Thursday, July 31, 2008

Grace and Mercy Be With You

Grace and mercy. Two beautiful words. Two useful words. How else could you explain God's love? Scripture is clear that the only thing sinful man deserves from the hand of God is judgement. God is under no obligation to save sinners. Read carefully the first two chapters of Genesis and nowhere did God give Adam and Eve any hope that if they disobeyed him that he would save them from death. The die was cast; "The day you eat thereof, you shall surely die." Capital punishment was to be the consequence of disobedience.

But the God of the Bible is a multi-faceted God. His attributes are multitudinous. Several times in the Old Testament we read that "The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love." (Psalm 103:8 ESV) Oh what compassion the Heavenly Father displays! "He does not deal with us according to our sins; nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him..." (Psalm 103:10,11 ESV)

Grace and mercy.

GRACE - receiving what we don't deserve: forgiveness, deliverance, salvation.

MERCY - not receiving what we do deserve: death, Hell, separation.

May we worship the Lord and thank him for his grace and mercy.

Grace and mercy be with you!

Friday, July 25, 2008

This Week in Calvinism - July 25, 2008

  • Eric is not a hyper-Calvinist, but, he writes, "as I look at my daily Christian walk, I'm sad to say that I often function like a Hyper-Calvinist. For example, although I know I should be sharing the gospel on a regular basis, the reality is that I am not. This does not stem from my theological beliefs, but rather from my own timidity, selfishness, and lack of love for other people." I think he speaks for all of us.

  • The Calvin-Servetus issue has been generating some interesting exchanges over at The Herald.

  • Confessions of a reluctant Calvinist.

  • Blast from the past: James White vs. Ergun Caner.

  • Are you an ex-Calvinist? "Kangaroodort" wants to hear from you.

  • Does God lie? No. But he does ordain that lying happen.

  • Steve Camp on the Ten Commandments of Evangelical Co-Belligerence.
  • Wednesday, July 23, 2008

    Spurgeon on the Sovereignty of God

    "There is no attribute of God more comforting to his children than the doctrine of Divine Sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe troubles, they believe that Sovereignty hath ordained their afflictions, that Sovereignty overrules them, and that Sovereignty will sanctify them all. There is nothing for which the children of God ought more earnestly to contend than the dominion of their Master over all creation -- the kingship of God over all the works of his own hands -- the throne of God, and his right to sit upon that throne.

    "On the other hand, there is no doctrine more hated by worldlings, no truth of which they have made such a football, as the great, stupendous, but yet most certain doctrine of the Sovereignty of the infinite Jehovah. Men will allow God to be everywhere except on his throne. They will allow him to be in his workshop to fashion worlds and to make stars. They will allow him to be in his almonry to dispense his alms and bestow his bounties. They will allow him to sustain the earth and bear up the pillars thereof, or light the lamps of heaven, or rule the waves of the ever-moving ocean; but when God ascends his throne, his creatures then gnash their teeth; and when we proclaim an enthroned God, and his right to do as he wills with his own, to dispose of his creatures as he thinks well, without consulting them in the matter, then it is that we are hissed and execrated, and then it is that men turn a deaf ear to us, for God on his throne is not the God they love. They love him anywhere better than they do when he sits with his scepter in his hand and his crown upon his head. But it is God upon the throne that we love to preach. It is God upon his throne whom we trust."

    Tuesday, July 22, 2008

    You Might Be a Heretic If...

    ...you call yourself a minister of the gospel and have never actually read the Bible.

    Monday, July 21, 2008

    Proverbs 21:23

    Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.

    Friday, July 18, 2008

    This Week in Calvinism - July 18, 2008

  • Gage Browning has some concerns about the "new" Calvinism.

  • If misrepresentations and lies aren't enough to refute Calvinism, you might as well resort to numerology:
      In dealing with the Five Points of Calvinism, it is certainly fitting that five is the number of death, so the Five Points of Calvinism will kill anything near it. Just as it takes no keen intellect to see that five is the biblical number of death, so no insight is necessary, other than an ability to read the Bible, to see the flagrant perversion that the Five Points of Calvinism make of Holy Scripture. Satan, the angel of death is the fifth cherub (Ezek 28:14) and has the power of death (Heb 2:14). The first man dies in Genesis 5:5. In Acts 5:5, Ananias dies after being asked five questions about his sin ("The wages of sin is death" [Rom 6:23]). Paul was whipped five times (2 Cor 11:24). Jesus Christ had five wounds. In Revelation chapter five, we see the Lamb that was slain (Rev 5). During the Tribulation, locusts will torment men for five months (Rev 9:5) until they seek death (Rev 9:6). When the fifth seal was opened, John saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain (Rev 6:9). There were five men stoned in the Bible that died. The "sin unto death" is in First John chapter five. The greatest chapter in the Bible on death, describing two men whose deaths affected billions of people, is Romans chapter five.
    No wonder this guy blogs anonymously.

  • One who is spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:5, Colossians 2:13) is incapable of choosing eternal life, just as one who is physically dead cannot choose to breathe. The only way around the clear meaning of scripture is to redefine what it means to be dead: "A dead spirit is only 'dead' in the sense that God has departed from it, but that does not mean it is unable to make decisions freely including the decision to accept God..." So, does that same principle apply to the "second death" (Revelation 2:11, 20:6, 20:14, 21:8)? Are the "dead" souls in Hell able to freely choose salvation?

  • Jolly Blogger reviews Roger E. Olson's book Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities. He recommends it, believing "the greatest benefit for Calvinists is that in this book you get the chance to hear an articulate Arminian speak for himself. For most Calvinists, we get our knowledge of Arminianism from our fellow Calvinists and we tend to spin things in the worst possible way when it comes to Arminianism."

  • Many Calvinists on paper are hyper-Calvinists in practice.
  • Tuesday, July 15, 2008

    Turning to Transubstantiation News...

    I always knew that transubstantiation posed serious theological problems, but legal problems? From WFTV News:
      A Catholic student group is facing hazing charges after a worshiper allegedly used force while trying to rescue a communion wafer from a student leader smuggling it out of Mass. ...

      ... Student Government Senator Webster Cook filed the hazing charges with University of Central Florida administrators shortly after he admitted violating church rules by bringing the Eucharist home from Mass on June 29, then holding it hostage for one week in a plastic bag before returning it.

      Cook said his hazing complaint cited a UCF anti-hazing policy banning the forced consumption of any food in which the initiation or admission into or affiliation with a University of Central Florida organization may be directly or indirectly conditioned.

      The rule, presumably, was intended to prevent fraternities from force-feeding pledges disgusting food, but Cook said the rule is clear and applies to all UCF clubs, including the Catholic Campus Ministries religious group. He insists the group is guilty because members ordered him to consume the Eucharist to remain at Mass.
    I think the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith sums it up best:
      That doctrine which maintains a change of the substance of bread and wine, into the substance of Christ's body and blood, commonly called transubstantiation, by consecration of a priest, or by any other way, is repugnant not to Scripture alone, but even to common sense and reason, overthrows the nature of the ordinance, and has been, and is, the cause of manifold superstitions, yea, of gross idolatries.

    Friday, July 11, 2008

    This Week in Calvinism - July 11, 2008

  • Dawn DeVries, the John Newton Thomas professor of systematic theology at Union Theological Seminary and Presbyterian School of Christian Education, writes that Calvinism emphasizes two precepts: grace and gratitude.

  • Pastor Bill Moore on the sovereignty of God in salvation.

  • A shake-up at Westminster Theological Seminary.

  • The Arminian perspective on John 3:16 is self-defeating because of their insistence that salvation is due to grace. If grace can be resisted, as Arminians teach, then what causes some to believe and some to turn away? If we say that it is something inside the sinner that sparks belief, then we must deny what the Bible teaches about original sin. On the other hand, if it is God's grace that overcomes man's ability to resist, then man's free will is violated. In other words, God chose to give some sinners the grace to overcome their unbelief while at the same time denying it to others. And yet Arminians continue to argue that it is "a matter of fact" that God loves each and every individual sinner equally. Does that mean God loves those who end up suffering eternal punishment every bit as much as those to whom he gives eternal life?

  • The latest "Hoagies and Stogies" event featured a debate between Jacob Moya and Jonathan Goundry on the subject of "Federal Vision and the Covenant of Works."
  • Thursday, July 10, 2008

    Proverbs 13:24

    Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.

    Parents, let this be a lesson to you:

    Wednesday, July 09, 2008

    Family Update

    In case you haven't ventured over to our family blog, I thought I'd post a quick update on our adoption progress.

    China
    Well, no real progress, except to say that every day that passes is another day closer to the day we travel...whenever that may be. Rumor has it that we can probably expect a referral sometime between January and March of 2009.

    Haiti
    We've been getting updates on Patricia and Philippe on a regular basis, but the latest picture was by far the best. It's the first one we've seen in which they're both smiling!

    Truth Matters

    John Piper writes:
      Since there are some Arminians who are more godly than some Calvinists and some Calvinists who are more godly than some Arminians, what is the correlation between true knowledge of God and godliness? ...

      ... All godliness is owing to truth, that is, to God as he is truly known. Truth, known with the mind and loved with the heart, is the way God produces all godliness. You will know the truth and the truth will set you free (John 8:32).

      When a more godly person believes something erroneous about God, among other true things, it is not the error that God uses to produce the godliness.

      And when a less godly person believes something true about God, among other false things, it is not the truth that his sin uses to produce the ungodliness. ...

      ... There are views so obscured by error that the God on the other side of the glass is not the true God. So the measure of truth in our views matters infinitely. But also, there is no guarantee that right thinking will produce right living. There is more to godliness than having clear views of God. Trusting him and loving him through those views matters infinitely.

    Sunday, July 06, 2008

    What Is Amillennialism?

    Thanks, Dad, for your inaugural post here on The Contemporary Calvinist. (Yes, folks, there are two Lee Sheltons, so make sure you are directing your complaints to the appropriate one!) And thanks to Jason Robertson at Fide-O for his short definition of Amillennialism. I look forward to exploring this issue further.

    Saturday, July 05, 2008

    The True Israel of God

    Eschatology is one of my favorite theological subjects. I was raised on the C. I. Scofield Reference Bible. Our theme song was "My hope is built on nothing less, than Scofield's notes and references." In fact, I was 23 years of age before I came to the understanding that Scofield's notes were not verbally inspired!

    Over the years God graciously moved me from an ultra Pre-Trib Dispensational Pre-Mil position to where I am now. Where am I now? The book of Hebrews is a good starting point. The Old Covenant has passed away - gone, finished, kaput and the New Covenant is in place. The Lord Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of all Covenants. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. He is the seed of Abraham and the fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophecies and all who believe and follow Him are the children of Abraham and heirs of all Covenant promises. We have been in the "last days" since His first advent and are looking for the "last day" - the Blessed Hope and glorious appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are the true Israel of God!!

    The following article: Justification by Faith and the Israel of God best sums up what I believe. Check it out:


    Friday, July 04, 2008

    This Week in Calvinism - July 4, 2008

  • Mike in London has put together a new site, Calvinism.org.uk, that "aims to explain the historic origins of Calvinism, the principles of Calvinism and why Calvinism is at the heart of orthodox Christianity."

  • Quick and dirty Calvinism: a blast from the past, courtesy of Phil Johnson.

  • Jason Robertson on the premillennial view of Revelation 20.

  • Patrick Chan wishes you and yours a happy Dependence Day.

  • And John Knight discusses the real freedom that can only come through Christ.
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