Friday, March 27, 2015

This Week in Calvinism - March 27, 2015

  • The reason Roger Olson believes that "Calvinism makes God morally monstrous" is that if God even passes over certain people when he could save them, "then God is not good in any meaningful sense." As usual, Olson avoids explaining why his theology isn't subject to the same criticism by saying he has written on this issue before. However, he does say regarding the reprobate that "[God's] knowledge corresponds to their free choices." Olson even quotes C. S. Lewis. And who are we to argue with a guy who can quote C. S. Lewis?

  • "Modified" Arminian James Goetz goes a step further. He believes in "restricted free will" and "conditional universalism," saying "that God never ceases to reach out to humans regardless of death." And he brings up a good point. If Arminians like Roger Olson believe that God "desires all people to be saved" (1 Timothy 2:4), why should a minor inconvenience like physical death get in the way of that?

  • Kyle Dillon has created a "quick and easy" chart on two kingdoms theology and neo-Calvinism. What do you think of his comparisons?

  • In reviewing Nancy Pearcey's book Finding Truth: 5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes, John Mark N. Reynolds writes, "Anyone who tells you that you do not have free will deserves being ignored." He later qualifies that by saying, "Pearcey rightly notes that even Calvinism does not deny human free will, just free will in regard to salvation."

  • We now know the reason why a new Calvinist tends to be so aggressive. It's because when an Arminian comes along and uses the Bible to shoots holes in his theology, the "Calvinist has to choose between the Bible or their new found worldview." Thankfully, most of us eventually learn to explain and rationalize our way around passages like John 3:16, 1 Timothy 2:4, 2 Peter 3:9, and Ezekiel 33:11.

  • If there is any "choice" in Calvinism, Rich Davis doesn't see it.

  • Ian Clary responds.

  • Four lessons from a Calvinist slave.

Friday, March 20, 2015

This Week in Calvinism - March 20, 2015

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Meet the modern 'Good Samaritan'

(via Young Americans for Liberty)

Friday, March 13, 2015

This Week in Calvinism - March 13, 2015

Thursday, March 12, 2015

'I Am the Very Model of a Biblical Philologist'

About the only line I understood was, "And proved the Philistines were almost certainly Canadian." Still, I thought this was pretty funny.

(via Dave Black Online)

Friday, March 06, 2015

This Week in Calvinism - March 6, 2015

  • Dr. Malcolm Hester concludes his examination of the two pillars of Calvinism: "God is sovereign and man is responsible because he is free to accept or deny God’s will. It is not an attack on God’s sovereignty for God to grant limited freedom to mankind."

  • David Bishop decries "tolerant Calvinists" like James White, R. C. Sproul, John MacArthur, John Piper, Paul Washer, and Matthew McMahon for spreading the "heresy" of Lordship salvation.

  • Concerning those "crusty Calvinists."

  • The folks at Mortification of Spin interview Tom Ascol about Calvinism in the SBC.

  • Dave Jenkins discusses Spurgeon, inerrancy, and what we still need today.

  • Speaking of the Prince of Preachers, John Piper has written a new book, titled Charles Spurgeon: Preaching Through Adversity.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

A Reformed Libertarian perspective on the theonomy debate

C. Jay Engel and Brandon Adams of Reformed Libertarian provides an in-depth analysis of the recent theonomy debate between J. D. Hall and Joel McDurmon. One highlight:
Israel was not like every other nation – not then, not now. Israel was a type of the church. It’s land was a type of the new earth. Israel was a holy nation, unique from all others. They were not a model for other nations to follow. They were a shadow of the eschatological Kingdom of Christ (they were not themselves the Kingdom of Christ). Their nation represented an “intrusion ethic” from the eschaton. Sin was not allowed in this holy land because God’s presence dwelt there externally.

They were to “purge the evil from their midst” because the land itself was holy, set apart by God. No land today is holy land. The new earth will be holy, and as such, no sin can remain. Thus all sin will receive its just wages. Israel’s civil laws were a foretaste, a shadow of this final judgment. The most extreme outward sins were punished with death. The purpose of this was not to set a standard for all nations to follow. The purpose, just as Israel’s purpose as a whole, was a ministry of condemnation. It was to teach us how much God hates sin.
Read the full analysis here.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Watch the entire theonomy debate between J. D. Hall and Joel McDurmon

You can watch the debate between J. D. Hall and Joel McDurmon on the resolution "Mosaic civil laws are obligatory for civil governments today." One question I wish would have been addressed: Is civil government itself obligatory?

Friday, February 27, 2015

This Week in Calvinism - February 27, 2015

  • Bruce wants to see "a free training piece churches can use to help people identify a handful of the more common things they will hear that stem from Calvinist theology"...because, you know, typing "Calvinist theology" into Google can be complicated.

  • Dr. Malcolm Hester, pastor and adjunct professor at Clear Creek Baptist Bible College in Pineville, Kentucky, tries to knock down the "two pillars of Calvinism": divine sovereignty and human inability.

  • A very brief review of Randy Alcorn's book Hand in Hand: Beauty of God's Sovereignty and Meaningful Human Choice.

  • Yet another "sermon" on the errors of Calvinism. Makes you wonder what some of these pastors would preach on if it weren't for that guy who killed Servetus.

  • How can we know that the Bible is true?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Friday, February 20, 2015

This Week in Calvinism - February 20, 2015

  • In part 3 of his series "Pacesetters of Anglican Protestantism," Roger Salter writes:
    Calvinism can attract the bully boys and the arrogant who like to associate themselves with the divine supremacy and omnipotence as a license for their bad behavior, but that is the fault of human pride that pollutes everything it touches, even the most hallowed things of God (biblical and sacred history reveals this vile tendency in abundance), but the doctrine of election, grasped within the limits of its Scriptural enunciation, is testimony to the invincible power of divine love and its triumph over resolute rebellion. Let us bless God that he overcomes our suicidal unwillingness.

  • In Roger Olson's opinion, "hyper-Calvinism (of the Hoeksema variety) is consistent Calvinism," which is why he suspects "that a great deal of Calvinist success in evangelism and missions is due to the fact that many Calvinists offer the gospel and salvation in a manner inconsistent with their own theology."

  • Should Arminianism or Calvinism be an issue for unity?

  • Sin: Can't live with it, won't live without it.

  • Philosophy meets Neo-Calvinism.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Russell Moore vs. Roy Moore: Whose law?

"For the LORD is our judge; the LORD is our lawgiver; the LORD is our king; he will save us."
- Isaiah 33:22

Ours is no longer a nation of laws. Individual judges long ago assumed the power to impose their will on the public, and that is exactly what Judge Ginny Granade of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama did last month. On January 23, Granade ruled that the Alabama
Sanctity of Marriage Amendment and the Alabama Marriage Protection Act are "unconstitutional on Equal Protection and Due Process Grounds." She further ordered Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange not to enforce those laws, which simply asserted that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore in turn ordered probate judges in the state to ignore Granade's ruling. His reasoning was grounded in the fact that the ruling only applied to Attorney General Strange, and since probate judges are the ones charged with issuing marriage licences, the constitutional ban on same-sex "marriage" remained intact. Besides, the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled that marriage is a state issue, and since the people of Alabama had already spoken, the issue was settled.

Russell D. Moore disagrees. He thinks Chief Justice Moore should either comply with Judge Granade or resign. In a written statement released to Baptist Press, he said:
As citizens and as Christians, our response should be one of both conviction and of respect for the rule of law (1 Peter 2:13; Romans 13). Our system of government does not allow a state to defy the law of the land.

In a Christian ethic, there is a time for civil disobedience in cases of unjust laws. That's why, for instance, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. went to jail. In the case of judges and state Supreme Court justices, though, civil disobedience, even when necessary, cannot happen in their roles as agents of the state. Religious freedom and conscience objections must be balanced with a state's obligation to discharge the law. We shouldn't have officials breaking the law, but civil servants don't surrender their conscience simply by serving in government. While these details are being worked out, in the absence of any conscience protections, a government employee faced with a decision of violating his conscience or upholding the law, would need to resign and protest against it as a citizen if he could not discharge the duties of his office required by law in good conscience.
While Russell Moore would argue Romans 13 dictates that the chief justice should submit to the governing authority, Roy Moore, as a sitting judge, is also a governing authority. The question then arises: which "law of the land" is to be obeyed?

On one hand, a federal judge has single-handedly nullified Alabama's state constitution on a whim. On the other hand, a State Supreme Court justice has sworn to uphold that same constitution. In addition, nothing in the U.S. Constitution grants federal judges the power to strike down state laws. (I know that kind of talk is considered heresy today, but these United States were once considered "free and independent.") So, which is the more legitimate law?

In regard to Judge Granade's ruling, Russell Moore would like to see Roy Moore "resign and protest against it as a citizen." Well, Judge Moore is already a citizen. As chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, he is in a much better position to protest against unlawful judicial decisions, protecting those within his jurisdiction against an overreaching authority who would order others to do what God forbids.

God's law remains in effect. It would seem to me that the more legitimate law in the civil realm, the law to be obeyed, is the one under which "rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad" (Romans 13:3).

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Why I can't take Bill Nye seriously

In his latest book, Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation, Bill Nye the "Science Guy" sounds more like those ignorant creationists he likes to ridicule than an objective, reasonable man of science:
In general, creationist groups do not accept evolution as the fact of life. It's not just that they don't understand how evolution led to the ancient dinosaurs, for example, they take it another step and deny that evolution happened at all anywhere, let alone that it is happening today. They want everyone else in the world to deny it, too, including you and me.

Inherent in this rejection of evolution is the idea that your curiosity about the world is misplaced and your common sense is wrong. This attack on reason is an attack on all of us. Children who accept this ludicrous perspective will find themselves opposed to progress. They will become society's burdens rather than its producers, a prospect that I find very troubling. Not only that, these kids will never feel the joy of discovery that science brings. They will have to suppress the basic human curiosity that leads to asking questions, exploring the world around them, and making discoveries. They will miss out on countless exciting adventures. We're robbing them of basic knowledge about their world and the joy that comes with it. It breaks my heart. (p. 10)
So, according to Nye, creationists have no interest in exploring the world around them, nor do they understand the joy of discovery. He is probably thinking of creationists like Francis Bacon, who gave us the scientific method. Maybe he is thinking of Johannes Kepler and his laws of planetary motion. Or perhaps he has in mind Isaac Newton, who revolutionized mathematics and physics.

Oh, but all those guys came before Charles Darwin, the patron saint of evolution. I suppose, then, Nye must have been referring to creationists like Louis Pasteur, the father of microbiology. Or James Joule, whose work with heat led to the law of conservation of energy and the first law of thermodynamics. Or Joseph Lister, the father of modern surgery. Come on, Bill.

I submit that it was a love of God and his creation that fueled the curiosity of these Christian scientists. The same can be said of modern creationists. After all, scripture is full of curiosity-inspiring passages:
"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." (Genesis 1:1)

"He stretches out the north over the void and hangs the earth on nothing." (Job 26:7)

"When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?" (Psalm 8:3-4)

"For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse." (Romans 1:20)

"By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible." (Hebrews 11:3)
Undeniable, at its outset, demonstrates Nye's ignorance of science, history, and what creationists actually believe. It also showcases his willingness to lie in order to demonize those who disagree with him. It's this kind of nonsense that makes it extremely difficult to take him seriously as a scientist.

Friday, February 13, 2015

This Week in Calvinism - February 13, 2015

  • Not surprisingly, Roger Olson has a soft spot for "revisionist Reformed" theologians who aren't so hardcore on the issue of God's sovereignty.

  • Six key events in the history of Baptist churches.

  • More free stuff from Tim Challies.

  • Pastor Ronnie Rogers rejects the idea that rejecting Calvinism requires a weak view of depravity.

  • Tweet from @GospelPanacea: "To reject the doctrine of election is to declare that, when left alone, you are more righteous than your unbelieving neighbor."

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Church pledges submission to government

This past Sunday, February 8, was Law Enforcement Appreciation Day at Gold Creek Community Church in Mill Creek, Washington. Pastor Dan Kellogg, decked out in a sheriff's uniform, spent some time onstage interviewing Snohomish County Executive John Lovick and Sheriff Ty Trenary.

After acknowledging the many assorted law enforcement officers in attendance, he launched into his "sermon." It was based on Romans 13, of course, which was written "in the midst of a government that wasn't honorable, like our government is." Um...yeah. You can see where this is going.

Toward the end of the service devoted to worship of the state, Pastor Kellogg led the congregation in the following pledge:
I pledge to do my best to follow the law.
I pledge to thank a police officer or deputy for their service.
I pledge to call 911 if I see someone suspicious in my neighborhood.
I pledge to watch the back of our officers as they fulfill their duties.
I pledge to pray for the safety of all members of law enforcement.
Are there no exceptions to this pledge? Are we to simply dismiss the problem of police brutality? Are we supposed to support the enforcement of each and every law, no matter what? I know I could not say this in good conscience, and I think it's shameful for a pastor to call on members of his congregation to make such a pledge before God.

Upon witnessing this spectacle, I was reminded of the so-called "clergy response team" that would be employed by the Department of Homeland Security in the event martial law was ever declared:

Honestly, I can't decide if Pastor Kellogg is just plain ignorant, or if he is actively trying to turn his church into a tool for the state. Watch the entire service and judge for yourself.


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