“Developing ‘Culture'” – Rev.J.Laning

StandardBearerPart of our Sunday reading is always catching up on articles in The Standard Bearer, a solid Reformed magazine published by the RFPA and the unofficial periodical of the PRCA. The last issue (June, 2013) contains an article written by Rev.James Laning, pastor of the Hull PRC in Hull, IA., for the rubric “Taking Heed to the Doctrine”, to which he is a regular contributor. In it he treats the popular concept and teaching that Christians are to “develop culture”, showing that most of what is taught about this idea in Reformed and evangelical circles is contrary to Scripture and sound Reformed teaching.

I thought his article did a good job of explaining positively where culture-development takes place – and Who does it. Unfortunately Laning’s full article will not be available on the website for a few months yet, but I can give you a portion of it to show you what he has to say.

The chief means that God uses to cause people to make sound moral decisions is the preaching of the Word of God. Good works are only those that proceed from faith, and it is gospel preaching that is used by God to produce this faith.

The only ones, then, who will ever be improved morally are those who sit under gospel preaching and who genuinely receive what God says. These are the only ones who will ever make sound decisions, rejecting what is sinful and doing what is right. Those who reject what God says never, from the heart, do what is right. They are plants that will never produce a single good fruit.

And producing good fruit is what culture is supposed to be about.

So Christ is the one farmer who engages in true cultural activities. He is the only one who can and does improve people morally. He is the one who cultivates the ground, softening the hard hearts and making them receptive to the Word. Then he also is the one who sows the seed of the Word of God, which takes root in the good-soil hearts of His people, so that they produce good fruit to the glory of God’s name.

Gospel preaching is the central activity that Christ uses to promote cultural development. It is chiefly by this means that He causes us to grow spiritually, so that we turn away from that which is evil and delight to do what is right and pleasing in God’s sight (p.403).

Free eBook! “What’s So Great About the Doctrines of Grace?” -R.Phillips

What’s So Great About the Doctrines of Grace? — Free eBook by Nathan W. Bingham | Ligonier Ministries Blog.

WhatsSoGreat-PhillipsA special note for those looking for a fine treatment of the doctrines of sovereign grace. It is good to read a book on the truths of God’s saving grace at least once a year, and this title will serve this purpose well. Let it feed your mind to a deeper understanding of the doctrines of grace and let it stir your heart to a greater praise of what God has done for you in Jesus Christ.

I referred to this book early on in my blogging career, posting on each of the chapters. You may find the first post here; a search on the book will yield the other posts. Visit the Ligonier link above to find the free eBook in multiple formats.

During the month of July, Reformation Trust is giving away the eBook edition of Richard Phillips’ What’s So Great About the Doctrines of Grace. This book shows that “the doctrines of grace” or “the five points of Calvinism” are comforting, faith-strengthening, and humbling teachings. He demonstrates from Scripture that this view of salvation exalts God and makes plain His great love for man, which drove Him to do all that was necessary to redeem a people for Himself.