Friday, March 30, 2012

This Week in Calvinism - March 30, 2012

  • Does Calvinism make people jerks? "No," writes Kevin DeYoung. "But Calvinism is a useful tool for jerky people to act like jerks."

  • Case in point: Fred Phelps. His son, Nate, discusses his father's religious tyranny that helped push him toward atheism. "The actual theology is called Calvinism. And at the centerpiece of Calvinism is this idea of absolute predestination, that God is the one that picks the saved, as opposed to us making that decision for ourselves. And it was, you know, the environment was such that whatever our father defined as the doctrines of the Bible was what we were required to believe. So there really wasn't any choice in the matter."

  • Carson T. Clark affirms neither Calvinism nor Arminianism, and is committed to "trying to make an effort to commend and criticize both as warranted by the present and historical realities."

  • Scott L., who has moved away from Calvinism, believes "the typical paradigm of the Calvinist-Arminian debate will no longer greatly serve the church or the world of today." He concludes: "It's time to move on to the relevant and important things of today and not stay too well stuck in debates of a previous period." Why does it usually seem to be non-Calvinists who think this particular debate is unnecessary?

  • If you already assume scripture clearly teaches "that turning toward God is a matter of free will," then of course you'll deny that Acts 13:48 has any Calvinist implications regarding God's sovereignty.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Atheist Penn Jillette Does Not Want Christians to Shut Up

The following quote from atheist Penn Jillette was featured as an audio clip on Wretched Radio last Monday:
The only people I don't understand are people that say they don't care about the whole issue. I love evangelicals. One of the things I learned doing Penn and Teller: Bull----! on Showtime for all those years is that Christians are really good. They're really good people. You notice there wasn't an anti-Muslim show that we ever did. We did a bunch of anti-Christian shows. That is the biggest compliment I can give. The fact that Christians will really believe...American Christians...will really, really believe in the marketplace of ideas. And I love the fact that there are people that talk to me after the show and pray for me and give me Bibles. I never understand the atheists that say it's OK as long as they shut up. They believe that there is eternal life. They believe you can be saved. What could be more hateful than shutting up?

Friday, March 23, 2012

This Week in Calvinism - March 23, 2012

  • Credo Magazine interviews David VanDrunen on the historic Reformed doctrine of the two kingdoms.

  • "What's the point of Calvinism? The very nature of Calvinism makes it unnecessary as a theology or doctrine. If every thing Calvin claims is true, what need is there to teach it or even argue over it? It matters not, one way or another, it is nullified." So...having a God-centered theology is pointless?

  • Roger Olson begins a series of posts critiquing the book The Gospel as Center: Renewing Our Faith and Reforming Our Ministry Practices. His main complaint (as usual) seems to be that it's too Calvinistic.

  • Terry Tiessen has completed a 12-part series reviewing Roger Olson's book Against Calvinism.

  • Calvinism's "dangerous ideas" aren't unique to Calvinism.

  • Like it or not, total depravity is a biblical doctrine.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Religious freedom in...Pakistan?

It is strange to read something like this, especially with "free" nations like Canada trying to make it illegal for homeschoolers to be taught that homosexuality is a sin, and authorities cracking down on home Bible studies right here in America. Gary North shares an email he received from a missionary in Turkey. In it the missionary describes the religious freedom he saw while visiting the Islamic country of Pakistan:
There is another side of Pakistan that you never hear about. I truly believe that the churches and believers in Pakistan are the most spiritually blessed that I have ever seen. In fact, they have more freedoms than any other Christians in any other country that I have visited. The believers do know that they could suffer persecution at any moment but they never back down for a second.

There are around 20 million Christians in Pakistan, whole neighborhoods and villages are Christian, with some neighborhoods having up to 60 churches in them. There are mixed Muslim/Christian villages and neighborhoods and they generally have decent relationships with one another. Many churches broadcast their services on loud-speakers so that the whole community can listen in, especially for those that are not able to attend. The Muslim neighbors listen to the sermons and service whether they like it or not every day!

The Christians hold outdoor meetings weekly (like tent services) over loud-speakers. One that I spoke at over 350 attended and it was right across from the mosque! Many churches meet for prayer, worship and a sermon every night. And they are always packed! The last night I was there I preached at one such service. During the church services the women sit at one side, (cover their heads for prayer), the men sit on the other side and they sing, worship and pray for hours.

Christians can openly state that they are Christian, wear crosses, put religious symbols on their taxis, rick-shaws and are open about their faith, unlike here in Turkey. There are many Christian private schools for one to be educated in, however the majority are poor and sending their kids to school is not an option.

Pastors work hard doing up to 20-30 home visits daily. They visit the members of their church, pray for their needs and encourage them. I went on many home-visits with the local pastors and prayed for these wonderful brothers and sisters. I was shocked to hear that the churches hold evangelistic crusades in open air stadiums where up to 3,000 people or more attend. In fact, I was asked to be the speaker at a 3 day crusade that will be held in a city south of Lahore next year.

The Christians that live in the villages live in a close community, and in the neighborhoods in the city the doors (curtains) to every home are always wide open (even at night, and street cats wander into your room!), there is a feeling of security and trust among each other and in the areas they live in.
Read more here.

Friday, March 16, 2012

This Week in Calvinism - March 16, 2012

  • Michael Horton and Roger Olson join Ed Stetzer to discuss their respective books, For Calvinism and Against Calvinism.

  • According to one "Bible teacher," Calvinism teaches that "God knowingly created most of His children to be lost." And here I always thought Calvinists believed that none of God's children would be lost.

  • Spurgeon on total depravity.

  • Do we Calvinists believe in salvation by faith alone? No, not really.

  • Does Calvinism threaten the spread of the gospel? "No, Calvinism shouldn't hinder evangelism. If anything, it should give our witnessing great boldness with pure motives."

  • John Piper asks, "Will we arrive blameless on the day of Christ?"

Friday, March 09, 2012

This Week in Calvinism - March 9, 2012

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Luther Insult Generator

Looking for a great comeback? Check out the Luther Insult Generator.

Friday, March 02, 2012

This Week in Calvinism - March 2, 2012

  • Atheist Daniel Fincke describes his brief foray into Calvinism while in college.

  • A commenter on Fincke's blog post notes that while Calvinism is morally repugnant, it does answer a lot of the hard questions in Christianity, especially those surrounding God's sovereignty: "It makes God into a monster, but there are fewer gaping holes in the fabric of their logic." I can think of one prominent Arminian who would agree with the first part of that statement.

  • A review of John Samson's new book Twelve What Abouts: Answering Common Objections Concerning God's Sovereignty in Election.

  • Pastor Bob Hadley addresses monergistic Lordship salvation:
    How does the presence of sin in the life of the new born Christian challenge the Lordship aspect of the monergistic role of God in the salvific process? If God and God alone does save and cannot fail in His decretive work, it would seem that God's salvific work would also make God sovereign in the Lordship aspect of the new born Christian's existence and that would by necessity lead to a life of sinlessness for the new born Christian.
    Well, Pastor Hadley, why doesn't God simply glorify us immediately upon regeneration?

  • The Masked Arminian Pastor answers your questions.
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