- Roger Olson doesn't understand why Calvinists abhor acts of evil if they are foreordained by God. He goes so far as to say that if he held a Calvinist view of God's sovereignty, he would do his "best to push aside feelings of moral repugnance in the face of, for example, child murders, and view them stoically if not as causes for celebration." He seems to ignore the fact that if God didn't foreordain the sinful actions of man, the crucifixion of Christ could never have been God's predestined plan of salvation. At best, it would only have been one of an infinite number of possibilities.
- When facing tragic events, a common question is, "Where was God?" Most of us never ponder that when good things happen.
- John Newton on self-righteous Calvinism.
- Interesting fact about the apostles: "None of them believed that they had been predestinated to salvation." I guess that includes even those who wrote about predestination in scripture.
- Did you know that the angel who appeared to Joseph in Matthew 1 was a Calvinist?
- Enjoy a plethora of free ebooks from Monergism.com
Friday, December 28, 2012
Thursday, December 27, 2012
Friday, December 21, 2012
- Matthew Tuininga discusses neo-Calvinism and distinctive Christian living.
- No matter how it's explained, I just don't understand how someone can believe in eternal security while denying unconditional election. What exactly happens to us after we are regenerated that causes us to lose our free will?
- Authentic Calvinism is trashing the SBC. That's just another one of Paul's passing thoughts.
- Horror of horrors! The Berean Call, by advertising Ray Comfort's videos, is promoting Calvinism and Lordship salvation.
- C. Michael Patton on how Calvinists should not respond to the tragic school shooting in Newtown, CT.
Friday, December 14, 2012
- Catholic John Zmirak mulls over the issue of salvation. He isn't really sure about much, but he seems pretty sure the "monstrousness of the Calvinist God" is responsible for turning people away from the faith.
- "While Calvinism is not formally irrational, it is emotionally irrational." C. Michael Patton explains.
- A brief look at Evangelistic Calvinism: Why the Doctrines of Grace Are Good News, by John Benton.
- It has been my experience that those who are the most vehement in opposing Calvinism tend to be the most insistent in denying original sin. That's why we see statements like this: "Jesus did not have a sinful nature, so neither did we. Jesus lived a holy and sinless life and Jesus said come and follow me and He is our example to follow. ... The perfection that God requires is a perfection that we are capable of."
- I ran across a Facebook page entitled The Errors of Calvinism. The following was posted: "This idea of free choice is woven throughout the scripture. Though God is sovereign, he has relegated his creation into the hands of humanity. Feel free to list your example." There are no examples listed yet.
- The Seeking Disciple may disagree with my Calvinism, but he doesn't think I worship a false god. Thanks, brother!
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Friday, December 07, 2012
- Should Calvinists in the SBC resign from leadership positions?
- Mark Rathel, theology professor at the Baptist College of Florida, wraps up his 12-part series on the Calvinism-Arminianism debate.
- Redemption Radio responds to Pastor Ed Young's rant against Calvinism.
- Calvinism and hoping for the lost.
- God's sovereignty and grace as seen in the bloodline of Jesus.
Tuesday, December 04, 2012
Have you ever wondered what became of the innkeeper in Bethlehem who let Mary and Joseph have their baby in his barn?
Did he have little children? When the soldiers came from Herod, did they hunt for the birth place of the dangerous baby and start the slaughter there? What did it cost the innkeeper to house the Messiah in his first hours?
In the poem called The Innkeeper, I tried to imagine what might have happened when the soldiers came. And what Jesus might have said if he showed up 30 years later to talk to the innkeeper about it. It’s fiction. But its aim is truth and hope and joy.
Desiring God and Crossway Books have teamed up to make a new video recording of my reading of this poem. We hope it will touch some deep place in your heart, perhaps through a wound. Maybe it will find its way into your Christmas family celebrations, or your small group, or even the gathered church.
If you’ve ever lost a child, or ever faced a tragedy, just when you thought you were doing good, we hope The Innkeeper will bring you comfort and strength. In my experience poetry has a way of touching us sometimes when simple sentences don’t. In one sense, I hope you enjoy it. But there may be deeper emotions too. May the risen Lord Jesus turn your Advent and your Christmas into something really extraordinary this year.
(via Desiring God)
Friday, November 30, 2012
- So, if I understand Randal Rauser correctly, God doesn't enjoy complete, sovereign control over his creation. He must simply work with the hand he's been dealt. I don't see any other interpretation.
- Yet another anti-Calvinist "sermon." It seems the trick to defeating Calvinism is denying the doctrine of original sin.
- Lutheranism is application; Calvinism seeks to understand.
- Yes, Arminians can have a sense of humor...
...at least when it comes to other people's theology.
- A tale of two Calvinists (part 1, part 2).
Thursday, November 29, 2012
However, while you watch the following video, pay close attention. He ends up making the perfect case against theistic evolution, pointing out that earth's evolutionary history is marked by death and destruction. That certainly isn't something a loving Creator would consider "good," is it?
(via 22 Words)
Monday, November 26, 2012
Friday, November 23, 2012
- This Week in Calvinism wouldn't be the same without Roger Olson. This time, he uses an unrealistic movie reference to show what's wrong with Calvinism.
- Is Calvinism a religion of death? Some anti-Calvinists think so.
- Jim Ollis of Calvary Memorial Church teaches on the "perverted gospel" of Calvinism. What's interesting is that there is a page on the church's web site featuring a daily devotional teaching from Calvinist Charles Spurgeon. Go figure.
- Could Beijing one day become a new Geneva?
- We must have help to see right, and our physical bodies reflect that fact.
Thursday, November 22, 2012
First, God created humanity for gratitude. You exist to appreciate God. He created you to honor him by giving him thanks. Appreciating both who God is and his actions for us — in creating us and sustaining our lives — is fundamental to proper human life in God's created world...He concludes:
...Second, we all have failed miserably in appreciating God as we should. In her book on gratitude, Ann Voskamp gives memorable expression to the failure of the first man and woman — and the devil before them — to rightly experience and express gratitude...
...Third, God himself, in the person of his Son, Jesus, entered into our thankless world, lived in flawless appreciation of his Father, and died on our behalf for our chronic ingratitude. It is Jesus, the God-man, who has manifested the perfect life of thankfulness...
...Finally, by faith in Jesus, we are redeemed from ingratitude, and its just eternal penalty in hell, and freed to enjoy the pleasure of being doubly thankful for God's favor toward us — not only as his creatures, but also as his redeemed...
Only in Jesus, the paragon of creaturely appreciation, are we able to become the kind of persistently thankful people God created us to be and fulfill the human destiny of thanksgiving. For the Christian, with both feet standing firmly in the good news of Jesus, there are possibilities for a true thanksgiving which we otherwise would never know.May we all know what it means to be truly thankful.
Saturday, November 17, 2012
I wonder if anyone has tried this at the airport.
Friday, November 16, 2012
- Roger Olson addresses the question of whether or not open theism is a type of Arminianism:
Open theism is, in my opinion, although mistaken, closer to the true heart of Arminianism than is Molinism (insofar as it uses middle knowledge to reconcile divine determinism with free will). It ought to be considered a variety of Arminianism just as, say, supralapsarianism is considered a legitimate variety of Calvinism. ... Arminianism is a big tent and a centered set. Open theism is under it and in it. It's time all Arminians simply acknowledged that and quite trying to exclude open theists.
- Wes Vander Lugt reviews the book Evangelical Calvinism: Essays Resourcing the Continuing Reformation of the Church.
- Caleb Friedeman lists eight things he and his fellow Wesleyans can learn from New Calvinists.
- According to Randal Rauser, Calvinists cannot hope in the salvation of their children, especially "when evidence is currently lacking that they are of the elect." So...it's possible for people in their unregenerate state to exhibit evidence that they are elect?
- James White and TurretinFan discuss former PCA minister Jason Stellman's conversion to and defense of Catholicism.
Friday, November 09, 2012
- There are a few things Matt Dabbs doesn't get about Calvinists.
- Roger Olson is kind enough to share his list of "approved" (i.e. Arminian-friendly) denominations.
- The SBC's advisory team on the issue of Calvinism has met for the second time. They must be making progress, right?
- Paul Dohse has learned a lot about Reformed theology in the last five years, so believe him when he warns that "New Calvinism is headed towards a marriage with the government."
- John Chisham on Mark Cahill, Calvinism, and division. (The CARM article on Cahill referred to in this post can be found here.)
Thursday, November 08, 2012
Monday, November 05, 2012
I cannot, in good conscience, support any presidential candidate who adheres to the doctrine of preemptive war. I refuse to give my consent to a man who claims to be pro-life on the issue of abortion, yet will not hesitate to order the slaughter of men, women, and children in foreign countries without so much as a declaration of war from Congress as mandated by the Constitution. Being an authority instituted by God (Romans 13:1) does not give one a license to murder.
I cannot, in good conscience, support any presidential candidate who has praised the policy of indefinite detention and assassination of American citizens. Sorry, but if we throw out due process and grant the president the ability to unilaterally decide who lives and who dies, then we are no longer a free country.
In the end, I think it is up to the conscience of each informed and prayerful believer to decide how, or if, he or she should vote. After all, our primary concern is spreading the gospel, which is what we are called to do no matter what kind of government presumes to assert control over our lives.
I realize, of course, that while we are not of the world, there is no escaping the fact that we are in the world until Christ returns (John 15:19). Yet scripture also says, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect" (Romans 12:2).
How does that apply to voting? If whatever we do is to be done to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31), then we should not look upon the act of voting as the world does. We citizens of the Celestial Kingdom must consider the moral implications of voting beyond the immediate, pragmatic results.
Keep in mind what happened 12 years ago when conservative Christian voters thought their prayers were answered with the election of George W. Bush. He launched two wars to set up two new fundamentalist Islamic regimes in the Middle East. He buried us under massive debt, oversaw a failing economy, and ushered in a burgeoning police state. I shudder to think what might happen if Christians didn't spend time in prayerful consideration before heading to the polls.
I have long held to the notion that voting is not simply a bet on who will win but a reflection of one's principles. With that in mind, I have come to the conclusion that neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney will get my vote.
Friday, November 02, 2012
- Robin Schumacher explains why limited atonement is easy to believe.
- Apparently, believing that God has an ordained purpose for evil makes God a providential predator.
- Calvinists get the blame for just about everything that's wrong in the world, so we might as well blame them for racism, too.
- In celebration of Reformation Day (yesterday), Crossway is offering a free ebook copy of The Joy of Calvinism. Get your copy here while you can.
- Pastor Jim McClarty answers questions on sovereignty, puppetry, and free will.
Friday, October 26, 2012
- This is why I avoid online "discussion" forums.
- Of Calvinisms five points, which is the most dangerous? One blogger answers: "P in TULIP is the most dangerous point since the TRUTH is that we cannot serve two masters and be saved in our sins – and Satan knows it. This doctrine might cause people to easier fall for temptations, and then their SOULS are at risk!"
- Apparently, Frank Schaeffer prefers a god with no control over evil to One who actually ordains it for a greater purpose. Oh, you were expecting at least some attempt at a biblical refutation of Calvinism? Come on. This is Frank Schaeffer we're talking about.
- Eric Goranson begins examining the five points of Arminianism and Calvinism.
- Hurry! There are only a few hours left in Ligonier's $5 Friday Sale.
- Tim Challies and David Murray interview Tullian Tchividjian about his new book, Glorious Ruin, covering the subject of suffering.
Friday, October 19, 2012
- Fred Calrk "would like to see science fiction used to explore what it would mean if Calvinism were true." I think what he meant to say was, "if my biased assumptions of Calvinism were true."
- Should a pastor be fired from an Arminian church for teaching the doctrines of grace?
- Questioning Calvinism.
- If an unregenerate man is able to respond to the gospel invitation, but the problem is that he is simply unwilling to respond, does that mean a dead man is able to rise again, but so far just hasn't been persuaded to do so?
- Kevin DeYoung on the doctrine of scripture.
Friday, October 12, 2012
- What Peter Lumpkins gleaned from the vice presidential debate:
Let Joe Biden's nauseating performance illustrate how Calvinists many times come across to average Southern Baptists. While many criticisms have been levelled against Baptist Calvinists through the years (some true, some false), one charge, at least in some ways, outranks them all--Calvinists are arrogant, know-it-all, theological prigs who appear to think all others are intellectual buffoons.
- Can Calvinism be proven by quoting a few partial, out-of-context verses? No, Calvinism can only be refuted by quoting a few partial, out-of-context verses.
- Intuitive Calvinism:
My eleven year old son intuits the idea that so many things in the past have led to the uniqueness of his birth. His mom and I had to meet, and that would not have happened if I didn't go get coffee one day, and if mom had married her high school sweetheart, etc. He then goes beyond that to say the same complicated line of events had to happen for my parents, my wife's parents, their parents, their parents, and so on and so on. So he and I eventually settle on this: EVERYTHING in history had to happen in order for him to be born.
- What Jesus says to Rome.
- Jacob Arminius was born this week (Oct. 10) in 1560.
Thursday, October 11, 2012
Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota?So, during the last few months, we have been bombarded with ads like this:
I cannot help but wonder why this supposedly fair and open-minded individual wants to limit marriage to only "two people." What kind of bigoted, hateful person would tell polygamists that they have no right to marry whomever they please?
Friday, October 05, 2012
- C. J. Mahaney's Sovereign Grace Church begins worshiping in Louisville.
- Dan Phillips seems to imply that anything less than a vote for Mitt Romney is a sin. I'm not really sure how else to interpret his post.
- Apparently, Jesus never taught perseverance of the saints. That's true, if you eliminate John 6:37-39, John 10:27-28, Romans 8:29-30, 1 Corinthians 1:8, Philippians 1:6, Hebrews 10:14, 1st Peter 1:5, and all those other passages that do teach perseverance of the saints.
- Kevin DeYoung's book, The Hole in Our Holiness, is available for $10 for a limited time.
- David Platt on the doctrine of suffering.
- In order to better understand history, it helps to have a grasp on the concept of total depravity.
Friday, September 28, 2012
- Justin Holcomb discusses two major streams of Reformed theology: the Scottish tradition and the Dutch tradition.
- Roy Ingle explains why Arminians find Calvinist "conversions" offensive.
- Southern Baptist pastor David Platt clarifies his position on the "sinner's prayer."
- Part 6 of Austin DeArmond's series of posts entitled "Myths & Caricatures of Calvinism."
- A statement often quoted against Calvinism briefly examined.
- Calvinism and Stoicism are not the same thing.
- From Ligonier: Six practical reasons to study eschatology.
Saturday, September 22, 2012
Friday, September 21, 2012
- Robert Arakaki offers a critique of Calvinism from an Eastern Orthodox perspective. He thinks Calvinism presents a "zero-sum theology." In other words, "for any human to possess the capacity to freely love and have faith steals glory from God." That's an interesting take, but I think it has less to do with stealing glory from God than it does with the fact that scripture teaches man lacks the ability to "freely love and have faith" (Psalm 14:3, Psalm 143:2, Isaiah 53:6, Jeremiah 17:9, John 3:20, Romans 3:10, Romans 7:18, Romans 11:32, etc.).
- Paul Copan lists his top books on Arminianism and Molinism.
- SBC president Fred Luter Jr. has a message for Southern Baptists: "This debate we're having across the convention about Calvinism needs to be resolved among us ASAP. Brothers and sisters, the dream of turning this convention's heart to missions and evangelism, missions and discipleship can easily turn into a nightmare if we do not resolve this Calvinism issue in a Christ-like manner. However, if it's going to be resolved, it must start with many of us right here in this room."
- Dan Phillips has a question for you about evangelistic tracts: "What tracts have you found useful?"
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
You can read more about the fragment here.
This will no doubt cause waves, but only for a moment. None of these Gnostic "gospels" ever hold up under scrutiny, and once the novelty of this latest discovery has passed, people will forget about it.
For a more pointed critique, check out Dr. James White's posts here and here.
Friday, September 14, 2012
Saturday, September 08, 2012
Friday, September 07, 2012
- In the eighth of a 12-part series, Mark Rathel wonders if Southern Baptists can be called Arminian, since he is "unaware of any Southern Baptist theologian that espouses prevenient grace in the sense described by Arminians."
- Greg writes, "Calvinism teaches that God SPECIFICALLY WILLS and TAKES DELIGHT IN every evil event in history as well as each person who will suffer eternally in hell." I can't believe this guy has actually been accused of caricaturing Calvinism.
- Tim Challies reminds us that discipline is grace.
- Is sanctification simple or complex? Short answer: yes.
Thursday, September 06, 2012
Still, if your kids are looking for a Bible camp experience without the Bible part, you might want to check out Camp Quest. The camp aims to:
Bill Nye would be proud.
Develop supportive communities for freethinking families
Foster curiosity, scientific inquiry, and critical thinking in young people to enable them to draw their own conclusions
Cultivate reason and empathy as foundations of an ethical, productive and fulfilling life
Provide a safe and fun environment for personal and social growth
Encourage exploration of the natural world
Promote open dialogue that is marked by challenging each other’s ideas while treating each other with respect
Raise awareness of positive contributions made by atheists, agnostics, humanists, freethinkers, and other nontheistic people to our society
Demonstrate atheism and humanism as positive, family-friendly worldviews
Tuesday, September 04, 2012
Monday, September 03, 2012
The intention behind wanting government to step in and care for the poor may be noble indeed, but those who call for such action seldom look beyond mere intentions. There are deeper implications to consider.
Penn Jillette, entertainer and avowed atheist, wrote an article last year for CNN.com that touched on this issue:
When seen from that perspective, all the talk about government doing more to help the poor takes on an entirely different meaning.
People need to be fed, medicated, educated, clothed, and sheltered, and if we're compassionate we'll help them, but you get no moral credit for forcing other people to do what you think is right. There is great joy in helping people, but no joy in doing it at gunpoint.
People try to argue that government isn't really force. You believe that? Try not paying your taxes. (This is only a thought experiment -- suggesting on CNN.com that someone not pay his or her taxes is probably a federal offense, and I'm a nut, but I'm not crazy.) When they come to get you for not paying your taxes, try not going to court. Guns will be drawn. Government is force -- literally, not figuratively.
Friday, August 31, 2012
- If "all" means "all" all the time without exception, and God wants "all" men to be saved, but not "all" men are, then we can only conclude that God doesn't get what he wants. Right?
- Roger Olson writes, "I cannot accept, even with chagrin, Calvinism that says God foreordains and renders certain specific sins. That inexorably, ineluctably, inescapably makes God the author of sin and evil. That sullies God's character OR makes sin not really sin. You have to choose. There's no way around it." Dr. Olson, does that include the greatest sin of all, the murder of God's Son? I might be going out on a limb here, but scripture seems to imply that the crucifixion was foreordained.
- Relax, folks. The SBC's advisory committee on Calvinism meets this week. I'm sure the whole issue will be resolved in short order once and for all.
- Where did New Calvinism come from?
- Two years ago, a group of Baptist leaders published a substantial critique of Calvinism entitled Whosoever Will. This summer, Calvinists responded with Whomever He Wills.
- Romans 4:6-8 is apparently "a knock-out blow to Calvinism." I'm not sure I can follow the reasoning here, but maybe you can.
- Stephen Richardson, chair of the Biblical Studies Department and associate professor at Pacific Christian College of Ministry and Biblical Studies, believes that God's relationship with us "is a partnership in which God honors our humanity enough to value our free embrace of his Son and the resulting wholesome fellowship." This freedom to choose has some challenging implications. He says, "I must wrestle with the conclusion that God has taken risks in creating a being in his image and does not always get what he desires." So, God can't always get what he wants. Is that taken from scripture or a Rolling Stones song?
Thursday, August 30, 2012
During the course of this interaction, the foul-mouthed "Calvinist" in question does seem to know a little bit about Reformed theology. He even throws out the names of John Piper and Paul Washer. But this man most definitely seems to fit the bill of what we would call a "cage stage Calvinist."
Naturally, Mr. Skelly assumes this man exemplifies Calvinism: "He's the one who claimed to be a Calvinist. It's obvious he is, but he's still living in a wicked, sinful life. And that's consistent Calvinism to me."
Case closed, I guess. Well, you be the judge.
(WARNING: contains quite a bit of NSFW language)
The alleged "Calvinist" is certainly in the wrong, but there was another troubling thing that jumped out at me. At the 23:10 mark we hear our drunk "Calvinist" friend say, "You are a sinner. Admit it." What is the only biblical response to that question for a Christian? "Yes, I am. A sinner saved by grace." However, the person with the camera says, "I'm not a sinner, I'm a saint. I stopped sinning." I just don't see how that squares with 1 John 1:8: "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us."
While Mr. Skelly seems to think this video shows us consistent Calvinism, perhaps what we're actually witnessing is consistent synergism. Rather than presenting the truth in love, these street preachers seem to take a "Nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah! You're going to Hell and I'm not!" approach.
I could be wrong. Maybe my own bias is clouding my judgment. But if anyone thinks he has a reason to boast, isn't it the one who believes he had a part in his own salvation?
Friday, August 24, 2012
- Is the God of Calvinism a moral monster?
- According to Dr. Tom Nettles, "Calvinism should still occupy the place of universal adherence in Baptist life." Dr. Rick Patrick takes issue with that.
- It's nice to know some Christians have fewer problems "with the role of the pope or Mary in the Roman Catholic Church" than they do with Calvinism.
- Dave Hunt continues to spew his hatred of Calvinists:
Could someone who believes this false gospel of Calvinism be truly saved? Fortunately, many Calvinists (you among them) were saved before becoming Calvinists. They now malign God by saying that He is pleased to damn multitudes though He could save all—and that He predestines multitudes to the Lake of Fire before they are even born. But having believed the gospel before becoming Calvinists, they "shall not come into condemnation, but [have] passed from death unto life" (Jn:5:24). Those who only know the false gospel of Calvinism are not saved, while those who are saved and ought to know better but teach these heresies will be judged for doing so.
- It seems the problem some people have with The Gospel Project is that it doesn't teach that there is a responsibility on God's part to love us.
Sunday, August 19, 2012
Friday, August 17, 2012
- John Pierce is baffled by the debate over Calvinism in the SBC. He finds it odd that Southern Baptists are willing to accept diversity on essential issues like salvation, but not on issues like women in the pastoral ministry.
- A "Calvinist" pastor has an affair with a 16-year-old girl. That disproves the doctrine of perseverance of the saints, so therefore Calvinism is wrong. Now that is what I call unshakable logic.
- Robert Arakaki, a Calvinist-turned-Orthodox, plucks the TULIP. As he explains, "(1) Calvinism relies on a faulty reading of Scripture, (2) it deviates from the historic Christian Faith as defined by the Ecumenical Councils and the Church Fathers, (3) its understanding of God's sovereignty leads to the denial of the possibility of love, and (4) it leads to a defective Christology and a distorted understanding of the Trinity."
- What are some grave weaknesses of Calvinism? Well, for starters, it "eliminates the concept of moral responsibility," it's "intrinsically anti-missional," and it's "the fastest road to universalism in Christianity."
- Worried about Calvinism causing more division in the SBC? Don't be. There's now a top-notch advisory team devoted to coming up with a strategic plan to bring everyone together.
Sunday, August 12, 2012
In math, we learned that 2+2=4. We never had to learn that 2+2=5 is wrong. Once we knew the correct answer, we could therefore assume that any answer other than 4 was incorrect. Just because we weren't taught explicitly that 2+2=5 is wrong didn't mean it was acceptable. We would have certainly had it marked wrong on a test, and no amount of arguing would have changed the teacher's mind.
When approached regarding the issue of marriage, Jesus simply recalled the words of Moses in Genesis 2:24: "Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate" (Matthew 19:4-6).
Jesus taught us what marriage is, so there really wasn't any need to teach us what marriage is not. If that's the case, then we can safely assume that whatever doesn't match up with his description of marriage is wrong.
Friday, August 10, 2012
- Couldn't attend the Kentucky Baptist Convention's conference "Calvinism: Concerned, Curious, Confused?" Jared Moore has posted all the videos.
- Denny Burk has the audio.
- Joe Heschmeyer thinks the Calvinist doctrine of perseverance of the saints conflicts with the view that the Roman Catholic Church is apostate. After all, how can Calvinists believe that none will fall away but at the same time believe that "the visible Church that Jesus Christ founded" has slipped into idolatry? Isn't Mr. Heschmeyer aware that the church is comprised of both the visible and invisible?
- Mark A. Rathel presents the seventh in a series of 12 articles on how Southern Baptists understand the doctrine of salvation. This one is on the Calvinist view on total depravity. Turns out some professing Calvinists believe "that humans receive a potential imputation of Adamic guilt" (emphasis mine). Is that really an accepted view in Calvinism?
- Austin DeArmond is writing a series of posts on the myths and caricatures of Calvinism.
Thursday, August 09, 2012
At last: a Bible you can read without being led astray by teaching of young-earth creationism. The New Compromise Version! This Bible combines readability with the best scholarship of modern uniformitarian geology and evolutionary biology. Now you don't have to cross out all the parts of the Bible contradicted by modern science.Here are a few sample passages:
And there was evening, and there was morning—the first eon.Check it out!
And God said, "Let lights in the vault of the sky appear to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, and let lights appear in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth." And it was so. God caused the two great lights to appear as the cloud cover slowly dissipated—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He had also made the stars back in the First Eon long before the Earth. God allowed them to appear in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth eon.
Then after as many years as the number of grains of sand, God said, "Let us make man in our image." So God took one of the animals that had arisen over these ages, which looked like a man but was not, and God breathed His spirit into this creature so that it was changed into a man. In like manner God took a female hominid and made a companion for Adam. And God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth." And it was so. And from this first pair, and from so many others like them, came all the people of the earth.
Be conformed to this world and be transformed by the renewal of your mind towards secular academic thinking.
Imbibe modern philosophy, and make sure you follow the tradition of men according to the rudiments of the world, and accordingly judge the teachings of Christ.
Monday, August 06, 2012
First, it was the outrage expressed at Chick-fil-A for trying to run a God-honoring business. Now, we're hearing criticism for Olympians who try to honor God with their athletic performance.
Salon columnist Mary Elizabeth Williams is uncomfortable with the faith expressed by U.S. gymnast Gabby Douglas. She writes:
As a Christian myself (albeit one of those really freaky papist kinds), I've often wondered what it is about Christians like Douglas that unnerves me so. The closest I've been able to figure it is that Douglas and her ilk seem to espouse a faith based on what is commonly referred to as "The God of Parking Spaces." It's the deity that grants wishes to those who ask nicely. Douglas is a girl who has described God as the figure who's "waking me up every morning and keeping me safe in the gym every day." She told People Thursday, "I was on the bus and it was raining and I thought, 'It's going to be a great day.' My mom used to tell me when I was little, 'When it rains, it's God's manifestation, a big day's waiting to happen.' I texted my mom, 'It's raining. You know what that means.'" It means that Russian girl is going down, I guess.Her reaction isn't all that surprising. Tune in to any football game and you're sure to see a player drop to one knee or point to the sky after a touchdown. You don't usually see that kind of behavior after a fumble or an interception.
But perhaps Ms. Williams is being unfair. I happen to think Gabby Douglas is sincere. By giving the glory to God, she wants to turn the attention away form herself and onto the One who gave her athletic talent in the first place. I also think that had Douglas not won a medal at all, she would still have given God the glory. The only difference is that, since the media is easily distracted by shiny objects, she would have been doing it off-camera, and Ms. Williams would have had to come up with another topic for her column.
1 Corinthians 10:31 says, "So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." Williams and her ilk may be uncomfortable with that, but many Christians take it to heart, and that includes Christian athletes as well.
Friday, August 03, 2012
- Calvinistic Cartoons presents the new Arminian translation of the Bible.
- Dave Hunt: repeater of fully refuted fables.
- A prayer for humble Calvinism.
- Jared Moore will be live-blogging the Kentucky Baptist Convention's "Calvinism: Concerned, Curious, Confused?" conference starting Saturday, August 4.
- A brief biography of Charles Spurgeon.
- Is the sinner's will truly free? As Randy Seiver reminds us, "It is impossible for a person to choose that for which he has absolutely no desire and to which he is utterly averse."
- For a little humor to round out your week, watch this video of two brothers getting into a fist fight over Calvinism...without even realizing they're fighting over Calvinism.
Thursday, August 02, 2012
Thoughtful people, even many who are not Christians, have become impressed with the shortcomings of our secularized schools. We have provided technical education, which may make the youth of our country better able to make use of the advances of natural science; but natural science, with its command over the physical world, is not all that there is in human life. There are also the moral interests of mankind; and without cultivation of these moral interests a technically trained man is only given more power to do harm. By this purely secular, non-moral and non-religious, training we produce not a real human being but a horrible Frankenstein, and we are beginning to shrink back from the product of our own hands.Throwing in a little Bible teaching here and there won't cut it. Christian schools are necessary because our faith envelopes everything we do, say, and think:
It is this profound Christian permeation of every human activity, no matter how secular the world may regard it as being, which is brought about by the Christian school and the Christian school alone. I do not want to be guilty of exaggerations at this point. A Christian boy or girl can learn mathematics, for example, from a teacher who is not a Christian; and truth is truth however learned. But while truth is truth however learned, the bearings of truth, the meaning of truth, the purpose of truth, even in the sphere of mathematics, seem entirely different to the Christian from that which they seem to the non-Christian; and that is why a truly Christian education is possible only when Christian conviction underlies not a part, but all, of the curriculum of the school. True learning and true piety go hand in hand, and Christianity embraces the whole of life -- those are great central convictions that underlie the Christian school.
I believe that the Christian school deserves to have a good report from those who are without; I believe that even those of our fellow citizens who are not Christians may, if they really love human freedom and the noble traditions of our people, be induced to defend the Christian school against the assaults of its adversaries and to cherish it as a true bulwark of the State. But for Christian people its appeal is far deeper. I can see little consistency in a type of Christian activity which preaches the gospel on the street corners and at the ends of the earth, but neglects the children of the covenant by abandoning them to a cold and unbelieving secularism. If, indeed, the Christian school were in any sort of competition with the Christian family, if it were trying to do what the home ought to do, then I could never favor it. But one of its marked characteristics, in sharp distinction from the secular education of today, is that it exalts the family as a blessed divine institution and treats the scholars in its classes as children of the covenant to be brought up above all things in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Friday, July 27, 2012
- There is nothing arrogant in Calvinist theology, so why do Calvinists have a reputation of being arrogant? David French has some theories.
- Dr. Brad Reynolds will "gladly affirm" that the belief that God foreordains men to evil is heretical, but he draws the line at calling all Calvinists heretical.
- Dr. Michael A. Cox, in critiquing Calvinism, reads the accounts of Jeremiah and Jonah and comes away with a rather interesting view of God's sovereignty: "While God's nature never changes, nor does He repent in the human sense, His purposes, quite obviously, can be altered according to the moral and ethical decisions of man." So what does scripture mean when it refers to the "unchangeable character" of God's purpose (Hebrews 6:17)?
- Join Tim Challies in reading The Discipline of Grace, by Jerry Bridges.
- We cherish the doctrine of election, but, as John Piper points out, we must wield it with care.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Petra Anderson was at the Century Aurora 16 theater watching The Dark Knight Rises when James Holmes entered through an emergency exit door and opened fire. Petra was hit in the head with a shotgun blast.
Blogger Brad Strait relates the incident and tells how a unique birth defect saved young Petra's life:
Strait does not come at this from a Reformed perspective, chalking it up to what he calls "prevenient grace: God working ahead of time for a particular event in the future." Still, it is an amazing story.
It seems as if the bullet traveled through Petra's brain without hitting any significant brain areas. The doctor explains that Petra's brain has had from birth a small "defect" in it. It is a tiny channel of fluid running through her skull, like a tiny vein through marble, or a small hole in an oak board, winding from front to rear. Only a CAT scan would catch it, and Petra would have never noticed it.
Shooting victim Petra Anderson
But in Petra's case, the shotgun buck shot, maybe even the size used for deer hunting, enters her brain from the exact point of this defect. Like a marble through a small tube, the defect channels the bullet from Petra's nose through her brain. It turns slightly several times, and comes to rest at the rear of her brain. And in the process, the bullet misses all the vital areas of the brain. In many ways, it almost misses the brain itself. Like a giant BB though a straw created in Petra's brain before she was born, it follows the route of the defect. It is channeled in the least harmful way. A millimeter in any direction and the channel is missed. The brain is destroyed. Evil wins a round.
Friday, July 20, 2012
- Romans 9? Oh, the focus is only on national election, not personal election. You just have to ignore that whole "though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of thim who calls" part. Actually, I always thought the focus was on God's sovereign choice in election, period.
- Frank Turk reviews Killing Calvinism.
- The acronym for hyper-Calvinism: TULIPY?
- J. I. Packer has some advice for aspiring writers.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
I have slain more dragons in my soul with that sword than any other I think. It is a precious weapon to me.
2. "He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" (Romans 8:32).
How many times I have been persuaded in the hour of trial by this verse that the reward of disobedience could never be greater than "all things."
3. "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me . . . And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:18, 20).
How many times have I strengthened my sagging spirit with the assurance that the Lord of heaven and earth is just as much with me today as he was with the disciples on earth!
4. "Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you and you shall glorify me" (Psalm 50:15).
What makes this weapon so compelling is that God’s helping me is made the occasion of my glorifying him. Amazing arrangement. I get the help, he gets the glory!
5. "My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).
The context is financial and material. But the principle is total. What we really need (not just want) will be granted. And what is need? Need is what we must have to do God’s will. What we must have to magnify our Savior. That is what we will be given as we trust him.
Be constantly adding to your arsenal of promises. But never lose sight of the chosen few that God has blessed in your life. Do both. Be ever-ready with the old. And every morning look for a new one to take with you through the day.
Monday, July 16, 2012
The good news is that God has shown mercy to our country in the past. In the early 1700s we experience what became known as the first Great Awakening. In the early 1800s, we experienced the Second Great Awakening. These were massive, widespread, game-changing eras of spiritual revival. In 1770, for example, there were fewer than two dozen Methodist churches in America. By 1860, there were nearly 20,000. In roughly the same time frame, the number of Baptists went from under 200,000 to more than one million.We must remember that no matter how bad things get, God is still sovereign, even over these United States of America. Christ remains our hope for salvation.
These revivals were not a panacea. They did not save every soul or solve every social ill. No revival ever has or will. But the good news is this: the historical evidence is clear and compelling that many Americans found salvation during these periods, and American society as a whole was dramatically impacted and improved by both of these revivals.
One piece of observable evidence in this regard is the explosive growth in the number of church congregations that were established in the wake of both Great Awakenings. At the same time, Christians during this period sought to put their faith into action to improve their neighborhoods and communities and the nation as a whole. They persuaded millions of children to enroll in Sunday school programs to learn about the Bible and pray for their nation. They opened orphanages and soup kitchens to care for the poor and needy. They started clinics and hospitals to care for the sick, elderly and infirm. They founded elementary and secondary schools for girls as well as boys. They established colleges and universities dedicated to teaching both the Scriptures and the sciences. They led social campaigns to persuade Americans to stop drinking so much alcohol and to abolish the evil of slavery. These Christians didn’t expect the government to take care of them. They believed it was the Church’s job to show the love of Christ to their neighbors in real and practical ways. They were right, and they made America a better place as a result – not perfect, but better.
"By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas" (Psalm 65:5).
Saturday, July 14, 2012
Nondenominational congregations have continued to grow in recent decades, with close to 12.2 million adherents in the United States, ranking as the third-largest religious body, according to the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies. In Minnesota, nondenominational congregations are the fourth-largest religious body with 130,263 adherents.
[Scott] Thumma, the Hartford scholar, points to their growth as evidence of people's increased interest in not belonging to just one congregation.
"I think that whole consumer and individualistic impulse in our society has also lapsed over into our religious life," he said. "Our spiritual needs getting met means that I treat every religious community not as my traditional family ascribed to a religious identity but something that, 'Does it meet my needs? Does it have services when I need them? Does it have the kinds of Sunday school life I need to have?'"
"Denominational identities still exist and people still think of the differences. But in fact ... that is breaking down, the power of that identity to shape the person."
Friday, July 13, 2012
- Fred Luther, newly elected president of the SBC, had this to say about the debate over Calvinism: "One of the things I can say with surety, I have no doubt the enemy is behind it all. ... I just believe that this may be an issue as other things have done in the past that the enemy has tried to divide brothers, divide churches, divide friends to keep our mind off the main thing."
- Speaking of Calvinism in the SBC, Joel Borofsky believes the question facing the denomination isn't "'What did Southern Baptists believe 150 years ago,' but instead should be, 'What did Christians believe 2,000 years ago?'"
- Tom Ascol reviews Killing Calvinism: How to Destroy a Perfectly Good Theology from the Inside.
- Dr. E. S. Williams and friends, who claim to be reformed, hate what they call New Calvinism. Their site lists five features of New Calvinism:
- Doctrinal shallowness
- Loves the things of the world
- Profoundly ecumenical
- Social activism
- Low view of Scripture
They conclude: "New Calvinism is a movement that is characterised by flippancy to holy things. It has no fear of God; it puts no difference between the holy and the profane." It seems they're painting with a brush broader than that wielded by most Arminians.
- Doctrinal shallowness
- Meet John Calvin, John Knox, and many other Bearded Gospel Men.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Friday, July 06, 2012
- Pastor David Platt called the "sinner's prayer" prayer "superstitious." Everyone is still talking about it.
- Tom Nettles, professor of historical theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, denounces the marginalization of Calvinists in the SBC.
- Should we pray for God to saved our loved ones?
- Roger Olson would like to see evangelical Calvinists and evangelical Arminians "forge an alliance to oppose the dominance of high federal Calvinism in contemporary American evangelicalism."
- Calvinism on Independence Day.
- Download John Piper's oldest (and newest) book, Love Your Enemies, for free.
- Tim Challies on the hidden riches of prayer.
Thursday, July 05, 2012
Wednesday, July 04, 2012
As Christians, however, we can proclaim honestly that we are indeed one nation, under God: "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:9).
Let us keep that in mind, not just today but every day. Political leaders rise and fall, and nations will come and go, but "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8).
Sunday, July 01, 2012
Saturday, June 30, 2012
I wonder how Mr. Skelly would answer my burning question for Arminians.
Friday, June 29, 2012
- Dave Miller of SBC Voices would like to try a new approach in the ongoing debate between Calvinists and "traditionalists."
- Pastor Ed Young (no, he isn't Ed Young Jr., as so many refer to him) set the blogosphere abuzz with his vicious, arrogant, uninformed rant against Reformed theology.
- James White responds to Pastor Young as only James White can.
- What Arminian Roger Olson admires about most Calvinist churches is that they "teach theology/doctrine and how to integrate that into everyday spirituality and ordinary life."
- An interview with "traditional" Southern Baptist Eric Hankins.
- Dan Phillips discusses Roger Olson's article for the Assemblies of God on limited atonement (part 1, part 2).
Thursday, June 28, 2012
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Monday, June 25, 2012
So, rather than believe in some supernatural Creator, we should put our faith in the laws of physics...even though the same laws of physics that tell us what the Big Bang accomplished -- spewing all matter and energy out from an infinitely small point in nonexistent space -- is impossible.
Friday, June 22, 2012
- Want to kill Calvinism? Here's how.
- Christianity debunker Jonathan Pearce points out the "fatal" argument against Calvinistic views on infant salvation. In short, the flaw is that Calvinists cannot read God's mind and answer every question someone might have on the issue with 100% certainty.
- Jared Moore believes many of the Southern Baptists speaking out against Calvinism are themselves "more Calvinistic than they realize."
- Bryant Wright, in his last message as president of the SBC, called on his fellow Southern Baptists to "repent of theological idolatry."
- SBC Issues has a post offering to simplify the objections to Calvinism for the average person. You kind of get the feeling it isn't going to be all that objective when the author begins by saying, "I understand WHAT Calvinism says; I do not understand how anyone can be a Calvinist. I really in all honesty cannot understand how anyone can read the Bible and come away from it believing the 5 points of Calvinism."
- Eric Hankins, coordinator of the recent SBC statement against Calvinism, likes the idea of a "sinner's prayer," provide that it is never "manipulatively employed or utilized apart from a clear articulation of the gospel." Regarding those who aren't fans of the sinner's prayer, he said, "The real problem that the New Calvinists have with the Sinner's Prayer is that they believe only certain people can come to faith, and they don't want the hopelessly condemned thinking they are saved or joining churches when they actually have no chance for life in Christ." So...is he saying that he wants the hopelessly condemned thinking they are saved?
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Saturday, June 16, 2012
Less than 24 hours after their god bestowed two delicious orange slices upon them, local ants reported the capricious deity had picked up the entire ant farm in which they live and shaken it violently, leaving many to wonder what they had done to incur the all-powerful being's deadly wrath. ...From the ants' point of view, it might be difficult to see the difference between Marcus and the Orkin Man.
... The deity, whom the ants know as "Marcus," has long been feared for his volatile and arbitrary behavior. Though he occasionally grants the insects small gifts of sugar water, sources said he routinely abandons the ant farm for days at a time, which sows chaos throughout the colony as hunger-driven hysteria rules its tunnels. Marcus has also been known to smite individual ants by concentrating the sun's rays into deadly beams with his mysterious lens of fire.
Friday, June 15, 2012
- David Miller wants to promote a "New Baptist Majority."
- Tom Ascol, Executive Director of Founders Ministries, expresses "mixed emotions about the recent statement on the 'traditional' Southern Baptist understanding of salvation."
- Jim Futral, executive director of the Mississippi Baptist Convention, accuses Calvinists of taking the simple gospel message and enlarging it "to a huge volume of instruction that is almost mind boggling."
- Richard Beck would like to say something nice about Calvinism, particularly about it's appeal when dealing with pain and suffering. Yes, the Psalms deal quite a bit with God's sovereignty over such things.
- This week's Stating the Obvious Award goes to the Baptist Press, for its recent story entitled "Statement on Calvinism sparks blog discussion."
- That awkward moment when we speak the gospel.
- The inimitable Phil Johnson of Pyromaniacs fame retires from blogging.
- So shocking was Phil's departure that even Adolf Hitler weighed in.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Dispatches from the Front is available from Westminster Books.
Friday, June 08, 2012
- A Muslim has a few questions for Calvinists.
- 2nd Corinthians in 42 tweets.
- The recent statement from SBC leaders regarding Calvinism even has Arminian Roger Olson weighing in.
- While a recent Barna Group survey indicates there is no resurgence in Calvinism, some pastors believe otherwise.
- What is Calvinism? Drawing from the Canons of Dort, Mike Bergman paints a picture of classical Calvinistic soteriology.
- John Piper's letter to a 13-year-old on how to delve deeper into the Bible.
Thursday, June 07, 2012
Tuesday, June 05, 2012
We deny that Adam's sin resulted in the incapacitation of any person's free will or rendered any person guilty before he has personally sinned.This has raised some serious concerns. John Aloisi writes:
Doctrinal statements mean something. And those who sign them should be very careful lest they end up affirming something contrary to Scripture. The authors of this recent statement claim to be putting forth the understanding of salvation held by the "vast majority" of Southern Baptists. I can only hope they are mistaken in this claim. In addition to disagreeing with the apostle Paul on the issue of original sin, the authors and signers have also staked out a position opposed to the original doctrinal statement of the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention. In 1858, the charter statement of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary required all professors to adhere to the Abstract of Principles. Article six of the Abstract affirms that Adam's descendants stand "under condemnation" before they become "actual transgressors." In other words, it affirms that humans are born guilty and liable to condemnation prior to the act of sinning. Apparently, a number of Southern Baptist leaders believe that the Abstract of Principles now lies outside the bounds of the "Traditional Southern Baptist" understanding of salvation.It would appear some in the SBC are not only ignorant of scripture, they are ignorant of their own history.
Saturday, June 02, 2012
- It can be linked with your favorite Bible app. Clicking on a particular reading will automatically take you to that passage.
- Your progress can be synced with multiple devices.
- You can archive your own progress, allowing others to track their own plan on one device.
- It lets you switch from one reading plan to another without having to start over.
- Best of all, it's free.
Friday, June 01, 2012
- Rev. Tom Bower laments the rise of a "new fundamentalism," including Calvinism, which he thinks is causing the rapid fading of Christianity in America. Personally, I think it's those like Rev. Bower who seek to "live out a healthy balance between the personal gospel and the social gospel." Last I checked, there was only one gospel. But, then again, I'm one of those "new fundamentalists."
- Is Calvinism Islamic?
- When the Bible speaks of things happening in eternity past, such as God choosing us in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4), we tend to read passages like that too literally. This, according to Jerry Shugart, is the root error of Calvinism. Once we abandon the clear language of scripture, we are free to interpret in a way that fits our theological presuppositions. "Therefore," Shugart writes, "it could be said that God chose us for salvation before the foundation of the world and it could also be said that God did not choose us for salvation until we believed." I must admit, that's a new one to me.
The SBC hasA group of current and former Southern Baptist leaders have released an official statement regarding the issue of Calvinism, entitled "A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God's Plan of Salvation."
- David Hankins weighs in on what
the SBCthey had to say.