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Tag Archives: reformed theology

Take the Calvinism Test.

The label Calvinist is thrown about flippantly. In some circles it’s used with a snarl and a growl. In most cases people do not actually know what it means. However Times Herald has noted that….

 This label that once was considered very bad in almost all Christian circles is enjoying incredible new popularity. Surging numbers of Christians are attending Calvinistic conferences and reading Calvinistic books and articles.

Calvinism is still misunderstood and is recovering from so many decades of bad press. In spite of that, however, more people opening called themselves Calvinists or variations of that, like mild Calvinists or moderate Calvinists. Have you been labeled a Calvinist? How can you know if you or someone else is such an animal? In a moment I’d like to give you a simple test to determine just that.

The nickname Calvinist comes from the Reformer John Calvin (1509-1564). Although John Calvin taught through books of the Bible day-by-day in Geneva, Switzerland, he is known mostly for teaching that God is sovereign over the salvation of sinners. He taught that God chose to save some people before time began, and then predestined that they would become believers in Christ. …Read More!

A Dummy’s Guide to Calvinism

The Crucifixion- Matthias Grunewald (1470-1528)

Is there a God? Is He sitting some where twiddling His thumbs or biting His finger nails as the world spirals into debauchery? Ever fancied taking a peek over His shoulder and catching Him taking a cat nap or slumped over in a yoga- pose with legs helplessly inter twined?  Calvinism is associated with Reformed Theology the Theological system associated with the Reformer John Calvin that emphasizes and underlines the vitally important truth that God  is in control of all things, not man; that God is the source of salvation; and that men and women can do nothing to save themselves. It emphasises our total dependence as guilty sinners on the mercy and grace of God for salvation. The Father chose a people, the Son died for them, the Holy Spirit makes Christ’s death effective by bringing the elect to faith and repentance, thereby causing them to willingly obey the gospel. The entire process (election, redemption, regeneration) is the work of God and is by grace alone. Thus God, not man, determines who will be the recipients of the gift of salvation. Read More

Picture two Jews on the night of the first Passover

Whatever you do, spare atleast 3 minutes and 28 seconds today, and watch a wonderful and powerful illustration from Don Carson at the recent Bethlehem College & Seminary Pastors Conference:
HT: The Gospel Coalition.

Free Ebook: “Systematic Theology” by Louis Berkhof

Thanks to BiblicalTraining.org, Berkhof’s classic theology text is now freely (and legally) available here.

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Berkhof (1873-1957) was born in the Netherlands, and his family moved to Grand Rapids when he was 9.

After graduating from Calvin Theological Seminary and Princeton Theological Seminary, he returned to Calvin and joined the faculty. For the first two decades he taught biblical studies, and then for almost two decades after that he taught systematic theology. He also became president of the seminary in 1931 and continued so until his retirement in 1944.

His Systematic Theology was published in 1932 and revised in 1938.

Wayne Grudem has said Berkhof’s Systematic Theology is “a great treasure-house of information and analysis . . . probably the most useful . . . systematic theology available from any theological perspective.” Richard Muller calls it “the best modern English-language introduction to doctrinal theology of the Reformed tradition.”

HT Justin Taylor.

Forsaken by God – Jesus became a Curse.

Many times we hear some one say, “God loves you unconditionally” or “God loves you no matter what you do”. This usually may reflect a relative theological naievity in the speaker. It most times shows that the person doesn’t know what the lifeless bloodied body of God on the cross signified. It also makes the hearers take home a false notion that God doesn’t really care much about sin and you can live your reckless life without any care. But then….

If there ever was an obscenity that violates contemporary community standards, it was Jesus on the cross. After he became the scapegoat and the Father had imputed to him every sin of every one of his people, the most intense, dense concentration of evil ever experienced on this planet was exhibited. Jesus was the ultimate obscenity.

So what happened? God is too holy to look at sin. He could not bear to look at that concentrated monumental condensation of evil, so he averted …Read More!

I’ve heard that before: “Don’t give us Doctrine, we just want to follow Jesus!”

You have heard this countless times haven’t you? “Don’t give me doctrine, I just want to follow Jesus”, what they are really saying is “give me law, not gospel. They are asking for more imperatives and less indicatives. They just want something practical.” But how is this any different than Mormons or theological liberals? Fact is, we need a Savior, not just a moral example. The truth is …

follow jesusYou could not have believed the gospel of Jesus Christ without knowing its contents. You did not just follow a generic Jesus. To be saved you understood that you had no self righteousness of your own and you trusted in Christ’s finished work… which included His living the life you should have lived and dying the death you deserved. This is doctrine. The idea of simply “following Jesus” is requiring more demands of the law because you are looking for Jesus to tell you something you can do. But you need the gospel, not merely law, to be saved or to grow in grace. Indeed following Jesus springs out of a renewed heart. As Christians we only follow Jesus when we know Who we are following and as such we need to preach the gospel to ourselves daily. …Read More!

Two Pastors: Word of Faith Vs Reformed Theology Discussion

Pastors Fred Price Jr (Word of Faith) and Saiko Woods (Reformed) discuss their different theological differences.

fred price

The dangers and concerns in ‘Four Point Calvinism’

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Those whom God elects, He redeems, and those He redeems, He regenerates and sanctifies. All that believers have they owe to the Triune God. The ELECTION of God the Father, the REDEMPTION of God the Son, and the REGENERATING work of God the Spirit, ought never to be separated. They arise from one and the same Will. The Trinity works in harmony to bring about our salvation. So any theology which disconnects unconditional election from particular redemption is not only inconsistent within their own theology, but makes the Trinity out to have a confused, disharmonious will in the purposes of redemption.

So-called four-point Calvinism fails the test of biblical Calvinism because this view tends to see the TULIP as an abstraction rather than seeing it Christocentrically. The TULIP only works when we see Christ at its center. Consider the TULIP as a chiasm with the “L” at the top of the pyramid. It is Jesus Christ which makes sense of all the doctrines of grace. Four-point Calvinists who reject Limited Atonement but embrace irresistible grace must consider this: Irresistible grace is not some abstract doctrine but must be seen in relation to Jesus Christ, specially in relation to the grace purchased by Christ upon the cross. The Spirit of Christ illuminates, regenerates and effectually brings to faith his elect. And this enabling, effectual grace is, from first to last, Christ-centered. It does not come out of a void, nor from some hidden source of grace in God the Father. Therefore Christ must have died for the elect so as to purchase that grace in a way – a redemptive way – that he did not die for the non-elect. That is why we often call it particular redemption. Irresistible grace is one of the redemptive benefits purchased by Jesus Christ … and it was never granted to the non-elect nor intended for them. …Read More!

The Calvinist’s Dictionary (as seen by an Arminian)

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This dictionary was created by a well meaning Arminian to help other Arminians better understand Calvinist terminology. (Please don’t take this too seriously, this is meant in good fun)

All: The elect

Altar Call: An insult to God

Arminianism: Man centered theology

Assurance: hoping that you’re elect

Augustine: The first church father.

Calvinism: The gospel

Call (effectual): to be irresistibly dragged

Call (general): God’s justification to condemn the reprobate.

Catholicism: What Arminianism leads to.

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Free Book: What is Reformed Theology?

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If you live in the US here is a free book by R.C Sproul. This book was one of my first primers in the Reformed faith. It answers a lot of questions and does ground you into solid foundational truths of Christianity.

Death will always be a foe. Never a friend!

20120707-152437.jpgWe all have an appointment with death. It’s an appointment that will not be delayed and will never be postponed. As a Christian father I have had to speak to my children about death. Taught them it is part of the consequence of the fall and sin. Reminded them that even their daddy has sinned and one day they will bury their daddy or their daddy may bury them. We usually attend funerals as a family and mourn with friends and family who have lost a loved one. We also take that time to encourage them in the Lord (that we do not mourn though as those who have no hope but in Christ death is just a temporary separation of soul and body). Ryan Burns has also learnt something about death. In an interesting post he says:

I was reading Michael Horton’s new book, The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way, and that line struck me. Death is an enemy, not a friend. Perhaps it is my longing to be with Christ (Php 1:23) or my love for the song “I’ll fly away,” I often, in the life of a Christian, forget that death is still an enemy. I found Horton’s comments encouraging and helpful.

Part of the curse is the separation of the soul from body (Ge 2:17; 3:19, 22; 5:5;Ro 5:12; 8:10; 1co 15:21). Death is an enemy, not a friend (1Co 15:26) and a terror (Heb 2:15), so horrible that even the one who would triumph over it was overcome with grief, fear, and anger at the tomb of his friend Lazarus (Jn 11:33-36). Jesus did not see death as a portal to “a better life.” Looking death in the eye, he saw it for what it was, and his disciples followed his example.After the deacon’s martyrdom, we read, “Devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentations over him” (Ac 8:2). the reason that believers do not mourn as those who have no hope (1Th 4:14) is not that they know death is good, but that

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Those Calvinists!!!

Sarcasm intended….

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HT: Friends on FB.

Calvin on God’s Providence.

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Today I was reading on God’s providence. Here is something I would like to share…

God arms the devil, as well as all the wicked, for conflict, and sits as umpire, that he may exercise our patience. But if the disasters and miseries which press us happen without the agency of men, let us call to mind the doctrine of the Law (Deut. 28:1), that all prosperity has its source in the blessing of God, that all adversity is his curse. And let us tremble at the dreadful denunciation, “And if ye will not be reformed by these things, but will walk contrary unto me; then will I also walk contrary unto you,” (Lev. 26:23, 24). These words condemn our torpor, when, according to our carnal sense, deeming that whatever happens in any way is fortuitous, we are neither animated by the kindness of God to worship him, nor by his scourge stimulated to repentance. And it is for this reason that Jeremiah (Lament. 3:38), and Amos (Amos 3:6), expostulated bitterly with the Jews, for not believing that good as well as evil was produced by the command of God. To the same effect are the words in Isaiah, “I form the light and create darkness: I make peace and create evil. I the Lord do all these things,” (Is. 45:7). Institutes 1.17.8

HT: Jim West

Do Calvinists put on rippling V-neck shirts and skinny jeans?

Contrary to urban mythologies spawned by ignorant sooth sayers and idle whisperers Calvinism is not about trends in fashion. It’s actually far from having a high view of man. So, if it’s not about v-neck t-shirts or tight skinny jean pastors, then what is Calvinism about? I am glad you asked. You see…

20120628-183903.jpgCalvinism, also known as reformed theology, is a movement within orthodox Protestantism that … adheres to a very high view of scripture and seeks to derive its theological formulations based solely on God’s word. It focuses on God’s sovereignty, stating that God is able and willing by virtue of his omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence, to do whatever He desires with His creation. It also maintains that within the Bible are the following teachings: That God, by His sovereign grace predestines people into salvation; that Jesus died only for those predestined; that God regenerates the individual to where he is then able to and wants to choose God; and that it is impossible for those who are redeemed to lose their salvation… …Read More!

Celebrity pastor Ed Young regrettably spits into the wind!

When it comes to setting fashion trends and appealing to people’s sensuality, Ed Young jr. has indeed become a household name. At times his gimmicks have been ambiguous and over the top but he gets away with it because… Well he has a mega church that likes what he does and they will fund him to display his pranks and gimmicks. Recently he seemed to have bitten off too much and thereafter like an impudent brat spoken out of turn leaving his own audience cringing. You see (reports one Ordinary Pastor)….

20120627-164841.jpgThis morning I was inundated with a number of references to a sermon by a prominent Texas pastor. The fact that Ed Young says something controversial is not new. He has been in the news for bringing live animals up for his sermons and who could forget the whole 24-hour web chat from his bed, with his wife, atop his church building? Because of these types of stunts, I don’t pay much attention to what he is saying.
Today was different however. In the midst of a sermon he launched into a diatribe against Reformed Churches. His motto was that “Reformed Theology leads to Deformed Ecclesiology.” Can Reformed pastors afford to look in the mirror in light of the Scriptures? Yes. Absolutely. Do we have the corner market on the truth? Absolutely not.

At the same time, what Young said was truly troubling. Concerning his rant, Justin Taylor tweeted, “(it was) A sad mixture of prideful boasting and sinful slander against fellow pastors and brothers.”

But this is not the primary reason why I was troubled. My biggest offense was with what he said about the work of the Holy Spirit:

Are they all bad? No they just don’t reach anybody. Last year at Fellowship Church we baptized 2,632 people. One of the fair-haired boys of this movement, I will not call his name, they baptized 26 people last year. (he then drops his hand-held mic on the floor and looks stunned). Oh, he’s deep. What are you smoking? Are you kidding me? I cannot put my head on the pillow at night knowing we baptized 26 people.

Without going too deep, the Bible seems to teach that conversion is directly tied to the work of the Holy Spirit. It is the same gracious, powerful, loving, God that brings 1 person to faith that brings 100 or 1,000 to faith.

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Evangelicalism is no longer Theologically Liberal. No, It’s fast becoming Vacuous (Empty)!

I have wanted to read Michael Horton’s Christless Christianity for a long while. Glad to find some one who has read it and made a book review. Thad Bergmeier (Changed by The Gospel) explains….

20120626-220348.jpgIn summary, Horton provides a scathing rebuke of the American gospel presentation. And this gospel message, which is summarized by Christian Smith’s–Moralistic, Therapeutic Deism–has only been successful because hundreds of thousands of people accept it. It is a gospel about them. It is a gospel to meet their comforts. But it is a gospel without Christ. His main argument in this book is “not that evangelicalism is becoming theologically liberal but that it is becoming theologically vacuous” (23). In case you do not know, vacuous means empty or without content; put in the context of this book, it means that evangelicalism has become without the content of Jesus Christ. In the book, even before he states that purpose, he has a statement that I think adequately represents the book.
“My concern is that we are getting dangerously close to the place in everyday American church life where the bible is mined for ‘relevant’ quotes but is largely irrelevant on its own terms; God is used as a personal source rather than known, worshiped, and trusted; Jesus Christ is a coach with a good game plan for our victory rather than a Savior who has already achieved it for us; salvation is more a matter of having our best life now than being saved from God’s judgment by God himself; and the Holy Spirit is an electrical outlet we can plug into for the power we need to be all that we can be” …Read More!

A year through John Calvin’s “The Institutes”.

I have many times tried to read just a paragraph of John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion and made it to only the end of the first sentence to just munch over and over what he meant. I love reading snippets and quotes from his works from time to time. Calvin was an extremely brilliant exegete of the scriptures and his work is still respected to this day. I came across this year plan to go through The Institutes in a year and thought I would just post it. You sure will have learnt a whole lot of Systematic Theology by the time you will have completed. Karl Bart once said:

20120626-182934.jpgJohn Calvin is a cataract, a primeval forest, a demonic power, something directly down from Himalaya, absolutely Chinese, strange, mythological; I lack completely the means, the suction cups, even to assimilate this phenomenon, not to speak of presenting it adequately. What I receive is only a thin little stream and what I can then give out again is only a yet thinner extract of this little stream. I could gladly and profitably set myself down and spend all the rest of my life with just Calvin.

Rightly said there Karl! I guess I too would have loved to listen to him teach through the book of Job or Ephesians.
Finally, to introduce the student to the study of the Scriptures Calvin wrote this following text. This program is no substitute or supplement for regular reading of God’s Word. Rather, the former is designed to serve as a aid to the latter.

Grant, Almighty God, that, since to a perverse, and in every way a rebellious people, thou didst formerly show so much grace, as to exhort them continually to repentance, and to stretch forth thy hand to them by thy Prophets, — O grant, that the same word may sound in our ears; and when we do not immediately profit by thy teaching, O cast us not away, but, by thy Spirit, so subdue all our thoughts and affections, that we, being humbled, may give glory to thy majesty, such as is due to thee, and that, being allured by thy paternal favor, we may submit ourselves to thee, and, at the same time, embrace that mercy which thou offerest and presentest to us in Christ, that we may not doubt but thou wilt be a Father to us, until we shall at length enjoy that eternal inheritance, which has been obtained for us by the, blood of thine only-begotten Son. Amen

Amen!!
Get a free kindle plus ePub or ebook of The Institutes. [ Ps: Amazon has very cheap versions too!]

The “Weslyans who love Calvin” club

Many Calvinists grow up in the rich Reformed tradition, but some of us became Calvinists later in life. We began as naive foaming in the mouth Arminians always on the look out for “those rabid Calvinists who worship Calvin” but as we studied the Bible closely became graciously closet Calvinists till we were able to hold our own ground in the Reformed faith. (Disclaimer: Calvinists do not worship John Calvin). I must therefore emphasise this, before we continue that one’s theological stance must always be based on balanced scriptural and doctrinal integrity rather than popular sentimentality or trending fads. I will now gladly introduce you to a new fledgling club. A couple of Wesleyans seem to appreciate Calvin for his theological views as John Starke (The Gospel Coalition) found out as he interviewed Fred Sanders (Patheos)….

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John Starke: Recently you had a fun post, “Calvinists Who Love Wesley.” From what I know of you, I’m tempted to call you a “Wesleyan who loves Calvin.” Is that fair? What about the Calvinist and Reformed tradition do you find compelling? Where is it strongest?

Fred Sanders: Definitely sign me up for the “Wesleyans who love Calvin” club. I teach excerpts from The Institutes every year, and I’ve worked through the whole book cover to cover five times (three with students in seminar). There is no better way to learn the craft of theology than to work through The Institutes. Calvin shows his work: he always lets you know what he’s after, what he’s afraid of, and why he’s doing things. He brings you along with him, and requires an active and responsive reader who is willing to make costly decisions all along the way. …Read More!

Do you “believe to be born again” or are you “born again to believe”?

No it’s not a riddle. It is not even a trick question. I while back some of my friends kept asking, “Why has Michael become a “Reformed Christian” after several years in prosperity driven and seeker sensitive churches?” So to make things alot easier to understand I thought it’s best to go back to the Bible and back to basics. What  exactly does it mean to become a Christian?

I have come to believe that Salvation begins with an unfailing work of God in the hearts of all those who will believe. While most churches in our current day believe that you “believe to be born again”, like the Reformers and Puritans I have come to believe the opposite about that; my belief is that you are “born again to believe” (see the change in order?).

Here’s a simple quiz for bible believing Christians. …Read More!

Can we do Coke (or Champagne) and Pizza for Communion?

Clint Archer looks at the communion table and questions surrounding it in his latest article:

After my post on children taking communion I received some great questions. I wanted to address them more fully than in a crammed comment cage.

Have you ever thought of these provocative variables in the form and substance of the Lord’s Supper:

  • Should we not emulate the NT church’s practice of sharing an entire, sit-down meal?
  • Must the bread be unleavened?
  • Must the wine be alcoholic?
  • Must the wine be red or can we use Champagne instead?
  • Where does one draw the line? For example, can pizza and Coke count as communion? I.e. can the bread be sweetened, or have a topping? What about milk and cookies?

Makes the blood boil a bit, doesn’t it? You may have got stuck on the milk & cookies on, and you would probably say: “Obviously not, don’t be dumb.” …Read More!

Calvinism Makes People Lose Their “Holy Ghost Fire”

"holy ghost party"

When I was a Word of Faith enthusiast I loved God because I was born again and the only church I knew taught what I eventually picked up. I did not understand much of what was taught in church and knew some of the doctrines made no theological or scriptural sense. I easily embraced prosperity theology and any fad that slithered to the pulpit. It is true that when people are always shifting their doctrinal principles, they are not likely to bring forth much fruit to the glory of God. It is good for young believers to begin with a firm hold upon those great fundamental doctrines which the Lord has taught in His Word. But scriptural exegesis and theological exertions are not encouraged by many churches-most especially in the liberal non-cessationist camps. They call this being “pharisaical” or “too conservative” or limiting the move of Holy Spirit who would otherwise want every one to be open minded and receptive to every and anything.

Its against that background that I understand why this young man drew a line in the sand and dared the bravest of Calvinists to smell the coffee on the liberal side:

Recently I made a very hard important decision concerning Facebook. I felt like a few people on my friends list were posting and promoting things, that I feel are a threat to my personal faith walk, and a threat to the effectiveness of the Body of Christ period. If you do not know by now, I am not a Calvinist, and I do not agree with the doctrines of Calvinism and reformed theology (mainly the TULIP). There’s More

Help, I need more Arminian friends!

It’s usually said if you want two see to lads play endless theological ping-pong, start a Calvinism vs Arminianism debate and title it “Does man have free will?” You will literally have to drag one of them apart…kicking and screaming. But I must say these theological debates do achieve their own edification in various unseen ways. They are strenuous and it always seems as though the other guy is just playing dumb like Balaam’s donkey. But when you come to finally hear your proverbial nemesis drop his daisies and grab hold of a bunch of graceful Tulips, doesn’t it just warm your heart? (sorry couldn’t resist the pun ;)) This is an excerpt from an article written by Mark Ketchum– on discovering God’s Sovereignty in election, salvation and transformation of a sinner dead in sin:

    …We are not able to seek Him or turn to Him unless He first intervenes to soften our hearts. Are we capable? …. Are we able? No, our hearts are seeped in sin and our depravity makes God undesirable…

    Romans 2:8-9: For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

    I have struggled with this concept for a long time. Ever since the concept of election was brought to my attention, I have fought against the idea of the inability to seek God on my own. During the sermon today at Faith Bible Church, it was as if a light bulb went on for the first time… God does choose us… we do not and cannot choose Him.

    My salvation is not because of anything I have done, but because of what God has done to and through me.

    While John is capable of going to college and graduating with a good degree, he is not able to accomplish this because of his laziness.

    Scripture tells us that we cannot come to Jesus unless we are compelled or drawn by the Father (John 6:44).  Jesus also spoke to us via Parable in Luke 14:16-24, explaining that the Father sent His servant Jesus to compel people to the banquet because nobody would come on their own… they were filled with excuses.

    I do believe in free will, however, now I see that free will is and will always be limited by ourselves. My free will allows me to jump off a roof with my arms a flapping, but I will never be able to fly on my own accord without assistance.

    My free will allows me to choose to murder, but thankfully I never will because that is not in my heart. The same goes for salvation. My free will allows me to choose God, but in my/our depraved state of sinfulness, I never will because it isn’t in my heart… unless God first softens my heart and changes me. Then and only then am I able to have the faith that offers repentance and salvation. …Read More!

Theological Imperialism and The Black Community

Interesting conversation here:

[HT Thabiti Anyabwile]

Who was Loraine Boettner?

Today I was reading Loraine Boettner’s classic book The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination (1932). Well, it wasn’t the first time I was tucking into it. It has always (okay over the last 2 years) been one of my favorite books. At this point I look at my small library and immediately shudder (yeah, its a very small library these days after I got rid of my word of faith, prosperity and purpose driven rubble).

So, who was Loraine Boettner? Where do we begin? Well…

Loraine Boettner

Loraine was born March 7th 1901 in Linden Missouri. He lived with his family; his father being a Christian school superintendent and his mother a housewife. Loraine attended his father’s church until he was 18. Then he joined his mother’s church–the Centennial Methodist Church; his mother was of a different denominational background than his father. …Read More!

Total Depravity: Debunking Common Straw Man Arguments

The usual way of arguing against one of the doctrines of grace is first, to misrepresent it so badly that no serious student of the Scripture would ever embrace it; then totally demolish it with arguments that have nothing at all to do with the issue. You have heard these straw man arguments before. Now we shall boldly look at them and debunk them one straw at a time. Some say the doctrine of total depravity (inability) cannot be true because:

1. The Bible teaches that all are responsible to believe and repent.

2.The Bible teaches that man has a will (choice). Man is not a robot or a puppet.

3. Every man does not act as sinfully as he is capable of acting.

4. Even wicked men perform acts which are good in the sight of other people.

Well…

1. The Bible teaches that men, controlled by a sinful nature, are not able to believe or repent. The person who believes in free grace has no argument with the truth that sinners are responsible. …Read More!

Pre destination or Unconditional Election: Debunking Common Straw Man Arguments

What are the common straw man arguments against Predestination also called the doctrine of God’s fore knowledge or Unconditional Election? It is argued that the doctrine of “Unconditional Election” cannot be true because:

1. Anyone who wants to be saved, can be. “Whosoever will May come.”

2. God does not delight in the destruction of the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11), but desires that all men repent.

3. We should preach the gospel to everyone. If God has only planned to save some, why should we preach to and pray for all?

4.”Election” and “predestination” are terms contrived by the Calvinists to cause confusion, bring division, and excuse a lack of evangelistic zeal (The issue is whether election ever took place or not).

Well lets tackle each of these issues one straw at a time:

1. The true believer in free grace will never deny that God has extended a free offer of mercy, in Christ, to all who hear the Gospel. To deny that “Whosoever will may come,” is to deny the clear teaching of God’s Word. The real issue, however, is whether any will desire salvation (in God’s way and on God’s terms) unless God gives him that desire (Psalm 14:1-3; Romans 3:11; Psalm 58:3-5; John 3:14-21, 5:40). …Read More!

Rated R for Reformed

Its hard to know all your 5 million or even 50 followers and friends on Facebook or Twitter or circled ones (on Google+) intricately. Once in a while I just love to read snippets that people write about themselves and their favorite quotations. Some are satirical, others philosophical and others profoundly theological. I really liked this one …

RATED R FOR REFORMED

IT IS GOD WHO:
– draws people to Himself (John 6:44,65). 
– creates a clean heart (Psalm 51:10). 
– appoints people to believe (Acts 13:48). 
– works faith in the believer (John 6:28-29). 
– chooses who is to be holy and blameless (Eph. 1:4). 
– chooses us for salvation (2 Thess. 2:13-14). 
– grants the act of believing (Phil. 1:29). 
– grants repentance (2 Tim. 2:24-26).  Read More!

Can I Be A One-Point Calvinist?

You have heard of people calling them selves three-point or four point Calvinists and others parading banners of the New-Calvinist fame. But in what context do all these variances arise? J.I. Packer makes a very interesting point:

The very act of setting out Calvinistic soteriology [the doctrine of salvation] in the form of five distinct points (a number due, as we saw, merely to the fact that there were five Arminian points for the Synod of Dort to answer) tends to obscure the organic character of Calvinistic thought on this subject. For the five points, though separately stated, are inseparable. They hang together; you cannot reject one without rejecting them all, at least in the sense in which the Synod meant them. For to Calvinism there is really only one point to be made in the field of soteriology: the point that God saves sinners. Read More

A Quiz For My Arminian Friends

I hope this Theology quiz goes the distance to help you understand your Bible and appreciate that God is the author of salvation. He alone can sustain a Christian and will complete the work He started on the day He glorifies him.

The Human Will: The Bird With The Broken wing

Excerpt from Loraine Boettner’s classic book The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination.

Loraine Boettner

Man is a free agent but be cannot originate the love of God in his heart. His will is free in the sense that it is not controlled by any force outside of himself. As the bird with a broken wing is “free” to fly but not able, so the natural man is free to come to God but not able. How can he repent of his sin when he loves it? How can he come to God when he hates Him? This is the inability of the will under which man labors. Jesus said, “And this is the judgment, that light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil,” John 3 :19; and again, “Ye will not come to me, that ye may have life,” John 5:40. Man’s ruin lies mainly in his own perverse will. He cannot come because he will not. Help enough is provided if he were only willing to accept it. Paul tells us, “The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be. So they that are in the flesh cannot please God:” Romans 8:7. To assume that because man has ability to love he therefore has ability to love God, is about as wise as to assume that …Read More

Bet You Never Saw This in Church Spurgeon!

By Charles Spurgeon

Our Savior did not use any means which might enlist man’s lower nature on his side. When I have heard of large congregations gathered together by the music of a fine choir, I have remembered that the same thing is done at the opera house and the music-hall, and I have felt no joy. When we have heard of crowds enchanted by the sublime music of the pealing organ, I have seen in the fact rather a glorification of St. Cecilia than of Jesus Christ. Our Lord trusted in no measure or degree to the charms of music for the establishing his throne. He has not given to his disciples the slightest intimation that they are to employ the attractions of the concert room to promote the kingdom of heaven. There’s More

Letters of Newton:The Cup of Affliction

He drank off the full cup of unmixed wrath for us; shall we then refuse to taste of the cup of affliction at his appointment, especially when his wisdom and love prepare it for us, and proportion every circumstance to our strength; when He put it into our hands, not in anger but in tender mercy, to do us good, to bring us near to himself; and when He sweetens every bitter draught with those comforts which none but He can give? Let us rather say, None of these things move us, neither do we count anything on this side of eternity dear, so that we may finish our course with joy and run with patience the race which is set before us.

(Letters of John Newton, pg. 50) Read More

Are There Lost Books Of The Bible?

There is much talk these days about lost books of the Bible.  From cults to the New Age, people make all sorts of claims about how the Bible is missing books, books that help justify what they hope to believe.  Sometimes people claim that the Bible was edited to take out reincarnation, or the teaching of higher planes of existence, or different gods, or ancestor worship, or “at-one-ment” with nature.

The “lost books” were never lost.  They were known by the Jews in Old Testament times and the Christians of the New Testament times and were never considered scripture.  They weren’t lost nor were they removed.  They were never in the Bible in the first place (see: Reasons why the Apocrypha does not belong in the Bible).

The additional books were not included in the Bible for several reasons: Read More

So Is Calvinism Consistent With What The Early Church Fathers Believed?

Historic Christianity has with stood fallacies and aberrant teachings from the days of the Apostles and early church fathers to the modern day. What is refuted in one generation makes a subtle comeback in the next dressed in more alluring language with all garb and fanfare. Michael Horton tackles the theology of the early church fathers so well in his book Putting Amazing Back into Grace. I would gladly like to share an excerpt that I came across courtesy of T. Scott Morgan (Warranted Faith):

The ubiquity of Arminianism in the modern evangelical church can make it difficult for some to seriously consider the possibility of the truth of an alternate doctrinal system such as Calvinism.  However, this over-sensitivity toward Arminian theology is not a result of a discovery of its own alleged truth.  Rather, it demonstrates only how easily heresy can spread and gain legitimacy in a culture and church that is by and large theologically illiterate, apathetic, and ignorant of the historical Christian faith. Read More

Black and Reformed: A Paradigm Shift

Is it true that the green shoots of recovery are sprouting and there is a gradually surging under current of hunger for Scripturally sound preaching with relentless intensity, indepth theological conviction and astute hermeneutic discipline? A couple of years ago Christianity Today noted that there was a growing resurgence towards Reformed Theology.  Reformed theology or Calvinism stresses that the initiative, sovereignty, and power of God is the only sure hope for the sinfulness, fickleness, and moral weakness of human beings—and the glory of God is the ultimate theme of preaching and focus of worship. But how proportional has this interest panned out among different ethnic communities? This in its self is just a glancing over view of the paradigm shift in the Black communities. Read More

Heidelberg: What is thy only comfort in life and death?

I have always wanted to go through the Heidelberg Catechism from beginning to end. We once started as a family and it was great learning the precepts of Christian faith.  So, here I am once again reminding myself from the first principles. To begin with what is a catechism? It is in short a summary or exposition of doctrine. Heidelberg catechism was composed in Heidelberg at the request of Elector Frederick III, who ruled the Palatinate, an influential German province, from 1559 to 1576. The Catechism is an introduction to the Christian worldview and the basic teachings of the Bible; it is divided into fifty-two sections, called “Lord’s Days,” which were designed to be taught on each of the 52 Sundays of the year. Elders and deacons were required to subscribe and adhere to it, and ministers were required to preach on a section of the Catechism each Sunday so as to increase the often poor theological knowledge of the church members. This catechism or exposition of doctrine follows the outline of the book of Romans and thus clearly explains the gospel by hitting on the main points of man’s sin, Christ’s redemption and man’s gratitude. Read more of this post

SOME THINGS NON CALVINISTS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT CALVINISM

Excerpted from anarticle by Colin Maxwell

An attempt to clear up some of the misunderstandings about Calvinism. This is not meant to be a detailed doctrinal defense of Calvinism’s Doctrines Of Grace.

1) Calvinism and Hyper-Calvinism are poles apart. The terms are not to be used synonymously. A Hyper-Calvinist is not just a zealous Calvinist. We both consider each other to be “mongrel” Calvinists. No man will actually call himself a Hyper-Calvinist.

2) Yes Calvinists are split into several factions. But then so are many such doctrinal schools e.g. Dispensationalism, Church Government, Worship – do we sing only the Psalms or use hymns? Which hymns? Do we use music? Which music? Which set of texts do we base our Bible translation on? Is it the Textus Receptus that is important or the (KJV) AV? or both? etc.

3) The term free will needs to be defined to avoid confusion. Calvinists will either affirm it or deny it, depending on what they think you mean. This sometimes leads to charges of contradictions. Consult the standard Calvinist Confessions e.g. the Westminster Confession of Faith Chapter 9 for a defining of terms. But There’s More

The Doctrines of Grace

God has recently given us the opportunity to discuss some theological issues with other Christians who believe differently than we do on a number of points, most notably the doctrines of grace. [This post was adapted from Monergism] In such a circumstance, given the overwhelming supply of scriptural evidence that comes to bear on the topic, it seemed to me that the best approach would be a simple categorized scripture list: the fact that the entire paper would be scriptures, with the exception of a few brief explanatory notes, would underscore the truth that this is God’s own word and teaching; and the fact that it would be categorized would facilitate the ready comparison of scripture with scripture so as to lead one to a full-orbed understanding of the biblical teaching. Although I found a few good scripture lists of that nature available online, none of them was laid out in quite the progression that I was looking for, and so I developed my own. I’m posting it here with just the scripture references. Below, for your convenience I have provided a condensed version and a full version of the study. The study is also available in print from Monergism Books. Read More

Dallas Voice Awards Voddie Baucham ‘Bigot Of The Day’ Title

If you didn’t read how livid The Dallas Voice was, this is an excerpt:

Voddie Baucham is a preacher at Grace Family Baptist Church in Spring, Texas. On Saturday, he addressed the opening session of the 2011 National Religious Broadcasters, an annual gathering of Christian broadcasters that’s taking place in Nashville. According to The Christian Post, Baucham urged them “to not buy into the ‘gay is the new black’ propaganda, but instead to remain committed to defending biblical marriage on the airwaves.” Baucham lamented that some broadcasters have become reluctant to bash gays on the air:

“The reason is the homosexuals have effectively co-opted blackness…to where now, we actually believe gay is the new black and we actually believe homosexual marriage is a civil rights issue,” he explained. “I’m insulted that people equate not just a sinful behavior but a behavior that’s a special category of sin called abomination with the level of melanin in my skin,” he said. ~Dallas Voice

Voddie it seems never minces his words. Read More

Open Air Preaching: Can I Get a Segway For Ray Comfort?

There are several people who have impacted my life in different ways. God has brought me to listen to very insightful teachings that have shaped me and are continually reforming my personal life in ways I probably cannot illustrate. One or two years ago I was searching for tracts online and I landed on a sermon that has always been an inspiration to me. Hell’s Best Secret by Ray Comfort is akin to Keith Green’s classic song Alseep in the Light-once you listen to them they continue to replay in your mind. They are evangelistic anthems so to speak. If you have ever listened to this sermon, you will agree with me it should be broadcast loud and clear, down every byway and highway, every church yard and barn yard needs to resound with this message. Maybe I should get him a Segway for open airpreaching…or well maybe standing on a good old salt box will just do all the same 😉 [The Transcript: Hell’s Best Kept Secret] Read More

The Trinity: It is not easy but it is so true!

There are some attributes of God that we as humans try to understand but our finite minds can only go so far. Take for example the Trinity. How would you explain the concept of the Trinity? Or would you back down in any apologetic discussion for the sake of not rocking the boat and whimper off muttering under your breath, “Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)”. I came across this excerpt from a book written by J.I Packer. Not only is this doctrine broken broken down into simple understandable language but Dr Packer also has a way of maintaining the interest of the reader and drawing you to an awesome realisation of the infinite beauty of  God. Read More

When Another Televangelist Laughs his way to The Bank

Deception has been one of the oldest games since Eve fell foul in the garden of Eden. The most immediate reaction is usually why didn’t God step in at that moment and in one blaze of purple and blue smoking lightning zap the fruit and serpent into an ashen crisp or vapour? Why didn’t God realize that the serpent would be slithering his way into the garden sooner or later? Then how about in the modern day church, why are there heretics with wacky theology thriving in pulpits and on Christian television? Why do they seem to have larger followings, draw higher ratings and yet they seem to be delving in utter rank deception? Where is God when another false teacher or prophet panders his way through the pockets of innocent people? Well, thanks for asking. I came a cross an excerpt from A.W Pink that may perchance shed some light on what scripture says: Read More

Now How Do I make My Kids Love The Bible More Than TV?

Over the last couple of months I realised that while I was reading my new study bible the kids were busy tucking into endless Tom and Jerry cartoons. The more I delved into the word of God the more I wanted to lovingly involve every body. Yes, even the 3 year old. So I started searching for good theologically sound family resources. I have come across very good and interesting resources for Christian families to explore the word of God together. Some study resources involve personal scripture reading like the Professor Grant Horner’s Bible Reading System and on the other hand there is the Heidelberg Catechism for Families and also The Shorter Catechism for Young Children.

Some people say that at times the closer you walk with God the more the rebellion that may develop in your children (to God and his commands). But Read More

Where is God When We Suffer?

We many times moan and whinge when things do not go right. We grit our teeth at God when we see a maze before our eyes. Have you ever thought of the sovereignty of God? Have you ever understood the mind of God? May this testimony of John Farese be an encouragement. Crippled for most of his life but proundly sober in his understanding of God’s sovereignty and scripture:

Read More

Every Second Counts:Two Minute Evangelism Tip

What Were The Confessions of St Augustine?

The grace of Christ, without which no body can be saved, is not bestowed on account of any virtues, but is given gratuitously, which is why it is called ‘grace’. The Reformation witnessed the ultimate triumph of Augustine’s doctrine of grace over the legacy of the Pelagian view of man. Luther and Calvin quoted Augustine. If we take Augustine at his word, his ability to write the Confessions (the name of an autobiographical work, consisting of 13 books) depends entirely upon the discovery of himself in conversion.  From the vantage of eleven years, the 44 year-old Bishop remembers clearly what transpired in his soul that resolved his wanderings and his intellectual discovery in an experience of conversion that informs all of his work for the church.  Understanding conversion is central to any understanding of Augustine. Read More

Christmas: Er, A Season for Giving (To Yourself)

The birth of Christ found people pre occupied with menial pursuits. The first Christmas found the inn full. Probably all relatives of Joseph found they had no extra rooms in Bethlehem. Herod was busy planning a census. The shepherds were out in the fields. Mary being with child brought forth her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths. The first Christmas almost passed unnoticed until the angel of the Lord with a herald of other angels lit up the skies and announced, “ Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy.” But There’s more

Wrestling With God Till Day Break

I remember when I wrestled with the Spirit of God. I (yes teeny weenie me) in one corner and the Omnipotent, Transcendent and Almighty in the other. But who has never fought against God after hearing the gospel? Or was it a bout with myself -my old man so to speak? The gospel seems to go against the very grain of our humanity. It asserts that man is broken and helpless. It asserts that we are dead in sin and cannot of our selves change that nature. To underscore this very important fact God gave us the Ten Commandments as a moral code. Try as you may to obey one commandment and you break all. Break one and you find you easily break the rest. The easiest thing is to harden your heart and resist any demands of the Law. Read More

Heidelberg: What is thy only comfort in life and death?

I have always wanted to go through the Heidelberg Catechism from beginning to end. We once started as a family and it was great learning the precepts of Christian faith.  So, here I am once again reminding myself from the first principles. To begin with what is a catechism? It is in short a summary or exposition of doctrine. Heidelberg catechism was composed in Heidelberg at the request of Elector Frederick III, who ruled the Palatinate, an influential German province, from 1559 to 1576. The Catechism is an introduction to the Christian worldview and the basic teachings of the Bible; it is divided into fifty-two sections, called “Lord’s Days,” which were designed to be taught on each of the 52 Sundays of the year. Elders and deacons were required to subscribe and adhere to it, and ministers were required to preach on a section of the Catechism each Sunday so as to increase the often poor theological knowledge of the church members. This catechism or exposition of doctrine follows the outline of the book of Romans and thus clearly explains the gospel by hitting on the main points of man’s sin, Christ’s redemption and man’s gratitude. Read more of this post

Wiki Leaks May be Good for The church

Tough week as the weather regurgitated almost all the snow it had in its innards. And so did Wiki leaks threaten to unleash all the alleged secret thoughts and prejudices that the Washington administration forgot to mark as ‘classified’. It was reminiscent of goo-covered Jonah being spat from the belly of a fish -sea weed and all onto the shores of Nineveh. There is always that naked emptiness when our inner thoughts are laid bare and put to the scrutiny of a moral code. A feeling, ironically that, we have been wronged by the act itself however noble the intended purpose. Read More