"Christians and the Internet" newsletter
CATI, Vol. 1, No. 20:  May 19, 2000.
_______________________________________________________________
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. EDITOR'S LETTER: THIS WEEK'S CATI IS A "HODGE-PODGE"!
2. HODGE #1: CHARLES HODGE
3. HODGE #2: A.A. HODGE
4. THE "PODGE PART"
5. SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION FOR THIS NEWSLETTER 
_______________________________________________________________
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Copyright (C) 2000 by Barry Traver, All Rights Reserved.  For
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_______________________________________________________________
1. EDITOR'S LETTER: THIS WEEK'S CATI IS A "HODGE-PODGE"!
This week's issue of CATI is a "Hodge-Podge."
First, in it you'll find links to things to read by Charles
Hodge and A.A. Hodge, two influential Presbyterian theologians
of the nineteenth century, both of whom are worth reading
today (and not just by Presbyterians!).  So that is the Hodge
part of this week's "Hodge-Podge" issue.
Second, in this issue you'll find a "Podge Part."  According
to one dictionary, a "podge" is a "short fat person."  So you
will find a fat personal selection of shorter items that are
rather miscellaneous in nature (so that section is itself a
"hodge-podge," you might say).  The intention is to disguise
the fact that I have lots of bits and pieces of information
for you right now, but not enough for me to make from them a
regular full-length article on any specific topic <grin>.
So that's what's here in this week's issue of CATI.  Yes, I
know, I'm still two weeks behind schedule if you look at the
date at the top, but I'm hoping (D.V.) to come out with a
couple of extra issues for you in June or July so that dates
will match up properly again.  (Latin lesson for the day:
"D.V." stands for "Deo Volente," which means "God willing"
-- see James 4:15.  But you already knew that....)
--Barry Traver, Editor of CATI
_______________________________________________________________
2. HODGE #1: CHARLES HODGE
Here are some comments about Charles Hodge from an article
by Bruce Shelley in J.D. Douglas, ed., The New International
Dictionary of the Christian Church (Zondervan, 1974), pages
473-474:
"Hodge, Charles (1797-1878).  Leading American theologian
of the nineteenth century....  His theological studies under
Archibald Alexander [at Princeton] determined his life-work.
He became an instructor at Princeton Seminary in 1820, and
remained there the rest of his life....  His own theology was
mainly that of the Westminster Confession....  His thought
was governed by a high view of verbal inspiration and
infallibility.  While orthodox Calvinism was declining in
American thought generally..., Hodge unswervingly defended a
supernaturally inspired Bible and thereby placed his stamp
upon what came to be called 'Princeton theology.'  This had
a powerful influence, not only in his own ... Presbyterian
circles, but in other churches as well.  His writings carried
his influence beyond the 3,000 students he taught during a
half-century....  Among his later works none exerted greater
influence than his Systematic Theology...."
Here are some writings of Charles Hodge that you can find on
the Web:
"Christianity Without Christ" (from The Princeton Review)
  http://www.markers.com/ink/chnochrist.htm
"The Covenant of Grace"
  http://members.tripod.com/~Michael_Bremmer/covchod.htm
"Doctrine & Remarks: An Outline of the Theology of Romans"
    (from his Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans)
  http://www.markers.com/ink/chdocrem.htm
"The Existence of Evil" (from his Systematic Theology)
  http://members.tripod.com/~Michael_Bremmer/chodevil.htm
"Finney's Lectures on Theology" (from The Princeton Review)
  http://www.markers.com/ink/chfinney.htm
"For Whom Did Christ Die?" (from his Systematic Theology)
  http://www.markers.com/ink/chforwhom.htm
"The Fourth Commandment" (from his Systematic Theology)
  http://reformed.org/ethics/sabbath/sabbath_Hodge.html
"The Great Revival of Religion, 1740-45" (from the book The
    Constitutional History of the Presbyterian Church in the
    United States of America)
  http://members.xoom.com/_XOOM/johnowen/hodge.htm
    OR
  http://members.wbs.net/homepages/j/o/h/johnowen/hodge.htm
"Ground of Faith in the Scriptures" (from The Princeton
  Review) (review of an essay by James H. Thornwell)
  http://www.markers.com/ink/chground.htm
"Holy Living"
  http://members.tripod.com/~Michael_Bremmer/holy-ch.htm
"The Holy Spirit"
  http://members.tripod.com/~Michael_Bremmer/hspirit.htm
"Is the Church of Rome A Part of the Visible Church?" (from
    The Princeton Review)
  http://www.markers.com/ink/chrome.htm
    OR
  http://hornes.org/theologia/papers/chodge_church_rome_visible.html
"Justification: Section I"
  http://members.tripod.com/~Michael_Bremmer/justch1.htm
"Justification: Section II"
  http://members.tripod.com/~Michael_Bremmer/justch2.htm
"Justification: Section III"
  http://members.tripod.com/~Michael_Bremmer/justch3.htm
"An Overview of the Lord's Supper"
  http://members.aol.com/blesshope/suphodge.htm
    OR
  http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/9170/CHODGE2.HTM
"Preaching the Gospel to the Poor" (from The Princeton
    Review)
  http://theendbygod.com/links/cgi-bin/jump.cgi?ID=22
"Presbyterianism" (from The Princeton Review)
  http://hornes.org/theologia/papers/chodge_presbyterianism.html
"Romans: Chapter 5:1-11"
  http://www.reformed.org/books/romans/rom_5a_hodge.html
"Romans: Chapter 5:12-21"
  http://www.reformed.org/books/romans/rom_5b_hodge.html
"Rules of Interpretation"
  http://members.tripod.com/~Michael_Bremmer/chrules.htm
"Systematic Theology" (Vol. I only; more to come)
  http://members.tripod.com/~Michael_Bremmer/chodgest.htm
    OR
  http://www.dabar.org/Theology/Hodge/TableofContents/Content_Intro.htm
"The Theology of the Intellect & That of the Feelings" (from
    The Princeton Review)
  http://www.markers.com/ink/chfeelings.htm
"What Is Darwinism?"
  http://moa.umdl.umich.edu/cgi/sgml/moa-idx?notisid=AGJ4836
"What Is Meant by Adopting the Westminster Confession?"
  http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/9170/CHODGE1.HTM
"What Is Presbyterianism?"
  http://moa.umdl.umich.edu/cgi/sgml/moa-idx?notisid=AGV9139
By the way, from the Ephesians Four Group you can get a free
CD-ROM that includes on it Charles Hodge's Commentary on
Ephesians and his Sermon Outlines.  For more details, see
CATI 1/8/2:
  http://www.traver.org/cati/archives/cati08.htm#2
Or check the E4 Group site directly:
  http://www.e4.net/  
Enjoy!
P.S. If you prefer to read real books offline, here is an
edition of Charles Hodge's Systematic Theology (abridged by
Dr. Edward N. Gross) that I recommend enthusiastically:
Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology (abridged)
 http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0875522246/travertabletalk
Unlike the original version, you can read it without knowing
how to read any Latin!  More importantly, you'll find here
good theology written in the presence of God.  It's not simply
"academic" reading:  it's warmly devotional as well.
_______________________________________________________________
3. HODGE #2: A.A. HODGE
Here are some comments about A.A. Hodge from an article by
N.V. Hope in J.D. Douglas, ed., Who's Who in Christian History
(Tyndale House, 1992), page 323:
"Hodge, Archibald Alexander (1823-1886).  Presbyterian
theologian and teacher.  Son of Charles Hodge, Archibald Hodge
was ... trained for the ministry at Princeton Theological
Seminary.  Ordained in 1847, he spent the following three
years as a missionary to India.  Thereafter he served for
fourteen years as minister....  In 1864 he was appointed
Professor of Systematic Theology at Western Seminary, and in
1877 he was called back to Princeton Seminary as Associate to
his father, whom he succeeded in the Chair of Theology after
his father's death in 1878.  This younger Hodge was so
deeply influenced by his father that he devoted himself to
expounding the father's theology in undiluted form.  His
published works include The Life of Charles Hodge ... and
Outlines of Theology ..., a popular textbook of Charles
Hodge's thought."
Here are some writings of A.A. Hodge that you can find on the
Web:
"Assurance and Humility" (same as "The Cross The Proof:
    Assurance and Humility")
  http://www.puritansermons.com/reformed/ahodge1.htm
"Baptism"
  http://www.gospelcom.net/thehighway/Baptism_Hodge.html
"A Comparison of Systems" (chapter 6 of Outlines of Theology)
    (same as "Pelagianism, Semi-Pelagianism &
    Augustinianism")
  http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/9170/AHODGE1.HTM
"The Cross The Proof:  Assurance and Humility" (same as
    "Assurance and Humility")
  http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/9170/AHODGE2.HTM
"The Day Changed: The Sabbath Preserved"
  http://www.fpcr.org/blue_banner_articles/hodge_sabbath.htm
"GOD -- His Nature and Relation to the Universe"
  http://members.tripod.com/~Michael_Bremmer/hodg_god.htm
"God's Covenants with Man -- The Church"
  http://members.tripod.com/~Michael_Bremmer/cov.htm
"The Inspiration of the Bible" (chapter 4 of Outlines of
    Theology)
  http://www.markers.com/ink/aahinsp.htm
"The Ordo Salutis" (from The Princeton Review)
  http://moa.umdl.umich.edu/cgi/sgml/moa-idx?notisid=ACF4325-1605PRIN-16
Outlines of Theology
  Chapter 4
    http://www.markers.com/ink/aahinsp.htm
  Chapter 5
    http://www.markers.com/ink/aahsolascrp.htm
      OR
    http://www.gospelcom.net/thehighway/Scripture_Hodge.html
  Chapter 6
    http://www.markers.com/ink/aahsystems.htm
      OR
    http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/9170/AHODGE1.HTM
"Pelagianism, Semi-Pelagianism & Augustinianism" (chapter 6 of
    Outlines of Theology) (same as "A Comparison of Systems")
  http://www.markers.com/ink/aahsystems.htm
"The Person of Christ"
  http://members.tripod.com/~Michael_Bremmer/hdge-chr.htm
"The Presence of Christ at the Lord's Supper"
  http://members.aol.com/blesshope/presence.htm
"Regeneration" (revised by B.B. Warfield)
  http://www.markers.com/ink/aabbregen.htm
"The Rule of Faith and Practice" (chapter 5 of Outlines of
    Theology) (same as "Sola Scriptura")
  http://www.gospelcom.net/thehighway/Scripture_Hodge.html
"Sanctification" (revised by B.B. Warfield)
  http://www.markers.com/ink/aabbsanctif.htm
"Sola Scriptura" (chapter 5 of Outlines of Theology) (same as
    "The Rule of Faith and Practice")
  http://www.markers.com/ink/aahsolascrp.htm
The Westminster Confession of Faith (the entire book!)
    (a commentary on the confession)
  http://members.tripod.com/~Michael_Bremmer/wcfaa.htm
By the way, from the Ephesians Four Group you can get a free
CD-ROM that includes on it A.A. Hodge's Outlines of Theology
and his commentary on The Westminster Confession of Faith.
For more details, see CATI 1/8/2:
  http://www.traver.org/cati/archives/cati08.htm#2
Or check the E4 Group site directly:
  http://www.e4.net/  
Enjoy!
_______________________________________________________________
4. THE "PODGE PART."
In this section you'll find a "hodge-podge" of bits and pieces
of miscellaneous information.
METABROWSING AND METASEARCHING: USING QUICKBROWSE.COM
If you repeatedly check certain Web pages, metabrowsing can be
an effective way to do that:
"So what does metabrowsing mean? The common denominator seems
to be that it applies to any kind of 'service or tool that
enables a user to view more than just a single web page at a
time inside a continuously scrollable display unit.'"
  http://quickbrowse.com/company/metabrowsing/
There seems to be widespread agreement that of the different
metabrowsers available, Quickbrowse seems to be the best.
Here's where you'll find their Web site:
Quickbrowse.com
  http://www.quickbrowse.com/
The Wall Street Journal describes how it works:
"You simply list a bunch of Web addresses for pages you check
regularly, and Quickbrowse strings them together into one
long, scrollable Web page. All of the content, including
graphics, is preserved and all of the links work. When you
click on a link, a separate window opens for the new page,
so you can always return quickly to your Quickbrowse page.
Once you assemble a Quickbrowse page, you can save it at the
site's home page so you can quickly retrieve it again without
retyping all the addresses. You can create multiple pages....
You can also bookmark the pages so you can get right to them
from your browser without even visiting the main Quickbrowse
page. The pages that make up your Quickbrowse page can be any
page on the Web. Every time you call up the combined page, it
gets updated."
Here's where you can find reviews of Quickbrowse by About.com,
Christian Science Monitor, CNN.com, Johns Hopkins University
Newsletter, New York Post, U.S. News and World Report, Yahoo!
Internet Life, ZDTV, and many other reviewers:
Metabrowsing
  http://quickbrowse.com/company/metabrowsing/
Here's an example of a Quickbrowse page that I created:
  http://www.quickbrowse.com/cgi-bin/aqb_qbn.pl?bm_28f3540c6fb4750242a5aa0a940a4e9d-8bLRBp74
(The preceding address has to be on one line to work.)
Another thing Quickbrowse can do is deliver Web pages to you
via e-mail on a regular basis, as this Lockergnome review
observes:
"QuickBrowse. http://www.quickbrowse.com/ . Indeed, there
are some killer services on the Web right now. But this one
will be hard to beat. Okay, you probably visit a lot of
content-oriented sites on a regular basis -- wouldn't you
rather have that stuff conveniently delivered to your Inbox?
That's the idea behind QuickBrowse. It'll take a snapshot of
any given Web page and send it to you at the preferred time.
Or, you can set it to snapshot a set of sites and see the
compilation(s) in your browser." 
  http://www.lockergnome.com/issues/win95nt/19991120.html
In addition to allowing you to metabrowse, Quickbrowse.com
lets you metasearch.  Here's how they describe it in a
recent e-mail I received from them:
"We would also like to point you to qbSearch. It is a
powerful tool that interacts with multiple search engines
like Yahoo, Altavista, Google to display results in
Quickbrowse Page format. You can get up to 200 pages of
search results in one scrollable Quickbrowse Page. Save
yourself the trouble of having to click "Next 10 Results"
at the bottom of each page when using search engines the
old-fashioned way. Use qbSearch instead. It's a great
timesaver. Simply go to http://www.qb.com/search/ ."
I use it to search Google and AltaVista simultaneously.
Check it out!
MISCELLANEOUS CHRISTIAN READING AVAILABLE ON THE WEB
Summer reading on the Web (and summer not? <groan>)....
Here are some reading suggestions:
Louis Berkhof, Summary of Christian Doctrine (the whole book!)
  http://members.tripod.com/~Michael_Bremmer/berk.htm
James Montgomery Boice, "Wanted: Thinking Christians"
  http://www.alliancenet.org/pub/mr/mr94/1994.04.JulAug/mr9404.jmb.think.html
John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion
  http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-cvinst.html
    OR
  http://www.ccel.org/c/calvin/institutes/institutes.html
(Note that the last has a short "Introduction" by John Murray.)
The Cambridge Declaration of the Alliance of Confessing
    Evangelicals
  http://www.alliancenet.org/intro/CamDec.html
    OR
  http://home.earthlink.net/~andrepar/creed11.htm
The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy
  http://dlowell.homepage.com/chg_iner.htm
    OR
  http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/history/chicago.stm.txt
W. Robert Godfrey, "What Do We Mean by Sola Scriptura?"
  http://www.gospelcom.net/thehighway/Sola_Scriptura_Godfrey.html
Michael Horton, "Finding a Church"
  http://www.alliancenet.org/pub/articles/horton.FindChurch.html
John Murray, "The Atonement"
  http://www.gospelcom.net/thehighway/atonement_murray.html
Charles Spurgeon, All of Grace (PDF format)
  http://www.inspirationalmedia.com/AllofGrace.pdf
Geoff Thomas, Sermons
  http://www.aber.ac.uk/~emk/ap/sermons/
Benjamin B. Warfield, "A Brief and Untechnical Statement of the
    Reformed Faith"
  http://dlowell.homepage.com/BBWRFFTH.HTM
    OR
  http://home.earthlink.net/~andrepar/reform01.htm
UPDATE ON FREE LONG DISTANCE
The May 25, 2000 PC Magazine article (newsstand edition) that
was referred to in CATI 1/19/2 is now available at their Web
site:
"Dialing From Your Desktop" (PC Magazine, May 25, 2000)
  http://www.zdnet.com/products/stories/reviews/0,4161,2574032,00.html
It may, however, already be out-of-date, because this is what
it has to say about PhoneFree.com:
"Despite the name, PhoneFree doesn't let you make phone calls
for free. As you can with the other PC-to-PC products, you can
use PhoneFree to talk to other PhoneFree users for no charge.
But if you want to call from your PC to a telephone, PhoneFree
charges a flat rate of $15 per month for unlimited calling."
  http://www.zdnet.com/products/stories/pipreviews/0,8827,252502,00.html
That appears to be no longer true, according to what I've been
told by a CATI subscriber, who switched from Dialpad.com to
PhoneFree.com and prefers PhoneFree.com.  Here's the Web site
for that service:
PhoneFree.com
  http://phonefree.com/
Note that they now claim to offer "Free PC-to-Phone Calling to
and within the United States" as well as "Worldwide PC-to-PC
voice calling over the Internet."
J. GRESHAM MACHEN, CHRISTIANITY AND LIBERALISM
During the fundamentalism/modernism controversies that took
place in the 1920's, a great defender of historic, Biblical
Christianity was J. Gresham Machen of Princeton Seminary.
One particularly influential book was his Christianity and
Liberalism, a book whose virtues were admired even by those
who did not hold to traditional Protestantism or, for that
matter, hold to any profession of religious belief.
One example of such was Walter Lippman, who in his book A
Preface to Morals had this to say about Machen's book:
"It is an admirable book.  For its acumen, for its saliency,
and for its wit, this cool and stringent defense of orthodox
Protestantism is, I think, the best popular argument produced
[in the controversy between Christianity and Liberalism].  We
shall do well to listen to Dr. Machen."
You can read the entire book online at the following address:
J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism
  http://www.markers.com/ink/jgmchrandlib.htm
Machen was involved in the founding of Westminster Seminary.
If you are interested in learning more about other things
written by Machen, check out the following article written
by a Librarian of Westminster Seminary:
Darryl Hart, "Bibliographic Essay on the works of J. Gresham
    Machen"
  http://capo.org/premise/96/mj/p960504.html
THE INTERNET AND "SOCIAL ISOLATION"
CATI 1/14/1 and CATI 1/19/3 contained articles challenging the
supposed results of the study done by the Stanford Institute
for the Quantitative Study of Society (SIQSS), that is, that
the Internet causes increased "social isolation":
"Social Consequences of Internet Use: The SIQSS Report"
  http://www.traver.org/cati/archives/cati14.htm#1
"How Sociable Are Internet Users?: Additional Comments"
  http://www.traver.org/cati/archives/cati19.htm#3
It appears that other people have raised similar challenges.
Here, for example, are some comments sent in to Fred Langa by
readers of his Langa List newsletter:
"Hope these replies get back to the folks who did the survey.
Like the others, I have found email allows me to keep up with
friends and family where contact would have been lost due to
distance. It amazes me the number of folks who would NEVER
write a letter for snail mail that will send email regularly!"
"Of course email by itself can be a dry form of communication,
but what it lacks in the more tactile aspects of communication
it more than makes up for in spontaneity and ease of use.
For me email has enhanced and deepened my other forms of
communication, not detracted from them."
"The internet might not be completely interpersonal, but it
sure does kickstart interpersonal relationships. I have
developed wonderful friendships, met many of them, dated some
of them and married one of them."
"I can see it now, the doomsayers heralding the end of
personal communication with the advent of the telephone. No
more personal visits or letter writing. Don't these academics
have any work to do?  ...I have a long list of friends that I
would never have known without the internet.  They can be
found all over the world. So, in addition to all my local
friends I have a whole new circle. Which one is more valuable
to me.  How do you measure that and who cares?  They are all
my friends."
You'll find these and other comments here:
"Readers to Stanford: Who's Isolated?"
  http://www.langa.com/newsletters/2000/2000-05-25.htm#1
Discussion Thread
  http://www.byte.com/nntp/monitor
In addition to the Pew study to which I referred in CATI
1/19/3, a recent Ohio State study challenges the supposed
Stanford findings.  Here's part of a letter published in an
even more recent Langa List newsletter, a letter written by
Jeff Grabmeier, Assistant Director, Research Communications,
Ohio State University:
"I thought you might be interested in a new study that
supports your criticisms of the Stanford research. To be
fair, this study is much smaller and isn't as ambitious as
the Stanford study. It only aims to look at e-mail use vs.
telephone use, and it only surveyed Ohio residents. But the
researchers found exactly what you suspected: about half the
people say they use the telephone less because of their use
of e-mail. The researcher also finds that the telephone and
e-mail complement each other, and meet different needs. One
researcher concludes that 'people are finding ways to use
e-mail to extend a sense of caring and community within their
circle of friends and family. E-mail helps them keep in touch
in situations when they might otherwise not be able to
communicate.'"
  http://www.langa.com/newsletters/2000/2000-05-29.htm#8
And here's where you'll find the Ohio State press release:
"Study Suggests Many E-Mail Users Cut Long Distance Calls"
  http://www.acs.ohio-state.edu/units/research/archive/perscomm.htm
J.I. PACKER, INTRODUCTION TO OWEN's DEATH OF DEATH
Years ago as a young Christian I read a book by J.I. Packer
entitled "Fundamentalism" and the Word of God, which was (at
least in part) a response to Gabriel Hebert's Fundamentalism
and the Church of God.  Hebert's book has been forgotten, but
Packer's comments continue in their value and validity.
After that book, I've found very helpful many other books by
J.I. Packer, including his popular Knowing God, considered by
many to be a modern-day classic.  Also, curiously enough, an
essay that Packer wrote in 1958 to introduce the reprinting
of the 17th-century Puritan theologian John Owen's The Death
of Death in the Death of Christ appears to have become rather
unexpectedly another modern-day classic.
John Owen's book is a defense of the Calvinistic doctrine of
"limited atonement," and Owen can be often difficult-to-read.
Packer's "Introduction" may or may not have been successful
in persuading people to read Owen's Death of Death, but it
has characteristics that have persuaded many people to read
(and persuade other people to read) Packer's "Introduction"!
Thus Packer's "Introduction" has been reprinted separately as
a pamphlet and as chapter 8 in Packer's book A Quest for
Godliness:  The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life.  In
addition, it can also be found on the Web in a number of
locations:
J.I. Packer's "Introduction" to John Owen's The Death of Death
    of Death in the Death of Christ
  http://www.gospelcom.net/thehighway/Death.html
    OR
  http://dlowell.homepage.com/packer.htm
    OR
  http://www.kcnet.com/~puritan/jp_essay.htm
    OR
  http://www.efn.org/~davidc/packer.html
Rather than simply being an introduction to Owen's Death of
Death, Packer's essay is an interesting introduction to the
gospel as understood in the Reformed tradition.
Here are just two excerpts to whet your interest (in case you
have never read the essay):
"There are signs today of a new upsurge of interest in the
theology of the Bible: a new readiness to test traditions, to
search the Scriptures and to think through the faith. It is
to those who share this readiness that Owen's treatise is now
offered, in the belief that it will help us in one of the
most urgent tasks facing evangelical Christendom today - the
recovery of the gospel.... 'But wait a minute,' says someone,
'it's all very well to talk like this about the gospel; but
surely what Owen is doing is defending limited atonement - one
of the five points of Calvinism? When you speak of recovering
the gospel, don't you mean that you just want us all to
become Calvinists?' These questions are worth considering....
Before we answer these questions directly, we must try to
remove the prejudices which underlie them by making clear
what Calvinism really is; and therefore we would ask the
reader to take note of the following facts, historical and
theological, about Calvinism in general and the 'five points'
in particular. In the first place, Calvinism is something much
broader than the 'five points' indicate.... Calvinism ... is
the theology of the Bible viewed from the perspective of the
Bible - the God-centered outlook which sees the Creator as the
source, and means, and end, of everything that is, both in
nature and in grace...."  
"For the five points, though separately stated, are really
inseparable. They hang together; you cannot reject one without
rejecting them all.... For of Calvinism there is really only
one point to be made in the field of soteriology: the point
that God saves sinners. God - the Triune Jehovah, Father,
Son and Spirit; three Persons working together in sovereign
wisdom, power and love to achieve the salvation of a chosen
people, the Father electing, the Son fulfilling the Father's
will by redeeming, the Spirit executing the purpose of Father
and Son by renewing. Saves - does everything, first to last,
that is involved in bringing man from death in sin to life in
glory: plans, achieves and communicates redemption, calls and
keeps, justifies, sanctifies, glorifies. Sinners - men as God
finds them, guilty, vile, helpless, powerless, blind, unable
to lift a finger to do God's will or better their spiritual
lot. God saves sinners - and the force of this confession may
not be weakened by disrupting the unity of the work of the
Trinity, or by dividing the achievement of salvation between
God and man and making the decisive part man's own, or by
soft-pedaling the sinner's inability as to allow him to share
the praise of his salvation with his Savior. This is the one
point of Calvinistic soteriology which the 'five points' are
concerned to establish and Arminianism in all its forms to
deny: namely, that sinners do not save themselves in any sense
at all, but that salvation, first and last, whole and entire,
past, present and future, is of the Lord, to whom be glory for
ever; amen!" 
Whether or not you consider yourself to be a Calvinist, you
should find this essay by Packer to be thought-provoking and
rewarding reading!
________________________________________________________________
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