the divine nature [2 Pet. 1:4]: Christ living in the heart, the Holy Spirit dwelling there in union with the faculties of the soul as an internal principle, exerting his own proper nature in the exercise of those faculties.”

Thus all of that which we go through in life in its various seasons, circumstances and experiences as we live before the Face of God, becomes sanctified and beneficial to our faith and precious to the saint.

Experiential Religion deeply values the experiential aspect of the Scriptures and the Christian faith.

Here is a field of jewels from Church history on experiential religion, on one page:

Experiential Religion

What does Keeping the Lord’s Day Entail?

Seeing as the Sabbath is a perpetually, morally binding obligation from the Lord’s institution of it at Creation, and that it has changed to the first day of the week at Christ’s Resurrection by God’s authority:

How are we to keep the Lord’s Day holy to the Lord?  What are the practical nuts and bolts of it?

Is our main focus upon enjoying and worshipping the Lord only for public worship in the morning, or is it to extend to the whole day?  Is it ok to eat out at restaurants over lunch?  To buy and sell on the Lord’s Day?  What about doing outdoors work around the house, or watching sports and entertainment?

Search the Scriptures in order to become more acquainted with God’s will on the matter.  These resources will be of great help to you in learning more.  

For those long acquainted with the blessings of Sabbath rest, we have included numerous longer puritan treatments that will give deep satisfaction to your soul:

What does Keeping the Lord’s Day Entail?

Calvin on Common Grace

We are pleased to announce that the most exhaustive work documenting (in 175 pages) John Calvin’s doctrine of common grace from his writings is now, for the first time, free online:

Kuiper, Herman – Calvin on Common Grace  1928

Kuiper (1889-1963) was a minister in the Christian Reformed Church (C.R.C.) and a professor at Calvin Seminary.  Kuiper studied under Louis Berkhof, A.A. Hodge, Geerhardus Vos and B.B. Warfield.  This work of his was historically significant during the debates that followed the C.R.C.’s assertion of the 3 Points of Common Grace in 1924.

This is the most detailed, careful and definitive work (being an anthology of extended quotes with analysis) that demonstrates that Calvin explicitly, repeatedly and frequently taught throughout his Institutes and commentaries that:

(1) God gives common grace to all men,
(2) that God’s common grace in the Covenant extends to the reprobate, and
(3) that God desires all men to embrace the gospel and be saved.

Read Calvin for yourself and see what he says.

The appendix to the book (p. 239) gives a survey of the doctrine of common grace in the theological writings (many of which remain in Latin or Dutch) of Peter van Mastricht, Johannes Marck, Wilhelmus a Brakel, Bernhardinus de Moor, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Hodge, A.A. Hodge, Herman Bavinck, Abraham Kuyper and V. Hepp.

Kuiper’s work is very hard to come buy on the used market, if it is available at all, and is very pricey if one can find it at all.

May this work be a blessing to you, and may you love your enemies and show yourself to be a child of God, who is kind (in the Greek: merciful) to the unthankful and evil (Lk. 6:34-36).

For more on this topic, see our pages:

John Calvin Quotes on Common Grace

John Calvin Quotes on God’s Love for all Mankind

John Calvin on the Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel

Common Grace

The Westminster Standards and Divines on Common Grace

Historic Reformed Quotes on Common Grace

Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel

Sincere Free Offer Historic Quotes

Reformation & Puritan Bible Commentaries

“For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.”

Isa. 11:9

We believe that everyone should have the basic human right to have free access to the best, godly, rich and savory puritan Bible commentaries ever written, from across the world.

So…   here they are.  620+ of them, in the order of the books of the Bible, on one page:

Reformation & Puritan Bible Commentaries

Keep in mind that it is reported that the largest private library in Europe in the early 1500’s only had 700 or so volumes.  God has made us rich beyond degree.  

Drink to your heart’s desire from this font till you can drink no more, and give glory to God.

“By all means read the Puritans, they are worth more than all the modern stuff put together.”

Charles Spurgeon

The Best Bible Commentary Collection on the Net

We are humbled to introduce the best and largest Bible Commentary collection on the net:

Bible Commentaries  2,200+

This collection includes:

– Every commentary that Charles Spurgeon recommended (his recommendatory notes are included);

-Every Reformed and/or Puritan commentary we could find on the net (in English);

– Most every Bible commentary before 1975 that a Bible-believer would be interested in,

– and all of the major Early and Medieval Church commentaries that have been translated into English.

The majority of these commentaries are fully available and free online.  The best commentaries are categorized at the top of each of the pages.

We give praise to God that now, for the first time, the bulk of the best commentaries on each book of the Bible throughout Church history is made conveniently available to pastors, missionaries, translators and all lovers of God’s Word throughout the world for free.  Send this page to them.

While one may find a benefit in spending money to buy a contemporary commentary, there is no need to.  There is at least just as much, and usually more scholarship in some of the older commentaries than in newer ones.

Contemporary commentaries, also, as a whole (with few exceptions), are seriously deficient in deep, savory, godliness.  They will feed you information, but not your eternal soul.  In reading older puritan commentaries, on the other hand, one not only grows in knowledge, but finds depths of soul-stirring communion with our Eternal and Beloved God.

May the Lord greatly use this collection of commentaries on his Word to feed his people, build up his Kingdom, and to destroy the works of darkness throughout the world.  Jesus come quickly!  and we shall know Him, not through books, but face to face.

Soli Deo Gloria

Bible Chronology

Ancient history is a giant puzzle, none of which, according to modern experts, is certain.  Yet, the Bible is often found wanting in judging it according to the (shifting) reconstructions of archaeology and ancient chronologies.  The time benchmarks of the ancients, however, were not infallible (much more so scholars’ piecing them together), and they, in fact, often contradict themselves.

Liberals long ago succumbed to Satan’s temptation, ‘Yea, hath God said?’ (Gen. 3:1) and denied Scripture to be true in all of its historical details.  Most evangelical scholars today, while defending the inerrancy of the autographs of Scripture as they were originally written, yet still believe that significant chronological details have been forever lost through the transmission of Scripture into our hands, contrary to our Savior’s promise: ‘Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the Law…” (Mt. 5:18)

It is time to boldly assert with the apostle Paul, “Let God be true, and every man a liar” (Rom. 3:4).  One of the first Christian chronologists, Theophilus, bishop of Antioch (c. AD 412), said, “All times and years are made known to them who are willing to obey the truth.”

While there are some challenging issues to sort out regarding the chronological statements that Scripture makes, yet the simple and faithful Christian may rest his faith upon God’s Word, having full assurance that the ‘times and seasons’ that Scripture records are true, as surely as God cannot lie (Titus 1:2).

The Bible believing resources below will be a great aid and guide through this vast subject-field.

Bible Chronology

The Works of Richard Muller

Dr. Richard Muller is one of the foremost historians of reformed theology from the Reformation and puritans eras.  All of his works are of the greatest value to the one who seeks to drink from the reformed fountain from the sources.

It has been very hard to track down Dr. Muller’s various writings online…  until now.

We are humbled and glad to present to you the most complete bibliography of Richard Muller’s works, with links (where available), that is online!  The works are arranged by subject for your easier perusal.

The Works of Dr. Richard A. Muller

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“Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls”

Jer. 6:16

Images of Christ

The Early Church and the Reformed wing of the Reformation held images of Christ to be unlawful in any context.  Why?  Because of the orthodox doctrine of the Hypostatic Union, of Christ’s one person in two natures.

Here is the crux of the issue:

In heaven, if you will be able to worship Jesus in the flesh, then you cannot make an image of Him.  If you can make an image of Him, then you cannot worship Him.

The ‘Introduction & Crux of the Issue’ on the webpage is irrefutable.  Many more resources on the topic, both historic and contemporary follow (which we have greatly updated).  Read, and wonder again that “God was in the flesh”.

Images of Christ

Hebrew Vowel Points

Hebrew is a language that has only consonants (besides 3 silent place holders which were probably vowels at one time).  Hebrew is always spoken with vowels but not always written with them.  The Hebrew scriptures of the Old Testament as we have them have a very systematized vowel-pointing to indicate how to say the words, which sometimes distinguishes a word from other words.

Are the vowel points original to the Scriptures, and thus inspired and inerrant, or were they inserted to the texts in order to codify the traditionary Jewish pronunciation of the Scriptures during the Middle Ages?

The reformed orthodox of the puritan era largely held to the former; modern conservatives largely hold to the latter.

Who is right?  The articles of 6 of the most important figures from history to argue the question (3 from each side) are given with helpful notes from this webmaster.  Read them, or at least scan them, and find out.

On the History and Possible Inerrancy of the Hebrew Vowel-Points

Happy Thanksgiving!

In celebration of Thanksgiving Day, here are some resources that will imbue you with a spirit of deep thankfulness to our great Lord for all of his benefits.  Find help for prayer and remember to rejoice always!

On Thankfulness

A big thanks to Andrew Myers who helped tremendously in putting this together.

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“O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.”

Ps. 136:1

100,000 Views and Intinction

100,000 Views

We are humbled and thankful to announce that ReformedBooksOnline has reached 100,000 views.

We thought this would take perhaps 10 years, and it has been reached, since we started, in 2 and a half years.

By far the best resource, and the biggest, that we have put together yet, will be coming out by the end of the year.  Much more of the best Christian resources will be coming down the road, adding to what we have so far.

 

Intinction

In the meantime, we have have put a page together on Intinction, the practice of dipping the bread in the wine in the Lord’s Supper, and consuming them together.  

The Introduction on the page is the clearest, most persuasive brief argument against Intinction that is available, that we know of.  And better yet, some of the older puritan resources against it are also made available, showing the very clear and solid presuppositions behind the Lord’s Supper that preclude the practice.

Whether Intinction seems relevant to you or not, the Introduction and resources will give you a better and more detailed appreciation for the full significance that the Lord has given to us in his Supper.

Intinction