Friday, January 25, 2013

This Week in Calvinism - January 25, 2013

  • I was a teenage Calvinist. Hmmmm. That sounds like a good title for an Arminian horror movie.

  • Why debate Calvinism?

  • Mark Driscoll tweeted the following before Barack Obama's inauguration: "Praying for our president, who today will place his hand on a Bible he does not believe to take an oath to a God he likely does not know."

  • Christian Piatt didn't like Driscoll's judgmental tweet.

  • Neither did "Rev." Emily C. Heath, who writes, "President Obama is a Christian, by both his own attestation and the witness of many others who know him. He prays. He reads Scripture. And I sincerely believe he tries to act out of his faith beliefs. And yet, there are so many Christians who refuse to take him at his word." She seems to think it doesn't matter what kind of fruit you bear as long as you say you're a Christian. I'd suggest reading Luke 6:43-45 for starters.

  • Got an hour to kill? You might want to check out Beyond Augustine, a documentary asserting that the "historically heretical" doctrine of the natural inability of man originated in Gnosticism: "It doesn't take much to connect the historical dots to see the evident fact that Augustine brought Manichean views into the church, and these Manichean views were further propagated by Luther, Calvin, and other Reformers."

  • John Piper explains what he means when he says, "Safety is a myth."

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Penn Jillette's Ignorant Statement on Faith

From atheist Penn Jillette comes the following:
Religion is faith. Faith is belief without evidence. Belief without evidence cannot be shared. Faith is a feeling. Love is also a feeling, but love makes no universal claims. Love is pure. The lover reports on his or her feelings and needs nothing more. Faith claims knowledge of a world we share but without evidence we can share. Feeling love is beautiful. Feeling the earth is 6,000 years old is stupid.
I see. Faith in a Creator cannot possibly be based on the evidence found in the existence of a creation. Why, that's as silly as saying the computer on which I'm typing is evidence of a computer manufacturer.

What does scripture have to say?
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. (Romans 1:18-23)
Mr. Jillette is an intelligent man, so statements such as his can only be made from blind ignorance. I pray that his eyes may one day be opened.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Papal Bull

(from my "cartoon" blog White Noise)

Monday, January 21, 2013

John Piper on Healing and Exorcism

Last week I posted videos of John Piper discussing the gifts of tongues and prophecy. Here, he discusses healing and casting out demons.

Friday, January 18, 2013

This Week in Calvinism - January 18, 2013

  • It's always interesting (and sad) to hear atheists decry Christian and Calvinist beliefs as evil and yet never hear an explanation of how they account for things like good and evil or how they can tell the difference between the two.

  • T. C. Moore writes:
    Theology changes the way people live—for better or for worse.
    Can't argue with that.
    Good theology leads people to live worshipful lives of discipleship (following Jesus).
    Bad theology leads people to worship idols of power.
    Yes, it does.
    Calvinism is therefore bad theology.
    Absolu... Wait. What?

  • Moore also goes on to say that the "Calvinist conceptions of power as control and special chosen-ness are directly responsible for centuries of racial injustice and oppression." Another T. C., T. C. Robinson, responds.

  • How do you refute the Calvinist doctrine of total depravity taught in Romans 3:10-11? Simply claim Paul is using hyperbole.

  • It's much easier to make the case that Calvinism teaches that "humans are nothing more than God's actors on God's stage performing their lines and given roles" if you refrain from using any scripture to support your position.

  • Larry E. Ball warns, "Calvinism which is first of all a theology of grace is also a theology of sovereignty. Only God himself is sovereign, not man or the politics of man. This is a threat to the autonomy of modern man in modern America. ... Look out, Calvinists; if persecution comes to the Church, it may very well begin with you."

Thursday, January 17, 2013

John Piper on the Gifts of Tongues and Prophecy

On the subject of spiritual gifts, John Piper would fall in the continualist camp. He has stated as much from the pulpit:
Virtually all the great pastors and teachers of history that I admire and that have fed me over the years belong to the first group who believe that signs and wonders were only for the apostolic age (John Calvin, Martin Luther, John Owen, Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, Charles Spurgeon, Benjamin Warfield, my own father). But I am not fully persuaded by their case. On the other hand, there does seem to be something unique about the way God did signs and wonders in the ministries of Jesus and the apostles.

So what I think I can say for our guidance is this.

  1. On the one hand, we ought to honor the uniqueness of Jesus and the apostles and of that revelatory moment in history that gave us the foundational doctrines of faith and life in the New Testament.

  2. On the other hand we ought to be open to the real possibility that this too might be a unique moment in history, and in this moment it may well be God's purpose to pour out his Spirit in unprecedented revival—revival of love to Christ and zeal for worship and compassion for lost people and a missionary thrust with signs and wonders.
I want to have my keel deep and stable in the once-for-all biblical revelation of God, and I want to have my sails unfurled to every movement of God's Spirit upon the deeps.
Here, he discusses his views on speaking in tongues and the gift of prophecy in the New Covenant:

I have greatly appreciated my time at Bethlehem Baptist Church under the teaching of John Piper. While I may not agree with his position on every issue, I don't think I've ever met a man more humble and more biblically oriented when tackling controversial issues.

Friday, January 11, 2013

This Week in Calvinism - January 11, 2013

  • Roger Olson is "losing patience with theologians (including theologically informed and astute pastors and popular writers) who continue to misrepresent Arminianism." It's his experience that the vast majority of Arminians familiarize themselves with the writings of Calvinists, while Calvinists rely on Calvinist literature for their information about Arminianism.

  • Tim Challies reviews Francis Chan's latest book, Multiply.

  • Uh, oh. Someone has finally discovered proof that the doctrine of eternal security (or perseverance of the saints) is false.

  • More nonsense from anti-Calvinist crusader Kerrigan Skelly, a man who claims to be without sin.

  • How prayer glorifies God.

Friday, January 04, 2013

This Week in Calvinism - January 4, 2013

  • Roger Olson shares some fan mail.

  • John Piper stepping down as lead pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church even made headlines in the secular media.

  • If Calvinism makes churches more "seeker insensitive," that can only be a good thing.

  • What's the one lesson New Calvinists can learn from Old Calvinism? Failure.

  • Paul Dohse, who is constantly whining about Calvinism, is "fed-up with all of the whining about the symptoms of Calvinism which is a false gospel." He is unhappy that more people aren't taking a strong stand. He complains, "We are exactly like the slaves in the South during the Civil War who were powerless to do anything but complain about the abuse." Yes, Calvinists need more intellectual critics like Paul.
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