Jump to content

The Protestant Community

Christian and Theologically Protestant? Or, sincerely inquiring about the Protestant faith? Welcome to Christforums the Christian Protestant community. You'll first need to register in order to join our community. Create or respond to threads on your favorite topics and subjects. Registration takes less than a minute, it's simple, fast, and free! Enjoy the fellowship! God bless, Christforums' Staff
Register now

Fenced Community

Christforums is a Protestant Christian forum, open to Bible-believing Christians such as Presbyterians, Lutherans, Reformed, Baptists, Church of Christ members, Pentecostals, Anglicans. Methodists, Charismatics, or any other conservative, Nicene- derived Christian Church. We do not solicit cultists of any kind, including Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Eastern Lightning, Falun Gong, Unification Church, Aum Shinrikyo, Christian Scientists or any other non-Nicene, non-Biblical heresy.
Register now

Christian Fellowship

John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
Sign in to follow this  
William

Four Marks of Fruit-Bearing Christianity

Recommended Posts

Staff

J.C. Ryle

 

The Christianity which I call fruit-bearing, that which shows its Divine origin by its blessed effects on mankind – the Christianity which you may safely defy unbelievers to explain away – that Christianity is a very different thing. Let me show you some of its leading marks and features.

 

(1) Fruit-bearing Christianity has always taught the inspiration, sufficiency, and supremacy of Holy Scripture. It has told people that God’s Word written is the only trustworthy rule of faith and practice in religion, that God requires nothing to be believed that is not in this Word, and that nothing is right which contradicts it. It has never allowed reason, a person’s mind, or the voice of the Church, to be placed above, or on a level with Scripture. It has steadily maintained that, however imperfectly we may understand it, the Old Book is meant to be the only standard of life and doctrine.

 

(2) Fruit-bearing Christianity has always taught fully the sinfulness, guilt and corruption of human nature. It has told people that they are born in sin, deserve God’s wrath and condemnation, and are naturally inclined to do evil. It has never allowed that men and women are only weak and pitiable creatures, who can become good when they please, and make their own peace with God. On the contrary, it has steadily declared a person’s danger and vileness, and their pressing need of a Divine forgiveness and satisfaction for their sins, a new birth or conversion, and an entire change of heart.

 

(3) Fruit-bearing Christianity has always set before people the Lord Jesus Christ as the chief object of faith and hope in religion, as the Divine Mediator between God and humanity, the only source of peace of conscience, and the root of all spiritual life. It has never been content to teach that He is merely our Prophet, our Example, and our Judge. The main things it has ever insisted on about Christ are the atonement for sin He made by His death, His sacrifice on the cross, the complete redemption from guilt and condemnation by His blood, His victory over the grave by His resurrection, His active life of intercession at God’s right hand, and the absolute necessity of simple faith in Him. In short, it has made Christ the Alpha and the Omega in Christian theology.

 

(4) Fruit-bearing Christianity has always honored the Person of God the Holy Spirit, and magnified His work. It has never taught that all professing Christians have the grace of the Spirit in their hearts, as a matter of course, because they are baptized, or because they belong to the Church, or because they partake of Holy communion. It has steadily maintained that the fruits of the Spirit are the only evidence of having the Spirit, and that those fruits must be seen, – that we must be born of the Spirit, led by the Spirit, sanctified by the Spirit, and feel the operations of the Spirit, – and that a close walk with God in the path of His commandments, a life of holiness, charity, self-denial, purity, and zeal to do good, are the only satisfactory marks of the Holy Spirit.

 

Summary ► Such is true fruit-bearing Christianity. Well would it have been for the world if there had been more of it during the last nineteen centuries! Too often, and in too many parts of Christendom, there has been so little of it, that Christ’s religion has seemed extinct, and has fallen into utter contempt. But just in proportion as such Christianity as I have described has prevailed, the world has benefited, the unbeliever has been silenced, and the truth of Divine revelation been acknowledged. The tree has been known by its fruit.

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Topics

    • 4 Marks of a Potential Bible Study Leader

      There were tears in many eyes as Barbara, always an encourager, told us how much we had meant to her. It was our group’s last meeting of the year, and Barbara was moving away. Before she came to our church, she had never been involved in a women’s Bible study, but her wisdom and love for the Scriptures had been evident. Over the years, Barbara became a small group leader and then a Bible teacher, connecting with women in our church through her warmth and transparency. In Dubai, we have a women’s Bible study leadership problem. Dubai isn’t a place where people stay. It’s a stopover—an exciting and profitable place to be for a while. We regularly have to say goodbye to leaders. To keep our program running, we need to reload each year. Maybe you’ve had to say goodbye to your share of Barbaras too. Whether your leaders are moving away, having babies, or taking a semester off, your church—like ours—frequently needs new women’s Bible study leaders. Here are four things we’ve learned to look for. 1. Committed to the Church The church is the bride of Christ. One day, she’ll be presented to Christ “in radiance like a most rare jewel” (Rev. 21:11). Bible study is one of the means God can use to polish the jewel. Therefore, women’s Bible study shouldn’t be independent from the church but should build it up. This is why we look for women who are committed to the church. They already have ministries among women: encouraging others, sharing the gospel, spending time together. These women know others in the church. The elders know them and send other women their way. They’re Titus 2 women, training others in the warp and woof of life. Naomi is a good example. The mother of three almost-grown children, she surrounds herself with women. She gives them rides to church. She meets with them during the week. One young woman who needed a place to live moved in with Naomi and has lived with her for the past eight years. Women join our church and grow spiritually because of Naomi’s influence. Bible study leaders who commit themselves to the church have fruitful ministries beyond the weekly meetings. They’re like glue that holds people together. They unify women and build up the entire church. 2. Delights in the Scriptures One of the most exciting things about women’s Bible study is watching women get a taste for Scripture and crave more. They’re no longer content with just studying the passage for the week. They start looking up every cross reference listed in their Bibles. We want every woman in Bible study to show these signs of savoring the Scriptures. Don’t you? This happens as the Holy Spirit works through God’s powerful Word, and it happens through contagious leaders. Love and delight can’t really be taught. It must be caught. Our leaders should be women intent on understanding the meaning of texts and serious about applying them to their lives. A good leader’s affection for God’s Word also means she is constantly learning and studying it herself. She’s eager to grow in her knowledge and wants to share it with others. I think of Ranjini, an empty-nester with a full-time job. In addition to leading a small group, she meets regularly with unbelievers to study the Bible and leads her employees in devotionals at work. She’s constantly strategizing about how to get women studying the Word and understanding it more deeply. The Bible describes itself as “sweeter than honey” (Ps. 119:103), “more to be desired . . . than gold, even much fine gold” (Ps. 19:10). Leaders who delight in the Scriptures can encourage others to taste the honey they find sweetest and show them the treasure that truly satisfies. 3. Isn’t Afraid to Lead “All Scripture is breathed out by God” (2 Tim. 3:16). Every word is true. In Bible study, we use our minds in reliance on the Holy Spirit to understand the meaning the author of the passage intended. We then apply that truth to our hearts and lives. This means there are right and wrong interpretations of Scripture. In a group Bible study, we must not deteriorate into batting around what we feel the passage is saying. We search together for the truth. Our Bible study leaders shouldn’t be afraid to point to the text of Scripture to correct wrong answers. Anna is the most gracious woman I know. She’s a medical doctor and is beloved by her patients. She cares for others physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and they feel it. She also studies the Bible rigorously. She thinks deeply and doesn’t let untruths slide. Anna’s gentle but firm explanations of truth mean other women go to her for biblical answers. Certainly a leader shouldn’t be a lioness, ready to pounce on wrong answers. But Bible study leaders should be prepared to biblically explain why an answer is wrong and gently guide women toward the right answer. 4. Considers Her Ways Women who lead Bible studies become role models for other women in the church. It’s the nature of handling the Scriptures. So we should choose leaders who think biblically about being women, sisters, wives, mothers. friends, and neighbors. They should be women who know they’re sinners and apply God’s Word to their own hearts. Kate is a godly wife and deals gently and kindly with her children. She reaches out to neighbors and encourages friends. She thinks about what it means to follow Christ in all aspects of life and this thoughtfulness flows out of her as she counsels others in the church. Kate considers her ways. The Titus 2 woman “teaches what is good” and trains other women in the church “to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled” (vv. 4–5). In a Bible study, we “teach what is good.” And it’s the perfect opportunity to model the Christian life that comes out of a dedication to God’s Word. Saying goodbye isn’t easy. Barbara is irreplaceable. (So were Monica, Kim, Yuri, Sandhya, and others.) But as we wait on the Lord in prayer, we’re confident he will raise up the godly Bible study leaders we need and give us wisdom to find them. View the full article

      in Christian Current Events

    • How Does Christianity Relate to Hinduism?

      by Ravi Zacharias   I often think back with nostalgia to growing up in India and the late-night conversations we would have about a Hindu play or some event that featured Hindu thought. Now, through the lens of Jesus Christ, I have learned to see how deep seated culture and religion can be and how only the power of the Holy Spirit can reveal the error of an ingrained way of thinking. Consequently, whenever we speak with someone from another faith, it is essential to remember that we must not attempt to tear down another's belief system but rather to reveal the hungers of the human heart and the unique way in which Christ addresses them.   For the Hindu, karma--the moral law of cause-and-effect--is a life-defining concept. Life carries its moral bills, and they are paid in the cyclical pattern of rebirth until all dues are paid in full. Hinduism here conveys an inherited sense of wrong, which is lived out in the next life, in vegetable, animal, or human form. This doctrine is nonnegotiable in Hindu philosophy. Repercussions of fatalism (that is, whatever happens will happen) and the indifference to the plight of others are inescapable but are dismissed by philosophical platitudes that do not weigh out the consequences of such reasoning. Thus it is key to bear in mind that although karma is seen as a way of paying back, this payback is never complete; hence life is lived out paying back a debt that one cannot know in total but that must be paid in total. That is why the cross of Christ is so definitive and so complete. It offers forgiveness without minimizing the debt. When we truly understand that forgiveness, we develop a loving heart or gratitude. There is a full restoration--in this life and for eternity.   The Christian should also understand the attraction of pantheism, the Hindu view of seeing the divine in everything. It superficially appears more compatible with scientific theorizing because it presents no definitive theory of origins. Life is cyclical, without a first cause. Pantheism also gives one a moral reasoning, through karmic fatalism, that one is trapped in the cycle until one escapes, without the need to invoke God. But in the final analysis, it is without answers when one needs to talk about the deepest struggles of the soul. Hindu scholars even admit this in their creation of a path of bhakti (love, devotion) to satisfy the inescapable human hunger for worship.   It is here that a keen understanding is needed. Krishna's coming to earth as an avatar--that is, one of the incarnations of the Hindu god Vishnu--in a way brings "God to man." But a huge chasm still remains. How does one bring man to God? For this, there is only one way-- the way of the cross. A profound and studied presentation of the cross, and what it means, is still the most distinctive aspect of the Christian faith. Even Gandhi said it was the most unexplainable thing to him and was unparalleled. For the Christian, the cross of Jesus Christ is the message "first to the Jew, and also to the Greek" (Rm2:9)--to the moralist and the pantheist, to the religious and the irreligious. We can communicate this message with a Hindu acquaintance or friend only through a loving relationship. The love of Christ, a patient listening and friendship, and the message of forgiveness provide the path to evangelism.

      in Apologetics and Theology

    • Iranians ‘Disillusioned with Islam’ Are Fleeing Country, Converting to Christianity

      Iranian refugees in Turkey are converting from Islam to Christianity in such numbers that churches can't keep up with the demand, experts in the region say. View the full article

      in Christian Current Events

    • Is cousin marriage allowed in Christianity?

      Is cousin marriage allowed in Christianity? My friend is interested in his cousin ad wants to marry her. They both love each other but they want to be sure if it is allowed in the religion to marry your cousin. If you know about this then please let me know.

      in Marriage

    • Number of Witches in the U.S. Soars as Millennials Reject Christianity, Claims Newsweek

      Media site NewsBusters.org says that a Newsweek article claiming the number of witches in the U.S. is climbing while millennials reject Christianity isn’t accurate. View the full article

      in Christian Current Events

×

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.