William Perkins (1558-1602)
Doctrine of Preparation
Steps to Salvation
- 1) God gives a sinner the outward means of grace, especially preaching plus some inward or outward affliction to subdue his stubbornness
- 2) God makes him attentive to the law to see what is good and what is evil
- 3) God causes him to “see and know his own peculiar and proper sins, whereby he offends God”.
- 4) God “smites the heart with a legal fear . . . makes the sinner fear punishment and hell, and despair of salvation, in regard of anything in himself”.
** One may experience the first four stages and yet not be born again
- 5) God stirs the person’s mind seriously to consider the gospel
- 6) God kindles in the heart sparks of faith consisting of a persistent desire to trust Christ
- 7) God sustains this faith to combat doubt, despair, and distrust
- 8) God quiets the conscience so that the soul rests on the promise of salvation
- 9) God stimulates the heart to “evangelical sorrow for sin, because it is sin, and because God is offended”. This is evangelical repentance.
- 10) God gives grace to the saved sinner to labor to obey God’s commandments.
Willaim Ames (1576-1633)
Doctrine of Preparation
How a sinner ought to prepare himself to conversion
- 1) Take a serious look in the law of God and into your life (James 1:23-25)
- 2) Be convicted by conscience that you are shut up in sin and without excuse (Rom.1:20; 2:20; 7:7; 11:32)
- 3) Despair of salvation by your strength or by any other means (Rom. 7:9, 11, 13)
- 4) Be humbled in grief, fear, and confession of sin. This humiliation includes confession of particular sins (Rom. 7:7; Acts 2:23, 37). It is often preceded by some painful circumstances (2 Chron. 33:12). Though people feel various degrees of humiliation, “all those that are truly converted are also truly humbled”.
- 5) Recognize from the gospel that forgiveness is possible
- 6) Earnestly desire or hunger to be saved
- 7) Know that union with Christ by faith is the evidence of effectual calling
- 8) True repentance from sin and faith towards God are your only hope
Modern Gospel (1930-Present)
Doctrine of Presentation
How sinners can be counted in the church for the glory of man
- 1) Offer something to man that he simply cannot refuse. (fish fry, tickets to ball game, Halloween candy, Santa Clause, etc.)
- 2) Do whatever is possible to make the sinner feel welcome and comfortable in the church. (Starbucks coffee, secular music, comfortable couches, communion out of a popcorn bucket)
- 3) Present talks on currents trends, interesting topics, and 12 step plans to keep the sinner interested. (Sex, marriage, how to live victoriously, making money work for you, etc.)
- 4) Repeatedly talk about the love of God for all people and esteem the sinner as special and tell him that if he was the only one on earth God would have sent his Son to die for him because he is so special. (elevate man, do not talk about sin, and exclude holiness)
- 5) Do nothing to stir the mind and cause the sinner to contemplate his predicament before God. (Thinking is hard, so make everything as easy as possible) Note: Do not use words like propitiation, election, repentance, wrath, hypostatic union, Trinity, etc.)
- 6) Tell the sinner that salvation is in his hands and if he is smart enough he will choose to open the door and let impotent Jesus in. (Congratulate him for his intelligent decision and do not bring up the fact that all other lost people are just too stupid to choose Jesus)
- 7) Tell the sinner that if he has any doubts about his standing with God he simply needs to come to church regularly, tithe more, and do community service. (Put him on a committee, make him a deacon, just keep him busy enough that he keeps coming)
- 8) Tell the sinner that if his conscience is bothering him that it is probably the devil whispering lies into his ears and he simply needs to rebuke the devil and bind him from his life (Teach him how to bind the devil, kick the devil out, and to let go and let God)
- 9) Tell the sinner to reform his life by hanging out with better friends, practicing self-control, and above all to use his free-will to choose that which is right. (Remember, environment is more effect than anything else so teach him that friends, groups, and organizations is the key to peace for his soul)
- 10) Finally, to ensure that the sinner is ready to be presented to the church, tell him to repeat a prayer after you, get baptized tonight in the evening service, and although you may never see him again at least you had a great church service and the sinner now has a dead conscience. (We have come a long ways since William Perkins, William Ames, and many other Puritans were leading the church . . . God help us!)