For some time now I've noticed that evangelicalism often has no idea about how the Christian is to become holy in this life. All that is often taught is "try harder, do more and pray for strength from the Spirit". Yet St. Paul the Apostle constantly talks about the Christian...
life as being lived in Christ. This language is all over St. Paul's writings yet it is rarely addressed in evangelical sermons. This passage from Grant Macaskill's book on living in union with Christ summarises the problem I've seen too often, very well:

(1/7) 'To put this...
(2/7) claim in the starkest of terms, the way we think about Christian morality—even within those parts of the church that self-identify as “evangelical”—is often functionally Christless. Too frequently, when we think about Christians as moral agents who act within the church...
(3/7) and the world in an ethically good way, we conceive of their agency in terms that are not properly determined by who Jesus is and how he is present in them. We see their agency in simple terms as something that belongs to them and is performed by them. We may talk about...
(4/7) Jesus as the one to whom their obedience is rendered or as the one who models obedience for them, but they are still the ones who act, whether well or badly. Christ is not personally involved in their obedience; they may be helped or strengthened by the Holy Spirit, but...
(5/7) it is they who act. In consequence, when we seek to form them into good moral agents or into better disciples, we think in terms of helping them to make better decisions, for which we give them credit. Hence, the way we actually think about the moral activity or growth...
(6/7) of the Christian (what we often label “discipleship”) is not really Christ-centered, even if we consider it to be directed toward him. It is, in reality, self-centered: we can talk about being “Christlike” or about “relying on the power of the Spirit” but still think...
about this as something we do. When, with the Holy Spirit’s help, we are obedient, we are simply better versions of ourselves.' (7/7)

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More from @firstthesisstan

23 Nov
A very long 🧵 on why I believe that the Roman Catholic Church is a Christian Church and does preach the Gospel.



For the past year and a half I’ve been trying to study Catholicism a bit more so that I can serve as a Minister of the Gospel in a predominantly Catholic...
context. The more I’ve studied Catholicism, the more I’ve grown to see that there is more that we have in common than I thought. Especially in Reformed circles, a very strict condemnation of Catholicism is common. I have found this condemnation to be very rash and based on...
simplistic evaluations of the doctrines that the RCC represents. To be clear, there are significant and important differences between the Reformed tradition and the Roman Catholic tradition, differences that seriously influence the christian life of parishioners in these...
Read 21 tweets
22 Nov
(1/4) St. Augustine on our blessed heavenly state:

‘I implore you to love with me and, by believing, to run with me; let us long for our heavenly country, let us sigh for our heavenly home, let us truly feel that here we are strangers. What shall we then see? Let the gospel…
(2/4) tell us: In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. You will come to the fountain, with whose dew you have already been sprinkled. Instead of the ray of light which was sent through slanting and winding ways into the heart of your…
(3/4) darkness, you will see the light itself in all its purity and brightness. It is to see and experience this light that you are now being cleansed. Dearly beloved, John himself says, we are the sons of God, and it has not yet been disclosed what we shall be;
Read 4 tweets
22 Nov
(1/5) C.S. Lewis union with Christ which is created and maintained by faith and the Sacraments:

‘And let me make it quite clear that when Christians say the Christ-life is in them, they do not mean simply something mental or moral,” he says. “When they speak of being…
(2/5) ‘in Christ’ or of Christ being ‘in them’, this is not simply a way of saying that they are thinking about Christ or copying Him. They mean that Christ is actually operating through them; that the whole mass of Christians are the physical organism through which Christ acts..
(3/5) that we are His fingers and muscles, the cells of His body. And perhaps that explains one or two things. It explains why this new life is spread not only by purely mental acts like belief, but by bodily acts like baptism and Holy Communion. It is not merely the spreading…
Read 5 tweets
22 Sep
🧵 Augustine on the efficacy of infant baptism
Often it is said that baptismal regeneration (in which the efficacy of the sacrament is tied to the moment of administration) was universally acknowledged in the Early Church. Yet Augustine seems to hold to a proto-Reformed position. Image
(2/8) 'still we can form a true conjecture of the value of the sacrament of baptism in the case of infants, from the parallel of circumcision, which was received by God's earlier people, and before receiving which Abraham was justified, as Cornelius also was enriched with the...
(3/8) gift of the Holy Spirit before he was baptized. Yet the apostle says of Abraham himself, that "he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith," having already believed in his heart, so that "it was counted unto him for righteousness."
Read 8 tweets
4 Sep
A 🧵 on the difference between a baptized and an unbaptized child as seen from the perspectives of the Presbyterian and Baptist tradition respectively:

I will try to present this difference first from a practical perspective, and then also from a theological perspective.
(2/8) First, a child who is baptized has a clear status in the Church. It is part of the Church of Christ, it is a member of the Church, and is formally and bindingly subject to the discipline of the Church and pastoral care. His identity is clear, he is a Christian.
(3/8) an unbaptized child has an unclear status in the Church. He is supposed to be part of the Church in a sense, not only a sympathizer, but yet, not a member of the Church. He is not baptized, so it is also difficult to say whether he can call himself a Christian, a Baptist
Read 8 tweets
4 Sep
(1/4) Polycarp’s prayer before being burned alive:

‘O Lord God Almighty, the Father of thy beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ, by whom we have received the knowledge of Thee, the God of angels and powers, and of every creature, and of the whole race of the righteous who...
(2/4) live before thee, I give Thee thanks that Thou hast counted me worthy of this day and this hour, that I should have a part in the number of Thy martyrs, in the cup of thy Christ, to the resurrection of eternal life, both of soul and body, through the incorruption...
(3/4) [imparted] by the Holy Ghost. Among whom may I be accepted this day before Thee as a fat and acceptable sacrifice, according as Thou, the ever-truthful God, hast foreordained, hast revealed before hand to me, and now hast fulfilled. Wherefore also I praise Thee for all...
Read 4 tweets

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