Friday, December 31, 2010

Looking for a Bible-Reading Plan for the New Year?

Justin Taylor provides an extensive list with many helpful options.

This Week in Calvinism - December 31, 2010

  • C. M. Granger describes the anatomy of a straw man.

  • The Catechizer recently posted part 5 in a series entitled "Who is Sovereign in Salvation?" (Be sure to check out parts 1, 2, 3, and 4.)

  • Ryan on the sufficiency of Christ's sacrifice.

  • The Seeking Disciple TheMessianicDrew writes, "If Arminianism is true and our witness does make a difference in the salvation of others, then Arminianism will very likely produce more saved people than Calvinism. Specifically, Arminians tend to be more involved in outreach, and if salvation does depend on human free choice, apologetics that acknowledge this will be more effective." Salvation depends on "human free choice"? Did someone just let the Arminian cat out of the bag?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

"But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons."
- Galatians 4:4-5

Friday, December 17, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - December 17, 2010

  • Why am I not surprised that the pastor of an independent, premillennial, King-James-only, Baptist church thinks Calvinism is a false doctrine?

  • As Trevor W. points out, it's rather inconsistent of a publication to run a series of articles entitled "The Case Against Calvinism" while at the same time reprinting sermons by C. H. Spurgeon.

  • Carl Gobelman continues blogging through the Westminster Shorter Catechism.

  • One of the things Scott Oakland loves about being Presbyterian "is that the issue of Arminianism v Calvinism is not an issue like it is in congregational evangelical church."

  • Theologian Roger Nicole passes away at age 95.

Friday, December 10, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - December 10, 2010

Friday, December 03, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - December 3, 2010

  • We Calvinists need to remember this: "The Arminian Christian believes that Jesus Christ is God come in the flesh to save sinners and that the saving work of Christ comes to the sinner by way of the grace of God received through faith. Whatever issues relevant to salvation we disagree upon, let us agree on this: the Calvinist and the Arminian are brothers in Christ."

  • The new Calvinist Gadfly.

  • Faith is the embracing, not the embraced.

  • Win a copy of Letters to a Young Calvinist.

Friday, November 26, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - November 26, 2010

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanking the Puritans on Thanksgiving

From the First Things blog:
There's little less fashionable today than praising the Puritans, especially for their egalitarian political idealism, their promotion of genuinely humane and liberating learning, and their capacity for enjoyment and human happiness. Praising the Puritans is especially difficult for us because even most of our Protestants have abandoned them. When a European calls us Puritanical we don't say, "yes, thanks a lot, you're right." Instead, we either deny it, saying we're way beyond those days. Or we admit it, saying that, "yes, we should be less capitalistic, less repressed, and more free thinking, just like you." But the truth is that the Puritans remain the chief source of the American difference–our ability to live freely and prosperously without unduly slighting the longings of our souls. It's the Puritans' idealism that made and even makes Americans civilized.
Read the full post here.

Friday, November 19, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - November 19, 2010

  • Fred Butler wishes Covenant Theology folks understood a little more about the theology of Dispensationalism. But since it has changed so much in its short 150-year history, maybe he'll cut us some slack.

  • When arguing against total depravity, one should not misinterpret Romans 3:10-11 to mean "there is no one who has done good enough (achieved perfection)." The text is quite clear: "None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God." And let's not forget Romans 14:23, which says that "whatever does not proceed from faith is sin."

  • So, there is no Calvinist resurgence?

  • Well, maybe there is, despite what the recent Barna survey says.

  • Remember, dear Christian, Satan's schemes always backfire in the end.

Friday, November 12, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - November 12, 2010

  • C. H. Spurgeon's take on limited atonement: sufficient for all, efficacious for the elect.

  • Writes Arminian Ken Schenck: "So who cares about Piper, Driscoll, or Mohler?" (Or Spurgeon?) "They blow away with a puff of wind, leaving the rest of us to go on trying to save everyone."

  • What does it mean to say that "God is sovereign"?

  • Jameson Graber concludes his series on Calvin's Institutes with a post on Calvin's view of civil government.

  • Is New Calvinism the new fundamentalism?

  • Dr. Michael Brown debates himself on the issue of Calvinism vs. Arminianism. Dr. Brown himself is a former Calvinist turned Arminian. (Aren't they all?)

  • Do you use Accordance Bible software? There is an update available for The John Piper Manuscript Library.

  • Calvinistic Cartoons enters into the Terrible Twos today. Happy birthday, Eddie!

Friday, October 29, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - October 29, 2010

  • Calvinists don't believe people can lose their salvation. If some walk away from the faith, that is proof they were never Christians in the first place (1 John2:19). Victor Reppert thinks the same principle can apply to atheism. He says that those who become Christians "were never REAL atheists in the first place." Of course, he's under the mistaken impression that there is such a thing as an atheist. An atheist is nothing more than a person who represses the truth to assuage his own guilt.

  • Andrew Logue defends the doctrine of limited atonement.

  • Jon Cardwell has nothing but nice things to say about William Birch. And I can't argue. He's one of my favorite Arminians, too.

  • And speaking of Jon Cardwell, you have until October 31 to download your free preview of Against Calvinism.

  • To whom does the the term "whole world" in 1 John 2:2 refer?

  • Tim Challies reviews Letters to a Young Calvinist.

  • Richard Mouw on gargoyles and Halloween.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - October 22, 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Don't Create a New Law for Yourself

The Resurgence featured this post adapted from Tullian Tchividjian's book Surprised by Grace:
People need to hear less about what we need to do for God and more about all that God has already done for us, because imperatives minus indicatives equal impossibilities. If you're a preacher and you're assuming that people understand the radical nature of gospel indicatives, so your ministry is focused primarily on gospel imperatives, you’re making a huge mistake. A huge mistake!

Long-term, sustained, gospel-motivated obedience can only come from faith in what Jesus has already done, not fear of what we must do. To paraphrase Ray Ortlund, any obedience not grounded in or motivated by the gospel is unsustainable. No matter how hard you try, how "radical" you get, any engine smaller than the gospel that you're depending on for power to obey will conk out in due time.

So let's take it up a notch. Don't be afraid to preach the radical nature of the gospel of grace. For, as the late Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones once said, "If your preaching of the gospel doesn't provoke the charge from some of antinomianism, you're not preaching the gospel."
Read the full post here.

Friday, October 15, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - October 15, 2010

  • I may have to change the name of these posts to "The Roger Olson Weekly Update." He's at it again, this time attempting to clarify exactly which brand of Calvinism he opposes: "Suddenly I was encountering young people (mostly young college aged men) who believed, under the influence of their favorite speakers and writers, that Arminianism is heresy or at least 'on the precipice of heresy' (to quote one influential Calvinist)." Of course, he doesn't mention who that influential Calvinist is, and a Google search of that particular phrase doesn't shed any light on the subject. But it was Dr. Olson who once said, "The God of Calvinism scares me; I'm not sure how to distinguish him from the devil. If you've come under the influence of Calvinism, think about its ramifications for the character of God." The bottom line is that he dislikes all forms of Calvinism, so this "clarification" is unnecessary.

  • David Rice writes, "If Calvin was right, my obedience to the Great Commission is meaningless. If I obey, none who were predestined to be lost will be saved. If I disobey, none who were predestined to salvation will be lost." The Calvinist believes that the God who determines the end also determines the means. Perhaps it really is just as simple as that.

  • EDH believes Calvinists, with their belief in perseverance of the saints, are playing "a cosmic game of chicken."

  • In honor of Calvinists, new and old.

  • Bobby Grow shares his Evangelical Calvinist testimony.

Friday, October 08, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - October 8, 2010

  • David L. Allen disagrees with the Calvinist understanding of limited atonement. In the end, don't we all have to conclude that the atonement is limited? The atonement, while sufficient for all, does not end up saving all. The debate, then, is over how it is limited.

  • FYI, the rest of the "Whosoever Will" articles critiquing Calvinism can be found here.

  • Free audio book: J. Gresham Machen's Christianity and Liberalism.

  • Roger Olson revisits what he sees as a fatal flaw in Calvinism. Olson, however, doesn't think through his analogy very well, and the replies in the comments section do a pretty good job of pointing out the fatal flaws in his argument.

  • Tony "The Lawman" Miano is still Reformed in his doctrine, but he's dropping the label of Calvinist.

  • Why an Arminian should never argue theology with a Calvinist barber.

  • 12 reasons why Romans 9 is about individual election, not corporate election.

  • You can now download the audio and video from the 2010 Desiring God Conference.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Quote of the Week - October 3, 2010

From Food Network star Alton Brown, when asked about being a born-again Christian:
"Yeah, 'born-again' is kind of an odd term because that's like saying a see-through window. But yes, I am a Christian."

Friday, October 01, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - October 1, 2010

  • Some things non-Calvinists should know about Calvinism.

  • Don Bryant sees the "New Calvinism" as a hiccup, and believes it will begin to fade away when "the natural moral repugnance at the doctrines of double predestination and limited atonement reassert themselves."

  • Why is it that those who leave Calvinism don't seem able to demonstrate that they ever understood it in the first place? William Price (without offering any scriptural support) now condemns Calvinism for portraying God as unfair and unjust, flippantly damning some to Hell while saving others. To show just how much he hates Calvinism, Price "will be disposing of all my Calvinist books to the glory of God." By the way, Price also denies the Trinity. I guess he figured that while he was at it, why not abandon biblical Christianity altogether?

  • If you need one more reason to check out Against Calvinism: Logical Arguments to Disprove the Doctrines of Grace, the new book from Jeff Peterson, Eddie Eddings, and Jon Cardwell, Arminian blogger William Birch calls it a "a waste of paper and money."

  • Should Calvinism be taught to unbelievers?

  • Tony "The Lawman" Miano makes a plea to his Calvinist and Arminian brothers and sisters for repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

  • Roger Olson would be happy if we all just admitted that our theologies are flawed.

  • Did Adam and Eve have a libertarian free will?

Friday, September 24, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - September 24, 2010

  • Mr. T on the subject of total depravity.

  • Is repentance really all that important?

  • Pastor Bob Turner responds to a Methodist pastor's critique of Calvinism.

  • "Gratiaetnatura" asks, "Would a good God predestine some people to Heaven and the rest to Hell no matter what choices people made?" He then answers his own question in the negative, and concludes, "The God of TULIP Calvinism is an evil God, period." Well, I guess that settles it.

  • Mike Anderson of "Let Us Repent and Believe" has launched a new blog: Calvinistic Quotes. Check it out.

  • Coming soon: Open Mic Night at Calvinistic Cartoons.

Friday, September 17, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - September 17, 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sometimes a Book Review Says More About the Reviewer Than the Book

I love perusing reader reviews on I almost always click on the one-star reviews first because those tend to be the most interesting.

Like this review for Robert Whitlow's The List:
    I read this book, not knowing that Robert Whitlow was a christian author. I read the back and it seemed interesting (how I choose most of my books). I was overwhelmed, and not in a good way. The born-again christianity hidden within what would have been a decent story, turned me off. It made me doubt my very existence, and I think that should have been mentioned somewhere on the dust jacket. Don't misunderstand me, I was raised Catholic, and am not anti-religion, or anti-christian in any way, but the feelings that the characters described as hearing God were unrealistic, and for those of us who apparently lack this "calling" it made me feel like I was worthless, and frankly had a very negative reaction to the book with a severe emotional breakdown. Please don't try to "save" me. I just wanted to give a warning to anyone considering purchasing this book.
I had never heard of The List before, but now I kind of want to read it.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Not All Book-Burnings Make the News

Funny. I don't recall ever seeing this story back in 2008:
    Orthodox Jews set fire to hundreds of copies of the New Testament in the latest act of violence against Christian missionaries in the Holy Land.

    Or Yehuda Deputy Mayor Uzi Aharon said missionaries recently entered a neighborhood in the predominantly religious town of 34,000 in central Israel, distributing hundreds of New Testaments and missionary material.

    After receiving complaints, Aharon said, he got into a loudspeaker car last Thursday and drove through the neighborhood, urging people to turn over the material to Jewish religious students who went door to door to collect it.

    "The books were dumped into a pile and set afire in a lot near a synagogue," he said.

    The newspaper Maariv reported Tuesday that hundreds of yeshiva students took part in the book-burning. But Aharon told The Associated Press that only a few students were present, and that he was not there when the books were torched.

    "Not all of the New Testaments that were collected were burned, but hundreds were," he said.

    He said he regretted the burning of the books, but called it a commandment to burn materials that urge Jews to convert.

    "I certainly don't denounce the burning of the booklets, he said. I denounce those who distributed the booklets."


Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Different Branches of Calvinism

What kind of Calvinist are you? Amyraldian, Infralapsarian, or Supralapsarian? Pastor Jason Robertson provides the following chart as a reference:

"Low" Calvinism
"Moderate" Calvinism
"High" Calvinism
Decree to Create ManDecree to Create ManDecree Election and Reprobation
Decree to Allow FallDecree to Allow FallDecree to Allow Fall
Decree Atonement for all menDecree Election and ReprobationDecree Atonement for Elect
Decree Election and ReprobationDecree Atonement for ElectDecree to Create Man

(By the way, I fall into the Infralapsarian camp.)

Read more about the different theories here.

Friday, September 10, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - September 10, 2010

  • Be sure to check out the new book authored by Jeff Peterson, Eddie Eddings, and Jon Cardwell, entitled Against Calvinism: Logical Arguments to Disprove the Doctrines of Grace.

  • Nicholas explains why Calvinists should use the SQ3R study method.

  • Does Revelation 3:20-22 really present a dilemma for Calvinists? No. Back up and read verse 19. I don't see how a reproof of believers within the church is a refutation of eternal security. Those who do refuse to repent demonstrate they were never truly saved in the first place (1 John 2:19).

  • Pastor Justin Holcomb introduces us to the awesome women of the Reformation.

Friday, September 03, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - September 3, 2010

  • How infant salvation fits into the Calvinist view.

  • "Open Theism is quite indebted to Calvinism"? Wait...what?

  • Lutheran pastor Paul T. McCain, upset that American Presbyterians are trying to sneak Calvinism into Germany, wants to be clear about something: "Calvinism is not a faithful proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore, it is not an authentic, genuine and true presentation of the Reformation, but an unfortunate deformation of it."

  • Steve Hays responds.

  • Documents of the Reformation are on display in Edinburgh, Scotland. Among them, John Knox's Scottish Confession of Faith and his First Blast of the Trumpet.

  • Danelle believes the recent "surge" in Calvinism is part of Satan's campaign of deception in the final days. She presents no evidence, of course, but there you have it.

Friday, August 27, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - August 27, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - August 20, 2010

  • The Seeking Disciple clarifies Romans 9 from an Arminian perspective: "What Paul is contrasting in Romans 9 is not the individual salvation of one person versus another but the two people found in Israel. ... The elect are not the Jews but the elect children of promise are those who are in Christ Jesus." The point of Romans 9, as I understand it, is God's sovereign choice. If you continue reading through chapters 10 and 11, you learn that Gentile believers are "grafted in among the others." So how exactly is each individual person in Christ elected if not individually?

  • William Birch writes, "Either people are genuinely free to choose for themselves what they shall achieve, even if said choice is foreknown and thus decreed by God, or there is no genuine choice because God has already strictly predetermined what shall be." It seems to me the Calvinist could simply respond by saying, "Either God is genuinely free to choose for himself what he shall achieve, or there is no genuine choice because God has already strictly predetermined that his will shall be limited by man's."

  • Russell Moore explains why conservative evangelicals should thank God for Clark Pinnock.

  • The humility of Calvin's Calvinism.

Monday, August 16, 2010

What If There Was a Medical Prevention for Homosexuality?

If there was a medical prevention for homosexuality, you can imagine the controversy that would arise. Consider this recent report in the LA Times:
    Each year in the United States, perhaps a few dozen pregnant women learn they are carrying a fetus at risk for a rare disorder known as congenital adrenal hyperplasia. The condition causes an accumulation of male hormones and can, in females, lead to genitals so masculinized that it can be difficult at birth to determine the baby's gender.

    A hormonal treatment to prevent ambiguous genitalia can now be offered to women who may be carrying such infants. It's not without health risks, but to its critics those are of small consequence compared with this notable side effect: The treatment might reduce the likelihood that a female with the condition will be homosexual. Further, it seems to increase the chances that she will have what are considered more feminine behavioral traits.

    That such a treatment would ever be considered, even to prevent genital abnormalities, has outraged gay and lesbian groups, troubled some doctors and fueled bioethicists' debate about the nature of human sexuality.

    The treatment is a step toward "engineering in the womb for sexual orientation," said Alice Dreger, a professor of clinical medical humanities and bioethics at Northwestern University and an outspoken opponent of the treatment.

    The ability to chemically steer a child's sexual orientation has become increasingly possible in recent years, with evidence building that homosexuality has biological roots and with advances in the treatment of babies in utero. Prenatal treatment for congenital adrenal hyperplasia is the first to test — unintentionally or not — that potential.

To the claim that homosexuality is a choice, the homosexual typically responds, "I was born this way. Do you really think I would choose this lifestyle and all that goes along with it?" Fine. Let's assume the cause of homosexuality is purely biological. If growing up gay means having to suffer shame, humiliation, discrimination, and alienation, how could anyone be outraged at the possibility of a medical prevention for all of that pain and suffering?

Some may argue that is the equivalent of trying to manipulate other inherent traits, such as sex or race, in order to make life easier. However, neither of those traits are behavioral. Homosexuality, on the other hand, is explicitly defined by one's behavior.

But the debate shouldn't be over the biological causation of homosexuality. It's a moot point. According to God's word, homosexuality is a sin, and it's root cause (biological or otherwise) is...well, sin (Romans 1:18-28). The one fact nobody can deny is that a conscious choice is made when one decides to justify and embrace the sin of homosexuality.

Friday, August 13, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - August 13, 2010

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Atheism Is Not a Religion?

Many Christians respond to atheistic ridicule by saying that atheism is itself a religion. Michael Saporito, who blogs at "Symptom of the Universe," claims that atheism is not a religion. He writes, "Atheists state there is no god – there is nothing to find or prove there – believers say there is a god – show us some proof. The essential difference between atheists and deists and theists is that the latter two operate on faith and the former do not."

Let me pause for just a moment. It is a common diversionary tactic of atheists to say that the burden of proof rests on believers. After all, no one can prove a negative. But that is like saying, "I cannot prove there is no forest; I simply deny it exists. All I see are trees, therefore it is up to those who believe in a forest to prove its existence." I contend that the burden of proof rests on those who, despite everything they know about science and the laws of physics, insist the universe came about through mere natural processes. Whether we're here because of spontaneous generation, or because some unknown force, for some unknown reason, acted in some unknown way to alter the state of matter that already existed from eternity past, atheists have got a lot of explaining to do.

Mr. Saporito goes on: "The religious will deny proven knowledge such as carbon dating, which proves the universe is nearly 14 billion years old, not 6000 years old which is believed by many because an uneducated writer penned it into the bible a few thousand years ago. Evolution is another scientific truth that has been proven over and over again. Recently life was started from scratch in a laboratory."

Let's look at the issue of carbon dating. First of all, it can only be done here on Earth. One cannot perform carbon dating on a star, an asteroid, or another planet because those objects do not have the same conditions found here. Secondly, based on our current understanding about the decay of 14C and its ratio to 12C, carbon dating could only possibly date the Earth to tens of thousands of years at most. Many other assumptions must be made in order to extrapolate a figure like 14 billion.

The idea (i.e. preconceived notion) of a universe that is billions of years old is required if one is to buy into the theory of evolution. I stress the word theory because it is not, as Mr. Saporito insists, a "scientific truth that has been proven over and over again." For one thing, it cannot be subjected to the scientific method. No one can observe the process, much less repeat it so that it can be empirically tested. So unless Mr. Saporito has access to a working time machine, I will conclude that he is simply making another assumption.

He makes another leap of faith in saying that "life was started from scratch in a laboratory." My guess is that he is referring to the experiment conducted in March of this year at the J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, Maryland, in which scientists "created" a microbe with an artificial genetic code. To imply that this is, in any way, a glimpse into the evolutionary origin of all life is a bit of a stretch. If anything, it only reinforces the concept that life of any kind requires a designer, someone establishing all the necessary conditions for that life to exist in the first place.

While trying to make the case that atheism is not a religion, Mr. Saporito demonstrates just the opposite. Rather than follow the dictates of logic and reason to support his position, he resorts to blind faith to make his point. So, if religion can be defined simplistically as a set of beliefs based on faith, what does that make atheism?

Friday, August 06, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - August 6, 2010

  • John, of "Honey and Locusts," reviews the book The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World.

  • A TULIP that even non-Calvinists would find sweet-smelling.

  • Pastor Will writes, "In the Arminian view, it is free will that God desires more than universal salvation. In the Calvinist view, it is His glory that He desires."

  • Rampant Calvinism in Wesleyan hymnology?

  • The "Irish Calvinist" presents a helpful resource for family worship.

  • What the gospel really is to John Calvin.

Friday, July 23, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - July 23, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Don't Waste Your Life Sentence

Here is the trailer for the upcoming Desiring God film Don't Waste Your Life Sentence:

Read more about this film here.

Friday, July 16, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - July 16, 2010

  • Inerrancy and Calvinism.

  • Spurgeon on why the unregenerate (no matter how smart or how benevolent) just don't get it.

  • There are only two kinds of people in this world.

  • Mike doesn't like Calvinists. He writes, "If someone follows a god that would cosign the majority of his own creation to hell, that person is not following God."

  • Here's a tip: When claiming to be able to disarm Calvinism, use arguments that actually have some basis in scripture. Don't say things unbiblical things like "Christ paid for all of our sins and we have all been imputed grace," or that God "has predestined the whole world to be reconciled to Himself." It's hard to take you seriously.

  • Pastor Tubbs asks, "Why are Calvinists so negative and, at times, unfriendly?" I don't know why we hate everyone. Could it be that we were just predestined to be that way?

Friday, July 09, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - July 9, 2010

  • James White on Ergun Caner: What started as a scandal has become a cover-up.

  • Caner's defenders, of course, respond with class.

  • The Seeking Disciple (who claims not to be a Caner defender) made a rather interesting comparison: "The story of Michael Servetus and Ergun Caner seem to be drawing parallels as [James] White and some Calvinists are pressing for his destruction." Seriously?

  • Carl Gobelman has begun a series of posts answering the question "Is Calvinism biblical?"

  • Westminster Bookstore is having a moving sale, with staff picks available for 45% off.

Friday, July 02, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - July 2, 2010

Thursday, July 01, 2010

The Purpose of Apologetics

The purpose of Christian apologetics isn't merely to "make a defense" of the hope that is within us (1 Peter 3:15). It is to knock down every intellectual barrier erected by the unbeliever until the only one that remains is the offense of the cross.

Friday, June 25, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - June 25, 2010

Friday, June 18, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - June 18, 2010

  • Jon J. Cardwell is on part 3 in a series of posts entitled "God's Purpose in Election."

  • Yet another rant against Calvinism.

  • Introducing C. G. Spurgeon.

  • Tim Challies reviews the book Burning Down the Shack by James De Young.

  • It's nice to know that Calvinists aren't as annoying or confusing as Barthians.

  • William Birch doesn't like the Calvinist claim that Arminians believe man has an inherent free will. He writes, "Arminius notes that the will is not free to choose Christ, but must be freed from its bondage to sin by God's power and grace in order for one to trust in Him for salvation." However, according to Arminian theology, the final decision whether to follow Christ or not is up to the individual. So are all men free to make that decision? If so, when exactly is the will freed to make it? If, on the other hand, all men aren't free to make that decision, then how is that any different from Calvinism?

  • You can watch the live webcast of Ligonier Ministries' 2010 National Conference here.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Watch the Live Webcast of Ligonier Ministries' 2010 National Conference

Here is the conference schedule (Times Eastern):
    Thursday, June 17
    9:00 - 9:20 a.m.
    The Brave New World of New Media - Ed Stetzer

    9:25 - 9:45 a.m.
    Principles for Conduct in Communication - Tim Challies

    10:00 - 10:20 a.m.
    Taking Captive New Media for the Church - Burk Parsons

    10:25 - 10:45 a.m.
    The Hypersocialized Generation - Albert Mohler

    10:55 - 11:55 a.m.
    Questions & Answers

    3:10 - 4:10 p.m.
    Why Did Jesus Have to Die? - John MacArthur

    5:10 - 6:00 p.m.
    Is the Doctrine of Inerrancy Defensible? - Michael Horton

    8:00 - 9:00 p.m.
    Does the Doctrine of Divine Decrees Eliminate Human Will? - John MacArthur

    Friday, June 18
    8:30 - 9:30 a.m.
    What Is Evil and Where Did It Come From?, R.C. Sproul

    9:30 - 10:30 a.m.
    Why Do Christians Still Sin? - R.C. Sproul Jr.

    11:40 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
    How Do We Know Which Interpretation Is Right? - Derek Thomas

    2:30 - 3:25 p.m.
    Is the Bible Just Another Book? - Steven Lawson

    4:15 - 5:15 p.m.
    Is the Exclusivity of Christ Unjust? - Alistair Begg

    7:15 - 8:30 p.m.
    Questions & Answers

    Saturday, June 19
    8:30 - 9:40 a.m.
    Why Does the Universe Look So Old? - Albert Mohler

    9:40 - 10:30 a.m.
    Is Calvinism Good for the Church? - Burk Parsons

    11:15 a.m. - 12:05 p.m.
    If God Is Good, How Could He Command Holy War? - Derek Thomas

    12:05 - 1:00 p.m.
    Can We Enjoy Heaven Knowing of Loved Ones in Hell? - R.C. Sproul

Watch it live here.

Friday, June 11, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - June 11, 2010

  • Paul Manata on how Arminianism allows Calvinism to escape the charge that it makes God the "author of evil."

  • Yes, doctrine divides, but that's what it's supposed to do.

  • Nathanael Taylor has posted a paper entitled "Biblical Evidence for Substitutionary Atonement and Double Imputation in 2 Corinthians 5." It's a good read, and certainly more scholarly than anything you'll find on my blog.

  • Calvinists have the TULIP, but Arminians have the FACTS.

Friday, June 04, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - June 4, 2010

  • Many Arminians claim that Calvinism makes God the author of evil. Paul Manata responds: "We can do the same with peace and salvation. If 'author' means what Arminians say it means, then they should become Calvinists. They should deny that God foresaw their faith apart from his decree, plan, origination. God masterminded their salvation, planned their salvation, caused their salvation, and set the initial conditions in place for their salvation to follow as a consequent."

  • Is Mark Driscoll the face of contemplative Calvinism?

  • Calvinists should stay away from Arminian dentists.

  • Some Arminians consider it unbiblical, heinous, and shocking to hear Calvinists say, as John Piper has, that God "decides who will believe and undeservingly be saved and who will rebel and deservingly perish." (By the way, that quote can be found in context here.) Funny how they can read Romans 9:22-24 and never level that same accusation at Paul.

  • Michael Horton reviews N. T. Wright's book, After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters.

  • The Irish Calvinist on learning contrition, mercy and forgiveness on the baseball field.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Quote of the Week - June 1, 2010

From R. C. Sproul Jr.:
    "Unbelievers deny God precisely because they would rather live not-guilty in a world of nonsense than be guilty in a universe that makes sense."

Friday, May 28, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - May 28, 2010

  • John Calvin on the value of the Psalms.

  • An Arminian Molinist samples four flavors of causal determinism.

  • Paul's doctrine of the Holy Spirit.

  • As a partial preterist/amillennialist, I never understood full or hyper preterism. One of the problems that jumps out at me is the concept of this world, along with sin and death, continuing forever. Sam Frost examines full preterism and the problem of infinity. Yeah, it's a pretty big problem.

  • Seumas Macdonald on the link between hyper-Calvinism and Pelagianism.

Friday, May 21, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - May 21, 2010

  • Stephen Macasil on the dark side of Chuck Smith.

  • A.M. Mallett finds the Calvinist use of the phrase "doctrines of grace" offensive and eschews the "near blasphemous regard for God's character represented by elements of TULIP."

  • Arminian William Birch presents what he thinks might be a Calvinist interpretation of Genesis 4.

  • Colin Maxwell responds to Mr. Birch.

  • Calvin and Aimee asked, "Should we marry if we're theologically divided?" Russell Moore offers his response.

Friday, May 14, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - May 14, 2010

  • Justin Taylor interviews Mark Driscoll about his new book, Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe.

  • Derek Ashton is a bad Calvinist (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, conclusion.

  • Matt Svoboda explains what the Ergun Caner controversy is really about.

  • Carl Gobelman on the extent of the atonement.

  • Steve Hays addresses the Arminian claim that it's possible for Christians to lose their salvation.

  • J.C. Thibodaux, one who believes Christians can lose their salvation, responds: "Just as Israel fell in the wilderness after being saved from the wrath of Pharaoh, so the scriptures warn us against likewise incurring God's judgment after He has shown us His goodness." Of course, this completely ignores the fact that while the people of Israel did "fall away" and were disciplined, they were still God's chosen people and the covenant made with Abraham remained intact. Paul makes this pretty clear in Romans 11:1.

  • Steve Hays fires back.

Friday, May 07, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - May 7, 2010

  • A Catholic poster on Theology Web thought he could "demonstrate rationally and scripturally the invalidation of Calvinism, penal substitution and imputed righteousness taught by the reformer, John Calvin." You kind of have to read the nonsense to believe it.

  • How many Christians are Calvinists? Two percent? Don Bryant thinks "a case could be made for even less."

  • J. K. Jones is on part 2 in his layman’s critique of Whosoever Will: A Biblical-Theological Critique of Five-Point Calvinism.

  • Randy Olds wonders, "Can a true Calvinist truly repent?" After all, if God determines everything, why should anyone be sorry for their sins?

  • James White weighs in on the Ergun Caner fiasco.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

How to Pray Badly

Tim Challies has an excellent post on prayer:
    It is the Lord's delight to grant us what we ask of him in prayer. Like David, we all ought to pray, "O God, hear my prayer; give ear to the words of my mouth" (Psalm 54:2). If Christians did not believe in the effectiveness of prayer, there would be no reason for us to ask anything of God. He is the one who tells us that we can have confidence that our prayers ascend to him. "And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him" (1 John 5:14,15). While as Christians we pay lip-service to the superlatives in that sentence ("whatever" and "anything"), how often do we really believe it?

    The fact is that our prayers are often hindered. There are times when it feels like our prayers are reaching the ceiling and going no further; times when we are lying face-down on the floor and feel that our prayers are rising no higher than the fibers of the carpet. While we can be sure that God does hear our prayers, there are times when he chooses not to heed or answer them.

Read the full post here.

Friday, April 23, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - April 23, 2010

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Jason Robertson on Covenant Theology

What is Covenant Theology, and who subscribes to it? Jason Robertson starts off by explaining what Covenant Theology is not:
  • It is not a response to dispensationalism — for dispensationalism, in fact, did not even exist until the nineteenth century.
  • It does not teach paedobaptism, covenant successionism, paedocommunionism, or baptismal regenerationism.
  • It does not teach any kind of philosophy of education such as homeschooling or Christian schools.
  • It is not sectarian, but has roots from the early church to all the branches of the Reformed church.
  • It is not anti-Semitic nor "replacement theology", but CT teaches the fulfillment of the promises to Israel in the person and the work of the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, who established the church in organic continuity with Israel, not a separate replacement entity.

    Covenant Theology is a system of theology that explains the entire Bible in one systematized story organized around three great covenants (Redemption, Works, Grace). CT is a hermeneutic, an approach to understanding Scripture, biblically explaining the unity of biblical revelation.
Read the full post here.

Friday, April 16, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - April 16, 2010

  • Bobby Grow promises that his blog, The Evangelical Calvinist, will focus more on Calvinistic stuff. His other theological thoughts can be found at his new blog, Christianly. By the way, he will be having cancer surgery on May 6, so please keep him in your prayers.

  • Allen Yeh on paedobaptism vs. credobaptism.

  • Dr. James Galyon on the heinous error of hyper-Calvinism.

  • The Seeking Disciple asks, "Does Calvinism make it easier to sin?"

Thursday, April 15, 2010

T4G Audio and Video Now Available

Audio and video from this year's Together for the Gospel conference is available online here.

Friday, April 09, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - April 9, 2010

  • The Calvinist blogosphere has been abuzz ever since John Piper invited Rick Warren to speak at this year's Desiring God conference.

  • Bob DeWaay, senior pastor of Twin City Fellowship, was on Crosstalk to discuss "Warrengate."

  • The First Things blog makes some excellent points regarding the reaction of many Calvinists to John Piper's invitation to Rick Warren.

  • Jack discusses John Piper, Rick Warren, and ranting Calvinists.

  • Martyr for Calvin?

  • The new book Whosoever Will: A Biblical and Theological Critique of Five-Point Calvinism is garnering attention.

  • A fictional, misguided, ill-informed "dialogue" on Calvinism.

Friday, April 02, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - April 2, 2010

  • The Christian Science Monitor on Calvinism's comeback.

  • Sonny Burrell offers a word on on 1 Corinthians 1:10-13 and the usage of the term Calvinism.

  • Christ suffered for about three hours on the cross. How is that sufficient enough to wipe out an eternal debt of sin? John Piper answers.

  • What the bodily resurrection of Christ means to Pyromaniacs Phil Johnson, Dan Phillips, and Frank Turk.

Friday, March 26, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - March 26, 2010

  • Ryan the Calvinist lists some podcasts worth listening to.

  • Another (i.e. the same, old, tired) argument against Calvinism.

  • Dr. James Galyon reviews When Grace Comes Home, a book he calls "one of the best works dealing with practical theology in relation to the doctrines of grace."

  • One young blogger wraps up a brief overview of the five points of Calvinism.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Reasons for My Lack of Blog Posts

I have three very good reasons for not posting more frequently. Here they are, in no particular order:

Going from zero to three children in six months doesn't leave one with much free time. I hope to post more about that here in the near future, but you can catch some of the details on our family blog under the tags "China adoption" and "Haiti adoption."

Friday, March 19, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - March 19, 2010

  • Al Mohler on apostate pastors.

  • Is FAITH the new TULIP?

  • Mark Driscoll offers three steps to being missional.

  • An appreciation of Calvinism from a non-Calvinist.

  • David Mathis at reminds us, "Don't limit your understanding of God's absolute sovereignty to five points in a mnemonic device (TULIP). Do start there, or at least cover that terrain in due course, but know that there is so much more to the full biblical worldview sometimes called Calvinism."

Friday, March 12, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - March 12, 2010

  • Bobby Grow considers himself a "progressive dispensationalist," but he can still appreciate the amillennial approach.

  • On this the Seeking Disciple and I agree: "We can debate Arminianism and Calvinism but in the end, the glory of God demands that we worship, exalt, and declare His glory alone above all others."

  • A Unitarian Universalist (i.e. non-Christian) claims, "For better or for worse, Unitarian Universalism wouldn't exist without John Calvin."

  • Breaking news from TBNN: North Korea declares war on Calvinism.

  • The 75 Best Dressed Men of All Time, according to MSN, has John Calvin listed at number 52: "Because the most famous minimalist in world history knew a man didn't need expensive clothes or bright colors to convey authority. Black and white, worn with the requisite gravity, can be powerful and intimidating. Just look at the Secret Service. Or the Reservoir Dogs."

Friday, March 05, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - March 5, 2010

  • Jim thinks that if Jonathan Edwards were alive today, he would be accused by modern Calvinists "of not understanding the doctrines of grace."

  • Allen Yeh offers a Calvinist apology.

  • Ken Pulliam, Ph.D., paints John Calvin and, by association, Calvinists in general as genocidal maniacs.

  • Arminius on repentance and faith.

Friday, February 19, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - February 19, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - February 12, 2010

  • Excellent reminder from Gavin Ortlund: "God forbid we ever make him more complicated than he makes himself in his word!"

  • Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, will be holding a conference entitled "Calvinism for the 21st Century" April 8-10. You can register now through March 22.

  • Steven doesn't see "any reason to be anything but a Calvinist if we do not have libertarian freedom of the will."

  • Is "Reformed Baptist" an oxymoron?

  • According to Larry, Calvinism "is as impotent in reaching up into heaven and grasping God as is Islam or any pagan religion." Again, let's try to have some understanding about those subjects on which we decide to comment.

  • Desiring God offers resources on the doctrines of grace.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Perseverance of the Saints

Yes, we lifelong Saints fans know more than anyone the meaning of perseverance.

Friday, February 05, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - February 5, 2010

  • The ever-modest and humble Ken Willis seems to want more hits for his blog. That certainly would explain why he writes the following: "What we know as Calvinism is not the Gospel that was first given; It is a form of fatalistic popery. I am so ashamed that I was seduced by the intellectual appeal of it. I pray God will forgive me for promoting it and leading others into it. All I can do now is try to expose it and call for a deeper examination of the evidence that exposes it. I cannot believe how dangerous it is; I know many in it now hate me and consider me a heretic for opposing it. But I say this and this alone; they hate me not for the God they profess, but for the man they follow." Well, Ken, you're welcome.

  • It is pretty bad when an atheist has a better handle on who a Christian is than a "liberal Christian."

  • The Seeking Disciple doesn't see faith as a gift from God. After all, we are the ones who do the believing; God doesn't do it for us. That is true, but it is impossible for an unregenerate person to exercise faith. We are saved by grace through faith. And since there is no faith apart from grace, I cannot help but conclude that faith is indeed a gift from God.

  • Why do I get the feeling that Dee really thinks most Calvinists are arrogant, self-serving "Calvinistas"?

  • Perhaps Dee had run into one too many dysfunctional Calvinists.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Christian Libertarianism

Bojidar Marinov, who took part in the forming of the Libertarian movement in his native Bulgaria, explains why he could not be a libertarian without Christ:
    When a dear friend of mine shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ with me, he knew nothing of my intellectual struggles. There was one thing that caught my attention that night when he talked to me about his faith: "You shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free." And then Jesus adds: "And if the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed."

    There was the solution to my problem! I was blind to search for an impersonal Truth, an inexorable, merciless entity that holds the universe in an iron grip. And I was blind to search for Freedom that was focused on myself so much that would make the rest of the world irrelevant -- and make me irrelevant in the process. Truth was possible to know only if it was itself a Person; and Freedom was possible to have only if it was itself a Person. That Person couldn't be a mere man -- or I would be in slavery. He must be a god, or rather, God, the Creator of the Universe. And if the Bible was true, then my problems had one reason: I was a stranger to God, and thus I was a stranger to Freedom, Ethics, and Justice. I had to come back to Him, through the redemption He provided in Jesus Christ. Only then I had...everything.

    If He was the Creator, He was the Truth. Knowing Him, I would know the Truth. He was Freedom too: He created my very nature and He knew what I should do to be in harmony with my real nature. And He was Justice for He gave me the rules for a just society that has liberty and justice for all. What all the philosophers wanted but couldn't find, He had it, and He was it.

    Therefore I couldn't be a libertarian without Christ. I tried, and it was impossible -- philosophically and ethically. It was self-contradictory, it was against the very nature of things, and it was believing in a set of assumptions that had no discernible connection with reality or with each other. Only in Christ I had them all brought together in a coherent whole. And only in Christ did it make sense to be willing to die for your freedom -- without Him death was the ultimate judge of things, and slavery was preferable to facing death. "Give me liberty or give me death" was folly in a world without Christ -- but now it is divine wisdom in Him.
Read the full article here.

Friday, January 29, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - January 29, 2010

Friday, January 22, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - January 22, 2010

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Remembering Two Great Americans, Two Men of God

(Written Jan. 19, 2006)

You probably won't find anything special printed on your calendar for the 19th and 21st of January. In case you are wondering, those are the respective birthdays of Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson.

As a nation we have already honored Martin Luther King, Jr. and will commemorate the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln next month, but Lee and Jackson are especially dear to my heart. They were great men who embodied the inspiring courage, uncompromising honesty, principled conviction, and moral fortitude we no longer see in our leaders today.

Both Lee and Jackson were men of action who fought valiantly to defend their homes and families. Jackson made it clear that if it were up to him, the South would "raise the black flag" and show no quarter to the enemy invading their homeland. They realized that while war was sometimes necessary, it should never be entered into lightly. As Lee put it, "It is good that war is so terrible, else we should grow too fond of it."

Lee and Jackson were Southern gents through and through. Consider Lee's Definition of a Gentleman:
    The forbearing use of power does not only form a touchstone, but the manner in which an individual enjoys certain advantages over others is a test of a true gentleman.

    The power which the strong have over the weak, the employer over the employed, the educated over the unlettered, the experienced over the confiding, even the clever over the silly -- the forbearing or inoffensive use of all this power or authority, or a total abstinence from it when the case admits it, will show the gentleman in a plain light.

    The gentleman does not needlessly and unnecessarily remind an offender of a wrong he may have committed against him. He cannot only forgive, he can forget; and he strives for that nobleness of self and mildness of character which impart sufficient strength to let the past be but the past.

    A true man of Honor feels humble himself when he cannot help humbling others.
Jackson's wife, Mary Anna, wrote of her husband that he "was a great advocate for marriage, appreciating the gentler sex so highly that whenever he met one of the 'unappropriated blessings' under the type of truest womanhood, he would wish that one of his bachelor friends could be fortunate to win her."

Both Lee and Jackson believed in principle over pragmatism. Lee once said, "I think it better to do right, even if we suffer in so doing, than to incur the reproach of our consciences and posterity." Jackson summed it up this way: "Duty is ours; consequences are God's."

Jackson never lived to see the fall of his beloved South, but Lee was gracious even in defeat. When approached by those who wished to remain bitter after surrendering he said, "Abandon your animosities and make your sons Americans." It was his position that "we must forgive our enemies. I can truly say that not a day has passed since the war began that I have not prayed for them."

Above all, Lee and Jackson were men of God. Lee loved to pray. He would be sure to let people know that he was praying for them, and he felt encouraged when he was remembered in their prayers. Once, upon hearing that others had been praying for him, he remarked, "I sincerely thank you for that, and I can only say that I am a poor sinner, trusting in Christ alone, and that I need all the prayers you can offer for me."

Jackson was the epitome of a life devoted to prayer. No matter was too insignificant that it did not warrant communion with the Father: "I have so fixed the habit in my mind that I never raise a glass of water to my lips without asking God's blessing, never seal a letter without putting a word of prayer under the seal, never take a letter from the post without a brief sending of my thoughts heavenward. I never change my classes in the lecture room without a minute's petition for the cadets who go out and for those who come in."

Jackson had an intimate knowledge of the sovereignty of God and rested in the promises of his Heavenly Father. Following the loss of his first wife, Ellie, who died almost immediately after giving birth to a stillborn son, he wrote to his sister-in-law, "I have been called to pass through the deep waters of affliction, but all has been satisfied. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord. ... I can willingly submit to anything if God strengthens me." It was this unshakable faith that taught him "to feel as safe in battle as in bed."

The more I see what passes for leadership today in our government, in our churches, and in our homes, the more I am convinced that we need men like Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. Jackson. I guess it's time for me to watch Gods and Generals again.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Our Orphanage in Haiti Makes National News

Maison des Enfants de Dieu, the creche where our kids Philippe and Patricia are staying, was just featured on

The good news is that some children who are in the process of being adopted are already being brought to the U.S. We pray that our kids will soon be among them.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Desperate Plea from Our Orphanage in Haiti

Regular readers of this blog (especially those who visit our family blog) are aware that my wife, Dawn, and I adopted Olivia from China and are currently in the process of adopting a brother and sister, Philippe and Patricia, from Haiti. You can imagine how closely we've been paying attention to the news coverage coming out of that devastated country.

We had heard that the kids were safe, but we just received this harrowing update from our orphanage:

    We received word from Pierre this morning that the situation in the orphanage is becoming dire. We would like to ask EVERYONE that receives this to use this information to get on your knees before our Lord and ask Him to provide.

    We have one nanny that is deceased and the orphanage needs her body to be removed.
    The orphanage has no drinkable water.

    In addition they need:

    • formula for babies
    • medicines
    • IV fluids (one child is currently on an IV)
    • charcoal to cook
    • diesel
    • cash to buy supplies if they find them. They are running out of cash and there are no banks open to get cash, so it needs to be delivered by someone already on the ground or by helicopter.

    Others are beginning to rob them of what supplies they do have.

    There are helicopters flying over the orphanage and they have made a sign on the roof that says they are an orphanage and need help.

    The staff is also working to get together all the paperwork for each child that has an adoptive family in a way that it can be attached to their body if there is an opportunity to evacuate.

    For His Glory is doing everything we can on this end to contact people who may be able to help. Please pray. Currently, that is the best thing you can do to help. Kim is doing everything she can, and respectfully requests that adoptive families do not call her at this time. We realize this is a very difficult time, however she needs her phone and time available to do everything she can to make contacts to try to help the children and staff at the orphanage. We will give you any updates we have as soon as they are available.

    Trusting in Him,

    For His Glory
Please remember them, us, our kids, and other adoptive families in your prayers. If you'd like to donate, please visit FHG's web site here.
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