Friday, October 31, 2014

This Week in Calvinism - October 31, 2014

  • James Ach accuses James White (and other Calvinists) of being "inconsistent."

  • Bob Wilkin will be leading a conference next weekend titled "Doubt and the New Calvinism: The Current Crisis in Assurance."

  • Calvinism on the ground in China.

  • Roger Olson reviews Prevenient Grace: God’s Provision for Fallen Humanity by Arminian scholar W. Brian Shelton (no relation).

  • Lots of free resources available from Ligonier through the end of Reformation Day Friday.

  • Jon Bloom of Desiring God tells the story of October 31.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Anti-family planning propaganda, courtesy of Disney

"All of us have a responsibility toward the family of man...including you."

Friday, October 24, 2014

This Week in Calvinism - October 24, 2014

Friday, October 17, 2014

This Week in Calvinism - October 17, 2014

  • Why do so many people resist Calvinism, even those who eventually become Calvinists? "Isn't the answer obvious? It is because Calvinism contradicts, and blatantly so, our most basic moral axioms or intuitions. It contradicts, for example, the self-evident truth that we are genuinely free."

  • Kent Brandenburg writes, "The five points of Calvinism do not present a different gospel per se, because those five points don't deal with the crux of the gospel, which is, one, whether you believe in a biblical Jesus, and, two, whether your faith is a biblical faith in Christ."

  • James J. Cassidy lists five reasons why he is not a New Calvinist.

  • Chris Woznicki writes, "To say that predestination, a doctrine clearly taught in scripture, is unjust is to say that there is a rule of righteousness above God."

  • Be prepared to answer your kids' questions about the Bible.

Friday, October 03, 2014

This Week in Calvinism - October 3, 2014

  • Roger Olson on where Calvinists and Arminians agree.

  • "In Romans," writes Jeremy Myers, "'Salvation' is about deliverance from the temporal consequences of sin now." It ain't about God's sovereign choice.

  • What is the highest good? Phillip Holmes explains.

Friday, September 26, 2014

This Week in Calvinism - September 26, 2014

Friday, September 19, 2014

This Week in Calvinism - September 19, 2014

  • Many people like to avoid the Calvinist or Arminian label by claiming to be Biblicist. However, according to Mark Snoeberger, "'None of the above' is not a valid answer." He believes the issue comes down to one question: "Do believers play any independent role in their own regeneration?"

  • Roger Olson poses a question to Calvinists.

  • Ken Chitwood writes that while religion once played a larger role in Scottish history, "it has faded into the background in an overtly secular Scotland and generally areligious United Kingdom."

  • Is the decline in membership among Baptists due to uncivil conduct over issues like Calvinism?

  • Michael Brown debates Brian Zahnd on the nature of the atonement.

  • Tim Challies on the app that revitalized his prayer life.

Monday, September 15, 2014

"Joel Osteen is a friend to sinners"

Phil Munsey, head of Joel Osteen's Champion's Network, has written a completely unbiased article on America's favorite preacher:
When Jesus was in the homes of the gluttonous and wine-bibbers, Jesus appeared comfortable, and so did the sinners. I'm sure the disciples felt betrayed, confused, angry and maybe a bit envious. Why was Jesus spending time with those people?

Like the disciples, we as Christians may feel betrayed—left out. And with a culture that has seemingly rejected our faith and oftentimes mocked and misrepresented it through the media, it's easy to be disillusioned. Why would Joel and that grin of his be with "those" people? Why? Because Joel is a friend to sinners too.

Joel is an invited guest to our neighbor's home, to the person we do business with, to our families and friends—all of whom watch and are positively influenced by his ministry. My goodness, even our president watches!

I believe history will record the past 14 years of Joel's ministry and influence as one of the most effective pastor/evangelist of our time. And his compassionate passion for people indicates to me that his best efforts are yet to come!

Can I encourage us to begin to believe the best in and for each other? To especially pray and protect the gifts of Joel and Victoria? God has given them to represent and reach an increasingly number of unchurched, de-churched and unbelieving in our world. To be a friend of sinners should be a claim no one should be ashamed of!
It seems we've had Brother Joel all wrong.

Friday, September 12, 2014

This Week in Calvinism - September 12, 2014

  • Now it makes sense. Faithful Word Baptist Church, starring the anti-Calvinist Steven Anderson, is nothing more than a low-budget reality TV series. I mean, why else would it have its very own page on IMDb?

  • Dr. Christopher Cone is neither a Calvinist nor an Arminian.

  • Joel McDurmon discusses "Calvin's great error on biblical law."

  • James White begins critiquing the recent Montgomery/Jones vs. Zahnd/Fischer debate on Calvinism.

  • Charismatics fire back at John MacArthur and other cessationaists.

  • A history of Hell in America. Man, those dour Calvinists sure loved preaching about damnation, didn't they?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

When speaking to Middle Eastern Christians, try not to force Israel down their throats

That's a lesson one politician learned the hard way:
Sen. Ted Cruz was booed offstage at a conference for Middle Eastern Christians Wednesday night after saying that "Christians have no greater ally than Israel."

Cruz, the keynote speaker at the sold-out D.C. dinner gala for the recently-founded non-profit In Defense of Christians, began by saying that "tonight, we are all united in defense of Christians. Tonight, we are all united in defense of Jews. Tonight, we are all united in defense of people of good faith, who are standing together against those who would persecute and murder those who dare disagree with their religious teachings."
He didn't stop there, of course:
"Those who hate Israel hate America," he continued, as the boos and calls for him to leave the stage got louder. "Those who hate Jews hate Christians. If those in this room will not recognize that, then my heart weeps. If you hate the Jewish people you are not reflecting the teachings of Christ. And the very same people who persecute and murder Christians right now, who crucify Christians, who behead children, are the very same people who target Jews for their faith, for the same reason."

The cries of "stop it, stop it, enough," and booing continued. "Out, out, leave the stage!" At this point IDC's president, Toufic Baaklini, came out to the stage to ask for the crowd to listen to Cruz, but Cruz had already had enough.

"If you will not stand with Israel and the Jews," he said. "Then I will not stand with you. Good night, and God bless." And with that, he walked off the stage.
So, disagreeing with Israeli military action and foreign policy amounts to hating the Jews? Way to stay classy, Ted.

Friday, September 05, 2014

This Week in Calvinism - September 5, 2014

  • T. C. Moore reacts to the recent Calvinism debate between Daniel Montgomery and Timothy Paul Jones, and Brian Zahnd and Austin Fischer:
    Montgomery and Jones should march back to their alma mater and demand every cent they spent on their M.Div. and Ph.D. respectively. There is no justification for how they can be trained in biblical interpretation and yet remain this misguided outside of gross educational negligence or intentional indoctrination.

  • Pastor Jeff Weddle's analysis of the debate was even more colorful:
    So based on breathing styles, the non-Calvinists won the debate hands down. I would love to sit down and chat with Austin Fischer.

    Calvinists–we already detest your theology and your notion of God, try not to further detest us by dropping into breathy speech patterns. Not winning ya any points.

  • Roger Olson thought the debate was "a model of how such disagreements among evangelicals should be handled–no ridicule or caricaturing or misrepresenting of others’ views but only serious, irenic engagement of ideas."

  • John Piper discusses how to find strength in the strength of God.

  • Deviant Calvinism.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

The cross displays God's hatred of sin

From The Course of Faith, or the Practical Believer Delineated, by John Angell James:
The death of Christ, apprehended by faith, presents the strongest motives to holiness—by setting forth in the most vivid and striking manner, the holiness and justice of God, and his determination to punish transgression; the immutable authority of the Divine law; the evil nature of sin; and the fearfulness of falling into the hands of the living God. Not all the judgments God ever inflicted—nor all the threatenings he ever denounced, give such an impressive warning against sin, and admonition to righteousness—as the death of Christ. The torments of the bottomless pit are not so dreadful a demonstration of God's hatred of sin as the agonies of the cross.
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Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Mohler: "America deserves the Osteens"

Albert Mohler on Joel and Victoria Osteen:
America deserves the Osteens. The consumer culture, the cult of the therapeutic, the marketing impulse, and the sheer superficiality of American cultural Christianity probably made the Osteens inevitable. The Osteens are phenomenally successful because they are the exaggerated fulfillment of the self-help movement and the cult of celebrity rolled into one massive mega-church media empire. And, to cap it all off, they give Americans what Americans crave — reassurance delivered with a smile.
However...
Mere happiness cannot bear the weight of the Gospel. The message of the real Gospel is found in John 3:16: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." That is a message that can be preached with a straight face, a courageous spirit, and an urgent heart in Munich, in Miami, or in Mosul.

If our message cannot be preached with credibility in Mosul, it should not be preached in Houston. That is the Osteen Predicament.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Sorry, Arminians, but free will may just be the brain's 'background noise'

OK, so the title is tongue-in-cheek. Mostly. But consider this report from Live Science:
It's a question that has plagued philosophers and scientists for thousands of years: Is free will an illusion?

Now, a new study suggests that free will may arise from a hidden signal buried in the "background noise" of chaotic electrical activity in the brain, and that this activity occurs almost a second before people consciously decide to do something.

Though "purposeful intentions, desires and goals drive our decisions in a linear cause-and-effect kind of way, our finding shows that our decisions are also influenced by neural noise within any given moment," study co-author Jesse Bengson, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Davis, wrote in an email to Live Science. "This random firing, or noise, may even be the carrier upon which our consciousness rides, in the same way that radio static is used to carry a radio station."
So it would seem Calvinism is backed up by scripture and science! :)

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