Monday, September 1, 2008

Christian Freedom - Introductory Post

A new month, a new Puritan Classic.

This month's book, The True Bounds of Christian Freedom, by Samuel Bolton (1606-1654). Two things stand out in the brief biographical information that I linked above:

"His desire to win souls to Christ by preaching was so great" and "He lived as he preached, taught, and wrote". I can think of no better epitaph for any one of us.

It didn't take many pages reading before I found a couple of items worthy of inclusion in this post.

From the Publisher's Introduction: An unbalanced emphasis on grace has led men to neglect certain of the law's various functions. In its accusing and convicting function, the law is a schoolmaster to lead men to Christ. The absence of this dimension in the preaching of today has resulted in a truncated Gospel, rushed conversion work and a shallow religious experience. the law prepares the way for the Gospel and 'a man can never preach the Gospel that makes not way for the Gospel'. (pg. 10. These words were penned, I assume, in 1964. If they were true then, they are doubly true today.)

Also, in the introduction, but from Bolton: 'The law sends us to the Gospel for our justification; the Gospel sends us to the law to frame our way of life.' (pg. 11.)

Chapter One opens (pg. 17) with John 8:36, 'If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed'. I will truly be surprised if we don't eventually get to "For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another" (Galatians 5:13, ESV. Peeking ahead, I find that Bolton addresses this point on page 20!)

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