“A true Christian must be no slave to fashion, if he would train his child for heaven. He must not be content to do things merely because it is unusual; to allow them to read books of a questionable sort, merely because everybody else reads them; to let them form habits of a doubtful tendency, merely because they are the habits of the day. He must reign with an eye to his children’s souls. He must not be ashamed to hear his training called singular and strange. What if it is? The time is short,–the fashion of this world passeth away. He that has trained his children for heaven, rather than for earth,– for God, rather than for man,– he is the parent that will be called wise at last and throughout all eternity, enjoy each other’s love and fellowship (J.C. Ryle, The Duties of Parents, p. 17).”
“This is the thought that should be uppermost on your mind in all you do for your children. In every step you take about them, in every plan, and scheme, and arrangement that concerns them, do not leave out that mighty questions, ‘How will this affect their souls (J.C. Ryle, The Duties of Parents, p. 16?’”
“Beware of that miserable delusion into which some have fallen,–that parents can do nothing for their children, that you must leave them alone, wait for grace, and sit still. These persons have wishes for their children in Balaam’s fashion,–they would like them to die the death of the righteous man, but they do nothing to make them live his life. They desire much, and have nothing (J.C. Ryle, The Duties of Parents, p. 14).”
“We depend in a vast measure, on those who bring us up (J.C. Ryle, The Duties of Parents, p. 13).”
“If, then, you would deal wisely with your child, you must not leave him to the guidance of his own will. Think for him, judge for him, act for him, just as you would for one weak and blind; but for pity’s sake, give him not up to his own wayward tastes and inclinations. . . . Train him in the way that is Scriptural and right, and not in the way that he fancies (J.C. Ryle, The Duties of Parents, p. 12).”
“Remember children are born with a decided bias towards evil, and therefore if you let them choose for themselves, they are certain to choose wrong (J.C. Ryle, The Duties of Parents, p. 11).”
“The whetstone does its work slowly, but frequent rubbing will bring the scythe to a fine edge. Truly there is need of patience in training a child, but without it nothing can be done (J.C. Ryle, The Duties of Parents, p. 10).”
John Calvin believed that preaching is dead when Ministers of the Word rely solely on ornate preaching. A Minister of the Word that is filled with the Holy Spirit ought to preach in accordance with the Spirit: namely, in Power.
Calvin commenting on 1 Corinthians iv.20 (For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.) — As the Lord governs the Church by his word, as with a sceptre, the administration of the gospel is often called the kingdom of God. Here, then, we are to understand by the kingdom of God whatever tends in this direction, and is appointed for this purpose—that God may reign among us. He says that this kingdom does not consist in word, for how small an affair is it for any one to have skill to prate eloquently, while he has nothing but empty tinkling [sound of tinkling in the air]. Let us know, then, a mere outward gracefulness and dexterity in teaching is like a body that is elegant and of a beautiful colour, while the power of which Paul here speaks is like the soul. We have already seen that the preaching of the gospel is of such a nature, that it is inwardly replete with a kind of solid majesty. This majesty shows itself, when a minster strives by means of power rather than of speech—that is, when he does not place confidence in his own intellect, or eloquence, but, furnished with spiritual armour, consisting of zeal for maintaining the Lord’s honour—eagerness for raising up of an invincible constancy—purity of conscience, and other necessary endowments, he applies himself diligently to the Lord’s work. Without this, preaching is dead, and has no strength, with whatever beauty it may be adorned. Hence in his second epistle, he says, that in Christ nothing avails but a new creature (2 Cor. v. 17)—a statement which is to the same purpose. For he would have us not rest in outward masks, but depend solely on the internal power of the Holy Spirit.
My wife and I have attended Trinity Evangelical Church, located in Larwill, Indiana, for two years. Look us up on the web: http://www.trinity-evangelical.org/. Trinity is currently a candidate church in the CREC (Confederation of Reformed Evangelical Churches). Look them up on the web: http://www.crechurches.org/.
In 2004, at the eighth Presbytery of the CREC, a report on the history of the CREC was presented; the concluding paragraphs stated: We in the CREC are recovering from 20th century fundamentalism and pietism. As pietists, we tried to be relevant to culture and to make a difference, but we learned that the more relevant we tried to become, the more shallow and fragmented, and at last, the less relevant, we became. As fundamentalists, we wanted to hold up the Bible as our standard of truth, but we came to learn that without owning the church as the “pillar and ground of the truth,” a high Bible is no longer a precious Covenant document, but Gnostic emptiness. God protected us from ourselves. He protected us through all our silly political lobbying, our taste for Contemporary Christian music, and our media-frenzied vision for ministry, even as we neglected the church. He has been kind to show us our folly, and to restore us to our mother. We in the CREC are in love with our creeds and confessions and liturgies and our church government. For our merciful God has rescued us out of the 20th century.
I relate to that history, especially the parts about being rescued from ourselves by a merciful God.