Friday, December 30, 2011

This Week in Calvinism - December 30, 2011

  • Calvinism is on the rise, but so is Buddhism. It seems Americas "cross religious lines much more easily than political ones." And the author thinks that's a good thing.

  • The five conundrums of Calvinism, according to Roger Olson. I would agree. If one insists on holding God to human standards, then, yes, these are conundrums.

  • Thomas Schreiner on Calvinism and the warning passages in Hebrews.

  • Don Bryant accuses John Piper of being "on the wrong side of cruel."

  • One blogger writes, "If election has predetermined every man's fate, nothing anybody can do will change anything, so why try? This is the point of Calvinism, spiritual inactivity." I guess the writer assumes that sinful and rebellious men want to please God.

  • Justin Taylor presents many different ways of reading through the Bible in 2012.

Friday, December 23, 2011

This Week in Calvinism - December 23, 2011

  • Justin Taylor on the persecution of Christians in Kim Jong-Il's North Korea.

  • The Society of Evangelical Arminians takes issue with Justin's post:
    It is simply baffling that Calvinists can decry the diabolical, heinous actions of Kim Jong-Il (and others like him), and yet they hold that God first conceived in his own divine heart every one of the man's wicked actions, thought them up without any influence outside of himself, and unconditionally and irresistibly decreed them without any influence outside of himself, resulting in the man doing them all without any chance, power, or ability to do anything else. It's madness I tell you! Madness!!
    What's madness is believing in the alternative: God creating a world in which people suffer the effects of evil without any meaning or purpose.

  • Shocker. An Arminian considers Roger Olson's latest book, Against Calvinism, to be "an accurate assessment and successful critique" of Calvinism.

  • Jeremy Walker explores New Calvinism's caveats and characteristics, notes its commendations, discusses some cautions and concerns, and offers his conclusions and counsels.

Friday, December 16, 2011

This Week in Calvinism - December 16, 2011

  • Preacher-teacher Joel Taylor recommends the book The Truth About New Calvinism as a way of combating the false teaching of men like John Piper, Al Mohler, and R. C. Sproul.

  • Arminian Roger Olson recommends the book Predestination: The American Career of a Contentious Doctrine as an informative look at the debate over the controversial doctrine. He agrees with the author, saying, "[T]he debate over God's sovereignty in salvation cannot be settled merely or simply by collection of biblical evidence."

  • Atheist John Loftus, ever the eloquent wordsmith, calls Calvinism "bull----."

  • Pastor Andrew Davis describes the reform of his Baptist church.

  • John Piper on the origin of Calvinism.

  • Evidences of God's grace in the church today.

Friday, December 09, 2011

This Week in Calvinism - December 9, 2011

  • Peter Berger predicts, "If Calvinism is to make further inroads among Southern Baptists or among any other segments of American Evangelicals, it will be in its Arminian form." Huh?

  • How does one strike a balance between Calvinism and Arminianism? Bob Hadley, Pastor of Westside Baptist Church in Daytona Beach, Florida, suggests a new TULIP acrostic: Total Lostness, Unconditional Love, Limiting Atonement, Irrefutable Gospel, Perseverance of the Savior.

  • Beware of self-righteous Calvinism.

  • Charles Spurgeon on evolution.

  • Some book gift ideas from Desiring God.

Friday, December 02, 2011

This Week in Calvinism - December 2, 2011

  • Are you recovering from Calvinism? There's help.

  • A list of readings on the subject of divine sovereignty and human responsibility.

  • Brenda Nickel warns of Rick Warren's move toward that "powerful deception" known as Calvinism.

  • England was engulfed in civil war in the 1600s. Was the rise of Puritanism to blame, or could it have been the Arminian plot to overthrow Calvinism?

  • Is Luke 10:13 more problematic for Calvinists or Molinists? Seeing as how God ordains the end and the means, I don't know of any Calvinists who have a problem with it, so I guess it would have to be Molinists.

Friday, November 25, 2011

This Week in Calvinism - November 25, 2011

  • If you want to know the significance of Christianity in American history, study the Great Awakening.

  • Joel Taylor recommends an audio series that exposes the false teachings of Mark Driscoll, John Piper, John MacArthur, Alistair Begg, R. C. Sproul, and others.

  • Dan Corner refutes the "Calvinistic doctrine of infant damnation for the non-elect." Funny, I don't even remember being taught that.

  • A "negative" review of God's Wisdom in Proverbs, a book by Pyromaniac Dan Phillips.

  • Tim Challies has some great Black Friday deals for the discerning reader.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Man fired for not accepting the "mark of the beast"

Well...sort of.

Billy E. Hyatt was recently fired from his job at a plastics factory near Dalton, Georgia. He claims it was because he refused to wear a sticker celebrating the factory being accident-free for 666 days.

It isn't clear whether management required the sticker to be worn on the forehead or on the hand, but Hyatt, a devout Christian (and apparently a devout dispensationalist), didn't want to take any chances. He believed that wearing the sticker would have been accepting the "mark of the beast" described in the book of Revelation, condemning him to hell.

Without getting into the serious implications of dispensational theology (though I think we're seeing one of them here), all of this hassle could have been avoided had Mr. Hyatt simply dropped a hammer on his toe. That would have bought him at least another 665 days.

Friday, November 18, 2011

This Week in Calvinism - November 18, 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Did God Tell Herman Cain to Run for President?

It seems presidential hopeful Herman Cain is a modern Moses:
Herman Cain returned to his home state for a brief campaign stop Saturday, telling a cheering group of young Republicans in Atlanta that God told him to run for president and that he was "in it to win it."

"I prayed and prayed and prayed. I am a man of faith," Cain told the Young Republican National Federation at the Westin Peachtree Plaza. "I had to do a lot of praying for this one, more praying than I have ever done before in my life. And when I finally realized that it was God saying that this is what I needed to do, I was like Moses: 'You have got the wrong man, Lord. Are you sure?' ... Once I made the decision, I did not look back."
So what should I do if God told me not to vote for any candidate who claims to have been told by God to run for president?

Friday, November 11, 2011

This Week in Calvinism - November 11, 2011

  • For those wondering why Roger Olson didn't mention J. I. Packer in his book Against Calvinism, don't worry. He's against him, too.

  • Speaking of Roger "I can't distinguish the God of Calvinism from the devil" Olson, James White reviews Against Calvinism (part 1, part 2). It ain't pretty.

  • One pastor's biggest fear about members of his congregation reading The Purpose Driven Life: that they might "become caught up in the Calvinism that undergirds the book's assumptions."

  • The tragic hypocrisy of joyless Calvinism.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Friday, November 04, 2011

This Week in Calvinism - November 4, 2011

Thursday, November 03, 2011

A New Movie from Rob Bell

From the brilliantly twisted mind of Eddie Eddings...

No Children Allowed?

This was printed in the program at a church I visited in San Diego...

Monday, October 31, 2011

494 Years Ago Today

Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences
Commonly Known as The 95 Theses
by Martin Luther

Out of love and concern for the truth, and with the object of eliciting it, the following heads will be the subject of a public discussion at Wittenberg under the presidency of the reverend father, Martin Luther, Augustinian, Master of Arts and Sacred Theology, and duly appointed Lecturer on these subjects in that place. He requests that whoever cannot be present personally to debate the matter orally will do so in absence in writing.

1. When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, said "Repent", He called for the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.

2. The word cannot be properly understood as referring to the sacrament of penance, i.e. confession and satisfaction, as administered by the clergy.

3. Yet its meaning is not restricted to repentance in one's heart; for such repentance is null unless it produces outward signs in various mortifications of the flesh.

4. As long as hatred of self abides (i.e. true inward repentance) the penalty of sin abides, viz., until we enter the kingdom of heaven.

5. The pope has neither the will nor the power to remit any penalties beyond those imposed either at his own discretion or by canon law.

6. The pope himself cannot remit guilt, but only declare and confirm that it has been remitted by God; or, at most, he can remit it in cases reserved to his discretion. Except for these cases, the guilt remains untouched.

7. God never remits guilt to anyone without, at the same time, making him humbly submissive to the priest, His representative.

8. The penitential canons apply only to men who are still alive, and, according to the canons themselves, none applies to the dead.

9. Accordingly, the Holy Spirit, acting in the person of the pope, manifests grace to us, by the fact that the papal regulations always cease to apply at death, or in any hard case.

10. It is a wrongful act, due to ignorance, when priests retain the canonical penalties on the dead in purgatory.

11. When canonical penalties were changed and made to apply to purgatory, surely it would seem that tares were sown while the bishops were asleep.

12. In former days, the canonical penalties were imposed, not after, but before absolution was pronounced; and were intended to be tests of true contrition.

13. Death puts an end to all the claims of the Church; even the dying are already dead to the canon laws, and are no longer bound by them.

14. Defective piety or love in a dying person is necessarily accompanied by great fear, which is greatest where the piety or love is least.

15. This fear or horror is sufficient in itself, whatever else might be said, to constitute the pain of purgatory, since it approaches very closely to the horror of despair.

16. There seems to be the same difference between hell, purgatory, and heaven as between despair, uncertainty, and assurance.

17. Of a truth, the pains of souls in purgatory ought to be abated, and charity ought to be proportionately increased.

18. Moreover, it does not seem proved, on any grounds of reason or Scripture, that these souls are outside the state of merit, or unable to grow in grace.

19. Nor does it seem proved to be always the case that they are certain and assured of salvation, even if we are very certain ourselves.

20. Therefore the pope, in speaking of the plenary remission of all penalties, does not mean "all" in the strict sense, but only those imposed by himself.

21. Hence those who preach indulgences are in error when they say that a man is absolved and saved from every penalty by the pope's indulgences.

22. Indeed, he cannot remit to souls in purgatory any penalty which canon law declares should be suffered in the present life.

23. If plenary remission could be granted to anyone at all, it would be only in the cases of the most perfect, i.e. to very few.

24. It must therefore be the case that the major part of the people are deceived by that indiscriminate and high-sounding promise of relief from penalty.

25. The same power as the pope exercises in general over purgatory is exercised in particular by every single bishop in his bishopric and priest in his parish.

26. The pope does excellently when he grants remission to the souls in purgatory on account of intercessions made on their behalf, and not by the power of the keys (which he cannot exercise for them).

27. There is no divine authority for preaching that the soul flies out of the purgatory immediately the money clinks in the bottom of the chest.

28. It is certainly possible that when the money clinks in the bottom of the chest avarice and greed increase; but when the church offers intercession, all depends in the will of God.

29. Who knows whether all souls in purgatory wish to be redeemed in view of what is said of St. Severinus and St. Pascal? (Note: Paschal I, pope 817-24. The legend is that he and Severinus were willing to endure the pains of purgatory for the benefit of the faithful).

30. No one is sure of the reality of his own contrition, much less of receiving plenary forgiveness.

31. One who bona fide buys indulgence is a rare as a bona fide penitent man, i.e. very rare indeed.

32. All those who believe themselves certain of their own salvation by means of letters of indulgence, will be eternally damned, together with their teachers.

33. We should be most carefully on our guard against those who say that the papal indulgences are an inestimable divine gift, and that a man is reconciled to God by them.

34. For the grace conveyed by these indulgences relates simply to the penalties of the sacramental "satisfactions" decreed merely by man.

35. It is not in accordance with Christian doctrines to preach and teach that those who buy off souls, or purchase confessional licenses, have no need to repent of their own sins.

36. Any Christian whatsoever, who is truly repentant, enjoys plenary remission from penalty and guilt, and this is given him without letters of indulgence.

37. Any true Christian whatsoever, living or dead, participates in all the benefits of Christ and the Church; and this participation is granted to him by God without letters of indulgence.

38. Yet the pope's remission and dispensation are in no way to be despised, for, as already said, they proclaim the divine remission.

39. It is very difficult, even for the most learned theologians, to extol to the people the great bounty contained in the indulgences, while, at the same time, praising contrition as a virtue.

40. A truly contrite sinner seeks out, and loves to pay, the penalties of his sins; whereas the very multitude of indulgences dulls men's consciences, and tends to make them hate the penalties.

41. Papal indulgences should only be preached with caution, lest people gain a wrong understanding, and think that they are preferable to other good works: those of love.

42. Christians should be taught that the pope does not at all intend that the purchase of indulgences should be understood as at all comparable with the works of mercy.

43. Christians should be taught that one who gives to the poor, or lends to the needy, does a better action than if he purchases indulgences.

44. Because, by works of love, love grows and a man becomes a better man; whereas, by indulgences, he does not become a better man, but only escapes certain penalties.

45. Christians should be taught that he who sees a needy person, but passes him by although he gives money for indulgences, gains no benefit from the pope's pardon, but only incurs the wrath of God.

46. Christians should be taught that, unless they have more than they need, they are bound to retain what is only necessary for the upkeep of their home, and should in no way squander it on indulgences.

47. Christians should be taught that they purchase indulgences voluntarily, and are not under obligation to do so.

48. Christians should be taught that, in granting indulgences, the pope has more need, and more desire, for devout prayer on his own behalf than for ready money.

49. Christians should be taught that the pope's indulgences are useful only if one does not rely on them, but most harmful if one loses the fear of God through them.

50. Christians should be taught that, if the pope knew the exactions of the indulgence-preachers, he would rather the church of St. Peter were reduced to ashes than be built with the skin, flesh, and bones of the sheep.

51. Christians should be taught that the pope would be willing, as he ought if necessity should arise, to sell the church of St. Peter, and give, too, his own money to many of those from whom the pardon-merchants conjure money.

52. It is vain to rely on salvation by letters of indulgence, even if the commissary, or indeed the pope himself, were to pledge his own soul for their validity.

53. Those are enemies of Christ and the pope who forbid the word of God to be preached at all in some churches, in order that indulgences may be preached in others.

54. The word of God suffers injury if, in the same sermon, an equal or longer time is devoted to indulgences than to that word.

55. The pope cannot help taking the view that if indulgences (very small matters) are celebrated by one bell, one pageant, or one ceremony, the gospel (a very great matter) should be preached to the accompaniment of a hundred bells, a hundred processions, a hundred ceremonies.

56. The treasures of the church, out of which the pope dispenses indulgences, are not sufficiently spoken of or known among the people of Christ.

57. That these treasures are not temporal are clear from the fact that many of the merchants do not grant them freely, but only collect them.

58. Nor are they the merits of Christ and the saints, because, even apart from the pope, these merits are always working grace in the inner man, and working the cross, death, and hell in the outer man.

59. St. Laurence said that the poor were the treasures of the church, but he used the term in accordance with the custom of his own time.

60. We do not speak rashly in saying that the treasures of the church are the keys of the church, and are bestowed by the merits of Christ.

61. For it is clear that the power of the pope suffices, by itself, for the remission of penalties and reserved cases.

62. The true treasure of the church is the Holy gospel of the glory and the grace of God.

63. It is right to regard this treasure as most odious, for it makes the first to be the last.

64. On the other hand, the treasure of indulgences is most acceptable, for it makes the last to be the first.

65. Therefore the treasures of the gospel are nets which, in former times, they used to fish for men of wealth.

66. The treasures of the indulgences are the nets to-day which they use to fish for men of wealth.

67. The indulgences, which the merchants extol as the greatest of favours, are seen to be, in fact, a favourite means for money-getting.

68. Nevertheless, they are not to be compared with the grace of God and the compassion shown in the Cross.

69. Bishops and curates, in duty bound, must receive the commissaries of the papal indulgences with all reverence.

70. But they are under a much greater obligation to watch closely and attend carefully lest these men preach their own fancies instead of what the pope commissioned.

71. Let him be anathema and accursed who denies the apostolic character of the indulgences.

72. On the other hand, let him be blessed who is on his guard against the wantonness and license of the pardon-merchant's words.

73. In the same way, the pope rightly excommunicates those who make any plans to the detriment of the trade in indulgences.

74. It is much more in keeping with his views to excommunicate those who use the pretext of indulgences to plot anything to the detriment of holy love and truth.

75. It is foolish to think that papal indulgences have so much power that they can absolve a man even if he has done the impossible and violated the mother of God.

76. We assert the contrary, and say that the pope's pardons are not able to remove the least venial of sins as far as their guilt is concerned.

77. When it is said that not even St. Peter, if he were now pope, could grant a greater grace, it is blasphemy against St. Peter and the pope.

78. We assert the contrary, and say that he, and any pope whatever, possesses greater graces, viz., the gospel, spiritual powers, gifts of healing, etc., as is declared in I Corinthians 12 [:28].

79. It is blasphemy to say that the insignia of the cross with the papal arms are of equal value to the cross on which Christ died.

80. The bishops, curates, and theologians, who permit assertions of that kind to be made to the people without let or hindrance, will have to answer for it.

81. This unbridled preaching of indulgences makes it difficult for learned men to guard the respect due to the pope against false accusations, or at least from the keen criticisms of the laity.

82. They ask, e.g.: Why does not the pope liberate everyone from purgatory for the sake of love (a most holy thing) and because of the supreme necessity of their souls? This would be morally the best of all reasons. Meanwhile he redeems innumerable souls for money, a most perishable thing, with which to build St. Peter's church, a very minor purpose.

83. Again: Why should funeral and anniversary masses for the dead continue to be said? And why does not the pope repay, or permit to be repaid, the benefactions instituted for these purposes, since it is wrong to pray for those souls who are now redeemed?

84. Again: Surely this is a new sort of compassion, on the part of God and the pope, when an impious man, an enemy of God, is allowed to pay money to redeem a devout soul, a friend of God; while yet that devout and beloved soul is not allowed to be redeemed without payment, for love's sake, and just because of its need of redemption.

85. Again: Why are the penitential canon laws, which in fact, if not in practice, have long been obsolete and dead in themselves,—why are they, to-day, still used in imposing fines in money, through the granting of indulgences, as if all the penitential canons were fully operative?

86. Again: since the pope's income to-day is larger than that of the wealthiest of wealthy men, why does he not build this one church of St. Peter with his own money, rather than with the money of indigent believers?

87. Again: What does the pope remit or dispense to people who, by their perfect repentance, have a right to plenary remission or dispensation?

88. Again: Surely a greater good could be done to the church if the pope were to bestow these remissions and dispensations, not once, as now, but a hundred times a day, for the benefit of any believer whatever.

89. What the pope seeks by indulgences is not money, but rather the salvation of souls; why then does he suspend the letters and indulgences formerly conceded, and still as efficacious as ever?

90. These questions are serious matters of conscience to the laity. To suppress them by force alone, and not to refute them by giving reasons, is to expose the church and the pope to the ridicule of their enemies, and to make Christian people unhappy.

91. If therefore, indulgences were preached in accordance with the spirit and mind of the pope, all these difficulties would be easily overcome, and indeed, cease to exist.

92. Away, then, with those prophets who say to Christ's people, "Peace, peace," where in there is no peace.

93. Hail, hail to all those prophets who say to Christ's people, "The cross, the cross," where there is no cross.

94. Christians should be exhorted to be zealous to follow Christ, their Head, through penalties, deaths, and hells.

95. And let them thus be more confident of entering heaven through many tribulations rather than through a false assurance of peace.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Law Does Not Sanctify

While I'm on vacation, please enjoy some old posts from the Contemporary Calvinist.

The Law Does Not Sanctify
(originally posted 04/18/2007)

When we received the gift of salvation by grace alone through faith alone, were we set free from the curse of the law only to be commanded to return to the law in order to be sanctified? Some seem to think so.

I recall a blog post by Chris Ortiz at bemoaning the fact that "[s]anctification by the law of God is not likely to be heard within the padded sanctuaries of the mega-church." Well, I would hope that sanctification by the law of God is never heard in any church.

"Sanctification by the law" presents a huge problem for believers. It creates a conflicting message. It makes no sense to condemn justification by works and then turn around and promote sanctification by works. That which is powerless to justify is just as powerless to sanctify. Sanctification comes by grace through faith (Acts 26:18, Hebrews 10:10) and is the ongoing work of the indwelling Holy Spirit (2 Thessalonians 2:13, 1 Peter 1:2).

This is not antinomianism by any stretch of the imagination. I believe the law serves the same purpose it always did: it reveals sin. It exposes to the light of truth that which we seek to keep hidden. It shows us just how powerless we are to save ourselves. It also condemns us. As Paul writes in Galatians 3:10, "For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, 'Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.'"

Sin and the law go hand in hand. Indeed, "sin is not counted where there is no law" (Romans 5:13). But Paul reminds us that sin no longer has any dominion over us, since we are "not under law but under grace" (Romans 6:14).

Thanks to the cross, we have "died to the law through the body of Christ" (Romans 7:4). More to the point, Christ, the only one capable of satisfying the requirements of the law, "redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us" (Galatians 3:13).

So, how then are we to live? We are told to "serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code" (Romans 7:6). In short, it is the Spirit that sanctifies (2 Thessalonians 2:13, 1 Peter 1:2). The fruit of the Spirit "leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life" (Romans 6:22).

It is only by the power of the Holy Spirit that the law is fulfilled. Paul explains in Romans 13:8-10: "Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, 'You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,' and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law." He reminds us again in Galatians 6:2 when he says, "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ."

Note the emphasis Paul places on love. With Christ as our focus, we cannot help but love. But if we believe that sanctification come through obedience to the law, then the law becomes our focus, and it is impossible for us to love our neighbor and bear one another's burdens if our attention is on living up to the law and meeting its requirements. That's an impossible task. However, if we rest in what Christ has already accomplished for us, then we are free to live a life of love as ones who have truly been redeemed from the curse of the law.

What this means is that we will not be able to boast except in the Lord Jesus Christ, "who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption" (1 Corinthians 1:30-31). The result is that God alone receives the glory.

I don't know about you, but I find that to be one of the most blessed truths in all of scripture. Soli Deo Gloria!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I Am an Atheist

While I'm on vacation, please enjoy some old posts from the Contemporary Calvinist.

I Am an Atheist
(originally posted 12/02/2009)

I am an atheist when it comes to the supposed existence of an all-powerful Flying Spaghetti Monster that created everything.

It's true that the existence of FSM is something I can neither prove nor disprove 100%. After all, I am not omniscient. I don't know everything there is to know about everything. But I think I am safe in denying the existence of such a being.

For one thing, there is a lack of credible eyewitnesses. If any person has ever claimed to have seen FSM -- and I'm not aware of a single one -- that claim was never corroborated by anyone else.

There are also no authoritative written accounts of FSM making itself known to its creation, and nothing chronicling FSM's work throughout history backed up by thousands of ancient manuscripts. In fact, most of what has been written about FSM has been written by admitted nonbelievers within the last five years.

Furthermore, I know that spaghetti is a physical creation, and as such it cannot exist outside of the material realm. To conclude otherwise goes against all logic and reason.

(By the way, I would use the same arguments against the existence of the Invisible Pink Unicorn.)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Failed Gospel Tract

While I'm on vacation, please enjoy some old posts from the Contemporary Calvinist.

Failed Gospel Tract
(originally posted 03/02/2009)

Friday, October 21, 2011

The World As Seen Through an Atheist's (Irreducibly Complex) Eyes

While I'm on vacation, please enjoy some old posts from the Contemporary Calvinist.

The World As Seen Through an Atheist's (Irreducibly Complex) Eyes
(originally posted 10/14/2008)

"The architect is a true visionary!"

"What a remarkable feat of engineering!"

"An awesome achievement of brilliant scientific minds!"

"Such intricate design is obviously the work of a very talented artist!"

"There is no God!"

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Lawsuit Against God Dismissed

While I'm on vacation, please enjoy some old posts from the Contemporary Calvinist.

Lawsuit Against God Dismissed
(originally posted 03/03/2009)

You may recall that Ernie Chambers, a former Nebraska state senator, sought a permanent injunction against God back in 2007 for causing "widespread death, destruction and terrorization of millions upon millions of the Earth's inhabitants." A Douglas County District Court judge threw out the suit in 2008 on the grounds that the defendant was never served a legal notice. Chambers appealed, saying that if God was indeed omnipresent and omniscient, then he knew he was being sued, so no legal notice was needed.

As expected, the Nebraska Court of Appeals recently dismissed the lawsuit, but not because it believed it lacked the jurisdiction or the authority to enforce such an injunction against the Creator of the universe. No, the suit was dismissed because the court decided it does not rule on abstract, hypothetical, or fictitious issues.

Mr. Chambers, you will get your day in court, but it will be as the defendant. The question is, will you be left to defend yourself (which you won't be able to do), or will you have Jesus Christ as your advocate?

(I suppose I should also add that the members of the Nebraska Court of Appeals will eventually find out just how abstract, hypothetical, or fictitious God really is.)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Onward Christian Soldiers?

While I'm on vacation, please enjoy some old posts from the Contemporary Calvinist.

Onward Christian Soldiers?
(originally posted 05/06/2009)

Consider this report from Reuters:
Bibles in Afghan languages sent to a U.S. soldier at a base in Afghanistan were confiscated and destroyed to ensure that troops did not breach regulations which forbid proselytising, a military spokeswoman said.

The U.S. military has denied its soldiers tried to convert Afghans to Christianity, after Qatar-based Al Jazeera television showed soldiers at a bible class on a base with a stack of bibles translated into the local Pashto and Dari languages.

U.S. Central Command's General Order Number 1 forbids troops on active duty -- including all those based in Iraq and Afghanistan -- from trying to convert people to another religion.

"I can now confirm that the Bibles shown on Al Jazeera's clip were, in fact, collected by the chaplains and later destroyed. They were never distributed," spokeswoman Major Jennifer Willis said at Bagram air base, north of Kabul.
My initial reaction was one of shock. The chaplains were the ones responsible for confiscating these Bibles? How could they do something like that in good conscience?

Despite the official denial of the military, it's obvious the Bibles were intended to be distributed among the local population. Regardless, some may argue that the chaplains should have ignored the order. As the Apostle Peter said, "We must obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29).

But as I reflected further on this incident I found it increasingly difficult to sympathize with those involved. While we are called to evangelize other nations, I'm not sure it's the place of an active duty member of the U.S. military to assume that responsibility, even if all that is entailed is simply handing out Bibles.

I have two concerns. First of all, evangelizing isn't in any soldier's job description. Just as we don't expect to see anyone else in secular employment evangelizing on "company time," we shouldn't expect it from our soldiers.

Secondly, the U.S. invaded Afghanistan on a military mission. Killing people and destroying property was the very nature of that mission, and I don't think the spreading of the gospel should ever be associated with the use of military force.

The war we are called to fight is a spiritual one (Ephesians 6:12-13), and the weapon we have been given is the "sword of the spirit" (Ephesians 6:17). Going out into the world to "make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19) should be done with the willingness to give our own lives for the sake of the gospel (Matthew 16:25, John 12:24-25), not in the process of taking the lives of others. The military, after all, is a tool of the state, not a ministry arm of the church.

More on this story:

Christianity vs. Atheism: Some Brief Observations

While I'm on vacation, please enjoy some old posts from the Contemporary Calvinist.

Christianity vs. Atheism: Some Brief Observations
(originally posted 08/17/2009)

Christianity is defined by a belief in something -- particularly, a belief in the God of the Bible. Atheism is defined by a non-belief in something -- particularly, a non-belief in the God of the Bible.

Christians choose to be identified by that which they believe to be true. Atheists choose to be identified by that which they believe to be false.

The practice of Christian apologetics is based on defending a belief. The practice of atheist apologetics is based on attacking a belief.

Christianity teaches absolute truth based on the unchanging word of God. Atheism teaches relative truth based on the changing scientific consensus.

Christians look to God's word as their objective moral standard. Atheists have no objective moral standard, so whenever they discuss morality (which cannot be accounted for in their naturalistic worldview) they must steal from Christians.

Christianity offers purpose and meaning in this world and hope beyond. Atheism offers none of the above, yet atheists continue to proselytize.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Two Free Audiobooks by John Piper

John Piper's newest book will help Christians think about thinking. Focusing on the life of the mind helps us to know God better, love him more, and care for the world. Along with an emphasis on emotions and the experience of God, we also need to practice careful thinking about God. Piper contends that "thinking is indispensable on the path to passion for God." So how are we to maintain a healthy balance of mind and heart, thinking and feeling?

Piper urges us to think for the glory of God. He demonstrates from Scripture that glorifying God with our minds and hearts is not either-or, but both-and. Thinking carefully about God fuels passion and affections for God. Likewise, Christ-exalting emotion leads to disciplined thinking.
Think is Christianaudio's free selection for the month of October.

Let the Nations Be Glad:
Why do we do missions? We are told, by Jesus, to preach the gospel and make disciples of all nations. So missions is duty, right? Wrong. If you do missions purely from a sense of duty you will not honor those you are reaching out to, nor will you truly honor God. Duty is the wrong place to look, so where do we find the answer to why we do missions? We turn, according to John Piper, to worship.

In our worship of God we encounter God's glory. The overflow from our worship is a desire to share God's glory with others (the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever), and we naturally become missional. When Jesus was asked what the kingdom of God was like, he compared it to a pearl so valuable that one would sell all they owned simply to possess it. Does that seem like duty to you? Instead, Jesus calls us to a new mindset, which flows from the mindset that worship creates in us. Thus, according to Piper, does worship become the goal of missions and the fuel which makes missions possible.
Just enter GLAD11 as the coupon code when checking out to download it for free.

Friday, October 14, 2011

This Week in Calvinism - October 14, 2011

  • More arrogant words from Roger Olson:
    It seems to me that most 5 point Calvinists I know seem bound and determined to believe anything they think the Bible says regardless of how horrific that may be. In other words, IF they became convinced that somehow they had been overlooking something in Scripture (as they think I do) and, in fact, God and the devil are actually the same being such that God is evil, they would believe it because the Bible says it. I, on the other hand, presuppose that God cannot be evil; that goodness and being belong inextricably together or else there is no ground for basic trust.
    Really, Dr. Olson? You're sticking with the "I'm not sure how to distinguish [the God of Calvinism] from the devil" routine? It's getting a little old.

  • Who's to blame for the rise of usury banking and the inherent greed in capitalism? Why, John Calvin, of course.

  • According to Ed Silva, Calvinism is an "even more sadistic teaching" than the doctrine of Hell, which makes the Calvinist God "far more unjust and cruel than the gods of all other world religions."

  • It seems students at Pensacola Christian College are warned not to speak of Calvinism to one another.

  • Can you lose your salvation? Mark Driscoll and Greg Boyd discuss.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Not a Single Christian Church Left in Afghanistan

Thanks to our meddling, there are no more churches in Afghanistan. CNSNews reports:
There is not a single, public Christian church left in Afghanistan, according to the U.S. State Department.

This reflects the state of religious freedom in that country ten years after the United States first invaded it and overthrew its Islamist Taliban regime.

In the intervening decade, U.S. taxpayers have spent $440 billion to support Afghanistan's new government and more than 1,700 U.S. military personnel have died serving in that country.

The last public Christian church in Afghanistan was razed in March 2010, according to the State Department's latest International Religious Freedom Report. The report, which was released last month and covers the period of July 1, 2010 through December 31, 2010, also states that “there were no Christian schools in the country.”

“There is no longer a public Christian church; the courts have not upheld the church's claim to its 99-year lease, and the landowner destroyed the building in March [2010],” reads the State Department report on religious freedom. “[Private] chapels and churches for the international community of various faiths are located on several military bases, PRTs [Provincial Reconstruction Teams], and at the Italian embassy. Some citizens who converted to Christianity as refugees have returned.”

In recent times, freedom of religion has declined in Afghanistan, according to the State Department.
This just adds to my confusion as to why so many American Christians supported (and continue to support) our government's wars in the Middle East.

(via Libertarian Christians)

Friday, October 07, 2011

This Week in Calvinism - October 7, 2011

  • Mike Horton, author of For Calvinism, and Roger Olson, author of Against Calvinism, will join each other in a friendly conversation at Biola University on Saturday, October 15, 2011.

  • Roger Olson discusses his book on The Paul Edwards Program.

  • The Seeking Disciple isn't a fan of those who call themselves "moderate Calvinists." He writes:
    They clearly have more in common with Arminius than with John Calvin but in an effort to remain in the mainstream of evangelicalism, they have chosen to adopt a term that I believe is poorly applied. ... I will give my true Calvinist friends credit, at least you hold firmly to your beliefs and don’t seek to become a moderate Arminian.

  • The Society of Evangelical Arminians blog has posted a rather accurate chart comparing Arminian and Calvinist beliefs.

  • John Piper recounts his experience with racism and Reformed theology.

  • The eternal wonder of three simple words: He saved us.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Bloodlines Documentary

In this short film, John Piper shares his own experiences growing up in the segregated South.

Piper's new book, Bloodlines: Race, Cross, and the Christian, is now available.

Friday, September 30, 2011

This Week in Calvinism - September 30, 2011

  • Roger Olson claims to have been fair in his new book, Against Calvinism. Yet consider his response to the first comment on his blog post:
    Patrick says:

    I honestly think the "Calvinist view" is a pagan view of Yahweh. Their understanding is how Ba'al would have acted, not Yahweh.

    BTW, I read once where Calvin himself did not teach the "over riding sovereignty" view, his successor did that.

    rogereolson says:
    I disagree–about Calvin. He most definitely did teach divine determinism. Read my book.
    So, does that mean he agrees with Patrick's conclusion that Calvinism is pagan?

  • Calvin was committed to the doctrine of definite atonement without actually committing himself to the doctrine of definite atonement. Paul Helm explains.

  • While the application of it may change, God's law does not.

  • Puritan advice on discovering God's will.

  • Phil Johnson on playing nice with heretics.

Monday, September 26, 2011

What Would It Take to Change Someone's Mind on Abortion?

"It's OK to kill a baby in the womb when..."

How would you finish that sentence? That's one of the questions Ray Comfort asks in 180, a hard-hitting documentary that seeks to get people to look at the abortion issue from a perspective they may have never considered before. It's a relatively short film, only 33 minutes, but it definitely drives the point home.

Friday, September 23, 2011

This Week in Calvinism - September 23, 2011

  • Justin Taylor on the problem of angry Calvinists.

  • Naturally, the Society of Evangelical Arminians has the answer: "Although it seems to be a question that Calvinist leaders do not want to consider, it is worth considering whether the character of God as entailed in Calvinism contributes to anger and harshness toward others among *some* Calvinists." In other words, Calvinism makes God a "moral monster," so it's no wonder so many Calvinists are angry.

  • Try to understand. First of all, "once saved always saved" is not synonymous with "perseverance of the saints." The former implies that one does not have to bear fruit to demonstrate he is a believer. The latter teaches that the elect will bear fruit and persevere to the end. Secondly, professing Christians walking away from the faith merely proves what John said it proves: "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us" (1 John 2:19).

  • Rob Bell's church, according to the Detroit Free Press, "came out of a strong Christian presence in west Michigan heavily influenced by Protestant traditions such as Calvinism." If by "came out of" they mean "abandoned," then that would make more sense.

  • Some book recommendations from Desiring God.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Couple Threatened with Fines for Holding a Home Bible Study

Given the animosity many local authorities have shown toward kids who set up lemonade stands, I can't say I was surprised when I read this story from California:
An Orange County couple has been ordered to stop holding a Bible study in their home on the grounds that the meeting violates a city ordinance as a "church" and not as a private gathering.

Homeowners Chuck and Stephanie Fromm, of San Juan Capistrano, were fined $300 earlier this month for holding what city officials called "a regular gathering of more than three people".

That type of meeting would require a conditional use permit as defined by the city, according to Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), the couple's legal representation.

The Fromms also reportedly face subsequent fines of $500 per meeting for any further "religious gatherings" in their home, according to PJI.

It reminds me of something I learned about China when my wife and I were there two years ago. Our guide explained that meeting and worshiping together as Christians is perfectly legal in that country...just as long as you first register with the government.

What do you think? Are the Fromms violating the command in Romans 13:1 to be subject to the governing authorities? Or is this a glimpse of things to come in a nation growing increasingly hostile to the gospel of Christ?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Gospel Weak

"Life is about swimming with a pack of predators." Thus began a sermon preached recently by Ed Young of Fellowship Church as part of his "Shark Weak" series.

The point of this particular series was to show us that we all lack the strength to face problems in life when we're ill-prepared. "We all swim with sharks," Young continued, circling around a 12-foot shark planted in the middle of the stage. "What are you dealing with? What is your shark?" I was immediately reminded of that old, hackneyed sermon lesson from the story of David and Goliath: "What are the giants in your life? Here are five stones you can use to defeat them…"

Young's congregation was treated to a video of his scuba diving trip in the Bahamas to swim with those feared predators of the deep. They witnessed their pastor getting a few tips from his instructor and then, once he was suited up, taking the Nestea plunge into a swarm of hungry sharks.

The rest of the sermon was peppered with random verses from the Bible that lent support to Young's message. For example, he quoted Matthew 10:16: "Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves," changing "wolves" to "Great White sharks" to tie it all together.

He wanted his sermon to prepare his congregation to go out and face their problems unafraid. It was, in Young's own words, a "pre-dive safety talk," and he compared God-breathed scripture to a diver's regulator, allowing one to breathe while swimming among life's sharks.

Young didn't go into much detail, leaving one to conclude that the sharks in life could include anything from a difficult co-worker to terminal cancer. He concluded up his pre-dive safety talk by encouraging his listeners to make sure they follow their diving checklists: "Listen intently, see clearly, breathe deeply, swim confidently, and God will take you to depths that you never dreamed possible."

A half-hour sermon, and that's the takeaway? No discussion of sin. No mention of God's sovereignty or decree giving an ultimate purpose for the evil we may encounter. A brief pep-talk about how God can make your life better seems to be a common theme for most pastors these days.

Rather than worrying about his congregation being shark weak, Pastor Young should be concerned about them being gospel weak. How were his words meant to encourage anyone facing real adversity?

Scripture tells us that believers will endure hardships in this life. We are, after all, living in a fallen world that is in rebellion against God. Christ's words to his disciples in Matthew 10 were a warning that they were going to suffer persecution and even death for the sake of the gospel. He explained that his followers "will be hated by all for my name's sake" (Matt. 10:22).

The life of the Christian is one marked by suffering and persecution (Luke 21:12, Rom. 8:16-17, 2 Cor. 1:6, Phil. 1:29, 1 Pet. 2:20, 3:14-17, 4:16-19). Indeed, it is because the very One we follow suffered and died in our place that we have any hope at all. Nothing we face in this world can overcome that. "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us" (Rom. 8:18).

It is no surprise that few pastors seem willing to truly exposit God's word for their congregations. Hebrews 4:12 reminds us that "the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart," and that can be infinitely more intimidating than any shark.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Trailer for the Ligonier Ministries 2012 National Conference

The theme for next year's conference: The Christian Mind.

You can register here.

Friday, September 16, 2011

This Week in Calvinism - September 16, 2011

  • Want a "good understanding of Calvinism"? Don't bother reading books by actual Calvinists. Instead, read those books written specifically as arguments against Calvinism. Why risk exposing yourself to the truth about what we believe?

  • Those who caricature the "God of Calvinism" as an angry, vengeful monster fail to understand that wrath is love's response to sin.

  • The six major sins straw men of Calvinism.

  • Randal Rauser says the "God hated Esau" passage in Romans 9:13 is of no use to the Calvinist. But isn't Romans 9 dealing with the subject of God's sovereign choice? No matter how one may want to interpret the word "hated," the point is that one was chosen and one was not, both to the glory of God and for his purposes.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pat Robertson's Interpretation of "'Til Death Do Us Part"

When most couples get married they vow to remain faithful to each other until parted by death. That's entirely biblical, especially when you consider that marriage was designed to reflect the relationship of Christ and his bride, the church. Divorce is clearly discouraged in scripture (1 Corinthians 7) as its very existence demonstrates the hardness of man's heart (Matthew 19:8).

But are we really expected to be held to those wedding vows when things get burdensome? Isn't there some wiggle room when severe medical problems are involved? Pat Robertson, in a recent airing of The 700 Club, addressed that very issue. A viewer was concerned about a friend whose wife was suffering from Alzheimer's. That friend had begun dating another woman "because his wife as he knows her is gone." Robertson's Solomonic advice:

I hate Alzheimer's. It is one of the most awful things because here is a loved one — this is the woman or man that you have loved for 20, 30, 40 years. And suddenly that person is gone. They're gone. They are gone. So, what he says basically is correct. But I know it sounds cruel, but if he's going to do something he should divorce her and start all over again. But to make sure she has custodial care and somebody looking after her.
Forget all that "in sickness and in health" business. Robertson considers Alzheimer's a "kind of death," so leaving one's spouse in that situation is entirely justifiable.

Again, I'm reminded of what marriage is supposed to represent: "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her" (Ephesians 5:25). I understand this is a tough issue, but I'm not sure ol' Pat has really thought this one through.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Covenantal Time Travel Conundrum

Suppose I had access to a time machine. If I were to travel back in time to witness Old Testament events like the parting of the Red Sea or the fall of Jericho, would I still be under the New Covenant while visiting the past?

Yeah, I know it's silly, but random thoughts like this tend to pop into my head when I watch Doctor Who.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Trailer for John Piper's Upcoming Documentary

John Piper's new book, Bloodlines: Race, Cross, and the Christian, will be released at the end of this month. Here is the trailer for the companion 18-minute documentary:

More info here.

Friday, September 09, 2011

This Week in Calvinism - September 9, 2011

  • Sovereign Grace Ministries seeks to change.

  • Happy Calvinism.

  • Is the resurgence of Calvinism linked to 9/11?

  • Jack "ExPreacherMan" Weaver writes: "Calvinism seems to be growing by leaps and bounds which is not understandable since it has NO appeal to an honest, dispensational student of the Bible." Is the key word there "dispensational"? Maybe that's why I've fallen victim to Calvinism's lies: I'm not dispensational enough.

  • Justin Taylor responds to some tough questions about Calvinism.

  • Roger Olson explains the meaning behind the title of his forthcoming book, Against Calvinism. What's missing from his explanation: why he stole the title from Jeff Peterson, Eddie Eddings, and Jon Cardwell.

Friday, September 02, 2011

This Week in Calvinism - September 2, 2011

An Arminian View of the Raising of Lazarus

Here's one pastor who, in a sermon against Calvinism, takes a decidedly Arminian approach to John 11:

In short, dead men can respond to Christ.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

An Arminian View of John 11

If Arminianism is true, then one would have to conclude that Lazarus was not resurrected solely because Jesus commanded it. The only logical conclusion is that the dead man was first granted prevenient grace and then, when offered the choice, made the free-will decision to come out of the tomb -- much in the same way spiritually dead people are raised to new life in Christ.

Let's read that into John 11:43-44:
When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out [if you so choose]." The man who had died [heard the call, was given prevenient grace, decided to obey Jesus, and] came out [of his own free will], his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Unbind him, and let him go."
I suppose Jesus chose to raise Lazarus based on his foreknowledge that Lazarus would choose to obey. Or am I completely off-base here?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Is Your Faith in Christ or in Your Conversion Experience?

It really saddens me when I hear people insisting that professing Christians must recall a specific time and place of their conversion in order to demonstrate that they are truly born again. Such an assertion cannot be supported by scripture, but that doesn't stop people like Pastor John Coleman from blasting strong men of faith like Dr. John MacArthur.

Let's let John Piper respond:
If someone asked me this morning, "How do you know that you were born?" I would not reach for a birth certificate and argue that a doctor signed it on January 11, 1946, in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I would say, I know I was born because I see and hear and feel and I get hungry and I breathe. I am alive!

And so if someone asks you today (or if you ask yourself!), have you been born again, what will you say? How can you know? You know whether you have been born the second time (born of the Spirit) the same way you know whether you were born the first time. Do you see the truth of the beauty of the gospel? Do you hear the voice of God in the gospel? Do you feel the need to repent and be forgiven? Are you hungry for the milk of God's Word (1 Peter 2:2)? Are you breathing the air of grace? Are you alive with hope in the promises of God? A living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead! Amen.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Preacher Has Pancake Mix

Tired of being harassed by street preachers? Just start yelling a nonsensical phrase like "You ain't got no pancake mix!" and shut them up. This is a three-year-old meme that will no doubt give way to something else just as idiotic now that one preacher has actually managed to produce said pancake mix.

Note the sad, angry kids with nothing better to do than stand around with makeshift protest signs. Pray for them. Who knows? Hearing this preacher proclaiming the gospel may have planted a seed that is already starting to grow.

Friday, August 26, 2011

This Week in Calvinism - August 26, 2011

  • If, according to Calvinism, God decrees that sin exist, then that makes God culpable for sin. So says the Arminian. But even according to Arminianism, God created a world with all the conditions in place for sin to exist, and he did so knowing full well that sin would enter into the world and corrupt his creation. How does that view make God less responsible? And how is sin that serves no ultimate purpose somehow better?

  • Dr. Michael Horton on the question: who saves whom?

  • Reformed and Charismatic? Dr. Horton is convinced that "non-cessationism is neither exegetically sound nor historically compatible with Reformed theology."

  • James White discusses the dark side of anti-Calvinism.

  • Why is Calvinism often so joyless?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

It Was Nice While It Lasted

By R. C. Sproul Jr. (reprinted with permission)

It is a sure sign that sin messes things up that we keep watching the same boxing match over and over again, between truth and unity. Both sides, of course, insist that they have a deep and abiding love for the other. They shake hands in the center of the ring, go back to their corners, wait for the bell and come out ready to destroy the one they love. In the stands we stand, screaming ourselves hoarse in defense of our favorite.

Until recently unity has been on a hot streak. Charismatics, dispensationalists, YRR, and old school Reformed folk, post-mills and a-mils have managed to work together for the gospel. Blogs and conferences, magazines and books have born much fruit from cross-pollinating. We discovered that our brothers on the other side of this aisle or that do not actually have horns. We remembered that the beauty of what unites us is not only more important, but more potent than the nuances that divide us.

But we should never count out truth, or at least our own version of it. Though it was on the ropes, like Rocky in the last few rounds, truth has shown a rare ability to take a punch, and come back strong. It has moved well past highlighting what separates charismatics from dispensationalists and this Reformed group from that, and has now got each camp engaged in its own civil war. Cessationism versus continuationism, neckties versus t-shirts, beer versus teetotalism have sparked fires that rage inside our own worlds.

So what do we do? Can we get truth and unity to kiss and make up? Only if Christians learn to grow up. We need to not only learn to distinguish between primary and secondary doctrines/practices, we need to learn to value them accurately. Can we both agree that being wrong on baptism is not a damnable heresy, and also affirm that it is an issue that matters? Can I seek to correct my Baptist brothers in a way that speaks to them as brothers who are wrong on an important issue? And can I in turn hear with grace my Baptist brothers as they lovingly seek to correct my error on the issue? Can I be concerned that my charismatic brother is leaving open the door for false prophecy and at the same time understand that he is concerned that I am boxing in the Holy Spirit?

I have an opinion on virtually every issue that is being argued on the internet. I think some positions being espoused are good, sound, biblical. I think others are fallacious, dangerous, and unbiblical. I know that whatever the Bible teaches, that is what’s right and true. And I know the Bible teaches that I am often wrong. It is not Rodney King that asks if we can all get along. It is Jesus asking, in His high priestly prayer (John 17). He is the Truth, and He calls us to unity. That comes in reflecting His character. He, even when He corrects us, is for us. He, even when we are wrong, loves us perfectly. He is lowly in spirit and will not break a bruised reed.

We will not change until we choose our heroes not by how cogently or fiercely they defend our position on this issue or that, but by how much they reflect the grace of Christ whatever their position.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Pro-Choice Crowd Doth Protest Too Much, Methinks

My wife posted on her Facebook page a link to this article:
A Burnsville woman who drowned her newborn in 2005 was properly convicted -- even though the body was never recovered from a landfill where it's believed to be buried, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday.

At issue was whether Samantha Heiges' incriminating statements before and after the death could be considered confessions, even though she wasn't yet under arrest.

She had told others of the plans that she and her boyfriend had made to kill the baby, and later, about the tub drowning in Burnsville.

Her statements, including that her abusive boyfriend made her drown the baby, are confessions, the justices ruled.

Together with evidence presented by Dakota County prosecutor Scott Hersey during trial, there was sufficient evidence to sustain Heiges' conviction for second-degree murder, Justice Paul H. Anderson wrote for the court.
Artist: Rick McKee
Upon posting the link my wife simply alluded to the hypocrisy of a justice system that would impose such a penalty on a woman for merely exercising her "right to choose" a couple of months late.

Naturally, this ruffled a few feathers. Those who support abortion rights were offended by the insinuation that a woman choosing to end the life of their unborn child is guilty of murder. It was the typical parade of responses: abortion is legal; we couldn't possibly understand how much women agonize over this decision; what about cases of rape and incest? And so on.

I couldn't help but note that the pro-choice side has a monopoly on being insulted. "Don't call abortion murder. It's offensive me and to all the friends and loved ones I know who have had one."

Have they stopped for a moment to think how those of us who cherish children as a "heritage from the Lord" (Psalm 127:3) might feel when we see over a million of them killed every year? Have they bothered to consider how God feels to see the destruction of those little ones created in his image?

The reaction of the pro-choice/pro-abortion side demonstrates to me the presence of a guilty conscience. It isn't my opinion on abortion they find so offensive; they, like the rest of us, don't want their sin exposed by the light of truth.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

"Bible in One Hand, AK-47 in the Other"

With a description like that, how could I not be intrigued by the life of Sam Childers?

(via St. Eutychus)

Friday, August 19, 2011

This Week in Calvinism - August 19, 2011

  • Steve Gregg on unconditional election:
    I really have a hard time seeing, in principle, how that's different than giving somebody a date rape drug. You know? The woman doesn't want to sleep with you, but you give 'em a drug and now you've changed their mind against their will. ... God doesn't do that. Romans much?

  • Finally! A theology to replace Calvinism! And it all starts with dispensing of this notion of total depravity. After all, "Even apart from the Bible, this tenant of Calvinism clashes greatly with the great fields of psychology, anthropology, biology, philosophy, sociology, physics, literature, etc." Yep. Only a fool would dare to put the authority of scripture on a higher level than any field of study developed by man.

  • Did Calvin's banning of jewelry in Geneva lead to the Swiss becoming such gifted watchmakers?

  • Herman Melville's Moby Dick was actually an attack on Calvinism?

  • Charles Spurgeon was NOT a Calvinist!

  • James White tackles Micah Coate's book A Cultish Side of Calvinism, arguably "the worst book ever written against Calvinism."

  • THEOparadox hasn't read it, but I'm sure he would agree.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I Think My Wife's a Calvinist

An oldie, but a goodie...

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Witness Stick

Gotta get me one of these bad boys!

(via St. Eutychus)

Friday, August 12, 2011

This Week in Calvinism - August 12, 2011

  • J. F. Jones thinks "that a helpful lens for understanding the New Calvinism is to determine who is a reviser and who is a reviver."

  • Is Calvinism fatalism?

  • The family tree of New Calvinism?

  • Rachel believes the false doctrine of Calvinism has "done more damage to true Christianity than any, for it is the most deceptive. ... It twists the Truth by using the very Bible which is the Truth!"

  • Paul A. Hughes accuses Calvinists of limiting God. He says that we "impose upon God the requirement to predetermine everything in order to be God. Thus, in their minds, God has no free will in the matter, but is compelled to predetermine — which is faulty logic by which their whole system falls." So in pointing out what God does for the sake of his own glory (Isaiah 43:7, Isaiah 49:3, Jeremiah 13:11, Psalm 25:11, Psalm 106:8, Matthew 5:16, John 17:24, Romans 9:17, Ephesians 1:4-6, 1 Peter 2:12, etc.), we're actually putting God in a box?

  • Children Desiring God has released a new curriculum on biblical manhood and womanhood.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Only the Bible Is a "Must Read"

A tweet from John Piper:


This Week in Calvinism - August 5, 2011

  • Jared Wilson says, "Don't waste your Calvinism."

  • Innovo Publishing has just released a new book entitled A Cultish Side of Calvinism, by Micah Coate. It sounds like a winner:
    If the rise of a cultish theology grows within Christendom, so must a true discernment of its claims and consequences. The same standard that has placed Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Scientologists outside the Christian camp of orthodoxy has now, for the first time, placed the theology of Calvinism as being too cultish for comfort. Unlike any other book on the market, A Cultish Side of Calvinism not only shows that the theology of Calvinism is more systematic than biblical, but that it is comparable to almost any classic Christian cult.
    It's endorsed by Tim LaHaye, so you know it must be theologically sound.

  • Perhaps Micah Coate should pick up a copy of Against Calvinism, by Eddie Eddings, Jeff Peterson, and Jon Cardwell.

  • Can you be reformed without being a Calvinist?

  • Randal Rauser sees the God of Calvinism as one whose election is solely arbitrary. I guess since we mere mortals cannot know the mind of God when it comes to electing one person to salvation and not another, the decision must be arbitrary. What, then, is the alternative? Are we to conclude, contrary to Romans 9, that the deciding factor resides within each individual? If Person A and Person B both hear the gospel message and only Person A believes, does that mean Person A possessed a certain trait that Person B did not, and that he, contrary to Ephesians 2:9, has reason to boast? Of course, Mr. Rauser admits to being an inclusivist, so it doesn't really matter whether someone hears the gospel or not.

  • William Birch states, "The one who argues or infers that God only loves savingly those whom He has unconditionally elected unto salvation bears the burden of proof to exegete such from Scripture." So God loves each individual in exactly the same way he loves the elect, just like I love every other person in exactly the same way I love my wife. Right?
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