Jesus Christ Is Lord

That every knee should bow and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father!

Posts Tagged ‘Reformed Theology’

Human Free Will Versus God’s Decree? 2 Chronicles 10:15 Endorses The Latter

Posted by Job on February 15, 2012

Background: despite being given everything imaginable by God and then some – including God personally visiting him twice – Solomon ceased living by faith and trusting in God, and instead began to put his faith in things of this world, including idolatry. Solomon chose to marry pagan women, for instance, because it was the common political practice of the day for kings to form treaties. If a king wished to form an economic, military or political alliance with another kingdom or tribe, you would marry a female relative – usually the daughter – of the king that he was conducting the business of state with. So, instead of trusting God to provide peace and prosperity for his people, Solomon chose political maneuvering. Solomon added to that faithless behavior by worshiping the devils of his pagan wives. Why? It is simple enough to presume that his desire to please his wives was no different from that of Adam when he chose to eat the forbidden fruit given to him by his wife Eve. One can extend that with the political mess that Solomon had gotten himself into by marrying these women in the first place: as these women were dedicated to the false deities of their own land, Solomon had to worship their gods to keep them happy. Otherwise, word would have certainly gotten back to the fathers – rival kings! – of these women that Solomon was mistreating their daughters, and there goes the peace treaty! The resulting situation: it would have been better for Solomon to have never used marriage for the purpose of political alliances at all than to do so and anger the daughter of a rival king or warlord! Such a king would ask “Why marry my daughter at all if you are going to mistreat her by refusing to worship her god?” Realize that no good answer exists to that question! One must consider the polytheistic pagan mindset of the era – in contrast to Yahwist monotheism – where adding another god to the list that you were worshiping was easier than buying a new pair of shoelaces. So, if Solomon worshiped the god of some of his wives (i.e. his Hebrew wives) and not others, from the flawed perspective of the pagan women that he married, there was no reason for him to do so other than not only preferring some of his wives over the rest, but going out of his way to do so in order to humiliate and spitefully mistreat her! And the children of the ill-favored wife of the king have an uncertain future … just an impossible situation that Solomon got himself into. Which, of course, is the case with all sinful disobedience to God’s command!

In any case, God punished Solomon for his sin by decreeing that rule of 9 of the 11 tribes and their territory (remember, the Levites were a special case) would be stripped from his lineage, and the house of David would be left with rule over only a small portion of the kingdom, which turned out to be the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. (Evidence that this was God’s doing: because of the enmity between the house of David of Judah and the house of Saul of Benjamin over the throne – a bloody conflict that continued until at least after the crowning of Solomon – the tribe of Benjamin SHOULD HAVE joined the rebellion, and used the opportunity to have one  of its members become king of the 9 tribes that broke away from the house of David based on a claim to the throne on Saul being the rightful, legitimate king, and the rebellion against Rehoboam being proof that David was a fraud and usurper. Instead, the tribe of Benjamin alone joined the tribe of Judah to form the southern kingdom despite the house of Saul having contested the house of David over the throne a mere few decades prior, and when casting their lot with the other 9 tribes and then going to war with the 1 remaining tribe seeming to be a rather good way of getting the monarchy – and rule over all 12 tribes – back to the tribe of Benjamin! How wonderful and amazing is God able to reveal His power and His mighty workings!)

The situation: early in the reign of Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, a challenge to the reign of the young king – likely provoked by Jeroboam – arises. The twelve tribes have a choice: continue with the leadership anointed by God, or rebel. Nine tribes – Zebulun, Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, Dan, Manasseh, Ephraim, Reuben and Gad – make a free will decision to reject membership in the earthly, visible, typological manifestation of God’s kingdom (God’s covenant nation Israel as ruled by the house of David, with Jerusalem as its capital and worship taking place in the temple which held the ark of the covenant) in favor of apostasy. Make no mistake: in rejecting the kingdom of David, these tribes chose apostasy. Jeroboam, the leader of the breakaway group, set up a rival religious system in Bethel. (Consider that as the Jerusalem temple and its religion pointed to Jesus Christ, Jeroboam’s system – which involved an altar with two golden calves similar to the calves of Baal made by Aaron at the demand of the rebellious children of Israel at Sinai! – was similarly anti-Christ.) The northern kingdom continued in this false worship – as well as with a line of evil, pagan kings – up until their destruction and scattering by the Assyrians in 722 BC. Yes, the southern kingdom, Judah, was taken by Babylon, but God suffered a remnant to return to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple. No such provision for restoration was made concerning the northern 10 tribes, who remained estranged from the true religion until the gospel of Jesus Christ came to the Samaritans from the Messianic Jewish evangelists as recorded in Acts 8 (a missionary enterprise prefigured by Jesus Christ Himself in His dialogue with the Samaritan woman in John 4:4-42).

Evidence that the northern kingdom committed apostasy came from their own lips. 2 Chronicles 10:16 reads “And when all Israel saw that the king would not hearken unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? and we have none inheritance in the son of Jesse: every man to your tents, O Israel: and now, David, see to thine own house. So all Israel went to their tents.” Now who does the Bible reveal as the Son of David (and David is the son of Jesse)? Jesus Christ. The people who took part in the Jeroboam rebellion removed themselves from the Davidic inheritance – from the blessings of Jesus Christ of whom David was a prefigure and a type – with their own words. How similar was this act to that of the Jews, who embraced the destruction of Jerusalem, temple, and nation and end of the Jewish age in 70 A.D. when they cried “His Blood be upon us and our children!” in Matthew 27:25 concerning Jesus Christ when Pontius Pilate attempted to release Christ? And note when the rebels stated: we will return to our tends, so David see to your own house. In essence, these were backsliders proclaiming that they were returning to the world and its ways – spiritually returning to Sodom and Egypt – and telling the believers to get on with their on church business of worshiping and serving God.

Now, it might have seemed that the Jews of the time of Jesus Christ made a free will decision to reject Jesus Christ, but Jesus Christ Himself stated that their rejection of Him had to be done in order so that the scriptures could be fulfilled, and God’s decree as represented by the scriptures would come to pass. Well, the same is true of the forerunners of the Samaritans in the time of Rehoboam. It appeared that they made a free will decision to reject the Davidic monarchy – and again the Davidic monarchy was the earthly typological prefiguring of the rule of Jesus Christ – to instead follow the anti-Christological figure of Jeroboam. But the Bible itself tells us: things were not as they appear. When Rehoboam decided to go to war against the rebellious tribes to bring them back under the rule of the house of David, God spoke these words through Shemaiah the prophet in 2 Chronicles 11:2-4, which reads “But the word of the LORD came to Shemaiah the man of God, saying, Speak unto Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all Israel in Judah and Benjamin, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren: return every man to his house: for this thing is done of Me. And they obeyed the words of the LORD, and returned from going against Jeroboam.”

So make no mistake: the tribes that became the northern kingdom did not make a free will decision to reject Jesus Christ (through the proxy of rejecting the Davidic monarchy which in that time represented Christ … please make note that in our time there is no earthly institution that represents Jesus Christ, but rather the church is IN CHRIST and is the Body of Christ). Why? Because they had no power, no prerogative, no ability to make such a decision. In other words, they could not make a free will decision because their wills were not free. Instead, their apostasy only happened because God decreed it. This is what the Bible explicitly, specifically said. It was not a case – as the Arminians and similar claim – of predestined foreknowledge through which an omniscient omnipotent God “learns” of future events and reacts to them (the heresy of open theism embraced by the likes of Greg Boyd and Clark Pinnock as the result of taking Wesleyan free will soteriology to its logical conclusion). God did not “see” the rebellion of the northern tribes and adjust His salvation-historical plan accordingly. Instead, God DECREED the rebellion of the northern tribes because it was part of His salvation-historical plan that was set in place before the foundation of the world (Jhn 17:241Cr 2:7Eph 1:42Ti 1:91Pe 1:20).

Regarding this incident, the marginal notes for 2 Chronicles 10:5 the Geneva Bible state “God’s will imposeth such a necessity to the second causes, that nothing can be done but according to the same, and yet man’s will worketh as of itself, so that it cannot be excused in doing that it is God’s ordinance.” Now that marginal note refers to how the rash actions of King Rehoboam that provoked the northern tribes to rebel was caused by God (KJV translates nĕcibbah ‘elohiym more literally as “for the cause was of God” where the Geneva Bible makes the more interpretative “it was the ordinance of God”). Still: the action and the reaction were the result of God’s provident operation behind the scenes. It is impossible for the will of man to resist the will of God! Yet, as the Geneva Bible study notes tell us, as man’s will follows its own sinful nature unless God acts to withhold man from behaving according to his totally depraved original sin condition, God’s decree is no excuse for evil acts done by man. As Paul tells us in Romans 1:20, concerning our evil deeds, we are without excuse.

A natural impulse is to charge God with unfairness for decreeing such things, and then punishing man for his actions that are associated with the decree. But as God reminded Isaiah in verse 55:9, For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. In other words, God cannot be tried, judged and convicted as evil according to man’s limited – and fallen – notions of right and wrong. For example, God is not obligated to save all mankind, or even to try. (Though the “or even to try” is misleading: for as God is omnipotent, were He to attempt to save all mankind, He would most certainly to succeed. Otherwise, He would not be omnipotent, and therefore by definition He would not be God in accordance with how God is revealed in the Holy Scriptures.) Instead, it is only by God’s grace that ANY are saved. And it is God’s prerogative to grant grace to whomever He chooses, and to withhold that same grace from whoever He chooses. Romans 9:13-23 reads “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. What shall we say then? [Is there] unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then [it is] not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will [have mercy], and whom he will he hardeneth. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed [it], Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? [What] if God, willing to shew [his] wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory.”

Yes, this most certainly applies to salvation. Man certainly has his responsibility, to make an affirmative choice using his will to repent of his sins and believe in Jesus Christ upon being confronted with the fact of the gospel. But make no mistake: a man only fulfills this responsibility concerning his personal salvation through the exercise of his will in this fashion if it concurs with God’s eternal decree to save him! God only frees the will of those that He plans to save, and the sole purpose of this liberty is to choose Jesus Christ and thereby become born again and in Jesus Christ. Hence, the liberation of the will as provided by God to the elect is not to do whatever one pleases, but instead it is liberation from original sin, the grips of Satan that has deceived the whole world, and the spiritual deadness that results. Evidence of this: not everyone gets to make a choice. The vast majority of people to walk the face of this earth have never heard of God or His gospel, let alone had a chance to make a free will choice to accept or reject God. Instead, many – but not everyone – are called through the hearing of the gospel, but only the few that are chosen by God become saved from their sins and born again as a result.

Hence in truth there is no free will but only God’s decree except inasmuch as God uses man’s will to accomplish His decree. So then, is there any way to tell to whom the mystery of salvation has been divinely granted? The answer: we only know as a result of who truly responds to the gospel by faith. Faith is not an emotional reaction or an intellectual response, but instead is gift given by God the Holy Spirit to those that God intends to save. Though we are not saved by works, evidence of God-given faith is obedience to the commandments of God as recorded in the Holy Scriptures (John 14:15). This is what is meant by the text “make your calling and election sure) of 2 Peter 1:10. If you have not already, make your calling and election sure by:

Following The Three Step Salvation Plan

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Charles Spurgeon Sermon – Such Likeness Between Men and Swine!

Posted by Job on February 1, 2012

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Jesus Christ’s Support of the Tempted By George Whitefield

Posted by Job on April 15, 2011

Go to Jesus Christ; tell him, how you are assaulted by the evil one, who lies in wait for your souls; tell him, you are not able to master him, in your own strength; beg his assistance, and you shall find him ready to help you; ready to assist you, and to be your Guide, your Comforter, your Savior, your All; He will give you strength to resist the fiery darts of the devil.”
Original audio at Sermon Audio.
Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Survival Strategies For Apostate Times By John MacArthur

Posted by Job on May 26, 2009

Survival Strategy for Apostate Times, Part 1 :: Grace to You

Survival Strategy for Apostate Times, Part 2 :: Grace to You

Survival Strategy for Apostate Times, Part 3 :: Grace to You

Courtesy of SoldierServant.

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Four Views On The Tribulation and the Millennium

Posted by Job on May 25, 2009

Please click on link to access document.

The Tribulation and the Millennium: Four Views

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“You gave your life to God? WRONG! You Did Not Choose God, But God Chose You…” John 15:16

Posted by Job on October 8, 2008

“You Did Not Choose Me, But I Chose You…” by I’m Speaking Truth.

 

Many people say things like “when I stopped running from God” or “I gave my life to God” – and in reality, they are speaking in error. The bible is full of evidence (from the mouth of God) that we didn’t choose Him, rather He preordained our relationship with Him (John 15:15-17Ephesians 1:5;Ephesians 1:11Romans 9:15-16, and many more).  

Here’s a great video from Mark Kielar at Cross TV (found on Lane Chaplin’s youtube page) with a fundamental explanation of predestination in God’s plan of salvation:

Believer, You’re Saved Because God Chose You First Not Because You Chose Him First

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On Being Filled With The Holy Spirit And Worshiping In The Holy Spirit

Posted by Job on October 2, 2008

Was listening to an (Arminian) preacher’s sermon on Ephesians 5:18 (And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit), and of course knowing how Pentecostals regard this verse, I decided to investigate what Reformed opinion was. Regrettably, John Calvin only focused on the wine part. But I did find some good blog posts on this topic. Please read and enjoy. 

be filled with the holy spirit? part #1

Be Filled With The Holy Spirit?, Part 2

worship in the spirit

Should We Pray For More of The Holy Spirit In Our Ministries and Churches?

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Albert Mohler’s Assessment Of The Economic Situation: An Example Of What Evangelicalism Does To The Reformed Mind

Posted by Job on September 29, 2008

Please consider Albert Mohler’s A Christian View of the Economic Crisis. Now I generally agree with Mohler on matters related to religion and culture, but I am increasingly disagreeing with him in other areas. First I was disappointed by his embrace of Sarah Palin – the most depressing part of which is how even serious intelligent Christians like Mohler choose to be willfully ignorant of such matters as the influence of freemasonry on our political system – and now I must diverge with his view on the economy. 

Mohler most prominently repeats the usual western evangelical theological approach on the merits of being an eager and fully engaged participant in capitalism with the only restraint being biblical admonitions of greed. While his views are not Biblically wrong, it is with issues like this – and again with Palin – that I am reminded that in many cases with Reformed evangelicals, the key term is not Reformed but evangelical. Now while the meaning of “evangelical” has evolved over time, but its basic meaning in the current context is a Christian who professes to adhere to both orthodox theology (or Bible based doctrine) and a modernist worldview simultaneously. (More conservative evangelicals detest postmodernism, but more modern and liberal evangelicals find postmodern constructs quite useful, and Rick Warren is an excellent example of a postmodern evangelical.)

With evangelicals, it is not so much that when the inevitable conflicts between modernism (the creation of Enlightenment philosophers, many of whom were atheists, deists, unitarians, and theological liberals) and orthodoxy arises, many evangelicals consciously choose modernism. (I am not going to list any examples of how because if I did it would be “hot button issues” like feminism, abortion, homosexuality, divorce which, by the usually shallow nature of the debate – which often concerns the issue itself or at times even the legal, political, and rhetorical maneuverings of the debate rather than the theological or spiritual truths at stake -conceals the true nature of the issue. ) Instead, the bigger problem is how often evangelical Christianity seems to choose modernism over Biblical doctrine with no considerations whatsoever. Often this does not even need to happen on some “subconscious” level because modernist tools (i.e. systems of logic and analysis), presuppositions, and worldviews are purposefully integrated within evangelical theology just as economic, political, and cultural Marxism is often (but not always!) integrated within liberal theology. 

This is not to say that there is no difference between a John Stott and a John Shelby Spong. The former presupposes the Bible to be true and authoritative based on it being the inspired Word of God and the latter does not. Instead, it means that those such as Stott will in many cases inevitably interpret and apply Biblical truth and authority in a modernist manner. Contradicting my earlier promise not to pick an example, perhaps the best illustration of this is the nearly wholesale internalization of mind sciences (psychology and psychiatry) within Christian thought, creating this bizarre situation where the holy Word of God is scripture and primary, but the long discredited ideas of atheists and perverts like Sigmund Freud and Alfred Kinsey comprise a secondary and authoritative tradition that is actually used to interpret the Bible in a similar manner that Jews use the Talmud and Roman Catholics use their tradition. In fairness to evangelicals, to whom I am not opposed, this is not nearly a new phenomenon as the pre – modern church used Greek philosophy in a similar fashion (although I should point out that figures ranging from Tertullian to reformers Martin Luther and John Calvin despised philosophy). Still, have you noticed how common it has become in the more recent evangelical devotionals and even commentaries to use psychoanalysis (in addition to social and behavioral sciences) to try to determine why certain Bible characters made the choices that they did? Small wonder that so many sermons now seem like a social science lecture or a self – help seminar. 

So going back to how the key term is often not “Reformed” but “evangelical”, where I once felt that Reformed theology was a bulwark against modernism, it is apparent that in many instances being Reformed makes an evangelical a more confident and steadfast modernist! There perhaps is no better example of this than how the very Reformed Francis Schaeffer was one of the most prominent founding and guiding figures of the religious right with all that entails, including being a prominent supporter and enabler of the anti – Christ wickedness of Ronald Reagan. 

So reading Mohler’s political statements on Palin and the economy (as well as going after Obama on bioethics while praising McCain for allegedly “moving in the right direction on this issue” and defending Sarah Palin’s pastor), it is another reminder of why I so often tend to align myself with legalistic Arminian premillennial dispensational fundamentalists! Mohler makes these statements:

Comparisons to the Great Depression are inevitable, but today’s crisis bears little resemblance to the total economic collapse of the late 1920s. Capitalism is not in crisis and the fundamentals of the American economy remain strong.  When President Franklin D. Roosevelt took office in 1933, the nation faced a genuine crisis and economic collapse. For the most part, the banks were closed and the nation was out of business. The fundamentals of the economy remain intact. These include American innovation, a dedicated labor force, strong consumer demand, vast natural resources, and unlimited intellectual capital. More than anything else, this crisis has to do with what happens when the markets come to term with excessive valuations. Put bluntly, wildly inflated valuations led to risky financial adventures and worse. The sub-prime mortgage collapse came as more realistic real estate valuations forced market corrections. The vast global financial system has accepted the inflated valuations as real and traded in the risky mortgages as if the game would go on forever. This was a fool’s errand.

This is typical neoconservative economics, virtually indistinguishable from what you would read on the pages of the Roman Catholic – Jewish dominated National Review and Weekly Standard, or hear Phil Gramm say. First, it is probably the effects of my premillennial rapturist doctrines (now renounced) that causes me to think that the vast global financial system is the problem to begin with! Read about the mystery Babylon global economic system in Revelation 17 and 18. Know that we are not only full participants but LEADERS in this system. Please recall that George W. Bush, especially in his first term, sought mightily to bribe and coerce reluctant third world governments into participating in this system using the carrot (debt relief, favorable trade terms, and foreign aid) and the stick (threats of economic and political isolation that make such nations ripe for internal strife and the aggressive designs of foreign enemies, especially Islam). And what does the Bible say about this global financial system? A) It is evil and B) it will fall. So why on earth does Mohler say “Capitalism is not in crisis and the fundamentals of the American economy remain strong”? Well that is what you get when you use neoconservatism to do your theology.

Even if you remove the overt Bible overtones, this is why what Mohler states is so problematic. At the time of the Great Depression, America had more tangible capital and wealth producing capacity. There was a gold standard for one thing (fatally wounded by Franklin Roosevelt before being finally killed by Richard Nixon), and our economy was based largely on what our farms, mines, and factories produced. Look at us now. Instead of an objective gold standard, our wealth valuation is subject to the decisions of a cadre of international bankers and NGOs along with the governments that they prop up. Instead of agricultural and industrial output, we have an “information and services” economy … if there is anything worse than the size and persistence of our trade deficits is the fact that neither neoliberal or neoconservative economists and politicians care about it. Our economy does not even produce its own vital raw materials but instead relies on other nations for it, especially in the case of energy. And worst of all, a nation whose economic wealth was largely based on populations that adhered to John Calvin’s doctrines of hard work, savings, and frugal modest living (please note that Calvin never intended to be an economist but was only giving practical advise to Christians based on the Bible that addressed their local situations … in other words not economic theory or philosophy but rather biblical theology) is now one that celebrates idleness and excess and thinks nothing of running up large debts while walking away from our responsibilities to creditors. If you think that our government’s debt to the domestic and international holders of its bonds is huge – and it is – please consider the aggregate amounts of the debts of private individuals AND the debts of our businesses.

That is one of the reasons why banks are so unwilling to lend money. It is not merely because of a shortage of cash (which Mohler does not acknowledge exists). It is because banks are dealing with 1) a society where people simply refuse to pay back their loans if it inconveniences them and 2) rising inflation and declining values of real estate and goods which makes any collateral that a bank would use to insure the loan worthless. In the past, it was worthwhile to use collateral because of the presumption that the value of the collateral at least keep up with the rate of inflation during the life of the loan. Now, even if a lender is able to actually deprive a borrower of his collateral (which is becoming increasingly difficult to do) there is a great chance that the bank will still lose a lot of money on the loan. 

I will grant you, Albert Mohler is not an economist. So what … neither am I! As a matter of fact, Mohler’s education and experience in this area almost certainly far exceeds my own. So why on earth is Mohler claiming that we have “vast natural resources” knowing full well that those are hamstrung by the global warming Gaia worshiping environmentalists that John McCain supports, and “unlimited intellectual capital” when America has been having to use foreigners to fill the high tech jobs for decades because our educational system is not producing nearly enough qualified people, and now companies are outsourcing even low level management work (i.e. things done by near entry level employees with bachelor’s degrees in accounting, marketing and finance) overseas?

This is not to pick on Mohler, whom I greatly respect and am only using him as an example. But please understand that seeing him recite the neoconservative economic discourse on his religious blog reminds me of the many sermons that I am familiar with where the sinful actions of some Bible character is attributed to problems with self – esteem. Even were this true, the Bible refers to “self – esteem problems” as  weaknesses of the flesh that are the result of a man’s fallen nature. It is a lot easier to tell a teenager prone to shoplifting “you have self – esteem problems resulting from your father’s abandoning your family and your mother’s having to work two jobs to support the family, depriving you of the critical bonding time with her that you needed to form a healthy emotional self image” than it is to say “you steal because you are a sinner, and if you repent of your sins and believe in the resurrected Jesus Christ, not only will you cease shoplifting but God will heal your broken heart.” 

Now quite honestly, I am certain that Mohler would take the latter approach rather than the former one in preaching, teaching, and counseling. He rejects modernist evangelicalism in that area. The problem is that with he embraces them in his economic views by refusing to acknowledge that we have a mystery Babylon globalist economic system, that the system will fall, and that Republicans are as much a part of it as Democrats are.

Would a biblical theology movement address this? It is hard to know for sure. It is true that one biblical theology movement gave us the Protestant Reformation. It is also true that a second major biblical theology movement gave us “neo – orthodoxy”, which even Billy Graham rejected. Current Biblical theology efforts diverge. John MacArthur and several evangelical Reformed fellow travelers promote exegetical/expositional theology to combat the most negative effects of evangelicalism. Meanwhile, some free will Christians – both evangelical and fundamentalist – are investigating “biblicism” to produce a better foundation for rejecting double predestination than the one offered by Arminianism. We must pray that it is the Will of God that these and other movements result in a larger number of Christians more willing and able to reject worldly ideas in order to interpret, promote, apply, and live Biblical truths, especially when confronted with difficult circumstances, bad facts, and intense opposition.

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Evidence For Predestination And Election: The Meaning Of The Word Church

Posted by Job on September 20, 2008

The word translated “church” in the New Testament is ekklesia. Ekklesia means “called-out ones.” The church, then, is God’s particular people chosen from humanity. In this respect, Israel, who was called out from among the peoples and nations to be God’s unique people and form His unique nation, was the typological forerunner of the church. Now, did Israel choose God or did God choose Israel? Acts 13:17 specifically states that God chose Israel, and scripture further tells us that it was not because Israel was the strongest, mightiest, or most virtuous but rather by God’s own decision and grace. So if the old covenant was a covenant of God’s decision, how could the new covenant be one of man’s decision?

Also, go back to the term “ekklesia.” Now, it is easy to state the Remonstrant position by saying that God elects and predestines those whom He will make the offer of salvation to, but it is up to the human decision to respond. (This position would in fact resolve a great many of the issues with free will or Arminian Christianity.) However, were that the case, then the church, the body of Christ, would consist of people who both accepted AND rejected the offer of salvation, for “ekklesia” only refers to those that God called. It does not denote “those that accepted the call.” Free will Christianity would love to pretend that such is the meaning of ekklesia, but it is not. Also, please note that the New Testament writers – and especially the Holy Spirit that guided them – could have chosen a different word or group of words had the church been composed of those who both were called and chose to respond. Instead, the word “ekklesia” was used 112 times, indicating that those who were called had no choice but to respond.

So either the Body of Christ must include those who love Jesus Christ and those who hate Him because both were called and only some accepted and some rejected, or the body of Christ includes only those drawn into the church by the Holy Spirit’s irresistible grace. Were this not the case, the word that the Holy Spirit inspired the apostles to use would not have been “ekklesia”, those who were called out, but something similar to “ekklesia apokrinomai” meaning “those who were called and responded.”

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Messianic Jews Who Are Five Point Calvinists!

Posted by Job on September 9, 2008

 Resources for Learning

Reformed World View
The True Jew
Remembering the Holocaust with our Russian Jewish Friends
Celebrating the Jewish Holidays and God’s Plan for Salvation
Towards a Reformed Israelology
To the Jew First: A Reformed Perspective
Do You Believe in Satan?
Chronological Storying: A Powerful Way to Teach the Gospel
Advancing the Kingdom of God
“The Missing Chapter: What part of the Jewish Bible will not be read on September 6, 2003?”

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Faith Alone’s We Believe In Sanctification Series

Posted by Job on August 24, 2008

“We know that the Roman Catholics teach that we are saved by faith plus works. Lordship Salvation teaches that we are saved by faith that works. But do not both definitions include works as a condition necessary for faith to be valid, for faith to be effectual? Either way, works are a necessary condition of eternal salvation.

But I have a problem with that. It confuses justification with sanctification. Justification as the forensic legal declaration that we are righteous in our position before God, is confused with sanctification, the outworking of that righteousness in everyday practical living. Now we know that justification and sanctification are related. But we also must keep them distinct lest we confuse the Gospel itself and undo the Reformation. If we make works a necessary condition of salvation, we contradict the words of Rom 4:4-5, “Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.” The apostle Paul is teaching us that faith does not mix with works in any way. Just as you cannot mix oil with water, faith is opposed to works for salvation.”  taken from http://www.faithalone.org/journal/1999i/J22-99b.htm

Series below:

http://www.faithalone.org/journal/1992b/Mackintosh.htm

http://www.faithalone.org/journal/1992b/Farstad.htm

http://www.faithalone.org/journal/1993i/Wilkin.htm

http://www.faithalone.org/journal/1994i/Wilkin.html

http://www.faithalone.org/journal/1994ii/Wilkin.html

http://www.faithalone.org/journal/1995i/Farstad.html

http://www.faithalone.org/journal/1996i/Hart.html

http://www.faithalone.org/journal/1996ii/Hart.html

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Calvin On Sanctification: A Brief

Posted by Job on August 24, 2008

A curious fact about Martin Luther is that for all the attention that he gave to salvation, he is regarded as having paid very little to sanctification by comparison. Calvin, on the other hand, is regarded to having given sanctification a fair amount of treatment. So, here are a couple of weblog entries by Christians that discuss Calvin’s views on sanctification. May this information edify and benefit you.

Calvin on Regeneration and Sanctification

I’m about 800 pages into Calvin’s Institutes (which is why I haven’t been blogging much lately). Previously, I’d read a bunch of it here and there, but most of my understanding of Calvin had been mediated through later Reformed writers. Consequently, I had wrongly assumed that Calvin was consistent with the contemporary evangelical/Reformed distinction between regeneration and sanctification (regeneration denoting the initial moment of renewal, and sanctification denoting the subsequent process of renewal). Not so. Calvin addresses the topic of repentance under the rubric of regeneration, talking of them as though they are virtual synonyms. Further, he does not see regeneration/repentance as limited to the beginning of the Christian life, but rather extends this work of God to the duration of earthly life. He writes,

Therefore, in a word, I interpret repentance as regeneration, whose sole end is to restore in us the image of God . . . And indeed this restoration does not take place in one moment or one day or one year; but through continual and even slow advances God wipes out in his elect the corruption of the flesh . . . In order to reach this goal, God assigns to them a race of repentance, which they are to run throughout their lives(601-02).

I like Calvin on this, and find him more consistent with Pauline/NT semantics. While the theological labels of regeneration and sanctification have (I suppose) been useful in delineating between the initial and subsequent work of God in the believer’s life, they have allowed for certain traditions to bifurcate regeneration and sanctification and then argue that salvation consists surely of the former but not necessarily the latter. This is common in Free Grace theology, and I’m sure one can find variations of it in most traditions. But Calvin’s doctrine of regeneration does not allow for this. For Calvin, to be regenerated is to be renewed into the image of God throughout the duration of one’s life–to run a lifelong race of repentance. No lasting fruit, no connection to the root.

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Ten Reasons for Actively Preaching the Doctrine of Election

Posted by Job on August 22, 2008

From blackreformingkid.wordpress.com

Ten Reasons for Actively Preaching the Doctrine of Election

I was in PalTalk last night and my brother Tim Micer brought up an interesting question: Is election necessary for preaching the Gospel? While we all didn’t agree on the implications of what our brother was saying, he did bring up 10 very solid reasons for his case. As I saw them, it dawned on me that these reasons in themselves make a good case. Here then are Brother Tim’s ten reasons why election is necessary for the preaching of the Gospel:


Preaching election:

Paul was told in Acts 18:8-11 And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized. Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city. And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them

1.) Proclaims the Holiness of God; by giving God the glory and not self. Election proclaims the falleness of man by stating that God chooses due to man’s inability.

2.) Guarantees results in evangelism. 1Co 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

3.) Brings boldness to evangelism by knowing that it is not in vain

4.) Causes the one proclaiming to depend on the Sovereignty of God

5.) Reveals a God that is active in His creation and that His will is accomplished by means

6.) Proclaims with Christ “it is finished” by revealing a sacrifice that actually saves

7.) Demands that the means that God uses is the Gospel. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation and salvation is not possible without hearing the Gospel. The Gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ according to scripture.

      a. We are Justified by faith
      b. Faith is given by God
      c. The resurrection proves the acceptance of the sacrifice
      d. Faith is assurance, and there is no assurance apart from the resurrection of Christ.

8.) Causes one to see his own depravity (lostness, inability) without this no man will come to Christ

9.) Causes a true humility in the one who receives by knowing that God has done this work due to no reason in self.

10.) Reveals a true amazing Grace.

I liked this material but of course, this being a public blog and all, your comments, thoughts, criticisms are welcome. I would also heartily recommend Tim’s websiteSeeking 4 Truth to you.

These are some mighty strong statements and bold claims! But it does fit the strength and boldness of the Bible and its gospel.

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