Archive for the ‘S. Lewis Johnson’ Category

The following is from the “Suffering Savior” series:

The cup, by the way, is more than a simple reminder. I must confess, I am not totally satisfied with Zwingli’s interpretation of the Lord’s Supper. It is the common interpretation that is practiced in evangelical churches. They think that the Lord’s Supper, most of us have been taught this, the Lord’s Supper is a simple memorial of what Jesus Christ did. I think it is a memorial of what Jesus Christ did, but I think it is more than that. I think it must be more than that because in a memorial, the emphasis is upon what we do. And in this sense, that interpretation has the same disadvantages that the Roman Catholic interpretation has. For Catholics, man offers a sacrifice to God in the sacrifice of the mass. For Zwinglians, for evangelicals, for you, man reminds himself of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, and gives thanks for it and publicly identifies himself as a Christian, and so it is man centered, this interpretation.

I am inclined to think that we should, in our observance of the Lord’s Supper, lay a great deal more stress upon the fact that the cup, which speaks of the new covenant, is more than a simple reminder. It is a visible token, the absolute guarantee. It is the seal given by God that our sins and iniquities, he will remember no more. And so, when I think of the cup, as given by Jesus Christ to me, it is a kind of guarantee that the covenant which he has made and accomplished in his blood, is going to be carried out for me. And I can rejoice in the salvation that is surely and definitely to be mine. Therefore, I like to put that stress upon the observance of the Lord’s Supper.


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There is now a S.Lewis Johnson app available for iPhone and Android.  It’s just been released and is sort of in demo phase right now. But I’ve been told that the goal is to make all of the SLJ content available via the app.

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From Dr. Johnson’s sermon Rev. 2:18-29 on the pressure to compromise the faith because “we have to live”:

“I can imagine the way in which an individual would respond to this when he was at the table. One of his Christian friends would say to him the next day, “How could you do that? How could you accept an invitation like that? How is it possible for you to sit at the table of quote “My Lord Tyrimnos?” Unquote. And I can see myself, for example, responding. “If you’re going to have a job, you’ve got to do this. If you’re going to live, you have to do this. There’s no other way to make a living in this town. You’ve got to do it. You must do it.” The ancient church had a deal with that question just like people today because we tend to do the same thing. We put up with things that are not Christian, because we have to live.

Well, Tertullian, in the 3rd Century, wrote a little book, well, a little work. It was called “On Idolatry”, and in it he dealt with that question. He deals with Christians who earn their living by making idols. These individuals had to live. We have to live. We don’t believe in these idols that we’re making, but we have to make them because they need them. They made statuaries to the idols. They painted them. They did for the guilders all of the kinds of things that had to do with the idolatry and the like. And when the plea was made to them that as Christians you cannot do this they said, “We have to live. There’s no other way by which we can live.” But Tertullian indignantly retorted that they should have thought about that before they started doing what they were doing. And furthermore, he then went on to say in his Latin, Vivere ego or ergo habeas. Do you have to live?

No, you don’t have to live, and the ultimate service to our Lord is the ultimate claim upon a Christian’s life. We don’t have to live. “Must you live”, he asks? Elsewhere he says, “There are no musts where faith is concerned.” In other words, the ultimate loyalty we have is not to our physical life. Not to the kind of life that we must live here upon this earth. Our ultimate loyalty is to the Lord God, and if it means death that’s our ultimate loyalty. The idea you must do this because that’s the way it’s done here is not a Christian idea at all. And our Lord does not leave any room for anyone who says, “Well I’ve got to live, so I have to do these things that are contrary to the word of God. I have to set down at the table of my Lord Tyrimnos.”

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The following is taken from the transcript of this sermon.

The Ad Interim Committee of the Presbyterian Church in the United States in their report to the General Assembly of the Southern Presbyterian Church in 1944 said that Dispensationalists, “do not hold that God has one plan of salvation for all men but that he has had various and diverse plans for different groups.”

Now, in my opinion that is the result of a great deal of confusion. I think, it is fair to say that it is also the result of a bit of ignorance. It’s the result of perhaps deliberate misrepresentation on the part of some and to my mind it’s a bit unworthy of scholarship not to mention Christianity. But I’d like to say this; Dr. Chafer was not always clear on this point. Dr Chafer it so happen was an individual who had a lot of affinity for ultra dispensationalism. That’s not often realized, but if you would read his systematic theology through you would find some statements that would make it very plain that he had affinity for what has come to be called ultra Dispensationlism. Let me read you something Dr. Chafer wrote in his theologies right there for you to read if you like. He says this, “A distinction must be observed between just men in the Old Testament and those justified according to the New Testament. According to the Old Testament men were just because they were true and faithful in keeping the Mosaics Law. Micah defines such a life after this manner, “he hath showed the old man what is good and what doth the Lord require of thee but to do justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God.” Men were, therefore, just because of their own works before God or for God, whereas, New Testament justification is God’s work for man in answer to faith. That’s quite evident from that.

Now Dr. Chafer was well in my way of thinking he was confused over Old Testament salvation. Just preceding this he has said manifestly to be justified before God is his that is God, is his own undertaking. But he was talking about New Testament justification when he said that. When he talks about Old Testament justification he talks differently. Further Dr. Chafer made the difference between the age of the kingdom and the age of grace. Present age writing, there are his words, “the sermon on the mount is the expansion of the full meaning of the personal righteousness which is required in the kingdom.” The great words in this age the present age are believe and grace. Not once do these words appear in connection with the kingdom teaching of Matthew.

Now the implication to that, I think, is very plain. Finally he says “Under grace the fruit of the Spirit is” which indicates the present possession of the blessing through pure grace. While under the kingdom the blessing “shall be such as merited by their own works.” So you can see that Dr. Chafer believed that in the Old Testament men were justified by what they did and they will be justified by what they do in the kingdom to come. But in the present day they are justified by grace through faith.

Now, in fairness to Dr. Chafer I will say that he wrote with a bit of confusion. And when I was in the class with him he expressed a great deal of, I don’t want to use the wrong word here because I greatly admired this man he was a man of faith, but he manifested a great deal of doubt as to what the Bible taught about Old Testament salvation. And later on I will point out one or two of the things that he said. But, I think, you can see that it’s not without some justification that people have said that Dispensationalists, of whom he was the leading one in his day, have taught more than one method of salvation. Now, in fairness also Dispensationalism today — practically every Dispensationalist that I know — makes a point of saying there is just one method of salvation. It is by grace through faith. The object of faith changes as the divine unfolding of the history of salvation takes place so that in the Old Testament men do not have has the object of faith the precise object of faith and the fullness of it that we have in the New Testament times. Some of them fell that it is not really true to say the Old Testament men looked forward to the coming of a personal redeemer. But then again I personally think that they stand in the minority but unfortunately in this area there are some that imbibe that particular teaching.

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