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Dec 2, 2023 - Default    No Comments

改革宗信仰的核心

作者:Stephen Rees

       改革宗信仰的核心——合乎聖經的基督教的核心——是以神為中心:堅信神本身是至高無上的。我們以神為中心來定所有的教義。罪之所以可怕,是因為它是對神的冒犯。救贖之所以美妙,是因為它榮耀神。天堂之所以是天堂,是因為那裡神是一切的一切。地獄之所以是地獄,是因為它是神彰顯公義憤怒的地方。”以神為中心” 是改革宗信仰的顯著特徵。一個基督徒可能會說許多關於罪的真理 (例如罪是有害的,罪會導致痛苦等),但如果不是以神為中心,那麼最關鍵的重點就會被忽略。

       我記得多年前讀到 萊昂·莫里斯 (Leon Morris) 的一篇文章,深感震驚,他問:”羅馬書中最常見的字是什麼?”(我想他忽略像 “這” 或 “那” 這樣的定冠詞.)你會猜是什麼呢?恩典?信心?相信?律法?不——羅馬書中出現頻率最高的字是 “神”。

       只要略讀開頭幾章,你就會立刻看到。羅馬書中所有重要的神學宣言都以神為主題的:”神任憑他們” (1:24, 26)、”神必照各人的行為報應各人” (2:6)、”神借耶穌基督審判人的隱秘事” (2:16)、”神設立耶穌做挽回祭” (3:25)、”神稱罪人為義” (4:5)、”神已將祂的愛澆灌在我們心裡” (5:5)、”神的愛就在此向我們顯明了” (5:8)。

       我們可以傳講真理——我們甚至可以作 “五點加爾文主義者”——但如果我們失去了那 “萬有都是本於祂、倚靠祂、歸於祂” (11:36) 的認知,我們就失去了基督教的核心。

       以神為中心的教義必須在 “以神為中心的敬虔” 中實現。再說一次,這是基督教改革宗信仰的獨特之處。我們對神着迷;我們被祂的威嚴,祂的美麗,祂的聖潔,祂的恩典所震撼。我們尋求祂的榮耀,我們渴望祂的同在,我們以祂的品性為生活的榜樣。

       其他基督徒可能會說傳福音、宣教、復興或重建是他們最關心的事,但我們只有一件事——神自己——認識祂、效法祂、看見祂得榮耀。唯獨這件事是絕對的:失喪之人的得救對我們重要是因為能讓神的名被尊為聖以及神的國降臨、城市的宣教對我們重要是因為能讓神的旨意行在地上如同行在天上、聖經學習和禱告對我們重要是因為能讓我們與神相交。

       這是幾個世紀以來基督教改革宗信仰的重要標誌。無論你是在讀像 博納爾 (Andrew Bonar) 這樣的長老會教徒的日記,還是像 約翰·牛頓 (John Newton) 這樣的英國聖公會教徒的書信,或是像 司布真 (C. H. Spurgeon) 這樣的浸信會教徒的講稿,這都是貫穿始終的主旋律:他們痴迷於上帝,無論是生活、神學研究或事奉都圍繞着對上帝的強烈愛慕,一切都是從他們對上帝的敬仰和充滿敬畏的愛中流露出來。

 

原文: The Heart of the Reformed Faith

Dec 1, 2023 - Default    No Comments

Reformed Heart

The Heart of the Reformed Faith
by Stephen Rees

       The heart of the Reformed faith—the heart of biblical Christianity—is God-centeredness: the conviction that God himself is supremely important. We define all our doctrine in a God-centered way. Sin is horrible because it is an affront to God. Salvation is wonderful because it brings glory to God. Heaven is heaven because it is the place where God is all in all. Hell is hell because it is the place where God manifests his righteous wrath. That God-centeredness is the distinctive feature of the Reformed faith. A Christian may say lots of true things, say, about sin (sin is damaging, sin leads to wretchedness, etc.), but if there is not the God-centered perspective, the most important emphasis of all has been missed.

       I remember how struck I was years ago, reading an essay by Leon Morris, asking, “What is the most common word in Romans?” (I presume he’s omitting such words as “the”—I’m not sure.) What would you guess? Grace? Faith? Believe? Law? No—the most frequent word in Romans is God.

       Just skim through the opening chapters and you will see it immediately. All the great theological statements in Romans have God as their subject: “God gave them over” (1:24, 26). “God ‘will give to each person according to what he has done’ ” (2:6). “God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ” (2:16). “God set [him] forth as a propitiation” (3:25 NKJV). “[God] justifies the ungodly” (4:5 NKJV). “God has poured out his love into our hearts” (5:5). “God demonstrates his own love for us in this” (5:8).

       We can preach things that are true—we can even be five-point Calvinists—but if we lose that “from him and through him and to him are all things” (11:36) awareness, then we’ve lost the heart of Christianity.

       God-centered doctrine must work itself out in God-centered piety. Again, this is the distinctive note of Reformed Christianity. We are obsessed with God himself. We are overwhelmed by his majesty, his beauty, his holiness, his grace. We seek his glory, we desire his presence, we model our lives on his attributes.

       Other Christians may say that evangelism, or mission, or revival, or reconstruction is their great concern. But we have only one concern—God himself—to know him, to mirror him, to see him glorified. We refuse to absolutize any other objective. The salvation of the lost is only important to us insofar as it leads to the hallowing of his name and the coming of his kingdom. The purifying of society is important to us only insofar as it leads to the doing of his will on earth as in heaven. Bible study and prayer are only important to us insofar as they lead us into communion with him.

       This has been the great hallmark of Reformed Christianity down through the centuries. Whether you’re reading the journals of Presbyterians like Andrew Bonar, or the letters of Anglicans like John Newton, or the sermons of Baptists like Charles Spurgeon, this is the note that comes throbbing through. They are obsessed with God himself. They live their lives and do their theology and fulfill their ministry in passionate admiration for God himself. Everything else flows out of their awed worship of God and their trembling love for him.

Oct 4, 2023 - Default    No Comments

問:上帝為什麼拯救我們?

上帝拯救我們的原因是為了祂的兒子 (弗 1:4-6),同時也是因為祂愛我們 (弗 2:4-5),而上帝愛我們的原因只因祂愛我們 (申 7:7-8)。

【弗 1:4-6】就如神從創立世界以前,在基督里揀選了我們,使我們在他面前成為聖潔,無有瑕疵;又因愛我們,就按着自己的意旨所喜悅的,預定我們藉著耶穌基督得兒子的名分,使他榮耀的恩典得着稱讚;這恩典是他在愛子里所賜給我們的。(cf. 西 1:16)

【弗 2:4-5】然而,神既有豐富的憐憫,因他愛我們的大愛,當我們死在過犯中的時候,便叫我們與基督一同活過來。你們得救是本乎恩。

【申 7:7-8】耶和華專愛你們,揀選你們,並非因你們的人數多於別民,原來你們的人數在萬民中是最少的。只因耶和華愛你們,又因要守他向你們列祖所起的誓,就用大能的手領你們出來,從為奴之家救贖你們脫離埃及王法老的手。