Counsel to Professing Christians Buying and Selling

D. Scott Meadows

Pastor John Newton not only preached the gospel but he also exhorted believers to lead morally upright lives. In this letter, he exposes a corrupt practice in his day: smuggling imports into Great Britain without paying the legal customs charges to the government. Newton solemnly warns Christians, tempted by frugality or greed, against participating at all in these censurable practices, even if they would save only a few shillings on groceries.

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By | February 9th, 2018|Christian Life, Contemporary Issues, Herald|

The God Christians Praise

D. Scott Meadows

Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen (1 Tim 1.17).

A resurgent interest in the doctrine of God (theology proper) is most encouraging, especially if we subscribe to the fundamental principle of soli Deo gloria (glory to God alone).

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By | January 4th, 2018|Christian Life, Herald, Theology|

James’ Doctrine of Prayer

D. Scott Meadows

The New Testament epistle of James was most likely written by the Lord’s brother, a leader in the Jerusalem church. He had a “singular devotion to prayer. It was said that James’s knees became so calloused from prayer they resembled the knees of camels” (RSB 2015). With God’s blessing, even a quick review of James’ teaching on prayer will help us.

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By | December 29th, 2017|Herald, Prayer|

Certain Death and Judgment

D. Scott Meadows

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment (Heb 9:27).

This verse appears in its context as a helpful analogy for understanding God’s redemptive work in Christ. As men die once and are judged afterward, so Christ died once and for all in the past (for the sins of many) and shall yet return in the future for judgment, which means final and ultimate salvation for those in whose place He died, since He will vanquish all our enemies (cf. v. 28).

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By | December 13th, 2017|Herald, Man, Meditations, Salvation|

This Life’s Innocent Pleasures Best Enjoyed by Faithful Christians

D. Scott Meadows

Newton is not teaching the philosophy of hedonism that enjoyment is a reliable guide for how we should live. Rather, he grants his friend’s hedonistic premise for the sake of argument and makes a case for godly living even from this. That is a subtle but important distinction, and with that understood, Newton’s letter sets a good example of Christian persuasion.

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By | December 8th, 2017|Christian Life, Herald|

Believe to Know

D. Scott Meadows

If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself (Jn 7.17).

We gather from all this that faith is the eye of the soul, while unbelief is spiritual blindness and a moral defect for which we are most culpable. Religious agnosticism and skepticism are to be severely censured, not just pitied.

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By | December 4th, 2017|Doctrinal Christianity, Herald|

Four Questions about Christian Experience Considered

D. Scott Meadows

In this letter, John Newton responded to a friend, addressing subtle matters of Christian experience, mingling both biblical doctrine and personal testimony of his own heart and life. Our expectations about being true Christians must be realistic or we will draw wrong conclusions about ourselves and suffer more anxiety than necessary.

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By | November 16th, 2017|Christian Life, Herald|

To a Careless Unbeliever on His Recovery from a Serious Illness

D. Scott Meadows

Letters of grave spiritual concern to unbelievers might do much good. John Newton offers a fine example in this one to a friend holding to “Deism,” a set of beliefs that God is remote and may safely be ignored, that the Bible is not the Word of God, that miracles never happened, and that one’s own reason is an adequate test of truth.

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By | November 9th, 2017|Evangelism, Herald, Man|

Spots, Wrinkles, and Blemishes

D. Scott Meadows

The Church, Christ’s beloved bride, will someday be gloriously beautiful, wholly without spot, wrinkle, or blemish, and absolutely perfect (Eph 5.27). In this life, however, she is seriously in need of a makeover! John Newton wrote this letter as a mirror for self-examination. He uses Latin names for seven fictitious and flawed characters as a literary device to help us remember them.

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By | October 26th, 2017|Christian Life, Church, Herald|

Fallen Man, Part 2

pastor-d-scott-meadowsD. Scott Meadows

Sinners are, by nature, earthly, unspiritual, and demonic (Jas 3.15). That really shows in their response to gospel light. Jesus said of His enemies, “If I had not come and spoken to them, they had not had sin, but now they have no cloak for their sin” (Jn 15.22). Their reaction to Him and His message brought into full view the hideousness of what was there in their hearts all along.

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By | September 21st, 2017|Herald, Man, Sin|