Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Reformation Turns 490 Today

In honor of this historic event, Tim Challies invites you to join the "2007 Reformation Day Symposium":
    As I spent time alone with God this morning, my thoughts and prayers turned continually to the word "reform," but with -ing appended to it instead of -ed. I love to claim the title of "Reformed," but today my prayer was that God would continue reforming me. I am a work in progress and pray that God will continue to reform me and to reform the church. Perhaps He will work through some of these great articles that are coming in from the far reaches of the blogosphere as part of this Reformation Day Symposium. Each of these articles was prepared by a different blogger. Each makes a unique contribution. I'd encourage you to read at least a few of them.

    If you have prepared an article you'd like to share, let me know and I will update this list throughout the day.
You can link to those articles at Challies.com.

Oh, and happy Reformation Day!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Spurgeon on Election

I found Spurgeon's morning devotion for October 28 to be especially encouraging:
    "I have chosen you out of the world." —John 15:19

    There is distinguishing grace and discriminating regard; for some are made the special objects of divine affection. Do not be afraid to dwell upon this high doctrine of election. When your mind is most heavy and depressed, you will find it to be a bottle of richest cordial. Those who doubt the doctrines of grace, or who cast them into the shade, miss the richest clusters of Eshcol; they lose the wines on the lees well refined, the fat things full of marrow. There is no balm in Gilead comparable to it. If the honey in Jonathan's wood when but touched enlightened the eyes, this is honey which will enlighten your heart to love and learn the mysteries of the kingdom of God. Eat, and fear not a surfeit; live upon this choice dainty, and fear not that it will be too delicate a diet. Meat from the King's table will hurt none of His courtiers. Desire to have your mind enlarged, that you may comprehend more and more the eternal, everlasting, discriminating love of God. When you have mounted as high as election, tarry on its sister mount, the covenant of grace. Covenant engagements are the munitions of stupendous rock behind which we lie entrenched; covenant engagements with the surety, Christ Jesus, are the quiet resting-places of trembling spirits.
    "His oath, His covenant, His blood,
    Support me in the raging flood;
    When every earthly prop gives way,
    This still is all my strength and stay."
    If Jesus undertook to bring me to glory, and if the Father promised that He would give me to the Son to be a part of the infinite reward of the travail of His soul; then, my soul, till God Himself shall be unfaithful, till Jesus shall cease to be the truth, thou art safe. When David danced before the ark, he told Michal that election made him do so. Come, my soul, exult before the God of grace and leap for joy of heart.

Friday, October 26, 2007

This Week in Calvinism - October 26, 2007

  • TBNN reports that more churches (in what seems to be a celebration of diversity) are accepting and affirming Calvinists in their midst.

  • Sometimes you just have to appreciate idiotic statements: "Tracing today's capitalism to the church leaves an evil mark. The Reformation in its Calvinist version made religion a thing of this world and achieved the miracle of identifying blessings with the accumulation of riches. The shame of profiteering was wiped away and what was formerly lust for wealth became the fulfillment of God's purposes on earth."

  • Richard Smith says something we should all take to heart: "One can be a five-point Calvinist (whatever that may mean to so many) and still not truly believe in the depravity of his or her own heart. It can be nothing more than an intellectual teaching and it might even be something learned from a creed or a history class. But until that person has learned the depths of depravity of his own heart and learned that he needs grace every moment to do any spiritual good at all, that person has not learned depravity."

  • Reformed theology vs. seeker-sensitive "theology."

  • Just what we need: another ill-informed rant on the "Satanic heresies" of Calvinism. Yes, John Calvin believed (wrongly) in paedobaptism, but to claim that he actually taught baptismal regeneration? That's a new one.

  • Triabloguer Peter Pike on how an Arminian robot makes a choice.
  • Wednesday, October 24, 2007

    Hagee's Heresy

    John Hagee has written a new book, In Defense of Israel, which he claims will "shake Christian theology." He says the book will "prove that Jesus did not come to earth to be the Messiah. ... Since Jesus refused, by word and deed, to claim to be the Messiah, how can the Jews be blamed for rejecting what was never offered?"

    Yeah, I thought that was outrageous, too, even for Hagee. But click here (or here) and see for yourself.

    Perhaps it wouldn't hurt Mr. Hagee to crack open his Bible once in a while:
      So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly." Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name bear witness about me." (John 10:24-25)

      Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:30-31)

    Tuesday, October 23, 2007

    The Atheistic Worldview

    You've all heard the song:
      Imagine there's no heaven
      It's easy if you try
      No hell below us
      Above us only sky
      Imagine all the people
      Living for today
    What drivel. It may sound appealing when set to music, but no one really wants to imagine a world in which right and wrong do not exist.

    When you adhere to an atheistic worldview, you lack the necessary foundation to make moral judgments. Oh, the atheist will try to say that his worldview allows for things like right and wrong, but such notions are meaningless in a philosophy that wishes man to remain unaccountable to a Creator. Doing what's "right" boils down to doing what feels good "right now."

    The Armchair Theologian shares some of his thoughts on the subject. Included in his post is a clip from an interview with serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, who linked the philosophy of evolution to his murderous behavior. Put simply, evolution cheapens life.

    In a world based on the principle of "survival of the fittest," there can be no judgment as to what constitutes right or wrong behavior, even for human beings. After all, according to evolutionary theory, we humans have only been around for a blink of an eye, while the world has been changing constantly for billions of years.

    A.T. sums it up: "It seems to me that the evolutionary and atheistic thinkers want the Christian worldview to be true only when it's convenient for them, and use Christian morality to reject people who carry out their own philosophies to their logical conclusions."

    Brian Godawa, a Christian screenwriter and director, carried out the atheist philosophy to its logical conclusion in his short film Cruel Logic. You may find it a little disturbing, but I think it depicts perfectly the kind of world the atheists are trying to force on the rest of us -- whether they realize it or not:

    Friday, October 19, 2007

    This Week in Calvinism - October 19, 2007

  • Theological knowledge can be a great source of pride. What we need is more humility as we seek to know God.

  • T. J. Pennock says that Calvinism is "a strange religion that claims sinners are damned for not believing in a cross that makes no provision." So, does that mean the biblical alternative is a religion that claims sinners are damned for sins already covered by the cross?

  • Hank is already up to part seven in a five-part series dealing with objections to Calvinism.

  • A brief thought on justification.

  • While we're on the subject, does justification still matter? Apparently, justification by grace alone through faith alone can no longer be taken for granted in today's churches.

  • Pastor John Piper responds to David Instone-Brewer's article in Christianity Today on the topic of divorce.
  • Thursday, October 18, 2007

    Divine Providence

    What does John MacArthur's grandson's game-winning field goal have to do with a fatal crash on I-5, south of Santa Clarita? You have to read Phil Johnson's latest post to find out.

    Monday, October 15, 2007

    Joel Osteen on 60 Minutes

    Joel Osteen was featured on 60 Minutes last night. In an interview with Byron Pitts, he talked about his "ministry" and responded to his critics.

    I watched it to see what Michael Horton, Professor of Theology and Apologetics at Westminster Seminary California, had to say. You can watch the video here while it's still available.

    Sunday, October 14, 2007

    Tiptoeing through the TULIPs - Part 2: Unconditional Election

    Unconditional Election
    God is holy and just, and all who fall short of his standard for perfection are under condemnation (Romans 1:18, Romans 6:23). It would be contrary to God's nature for him to allow any sin to go unpunished.

    So, if all are born into sin, what hope do we have? Our hope lies in the very one who is condemning us. Because we are completely powerless to overcome sin on our own, he, in his infinite wisdom and mercy, effectively draws certain people unto himself. In other words, he chooses who will be saved and who will not be saved.

    Most Christians will agree -- to a point. They cannot deny the doctrine of election entirely because scripture uses the terms "elect" and "election" explicitly (Matthew 24:41, Luke 18:7, Romans 11:28, 2nd Timothy 2:10, 2nd Peter 1:10, etc.). However, many believe the election referred to is conditional.

    Here is how conditional election works: God, at some point in eternity past, looked ahead down the corridors of time and, according to his foreknowledge, saw who would receive Christ as savior. Those are the ones he then predestined for salvation. This may seem like a simple explanation, but it's wrong.

    Here is what Paul writes in Romans 9:9-13:
      For this is what the promise said: "About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son." And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad -- in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls -- she was told, "The older will serve the younger." As it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."
    It couldn't be any clearer. God's election is unconditional in that it is not based on anything we have done, are doing, or will do.

    Naturally, this doesn't seem "fair" according to human standards. Paul anticipates that and continues in verses 14-18:
      What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! For he says to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion. So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
    God's will is the key to understanding this important doctrine. We learn in Ephesians 1:11 that our predestination is "according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will." Doesn't it make much more sense that God's election is based on his own sovereign will rather than the fallen will of man?

    The more I contemplate the doctrine of unconditional election, the more I am humbled. God had every right to condemn me to hell for all eternity, but he didn't. And while I don't know why he chose me in Christ for salvation, scripture reminds me constantly that it had nothing to do with my works: "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" (Ephesians 2:8-9).

    The truth is that we believers, even in eternity, may never know why God predestined us for salvation. We do know that what was done was done in such a way "so that no human being might boast in the presence of God" (1st Corinthians 1:27). In short, election is unconditional so that all glory is reserved for God and God alone.

    Part 1: Total Depravity
    Part 2: Unconditional Election
    Part 3: Limited Atonement
    Part 4: Irresistable Grace
    Part 5: Perseverance of the Saints

    Friday, October 12, 2007

    This Week in Calvinism - October 12, 2007

  • Paul Buckley on the humility of John Newton's Calvinism.

  • A brief slide show on John Calvin and the spread of the Reformation.

  • Pastor John Piper wraps up his series, Spectacular Sins and Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ, with a sermon entitled Judas Iscariot, the Suicide of Satan, and the Salvation of the World.

  • Phil Johnson tackles the question, "Does God's sovereignty mean he makes people evil?"

  • Looking for something to read? Scott Bailey has some great book recommendations.

  • "Exiled Preacher" Guy Davies presents us with 10 points on the subject of limited atonement.

  • "Has God spoken with clarity on his freedom in the predestination of his people? Absolutely."

  • Huh?
  • Friday, October 05, 2007

    This Week in Calvinism - October 5, 2007

  • The anti-Calvinist origin of the King James Bible.

  • Andrew Lindsey responds to Dave Hunt's book, What Love Is This?

  • Responses to the Amazing Grace DVD project have been overwhelmingly positive.

  • Marc thinks that 1 Timothy 4:9-10 refutes the doctrine of limited (or particular) atonement. He believes the Arminian teaching of unlimited atonement is "a more radiant and tenable position, and a reflection of Christ's magnificent work on Earth, including His purpose(s) for coming." Exactly how the prospect that most of the people for whom Christ died end up in hell is radiant and magnificent is never explained. One position he didn't consider: Christ is the savior of all men in that not all men are condemned. By saving some, God saved mankind from complete destruction.

  • Someone has finally figured us out: "Since Calvinism denies the necessity of choice, it was only natural that its adherents would seek to force their views on all dissenters." Well, if defending the gospel and the sovereignty of God is considered forcing our views on others, then I guess we're guilty as sin.
  • Thursday, October 04, 2007

    For the Joy of All Peoples



    This is from a few years ago, but it reminds me of my church's mission: "Spreading a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ."

    Besides, I just like this song.

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