"...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)

Witchcraft Exposed (and Defeated)

Galatians 3:1 "O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? (literally, who has put the evil eye on you or brought you under their spell) It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified."

Witchcraft is a dark, forboding, demonic force. It is easy to recognize in its various outward forms. However, there is a subtle form of witchcraft that this verse in Galatians exposes. Witchcraft, in its overt and visible manifestations seeks to do its damage to the people of God. Yet by stealth and through the means of false teaching, witchcraft also seeks to obscure the message of the cross in the Church.

Paul rebukes the Galatians, saying in so many words, “What’s wrong with you people? Who has brought you under their spell? You saw the cross. It was so very clear to you. What? Can’t you see it anymore?”

Let me state it once again, witchcraft seeks to obscure the message of the cross in the Church.

What Paul writes is intriguing. How could he make this comment, “It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified”? How could Paul suggest such a thing?

Did Paul forget who it was he was writing to? Did he have some mental aberration and think he was writing to the Christians at Jerusalem and not in Galatia? The Galatian Christians were not at Golgotha to see the Lord crucified.

Ahhh yes, but years later, the Holy Spirit had erected the cross in Galatia through the preaching of the apostle Paul. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit Paul could write that they had seen the cross.

Either Paul was misguided or else there is a truth here that is breathtaking. Obviously, it is the latter. Because Paul had preached the cross, the people had indeed “seen” it. When the cross is rightfully preached, the Holy Spirit goes to work to make it visible to the hearers. That is why the Apostle Paul could scold the Galatian Christians for allowing the enemy, and specifically the power of witchcraft, to obscure the truth of the cross from their eyes.

This is always the tactic of the devil. He seeks to make that amazingly clear portrayal of the cross become cloudy and fuzzy in the hearts and minds of Christians.

When a room is in darkness, we don’t use a vacuum cleaner to get the darkness out. We simply turn on the light.

How do we break the power of witchcraft? Certainly not by performing some elaborate or intricate religious ceremony, or incantation. Certainly not by engaging in speculation or superstition. So when witchcraft has invaded the Church, what do we do? How do we break its grip? How do we remove the darkness? What do we do when a Church has been “bewitched”?

We break the power of witchcraft by the clear preaching and proclamation of the cross and being reminded of all that was achieved and its implications. That’s how! And this is exactly what the Apostle Paul does in his letter to the Galatians.

When the cross is preached, Jesus is publicly portrayed among us as crucified.

- John Samson

April 22, 2012  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Fulfilled Prophecy

Dr. Steve Lawson with a brief excerpt concerning the Bible's fulfilled prophecy.

April 19, 2012  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

Irresistible Grace (Quotes)

The doctrine of "irresistible grace" is easily understood. It is simply the belief that when God chooses to move in the lives of His elect and bring them from spiritual death to spiritual life, no power in heaven or on earth can stop Him from so doing. It is really nothing more than saying that it is God who regenerates sinners, and that freely. The doctrine has nothing to do with the fact that sinners "resist" the common grace of God and the Holy Spirit (they do) or that Christians do not live perfectly in the light of God's grace. It is simply the confession that when God chooses to raise His people to spiritual life, He does so without the fulfillment of any conditions on the part of the sinner. Just as Christ had the power and authority to raise Lazarus to life without obtaining his "permission" to do so, He is able to raise His elect to spiritual life with just as certain a result.

Objections to irresistible grace are, by and large, actually objections to the previously established truths of the doctrines of grace. Obviously, if God is sovereign and freely and unconditionally elects a people unto salvation, and if man is dead in sin and enslaved to its power, God must be able to free those elect people in time and bring them to faith in Jesus Christ, and that by a grace that does not falter or depend upon human cooperation. Those who disbelieve God's right to kingship over His creation or the deadness of man in sin and put forward the tradition of man's autonomous will can hardly confess that God's grace actually saves without the freewill cooperation of man. From their perspective, the autonomous act of human faith must determine God's actions. That act of faith becomes the "foreseen" act that controls God's very decree of predestination, and, of course, that act of faith becomes the "trigger" that results in one being born again.

Neither side in the debate will deny that God is the one who raises men to spiritual life. The question is: Does He do so because men fulfill certain conditions, or does He do so freely, at His own time, and in the lives of those He chooses to bring into relationship with Himself through Jesus Christ? This question is normally framed in the context of the relationship of faith and regeneration. Do we believe to become born again, or must we first be born again before we can exercise true, saving faith? Can the natural man do what is pleasing to God? Can the dead choose to allow themselves to be raised to life? This is the issue at hand." - Dr. James White, Debating Calvinism

"Does the Bible Teach Prevenient Grace?

As the name suggests, prevenient grace is grace that “comes before” something. It is normally defined as a work that God does for everybody. He gives all people enough grace to respond to Jesus. That is, it is enough grace to make it possible for people to choose Christ. Those who cooperate with and assent to this grace are “elect.” Those who refuse to cooperate with this grace are lost. The strength of this view is that it recognizes that fallen man’s spiritual condition is severe enough that it requires God’s grace to save him. The weakness of the position may be seen in two ways. If this prevenient grace is merely external to man, then it fails in the same manner that the medicine and the life preserver analogies fail. What good is prevenient grace if offered outwardly to spiritually dead creatures?

On the other hand, if prevenient grace refers to something that God does within the heart of fallen man, then we must ask why it is not always effectual. Why is it that some fallen creatures choose to cooperate with prevenient grace and others choose not to? Doesn’t everyone get the same amount?

Think of it this way, in personal terms. If you are a Christian you are surely aware of other people who are not Christians. Why is it that you have chosen Christ and they have not? Why did you say yes to prevenient grace while they said no? Was it because you were more righteous than they were? If so, then indeed you have something in which to boast. Was that greater righteousness something you achieved on your own or was it the gift of God? If it was something you achieved, then at the bottom line your salvation depends on your own righteousness. If the righteousness was a gift, then why didn’t God give the same gift to everybody?

Perhaps it wasn’t because you were more righteous. Perhaps it was because you are more intelligent. Why are you more intelligent? Because you study more (which really means you are more righteous)? Or are you more intelligent because God gave you a gift of intelligence he withheld from others?

To be sure, most Christians who hold to the prevenient grace view would shrink from such answers. They see the implied arrogance in them. Rather they are more likely to say, “No, I chose Christ because I recognized my desperate need for him.” That certainly sounds more humble. But I must press the question. Why did you recognize your desperate need for Christ while your neighbor didn’t? Was it because you were more righteous than your neighbor, or more intelligent?

The question for advocates of prevenient grace is why some people cooperate with it and others don’t. How we answer that will reveal how gracious we believe our salvation really is. The $64,000 question is, “Does the Bible teach such a doctrine of prevenient grace? If so, where?”

We conclude that our salvation is of the Lord. He is the One who regenerates us. Those whom he regenerates come to Christ. Without regeneration no one will ever come to Christ. With regeneration no one will ever reject him. God’s saving grace effects what he intends to effect by it." - R. C. Sproul, Chosen by God

April 17, 2012  |  Comments (6)   |  Permalink

The Sacrificial Lamb

"For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed." - 1 Corinthians 5:7

Here is a very interesting video (introduced by Todd Bolen) on the significance of the sacrificial lamb in Jewish thought, pointing us to the atonement of Christ.

The Sacrificial Lamb from on Vimeo.

April 06, 2012  |  Comments (2)   |  Permalink

A Letter from Dr. Sproul

I sent a copy of my book to Dr. R. C. Sproul, thanking him for his ministry and alerting him to the fact that he had been greatly used of God in helping me come to understand God's Sovereignty in salvation. I told him that chapter 3 of the book describes something of my theological journey and his involvement in that process.

Today I received a letter back from him which was both a surprize and a delight...

April 04, 2012  |  Comments (2)   |  Permalink

Twelve What Abouts - Interview

It was a great pleasure to meet the hosts of "Backpack Radio" as they conducted a one hour radio interview of me regarding my new book and the theme "Answering Objections to Calvinism."

The hosts were extremely gracious (as well as cool) and allowed me to really address some very important issues. The time flew by.

Although the show aired in the Phoenix, Arizona area on Sunday evening, you can now hear the program online at this link. - John Samson

April 02, 2012  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink