"Why is Lovelace's writing a must-read? It's a madly efficient use of your mental and spiritual energy. For pastors, church planters, missional leaders, and. Worship. Small groups. Community outreach. Prayer Evangelism. Political action. Missions. Signs of renewal are springing up everywhere. How can we. RICHARD F LOVELACE Dynamics of Spiritual Life (eltropical).pdf - Ebook download as PDF File .pdf) or read book online.
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Dynamics of Spiritual Life book. Read 18 reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Richard Lovelace gives a history of spiritual renewals i. Douglas Groothuis reviews Richard Lovelace's classic work, 'Dynamics of Spiritual Life' (IVP, ). Listen to a lecture by Richard Lovelace entitled What God is Doing Now. (C. S. Lewis Institute)Recommended by John Leonard of Westminster Theological.
Some of them were simply misinformed as to what this revival was all about; therefore, they were not to be considered as real enemies. Some disliked the phenomenon due to their theological biases. The saddest fact was that some opposed the work due to unrestrained envy and jealousy.
However, their objections were not necessarily unfounded, for as Edwards unfolds in this treatise, there certainly appeared disorders e. The Marks of A Work of the True Spirit Edwards finds in 1 John chapter 4 a safe refuge to defend the cause of the revival against its critics. He then shows 15 The Works Vol. Edwards divides his treatise into three major sections, preferring to start with a more exhaustive treatment on the negative signs or evidences of a work of the Spirit of God, followed by a detailed treatment of the positive signs and finally dealing with practical matters that suit the state of affairs of the time in which he lived.
Section One: Negative Signs By what he calls negative signs he means those outward signs that lack support to dis- prove the revival and consequently pronounce it as mere outbreaks of religious fanaticism. Meaning, these negative signs cannot be counted to be sufficient enough an evidence to build a case against this spiritual awakening.
Edwards gives us nine of them, treated with extra care and supported by a strong Calvinistic, Puritan conviction on the final authority of the Holy Scripture. They most probably represent a point by point response to the arguments the detractors of revival seek to advance so as to destroy the reputation of this great work of God.
That which is unusual and extraordinary yet within Scriptural bounds. And as God has done thus in times past, so we have no reason to think but that he will do still. Such unusual and extraordinary influences of the Spirit were wrought upon 17 Ibid. To count them as mere expressions of religious fanaticism and not of the Spirit, Edwards argues, is to discredit the Spirit's operations in the apostolic era at the time when various extraordinary manifestations of the Spirit appeared.
Bodily effects such as tears, trembling, groans, loud outcries, agonies, and lost of physical strength. A great deal of noise about religion. It is something that cannot just be kept in private.
Impressions made on the imaginations. This human faculty, when moved by a strong in- fluence of the Spirit, Edwards explains, will necessarily be brought to a higher degree of its operations sometimes even reaching a point of ecstasy. Examples exhibited by some to be eventually imitated by others.
Carelessness and irregularities in conduct. To be brought under strong impressions of mind, which is characteristic of a revival work of the Spirit, requires a great deal of mental discre- tion, strength and stability so as not to act imprudently.
Oftentimes, however, human mental faculties are easily overcome by the Spirit's influences. Such a phenomenon was true among the people of Corinth, Edwards observes, in the same way as it was also true elsewhere during the days of the apostles and other subsequent periods of revival. Errors in judgments and some tricks of the enemy intermingled with the revival. Edwards points to the fact that counterfeit miracles, such as those performed in Egypt just before the Exodus, do not necessarily deny the genuine miracles of God.
Some who have been affected by the revival yet not truly converted might re- main for a while in the congregation of the saints until their true spiritual state is finally brought to light. Ministers focusing mainly on the terrors of God's holy law.
A sense of urgency is to be ex- pected of any one who has caught a true vision of even just a glimpse of the dreadful state that awaits a lost soul in the pit of hell. Hence we cannot wonder if the revival comes to be bitterly opposed by respectable church members of limited spiritual insight, on account of the excesses linked with it; nor can we be sur- prised to find — as we regularly do — that ministers stand aloof from revival, and even preach against it and try to suppress it, on the grounds that it is not a spiritual phenomenon at all.
The exaltation of Christ vv. Edwards speaks here of the biblical Jesus who literally appeared in human history as the Son of God and Savior of His people. Yet it is more than just a matter of confessing of a historical Christ but of openly confessing that He is the Christ, the Son of God, anointed to be Savior and Lord v.
Edwards is careful to draw the dividing line between the true Jesus of the Bible and the mystical, fantastical Christ of the Quakers of his time.
He rather writes somewhere else: When God manifests himself with such glorious power, in a work of this nature [such as the New England revival], he appears especially determined to put honor upon his Son, and to fulfill his oath that he has sworn to him, that he would make every knee bow God hath had it much on his heart, from all eternity, to glorify his dear and only-begotten Son; and there are some special seasons that he appoints to that end, wherein he comes forth with omnipotent power to fulfil his promise Now these are times of remarkable pouring out of his Spirit, to advance his kingdom; such is a day of his power A warfare waged against the kingdom of darkness vv.
Edwards, following the apostle John, speaks here of the spirit that runs counter to the Kingdom purposes of God. Edwards points us back to the earlier chapter of John's first epistle in to bring into the picture the things that are of the world: the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes and the pride of life.
The spirit that is not from God operates in this realm, whose aim is to promote sin. Contrary to the modern notion of spiritual warfare, this one is more than just about a cosmic battle but something that is waged within and around the believers.
The work of the Holy Spirit that comes in a revival of religion is to oppose this movement of the king- 29 As quoted by Packer, A high view of the Scripture v. Edwards points us here to apostolic authority that gave us the New Testament Scripture.
Promotion of sound doctrine v. The Spirit of revival is here described as the Spirit of truth while the counterfeit spirit is called the spirit of error. The work of the Holy Spirit is here made obvious — to lead people into truth; while the counterfeit spirit comes to deceive. Edwards further explains: For instance, if we observe that the spirit at work makes men sensible than they used to be, that there is a God; that life is short, and very uncertain; and that there is another world; that they have immortal souls, and must give account of themselves to God; that they are exceeding sinful by nature and practice; that they are helpless in themselves; and confirms them in other things that are agreeable to some sound doctrine; the spirit that works thus, operates as a spirit of truth; he represents things as they truly are.
In Corinth the Weak would almost certainly have been Gentile believers—former pagans with sensitive consciences about idols—while the Strong would have been the Jewish Christians who thought of the Greek gods as nonentities. On the other hand, in Rome the Weak would almost certainly have been Jewish Christians and the Strong would have been Gentile believers, who knew that in Christ they were no longer bound to the old ceremonial cleanliness laws and regulations.
The important point to note is that in one situation, cultural sensibilities made one group blinder to aspects of the gospel, while in another situation those same cultural sensibilities made that same group wiser about the implications of the gospel.
These were not simply theological disputes or simply cultural divisions, but extremely complex combinations of both. First, to our surprise, Paul sharply criticized the Strong in both situations. He refused to look at either dispute as simply a theological issue.
So though one side was right and the other wrong in theological terms, the subtle racism of both groups was exerting itself in different ways. The Weak were letting their cultural biases distort their understanding of the gospel; the Strong were letting their cultural biases strangle the application of the gospel in their lives. How could this be? The Strong were refusing to alter their behavior, even though it was harming people.
That is, the Jewish Christians refused to spend time gently helping the superstitious Gentile members get more educated about the gospel. It understood the gospel of grace intellectually enough to come to the right position in the theological dispute, redeemercitytocity.
This is not the modern notion of tolerance. But on the other hand, the secular tolerant person refuses to let anyone else affect or hinder the way they want to live.
I have the right to live my life as I want to live it. Yet he calls us to accept and receive—to welcome into deeply engaged relationship—those whom we evaluate as mistaken or weak. In fact, the job of the church is to show the world that people who cannot live in love and unity outside of Christ can do so in Christ. Galatians 2 provides the classic example of how the gospel changes our attitude toward our own racial pride and cultural heritage.
In Acts God showed Peter that because salvation is by grace alone, anyone—regardless of race and culture—is equally lost in sin and equally loved in Christ. Yet sometime later Paul saw Peter refusing to eat with Gentile Christians.
Douglas J. Racial prejudice is wrong because it is a denial of the very principle of grace. It is a form of self-righteousness, a way to feel acceptable and worthwhile on our own merits. One of the most common self-justifying systems is to convince ourselves of the superiority of our own race or ethnicity.
This happens when we attach moral significance to things that are only matters of cultural preference, such as the differences of a time-centric Anglo-European versus an event-centric South American culture. The gospel radically undermines all this. Thus men who are not secure in Christ cast about for spiritual life preservers with which to support their confidence, and in their frantic search they not only cling to the shreds of ability and righteousness they find in themselves, but they fix upon their race, their membership in a party, their familiar social and ecclesiastical patterns, and their culture as means of self-recommendation.
The culture is put on as though it were armor against self-doubt, but it becomes a mental straitjacket which cleaves to the flesh and can never be removed except through comprehensive faith in the saving work of Christ.
Christians who are no longer sure that God loves and accepts them in Jesus, apart from their present spiritual achievements, are subconsciously radically insecure persons.
Their insecurity shows itself in pride, a fierce defensive assertion of their own righteousness and defensive criticism of others. They come naturally to hate other cultural styles and other races in order to bolster their own security and discharge their suppressed anger. As our understanding of the gospel moves deeper into the foundation of our identity, we find ourselves less shaken by professional, social, or relational changes, less driven by professional success, more open-minded about political differences, and more easily able to overcome racial prejudices.
He can shift to other cultural clothing temporarily if he wishes to do so, as Paul suggests in 1 Corinthians —23, and he is released to admire and appreciate the differing expressions of Christ shining out through other cultures. In the confusion of Babel, God declared that if people would not acknowledge him their human community would split and fragment.
At Pentecost God shows that in the Spirit people can have a unity that transcends their national, linguistic, and cultural groups and overcomes all human barriers. Jesus insists that the unity of Christians will be a major way we witness to the world that God sent his Son John , So one of the most crucial ways that the Christian church embodies the gospel is in the unity of Christians who are different from one another—economically, culturally, racially.
In general, the job of the church is to show the world that people who cannot live in love and unity outside of Christ can do so in Christ. Our relationship to each other in Christ is to be stronger than our relationship to other members of our racial and national groups. When you become a Christian, you are not primarily from Ohio or Germany or Asia; you are not primarily Anglo, African-American, Asian, or Hispanic; you are not primarily white collar or blue collar.
Richard F. God forbids marriage between these two groups of people, unbelievers and believers 2 Cor. God punished her prejudice by making her more white! Thus Christians have a special test for racism. If racial differences are more important to you than differences in belief, you are acting as a racist.
Edwards therefore calls his people to welcome the Spirit with honor by openly acknowledging His work in this revival. To be quiet about it, that is, to play it safe, for an extended period of time would amount to actually opposing it. People are also exhorted to avoid all possible errors and misconduct that might hamper the work so as not to become a stumbling block to others. Watchfulness, self-discipline and wis- dom are very much required at this point.
Edwards adds, Humility and self-diffidence, and an entire dependence to the Lord Jesus Christ, will be our best defense. Let us therefore maintain the strictest watch against spiritual pride, or being lifted up with extraordinary experiences and comforts, and the high favours of heaven, that any of us may have received. Edwards is an excellent representative of this principle in this treatise of his. Two things come to mind as we look closely into it.
First is his theocentricity that flows from his Calvinistic emphasis on the sovereignty of God and his Puritan passion for His glory over against a human-centered culture shaped by the Enlightenment that has produced for itself an anthropocentric religion. Second is his biblically oriented diagnosis of the human nature that is essentially depraved that it requires nothing short of regeneration by the Holy Spirit if a person is to be truly converted to Christ.
Mark Noll observes from a North American point of view: Since Edwards, American evangelicals have not thought about life from the ground up as Christians because their entire culture has ceased to do so. Edwards's piety continued on in the revivalist tradition, his theology continued on in academic Calvinism, but there were no successors to his God-entranced world view or his profoundly theological philosophy.
As Packer notes: Edwards argued that Arminianism in any form — any form, that is, of the synergism which makes conviction of spiritual truth God's work, but conversion itself man's — undercuts true piety. It makes God less than God; it is three quarters of the way to deism, and half-way to real atheism. It destroys due reverence for God, because it denies our complete dependence on Him. It ministers to pride by representing the decisive act in our salvation as all our own work.
Thus it introduces a principle of self-reliance into religion; which is in effect to render religion irreligious, and to base the form of godliness upon a denial of the matter of it.
What is easy to prove is the mushrooming of churches across the archipelago and the rapid increase of converts to the evangelical faith posted during the latter part of the 20 th century and mainly attributed to the Pentecostal-charismatic influence across denominational lines. Add to this the most recent practical tips for church growth imported from elsewhere around the globe that have their own share in winning not a few converts to the faith.
Though undeniable, they are not enough a thing to celebrate, for at the other side of the continuum is the failure of a vast majority of evangelical Christians to bring about a lasting, positive impact in Philippine society, leaving the nation still overshadowed by darkness in spite of evangelical presence almost everywhere across the islands.
Does it not amount to an admission that the evangelical presence in the country has indeed failed to significantly affect the Philippine horizon?
A series of questions from Dr. Might not our search for some antidotes to our grievous ills be symptomatic of our lost of confidence in the power of the gospel to change people from the inside out? Because of it, evangelicalism has been, in many ways, overtaken by the secular culture of the day rather than defining its own rule of engagement with the world according to the terms of Christ.
In our unguarded quest for relevance, much of our theologizing, if any, is more conditioned by the prevailing mindset of our culture than by the totally inerrant Scripture, 43 more inspired by the spirit of the age than by the indwelling Spirit of God.
A word of counsel from D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones is worth pondering as we end: My advice to you is: Read Jonathan Edwards…Learn to read again, and do not merely read the exciting stories of certain modern people. Go back to something solid and deep and real.
Are we losing the art of reading? So read this man. Decide to do so. Read his sermons; read his practical treatises, and then go on to the great discourses on theological subjects.
Kapic and Randall C. Gleason, eds. Tunbridge Wells: Monarch Publications, Edwards, Jonathan. The Works of Jonathan Edwards Vols.
Kapic, Kelly M. Lloyd-Jones, D. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, Lovelace, Richard F. Illinois: Inter-Varsity Press, Lutzer, Erwin W. Eugene, OR: Havest House, Nichols, Stephen J. Noll, Mark.
The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm.
Packer, J. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books,