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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