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"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

Dr. Norman Geisler's "Parable of the Farmer" - Refuted

Some years ago I read Dr. Norman Geisler's book "Chosen but Free" and followed it up with Dr. James' White's response in a book called "The Potter's Freedom." It became clear to me that one side wanted to exegete the texts of Scripture in detail, giving them the necessary respect, and quite honestly, one side seemingly did not. This whole process brought me from semi-confusion on some of these issues to becoming a convinced 5 point Calvinist. I am aware of others who have taken the very same journey as myself through reading the two books mentioned above. Even though James has Scottish blood running in his veins and I have Welsh and Irish (and grew up in England), in the course of time, Dr. White became a good friend of mine, and I am very grateful for the very positive impact he has, and continues to have in my life and ministry.

The reason I say all this is because it was fascinating for me today to watch a 28 minute video by Dr. White on youtube, responding once again to Dr. Geisler's "Parable of the Farmer." On this video you will hear Dr. Geisler in his own words, as well as Dr. White's response.

Continue reading "Dr. Norman Geisler's "Parable of the Farmer" - Refuted" »

July 30, 2008  |  Comments (10)   |  Permalink

Contending with the Puritan John Goodwin on John 3:16

Contending with the Puritan John Goodwin on John 3:16 (Not to be confused with Thomas Goodwin)
B. K. Campbell

"For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life." (HCSB)

John Goodwin John 3:16: "...Suppose a great king having many sons, should express himself thus: 'I so love my children, that whosoever of them shall be dutiful unto me; I will bestow principalities, dukedoms, or other great matters upon them.' Should he not plainly imply a possibility, at least, that some of them might not prove dutiful unto him? In like manner, if the word world, in the Scripture in hand, should signify the elect, the distributive, whosoever, must needs imply that some of these elect might possibly not believe, and so perish; because believing, and not believing, and not perishing thereupon, occasions the distribution here made." (Redemption Redeemed: A Puritan Defense of Unlimited Atonement, Expanded Edition by John Goodwin p.24)

Goodwin's ideology is true only if the passage in question speaks of those who do believe (Elect), as well as those who do not believe, as both containing the same essential nature (Election). Goodwin embarrasses himself with this analogy- why? Because he is citing the evident meaning of the text, "some of them might not prove dutiful unto him." That is, some will not believe. However, it remains to be proven that the entities loved in the "world" are the same as the "whosoevers" that will not believe. The true implication is that God so loved the Elect (of the world) that He gave his only son so that "everyone who believes" will not perish! Goodwin confuses the issue by trying to equate the entities that will believe (world) with the entities that will not believe (whosoever). He says, "Whosoever, must needs imply that some of these elect might possibly not believe, and so perish…" No so! Why "must it imply" that the Elect will "not believe"? Does "whosoever" rather not refer to the totality of mankind that will believe? Indeed, who are those who do not believe? Are they the Elect? Certainly not (Acts 13:48)! Simply put: the text speaks of those who believe not those who do not believe- Goodwin attempts to draw out a negative conclusion from the text that is not even contained in the text (at least not directly in verse 16). His thinking is thus, "because the text refers to those who actually believe (positive sense), it must also imply that those who do not believe (negative sense) are of the same nature as those who do believe- i.e. the Elect." Ok, so let's get this straight, because all those who believe are Elect all those who do not believe must also be Elect? Huh? And by what logic does Goodwin arrive at this conclusion? Not logic my friends, but the fatal assumption that all men - those who believe as well as those who do not believe- are Elect. Do the syllogism and you will see what I mean: All those who (B) are (E) and all those who do not (B) are (E). Ultimately this means that all men must be (E) regardless of (B) or non- (B) there is no distinction.

This is just another irrational attempt by a desperate Arminian to defend the freedom of man against the Word of God.

July 30, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Old Testament Theology - 2008 ECPA Award Winner, Bible Reference Category

An Old Testament Theology - Bruce K. Waltke (Author) with Charles Yu
The ECPA Christian Book Awards are considered among the most prestigious awards in the Christian publishing industry. Formerly the Gold Medallion Book Awards, the ECPA Christian Book Awards have been awarded to Christian authors since 1978. Given out by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association, the awards honor excellence in content, literary quality, design, and significance of contribution in six categories, including Bibles, Fiction, Children & Youth, Inspiration & Gift, Bible Reference & Study, and Christian Life. Bruce Waltke’s An Old Testament Theology: A Canonical and Thematic Approach, his magnum opus,has been named “Bible Reference & Study Book of the Year” for 2008. The ECPA Christian Book Awards were announced at the ECPA Awards Celebration held in Orlando on July 13, 2008.

Available here at Monergism Books

July 29, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Reflections

My Lord, my God – if ever thou
Have been, cease not to be so now,
When tempests rise and billows roll
To break upon my weary soul,
And all the world rise up to make
My downfall sure; and doubters take
Their chance to cast a deeper gloom,
And fickle voices thunder doom,
And hard-beset I lift my eyes
And find no op’ning in the skies –
O Lord, my Lord, to thee I flee,
If thou wilt still my refuge be,
And fear no evil; let them rage,
Let all the chaos of the age
Rain on my head: I shall not fear,
For thou art ever, ever near;
The vow still sounds within my ear
That, ‘Till this dust sink into dust,
In thee, O God, will be my trust.’

Continue reading "Reflections" »

July 26, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Images of the Savior (16 -- The Birth of Perez)

And it came to pass, at the time of her giving birth, that behold, there were twins in her womb. And it came to pass, as she was giving birth, that one put out a hand; and the midwife took and bound upon his hand a scarlet thread, saying, “This one came out first”. But it came to pass, when he drew back his hand, that behold, his brother came out; and she said, “What a breach you have made for yourself!”. So his name was called Perez. – Genesis 38:27-29

When Jacob had first been driven out of the promised land by the wrath of his brother Esau, the fulfillment of the promises made to Abraham seemed in every way to be in jeopardy: for he had received both the birthright and the blessing, and the Abrahamic promises were therefore all bound up in his own future and fruitfulness; and not as yet having any offspring by which the Messianic line could advance, nor any wife by whom he should raise up a seed, nor even any goods and possessions to sustain him in his wanderings, his life was in imminent danger, and the likelihood of his entering again into the land where the fulfillment of the promises was centered seemed very small. It was, therefore, a most gracious and powerful operation of God that some twenty years later, after many trials and dangers had been overcome, he would again enter the land of Canaan with wives, goods, possessions, and twelve sons through whom God had purposed to build a mighty nation, and through one of whom he intended to bring about the One who should fulfill every promised blessing, that is, the Messiah. Until this generation, God had seen fit to pass along the Abrahamic promises to one sole heir of each father, first to Isaac alone instead of Ishmael, and then to Jacob alone instead of Esau. But now, returning to Canaan with twelve sons who should all be possessors of the promise, the question of how the Messianic blessing should be passed on is in some manner changed, and hence becomes, “Which of the twelve brothers shall gain ascendancy over all the rest, and be chosen to bring about the Seed in whom all alike shall be blessed?”. The several histories of this time immediately after Jacob's leaving Laban have all to do with the answer to that one question.

Continue reading "Images of the Savior (16 -- The Birth of Perez)" »

July 25, 2008  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

Isaiah 29 and its Misuse by Various Religous Groups

Its very interesting to see how a passage in Isaiah 29 is being used by both Mormons and Muslims to teach that their leader/prophet was prophesied ahead of time by the Bible, as Dr. James White explains in this 20 minute you-tube video:

July 24, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Is Jesus really the only way?

(thoughts and ideas on sharing the gospel from a Reformed perspective)

Is Jesus really the only way? In an environment of such plurality and diversity this really seems an implausible or even arrogant claim of Christians. When confronted with the exclusive claims of Christianity, the question on many people's minds is how can Christians be so narrow as to believe that all non-Christians will be excluded from heaven? There are plenty of good people who are not Christians. Do Christians think they are better than others? So the question often put to Christians is what about a person, a good person who has been good all their life ... will they go to heaven?

Actually, Jesus himself answered this question. When asked by a rich young ruler what must he do to gain eternal life, Jesus answered: "If you want to enter life, obey the commandments" (Matt 19:17). So Jesus himself makes it clear that a good person who obeys all of God's commands would merit or qualify for eternal life. This includes all good people of all time from all nations, peoples, races and languages. The point is that if anyone could obey all God's commandments, they will live (also see Rom 2:6-8). So in answer to the question, yes a good person who has done good all their life would merit eternal life. The Scripture declares, however, that there is no one on earth who fits that description (Rom 3:9-18). There is no one who does not sin when measured against the holiness and majesty of God. That means you ... and that means me ... yes, all of us have utterly failed to follow the law God has given us. Only Jesus Christ alone has obeyed all of God's commands and earned a place at the right hand of God (Hebrews 4:15). You see, it is always important to look at context, for after Jesus tells the rich young ruler, "If you want to enter life, obey the commandments", He then goes on to explain but "With man this is impossible..." (Matt 19:26) So it is very important to note that Jesus teaches that the first prerequisite of eternal life in God, is when by God's grace, we recognize our utter impotence to save ourselves by human effort due to our moral corruption. This slavery we have to our rebellion renders it impossible to obey God's commands. In fact Jesus saved his greatest criticism of people on earth for the Pharisees because they believed and trusted in their own righteousness and moral ability to please God.

Continue reading "Is Jesus really the only way?" »

July 22, 2008  |  Comments (11)   |  Permalink

Theology Matters - A Vital Teaching Series for the Church

Just this last week, Dr. James White was teaching a series of messages at a Church in the Houston area on a number of vital themes for our day, defending the doctrine of the inspiration of Scripture, the Trinity, justification by faith alone and the doctrines of grace (responding to a recent sermon against Calvinism).

The series is now put together in a format that runs one message immediately after the other, but it is possible to go to any message in the series and begin watching. I have just finished watching the entire four part series and have been very blessed and encouraged, and commmend this series to you (available below). - John Samson

July 19, 2008  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

Images of the Savior (15 -- Jacob at Peniel)

And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for, “I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved”.– Genesis 32:30

Everywhere in the Law and the Prophets we see Christ and his gospel-work symbolized, prophesied, and foreshadowed in many marvelous ways: but only a very few times, and at the most critical junctures of redemptive history, do we see our Savior, before his advent in Bethlehem, appear in visible form to his saints. Jacob’s encounter at Peniel, just prior to his return to the land of promise, is one of these occurrences; and in this history, we may learn much of our blessed Redeemer, and of the true religion which alone prevails with him. To this end, we now turn our attention to the account at hand.

Continue reading "Images of the Savior (15 -- Jacob at Peniel)" »

July 18, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

The Antithesis of Modernity and Postmodernity

"The theogical underpinings of modernity and postmodernity are the autonomy of human persons with respect to all other persons (including God), the universal fatherhood of God and the univeral fraterity of humanity. Calvin's doctrine of predestination contained within it the antithesis of these modernist fundamentals." - R. Scott Clark
July 17, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

3rd Annual Monergism Multi-Volume Set and Banner of Truth Sale

Enter for instructions
July 16, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

A thank you to all those who serve us in the military...

July 14, 2008  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

Heavenly Trips

Someone wrote to me this week asking me for my take on the Christians who claim to have taken trips to heaven and have come back to tell of the experience. Here is my response...

Hi .... , (name withheld)

Thanks for your question. Although I cannot find a scripture that specifically addresses the issue of whether or not people can take trips to heaven in their lifetime (in our day) I certainly see no scriptural basis for a desire for it. We are never told to desire a trip to heaven, except when we go to be with the Lord or He comes for us.

Though I would hesitate to make a complete blanket statement to say that God cannot do such a thing with a believer today, I am very much alarmed at the casual nature in which these experiences are usually refered to.... I have heard the experience spoken of in just the same way as you or I would of a trip to Walmart.. the awe of God and of the heavenly realms is very noticeably absent. Contrast this with the biblical descriptions of people who went to heaven or at least were allowed to see it.. Isaiah was "undone" (Isaiah 6) and the Apostle John fell at the feet of an angel and had to be told to get up and worship only Christ (Rev. 19:10). The inspiring awe John felt is very obvious.. So the question of "awe" is one I would raise..

Also I would simply ask each individual who has claimed such an experience... Ok.. what happened? What exactly did you see? What exactly were you told? Why do you think God gave you this experience? How is your life different as a result? and.. are you willing to have this experience tested by the scripture?

Then....

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July 13, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

It is God Himself...

‘It is God Himself who in holy wrath needs to be propitiated, God Himself who in holy love undertook to do the propitiating, and God Himself who, in the person of His Son, died for the propitiation of our sins. Thus God took His own loving initiative to appease His own righteous anger by bearing it His own self in His own Son when He took our place and died for us. There is no crudity here to evoke our ridicule, only profundity of holy love to evoke our worship.’ - John Stott, The Cross of Christ

July 12, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Images of the Savior (14 -- Jacob and Laban)

“These twenty years I served you in your house, fourteen years for your two daughters and six years for your flock, and you have changed my wages ten times; if the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been with me, surely now you would have sent me away empty. God saw my affliction and the toil of my hands, and rebuked you last night.”– Genesis 31:41-42

As we continue to follow the life of our father Jacob, we see that at every step, God causes him to flourish and increase, no matter what contingencies might face him. So it is that, having been driven out from the promised land by the rage of his brother Esau, God used his sojourn in another land to make him into a great family, which should later issue forth in a mighty nation, and eventually, the Christ himself. And likewise, in every cheat and deception that he endured from Laban his uncle, he always prospered and grew stronger, rather than weaker, due always to God's particular care and governance. The time that Jacob spent with Laban, although necessitated by a brother's persecution and marked throughout by hardship and unjust treatment, was the very time when he sprang up in the faith, and began to put forth those buds which would eventuate in the mighty boughs of the Kingdom of God. We would do well to learn from this, for the same mystery is at work even today, among those who are Jacob's heirs and possessors of the promise.

Continue reading "Images of the Savior (14 -- Jacob and Laban)" »

July 11, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Recommended Books

We have been requested to post some of the top books in their categories. So this list is not exhaustive. Previously we posted what we thought to be the Top Ten Books on Piety, Sanctification, Spiritual Growth but the following are all books you should have on your bookshelf (if you are interested in the category). As a side note, starting now through the middle of July 2008, Monergism Books is having a major sale (at least 50% off) on some choice books. Quite a few titles were reduced in price just this week.

The Reformation Study Bible (ESV)
Editor: R.C. Sproul

A New Systematic
Theology of the Christian Faith

by Dr. Robert L. Reymond

Above All Earthly Pow'rs
by David F. Wells

Bondage of the
Will

by Martin Luther

Always Ready
by Greg Bahnsen

Doctrine of God
by John Frame

Body of Divinity
by Thomas Watson

Desiring God
by John Piper

Death of Death in
The Death of Christ

by John Owen

History of the
Work of Redemption

by Jonathan Edwards

The Bible and the Future
by Anthony A. Hoekema

George Whitefield 2 Vol
(Biography)

by Arnold Dallimore

reason-keller-ad.jpg The Reason for God:
Belief in an Age of Skepticism

by Timothy Keller

 

The Fear of God
by John Bunyan

The Deliberate Church
by Mark Dever, Paul Alexander

 

How People Change
by Timothy S. Lane
& Paul David Tripp

Still Sovereign
edited by Thomas Scheiner
& Bruce Ware

The Sovereignty of God
(Unabridged)

by A.W. Pink

Freedom of the Will
by Jonathan Edwards

worship-kauflin.jpg Worship Matters
by Bob Kauflin

The Goldsworthy Trilogy
by Graeme Goldsworthy

Puritan Paperbacks
by Classic Puritan Literature (Various)

The Works of John Owen
by John Owen

 

Works of Richard Sibbes
(7 Volume)

by Richard Sibbes

When Grace Comes Home:
How the Doctrines of Grace
Change Your Life

by Terry L. Johnson

Him We Proclaim: Preaching
Christ from All the Scriptures

by Dennis E. Johnson
July 10, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Images of the Savior (13 -- Jacob and Esau)

And Isaac entreated Yahweh in behalf of his wife, because she was barren; and Yahweh was entreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived. And the children struggled together inside her; and she said, “If it be so, why is it thus with me?”; and she went to seek Yahweh. And Yahweh said unto her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples shall be divided from your bowels; and the one shall be stronger than the other, and the elder shall serve the younger”. – Genesis 25:21-23

In all the accounts of God's dealing with the patriarchs thus far, we have been primarily struck with these two things, first, God's absolute sovereignty in choosing and calling out the subjects of his redemptive blessing; and second, the surprising and unexpected ways in which he does so, which may be seen both in the choice of the vessels which he should prepare for mercy, and the means by which he should bring this mercy to bear in their lives. Thus, God called Abraham alone, when he had many and mighty nations and nobles which he might instead have chosen; he called Isaac and not Ishmael, although Ishmael was Abraham's eldest son, and begotten of natural and expected means, whereas Isaac was younger and begotten in a most surprising way; and he ensured and ratified the blessing which he had sworn should come through Isaac by commanding that he be put to death on Mount Moriah, before he had been able to extend Abraham's line. In these and in many other ways beside, we see those two notable truths everywhere confirmed and illustrated. Now, as we look to the account of the next generation of the patriarchs, and observe the early life of Jacob and Esau, we will see again the same truths most admirably displayed.

Continue reading "Images of the Savior (13 -- Jacob and Esau)" »

July 04, 2008  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

Calvinism and Evangelism

I recently received an e-mail from a gentleman by the name of Abel who seemed to have severe mis-givings about Calvinism, especially regarding its practical ramifications in evangelism. I will not quote the entire e-mail discussion but I thought others might be interested in reading some of the exchange. It is cordial and friendly, even if we strongly disagree. My response to Abel is in bold so that it is more easy on the eye... - John Samson

Abel writes.... The purpose ... is to get directly to the practical applications of the doctrine of election as it is widely taught, and to illustrate how it determines what we really believe about the Bible and how we witness to the lost. This is an area most Calvinists rarely, if ever, discuss or even recognize.

I am not sure I would agree with this.. Ligonier ministries just had its National Conference on the theme of "Evangelism according to Jesus."

For example, did Jesus die for all mankind? This is a simple question that deserves a simple answer. This is what a lost person wants to know.

Sir, why do you start with a statement never made in scripture and hold it up as the standard for what is to be done in evangelism? Why is it so hard to just use biblical expressions rather than man made ones? The apostles certainly never used this phrase. Just because you do and many others do, does not make it a biblical expression.

They don't want some long -winded, drawn out explanation of how the Bible really doesn't mean what it says on the surface and that you really need to dig much, much deeper to get to the ‘hidden' information only the most skilled and educated can decipher. They want a simple yes or no.

:-))) Of course all want this... and many things in scripture are extremely clear and plain, but as the Apostle Peter noted about Paul's writings, some things are "hard to understand".

"just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction." - 2 Peter 3:15-16

Unstable and untaught people still distort the scriptures in our own day which is why we are called to study dilligently to show ourselves approved by God.

Continue reading "Calvinism and Evangelism" »

July 03, 2008  |  Comments (4)   |  Permalink

No Substitute for Hard Work

People who are without the gospel around you live in great vexation and torment. Sin has caused brokenness, alienation and mass personal and social problems in our world. But having been mercifully delivered from the bondage to corruption, God has granted you a sphere of influence, a ‘plot of land’ to cultivate (so to speak) and until you become an instrument of redemption for Christ in the workplace, the persons in your life will continue to look for solutions to problems in all the wrong places. God has prepared good works for you and because the gospel is the only hope for the world, God has made you indispensable to the well being of the people around you.

The kingdom of the age to come has broken into the current age in Jesus Christ. All those who are now united to Christ, the true Israel, are made partakers of kingdom of the age to come and are called in Christ to exhibit the resurrected kingdom life. Although weak in ourselves, God has made us ambassadors and granted us power to demonstrate to those in our midst a foretaste of life of the age to come. Christ commands us to go and promote the kingdom in every sphere, not to sit idly in our sanctuaries. In fact, God has given each of us specific gifts and a calling and we are to use the gifts and position God has given us to wield influence by redeeming the people and the institutions in our sphere for his kingdom. The gospel is our 'weapon' to take every thought captive for Christ advancing God’s kingdom and force darkness to retreat.

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July 03, 2008  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

Prayer and Action

Prayer is the place where humility is adopted, pride is abandoned, needs are admitted, and dependence acknowledged upon Christ. We must preface all endeavors with dependent prayer since too often we ignore prayer and seek to accomplish in the strength of our own wills those things God has placed on our hearts to do. But, on the other hand, prayer without action is also foolish. In most circumstances, it is not wise to prayer and then do nothing. Consider the farmer: He does not merely pray and hope that crops will come forth. Rather, he plows up the fallow ground, sows his seed and labors until harvest. But he also knows that without the blessing of rain and climate, his harvest will never come, no matter how hard he works. So both the farmers' work and God's blessing is necessary for results. Likewise when we pray, we should not merely sit back and hope something will happen. When we see God's will not being done on earth we must both pray and work to see change take place. This prayer driven work is the most wise and likely to bring success. Lke the planting of crops, the results are still ultimately dependent on God blessing the endeavor. We must 1) not work independently of God and 2) should not put our hands to rest only trusting in a miracle but must work as if the outcome depended on ourselves, while we rest in faith upon the glorious fact that everything depends on the soveriegn Lord. This is the biblical model and would fall under the doctrine of concurrence.

July 02, 2008  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink