All Articles For Marking the Bulwarks of Zion

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Prof. Hanko is professor emeritus of Church History and New Testament in the Protestant Reformed Seminary. Introduction: The charge of rationalism has often been made against the Protestant Reformed Churches. This charge has originated chiefly with defenders of common grace and the well-meant gospel offer. It is as old as our denomination. The charge is a sort of defense of the almost intolerable position of those who, while claiming to be Calvinists, hold to doctrines quite contradictory to Calvinism. Calvinists hold, for example, to divine election; that is, that God from eternity chose His people in Christ and willed to...

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Prof. Hanko is professor emeritus of Church History and New Testament in the Protestant Reformed Seminary. Introduction When I discussed the error of mysticism in connection with the Medieval mystics, I pointed to the fact that God created man in body and soul, thus one living, rational-moral creature. Man has a mind and a will. Part of man’s activity as a willing creature is his emotional life. That which can satisfy man is ultimately that which feeds his entire soul-life in intellect, will, and emotions. The Word of God in all its full glory is such a revelation of God...

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Prof. Hanko is professor emeritus of Church History and New Testament in the Protestant Reformed Seminary. Previous article in this series: January 15, 2005, p. 175 Introduction Charles Darwin, after his five-year long journey on the HMS Beagle, developed his ideas of biological evolution, ideas that form the basis for all subsequent evolutionistic theory. His work On the Origin of Species had more influence on subsequent thought than any other book of human writing, even though all the influence was bad. It was an extraordinarily clever tool in the determination of wicked men to drive God, the Creator of all,...

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Prof. Hanko is professor emeritus of Church History and New Testament in the Protestant Reformed Seminary. Previous article in this series: November 15, 2004, p. 88. In our previous article we discussed Cocceius’ historical approach to the study of theology. We began to show the error of his “historical (or biblical) theology,” as that is compared to what is known as “systematic theology.” We continue, now, our treatment of that comparison. The Importance of Systematic Theology   Systematic theology is important and crucial for the life of the church. The reasons are not difficult to understand. God is Truth. God...

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Prof. Hanko is professor emeritus of Church History and New Testament in the Protestant Reformed Seminary. Introduction It would be a mistake to call Johannes Cocceius a heretic and to include him in a series of portraits of those who introduced heresy into the church. Cocceius was wrong in some aspects of his theology, but he was also very right in other ideas, particularly in his doctrine of the covenant. His wrong ideas sparked a bitter controversy in the church, which lasted beyond his own lifetime. And his wrong ideas introduced into the thinking of the church a way of...

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Prof. Hanko is professor emeritus of Church History and New Testament in the Protestant Reformed Seminary. Introduction In the previous article I described the ladder which mystics defined as necessary to climb to attain union with God. In this article I take a look at criticisms of mysticism which must be made. Criticisms of Mysticism There are various criticisms of mysticism that can be made which, as serious as they are, do not come to the heart of the matter. We mention these first. Some have said that in the quest for union with God and absorption into the divine...

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Prof. Hanko is professor emeritus of Church History and New Testament in the Protestant Reformed Seminary. (Preceding article in this series: September 1, 2004, p. 469.) Introduction John Wesley’s itinerant ministry made a huge impact on ecclesiastical life in the British Isles. While most of his ministry was carried on in England, his influence was felt in Ireland and, to a lesser extent, in Scotland. While the Calvinism of Howell Harris and George Whitefield prevailed in Wales at least for a time, Calvinism deteriorated also there, and, in time, Wesley’s influence was to be found in Wales as well. This...

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Prof. Hanko is professor emeritus of Church History and New Testament in the Protestant Reformed Seminary. Introduction In dealing with Thomas à Kempis and medieval mysticism, I discussed in the last article what mysticism really is. I described it as most fundamentally a doctrine that teaches the desirability and possibility of direct and immediate union with God, which union with God is the epitome of the godly and pious life.

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Prof. Hanko is professor emeritus of Church History and New Testament in the Protestant Reformed Seminary. Introduction In our last article we introduced the subject of mysticism in the Middle Ages by describing the life of Thomas à Kempis, a late medieval mystic from Germany, who spent most of his life in the Netherlands. We also spoke of his most famous book, The Imitation of Christ, a book that continues to be read and appreciated to the present. In this article and following ones we shall discuss the characteristics of mysticism and why it constitutes such a threat to the...

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Prof. Hanko is professor emeritus of Church History and New Testament in the Protestant Reformed Seminary. Introduction The error of mysticism has never been absent from the church of Christ in the new dispensation. It appeared early in the Montanist movement in the third century and has, in a remarkable way, maintained itself to the present. The church has always had to fight off mysticism. Not a single period in the Middle Ages was without its mystics. Sometimes they were present in multitudes; sometimes only individual mystics kept the flame of mysticism burning. But never did the church free itself...

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