Arminian Today

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When We Lose The Authority of Scripture

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I am thankful that disciples are now standing up for the Word of God.  Brothers such as Dr. Vic Reasoner or Dr. Norman Geisler are standing firm for the inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible.  It is a fight that is needed.  Some have suggested that we abandon the inerrancy of the Bible.  Some hold that the Bible is infallible but not inerrant.  Others hold that the Bible is infallible only for salvation and nothing more.  Yet there are many problems with such views.

When we lose the authority of the Bible, we no longer have any authority to speak for God.  The Roman Catholic Church has falsely taught that their priestly ordination has led to the infallibility of the Pope beginning with Peter.  Sadly, their long history has produced countless errors, the sins of fallen men who claimed to be speaking for God, and persecution of the true Church that has withstood the Catholics and preached the inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible.  The Catholic Church continues to teach that authority lies in three places: the Bible, the traditions of the Roman Catholic Church, and the Pope.  Yet her history shows that the Bible is often completely ignored, twisted, or even forbidden to read.

The modern liberal church movement in the West has completely rejected the authority of the Bible.  What do they have?  Nothing.  They are a dying bunch.  Their causes have turned to socialism, fighting for human rights, etc.  They have nothing by which to stand for God or His truth.  They have no gospel.  They offer nothing spiritually.  They are not known for their soul winning, their turning sinners away from a life of sin, nor do they have a solid prayer ministry they can point to.  Missions among the liberal churches typically involves just “helping people” while not giving them any truth from God nor speaking peace into their souls that are far from God because of their sins (Isaiah 64:6).

Many evangelical churches have replaced the authority of the Bible with the opinions of men.  Their sermons are full of movie clips, skits, shallowness, and little to no exegesis of the Scriptures.  The Protestant pulpits were once known for their study and explaining of the Bible but today, to appease the world, many churches have abandoned the careful study of the Bible to be replaced with happy, feel good sermons designed to keep the crowds happy and coming and of course, giving money.  Evangelism has been replaced with “friendship evangelism” or just inviting lost sinners to church in hopes that they like it, find it cool, and keep coming back.  Nothing is said about the wrath of God, the justice of God, the holiness of God, our utter sinfulness before a holy God, our accountability toward this God.  Nothing is preached about true repentance, sanctification, obedience to Christ as Lord, and forsaking sin.  Nothing is said about taking up our crosses and following Christ, living a life of holiness and discipline.  Instead we hear over and over again that God loves us just as we are and we stop at that.

Because the evangelical church has replaced the authority of the Bible with feelings and a desire to please the world (1 John 2:15-17), the evangelical church does not address social issues or sins because she has no authority to speak on them with.  The church is silent on many issues when the people are hearing the sinful thoughts of the world all week on issues such as homosexual “marriages,” adultery, gambling, etc.  The church could and should address these issues biblically but she doesn’t.  She remains silent.

This is why the Church must stand firm on the inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible.  The Church can address issues ranging from sin to science to history to what does God require.  We can preach that God will save sinners by His grace because of the authority of the Bible (Ephesians 2:8-9).  We can preach holiness and righteousness (1 Peter 1:15-16; 1 John 3:7-10).  We can preach salvation through Christ alone (John 14:6; 1 Timothy 2:5-6).  We can preach the wrath of God toward sin (Romans 1:18).  We can preach the existence of God (Romans 1:19-23).  We can preach the cross of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:18-25).  We can preach baptism (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16).  We can preach that God answers prayer (Matthew 7:7-11).  We can preach that Christ is coming again (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).  We can preach the end of the world (Revelation 21:1).

We can preach all these truths because of the Bible.  We don’t have to listen to the world.  In fact, the Bible says that we must listen to God first and foremost (John 8:47).  The Bible alone is the God-breathed Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16).  Peter the Apostle said in 2 Peter 1:16-21 that even his own experiences with Christ is not as important as the Word of God.  1 Peter 1:23 says that we are born again through the Word of God.  James 1:21 says that the Word is able to save our souls.  Jesus said that we are His true disciples when we abide in His teachings (John 8:31-32) and this only comes through faithful study of His Word.  Jesus Himself said that the Word of God cannot be broken (John 10:35) and thus we can trust the Word of God.

The hope I have for my own salvation and the preaching of salvation to the lost is found in the Bible.  It is through the Bible that I learn more about God, I love God more, I grow in my own holiness and discipline, and it is through faithful study of the Bible that I hunger to worship God and seek His face.  Whenever I cease spending time with the Word, I find that the other things wane as well.  I daily seek to spend time in the Word.  Some days are better than others but daily I seek to know God through His Word.  I believe that it is His Word that has kept me all these years by His grace.  I rejoice that the Word both comforts and convicts me (Hebrews 4:12-13).  At times, the Word is my delight (Psalm 119:16) and at times it is a sword to my soul.  I need them both.  I need the grace of God when I sin but I also need the Word to show me my sins and expose my wicked heart (Romans 7:7).  I rejoice that God’s Word does all that and more (John 17:17)!

May the reformation Arminian movement find joy in the Word of God!  May we Arminians celebrate with our Calvinist brethren in the inerrancy and infallibility of the Word of God!  May we all love the Bible and preach its truths to the lost.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

07/31/2014 at 11:30 AM

When Calvinists Become Arminians

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Austin Fischer has been making the rounds among both Arminians and Calvinists for his book, Young, Restless, No Longer Reformed in which Fischer tells his own story about how he was a devoted Calvinist who turned away from Calvinism after studying a bit more.  Various Calvinist scholars including James White have attacked the book.  Kevin DeYoung attacked Fischer by claiming that Fischer was never truly a Calvinist to begin with.  The mantra seems to be that Fischer was never truly Reformed for if he was he would never have turned his back on the truth.

Now I have had friends who turned away from Arminianism for Calvinism.  When I was in college, I had a friend who stood with me for Arminianism in the midst of Calvinists.  However, two things happened in his life that led him to Calvinism.  One was a highly respected professor who convinced him of Reformed theology and the other was he found security in the Calvinist teaching on eternal security (as he had a girlfriend and they were being immoral).  Right or wrong, he turned to Calvinism.  He remained a committed Calvinist (and eventually repented of his immorality) before his untimely death.

We Arminians, of course, are sad when our brethren turn away to Calvinism.  After all, many of them preached and taught against Calvinism only later to embrace that system.  We wonder how can this be?  Yet in no way do I suggest that they were never truly Arminians.  After all, Charles Spurgeon said that all humans are born Arminians and only become Calvinists after salvation.  I know he meant it to attack Arminians but I have never taught nor heard taught that only Arminians are saved, only Arminians have the truth, or that only Arminians that remain Arminians are truly Arminians.  Salvation, as I have repeated before, is in Christ Jesus alone (Romans 6:23) and not in a system.  If your salvation is based on you loving your system or memorizing your system, that is not biblical salvation (Colossians 2:12-13).  Salvation is found in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 9:28).  Jesus never taught His disciples to embrace a system of beliefs but He did teach them to love Him and His truth (John 8:31-32; 14:15).  Jesus, not systems, is our example that we should follow (1 Corinthians 11:1; Ephesians 5:1; 1 John 2:6).

Some Calvinists though seem convinced that salvation is found in Calvinism.  As Spurgeon infamously said, “To deny Calvinism is to deny the gospel.”  One Calvinist blog I found had this:

To suppose that the Gospel could have any sensible meaning in a theological vacuum is ludicrous. The “gospel” of Arminianism is but a man-centered, man-glorifying counterfeit of the Biblical gospel. The doctrines represented by the TULIP are not mere window dressing. They are nothing less than a precise, Biblical definition of what salvation is all about. In this sense, the TULIP is very much the Gospel.

The blogger thankfully thinks we Arminians are somewhat saved:

Arminians who have a gracious, humble spirit should not be treated as unbelievers. Even so, we should remember that one of the greatest dangers is a false assurance of salvation. Given that Arminian doctrine denies God His full glory, we should be more willing to examine it critically and to ask the hard, unpopular question: “Is it consistent with saving faith?”

This all leads to questioning when a Calvinist then turns from Calvinism to Arminianism (or some would prefer “non-Calvinism”).  Calvinists who turn are deemed to never have been a true Calvinist in the first place since a true Calvinist is a true Christian and thus the elect will remain the elect.  Given Calvinism’s passion for making Calvinism the gospel, this seems logical.

Not every Calvinist, of course, would hold to this.  I know that I am making broad statements here but in some cases, this seems to be the spirit that I detect.  I myself have never been a Calvinist.  I have always been a “non-Calvinist” and then an Arminian later on.  I was saved in an Arminian church and was discipled by Arminians.  I have had many Calvinist friends over the years but have never become a Calvinist despite my love for Calvinists and my reading of many Calvinists works (including Calvin).  Yet I don’t regard Calvinists as enemies of the gospel.  I don’t equate Arminianism with the gospel.  I see Arminianism as a system that helps me understand my faith but Arminius did not die for me.  Arminius did not rise from the dead.  Arminius was not sinless nor could he bear my sins.  Only Jesus does all this (1 Corinthians 15:1-5).

The fact is that Jesus is the Savior (1 John 4:14).  Not Arminius.  Not Calvin.  Not Luther.  Not one system or one plan.  It is Jesus alone who saves (Acts 4:12).  Even a cursory reading of Ephesians 1 is not focused on election as the main theme.  It is Jesus who is the main theme.  Jesus is our election!  Jesus is our reason for having peace with God (Ephesians 2:17-18).  All the blessings of Ephesians 1 are not found in Arminianism or Calvinism but in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:3-10 notice how many times Paul uses “Him” the text).

My prayer to God is that both Arminians and Calvinists will cling to Christ alone for salvation.  Let us make Jesus the gospel and make our attention upon Him.  There is no problem with “debating” the minor points but let us agree that we are saved in Christ Jesus and not in our works or in our creeds.  Let us preach Jesus to the nations (Mark 16:15) knowing that this is the purpose of God in us (Philippians 2:15).  God wants to exalt His name and His glory and He does this when we preach His Son to the lost and sinners coming to the Savior exalts His holy name.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

07/29/2014 at 11:53 AM

I am ESV Only!

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The following is a satire of the modern King James Only movement and shows its weaknesses.

I am ESV only!  I believe that the men of God who gave us the English Standard Version were commissioned by God to do this work.  For many years the KJV has served the Lord for His purposes in the English language but now, by the providence of God, we have a new translation that corrects the errors that have been appearing in the KJV through various publishers such as the liberal Zondervan or Cambridge.  The Lord has given us renown scholars who love the Word of God, believe in the inerrancy and infallibility of the Word, and who believe that the work of translation should be free from errors.  The men of God who have given us the ESV will no doubt receive their rewards for their good work.

I believe the ESV to be the pure Word of God based on the promise of God in Psalm 12:6-7 (ESV).  The Lord promised in Psalm 12:7 (ESV) that He would keep His Word and He had preserved His Word in the ESV.  I believe this because:

  • The vastly superior manuscripts used by the ESV scholars to translate both the Old and New Testaments.
  • The superior usage of the English language in the ESV as compared to other English “translations.”
  • The blessing of God upon the ESV as seen by many prominent ministries around the world.
  • The sound doctrine that the ESV produces such as the deity of Christ and the blood of Christ.
  • The fact that so many souls have been saved by reading from the ESV.

There is no doubt that other Bible “translations” are not inspired by God.  The NIV attacks the blood of Christ and omits many verses.  The NASB likewise is too wooden to read, is used by liberal preachers and teachers, and does not contain the superior doctrine as found in the ESV.  The KJV is too archaic, has many errors in translation and is not based on the best Hebrew and Greek texts.  The NKJV is similar to the KJV in terms of its Hebrew and Greek texts.  The ESV alone stands as the pure Word of God for us in English.

The very name, English Standard Version, shows how great the ESV is.  It is THE English standard for all Bible translations to be compared by.  If you are using a corrupt bible such as the NIV or the NKJV, the ESV should be the final authority by which you judge all other “bibles” by.  The Bible for us in English today is the ESV and the ESV alone.

So why did God give us the ESV?  God has always had a language that He spoke through.  In the Old Testament, God spoke to the world through Hebrew.  In the New Testament, Greek was the dominant language and so God gave us the Greek Old Testament (the Septuagint) and the New Testament authors wrote in Greek as well as read from the Old Testament in Greek.  Over the centuries other languages have seen God’s hand upon them such as Latin and German.  Today, the language that dominates the world is English.  English remains the international business language and though Chinese is the largest spoken language on Earth, English remains the dominant business language.  Therefore, God has given us the ESV as THE standard by which we judge all other Bibles.  The ESV should be the standard to judge even Spanish, Chinese, or other languages and their Bibles.

And how do I know that the ESV is the standard?  Because of its name and because of the promise of God in Psalm 12:7 (ESV)!

One final question: Can you be saved and not use the ESV?  I answer perhaps.  There is no denying that salvation is the gracious work of God (Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV!).  But it is true that other “bibles” may lead the new Christian astray.  Jesus warned us in Matthew 24:5 (ESV!) that false christs would come.  Jesus also said that His sheep hear His voice in John 10:27 (ESV).  What voice would that be if not the ESV?  The ESV faithfully teaches sound doctrine (1 Timothy 4:16 ESV) and we learn about Jesus in truth from the ESV (John 20:31 ESV).  The ESV doesn’t attack the precious blood of Christ nor His deity as other false translations do.  The ESV faithfully has been used by many street preachers and this shows that God is using the ESV for His glory.  Furthermore, the ESV translation committee give all glory to God right there in the opening of the ESV!  How much more proof do you need?

I urge you to get an ESV today!  In God’s providence, the ESV is protected by Crossway Books.  This enables the ESV from falling into wicked hands like the KJV has with Zondervan and Cambridge.  While it is true that Cambridge (and a few others) are publishing editions of the ESV now, those are protected by Crossway Books overseeing that only the ESV text they produced is used.  This again is proof of Psalm 12:7.

While certain wicked Arminians and Calvinists have claimed the ESV as their own, the ESV belongs to the people of God.  I pray that many fundamentalist Baptist will repent of using false “bible” translations and begin to use the wonderful ESV.  The ESV, perhaps, will be the Bible that God uses to bring in the end of the world!

Written by The Seeking Disciple

07/24/2014 at 6:36 PM

There Are No Perfect Parents

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Sometimes I hear people quote Proverbs 22:6 as if it were a promise.  The verse reads:

 

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

People quote this verse often toward parents who are struggling with a rebellious child.  I have watched with my own eyes children remain in rebellion despite the fact that they were raised in God-fearing homes.  The fact that Christ was preached did nothing to keep them from turning to a life of sin.

Now I don’t mean to discourage parents.  I am a parent myself of three boys.  I know the blessing and struggles of seeking to raise my boys to be God-honoring, God-fearing, Christ-exalting men of God.  I pray almost daily for my boys to be saved and to know Christ on their own.  I don’t want my boys to be “forced” to become disciples of Jesus.  I want them to see their own need for a Savior and to repent on their own by the power of the Spirit (John 6:44; 16:8-11).  As someone once said, “God has no grandchildren.  Only children.”  This is biblically true (Galatians 3:26).

In my devotional reading, I was struck by the last four kings of Judah.  Judah, unlike Israel, had had good kings who followed the Lord with their whole hearts.  The last five kings summarized the kings of Judah.  The five are:

  • Hezekiah – who was a good king and sought the Lord.  God delivered him and Judah from the hands of Sennacherib king of Assyria.
  • Manasseh – who was a wicked king at first before he repented and turned back to God.  Prior to repenting, Manasseh was on a track to be one of the wickedest kings in Judah’s history.
  • Amon – who was a wicked king.  He did not humble himself like his father Manasseh did (2 Chronicles 33:23) so he was put to death by his own servants.
  • Josiah – who was a good king.  Josiah restored true worship according to the Law of Moses in Judah (2 Chronicles 35).  Sadly, Josiah did not heed the word of the Lord and died in battle.
  • Jehoahaz – was the king of Judah only for a short time.  The Bible does not say if he was good or evil.  This ends the line of the kings before deportation to Babylon.

So in essence, we have four kings to work with in regard to parenting here.  Notice that Hezekiah was righteous but his son Manasseh was not righteous.  Yet in this case, Proverbs 22:6 was true.  Manasseh did repent and return to the God of his father.  Amon, however, did not repent.  Perhaps Amon saw the wickedness in Manasseh before he repented and enjoyed it.  We don’t know.  All we know is that Amon was wicked and died.  Yet the son of Amon, Josiah, was a good king.  In this case, Amon did not raise his son to fear God nor regard God yet Josiah walked with God from a young age (age 8 according to 2 Chronicles 34:1-2).  The sovereignty of God must come into play when we see children of wicked folks turn and repent before God.

My point here is encourage us parents (myself especially).  I am not a perfect parent.  I am not a perfect man. I am not suggesting that I am wicked.  I pray that I am walking in the Spirit before a holy God (Galatians 5:16-17).  I know the command of God (1 Peter 1:15-16) and I want my boys to see the gospel in my life but more than anything, I want my boys to see the grace of God in forgiving me (1 John 1:9).  It’s not that I seek to live in sin.  I pray that I don’t.  I want to be a 1 John 3:7 man.  I want my boys to see my faith and imitate my faith (1 Corinthians 11:1).  Part of that faith is realizing that I need Jesus always.  I always need His grace to empower me to godliness (Titus 2:12).  I want my boys to see that in spite of my imperfections, I love a perfect God who saves me by His grace alone (2 Corinthians 5:21).  I want them to see that I am not striving for holiness in my own flesh but by the grace of God.

Furthermore, even God has disobedient children (Hebrews 12:5-11) yet He is perfect!  Sometimes our children disappoint us and break our hearts but God is faithful to us.  Like our Father, we too should respond with much grace and mercy toward our wayward children.  We should always pray that our children will love the Lord and serve Him always with a pure heart.

The gospel must be our focus in parenting.  Because we have children of Adam, none of us (self included) have perfect offspring.  Scripture is clear that all have sinned (Romans 3:23).  We are raising sinners.  Apart from the grace of God, we will still be in our sins and dead to God (Ephesians 2:1-6; Titus 3:1-7).  Watching our sinful children grow should cause us to love them, to pray over them, to encourage them toward repentance, and to be an example of the gospel to them.  The example of the gospel is not one of absolute sinless perfection and not letting them see our faults.  Sadly, this was my dad.  He would not confess his sins to us.  He wanted me to see him as pure and holy but, like my children, I saw his errors and his faults.  I saw his sins.  Like Proverbs 20:9, he could not hide them from me or my sister.  Yet the gospel helps us to teach our children that Christ died for sinners like us (Romans 5:8-9).  1 Peter 3:18 says that Christ died for the unrighteous.  That is me.  He died for my sins (Galatians 1:4).  He was crucified because of my sins (Isaiah 53:4-6).  I am only saved because of Christ Jesus and not anything or anyone else (Hebrews 7:25).

I want my boys to see Christ in me.  Yes I want them to see me seeking God, seeking to be holy.  Yet I also want them to see that I too need His grace and forgiveness.  I am not a perfect man by far.  I long to be pure and holy before God (2 Corinthians 7:1) and through faith in Christ, I am set apart by His grace (Hebrews 10:10, 14).  I am thankful that God is a forgiving God who does not cast me aside but He loves me and disciplines me and calls me to repentance by His Word.  I want to live a life of trusting God before the eyes of my boys so that, like Manasseh, they will repent and trust in Christ alone for salvation.

 

 

 

Written by The Seeking Disciple

07/22/2014 at 4:27 PM

Hell Should Make Us Uncomfortable

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I have been listening to the Rethinking Hell conference that was recently held in Texas in which a group of scholars and disciples came together to discuss the doctrine of hell.  For the most part, they were there to promote conditionalism over traditionalism.  The conditional teaching is that the Bible stresses that eternal life is a gift from God to the redeemed (John 3:16; Romans 6:23).  They also stress that God alone is immortal (1 Timothy 6:16) and that man is not immortal apart from God (Genesis 3:22).  Therefore, those who are not saved are cast into hell and are destroyed or annihilated (2 Thessalonians 1:9; Revelation 20:11-15) and do not live forever in hell where they are forever tormented.

The traditional view of hell is that people are immortal and have eternal souls.  Therefore, all people will live forever either in heaven or in hell.  The lost are cast into hell where they are tormented day and night forever (Revelation 20:10).

Now to be fair here, both views believe in hell.  Traditionalists have often assumed falsely that conditionalists deny hell but this is not the case.  Evangelical conditionalists reject universalism and believe that only those in Christ Jesus will be saved.  They reject eternal conscience torment in hell.  This is the main difference between conditionalists and traditionalists.

I think that both views, however, should make us feel uncomfortable about hell.  Whatever viewpoint you hold to, our hearts should despise hell.  It is not a kind thought that people will go to hell.  Hell, Jesus said, was made for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41).  Hell was not made for man.  Yet men and women go to hell.  Scripture is clear on this issue.  I find the complete rejection of hell to be unbiblical.  Hell is a real place that will destroy even death and hades itself (Revelation 20:14).  The Jehovah’s Witnesses, for example, teach that there is no hell.  The unbeliever is annihilated in the grave by God.  They simply cease to exist.  Yet Scripture is clear that hell is a real place that will be the ultimate judgment of God on unbelievers.

And this makes me uncomfortable.  It’s not that I will reject the teaching.  I cannot because the Bible teaches hell.  Yet I don’t like it.  I don’t like that people go to hell and I want to see them saved from the coming wrath of God (1 Thessalonians 1:10).  I want to see people repent and come to saving faith in Christ who is able to secure us eternal life in His presence.  Salvation from the wrath of God only comes through the blood of Jesus (Romans 5:8-9).  The Lord Himself said in Ezekiel 18:32, “For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord GOD; so turn, and live.”  2 Peter 3:9 is nearly the same.  God’s heart is for the lost to repent and be saved.

1 Timothy 2:4 says that God desires all people to be saved and He has given proof of this by sending His Son to die for the sins of all (John 1:29; 3:14-18).  The atonement shows us the great love of God for the world and His desire to save sinners (1 John 2:1-2).  His heart is for the world to be saved through faith in Jesus (Matthew 28:19-20).

Therefore, hell is something that breaks my heart.  I want to see the lost saved because God sent His Son to die for sinners whom He does not want to go to hell (I know that my Calvinist friends will not accept my points here).  I hear people speak of hell is delight, as if they can’t wait for sinners to be cast into hell.  I hear disciples talk about enjoying the thought of this person or that one in hell.  I hear people speak of hell not being hot enough for that sinner.  Yet the Bible shows the mercy of God for the lost.  His heart is not for them to destruction.  He wants sinners to be saved.  I understand that sinners will be cast into hell as part of God’s just judgment against their sins yet this doesn’t mean that I don’t pray for living sinners to be saved.  I want sinners to come to faith and not to hell.  I don’t want to see cultists cast into hell.  I don’t want to see Muslims cast into hell.  I don’t want to see anyone cast into hell.   I want them to repent and believe the gospel (Mark 1:15).  I take no joy in the thought of hell.

What is the solution?  Is it to reject hell?  I think not.  I think that the biblical answer is to preach the gospel.  In the book of Acts, the disciples never preached on hell.  They didn’t try to scare people into salvation.  They didn’t preach that people should repent or burn.  They preached the simple gospel of salvation in Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).  Over and over again in Acts, the disciples preached the gospel of Acts 2:38: repent and be baptized.  People did just that.  The Holy Spirit enabled the sinners to come to faith in Christ (John 6:44; Acts 16:14-15) and people were justified before God through faith (Acts 13:38-39; 15:11).  The message of Acts was clear: repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus (Acts 4:12).  Hell was not the focus.  Judgment was (Acts 17:30-31).

I believe that we should warn sinners about the wrath of God.  I believe that we should call sinners to believe the gospel of life (Acts 5:20).  The focus of our preaching is to preach that salvation comes through faith in Christ who shed His blood for our sins (Acts 20:28).  Our focus should be to preach that eternal life is found only in Christ Jesus (Acts 13:48).

In an upcoming post I want to examine the gospel as preached in the book of Acts.  It is interesting to note what the disciples focused on in their preaching in Acts.

In conclusion, hell is real.  Hell is horrible.  Hell is not a place we should want people to go.  Thankfully, I believe the Bible teaches that God has made provision for the lost to be saved through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9).  We are not saved by works or by our actions but the work of Christ alone (Titus 3:5-7).  This gospel “which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:10).  All sinners must hear the gospel to be saved (Romans 10:14-17) and this only happens in this life (Hebrews 9:27).  All sinners will be cast into hell.  However, this should break our hearts and should cause us to be moved to want to see people repent (2 Corinthians 5:10-11).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

07/21/2014 at 10:56 PM

Is Arminianism the Dominant Theology in the Western Church?

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Curiously, I was browsing a few Calvinist blogs and found it funny that they stated that Arminianism is the dominant form of theology in the Western Church.  They believe that Calvinism is facing a battle against the dominance of Arminianism in the church.  It is they who are on the defense and not Arminians.  Arminians, according to the blogs, dominant in the seminaries, in most denominations, in the seeker church movement, and in bookstores.

Really?  Does reformation Arminianism really dominant?  I would argue that it is neither Arminianism nor Calvinism that is the dominant theology in the Western evangelical church but it is semi-Pelagianism.  I would go further and say that most people are semi-Pelagian and don’t even know that they are.  This is especially true of seeker churches where theology places such a little roll in their emphasis.  The seeker church has only one thing really in mind: how to attract sinners (seekers; unchurched) to their church.  Their doctrinal introduction to Jesus is not through exegesis but through their show they call church services.  This Jesus is presented as a loving and good Jesus who only wants the best for His wayward children.  He is ever-loving and waiting and longing for them to return to Him and become one with Him and they can have this awesome relationship together.  He’ll just meet them halfway if they will simply believe in Him.  This is the message of most churches that I know in my area and that is neither Arminianism nor Calvinism but is semi-Pelagainism.

Many of the churches that I know that are truly reformation Arminian in their theology often do not ascribe to Arminianism.  In fact, they often just say that they are non-Calvinists.  This is true of many Pentecostal and Baptist churches that I know.  While essentially teaching Arminianism, they prefer not to be labeled as Arminians.  Some, out of fear of Calvinists, and some out of ignorance of Arminianism.  Most churches I know who teach Calvinism usually identify themselves as Calvinists.

In terms of theology.  I would argue that most evangelical works I see today (which, sadly, is not much) at bookstores are Calvinistic.  John Piper.  John MacArthur.  Wayne Grudem.  Matt Chandler.  Mark Driscoll.  David Platt.  Albert Mohler.  All these guys are Calvinists and all have produced best-selling books.  The only Arminian I can think of (who clearly identifies himself as an Arminian) would be Roger Olsen.

In terms of denominations and seminaries, again I would argue that semi-Pelagainism dominates.

Obviously I am just one person and so I have a small window that I am judging from so I can only speak from that perspective.  However, I see neither Arminianism nor Calvinism as dominating at this point.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

07/20/2014 at 5:54 PM

On the Sin of Homosexuality

I wish that the sin of homosexuality was just another sin that we must deal with as people.  Along with the sins of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21), I would that we only had to deal with this sin like we do all sins.  But our society forces the disciple to have to address this sin (more than other sins it seems).  Of course, I believe that all sin is grievous to a holy God (1 John 3:4).  I believe that the Bible teaches that wickedness cannot be in God’s presence (Psalm 11:5).  I believe that God detests all sin including this sin.

Yet we find ourselves having to address this sin.  Why?  I don’t believe it is because we are opposed with seeking to “attack” homosexuals.  Our job is simply to preach the biblical truth concerning any and every doctrine including sins.  We the Bible pronounces something as sinful, we must do the same.  Titus 2:15 says that disciples must “Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority.  Let no one disregard you.”  Our job is to preach the Bible and if this runs contrary to the culture then so be it.  We must be faithful to God alone (Acts 5:29).

I do believe we must be careful with this sin.  We must not make homosexuality the worst sin of all.  It is sinful.  It is wrong.  It will keep people from salvation but the promise of God in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 is that God is able to deliver people from this sin (along with others).  While we must preach that homosexuality is a sin, let us be faithful to also preach the grace of God in forgiving sinners who repent of their sins (Acts 2:38).  Let us be faithful to the gospel message that there is hope in Christ Jesus and forgiveness in Him.  Jesus offers the sinner freedom and we must warn all sinners of the wrath to come and that their only hope for redemption and salvation is found in the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed for our sins (1 John 2:1-2).  There is no salvation found in merely telling people to “stop sinning” apart from revealing to them the precious truths of the gospel (Ezekiel 36:25-27; John 3:3; Ephesians 2:4).  Sinners are only set free when the blood of Jesus washes away their sins and they have peace with God along with the precious gift of the Holy Spirit who enables us to live a godly life (Galatians 5:16-17; 1 Peter 1:15-16).

I watched Ray Comfort once share the gospel with a homosexual.  He took the man through the Law to show him he was guilty of breaking the law of God (Romans 7:7).  When he was done sharing the good news of the cross (Galatians 3:24), the man asked Ray if he believed God had a problem with his homosexuality.  Ray answered the man, “Friend, you have confessed here today that you have violated the third, sixth, seventh and eighth commandments from God’s law.  I think you realize that you have other worst sin other than just homosexuality that you must deal with.”

And that is the truth.  People love their sins (Romans 1:18).  People are not naturally seeking God (Romans 3:10).  People want to steal, to cheat others, to kill, to hate, to blaspheme, and other sins.  It isn’t simply just one sin that condemns us.  It is our wicked hearts (Jeremiah 17:9).  Homosexuality is simply another evidence of our sinfulness but it is not the worst sin nor the only sin we should preach against.  All sin is wicked before a holy and pure God.  All sin!  And the answer for all sinners is the gospel.  It is not simply to stop sinning apart from revealing to them the fact that God is able to give them a new heart, a pure heart, a holy heart.  A person can truly repent only if the Spirit of God enables them to repent (2 Timothy 2:25).

My prayer is that God will save homosexuals but also all who love sin.  Paul the Apostle reminds us disciples in Titus 3 that we once were wicked as well (v.3).  We must, in the words of Steven Curtis Chapman, “remember our chains.”  We must not forget what God has saved us from.  Perhaps we have not stolen or murdered or done this sin or that but we must remember that we still needed God’s saving grace to be saved (vv.4-5).  None of us can earn salvation.  Jesus alone must be our salvation (John 14:6).  Jesus is our righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 3:9).  Jesus is the only reason that we are saved now (Hebrews 7:25).

So let us preach against all sin (and not just homosexuality) but let us also be faithful to preach the grace of God to save sinners.  The Lord is faithful to save the lost.  He is still saving people by His grace (Ephesians 2:8-9).  Psalm 110:1 promises us that God will continue to save sinners till His enemies be made His footstool.  I pray that the promise of Psalm 110:1 and Matthew 6:10 are the cries of our hearts.  I long to see sinful people come to salvation in Christ Jesus (Revelation 5:9-10).  It is the cry of my heart (Psalm 2:8-9).  May the Church of Jesus Christ offer the sinner the grace and goodness of God through the faithful preaching of the cross (Romans 1:16-17; 1 Corinthians 1:18-25; 2:1-5).  May the world not just hear the message of condemnation toward their sins but also the message of reconciliation that God has given us in the gospel (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

07/19/2014 at 2:22 PM

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