Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Reading the Reformation

Happy Reformation Day! For those interested in gaining and introduction to the Reformation I recommend the following works:

Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther by Roland H. Bainton. (This is the definitive biography on Luther)

The European Reformations by Carter Lindberg. (Thought it is a textbook on all the various forms and branches of the reformations in Europe, it does not read as such. It is the most thorough introduction to the Reformation I've seen.)

Theology of the Reformers by Timothy George (Dr. George is a recongized reformation historian. This work deals with the teachings and theology behind the leading protestant reformers of the 16th Century. Including: Luther, Calving, Zwingli, and Menno Simmons.)

Martin Luther: A Gudied Tour of His Life and Thought by Stephen J. Nichols (For a briefer introduction to Luther's life see this sketch done by Nichols. It's a simple but informative read.)

The Bondage of the Will by Martin Luther. (This is Luther's greatest work and gets at the very heart of the what the Reformation was about.)

The 95 Theses by Martin Luther. (The work that sparked the Reformation.)

Monday, October 30, 2006

October 31 is for Christians

Do you know what tomorrow is? Tomorrow is a day that all Christians can celebrate and feel good about. This is not a slam on Halloween. I know a number of Christians will write on this, and some preachers will preach their most memorable sermons, sad to say, against halloween this week. But what I mean in saing that October 31 is for Christians, has nothing to do with halloween.

Tomorrow is Reformation Day for all Protestant Christians. Oct. 31, 1517 was the day that Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses for discussion to the church door at Wittenberg, and sparked the Protestant Reformation. How can you celebrate this great day? Here's some suggestions:

1) Read a short biographical sketch of Martin Luther (you can find these online easily)

2) Sing some Reformation hymns with your family (like Martin Luther's "A Mighty Fortress is Our God")

3) Have a dinner table discussion about the significance of the Reformation

4) Read a Calvin or Luther sermon

5) Spend time praying and thanking God for the labor, sacrifice, and faithfulness of those who have gone before you.

Remember that 2006 was not an act of creation ex nihilo. God brought us to this point in History by the actions and efforts of Christians who have gone before us. October 31 is for Christians, so celebrate without guilt!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Christians and Friendship

Dr. Michael Haykin did a series of lectures on Friendship at Third Avenue Baptist Church in the month of September in which he reminds Christians not only of the great value of friendships, but that throughout history they have been held with much higher regard than they are presently. Most Christian Theology texts contained a chapter on friendship, he remarked. In recent reading I have seen more of the truth of this matter.

I am currently working on a paper about John A. Broadus, the second president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a leading Baptist theologian in the 19th Century. About Broadus historian Tom Nettles writes:

Broadus also gained great admiration for the sincere attention he gave to friendships. Throughout his life, even from childhood, he beleived friendship to be the most cherished human gift to be given or recieved. Broadus loved and appreciated all sorts of people. He reveled in the diversity of gifts that God had given his church and in the richness that innumerable talents contributed to culture. He was often asked to deliver funeral addresses and present memorials precisely because his depth of insight and his great gift of friendship allowed him to be clearly honest in his assesment of any person while unfolding the uniqueness of the contribution of his subjects.

May we all not only take friendship with such seriousness, but may we leave behind a legacy of friendship and of the admiration of friendship.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Lasting Significance of the Reformation

The Protestant Reformation stands out as one of the most significant events in the history of the church. Its lasting significance can be seen in a number of areas. Some have argued that the Reformation is significant for social welfare, others for church/state relations, and still others for the family. Debates continue to rage over what was the greatest significance of the protests as equally loud as they rage over whether it was modern or medieval in its orientation. The answer for Christians, however, must be found in the reformers recovery of the true gospel and the high Authority of the Bible.

By the 1500s the papacy of the Roman Catholic Church had reached the height of its corruption. Pope Julius II (1503-1513) had been known as the “Great Warrior Pope” and those who preceded and followed him were as equally poor representations of Christ and the apostle Peter. Church tradition was accepted on equal par with Scripture, and, worst of all, salvation could now be bought for a mere couple of coins. The last of these faults, known as the selling of indulgences, was the final straw for an Augustinian monk by the name of Martin Luther. Luther’s nailing of the 95 Theses to the church door at Wittenberg was meant to open dialogue about these issues, not to initiate a breach with the established church, but the Theses received a dramatic response.

As the Theses circulated they drew much support and appreciation. Many had already noted the corruption with the church; good Catholics were organizing reforming measures. Many felt that Luther was more than justified in his criticisms and hoped that they would be taken seriously, among these individuals was the great Humanist Desiderius Erasmus. But as Luther progressed in his theology it soon became apparent that he was going further than many were willing to go. By the time that he began calling the Pope the Anti-Christ it became evident that the church would have to pronounce him a heretic, which they did in the Papal Bull Exsurge Domine (1520).

Luther was not the only theologian calling for sweeping reforms. Prior to him John Wyclife in England and Jan Huss in Bohemia shouted against the corruptions of the church. The great difference between his predecessors and himself was that Luther was not merely attacking methods and habits, but attacking theology. He went to the very heart of the matter. Even by the time of the Diet of Worms (1521) Luther was convinced that his “conscience was captive to the Word of God.” A few years later (1525) Luther published his greatest work The Bondage of the Will, in which he not only laid out his conviction on the supreme authority of the Bible, but a soteriology that depended solely on Christ Jesus and the grace of God for salvation. Here was the “hinge” on which the whole reformation swung: was salvation all of God or could man give Him a hand? Was salvation Monergistic or Synergistic?

At the same time that Luther was drawing these conclusions a Swiss theologian was coming to similar ones. Ulrich Zwingli, in the town of Zurich, was leading a reformation of his own that would soon take the form of the “Reformed” tradition. As his theology developed it began to appear, understandably, in his sermons. The sermons drew the common man quite quickly but struck much of the established ecclesiastics as dangerous. After the First Zurich Disputation (1523) Zwingli was sealed as the voice of Protestantism in Switzerland. At the Second Zurich Disputation (1523) Reform was immanent for the city, and in the following years it was realized with the removal of “images and idols” (1524) and the absolution of the mass (1525).

The Reformations spread widely across Europe from Luther’s Germany and Zwingli’s Zurich. It reached England where it was spread by the likes of theologian and Bible translator William Tyndale, and the Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer, who brought significant reforms to England through his power and his Book of Common Prayer. The reformation reached into France as well through the likes of the great second-generation reformer John Calvin.

Calvin was merely passing through Geneva on his way to Strasbourg when he was convicted to stay and lead the church at Geneva through reforms. The Reformation had already been building in this city thanks to the writings of Luther and the work of William Farel, who would eventually become a life-long friend of Calvin. Calvin consistently preached the word in the city and this was the primary means by which he spread reformation teaching. His books and treatises helped to fan the flame, but through consistent weekly preaching of the word he sought to do the most changes to this immediate area. After being expelled from that city (1538), over issues of church discipline, Calvin took up a fruitful ministry in Strasbourg as a pastor, teacher, and writer. He would later return to the city and take up the same practice of preaching the reformation into effect.

His writings were, of course, the most enduring testimony to his reformation work. His Institutes, first printed in 1536 and later revised, is the most formal and thorough organization of Reformation Theology. Luther’s theology has been summarized well in the Five Solas of the Reformation: Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Solus Christus, and Soli Deo Gloria. These were the same doctrines that Calvin, having read Luther, would promote. For Calvin specifically, however, the doctrine of election became a hallmark.

It was not that Luther or Zwingli were any less predestinarian. Rather it is owing to Calvin’s more thorough dealing with the subject that his name came to be the label under which people most often set the doctrine of predestination. For Calvin predestination was an issue of the history of salvation, and was more realized after a person’s conversion than prior to it. When looking back at how sinful you were and where you were at in life it seems only logical to conclude that God chose to save you and not the other way around. Throughout church history this doctrine would be debated and eventually denied by the Catholic Church at large. For the Catholic theologians, sin was not so damaging to human free-will that election was necessary. The doctrine of total depravity, another element to Calvin’s system of theology, was denied by the Council of Trent (1545-1563), which came to be accepted authority for the Catholic Church in response to the reformers.

In each of these cities, on the continent and the islands around it, as the Reformation took route it may not have always started with pure motives. Henry VIII was not particularly concerned with changing the theology of the church; he merely saw a way to annul his marriage with Catherine. The result, however, was the recovery of the true gospel. The church had for far too long seen fit to accept a place for works in the salvation of man, but against this doctrine the Reformers unanimously cried “Glory to God Alone.” They may have disagreed on the Eucharist, and on worship, but they agreed on who was responsible for salvation. To be sure there were “radical reformers,” who took to extremes in their re-action to the church. The Anabaptists consist of some solid theologians and plenty of crazy fanatics. But by-and-in-large the Reformers of the 16th century re-affirmed the supreme authority of the word of God, seen most evidently in their use of it in writings and debates, and the salvation of sinners by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. The lasting significance of the Reformation is its recovery of the true gospel message.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Marriage Census is Misleading?

Yesterday I posted on the NY Times piece stating that marriage was slowly becoming the minority in America. Today Dr. Albert Mohler, President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, states that the census is actually misleading. The issue, Dr. Mohler argues, is not that marriage is declining, but that it has been severely weakened. It is not that American's don't marry, he states, but that they don't stay married. Longevity is the real issue.

The responsibilities of Christians and churches that I spoke to yesterday still stand, however. If longevity is the weak area of American marriages instead of initial commitment it only means we change our strategy to educate the church on marraige, not that we abandon it. I hope to explore in further detail how the church is to minister for Christ to marriages in the coming days.

For more on this see the commentary posted by Dr. Mohler: http://www.albertmohler.com/blog_read.php?id=793

To Be or Not to Be a Baptist in Name...that is the Blog

Some of you have asked about it so here is the official update. Fellow Third Avenue Bapitst Church Member, Sammy Cabrerra, and myself have started a joint blog. We are opening up our discussion over the name "Baptist" to the public. The issue is whether or not it is wise and helpful to keep the name "Baptist" in our present culture with so many misconstrued ideas of what that means. My particular position is yes, Sammy argues (very well) for the "no" position. Join us over at www.baptistornot.blogspot.com to see our dialogue.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Minority is Married!

The news has been coming for sometime, but I was still shocked when I heard it. "Married couples hav finally slipped into the minority." So said our pastor yesterday during the morning sermon. He pulled this information from a recent edition of the New York Times which relayed the declining statistics of married couples in America.

This distrubing decline in Biblical homelife has been the case already for other parts of the world, most notably Scandinavia. In 2004 Stanley Kurtz revealed research showing that in Denmark a full 60% of first-born children were born out of wedlock. The same year a piece by Harvard UP revealed that a number of young married couples in Scandanavian countries were timid about displaying their marriage to others. Al Mohler has asked, time and again, is America next? Well according to an analysis of new census figures by the Times it is the case for America.

This is a most dreadful and sad thought. The culture we live in today is breeding a generation of selfish and self-concerned young men and women. Men who are content to buy their i-pods, new computers, cars, and other toys instead of looking for a wife. Women who are content to date around, "play the field," instead of making commitments. I have met a number of people who are having children together but refuse to get married, because it is "too big a commitment." Here we have found ourselves in a country that finds no lasting value in marriage. But the world is not solely to blame.

Where has the church been in all of this? It has been fighting over whether or not to permit homosexual pastors. It has been advocating feminism to such a level that motherhood is belittled, even if not intentionally. The church has largely embraced the cultural value of a human autononmy that is incompatible with a high view of marraige. Add to all this that the divorce rate and the adultery rate is as equally high within the church as it is without and you've got real issues to deal with.

God has created marriage to be a representation of Christ's love for the church. It is the church's responsibility then to encourage marriage, build up marriages, provide helps to marraiges, and educate the congregation and the world on its value and role. Marriage matters and over the next few days I want to explore further and more specifically how the church can do their part in saving marriage from dissapearance. It is a fight we cannot lose friends!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Machen Said it First

C.S. Lewis is often credited with the development of the "Liar, Lunatic, or Lord" argument concerning the divinity of Jesus. The Argument goes as follows:

Since Jesus confessed to be the Son of God, divine and human, then there are only three options for belief in who He is: (1) He is a liar, for He knew He was not the Son of God and professed to be so anyways. (2) He is a lunatic, in which case He truly believed He was the Son of God, but really wasn't. Or (3) He is Lord, that is Jesus is exactly who He says He was. If either of the first two option is true that Jesus is not only not God, but He's not even the "good moral teacher" that most would like to acknowledge Him as. For what good moral teacher is ever decietful or crazy? But if the third be true then we must bow our knees and worship Him.

This is a great argument and was developed and proposed by Lewis in his work Mere Christianity. But, as I have discovered recently, J. Gresham Machen, the 20th Century Princenton Theologian, suggested this line of argument prior to Lewis. The following is a quote from Machen's book Christianity and Liberalism:

The real trouble is that the lofty claim of Jesus, if, as modern liberalism is constrained to believe, the claim was unjustified, places a moral strain upon Jesus' character. What shall be thought of a human being who lapsed so far from the path of humility and sanity as to believe that the eternal destinies of the world were committed into His hands? The truth is that if Jesus be merely an example, He is not a worthy example; for He claimed to be far more (86).

Monday, October 09, 2006

Baptist: What's In a Name?

Recently my good friend Sammy has reminded me that over the last several decades the label "Baptist" has gotten a bad rap. The conotations often associated with Baptist in the larger evangelical community are not always good, though most are probably fair. For there was a period (and in some places it still exists) where Baptists were associated with legalism, fundamentalism, anti-intellectualism, and hyper-conservativism. For some young people today this is all they have ever known of the name "Baptist" and it is like a hazardous warning label to them. While I applaud my brother's bringing this to the forefront of our local church, I am sure he and I have drawn different conclusions about how to respond. I would prefer to advocate the recovery of the Name Baptist than do away with it, and it is my hope in the future weeks to discuss that in more deatil, both why and how.

I am a Baptist, and I make no bones about it...but in throwing that label out there for the whole world to see I am concious that it will be misunderstood. There is nothing Biblical or sacred about the name Baptist and if it became necessary I could abandon the name while still holding true to its principles. But when it is not necessary to abandon the name I wave the banner prouldy, I am a Baptist -- that is, I am a true Baptist! (It is my intention to explain that phrase in more detail in the coming month, so look back for it)

Monday, October 02, 2006

Trusting God: A Historical Account

“In May of 1851 [George Müller] decided to go ahead with his plans for expansion [of the orphanage], and began to pray that God would provide him with the necessary means- about £35,000, he estimated.”[1] Confronted with this great need Müller wrote, “The greatness of the sum required affords me a kind of secret joy; for the greater the difficulty to be overcome, the more will it be seen to the glory of God, how much can be done by prayer and faith.”[2] Of all the great heroes of the faith George Müller is the most frequently sighted as a main who trusted in God. Indeed he was such a man, but from his life and words we learn not simply that He trusted God in remarkable situations but that we too may have parallel faith in God. For his faith was, as he called it, “ordinary.”

He was born in Kroppenstaedt, Germany on September 27, 1805, and grew up in a non-Christian home. His father was a tax collector and had no desire for or inclinations towards God. Muller says:

My father, a tax collector, educated his children on worldly principles, and my brother and I slipped easily into many sins. Before I was ten years old I had repeatedly stolen government money which was entrusted to my father and forced him to make up the losses.

His father did send him away to divinity school, at the age of eleven, though not out of any desire towards godly knowledge and service, but merely so that he might gain a good living as a pastor and be able to support his father later in life. Divinity school, however, did nothing to deter his sinful behavior.

Studying, reading novels, and indulging in sinful practices were my favorite pastimes.
In November I went on a pleasure trip where I spent six days in sin.

At the age of sixteen he was put in prison until his father sent money for his bail and return trip home. He lived to indulge himself, and even at the death of his mother, when he was fourteen, he felt no regrets for so sinful a life.

My mother suddenly died when I was fourteen years old. That night I played cards until two in the morning, and went to a tavern the next day. Her death made no lasting impression on me. Instead, I grew worse.

Despite this lifestyle, however, God had mercy on the young George Müller and lead him to an old friend named Beta. Beta played a key role in the young man’s conversion by inviting him to a Bible study. Müller’s own words described what he considered to be a strange and overwhelming feeling upon receiving this invite:

When I heard this I felt as if I had found the treasure I had been seeking all my life. We went to the meeting together that evening. I did not understand the joy that believers have in seeing any sinner interested in the things of God, so I apologized for coming. I will never forget the kind answer of that dear brother. He said, ‘Come as often as you please. Our house and hearts are open to you’.

It was on that night that the Lord began, as Müller puts it, “His work of grace”. It was not, however, until meeting a missionary that he would receive salvation.

Hermann Ball was a missionary to the Jews in Poland, something he did at the price of great wealth and comfort, and his example made a strong impression upon George. What would cause a man to give up such wealth and immediate pleasure, to seek something other than his own good? The Lord used this encounter to lead George to give his life fully over to Christ. So it was for George Müller, having spent many years at, and studied much in, the universities and divinity schools, that the sacrifice of a godly man showed more of Christ to him than anything else. He says:

The peace of God which passes all understanding now filled my life.

Muller’s Mission
George Müller undoubtedly had a great love for the orphaned and the poor, they were to become his life ministry: to feed these little ones both spiritually and physically. The first signs, of this love within himself, he found while preaching. In August of 1826 while preaching his first sermon his heart was opened to the destitute. He was requested to preach twice that day and for the first sermon decided to prepare and memorize a “Spiritual Man’s” sermon. But it was his afternoon sermon that struck a chord within his own heart. He says:

I thought that by learning a sermon written by a spiritual man I might minister to the people; so I put the sermon into a suitable form and memorized it. I got through the morning service, but I did not enjoy preaching. I decided to preach the gospel in the afternoon and began by reading the fifth chapter of Matthew. Immediately as I began to teach on, “Blessed are the Poor in Spirit,” I felt the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

The “poor in spirit” were not those who had physical needs of clothing, food, and shelter, but those who needed the gospel message. This was the awakening of Müller’s heart for ministry. He burned with a passion for missions and for sharing the gospel. To take part in missions, however, he needed money to support the endeavor and he needed his father’s consent to go to the German Missionary Institutes; his father refused and begged his son to change his mind. This served as a decisive moment in the man’s life, and he decided to never to ask his father for money again, but instead to rely wholly on the Lord for his support.

The Lord helped me to bear this difficult trial. Although I needed more money than ever before, I decided never to take any more from my father. I still had two more years of seminary left. It seemed wrong to let my father support me when he had no guarantee that I would become what he wanted me to be- a clergyman earning a good living. The Lord enabled me to keep this resolution.

These two important moments (his first sermon and his resolution to not take money) shaped his thinking and living for the rest of his days, and they clearly show: 1) a love for presenting and sharing the Gospel; for evangelism, and 2) for a full reliance on God for the financial means to do the work of the Lord. In fact, it was out of a love for both of these principles that Müller started the Orphanages. He built five large orphan houses, the first one starting in 1834, and cared for 10,024 orphans in his life; all of which came after he discovered the strength in the sovereignty of God!

While recovering from sickness in 1829 Müller spent the summer in the countryside of the town Teignmouth. Here under the influence of a good and godly man he was introduced to the doctrines of grace and developed deep love for the word of God. He writes:

Through the instrumentality of this brother the Lord bestowed a great blessing upon me, for which I shall have cause to thank Him throughout eternity. Before this period I had been much opposed to the doctrines of election, particular redemption, and final persevering grace; so much so that, a few days after my arrival at Teignmouth, I called election a devilish doctrine…I knew nothing about the choice of God’s people, and did not believe that the child of God, when once made so, was safe for ever…But now I was brought to examine these precious truths by the word of God.

As is often the case (or at least should be) for Christians that believe in the sovereignty of God, Müller was strengthened by this truth, and it caused him to rest in the sovereignty of God for the salvation of souls, so that he could freely evangelize without the fear of failure. And, furthermore, it caused him to rest in the sovereignty of God to provide the means for funding His work.

I am not only content simply to be a hammer, an axe, or a saw, in God’s hands; but I shall count it an honor to be taken up and used by Him in any way; and if sinners are converted through my instrumentality, from my inmost soul I will give Him all the glory…

This discovery of the sovereignty of God and this passion for evangelism were the leading cause of his starting the orphanage. He states that the three main goals of the orphanage were 1) “That God may be glorified, should He be pleased to furnish me with the means, in its being seen that it is not a vain thing to trust in Him; and that thus the faith of His children may be strengthened”. 2) “The spiritual welfare of fatherless and motherless children.” 3) “Their temporal welfare.”

Müller never asked for money in supporting the orphan homes, or himself for that matter, but he prayed earnestly and constantly that if God was so pleased to provide the financial means. “The orphan house exists to display that God can be trusted and to encourage believers to take Him at His word.” His main concern was that in doing so He would prove to the world that it is a wise and good thing to trust the Lord in his word. Muller quoted often from Psalm 84:11 “For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” He believed the scriptures without question: no good thing would the Lord withhold. Thus we see his trust in the sovereignty of God over all things!

In the whole course of his ministry George never asked for a single cent from anyone, yet neither he nor the children of the five homes were ever without food. On several occasions the supper table was bare when the children were brought into eat and George sat them down and they all bowed their heads to pray for the meal, which they were not about to eat. On one occasion as he prayed for the children to have milk a man was in the streets walking up to the orphanage doors. The moment George finished praying there was a knock at the door and upon opening it he saw a milk man whose cart had broken down in the street and fearing that the milk would go bad he wondered if the orphans might like to have it. God answered the prayer of faith.

It is not as though God always answers prayers in this way, in fact Müller said himself tha sometimes he had to wait for weeks, months, and even many many years for answers. But it was his faith that did not delay, he always trusted God. Even in the death of his first wife the man evidenced his faith. While preaching her funeral from Psalm 119:68 (“You are good, and what you do is good”) George said:

Perhaps all Christians who have heard me will have no difficulty in giving their hearty assent that “the Lord was good, and doing good” in leaving her to me so long; but I ask these dear Christian friends to go furhter with me, and to say from their hearts, “the Lord was good, and doing good” in the removal of that useful, lovely, excellent wife from her husband, that at the very time when, humanly speaking, He needed her more than ever. While I am saying this, I feel the void in my heart. That lovely one is no more with me, to share my joys and sorrows. Every day I miss her more and more. Everday I see more and more how great her loos to the oprhans. Yet, without an effort, my inmost soul habitually joys in the joy of that loved departed one. Her happiness gives joy to me. My dear daughter and self would not have her back, were it possible to produce it by turn of the hand. God Himself has done it, we are satisfied with Him…[3]

George Müller trusted that when God said, “no good thing will I withhold from them who walk uprightly,” that He meant it. He said, “If He pleases to take my wife, it will be good, like Himself. What I have to do, as His child, is to be satisfied with what my father does that I may glorify Him.”[4]

For us in this day and age it may seem a hard thing to have such faith and trust in the Lord God. We may say that we have it, and we may assure ourselves that we believe He will keep His promise to save us. But in these little things it is not easy for us to have such faith. Lewis B. Smede even confessed upon the death of his own son that he came to realize how little God cared about the “details of His life”.[5] But such is not the case, as is evidenced both from Scripture and from the life of George Müller. But he would not be satisfied if I concluded this study by exalting his extraordinary faith over and against that of the average Christian. He was utterly serious about the fact that all Christians can and should have this same faith and it was for the encouragement of this faith among every Christian that he strated the Orphanage. “My faith,” he said, “is the same faith which is found in every believer. Try it for yourself and you will see the help of God, if you trust in Him.”[6] He even gives us advice on how to attempt this faith and lists four principles.

First, Read the Bible carefully and thoughtfully. For it is in the Bible that we learn the character of God and discover how kind, loving, merciful, wise, and faithful He is. It is through the word of God that we find sure grounds for our trusting in Him.

Secondly, Try to keep your conscience clear. Do your best by discipline and more so by God’s grace to be obedeient to His commands. Certainly this is not because we in anyway bend God’s arm to be faithful to us. It is, rather, an issue of our own state of mind. We are a people of emotions and in this day we all too often think with our feelings. If we feel ourselves in rebellion against God then when our faith in Him is tested we will find ourselves with no hope.

Thirdly, Don’t try to avoid situations where your faith may be tested. Through trials and difficulties our faith in God is strengthened.

Fourthly, Remember that God won’t test you more than you are able to bear. “Be paitent, and He will prove to you how willing He is to help and deliever, the moment it is good for you.”[7]

Take encouragement from the life of George Müller, friends. For here was a man of with great responsibilities and having great needs. But he also had a good God who was greater than all his needs and worries, the same God that we have today. Trust God because He is worthy of trust, because He has evidenced His trustworthiness in the Bible and in history, and because He withholds no good thing from those who walk uprightly.

[1] Roger Steer, George Müller: Delighted in God. (Ross-Shire: Christian Focus, rprnt 2004). 117.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Ibid. 163.
[4] Ibid. 159.
[5] Lewis B. Smede, My God and I: A Spiritual Memoir. (Grand Rapids: Eerdman, rpnt 2003).
[6] Quoted in Steer, 242.
[7] This outline of the principles of faith is taken from Steer, 242.