"...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)

An Observation about Israel in Ephesians 2:11-21 & 3:5, 6

The following passage really makes up the heart of Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians. Here he reveals a great mystery which was hidden in previous ages:

"Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called "the uncircumcision" by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ ... So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord."
Notice in this passage that Paul speaks to Gentiles as having been previously separate and alienated from Israel and the covenants, but in Christ, Gentiles have become citizens of Israel. Being "brought near" was their modern day parlance for Jewish proselytes. Because verse 12 and verse 19 are separated by some text (which speaks of benefits in Christ) many do not pay attention to their close connection. Let’s have a look then: Verse 12 "alienated from the commonwealth of Israel" is joined to (vr. 19) "you are no longer strangers and aliens". No longer aliens to what? No longer aliens to the commonwealth of Israel. That means that Gentiles who are in Christ are now "citizens" (v. 19) of Israel built as a house with Christ as the chief cornerstone. In other words, Jesus Christ is the True Israel of God (its fulfillment and foundation) as are all who are joined in union to Him. To say it another way, both OT and NT saints who are in union with Christ are citizens of Israel according to this passage. Likewise we are partakers of its promises, according to another nearby passage:

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June 30, 2009  |  Comments (20)   |  Permalink

Chapter Eight: The King Will Desire Your Beauty

We have now seen just what the true message of Christianity is, and how it applies to every person under heaven, regardless of circumstances or background. We have seen that this gospel-message demands a response, and have made clear the high cost of following Jesus, and the priceless reward that it will bring. But we must still touch upon another matter, which is equally misunderstood in American Christianity today; and that is, just what it means to be a Christian, what we are saved to and for; in a word, exactly what is the purpose of all that we have been speaking of. Is the ultimate goal of God's plan of salvation simply to give me a “get out of hell free card”? Is the reason for evangelism and missions just to get as many individuals as possible into heaven? Now, these things are not at all bad – it is good, unimaginably good, to be delivered from hell, and there is great rejoicing in heaven over every individual soul that is converted1 – but still, there is a greater, unifying purpose to the whole plan that does not end with individual destinies alone. And in order truly to understand Christianity, we must understand this overarching goal. In the next chapters, that is what we will be discussing.

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June 29, 2009  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Quotes from Risking the Truth


"It should be a rule with us to have nothing to do with any man or ministry that errs in regard to the way of salvation in Jesus Christ. Whatever good a man may do along other lines, he has done the greatest conceivable harm if he errs at this point. 'It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea'" (Matt 18:6) - Joel Beeke

What principles should we apply so that we keep ourselves from being deceived?

"I think that the number one principle in seeing through the subtlety of error is learning to handle truth in its biblical context. As someone has said, 'A text without a context is a pretext.'- it is a lie! It is often pretty clear to any discerning mind when a text has been wrested our of its comfortable context in order to say what someone else wants it to say. When I listen to many preachers today and they state something which makes my hair stand on end, I will often wait for them to prove it from the Bible. I often find that all I need to do is dig around the verses they would have quoted and I find that there has been a gross misapplication of Scripture. The Holy Spirit was saying one thing when He inspired the sacred writer, and the preacher is saying something totally different.

When the context is not able to help, the second principle is that obscure passages of the Bible must be interpreted by those passages of the Bible that are more perspicuous. In other words, Scripture does not contradict itself sinice its primary author is the Holy Spirit. So, if a false teacher quotes Scripture to suit his situation but it contradicts the clear teaching of another passage of the Bible, it should send all the warning signals that you are in danger and ought to tread carefully. Is that not how the Lord Jesus handled Satan when he tempted him using the Scriptures in Matthew 4? Jesus simply referred to other Scriptures that were clearly being violated by the meaning that Satan was putting upon the Scriptures he was quoting. We should do the same!" - Conrad Mbewe

Risking the Truth: Handling Error in the Church by Martin Downes Now Available!

June 28, 2009  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering..

June 27, 2009  |  Comments (8)   |  Permalink

Risking the Truth: Handling Error in the Church - NEW!!!

riskingtruth150.jpgRisking the Truth: Handling Error in the Church by Martin Downes Now Available!
Description: Here is a unique, insightful and stimulating collection of interviews on handling truth and error in the church today by some key church leaders and communicators from across the world.

These men reflect on this key issue in relation to their own lives, pulpit ministry, local church leadership, seminary training, denominations, the impact of the academy, Evangelicalism, contemporary trends, history, creeds and confessions, and specific doctrines that are currently under attack. They know each other personally, or at least by reputation, and share a mutual esteem for one another's work. Together they represent a prodigious literary output.

There is personal reflection on these matters, lessons drawn from experience, and practical advice. The interviews are introduced by a primer on heresy and false teaching, and concluded with a chapters on why “Being Against Heresies Is Not Enough” and “What Really Matters in Ministry: Directives for Church Leaders in Acts 20.”

Contributors include: Carl R. Trueman, Tom Schreiner, Michael Horton, Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan, Derek Thomas, R. Scott Clark, Tom Ascol, Guy Waters, Kim Riddlebarger, Ron Gleason, Sean Michael Lucas, Iain D. Campbell, Gary L. W. Johnson, Conrad Mbewe, Geoffrey Thomas, Joel Beeke, Robert Peterson, Michael Ovey.

“It is a privilege to introduce and recommend this unique book. …a very distinctive contribution to the early twenty-first century church. Martin Downes has assembled an all-star team…”
--Sinclair B. Ferguson, Senior Minister, First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, South Carolina

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June 25, 2009  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

Book Review: The Prayer of the Lord, by R. C. Sproul

Throughout much of Church history, the Lord's Prayer (together with the Decalogue and the Apostle's Creed) has been one of the most foundational elements used in instructing new believers and children in what it means to be a Christian. But unfortunately, while it is frequently recited by rote today, it is not so commonly used as a guideline to teach Christians just what it means to pray, how we should approach God, what we should speak to him about, and so on. Even books on the topic of prayer itself, in the modern church, rarely employ the Lord's Prayer, given to his disciples for the specific purpose of teaching them how to pray, as a foundational shaping paradigm. The Prayer of the Lord, by R. C. Sproul, is a very refreshing exception to this trend, and in a crystal clear and surprisingly simple way shows modern disciples of the Lord, in his own words, just what it means to pray.

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June 25, 2009  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Understanding Romans 10:17 by Pastor John Samson

“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Romans 10:17

As most of my readers know, I did not always embrace the reformed faith. For the first 20 years of my Christian walk I was fairly convinced of synergistic theology, though I would recoil at the idea of labeling it as such. In my mind, I just believed the Bible, or so I thought.

I was recently having a discussion with a gentleman through e-mail and he was lamenting the fact that I no longer believed as he does (he is a synergist). He said my problem was that I gave false teaching a chance to wreak havoc in my soul by exposing myself to it – by listening to it. He then wrote “Faith comes by hearing. If you keep hearing something you start to believe it.” He thinks of reformed theology as falsehood, and so using this verse (Romans 10:17), was seeking to show the source of my error, namely that I should never have listened to reformed theology.

Leaving the discussion about reformed theology aside, is what he wrote correct? Does hearing something mean that you will believe it? I would suggest not, and go further to say that his view of Scripture is incredibly low to say such a thing. The obvious implication of his words is the concept that we believe anything we hear. But is that true? I have heard many things in life that I do not believe. Some people in England believe Manchester United are the greatest soccer team in the land, when it is clear that this title belongs to Liverpool alone. I could hear someone talk of the Manchester team in such glowing terms all day and all night for a week, and never believe the bald faced satanic lie. I jest, of course (slightly anyway - after all the Manchester team are called "The Red Devils") - but the point is still a valid one. We do not believe everything we hear - even something we hear repeatedly. It is God Himself who gives the gift of saving faith (Ephesians 2:8,9) - it is not the product of our natural humanity, however many times a person hears the Gospel preached.

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June 24, 2009  |  Comments (7)   |  Permalink

Mockery, Eisegesis and the Foreknowledge of God

What does the word "foreknew" mean in the New Testament?

To actually stop and research the matter to find the answer was a difficult process for me. That is because, quite frankly, I had assumed what the answer was for the first 20 years of my Christian life. Yet in taking the time to pray, study and research the matter, I finally came to see what was staring me in the face all along. My traditions had blinded me to it. The fact is, we all have traditions and as one man rightly said, those most blind to their traditions are those who do not think they have any.

Coming to understand the clear biblical message of foreknowledge and God's Sovereign grace in election has blessed my life immensely. I often meet people who share the exact same experience. Once blinded, now they can see the truth, and they find themselves seeing it on almost every page of the Bible.

I am not reformed because of allegiance to a theology, or because I seek to interpret the text through a man made theological system. No, I am reformed because of my allegiance to the biblical text. I believe reformed theology because I believe this is what the Bible teaches.

I was deeply grieved with the sarcasm and mockery expressed by a young opponent of reformed theology on the video below, but feel it is still worthwhile to post this because of the sheer weight of the answers given to the claims made against it. This is what comes through loud and clear. As Dr. James White explains, for the Arminian, the phrase "those whom He foreknew He predestined" (Rom. 8:29 is translated to mean "those whose actions of faith God foresaw - on the basis of those actions of faith, He predestined".... reading that boat-load of theology into that verb (foreknew) is a classic example of eisegesis. It is importing a huge concept that you are not deriving from the context in any way, shape or form. My challenge (to the Arminian) is to demonstrate where God ever foreknows actively, as an active verb, the actions of people in the future in this way." The fact is, it is impossible to do so. The correct meaning of the term is clear and it does not support the Arminian concept. - JS

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June 23, 2009  |  Comments (4)   |  Permalink

TULIP DVD: Let John Piper Teach Your Small Group

tulipdvd_rt.jpgTULIP: The Pursuit of God's Glory in Salvation (DVD)

Monergism Review: We spent a good portion of the evening last night watching this new training DVD from John Piper on TULIP and were not dissapointed. This is definitely a mature John Piper and far excels his earlier teaching on the subject which many of you may have heard on MP3. We highly recommend this study, especially if you wish to watch, study and discuss this with a small group. There is a study guide available that goes with the DVD for this purpose.

The aim of the DVD and study guide is to explore biblical teaching on the sovereignty of God in salvation. If you know John Piper, he is not into systems, but lets the text of Scripture drive his interpretation. During the course of the study you get to hear the great struggle Piper went through when changing from being an staunch Arminian to a Calvinist. We highly recommend this study to all who would love to persuade their skeptical friends of the precious truths of God's effectual and indelible grace to His people whom He deeeply loves.

Description: Sixteen, 30-minute DVD sessions with John Piper instruct groups in the five points of Calvinism so that they will uphold God’s Word regarding God’s saving work.

They are the fundamental tenets—better known as the “five points”—of Calvinism, and they are abbreviated as TULIP: Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, Perseverance of the saints.

John Piper walks study groups through each point in this DVD and its companion Study Guide, discussing the implications and the issues from a fully biblical perspective. Piper’s 30-minute DVD teachings cover topics that include the meaning of “total” in total depravity, doing missions when God is sovereign, Romans 9 and the two wills of God, and ten effects of believing the five points of Calvinism.

This sixteen-session, guided group study equips facilitators, teachers, group leaders, and pastors to help their members understand the all-important differences between Calvinism and Arminianism. It also calls them to hold fast to biblical truth regarding God’s salvific work in his people’s lives.

Available at Monergism Books

June 23, 2009  |  Comments (7)   |  Permalink

Reformation Monergism

Luther recovered the gospel, and thereby instituted a truly evangelical revival, when he broke free from the Medieval-Scholastic Nature/Grace metaphysical scheme. In his significant breakthrough insight, faith was no longer understood by him as a natural preparation for grace, as the fulfillment of a condition for receiving supernatural grace by the performance of something that was within man's natural capacity to do. The soteriological scheme of Scholastic theology was synergistic, because Pelagian: God responded to man; man cooperated with God according to his native ability. Against this Pelagian synergism, Luther insisted on total inability: the utter incapacitation and absolute impotence of the natural man in abject bondage to sin. Faith therefore could not be a condition for grace, for it could not be exercised out of inherently human resources as a natural act performed of sinful man's own initiative for the purpose of man's fitting and preparing himself to be a suitable candidate for receiving grace. Faith itself could only be the result of a prevening supernatural act; it was a free gift of divine grace, resulting entirely from God's unconditioned, monergistic action. Justification thus was not obtained because of faith, merely through faith—a faith wrought in us. Rather than a cooperation of Nature and Grace (the synergism of mutual effort by both God and man), God acts unilaterally and exclusively, taking the sole initiative in a free act of sovereign grace—grace that is altogether prior to, and productive of, justifying faith. The sola fide arises out of, and is nothing other than, sola gratia.

- Joseph P. Braswell

June 22, 2009  |  Comments (4)   |  Permalink

A Way You Can Help Make Monergism a Better Site

Thank you for your continued support of and for the constructive comments you have made over the years. There is an additional way you could help us become a more helpful site: by reporting broken links when you see them. Managing 10s of thousands of links is often more than our staff can handle on our own so, if you feel inclined to help, we have made this extremely easy for you to do for each particular broken link. Here are some simple instructions with visuals:

Step 1: When you find a broken link click in the small box next to the link.


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June 22, 2009  |  Comments (4)   |  Permalink

Chapter Seven: Choose This Day

Thus far in my message to you, I have tried to do two things: first, show you exactly what Christianity is, and second, show how it applies to you personally, no matter who you may be. Now, I intend to show you that this message, with its necessary personal application, cannot be ignored or shelved indefinitely: it demands a response, and the time for that response is now. I repeat the words of the prophet Elijah, when on Mount Carmel he put the truth of his God to the proof against the opposing religions of his day: “If the Lord [Christ] is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him”1. So today, I am proclaiming, “If Christ is the Lord, submit to him and embrace his gospel; but if whatever other religion or philosophy you embrace is true, then follow it.” In either case, a decision must be made. “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve...but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”2.

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June 22, 2009  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

PCA Debate on Commissioning (not ordaining) Female Deacons

PCA Debate on Commissioning (not ordaining) Female Deacons

Ligon Duncan Vs. Tim Keller

The Case for Our Current Policy on Female Deacons by Ligon Duncan

The Case for Commissioning (Not Ordaining) Deaconesses by Tim Keller

June 20, 2009  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

Explaining Experimental Christianity

Excerpt from Preaching with Spiritual Vigour by Murray A. Capill
HT: Glenn Leatherman

The reason the word "experimental" is used is because experiential has too many overtones of a subjective experience-based faith. That is not what is meant by the word experimental. The word "experiment" has to do with the testing of of reality and truth. In science we deal with the testing of hypotheses, but in theology it refers to the work of testing reality and truth of God's word in the hearts and lives of people. We cannot and should not leave truth at a hypothesis level that is detached from human experience.

Experimental Christianity values genuine spiritual experience. I always tell people that in the act of preaching my goal is not just to pass out information or knowledge but that to desire to experience and feel the truth i am preaching on as well. Yes, we champion sound doctrine and the importance of holiness, but true Experimental Christianity cultivates a burning zeal for the honor of Christ and the fame of his name (see Eph. 1:16-17). This desire is at the heart of Experimental Christianity.

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June 20, 2009  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

Book Review: The Road from Eden: Studies in Christianity and Culture

roadfromeden150.gifWhat precisely did God mean when he told Adam to fill the earth, subdue it, have dominion over it, and to cultivate and keep the Garden? What significance does that command retain after the Fall? What meaning does it have for Christians living on the earth today, after the resurrection of Christ? In a word, what exactly is the “Dominion Mandate” or (“Cultural Mandate”) and how is the Church to obey it? The question is nuanced and complex; but John Barber's landmark study in Christianity and culture, The Road from Eden, is well adapted to make sense of the “culture wars,” not just of today, but of the past two thousand years, by uncovering the real issues, placing the development of questions and perspectives squarely within the broad flow of Church history, and supporting a particular opinion from a trinitarian framework of theology. For all serious students of the relationship between the Church and culture, whether sympathetic to Barber's perspective or not, this masterly study requires careful interaction and genuine consideration.

Whether you happen to be a novice or a scholar in the contemporary discussion surrounding Christ and the culture, The Road from Eden, if you have not yet read it, should be foremost on your list. If the topic is relatively new to you, you will not find a better overview of what all it entails, how it has been addressed throughout two thousand years of Church history, and what specific elements come into play in answering the pertinent questions. And if a scholar, you will find a well-documented and thoroughly-researched advance upon the scholarly discussion, capably arguing for a specific perspective, and firmly rooted in the history of the Church and a biblical-theological perspective of the scriptures. Whether or not you agree with Barber, you will be forced to rigorous thought and consideration which cannot fail to help you nuance your own opinion more carefully, at least, and perhaps even change it drastically. It will at least provide you with much germane material for thought and further discussion.

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June 19, 2009  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

John Calvin's 500th - Collection of Resources


Resources for Calvin's 500th

June 18, 2009  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

No Degrees of Deadness

The company is not doing well this quarter. Sales are down. Potential customers are not buying. The sales team manager needs to get things moving. Someone has to make a sale and quickly. What is the sales team leader to do? Well one thing he could do is to send his team down to the morgue and have his sales team get some sales amongst the dead, selling their nasal sprays, their foot massager machines and their electronic toothbrushes. But sadly, things don't go too well. The dead seem to have no interest in anything the sales team has to say, in spite of the positive smiles and highly developed and well rehearsed sales pitch.. Even at the morgue, no sales are made; for one simple reason, the dead are, how shall we say it? ... errr.. dead!

A silly scenario? Yes, of course! But lets think about this as it relates to man's condition outside of Christ. He is not vibrant and healthy; nor merely under the weather a little, and not just extremely sick about to breathe his last breath. God says that man is actually dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1). The Greek word for dead here is necros, meaning dead like a corpse. There are no signs of spiritual life. It is a hopeless case.

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June 17, 2009  |  Comments (18)   |  Permalink

Satisfying the Law’s Demand's and Curses

lawgospel100.gifThe second Adam’s perfect holiness of human nature, and obedience of life to the precept of the law as a covenant, are as necessary to the justification of sinners as is His suffering of its penalty. The doctrine of justification by faith establishes the law, the whole law, the honor of the precept as well as that of the penal sanction. But this it could not do if it did not represent the righteousness of Jesus Christ as consisting in His active obedience as well as in His passive. Active obedience, strictly speaking, cannot be said to satisfy vindictive justice for sin. And, on the other hand, suffering for punishment gives right and title unto nothing, it only satisfies for something; nor does it deserve any reward, as John Owen mentions in his work on justification. Christ’s satisfaction for sin could not render His perfect obedience to the precept unnecessary; nor could His perfect obedience make His satisfaction for sin by suffering the penalty unnecessary, because it was not of the same kind. The one is that which answers the law’s demand of perfect obedience as the ground of title to eternal life; the other is that which answers its demand of complete satisfaction to divine justice for sin. The meritorious obedience of Christ to the precept could not satisfy the penal sanction; and the sufferings and death of Christ, could not satisfy the precept of the law. The commandment of the law as a covenant requires doing for life; the curse of that law demands dying as the punishment of sin. These, though they are never to be separated as grounds of justification, yet are carefully to be distinguished. The perfect obedience of Christ is as necessary to entitle believers to eternal life as His suffering of death is to secure them from eternal death. His satisfaction for sin, applied by faith, renders them innocent or guiltless of death; and His obedience makes them righteous or worthy of life (Romans 5:19). As the latter, then, is as necessary to complete their justification, according to the gospel, as the former, so it is as requisite as the former to establish the honor of the law.

Excerpt from A Treatise on the Law and Gospel by John Colquhoun

June 16, 2009  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Chapter Six: To the Christian (Part Two)

If there is one thing that the preceding overview of contemporary western Christianity has made clear, it is that there is surprisingly little true Christianity left in the midst of a thousand different false gospels and counterfeit Christian movements and denominations across the religious landscape. But this fact should not discourage anyone seeking a true Christianity to follow or a certain gospel to trust. Yes, the gospel has been twisted, perverted, denied, and misrepresented, but it has not been overcome, nor will it ever be overcome, but will finally triumph over every scheme of the enemy, and bring all of God's children home to glory. That is the unshakeable conviction compelling me to write, and it is the foundational truth I want to drive home to you before I even address you, and keep ever before you as I speak.

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June 15, 2009  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Matthew 23:37 and the Role of Tradition

"Traditions, everyone has them and those most blinded to them are those who do not believe they have any." - Dr. James White

In this audio recording, made available through you tube video (which lasts approximately 27 minutes), taken from yesterday's Sunday School class at Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church, Dr. White exposes the traditions normally associated with the Scripture text of Matthew 23:37:

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!"

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June 15, 2009  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

The Keeping Power of God

Jude: 24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (ESV)

This small but powerful letter is Jude's only contribution to the New Testament. He was the brother of James (head of the Jerusalem church), and half-brother of Jesus. His full name was Jude Thaddeus.

As He concludes his letter, Jude expresses his total confidence in God's ability in keeping the believer in Christ secure in his salvation. It is certainly interesting to note that Jude both begins and ends his short letter with this same theme about God's keeping power. In verse 1 he describes believers as "kept for Jesus Christ" and here in verse 24, he describes God as the One “who is able to keep you from stumbling...” In starting and finishing his short letter with this theme, it is clear he did not wish for this point to be missed. Obviously the fact that God keeps His children safe in salvation is something frequently highlighted in the Scripture. Jesus expressed it clearly in many places, perhaps most clearly in John 6:39 where He described the will of the Father for Him as that of losing nothing of all His Father had given to Him. In John 10: 27, 28, Jesus said, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand." Then in John 17: 11, Christ prayed for this same group (those that the Father had given to Him), "Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one" (John 17:11), and again "I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one." (John 17:15)

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June 10, 2009  |  Comments (4)   |  Permalink

Chapter Five: To the Christian (Part One)

I have spent the last two chapters speaking to non-Christians of all sorts, and telling them what the basic message of true Christianity has to say to them in particular. In these next two chapters, I will shift my focus to American Christendom, and show why the truth of the gospel matters for professing Christians, and what it has to say to them. So if you call yourself a Christian, whether Catholic or Protestant, liberal or conservative, fundamentalist, evangelical, or emergent, these chapters are for you. The truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which I laid out in chapter two, has something profound and important to say to you. That message of Christ and him crucified matters immensely. It is not just one part of what you claim to be as a Christian, it is your very life and breath, it is what defines you, it is your heritage from eternity past and your destiny into eternity future, it holds forth everything you need for this life and the life which is to come. But if you are a Christian in name only, then that which should bring eternal joy and glory will bring only eternal destruction and an unimaginable multiplication of wrath on the day of judgment. It would be better to be an outspoken pagan than an impostor and hypocrite in the house of God.

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June 08, 2009  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

The Severe Warning Passages in Hebrews

In the New Testament book of Hebrews there are a number of "severe warning passages." Many Christians have been perplexed and confused when reading them. How exactly are these passages to be interpreted and understood? Can we in fact be sure of what the passages mean? If, as Scripture teaches elsewhere, Jesus the great Shepherd never loses any of His true sheep, and as Paul states in Romans "these whom He justified He also glorified" (Romans 8:30) who are these passages aimed at? Is the writer to the Hebrews seeking to teach that true Christians can lose their salvation?

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June 07, 2009  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

Book Review: The Fracture of Faith, by Douglas Vickers

The Fracture of Faith, by Douglas Vickers, is a book written in response to the manner in which “the testimony of the church has been tarnished by the devaluation of its doctrine and the uncertainty that clouds its statement of the gospel” (from the preface). It is therefore, by immediate admission, a book concerned with critiquing contemporary Christianity, a goal which it does in fact incisively accomplish at certain key points along the way. But the way in which it does this is just by laying out in a very compelling manner the doctrinal foundations and ethical implications of the gospel, and superimposing the modern teaching and practice of the church upon this carefully formulated paradigm. The end result is a product that is helpful on a variety of fronts – its contributions to ethical theory and Christian apologetics no less than its critique of contemporary confusion within the Western church.

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June 06, 2009  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Election & Evangelism - C. H. Spurgeon

A controversialist once said, “If I thought God had a chosen people, I should not preach.” That is the very reason why I do preach. What would make him inactive is the mainspring of my earnestness. If the Lord had not a people to be saved, I should have little to cheer me in the ministry.

I believe that God will save his own elect, and I also believe that, if I do not preach the gospel, the blood of men will be laid at my door.

Our Saviour has bidden us to preach the gospel to every creature; he has not said, “Preach it only to the elect;” and though that might seem to be the most logical thing for us to do, yet, since he has not been pleased to stamp the elect in their foreheads, or to put any distinctive mark upon them, it would be an impossible task for us to perform; whereas, when we preach the gospel to every creature, the gospel makes its own division, and Christ’s sheep hear his voice, and follow him.

June 05, 2009  |  Comments (3)   |  Permalink

Arminian Libertarians Who Believe in Eternal Security

As you may know, many Arminians believe that salvation can be lost, so they reject the perseverance of the saints. They affirm that one can be saved (regenerate and justified) and then through sinful choices can become unsaved (unregenerate & unjustified). However, I have found that this is not always the case ... not a hard and fast rule ....I have actually run into several persons who classify themselves as Classic Arminians (and libertarian free-will theists) who will tell you they believe or embrace eternal security (while rejecting the other four points of Calvinism) --- i.e. they affirm that those who are saved will actually persevere to the end. Next time you run into one, here are a couple of questions worth asking them to expose some real inconsistencies in their thinking:

1) Why do you affirm that conversion is a voluntary act (i.e. the result of a libertarian free choice), but perseverance to the end is an involuntary act (i.e. not the result of a libertarian choice)?

2) Why does the libertarian freedom to do otherwise apply to conversion, but not to perseverance?

Have a great weekend all.

June 05, 2009  |  Comments (11)   |  Permalink

The Reliability of the New Testament Text

Here is a fascinating discussion on the subject of the trustworthiness of the New Testament text. Concerning it, Dr. James White writes, "When I went up to Salt Lake this past weekend I had the opportunity of recording an episode of The Ancient Paths television show, sponsored by the Orthodox Presbyterian Church there in Salt Lake (Christ Presbyterian Church)... It is about 57 minutes in length, so be aware of that, but here is a discussion of the reliability of the text of the New Testament in the context of Mormonism."

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June 02, 2009  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Chapter Four: To the Non-Christian (Part Two)

In the previous chapter, I spent some time speaking to non-Christians with definite religious convictions, whether convinced atheists or adherents to other world religions. In this chapter, I would extend my audience, and speak to those of you who are agnostic in some sense. Perhaps you are blithely agnostic – you have given little thought to the whole matter of religion, you don't know for sure what to think of spirituality and the afterlife, but your agnosticism is not an uncertainty born of deep thought and bitter striving of spirit. It surrounds you like the atmosphere, it is as natural as the air you breathe, you are frankly so busy with the affairs of this life that you have no time even to consider seriously whether you are an atheist, an agnostic, or anything else. Or maybe you genuinely are agnostic; you have struggled and striven with the weighty things of eternity, but to no avail, and with no blessed end of the peace of certain conviction for your souls. Perhaps you are downcast and depressed, or cynical and bitter. Perhaps you are seeking for something to believe in, something great enough to satisfy your empty heart. But in any case, no matter what your particular situation may be, you do not have definite, settled convictions on the topic of religion. It is to you that I now speak. God grant that you may find the certainty which you lack in the blessed truth of Christianity!

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June 01, 2009  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink