Wednesday, May 30, 2007


"Some people do not like to hear much of repentance; but I think it is so necessary that if I should die in the pulpit, I would desire to die preaching repentance, and if out of the pulpit I would desire to die practicing it."

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


"Particular redemption (Christ making atonement for the sins of his own people only) must not prevent his servants from preaching the gospel to every creature and announcing that there is a Savior for every sinner out of hell who appropriates him for his own." (Studies in the Scriptures March 1951)
"Unto the objection that to call upon the unregenerate to turn from the world and come to Christ is to inculate creature-ability and to feed self righteousness, we ask, Were Christ and his Spirit-taught apostles ignorant of this danger? Were men so mightily used of God as Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, and C.H. Spurgeon wrong, when , in promiscuously exhorting all their hearers to flee from the wrath to come, they followed the example of John the Baptist and the Son of God?" (Quoted by Iain Murray in the Life of Arthur Pink BOT p.232 On Preaching Human Responsibility)

Thursday, May 17, 2007


By W.F. Bell

We are told there are some three-quarter million "words" in the Bible. I have never counted them. The word "and" is supposed to be in the Bible over 46,000 times. The longest word in Scripture is "Mahershalalhashbaz" (Isaiah 8:1). "Grandmother" occurs only once (2 Timothy 1:5). Many words are not in the Bible that people think are, like "Christmas," "purgatory," and "sermon." Common phrases and sayings, like "Every tub must stand on its own bottom," and "Let your conscience be your guide," are not in the Bible.
I do often like to get out a dictionary, and just look over different words. Like "ephapse." Anyone ever use that word? It means "the place where two lateral axons touch each other." But, unless you know Physiology, that definition doesn't help much. "Words" are vehicles of thoughts, but the question must often be asked, "What does that word mean?" What are "axons"? We are often in the dark in our understanding.
There are over 150 words in the above two paragraphs. What's my point here? Words! We use them everyday, and don't often think about it. According to the dictionary there are some eleven different meanings of the word "word." Then, we have expressions like, "beyond words," "in so many words," "eat one's words," and "you took the words out of my mouth." The Bible is called "God's word," and it is interesting that the first usage of "word" in Scripture is Genesis 15:1, stating "After these things the WORD of the LORD came to Abram in a vision," etc. And how interesting that the Bible closes with emphasis upon what God has "recorded" in His "word," stating "Blessed is he who reads, and they who hear the WORDS of this prophecy, and keep those things which are WRITTEN therein; for the time is at hand" (Revelation 1:3) "And He said to me, Write, for these WORDS are true and faithful" (21:5). Then, the warning is given not to add to or take from "the WORDS of the book of this prophecy" (22:18-19).
So, God the Sovereign Creator has communicated to man (His creation) in "words," and even our Lord Jesus Christ is called "THE WORD OF GOD" (Revelation 19:13), or "THE WORD" who "became flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:1, 14). All of this is to further emphasize the great importance of words, and their meanings. But then we have those who argue if God's "words" are truly "inspired," and exactly what is the meaning of "inspiration" (2 Timothy 3:16). Again, see the importance of words. We must have intelligent understanding of "words" if they are to benefit us or help us. We live in a day when "words" are being changed, with new "spin" put on their meanings.
"A fool also is FULL of words" (Ecclesiastes 10:14). The problem with that verse is, Who is "a fool"? We don't like to use that word, and we don't like to be called "foolish." But we learn the meaning of one word by the use of another: "The words of a wise man's mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow him up" (Ecclesiastes 10:12). So, we know a person is "foolish" who is unwise with his words, for "The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd" (Ecclesiastes 12:11). Our Savior spoke "gracious words" (Luke 4:22) because He was "full of grace and truth" (John 1:14). "The officers said, Never man spake like this Man" (John 7:46). And Jesus says plainly, "He who is of God HEARS God's WORDS" (John 8:47).
"Also take no heed unto ALL words that are spoken" (Ecclesiastes 7:21). Don't pay attention to everything people say! Why? Because we ourselves have said things we should not have said (v. 22), and we are always glad when unwise, unkind things we have said (and thought) were forgotten or taken "no heed to." We hear things all the time that are "wordy" and "useless." It's best to act like we never heard them, or at least respond back with "few words." "Do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your HEART be hasty to utter anything before God. For God is in heaven, and you upon earth; therefore let your words be few" (Ecclesiastes 5:2).
The Queen of Sheba, after hearing of Solomon's fame "concerning the name of the LORD, she came to prove him with hard questions" (I Kings 10:1). After visiting him, seeing "all of Solomon's wisdom," and Solomon solving "all her questions," it is recorded, "And she said to the king, It was A TRUE REPORT that I heard in my own land of your acts and of your wisdom. Howbeit I believed not the WORDS until I came and saw with my own eyes; and indeed the half was not told me" (vv. 6-7). Hopefully, by grace, we all can say the same about the glories of our Lord Jesus Christ (our greater Solomon), for He alone has "THE WORDS OF ETERNAL LIFE" (John 6:68). "To whom shall we go" but to HIM, remembering Hosea 14:2 -- "TAKE with you WORDS, and TURN to the LORD. SAY unto HIM, Take away all iniquity; receive us graciously." Take! Turn! Say! Surely these are "ACCEPTABLE WORDS," and "WORDS OF TRUTH" (Ecclesiastes 12:10).
Taking heed to my own "words" here, "Better is the END of a thing than its beginning" (Ecclesiastes 7:8). Finis.

Monday, May 14, 2007


By Charles Woodruff

The book is titled “The Acts of the Apostles”, but is more accurately “The Acts of the Holy Spirit”, for He is truly at work throughout the book in every event. Chapter 16 is remarkable in many ways. First of all, at Lystra Paul meets Timothy, who was the son of a Greek father and a Jewish mother. Paul takes him under his wing and brings him along on his missionary journey. After giving to churches in the region the decrees of the apostles regarding the things decided in Jerusalem, they wanted to go to Asia, but the Holy Ghost forbade them.


Then there was the Macedonian call. “And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas. And
a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them” (Acts 16:8-10).

They went to Philippi in Macedonia and soon discovered one reason the Spirit sent them there:
“A certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us, whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul” (Acts 16:14).

Later they met a girl possessed of an evil spirit: “And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour” (Acts 16: 16-18).


Because it took away monetary gain from those who used her divination powers, these unscrupulous people had the Philippian magistrates put Paul and Silas in Jail, after beating them severely. This brings us to our main focus: “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed. And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house” (Acts 16:25-34).

We notice that Paul and Silas were not worried, or defeated even though they had been severely beaten. They were praying, and singing praises to God at midnight, and the prisoners heard them. This was a wonderful witness to all who heard, that God would take care of His own. Instead of being in despair, they were having a praise service. These apostolic preachers taught us all how to behave under persecution, and many Christians since, such as John Hus, Polycarp, and Wycliffe, as well as many in our modern day, have followed their path.

Prison was a rough place to be in the Roman empire. Many of today’s prisons in America are like country clubs compared to a Roman prison.My late friend, Simion Motz, who for his Christian witness, served four years of a seventeen year sentence in the hellhole communist prisons of his homeland. He told me that later, when he went to preach at prisons here in the free world, he was shocked to find that the prisoners had recreation rooms complete with televisions, ping pong tables, and various games, magazines, books, and even a swimming pool! He said these prisoners had it better than most common people had it in communist Romania. My late friend, Haralan Popov, writer of Tortured for his Faith telling of his 13 years in Bulgarian prisons, said much the same thing. We see that Paul and Silas had no luxuries. Only misery!

Yet these men of God were not complaining, though I am sure they were suffering much pain. Instead they were praying and singing praises to God. I don’t know what they were singing, but it must have been God honoring music similar to “Amazing Grace”, “Rock of Ages”, or some psalms, or spiritual songs. I’m sure they were not singing rock, hip hop, country or some other “contemporary” concoction patterned after the world’s music. It was midnight, but they were singing praises unto God, and the prisoners heard them.

Then came the astounding earthquake. The Lord of heaven and earth can shake the earth anytime he wants, and here was just the right time. It was such a shaking that the very foundations of the prison were shaken.. To further show that this was miraculous, and not a natural phenomena, the doors were all opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.


Now remember the jailer, or keeper of the prison, was charged by the magistrate to firmly secure Paul and Silas in stocks, and carefully guard them. The leaders were set on stopping the preaching of these “strange gods”. So the jailer feared for his life, but would rather kill himself than suffer the shame and humiliation of letting the prisoners escape. He thought all the prisoners had escaped, and he was going to die anyway, so why not get it over with.

You can imagine his shock when he heard Paul cry out loudly “Do thyself no harm, for we are all here”(v.28). Not one of his charges had left, though all were loosed. So he called for a light in that dark dungeon and rushed in trembling. He was trembling, not because of the earthquake, nor because of possible escaped prisoners, or fear of his superiors, but because the power of the Holy Ghost brought conviction to him. Unlike Felix (Acts 24:25), who trembled when Paul preached to him, the jailer trembled, and asked a very important question.

No, my friends, the words he next said were not from worry of escaping prisoners, or reprisals from his superiors, but from Holy Ghost power brought to his own soul. He had no doubt heard why they were in jail. Maybe he had heard all the commotion brought about by the possessed girl who said “These men are servants of the most High God which shew us the way of salvation” (v. 17). What she said was true, just as when the demons identified Jesus as the Christ, and He rebuked them because His time had not yet come. The damsel was causing a distraction and a hindrance. So when Paul rebuked the demon in her, the handlers lost their meal ticket, and that is why they wanted the apostles arrested.

But the jailer said “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (v. 30) This is not the normal way a jailer would address a prisoner. He wouldn’t say “sirs” to them. They were more used to speaking harshly, and abruptly to those arrested and in their care. But he was under Holy Spirit conviction, and crying out for help for his lost soul. No doubt he saw his sins. Maybe he was a great sinner. Like Lydia, Cornelius, and the Ethiopian Eunuch, he was a Gentile, yet he knew he needed what these Jews had. Remember, Paul and Silas were sinners also. We all are. Remember Paul wrote “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief”( I Timothy 1:15). If Paul was the chief, and God saved him, it is a not a problem for God to save the jailer, or you and me!

What must I do? Well, he could do nothing to save himself. All he could do was provide the sinner -- God did the rest. Note that the apostles did not say to keep the law, join the synagogue or church, seek psychiatric help, repeat a soul winner's prayer, sign a card, or give us all your money for future blessings. But they said “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved". Believe totally -- trust in, rely on, cling to Christ Jesus. Note that Paul and Silas did not say "might be saved", but "shall be saved". It is a surety with God.
This is the gospel message in a nutshell again as in I Timothy 1:15; I Corinthians 15:3-6; Romans 10:9-10; and perhaps Acts 2:38, 39.


“And thy house”. That his house would believe was a statement of prophecy as well. What a blessing that the gospel floodgates were opened so that all those who believed may enter in. The evangelists preached Christ to him and his house. How would you like to have been in that meeting? Yes, the jailer really was converted. One indication it was real, was his immediate compassion for those he and others had wronged. He washed their stripes. These two that were roughly treated under his care were now cared for as brethren. What a change when Jesus Christ comes into one’s heart! His house still had to believe for themselves, but with his example and the power of the Spirit, it was done. All of them were saved!

The evangelists were satisfied that the conversions were real, for the jailer and all his house were baptized the same night. It was believer’s baptism for sure. Was it immersion? Was there a nearby lake or pond? As a Baptist by conviction, knowing the meaning of the Greek baptizo (Strong‘s defines it as “to make whelmed, i.e., fully wet”), I have to believe it was immersion. Yet I can’t prove it unconditionally from these verses, but many other places in scripture indicate immersion as the proper mode. Suffice it to say, salvation had come to the prison keeper’s house, and they were baptized after believing.

Then there was a celebration meal. “He set meat before them and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house” ( Acts 16:34). Note that both Young‘s concordance, and Strong’s define "rejoiced" as " jumped for joy” (S), or "leaped for joy” (Y). Yes it was a glorious celebration. It always is when the awakened children of God embrace Christ; confess Him; close with him. Regeneration (the making alive), always comes first. Then conviction, repentance and conversion. Have you been awakened to YOUR need of Christ, dear reader? Just as He was the only one who could save the jailer and his house, He is the only one who can save you and your house. It has never been popular to preach “Christ and Him crucified” (I Corinthians 2:2), yet He said “ I am The way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but by Me”(John 14:6).

It is illegal in some countries to preach Christ. It may be here in the USA if we keep going as we are. You or I may go to jail, or even die for believing in Christ. The point is; we still have it relatively easy here, but that is changing rapidly. The followers of Mohammed (At least many of them), have vowed to destroy Christianity and take over this country. May God forbid! But if that happens great tribulation will come for the true Christians. Are you ready?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


by John L. Dagg (1794-1884)

When Paul preached the gospel of salvation, he knew nothing but Jesus Christ and him
crucified (I Corinthians 2:2). He gloried in nothing, save the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (Galatians 6:14).

In the cross of Christ all the divine perfections are gloriously and harmoniously displayed.
Infinite love, inviolable truth, and inflexible justice are all seen, in their brightest and most
beautifully mingled colors. The heavens declare the glory of God, but the glory of the cross outshines the wonders of the skies. God's moral perfections are here displayed, which are the highest glory of his character.

The cross of Christ is our only hope of life everlasting. On him who hangs there, our iniquities were laid, and from his wounds flows the blood that cleanses from all sin (Isaiah 53:5-6). Our faith views the bleeding victim, and peacefully relies on the great atoning sacrifice. It views mercy streaming from the cross; and to the cross it comes to obtain every needed blessing.

In the cross the believer finds the strongest motive to holiness. As we stand before it, and view the exhibition of the Saviour's love, we resolve to live to him who died for us. The world ceases to charm. We become crucified to the world, and the world crucified to us. Sin appears infinitely hateful. The cross is the place for penitential tears. We look to him, whom we have pierced, and mourn (Zechariah 12:10). The cross is a holy place, where we learn to be like Christ, to hate sin as he hated it, and to delight in the law of God which was in his heart (Psalm 40:8).

In the presence of the cross we feel that omnipotent grace has hold of our heart; and we
surrender to dying love. To the Christian heart, Christ crucified is the power of God, and the wisdom of God (I Corinthians 1:24). The doctrine of the cross needs no other demonstration of its divine origin, than its power to sanctify the heart, and bring it into willing and joyful subjection to Christ.

Here's the message the Southern Baptists and all Baptists need to get back to: THE CROSS ALONE IS OUR GLORY. We rejoice in this message from one of the early presidents of Mercer University. wf
Manual of Theology, 1857, pp. 232-233, adapted by W. F. Bell 10/23/06

Friday, May 04, 2007


BY W.F. Bell

“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light” (John 1:6-8).

Our Lord said that John the Baptist was a prophet, and “more than a prophet” (Matthew 11:9). Note clearly that this rough-clad John was “a man sent from God.” Nothing greater could be said about any man. He was said to be “a witness” of “the Light of the world” Himself, the Lord Jesus Christ (who was the Prophet of all prophets, sent from heaven to be our Savior-Redeemer). No mere man could ever be who Christ was, but mere men can be true witnesses of Christ the Lord, heralding His name and fame to the ends of the earth.

Do we have any prophets today in the modern church? Some say we don’t even need them. Those who are self-proclaimed “prophets” do not qualify. True prophets have credentials and marks, and different views, with a different message from the “typical preacher.” True prophets are sent from God, as was John, then point men to God, as John did!

Prophets are not popular, and don’t necessarily pastor big churches. God-sent men are not popular television and radio speakers. They are not likened among those authors on the New York Times Best Seller List. They are often lonely, thought of as odd and eccentric, usually criticized for bearing a heavy demeanor, and giving out a weighty message of “HOLINESS TO THE LORD” (Exodus 28:36). Prophets don’t get publicized on popular news networks.

John was a baptizer, a preacher, a herald, a wilderness wonder. He didn’t wear “soft clothing” and eat “steak dinners” (like us). His wardrobe was “camel’s hair” and “a leather belt,” and his food was a special diet of “locusts and wild honey” (Matthew 3:4). Not exactly what you would call “clean cut” and “in style,” was he? But remember, he was different, being “sent from God.”

What does this tell us about prophets? Not that we should look for odd-looking men, whose appearance is rough, and who preach loud and long. That is not the point at all. Rather, we should be listening to his message: WHAT IS HIS BURDEN, HIS CRY? John was merely “the voice of one crying in the wilderness.” What was his cry? Listen: “Prepare the way of THE LORD; make his paths straight” (Matthew 3:3). What a message! What a burden! What a cry! Many who heard this started “confessing their sins,” seeking John’s baptism in the river Jordan (v. 6). But immediately old John scorned some “coming for baptism,” those who were “Pharisees and Sadducees” (religious leaders of the day), calling them a “brood of vipers,” stating they should “Bear fruit in keeping with repentance” (vv. 7-8).

What is this? A preacher turning sinners away? Who ever heard of such? That would not be kind and loving, would it? No matter: prophets have different views! Why such preaching? Because the axe was about to be laid to the low state of Jewish religion in John’s day. Christ Jesus Himself (the promised Messiah) was on the scene, and things were about to change. The message of judgment and “fire” was about to be heralded to the crowds of Judea, for the Messiah was not going to set up an earthly kingdom, but came with His winnowing fork in His hand,” and “His wheat” was to be separated from the chaff” (vv. 10-12). And so it still is today, whether we understand it or not. “But the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” What a “burning” message John delivered! This message is never popular.

Think of Moses and Elijah in the Old Testament. What of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel? Look at another by the name of Zechariah: he had eight “visions” in one night! He gives us the exact time he saw these visions. It was the twenty-fourth day of the month Shebat, in the second year of Darius, king of Persia (1:7). He saw a rider on a red horse, four horns and four craftsmen, a man with a measuring line in his hand, Joshua the high priest, the golden lamp stand and the two olive trees, a flying scroll, the woman in a basket, and the four chariots. How about that for one night’s work! The interpretation of all these things is not our concern here; but it must be mentioned that Zechariah’s name means “whom the LORD remembers,” so the prophet’s visions were given to him that he might bring a message of hope and comfort to the Jews who returned from exile. “Therefore, thus says the LORD, I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies; my house shall be built in it” (Zechariah 1:16). So here the prophet is used to bring “good words and comfortable words” to God’s people (1:13).

But then, in Zechariah 9:1 and 12:1, we read, “The BURDEN of the word of the LORD.” This was a message of judgment on the nations, a message or oracle that was heavy and burdensome. Yet, in the message there is a promise to the Jewish nation of repentance and conversion, deliverance and salvation, restoration and blessing. This is the prophet’s “burden,” for idols will be cut off, and “In that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness” (13:1). The prophecy closes with a glorious message of a future day when all nations will worship the true and living God (14:16), and “In that day ‘HOLINESS TO THE LORD’ shall be engraved on the bells of the horses. The pots in the LORD’S house shall be like the bowls before the altar” (14:20). What a day of revival and restoration to look forward to!

How we need men sent from God to thunder to this generation (whether they hear or not) the absolute holiness and sovereignty of the true and living God. Men who are not afraid to stand and boldly declare, “Repent or perish” (Luke 13:3), and “Little children, keep yourselves from idols” (I John 5:21). Smiling, clowning preachers are not going to get the job done. We need courageous, bold, fiery prophets! Men who are willing, with Paul, to say, “I die daily” (I Corinthians 15:31). And Paul says, “Awake to righteousness, and sin not” (v. 34).
As a former prophet once said, we sadly say also: God pity us that we have swung from the Upper Room with its fire to the church with the supper room and its smoke” (Leonard Ravenhill). Another former prophet said similarly: “Where does our duty lie? The New Testament word is ‘Awake!’ (Romans 13:11; Ephesians 5:14). We need to snap out of our stupor and come out of our coma and awake from our apathy. The devil has chloroformed the atmosphere of this age. We need ‘stirring up’ to take hold of God (Isaiah 64:7)” (Vance Havner). These are “hard words” for our day, and rare, but Christ does still “gift” men to be His “prophets” (Ephesians 4:11). There just aren’t many.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


Some additional interesting observations from the Professor of Christian Theology at Andover Theological Seminary (long ago, before they went liberal).

"This leads me to say, that the necessity of regen­eration, as asserted by our Saviour, (John iii,) is an obvious proof of man's total depravity. 'Ye must be born again.' 'Except a man, [except any one] be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of heaven.' Why is such a change universally necessary, if men in their natural state have any degree of holiness? The Bible promises heaven to those who have holi­ness, or love to Christ, in any degree. Even one who gives a cup of cold water to Christ's disciples from a right motive has the promise of a future reward. The existence of holiness in man is in Scripture attributed to the renewing- of the Holy Ghost. In all its branches and in all its degrees, it is the fruit of the Spirit. It is perfectly obvious then that man, in his natural, unrenewed state, is wholly destitute of holi­ness, and that his moral affections are all sinful.

In support of our doctrine I might urge the failure of the most powerful motives to induce unrenewed man to turn from sin and believe in Christ. When the persuasive considerations of the Gospel are clearly presented before the mind of a sinner, they would certainly influence him to the exercise of penitence, faith, and love, if he had any degree of moral recti­tude. What could be a more decisive proof that his moral nature is entirely perverted, than the fact that the amiable and glorious character of Christ is held up before him, and yet excites no love; that when the condescending kindness and grace of God are de­scribed to him, he feels no gratitude; and that he renders no cordial obedience to that law which is holy, just, and good? What greater evidence of man's total moral corruption could there be than this, that he is not persuaded to forsake sin and follow Christ, either by the threat of eternal misery, or the offer of eternal blessedness?

I appeal for proof, finally, to the experience and consciousness of the enlightened Christian. When he reflects upon the exercises of his own heart, and compares them with the demands of God's perfect law, he is satisfied that in him, naturally, there was no good thing, that he was wholly alienated from God, and that the first existence of holy affection in his heart was the fruit of regenerating grace. And he is equally satisfied that he is still dependent, and must continue to be dependent for all holy affections, upon the sanctifying influence of God's Spirit; and that, if that Holy Spirit should be wholly taken from him, he would sink at once into a state of entire moral pollu­tion. If any Christian affirms that he had any holy affections, or performed any holy actions, in his natural state, it must be because he uses words in a very vague sense, or because he has not properly reflected on the nature of that divine law which is the standard of holiness".

From An Essay on Native Depravity by Leonard Woods, D. D., published in 1835; William Pierce Co., Boston

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


By Charles Woodruff

“As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10).

“Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm 51:5).
“All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

Observing, even casually, the events of these days would seem to confirm the truth of
these verses, yet there are many, even religious people, who do not believe it.
Some teach that man is born basically good. He has at least “ a spark of goodness”
in their view. Yet the scriptural view is clear -- man is born in sin.
“The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they
be born, speaking lies“ (Psalm 58:3).

Since none are righteous from birth, all are born as depraved sinners. While the
word “depraved” is not found in the KJV, the synonym “corrupt” is found, and depravity
is certainly taught.
“That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which
is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts” (Ephesians 4:22).

Certainly we do not always see this depravity of mankind in its worst display. Yet some events of late have surely been most deplorable in the eyes of the redeemed. Every day, even in the culture of America, we see it played out more and more. The recent disgusting events surrounding the death of Anna Nicole Smith is one example. Here was a woman, so self-centered in her life -- evidently all she wanted was the spotlight, and the money of that decrepit old man she married. First there was war with the family over the wealth he left to her. She managed to win a great sum in the courts. Then there was the tragic death of her 20 year old son, Daniel, who like Anna herself, took drugs “recreationally”. Recently she died, not surprisingly, from misuse of drugs, and now men are popping up all over to claim paternity of her orphaned baby. It is all about money! None of them, IMHO, give a rip about the child, not even Larry Birkhead, the one declared as the father. What a sad public display of human depravity.

Yet even more depraved are the recent senseless killings of many. First, the shootings in the Amish community of Lancaster, PA. Charles Roberts, the depraved killer of those in the Amish school, was so bent on this spree because of hatred of God, and warped sexual fantasies. The same thing could be said of the young Korean immigrant, Seung Hui Cho, whose diabolical plan of murder at Virginia Tech had at its core, hatred of Christianity. This is so evident in his writings and statements. 32 people, and himself, dead because of something in his warped mind. These two cases are extreme -- perhaps even demon possession. It certainly appears so with Cho, as it did with Charles Manson, and the Son of Sam killer some years ago. Even so, the natural depravity in all mankind, without the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit to utterly, and drastically change the person, can lead to the greatest imaginable horrors. Unregenerate people are capable of any crime!

In spite of this, total human depravity is not being taught as a doctrine in many churches today. It must be taught if we are to understand mankind’s utter hopelessness and helplessness without “The living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe” ( I Timothy 4:10).

Total Depravity
Sin controls every part of man. He is spiritually dead and blind, and unable
to obey, believe, or repent. He continually sins, for his nature is completely evil.
This is a concise statement on the doctrine of depravity. For more on this and all five points of Calvinism compared with Arminianism. (See the link on the right for The Highway website, and search on Calvinism and the Reformed Faith; then under Anthropology).

The Westminster Confession of Faith (1646)
CHAPTER VI. — Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, and of the Punishment thereof.
I. Our first parents, begin seduced by the subtilty and temptations of Satan, sinned in eating the forbidden fruit. This their sin God was pleased, according to his wise and holy counsel, to permit, having purposed to order it to his own glory.
II. By this sin they fell from their original righteousness and communion with God, and so became dead in sin, and wholly defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body.
III. They being the root of mankind, the guilt of this sin was imputed, and the same death in sin and corrupted nature conveyed to all their posterity, descending from them by original generation.
IV. From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions.
V. This corruption of nature, during this life, doth remain in those that are regenerated; and although it be through Christ pardoned and mortified, yet both itself, and all the motions thereof, are truly and properly sin.
VI. Every sin, both original and actual, being a transgression of the righteous law of God, and contrary thereunto, doth, in its own nature, bring guilt upon the sinner, whereby he is bound over to the wrath of God, and curse of the law, and so made subject to death, with all miseries spiritual, temporal, and eternal.(London Baptist Confession of 1689 is essentially the same). It does have a better and fuller explanation of the fall as shown here:
Chapter 6: Of the Fall of Man, Of Sin, And of the Punishment Thereof

Although God created man upright and perfect, and gave him a righteous law, which had been unto life had he kept it, and threatened death upon the breach thereof, yet he did not long abide in this honour; Satan using the subtlety of the serpent to subdue Eve, then by her seducing Adam, who, without any compulsion, did willfully transgress the law of their creation, and the command given unto them, in eating the forbidden fruit, which God was pleased, according to his wise and holy counsel to permit, having purposed to order it to his own glory. (Genesis 2:16, 17; Genesis 3:12,13; 2 Corinthians 11:3 )