Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Election - The Only Adequate Ground of Encouragement for Preaching the Gospel

In 1832, Rev. Ebenezer Porter wrote a series of letters that were published in a religious periodical entitled, The Spirit of the Pilgrims. The letters reflect Mr. Porter’s eyewitness testimony of the revivals that took place in New England, which continued for many years, having begun in 1798. This selection highlights one of the doctrines that pastors who were the most useful in times of revival believed—the doctrine of election.

…I ought to state explicitly a concurrent and nearly universal sentiment of the pastors who were most instrumental of revivals, that the doctrine of election is the only adequate ground of encouragement in preaching the gospel. They reasoned thus: ‘The carnal mind is enmity against God.’ Sinners, left to themselves, without special, divine influence, will never repent. The best means in themselves are utterly ineffectual, and, without the Holy Spirit, will bring no one to comply with the terms of the gospel. Were it not revealed, then, that God has determined to render his truth efficacious in bringing some to faith and holiness, every minister who believes the Bible would see no encouragement to preach the gospel, and every sinner who understands his own depravity would be in total despair.

Letters on Revival, Ebenezer Porter, The Banner of Truth Trust, 2004, pp.20-21.

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