The backlist: the top ten posts on Blogging Theologically

top-ten

Let’s take a trip back in time to see the top ten posts in June:

  1. God Won’t Give You More Than You Can Handle (July 2009)
  2. Where Is Jesus In The Old Testament? (June 2011)
  3. God helps those who help themselves (July 2009)
  4. Church Buildings: They’re actually useful! (December 2009)
  5. 3 things congregations should say to their pastors (June 2013)
  6. Ministry Idolatry (January 2011)
  7. Preaching and Pragmatism (July 2011)
  8. 3 things pastors should say to their congregations (June 2013)
  9. John Piper on Mark Driscoll & John MacArthur (May 2009)
  10. The most compelling reason ever to read the Bible (June 2013)

And just for fun, here’s the next ten:

  1. How do you know if a Christian has the Holy Spirit? (June 2013)
  2. Charles Haddon Spurgeon: What is Humility? (February 2010)
  3. 5 books I’m reading this summer (June 2013)
  4. Is your god kind of like Superman, but less awesome? (June 2013
  5. Manhood Restored by Eric Mason (June 2013)
  6. A recipe for certain disaster (June 2013)
  7. 1,500 Quotations for Preachers (June 2013)
  8. What does fear of God look like? (June 2013)
  9. Choosing a New Preaching Bible (November 2011)
  10. What does the Bible say about worship? (March 2013)

If you haven’t had a chance to read any of these posts, I hope you’ll take a few minutes today to check them out.

Kindle deals for Christian readers

Kindle3_1

With a new month inevitably come new Kindle deals; this week I’ve shared a whole whack of them in the daily “links I like” posts. Today I’m compiling everything that’s still on sale (and a few new ones for you, too):

FREE:

What’s So Great About the Doctrines of Grace by Richard D. Phillips (also available in ePub format)

Under $3:

The Heroes of the Faith biography series:

The Glory Of Christ by John Owen—95¢

How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth by Fee and Stuart—$1.99

Cross and Christian Ministry, The: An Exposition of Passages from 1 Corinthians by D.A. Carson—$1.99

The Rage Against God: How Atheism Led Me to Faith by Peter Hitchens—$1.99

Gospel byJ.D. Greear—$1.99

Letters to a Young Pastor by Calvin Miller—$2.51

A Simplified Harmony of the Gospels by George Knight—$2.99

Planting Missional Churches by Ed Stetzer—$2.99

Word Pictures in the New Testament by A.T. Robertson—$2.99

Entrusted with the Gospel edited by Andreas Kostenberger and Terry Wilder—$2.99

The Faithful Preacher by Thabiti Anyabwile—$2.99

A God-Entranced Vision of All Things by John Piper—$2.99

God’s Grand Design by Sean Michael Lucas—$2.99

Warfield on the Christian Life by Fred Zaspel—$2.99

The Ever-Loving Truth: Can Faith Thrive in a Post-Christian Culture? by Voddie Baucham Jr—$2.99

The End of the Law by Jason C. Meyer—$2.99

Believer’s Baptism by Shreiner and Wright—$2.99

The Promise: God Works All Things Together for Your Good by Robert J. Morgan—$2.99

When Missions Shapes the Mission: You and Your Church Can Reach the World by David Horner—$2.99

Under $5:

Jonathan Edwards and Justification by Josh Moody—$3.99

The Theology of B.B.Warfield by Fred Zaspel—$3.99

Crucifying Morality by R W Glenn—$3.99

Think Christianly by Jonathan Morrow—$3.99

Preaching and Teaching from the Old Testament: A Guide for the Church by Walter C. Kaiser Jr.—$3.49

Pocket Dictionary of the Reformed Tradition by Kelly M. Kapic and Wesley Vander Lugt—$4.99

The Holy Spirit does not work a blind, ungrounded faith

One of the many books I’m very (very!) slowing plugging away at is The Theology of B. B. Warfield: A Systematic Summary by Fred Zaspel. Warfield, as Zaspel points out in his introduction, is someone much admired by scholars for his commanding authority and yet few lay persons seem to have read more than snippets (I’m certainly as guilty of this as anyone!).

warfield

One of the reasons I’ve loved what I’ve read of Warfield is the depth of his thinking—his understanding of a given theological subject is by no means superficial. There’s a weightiness that’s too often missing from those of us who write today.

Consider these words on the kind of faith God brings forth in the hearts of those he is redeeming:

It certainly is not in the power of all the demonstrations in the world to make a Christian. Paul may plant and Apollos water; it is God alone who gives the increase. But it does not seem to follow that Paul would as well, therefore, not plant, and Apollos as well not water. Faith is the gift of God; but it does not in the least follow that the faith that God gives is an irrational faith, that is, a faith without grounds in right reason. It is beyond all question only the prepared heart that can fitly respond to the “reasons”; but how can even a prepared heart respond, when there are no “reasons” to draw out its action? . . . The Holy Spirit does not work a blind, an ungrounded faith in the heart. What is supplied by his creative energy in working faith is not a ready-made faith, rooted in nothing and clinging without reason to its object; nor yet new grounds of belief in the object presented; but just a new ability of the heart to respond to the grounds of faith, sufficient in themselves, already present to the understanding. We believe in Christ because it is rational to believe in him, not though it be irrational. Accordingly, our Reformed fathers always posited in the production of faith the presence of the “argumentum propter quod credo,” as well as the “principium seu causa efficiens a quo ad credendum adducor.” That is to say, for the birth of faith in the soul, it is just as essential that grounds of faith should be present to the mind as that the Giver of faith should act creatively upon the heart.

B.B. Warfield, as quoted in The Theology of B. B. Warfield: A Systematic Summary (Crossway 2010)

Warfield understands well that the Christian faith is not a light and airy thing—it is a weighty thing indeed. Our faith doesn’t abandon the intellect, but embraces, encourages—even demands!—that we use our minds well to the glory of God. How better off would we be if we truly grasped that truth. What would be different?


Zaspel’s two works on Warfield, The Theology of B. B. Warfield ($3.99 ePub and Kindle) and Warfield on the Christian Life ($2.99 ePub and Kindle) are currently on sale in various eBook formats at Amazon and Crossway. These are books you don’t want to pass up, so order them now before this special pricing ends.

Links I like

Get Gospel Wakefulness in today’s $5 Friday at Ligonier.org

The ePub edition of Gospel Wakefulness by Jared Wilson is on sale in today’s $5 Friday sale at Ligonier.org. Also on sale:

  • Contentment, Prosperity, and God’s Glory by Jeremiah Burroughs (paperback)
  • Parenting by God’s Promises: How to Raise Children in the Covenant of Grace by Joel Beeke (ePub download)
  • Hath God Said? teaching series by R.C. Sproul (audio and video download)

$5 Friday ends tonight at 11:59:59 PM Eastern.

How to Preach Like D.A. Carson Without Sounding Like Him

Eric McKiddie:

Learning from good preachers is a tricky business.

On the one hand, we are commanded to learn from other preachers. Paul told Timothy, “What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2). None of us have an excuse for not learning from the best. The training is free, and just a click away.

But on the other hand, God has created us all as natural born imitators, in order that we imitate Jesus and become conformed to his image. But we imitate other people in many ways, too, not least of them while learning from good preachers. It is natural to sound like preachers you like.

Blind to Our Blindness

Tim Brister:

Only a true grasp of the gospel can liberate us from the lies we have told ourselves. Not only are we  dishonest about our sin and neediness, but we are not fearful or closed off from inviting others to being honest with themselves and ourselves as well. Tripp is right. We participate in “the blind leading the blind” when we refuse to see sin rightly and live as a community that makes self-atonement by pretending and performing in attempts to circumvent the power of the gospel to change our lives. How blind are we? We would rather live in the chains of self-deception through the lens of pride than the freedom of self-discovery through the lens of Scripture.

8 Ways Satan Convinces You To Question Your Salvation

Tim Challies:

Though Satan can never steal the Christian’s crown, though he can never snatch him away from the hand of the Father, he is so envious and malicious that he will leave no stone unturned in robbing the Christian of comfort and peace, in making their life miserable, in giving them reason to live in constant sorrow and mourning, doubt and questioning.

Gospeltygoop

Jude St. John:

Is there too much gospel-talk these days? too much cross-talk? I have seen and read some discussion about current Christianity’s use, or perhaps overuse, of terms that involve gospel and cross and the like.

My first thought when I read these articles, blog posts, and various other forms of communication is: what is the alternative? Should we not be talking about the cross and the gospel? Should these things not be the focus of our conversations and communications? Unlikely.

It is no good trying to “be myself” without Him

Jesus-Reaching-Out

Today is Independence Day in America, celebrating the official adoption of the Declaration of Independence and subsequent breaking away from Great Britain. For the rest of us around the world, the fourth of July has another name: Thursday. (Kidding.)

This time of year, I often find myself considering our ideas about independence—not so much in terms of politics, but personally. In the West, we’re enamored with the idea of autonomy, of being true to ourselves no matter what the cost. And yet this ethos has led to people being more miserable than ever.

Why?

Because we can’t really be “true to ourselves” apart from Christ.

C.S. Lewis puts it so well in Mere Christianity. He writes:

The more we get what we now call ‘ourselves’ out of the way and let Him take us over, the more truly ourselves we become. There is so much of Him that millions and millions of ‘little Christs’, all different, will still be too few to express Him fully. He made them all. He invented—as an author invents characters in a novel—all the different men that you and I were intended to be. In that sense our real selves are all waiting for us in Him. It is no good trying to ‘be myself’ without Him. The more I resist Him and try to live on my own, the more I become dominated by my own heredity and upbringing and surroundings and natural desires. In fact what I so proudly call ‘Myself’ becomes merely the meeting place for trains of events which I never started and which I cannot stop. What I call ‘My wishes’ become merely the desires thrown up by my physical organism or pumped into me by other men’s thoughts or even suggested to me by devils. Eggs and alcohol and a good night’s sleep will be the real origins of what I flatter myself by regarding as my own highly personal and discriminating decision to make love to the girl opposite to me in the railway carriage. Propaganda will be the real origin of what I regard as my own personal political ideas. I am not, in my natural state, nearly so much of a person as I like to believe: most of what I call ‘me’ can be very easily explained. It is when I turn to Christ, when I give myself up to His Personality, that I first begin to have a real personality of my own.

What do your efforts to “be yourself” reveal—are you reflecting more of Christ’s personality or your own desires? Having our own way might be fun for a season, but true freedom comes from Jesus, friends.

Links I Like

Kindle deals for Christian readers

A few new Kindle deals for you:

The Faithful Preacher by Thabiti Anyabwile—$2.99

A God-Entranced Vision of All Things by John Piper—$2.99

God’s Grand Design by Sean Michael Lucas—$2.99

Jonathan Edwards and Justification by Josh Moody—$3.99

The Theology of B.B.Warfield by Fred Zaspel—$3.99

Warfield on the Christian Life by Fred Zaspel—$2.99

9 Things You Should Know About Independence Day and the Declaration of Independence

Joe Carter:

July 4, 2013 will be America’s 237th Independence Day, the day Americans celebrate our Declaration of Independence from Great Britain. Here are nine things you should know about American’s founding document and the day set aside for its commemoration.

Ten reasons I’ll never stream the worship set

Todd Wright:

“Live streaming” has created a unique opportunity for churches to allow folks to view archived services in real time on the screen of their choosing. But I’m not sure it’s always a good thing.

I’ve got friends who live stream their worship services – good, talented, Godly people who are abundantly gifted. My thoughts below aren’t a slam on these folks, but rather some things I’ve realized about live streaming that make it a non-option for the place I lead.

How to Think On These Things

Daniel Darling:

One of the things that struck me, while I was away, was just how hard it is for Christians to enjoy the good things in life. Perhaps its an overactive conscience or the lies of the enemy. I’m not sure. But every time we do something we enjoy, like eating a great meal or enjoying a movie, we have that little twinge of guilt that says, “We shouldn’t be having so much fun.” Or we have to come up with a thousands justifications.

3 Keys to Teaching New Songs in Church

Chris Vacher:

New songs seem to be very important to God in that they indicate how God has changed our lives and demonstrate that He is the source of everything. New songs can indicate that our life used to be about THIS but now my life is about HIM. New songs can demonstrate that God has done THIS and we continue to praise HIM.

We can find several roadblocks when it comes to teaching new songs. Here are just a few:

  • How does a worship leader FIND new songs?
  • How does a worship leader FILTER new songs?
  • How does a worship leader FEATURE new songs?

Let’s work through each of these one a time and see how unlocking these three keys will help every worship leader teach new songs to their congregation.

Behold (and beware) the grandiose view of self

vizzini

There are few movies I remember with as much fondness as The Princess Bride. If you grew up in the 1980s, you undoubtedly hold it in high regard. In fact, it’s one of the few 80s childhood movies that holds up reasonably well (sorry Goonies!).

This past weekend I started reading the book for the first time and it’s been an interesting experience to say the least. Aside from seeing how surprisingly easily the book translated into film (thanks in no small part to both being authored by William Goldman), and being astounded by his affection for parenthetical statements, I read what may well be one the most insightful examples of pride ever put to paper in the person of Vizzini the Sicilian.

There are no words to contain all my wisdom. I am so cunning, crafty and clever, so filled with deceit, guile and chicanery, such a knave, so shrewd, cagey as well as calculating, as diabolical as I am vulpine, as tricky as I am untrustworthy … well, I told you there were not words invented yet to explain how great my brain is, but let me put it this way: the world is several million years old and several billion people have at one time or another trod upon it, but I, Vizzini the Sicilian, am, speaking with pure candor and modesty, the slickest, sleekest, sliest and wiliest fellow who has yet come down the pike.

Vizzini clearly holds himself in high regard—and yet, only a few moments later, his pride leads him to his death in his battle of wits against the man in black. We laugh at the description, especially when play it back with Wallace Shawn’s delivery… but are we any less guilty of having such a grandiose view of self? Do we see ourselves as being pretty big deals when we might be only moments away from disaster?

Too many have thought themselves above falling. They wouldn’t succumb to sexual sin or the love of money. They wouldn’t allow the devil to get a foothold in their lives.

And yet, what do we see, day after day? A pastor falls. An esteemed leader in the church’s marriage hits the skids. Double lives are revealed.

(And in case you’re wondering, no I’m not thinking of anyone in particular.)

Behold—and beware!—the grandiose view of self. Be watchful, for it may be you who, with “pure candor and modesty” finds themselves on the receiving end of disaster.

Links I like

Pastor Pat: Community Life Pastor

Joe Thorn introduces you to Redeemer’s full-time Community LIfe Pastor, Pat Aldridge (who’s a great guy!):

Pat has served as an elder of Redeemer since the beginning, and has long felt called to vocational ministry. As Redeemer has grown our need for a second staff pastor has become critical. By the grace of God and the generosity of his people we are now able to support another pastor. So after 13 years of working for Toyota Pat has followed the Lord’s leading and left his career behind to fulfill his calling.

Thrilled for Pat, Joe and Redeemer Fellowship! And speaking of Joe…

Why I’m Pulling a Whitefield

People are asking me why I’m jumping into street preaching this weekend. Here’s a little history and the burden I’m feeling.

In February of 2011 Steve McCoy began talking to me about open air evangelism–preaching the gospel in the street. He then put up a blog post called, “The Gospel in the Open Air” that was so strong I said that it was perhaps the most important blog post of the year. Steve stirred me up. Or perhaps the Holy Spirit stirred me up through Steve.

I have long been fascinated with the tales of open air preachers like Whitelfield, Wesley, the Haldane brothers, Moody, etc. But I have never done it. I evangelize conversationally in public. I formally preach in the gathered assembly. But I haven’t mixed the two.

Blogs, Facebook, and the Flock

David Murray:

“Social media” means I’m not speaking about church websites, which are generally static shop windows without the social, interactive, relational component of social media.

“Local pastorate” also limits the subject. My task is to provide guidance for local pastors especially as they interact with their local church and local community. Although God may open a much wider door of usefulness via blogs, etc., it’s important that local pastors do not aim for that and, even when given such opportunity, do not make that wider audience the priority at the expense of ministering to their own flock.

Beliefs Are Not Set in Stone, Except for When They’re on Tablets

Derek Rishmawy:

As we seek Christ, who is the Truth, pilgrims with fallen and finite minds must be open to theological correction; we are still in via, still on the way. As such, shifts shouldn’t simply be chalked up to mere accommodation or calcification. To think you’ve got it nailed when it comes to God at 25, 45, or even 85 is simply hubris.

That said, I’m not convinced Peter’s encounter with Cornelius is an adequate model for Christians reconsidering their position on same-sex relationships within the Christian body.

Twenty types of tweets: how many do you use?

Adrian Warnock:

Perhaps the recipe for success on Twitter is posting the right proportion of some or maybe even all of the following types of tweet. When someone posts too many of any individual variety of post it can certainly be off-putting in my view. A balanced diet is definitely best, and yet some of these types of tweet should be more used than others. One thing for sure, however, once you have read this list you will never be able to say “but there’s nothing I could write about” again!

When “our” voice is silent

word-balloons

If there’s one lesson I’ve learned over the last few years, it’s this: writing requires you to have something to say. Whether it’s a blog or a book, you’ve got to say something worth reading, or no one’s actually going to read (not even your spouse). Think about your favorite bloggers and authors—what do they all have in common: their writing “speaks” to us. They’re able to connect with us. Their opinions often mirror our own (although they might put theirs a bit more eloquently).

But bloggers, perhaps even more than traditional authors, are more than just voices in the ether, especially in this “YRR/New Calvinist/whatchamacallit” movement. Some have formal theological training, many do not. Some are in vocational ministry, many are laypersons. They’re relatable and accessible and, almost inevitably, their voice becomes ours.

We share like crazy when Tim Challies crushes heavenly tourism books, we enthusiastically comment when Jared Wilson lambasts our pragmatic goofiness and one or two people politely agree when I critique books on “biblical” womanhood that are neither particularly biblical nor encouraging for women.

And then a particularly nasty controversy comes to light—a pachyderm gets a bad credit score or a prominent church leader is accused of covering up heinous crimes…

…and “our” voice goes silent.

“Why aren’t they talking about this,” many ask. “Have they not heard about this? Do they not care?” The longer the silence goes, the more troubled we become (and the more the critics of those voices have a field day). We want answers. We want to know what they have to say. But the silence continues, until, finally, an article appears. But by then, it seems too little, too late.

We feel disappointed, let down by the people who “should” have something to say. Why is that? I wonder if it comes down to expectations. We want our favorite bloggers to always be ready with something to say—but is this realistic? I would say no. Here’s why:

We may not know about what’s going on. Although there’s an idea floating around that a guy like Tim Challies should be in the know about everything, that’s simply impossible. No one—not Tim, not me and not you—is capable of being aware of everything that’s going on in the world. Very few Christian bloggers are only bloggers. Most of us have jobs, families and ministry responsibilities within our churches that demand our attention. So when we don’t have something to say, it might be because we’re not aware of what’s going on.

We may not have anything worth saying. Sometimes the best thing we can do when controversy’s a-brewin’ is to say nothing at all. It could be we don’t have enough first-hand information from reliable sources to make form an opinion, or we’ve not actually had enough time to sit with the information to get a sense of what’s going on. Although many may want to read what we’ve got to say, it might not actually be worth reading.

We may not want to be gossips. Finally, we always want to be helpful in what we say—biblically, we all have a mandate “consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,” after all (Heb. 10:24). This is (or should) be the goal of all Christian blogging. So we always have to consider: how does what I’m writing encourage a brother or sister in Christ? How does this serve them? How does it help them become more like Jesus? Speaking up about a particular issue can come from a desire to help others—but in reality, it might simply be gossip.

While I can’t speak for those who are a bit higher up in profile, these are certainly the reasons why I avoid speaking about too many controversial issues. While issuing a proclamation about every controversy might help boost traffic in the short term, if we’re not careful, we erode our credibility and dishonor Christ.

But the question I have for you, dear brothers and sisters, is why do you want us to speak?

Links I like

Arrogant Beliefs (and the arrogant believers who arrogantly believe them)

Clint Roberts:

The first thing is to distinguish between arrogant beliefs and an arrogant disposition or demeanor. It is fairly safe to say that everybody believes, in principle at least, that being an arrogant person is not good. People are prone to act that way, naturally, since pride is a universal weakness in human character. But nobody would advocate or defend arrogance as a worthy trait.  Christian teaching condemns it as a vice, the opposite of humility, which is a virtue.

Kindle deals for Christian readers

With a new month inevitably come new Kindle deals. Here are a whole whack of new ones for you:

The Heroes of the Faith biography series is also available for 99¢ per title:

Why Matt Anderson wrote The End of Our Exploring

Matt explains in the trailer for his new book:

If you’re at all curious about this book (and you should be!), check out the sample the Moody Collective has kindly made available (and look for my slightly delayed review soon!).

Missions and Absentee Fatherhood

Jeremy Parks:

I work in international missions and happen to be responsible for a specific people group, roughly 72,000 strong, scattered across a country the size of Colorado.  I have some local partners here and there, but by and large I work alone.  I could probably travel 3 out of 4 weekends in search of people who need the gospel.  This leads to my phobia: absentee fatherhood.

When Christians fire Christians

Thom Rainer:

I feel like I’m walking on metaphorical eggshells with this blogpost. My challenge is that I am asked about this issue almost as much as any other. The question typically comes from a pastor or other church leader, but it could come from a leader of another Christian organization. Should we as Christians fire other Christians who work in our organization?

The Big Story by Justin Buzzard

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Why am I here? What is the meaning of life? Do I have a purpose? Answers to such questions make up our worldview, and our worldview drives the course of our lives whether we’re aware of it or not. For many of us, however, the stories of which we’re a part are simply inadequate to answer these kinds of questions.

In The Big Story, Justin Buzzard upholds the story of Scripture as the only one able to “explain all the beauty and all the brokenness we see in this world, to make sense of our desires, dreams, and disappointments” (11). He urges readers to consider the story they’re living in, to recognize the gaps and failings of competing worldviews, and to embrace “the old and ongoing story of the Bible.”

Much to Like

Buzzard, lead pastor of Garden City Church in Silicon Valley, California, presents the Bible’s narrative in five acts: Jesus, God, creation, rebellion, and rescue.

Beginning with Jesus is the right decision, one unfortunately passed over by many books attempting to show the power in the story of redemption. He is, after all, the main character in this unfolding drama—and the whole point of the story. Whether for him or against him, everyone must somehow respond to him. His presence is too disruptive for us to remain neutral or silent. Buzzard makes this point clear: “People have to respond to Jesus because . . . he doesn’t leave things as they are; he both attracts people to himself and meddles with their lives” (17).

Anyone who has put his trust in Christ understands this process. Again, Buzzard writes, “Jesus doesn’t adjust to us, and he doesn’t submit to our whims. We adjust to Jesus and submit to him. Jesus is King, not an accessory” (115). Once again, Buzzard is exactly correct: King Jesus lovingly hates your status quo. [Read more...]

Links I like

The worst phone call of my life

David Murray:

“Dad…”

Best word I’ve ever heard in my life.

“Dad…we’re both OK.”

Best four words I’ve ever heard.

I repeat them for Shona’s benefit.

“A drunk driver hit us…but we’re both OK.”

Don’t Pack Too Much in Your Sermons

Erik Raymond:

As preachers or Bible study leaders, this is good and important reminder: We can’t pack everything into every message. Let me give you a few reasons why and then how we can pack it more effectively.

Kindle deals for Christian readers

Translating the Bible

Carl Dixon:

Have you ever wondered about the difficulties of translating the Bible?

The Bible was originally written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Most of the Old Testament was written in Hebrew, parts of it in Aramaic, and the New Testament was produced in Koine Greek—a dialect which had a very short life span of about three centuries. Generally speaking, the biblical languages, as we see them presented in the Bible, remained stable for hundreds of years. That’s why we have a great deal of knowledge regarding these languages.

Lay Aside the Weight of Restless Work

Jon Bloom:

I wonder if you’re like me and need to lay aside the weight of restless work? Persistent weariness, faith-wrestlings, confusion, and/or discouragement are signs to pay attention to. If so, it doesn’t require a sabbatical (although you might pray about it). Take a look at your rest and reflection habits and ask a few trusted counselors for feedback. It may be that a recalibration is in order for the purpose of spiritual renewal.

Do not be discouraged

knox-statue

If Satan fume and roar against you, whether it be against your bodies by persecution, or inward in your conscience by a spiritual battle, do not be discouraged, as though you were less acceptable in God’s presence, or that Satan might at any time prevail against you. No! Your temptations and storms that arise so suddenly argue and witness that the seed that is sown has fallen on good ground, has begun to take root, and shall, by God’s grace, bring forth fruit abundantly in due season and convenient time. That is what Satan fears; and therefore thus he rages (and shall rage) against you, thinking that if he can repulse you now suddenly in the beginning, that then you will be at all times an easy prey, never able to resist his assaults. But as my hope is good, so shall my prayer be, that you may be so strengthened, that the world and Satan himself may understand and perceive, that God fights your battle.

John Knox, The Works of John Knox Vol. 4