Understanding Election

JI Packer:

The verb elect means “To select, or choose out.”  The biblical doctrine of election is that before Creation God selected out of the human race, foreseen as fallen (did you read that last phrase?  not foreseen as choosing God, but foreseen as fallen, while they were yet enemies), those whom he would redeem, bring to faith, justify, and glorify in and through Jesus Christ…This divine choice is an expression of free and sovereign grace, for it is unconstrained and unconditional, not merited by anything in those who are its subjects.  God owes sinners no mercy of any kind, only condemnation; so it is a wonder, and matter for endless praise, that he should choose to save any of us’ and doubly so when his choice involves giving his own Son to suffer as sin-bearer for the elect.

Mark Webb Illustrates why some misunderstand this teaching

After giving a brief survey of these doctrines of grace, I asked for questions from the class.  One lady, in particular, was quite troubled.  She said, “This is the most awful thing I’ve ever heard!  You make it sound as if God is intentionally turning away men who would be saved, receiving only the elect.”  I answered her in this vein.  “You misunderstand the situation.  You’re visualizing that God is standing at the door of heaven, and men are thronging to get in the door, and God is saying to various ones, ‘Yes, you may come, but not you, or you, or you…’  The situation is hardly this.  Rather, God stands at the door of heaven with his arms outstretched, inviting all to come.  Yet all men without exception are running in the opposite direction towards hell as hard as they can go.  So God, in election, graciously reaches out and stops this one, and that one, and this one over here, and that one over there, and effectually draws them to himself by changing their hearts, making them willing to come.  Election keeps no one out of heaven who would otherwise have been there, but it keeps a whole multitude of sinners out of hell who otherwise would have been there.  Were it not for election, heaven would be an empty place, and hell would be bursting at the seams.”  That kind of response, grounded as I believe that it is in scriptural truth, does put a different complexion on things, doesn’t it?

If you perish in hell, blame yourself, as it is entirely your fault.  but if you should make it to heaven, credit God, for that is entirely his work!  To him alone belong all praise and glory, for salvation is all of grace from start to finish!

From Sovereign Grace Perspectives: Reflections on Doctrine and Practice in the Local Church, Sovereing Grace and the Glorious Mystery of Election.  By CJ Mahaney March 2004


Dispensationalism versus Covenant Theology

I found this brief list to be a helpful beginning or overview of understanding some of the differences between Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology.

Chart: Dispensationalism vs Covenantalism, comparing the two theologies and providing a short list of proponents.

Dispensational Theology Covenant Theology
Most are Arminian, but many are Amyraldian (4-point Calvinist). Usually Calvinist.
Usually does not accept the idea of the ‘Analogy of Faith.’  There are many systems of hermeneutics utilized by Dispensationlists from hyper-symbolic to hyper-literal. Accepts the idea of the ‘Analogy of Faith’ (allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture)
The Baptist Confession, Article 1.9: The infallible rule for the interpretation of Scripture is Scripture itself. Therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any [part of] Scripture (which is not a miscellany, but a unity) it must be understood in the light of other passages that speak more clearly.
‘Israel’ always means the literal, physical descendants of Jacob (ethnic Jews). Depending on the context, ‘Israel’ may mean either physical descendants of Jacob, or “spiritual Israel” (who are people with faith in Christ like Abraham).
‘Israel of God’ in Galatians 6:16 means physical (national, ethnic) Israel alone. ‘Israel of God’ in Galatians 6:16 means spiritual Israel, parallel to Galatians 3:29; Romans 2:28-29; 9:6; Philippians 3:3.
God has 2 peoples with 2 separate destinies: Israel (earthly) and the Church (heavenly).  Many do not believe in God’s sovereign election.  But for those who do believe that God has an elect, they divide the elect by ethnicity (ie Jew, Gentile). God always had only one people, the Church who gradually developed through the ages, in accordance with a Covenant worked out in eternity past between the “Three Persons of the Godhead.” (The Cov. of Redemption)
The Church was born at Pentecost after the Ascention of Christ. The Church began in the Garden of Eden and grew in the Old Testament with the OT covenants and reached fulfillment in the New Testament with the New Covenant in Jesus Christ. God has one family, one church, one flock, one baptism, one way of salvation whether before the Cross or after – by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
The Church was not prophesied as such in the OT but was a “mystery”, hidden until the NT. Recognizes that there are many OT prophecies of the NT Church, and that the NT writers also affirmed this fact (1 Peter 1:10-12; Acts 2:16-35; 3:22-25).
All OT prophecies for ‘Israel’ are for the physical nation of Israel (ethnic Jews), not the Church. Some OT prophecies are for national Israel, others for spiritual Israel based on context.
God’s main purpose in history is national, ethnic Israel. God’s main purpose is His own glory, which is revealed in Christ and then through the Body of Christ – the New Covenant Church.
The Church is a parenthesis in God’s program for the ages. The Church is the culmination of God’s saving purpose for the ages.
The main heir to Abraham’s covenant was Isaac and literal Israel (ethnic Jews). The main heir to Abraham’s covenant was Christ, the Seed, and spiritual Israel which is “in Christ” (Galatians 3:16).  Thus all who have faith in Christ (are “in Christ”) are the participants in the Abrahamic Covenant.
God’s program in history is mainly through separate dispensations. God’s program is history is mainly through related covenants, but all those covenants were derived from the eternal covenant that the Trinity made in eternity, the Covenant of Redemption.
Most teach that men in the OT were saved by faith in a revelation peculiar to their Dispensation. All men who have ever been saved have been saved by faith in Christ as their sin-bearer, which has been progressively revealed in every age.
The Holy Spirit indwells only believers in the Dispensation of Grace, not OT and not after the “Secret Rapture.” The Holy Spirit has indwelt believers in all ages, and He indwells the Body of Christ in a special way in the present NT era as an anointing upon the Church for ministry from the glorified Head of the Church who is established on the Throne in heaven, and the Spirit will not be withdrawn from God’s people.
Jesus made an offer of an earthly Kingdom that is defined nationally/ethnically to Israel.  Since Israel rejected it, it is postponed till a future time when God will remove the Church from the world, and then God will reinstitute OT Israel via a Great Tribulation for seven years, and then Christ will return.  At which time, God will send glorified OT saints to join living Jews on the earth to have national dominion over the world for 1000 years.  Then Christ will judge the living and dead, destroy creation and make a new earth and bring a golden heaven down to sit upon it. Jesus’ Kingdom is not defined nationally/ethnically but morally and spiritually.  That Kingdom was rejected by national Israel but has been accepted by spiritual Israel who are Jews and Gentiles who believe in Christ (Galatians 3:29).  Christ rules and reigns over His kingdom now as King of kings and Lord of lords.  His kingdom will be consummated and fully realized at the Second Advent, in which all the unbelievers will be judged and removed from the earth.  The curse of the Fall will be removed from the earth resulting in a “new heavens and new earth” of which believers will enjoy as their inheritance for all eternity.
OT believers were not ‘in Christ,’ nor part of the Body or Bride of Christ even now. Believers in all ages are all ‘in Christ’ and part of the Body and Bride of Christ now.
God’s laws as given in the Old Testament are no longer in effect unless repeated in the New Testament. God’s moral laws are eternal and are thus in effect forever.  OT laws for the government of Israel and temple activity are no longer useful since the inauguration of the New Covenant.
Craig Blaising
Darrell Bock
John Nelson Darby
John Feinberg
John Hagee
Ed Hindson
Carl Hock
David Hocking
Dave Hunt
Thomas Ice
Harry Ironside
Tim LaHaye
David Larsen
Hal Lindsey
John MacArthur
Chuck Missler
J. Dwight Pentecost
Charles Ryrie
Robert Saucy
C. I. Scofield
Henry Thiessen
Robert Thomas
Jeffrey Townsend
Jack Van Impe
Michael Vlach
John Walvoord
Kenneth Wuest
Jay Adams
Eric Alexander
Tom Ascol
Isaac Backus
Greg Bahnsen
Richard Barcellos
Rolfe Barnard
S. M. Baugh
Herman Bavinck
G. K. Beale
Alistair Begg
Richard Belcher
James Montgomery Boice
James P. Boyce
John A. Broadus
F. F. Bruce
B. B. Caldwell
John Calvin*
William Carey
R. Scott Clark
Johannes Cocceius
Gene Cook, Jr.
R. L. Dabney
John L. Dagg
Mark Dever
J. Ligon Duncan, III
Jonathan Edwards
Sinclair Ferguson
John Frame
Richard Fuller
John Gill
Robert Godfrey
Robert Hall, Sr.
Charles Hodge
Anthony A. Hoekema
Michael Horton
Dennis E. Johnson
Benjamin Keach
Elias Keach
Tim Keller
Meredith Kline
Abraham Kuyper
J. Gresham Machen
C. J. Mahaney
Fred Malone
Basil Manley, Sr.
Basil Manley, Jr.
Albert Martin
Peter Masters
Keith Mathison
Russell Moore
Iain Murray
John Murray
Tom Nettles
Roger Nicole
Caspar Olevianus
John Owen
J. I. Packer
A. W. Pink
John Piper
Kim Riddlebarger
Jason E. Robertson
O. Palmer Robertson
Robert Rollock
Ernest Reisinger
Robert Reymond
Samuel Rutherford
Philip Ryken
L. R. Shelton, Jr.
Richard Sibbs
R. C. Sproul
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Derek Thomas
Cornelius Van Til
Carl Trueman
Francis Turretin
Geerhardus Vos
Samuel Waldron
B. B. Warfield
Hermann Witsius
James White

*Writings are consistent with CT

Other Resources

The Covenants of Works and Grace (.pdf) Walter J. Chantryicon

A Comparison of Dispensationalism & Covenant Theology Richard P. Belchericon

Covenant Theology (This one is Presbyterian though).  J. Ligon Duncan, III – 12 Lectures on the biblical, theological, and historical study of God’s Covenantsicon

Piper on G.K. Chesterton’s Book: Orthdoxy

On his blog today, John Piper reflects on how reading G.K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy impacted his own life. Despite Chesterton’s Anti-Calvinistic position, the book drove Piper deeper in his appreciation of these biblical truths.

If I thought his broadsides against predestination really hit home and undid true biblical doctrine, I would keep my mouth shut or change my worldview. But his celebration of poetry and paradox undermines his own abomination of the greatest truth-and-mystery-lovers around today, the happy Calvinists.

Nothing in this Calvinism-abominating book came close to keeping me from embracing the glorious sovereignty of God. On the contrary, the poetic brightness of the book awakened in me, along with the works of C. S. Lewis, an exuberance about the strangeness of all things—which in the end made me able to embrace the imponderable paradoxes of God’s decisive control of all things and the total justice of his holding us accountable.

One of the reasons that Calvinism is stirring today is that it takes both truth and mystery seriously. It’s a singing, poetry-writing, run-through-the-fields Calvinism.

It’s the Arminians that are the rationalists. Arminianism trumps biblical sentences with metaphysics: God can’t control all things and hold us responsible. God can’t choose some and love all.” Why? Metaphysics. Out with mystery! It just can’t be!

So Chesterton’s anti-Calvinist shotgun sprays all around today’s poet-Calvinist and misses the mark.

Rings of Theology: Foundational Theology to Salvation

We have been discussing Postmodern thought processes, truth, and whether or not there are non-essential truths when it comes to salvation. It seems best to speak of doctrine that is more central to salvation or more foundational to salvation rather than essential or non-essential. I have included the drawing above to help demonstrate what needs to take place in our mind. While all doctrine has ramifications and ties to salvation, certain doctrines are more core, central or foundational to salvation. Who God is, the Person and work of Christ, doctrines of the atonement and faith, and who man is are foundational and central. Therefore, even if I disagree with a brother on baptism or the Lord’s supper, modesty, or eschatology, but we agree on who God is, what Christ accomplished on the Cross, Sin, and faith, then we may have far more in common than other baptist or those within a given denomination. This is why I will often refer to men like John MacArthur (our views of the end times are different), RC Sproul, Sinclair Ferguson, Jerry Bridges (our views of church government and baptism are different), CJ Mahaney and John Piper (our views of the gifts of the Holy Spirit are different, not our view of the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit though). These men all get the Apostles teaching on who God is, He is a sovereign creator; who man is, one created in the image of God, fallen in the first Adam, and dead and enslaved in sin unable to save himself or in any way merit God’s grace; what Christ accomplished on the Cross, that he died an atoning death for his people.

In theology it is essential that we keep what is central in the center of our theology. Many claim to hold to Christ and his death and resurrection. However, when He is distorted by adding to Christ then the entire gospel is distorted. Conversely, when He is distorted by minimizing or watering down the truth the entire gospel can be distorted. Paul speaks of men that elevate the doctrine of circumcision, or tried to add back in the doctrine of circumcision. When this happens our focus and hope can be easily shifted off of Christ. Those in Galatia wanted to add to Christ and his righteousness. ‘Sure, you are saved by Christ’ they would say, ‘but the real way of knowing you are a Christian is if you are circumcised. ‘ However, it is important to note that Paul does not write as if doctrines such as depravity (Ephesians 2), election and predestination, the sovereignty of God(Romans 9, Ephesians1), and a literal resurrection of Christ (2 Timothy 2:7-9) were non-central to believing in Christ.

The more we agree on who God is, and the person and work of Christ the more unity we will have in Christ. This does not mean the men and women have never been truly saved under incomplete or even wrong theology. This is the grace of God that he works in such a way. It also does not mean the men and women have not made false professions of faith under good theology. This is the depravity of men’s hearts and the deceptiveness of sin. However, Christ is most clearly displayed and glorified when He is proclaimed as He is revealed in the word.

The Veggie Tales You Never Saw

Dr. Russ Moore has a well written article on why we need more depth than simply Veggie Tales (By the way, I do enjoy watching some of them) and what it means to preach Christ. Preaching Christ is not minimalistic, but whole-istic when it comes to the truths of Scripture.

Have you ever seen the episode of Veggie Tales in which the main characters are martyred by anti-Christian terrorists? You know, the one in which Bell Z. Bulb, the giant garlic demon, and Nero Caesar Salad, the tyrannical vegetable dictator, take on the heroes for their faith in Christ. Remember how it ends? Remember the cold dead eyes of Larry the cucumber behind glass, pickled for the sake of the Gospel? Remember Bob the tomato, all that remained was ketchup and seeds?

No, of course you don’t remember this episode…

There’s plenty of Veggie Tales preaching out there, and it’s not all for children. As a matter of fact, the way we teach children the Bible grows from what we believe the Bible is about–what’s really important in the Christian life. There’s also such a thing as Veggie Tales discipleship, Veggie Tales evangelism, even erudite and complicated Veggie Tales theology and biblical scholarship. Whenever we approach the Bible without focusing in on what the Bible is about–Christ Jesus and His Gospel–we are going to wind up with a kind of golden-rule Christianity that doesn’t last a generation, indeed rarely lasts an hour after it is delivered.

Preaching Christ doesn’t simply mean giving a gospel invitation at the end of a sermon–although it certainly does entail that. It means seeing all of reality as being summed up in Christ, and showing believers how to find themselves in the story of Jesus, a story that is Alpha and Omega, from the spoken Word that calls the universe together to the Last Man who governs the universe as its heir and King….
Every text of Scripture–Old or New Testaments–is thus about Jesus, precisely because, at the end of the day, everything in reality is about Jesus. Why is there something instead of nothing? Why are human beings religious? Why do people want food and water and sex and community? Why are there galaxies and quasars and blue whales and local churches? God is creating all that is for His heir, for the glory of Jesus Christ. When you see through Jesus, you see the interpretive grid through which all of reality makes sense.

With this in mind, the Scripture tells us that all of Scripture tells us the story of Jesus. The Gospel writers show us how Jesus fulfills the Scripture, but, interestingly enough, He doesn’t simply fulfill direct and obvious messianic prophecies. He also relives the story of Israel itself–exiled in Egypt, crossing the Jordan, being tempted with food and power in the wilderness during a forty-day sojourn there. Jesus applies to Himself language previously applied to Israel and its story–He is the vine of God, the temple, the tabernacle, the Spirit-anointed kingship, the wisdom of God Himself.

Are There Doctrines Non-Essential to Salvation?

2 Timothy 3:16-17

16All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

Any discussion on such a subject, non-essential truth, is a dangerous discussion. What is the bare minimum truth we need to hold? An attempt to minimize and streamline what God has revealed as that which man needs to be competent and equipped is the beginning of a slippery slope that many have gone down. However, the truth remains that there are genuine Christians who disagree on doctrines such as baptism, The Lord’s Supper, the end times, and yes even the cross and what was accomplished there. We must first state that this disagreement on such truths can only stem from sin and the fall. It appears we would be better served to state that there are doctrines that are more central to salvation than to call others non-essential. For instance, some would say baptism is non-essential in the discussion of salvation. However, there are others that tie this doctrine so closely with salvation that they end up teaching baptismal regeneration. Others would not teach such a doctrine but they practice it. So I hesitate to even speak of the sacraments as non-essential to salvation. Doctrine is a bit like a quilt. We have individual pieces, but they are all intertwined to produce one large goal.  We may be able to appreciate and examine each individual piece for what it is, but they all are stitched together by God to reveal Himself.

Building on these points, it is important to note that we must think larger than just the individual when we call something non-essential. In calling doctrine non-essential we must ask to who’s salvation is such truth non-essential? You may know a friend that disagrees with you on a doctrine (let us stick with baptism), but you are convinced they are a believer. For that individual we could call the doctrine of baptism non-essential to their salvation. However, what about the generation the comes behind and that they disciple and teach. For instance, if that brother believes in infant baptism or even accepts catholic infant baptism, what damage may that have for subsequent generations? Surely, some could trust in that early, pre-conversion baptism and be deceived. For others, maybe the hold to a man centered gospel, where man’s will is the determining factor in salvation. In one case, someone like this may be a real believer, but what about others they disciple and lead to Christ? Could such doctrine not deter others from Christ?

Together 4 the Gospel: R.C. Sproul on the Curse Motif of the Atonment

I have relatively few quotes from this sermon. It was one that I simply had to just sit and listen in amazement of what Christ accomplished and how little I deserved any part of it. At pastor’s conferences certain messages can be aimed directly at pastors, others can be more academic in nature. Dr. Sproul seemed to disregard any credentials in the room. It seemed he did not care if it was a room full of educated pastors or simple minded men and women; whether there were sinners or saints present he was burdened to preach Christ! At one point he even addressed that some in the room, even though pastors, may still be under the curse and in need of Christ. Therefore, I would encourage all that this message is for them.

It is based on the premise that we live in a planet under the curse of God; What does that mean? He then contrasts the blessing of God and the curse of God. Christ came to make his blessings known as far as the curse is found.

Together 4 the Gospel: Systematic Theology by Ligon Duncan

I have just returned from attending the second T4G conference and want to try to share a few quotes and thoughts from the conference. First, some may be interested to know that the sermons are available for free download. All were good but I would highly recommend Ligon Duncan’s, R.C. Sproul’s, and John MacArthur’s.

Ligon Duncan’s is a helpful examination of the need for a systematic theology. Not simply doctrine, but a systematic way of understanding that doctrine. For any struggling with the emergent movement I believe he rightfully points out some of the liberal backbone of that movement. One quote came from J Gresham Machen’s book “Christianity and Liberalsim”: “Christianity is a life not a doctrine.” Surprising to some maybe many evangelicals is that this quote is the wording from the 19th century liberals! Here is a fuller quote and response by Machen in his writing:

Christianity, according to that fashionable modern answer, is a life and not a doctrine, it is a life or an experience that has doctrine merely as its symbolic intellectual expression, so that while the life abides the doctrine must necessarily change from age to age.

That answer, of course, involves the most bottomless skepticism that could possibly be conceived; for if everything that we say about God or about Christ or about the future life has value merely for this generation, and if something contradictory to It may have equal value in some future generation, then the thing that we are saying is not true even here and now. A thing that is useful now may cease to be useful in some future generation, but a thing that is true now remains true beyond the end of time. To say, therefore, that doctrine is the necessarily changing expression of religious experience or religious life is simply to give up the search for truth altogether.

Was Christianity at the beginning in that sense a life as distinguished from a doctrine? At this point we desire to be perfectly clear. Christianity at the beginning certainly was a life, about that there can be no manner of doubt. The first Christians led lives very different from the lives of the people about them, and everything that did not conform to that peculiarly Christian type of life was rigidly excluded from the early Church. Let us be perfectly plain about that.

But how was that Christian type of life produced? There we come to the crux of the whole question. If one thing is clear to the historian it is that that type of life was not produced merely by exhortation or merely by the magic of personal contacts; if one thing is clear to the historian it is that earliest Christian missionaries did not go around the world saying. “We have been living in contact with a wonderful person, Jesus; contact with Him has changed our lives; and we call upon you our hearers, without asking puzzling questions, without settling the meaning of His death, without asking whether He rose from the dead, simply to submit yourselves to the contagion of that wonderful personality.”

Ligon went on to give advice for those that are opposed to systematic theology:

If someone tells you they don’t believe in systematic theology, look out! They are about to slip it in under the door without you looking.

He also addressed the notion that the bible is really a story, not doctrine, and that this too is on the slippery liberal slope. I was not quick enough to write down all the quote on this but he traced how the Bible is full of narrative, prophecy, wisdom literature, hymns and songs, letters, etc. not simply a story from which we pull some meaning. He even went to show how the stories that the scriptures use and that Christ used are “not to leave wiggle room. That is not how the Bible stories work. He (Christ) uses them to drive deep in our heart propositional truths and doctrine.”

I can only share bits and pieces. The whole context will make even these quotes more clear and powerful. If you enjoyed them or even if you disagreed with them, I would encourage you to listen to the entire message.

Reformer of the Day: Martin Luther (1483-1546)

Happy Reformation Day to all! While this post is normally dedicated to a Puritan of the Week, it seemed wrong to overlook one pivotal individual, Martin Luther, who laid the foundation for much of the Puritan writings. It was on this day in 1517 that Luther hammered his 95 Theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg, and began the Reformation. Luther was influential in re-asserting the doctrine of justification as a doctrine by faith alone and not faith plus works. He also was burdened to see that the scriptures be in a common language that could be read by all, and worked to translate it into German. Another of Luther’s famous works is The Bondage of the Will. A must read on his life is by Bainton and is entitled, Here I Stand. More modern, John Piper did an overview of Luther’s life back in 1996 at his pastor’s conference.

One a lighter side, in my Google of Reformation Day I ran across a list of ideas on how to celebrate Reformation Day. I am not endorsing this list nor suggesting one actually do them, but it made me laugh a few times. Here are a few of my favorite:

  • Make a “Diet of Worms Cake” and bring it to your office or school – recipe found here.
  • Play “Pin the 95 Theses on the Wittenberg Door”
  • Run a “Throw Indulgences in the Trash” relay
  • A beef barbecue, also known as a Papal Bull Roast.

Indulgence Relays in my office at noon!

Puritan of the Week: Matthew Poole (1624-1679)

Known best for his commentary on the whole bible, of which Charles Spurgeon said,

“If I must have only one commentary, and had read Matthew Henry as I have, I do not know but what I should choose Poole. He is a very prudent and judicious commentator… not so pithy and witty by far as Matthew Henry, but he is perhaps more accurate, less a commentator, and more an expositor.”

Poole was also very outspoken about the dangers of Roman Catholicism.  He preached for only a few years before being removed from the puplit for nonconformity.   From that time on he dedicated himself to writing.  Due to his writings against the Pope and Roman Catholocism “his name was added to the list published in 1679 by Titus Oats of those that Rome wished to destroy in the Popish Plot.” (MTP pg 486)  Soon after he was ambushed at night while on his way home.

One the way home, in a narrow lane, two men were waiting to ambush him.  When one cried out, “Here he is!” the other responded, “Leave him alone, for someone is with him.”

Realizing his life was in danger he moved to the Netherlands, but died soon after, “possibly from being poisoned.”(MTP pg 486)

In the United States there is so much ecumenical thinking and political correctness that we find it hard to imagine such actions in a civilized society.  Or maybe it is that religious conviction is considered relative, thinking that our beliefs are only personal and simply important for us.  For fear of social rejection, few consider taking such a stand to say that there is but one way and that a way that diverts from the true path is wrong.  Souls are at stake though!  Any gospel or religion that does not rest wholly upon Christ for justification before God endagers souls for all eternity.

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Poole saw the dangers of a distorted gospel as part of the demands of the cross.