Friday, March 29, 2013

This Week in Calvinism - March 29, 2013

  • Regarding Romans 9 Steve Gregg states, "There is nothing in the story of Esau and Jacob that pertains to election for salvation." No. God is simply deciding "which branch of the family line is going to be chosen to bring the Messiah into the world." I guess we're supposed to ignore Romans 8, where Paul just finished explaining how we believers are heirs with Christ, something he reiterates quite strongly in Galatians 3:29: "And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise." Limiting the discussion of election in Romans 9 to the physical nation of Israel is just the opposite of what Paul is saying.

  • After hundreds of years, someone finally manages to refute Calvinism! Well, at least a straw man version of it. Now that I think about it, he doesn't even refute that. Oh, well. Back to the drawing board.

  • David A. Williams, responding to an article in the Biblical Recorder, writes, "So the battle of [Baptist] traditionalists is not with 'Calvinists,' but with historical Baptists, and it is not a war of semantics. It is a struggle for Truth."

  • "Calvinism is not Baptist theology!" Huh?

  • Whether you're an Arminian, Molinist, or Calvinist, you can't get around dealing with that predestination thing.

  • Steve Hays wonders what difference it makes to unbelievers if we tell them, "God loves you." He writes, "As far as preaching the Gospel is concerned, I think it stimulates self-examination if sinners don't presume that God loves them. If they don't take that for granted. Taking God's love for granted is a way of taking God for granted."

Want to Defend Marriage? Get the Government Out of It

(Cross-posted at Examiner.com)

As the Supreme Court mulls over the issue of "gay marriage", some Christians have long since grown weary of the brouhaha. They are tired of listening to the sanctimonious diatribes of those who preach tolerance without the slightest idea of the meaning of the word. They are sick of the complaints of "conservatives" who think it's actually possible to save marriage through the political process. They are bothered by those who keep reminding people to step back, calm down, and just love everyone.

There was a time when it was enough for a man and woman to simply declare their love and devotion before God and a few witnesses in their local church. Their marriage certificate was a Bible presented to them with their names inscribed inside the front cover. That was it. 'Til death did they part.

Today, marriage is slightly more complicated. Anyone wanting to get hitched must get permission from the state, fork over the appropriate extortion fees, and then brace themselves for the ensuing tax hike. And to think that some people believe the key to preserving the sanctity of marriage is merely preventing homosexuals from going through the same corrupted, state-run process.

Almost everyone involved in this debate misses the real issue. The problem started when the state was first allowed entrance into the marriage covenant. A modern wedding is the joining together of man, woman, and government, but according to the Bible, marriage preceded the existence of the state. In fact, the institution that required man to leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife (Genesis 2:24) even preceded the existence of fathers and mothers. That's worth pointing out. Marriage was, is, and always will be as God defines it in scripture. That remains true no matter what label people want to slap on their respective sexual preferences.

The first step to take toward ending the "gay marriage" debate and defending the sanctity of marriage is the extrication of the state from what God intended to be the union of one man and one woman. After all, it is difficult to keep the marriage bed undefiled (Hebrews 13:4) while making room in it for politicians.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

You Saw 'The Bible' Mini-Series, Now Read the Book

No, not that Book. I mean, why bother reading the Bible when you can just read the novel based on the mini-series that was based on the Bible?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

St. Peter's Square, Then and Now

It used to be enough to just witness a significant event. Not anymore, as you can see by the tech-savvy crowd gathered in St. Peter's Square to see the new Pope.


(via Dave Black's blog)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

So What's the Deal with John Piper's Hand Gestures?

From PiperGIFs.com
My wife and I have been members of Bethlehem Baptist Church for the past several years and have greatly appreciated the teaching of John Piper. Known for his dynamic and animated preaching style, he recently addressed a couple questions regarding his hand gestures on the Ask Pastor John podcast:
It is possible to leap and wave and holler and entertain and say nothing and be useless. And I don’t want to do that. Therefore gestures in my mind are not of the essence of the demonstration of the Spirit and power. That is just not what they are, because people can listen to sheer audio of messages and have their lives changed. They can’t see you at all when that is happening. …

Whatever I do in the pulpit just comes naturally and I have never studied gesture. I have never planned gesture. I don't think about gesture while I am preaching. … For me, it is just who I am and what I do and it is part of my language.
Listen to the full episode here.

Friday, March 22, 2013

This Week in Calvinism - March 22, 2013

  • Paul's latest passing thought: "Calvinism keeps Christians under the law and propagates a gospel of perpetual re-salvation to maintain a satisfaction to the law culminating in a judgment to determine if we did so satisfactory" (sic). In short, Calvinism teaches a false gospel. He's even kind enough to provide a diagram.

  • Blake, a former Calvinist, wants us to think about why we are Calvinists. But we didn't choose Calvinism; Calvinism chose us, right?

  • Emir Caner, speaking at the John 3:16 Conference, "addressed issues surrounding varying understandings of salvation within SBC churches, particularly in the discussion of Calvinism." It sounds as if he instructed SBC churches on how to weed out Calvinists.

  • What's wrong with Calvinism? Dr. Roger Olson is happy to tell you. After all, God led him to the conclusion "that someone needs to speak out about the problems of Calvinism and defend Arminianism."

  • Young, Restless, and Reformedfive years later. An interview with author Collin Hansen.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Killing Takes Its Toll on America's Soldiers

Many Christians look upon members of our military with admiration. After all, they are making the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedoms here at home. Those freedoms are too numerous to list, but a few spring immediately to mind: our freedom to be sexually harassed at the airport, our freedom to have half of our income confiscated by the government, and our freedom to have our guns taken from us.

Fox News reports that all this killing in the name of protecting freedom is taking its toll:
With American troops at war for more than a decade, an unprecedented number of studies are looking into war zone psychology.

And clinicians suspect that some troops are suffering from an emotional problem they call "moral injuries" — wounds from having done something, or failed to stop something, that violates their moral code.

A moral injury tortures the conscience. Its symptoms include deep shame, guilt and rage.
Do you think it's possible that these moral injuries are due to the fact that some soldiers have come to realize that what they have done is wrong? Killing in an unjust war is nothing more than murdering on behalf of the state, and it saddens me that more Christians aren't speaking up about it. Instead, we praise our soldiers for what they do, and we continue to elect political leaders who promise even more killing.

To make matters worse, we have now made it official policy to send women off to kill and die for the state. Such is the result of our love of war.

The Bible speaks of government using violence to repel evil, reminding us that a just ruler "is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer" (Romans 13:4). But what happens when that ruler governs unjustly? What are we Christians to do when men, women, and children who never posed a threat to us are targeted for destruction? Whatever we do or say, I cannot imagine that joining in as instruments of that destruction is an option.

How much more death and destruction will we tolerate? I hope and pray we will repent and learn to trust in the Prince of Peace.

(via The Militant Pacifist)

Friday, March 15, 2013

This Week in Calvinism - March 15, 2013

  • Contrary to what many Arminians may say, Calvinism does not make God out to be some divine puppet master. Kevin DeYoung explains:
    While we believe that God's grace is irresistible and flows from his electing love, we must be clear that this grace renews us from within. It does not coerce us from without. God is not a puppet master pulling on our strings so that we do what he wants apart from our own willing or doing. His will precedes our will, but it does not eradicate it.

  • C. J. Mahaney is stepping down as president of Sovereign Grace Ministries.

  • Many Christians ask, "What is God's will for my life?" Jonathan Parnell sums it up this way: "The point is to walk with Jesus. And if we walk with him, if our lives are swallowed up into his own, we'll go the right way."

  • Society of Evangelical Arminians member Christopher Chapman warns, "Calvinism is like a manipulative elder brother influencing his little brother into a sinful action." Well, at least that's a nice break from the "God is a moral monster" argument.

  • Calvinism may be a "significant issue" at Louisiana College, writes Chris Poe, but the school's "cooperation with Oneness Pentecostals calls into question the level of commitment to the stated goal of returning LC to its Biblical and Baptist roots." Maybe Calvinism isn't their biggest concern.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Study Reveals What Christians Already Knew: Babies Are Wicked

Ephesians 2:3 points out that, as sons and daughters of Adam, we are all born "children of wrath." A recent University of British Columbia study confirms what we Christians already knew from scripture:
They might look all cute and bubbly on the outside, but a new study suggests babies have a hidden mean streak – and even wish harm on people who they identify as different from them.

A University of B.C.-led psychology study found that infants as young as nine-months-old embrace those who pick on individuals who don't share their preferences.

Study lead author Kiley Hamlin said the findings reveal that babies are constantly busy assessing their surroundings, trying to determine who their friends and enemies are.

Hamlin said almost all of the 112 test babies acted the same during testing.

During the study, babies aged nine to 14 months chose a food they preferred to eat, either graham crackers or green beans.

The youngsters were then shown a puppet show where the character demonstrated the same food preference as the baby. Another puppet demonstrated the opposite preference.

The puppets harmed, helped or acted neutrally towards the puppets with different or similar food preferences.

Results showed that the babies far preferred the puppets who harmed the puppet with the opposite food preferences to their own. One baby even planted a kiss on the puppet she liked.

Friday, March 08, 2013

This Week in Calvinism - March 8, 2013

  • I had never heard of "process theology" until I read this post by Meg English. She writes, "Process theology is a complex way of explaining God's relationship with humans that contrasts sharply with the views of Calvinism. Process theology suggests that God is not omnipotent or omniscient, as he is viewed by the Calvinists." What's interesting is that she traces the roots of process theology to Jonathan Edwards. Wait. Jonathan Edwards the Calvinist? That Jonathan Edwards? Sounds like someone needs to brush up on her history.

  • Tim Challies reviews Killing Calvinism by Greg Dutcher.

  • The Society of Evangelical Arminians had to go back to December of 2011 to attack this straw man:
    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!!

  • Dave Miller of SBC Voices wants to close down all comments and discussions related to Calvinism on the site.

  • TULIP as interpreted by a Christian Hedonist.

  • Kent Brandenburg believes that "there is no evidence in the New Testament or in extrabiblical Koiné that the noun foreknow (prognosis) or the verb to foreknow (proginosko) mean anything other than precognition." So, does that mean God learns by taking in new information? He isn't directing things according to his will but simply responding to what he sees?

Friday, March 01, 2013

This Week in Calvinism - March 1, 2013

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