Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tony Evans on Election

"One problem with the Bible's teaching on election is that it flies in the face of what we think is fair and right from our perspective. For example, how is it fair that God has elected some sinners to salvation while passing over others? And how is it fair that these non-elect sinners are held accountable for not being saved? If God so loves the world, how can He choose some sinners and not others?

The Bible says that God chose or elected us in Christ "before the foundation of the world" (Ephesians 1:4). Thus, before anyone was born, the Trinity in council with each other elected some to salvaiton. In other words, election is based on God's eternal purposes and His perogative to choose, not on our behavior.

Paul confirmed this in Romans 9 as he discussed God's choice of Jacob in relation to Esau. "Though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God's purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, "THE OLDER WILL SERVE THE YOUNGER." Romans 9:11-12.

Some people think the fact that election is not based on human behavior or response to God is a problem, since it appears to make His choice arbitrary. But in reality, locating the motive for election in God's eternal, unchanging plan rather than in man's temporal, changing actions removes it from the category of arbitrary. Remember too that all have sinned and are deserving of God's wrath, so that fact that HE chose to rescue some is an act of Grace in the first place.

Now some may argue, "The unfair thing about election and God condemning the lost is that the non-elect don't really have the capacity to believe." That's not what Jesus said, in John 3: "This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil." THe unsaved are judged because they see the light of Christ yet fail to believe in Him but choose instead to follow their evil hearts.

We could sum it all up in these statements. God elects some to salvation for His own sovereign purposes and because He is gracious. The invitation to salvation is generously open for all, and "whoever will" still may come. All people are responsible for their response to Jesus Christ, and yet those who come can never take the glory for their salvation. We as believers are responsible to go and share the gospel with the world so that lost sinners will hear the good news and turn to Christ for forgiveness from their sin.

(taken from Tony's book Totally Saved)

Friday, September 25, 2009

James Boice on Election

Michael Horton puts like this, “We cannot find God for the same reason that a thief can't find a police officer.” Sinful man cannot find God because he doesn't want God. R.C. Sproul explains, “Fallen man has the natural ability to make choices but lacks the moral ability to make godly choices.” From conception onward, humanity is spiritually dead, hostile to God, and unable to incline its heart toward God. Free will profits man nothing, for the will is in bondage to sin, leaving human beings helpless.

When we were dead in sins, when we unknowingly followed Satan, when we were enslaved to our sinful desires, when we were by our very natures objects of wrath, God did something. We were unable to do anything. We were unable to believe. We were unable to incline our hearts toward God. We didn’t want to! But when we could do nothing, God alone took action. We were dead. (We were not terminally ill; nor were we were going down for the count—we were stone cold spiritual corpses.) Yet God made us alive. God gave us new birth (regeneration). We were born again. Before we could even believe, God gave us new birth. On a technical level, we were not born again because we believed. We were born again and believe as a result. When Nicodemus couldn't understand who Jesus was, Jesus taught him that man could not even see the kingdom of heaven, let alone enter it, until he was first born again (John 3:3). Even faith itself is a gift given by God to those who otherwise wouldn't want it. The new birth came first. The new birth caused the faith to be present. Regeneration precedes faith.

Our conversion to Christ was not a joint venture between us and God, but a unilateral move on God’s part to raise us from spiritual death to spiritual life, changing our hearts so that we believed and repented. Salvation is by grace alone—sola gratia, to use the Reformation slogan. Even our willingness to cooperate with the Holy Spirit was given to us by God. Yet this brings us to a sober realization—God does not give this kind of grace to everyone. Not everyone is given faith.

Is this unfair? No. Unequal, yes—but not unfair. We are sinners and all of us deserve God’s justice—punishment for our sins. No one deserves mercy. If mercy were deserved, it would not be mercy—it would be justice! God is not unjust to anyone—no one gets less than he deserves. Some of us have received mercy; others will receive justice. God is not an equal opportunity Savior. Indeed, from Abraham on, God has always shown more mercy to one people than to another. God chose Abraham in a way he did not choose Abraham’s next-door neighbor. God revealed himself to Paul in a way he didn’t show himself to Nicodemus. God is sovereign in his exercise of mercy.

What do you think?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Jerry Vines on Calvinism

Here is Jerry Vines take on Calvinism from his sermon "Calvinism: A Baptist and His Election."

On divine sovereignty: God is in control of all things. That is very clear in the Bible! But now, it is possible to push this matter of the sovereingty of God, that God is in control of all things to extremes. Philosphers call it determinism; hard determinism and soft determinism.

On total depravity: Man is born with a sinful nature; every facet of our being stained by sin.
Calvinists go a step further than that and say that your will is dead and you are totally unable to respond. Ephesians 2:1, man is spiritually dead, therefore, Calvinists say, how can a dead man repent and have faith, so he has to be regenerated before he can have faith; in the calvinist system regeneration precedes faith.

"That brings up some interesting questions: if you're born again before faith, what does faith accomplish? Which means then that if you are born again before faith that means that, by grace are you saved through faith, that means then, if you're born again then you're born again before you're saved. Did I miss something there? I know I'm just from the country but, did that make sense to you?" The calvinistic view pushes the biblical analogy too far. Dead men can't believe. But it is equally true that dead men can't sin.

"It also raises questions about the character of God. Because, listen, in Acts 17 verse 30 it says that God commands all men, all men everywhere to repent. But now wait a minute. If they can't repent until they're born again and yet God is commanding them to do something which they are not able to do, what does that say about the character of God?"

On unconditional election: Is election unconditional? From the standpoint of God the giver, yes; but from the standpoint of the receiver it is conditioned by faith. 2 Thessalonians 2:13 says you believe the truth of the gospel and you are one of the elect.

On limited atonement: After citing many verses that use universal language in relation to the atonement (including 1 John 2:2) Vines addresses this question, If Jesus died for the sins of the whole world and the whole world is not saved, then did his death fail? He answers by giving an analogy. If a man offers to pay for the meals of 20 people and only 15 take him up on the offer, then his provision has not failed, it simply has not been accepted.


Dever on Election and Evangelism

Here is Mark Dever's (a Southern Baptist preacher) take on election and evangelism. What do you think?

Have you heard it said that the doctrine of God’s choosing some for salvation (the doctrine of election) undercuts evangelism? It didn’t in Paul’s life. As he . . . wrote to Timothy, “I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ jesus, with eternal glory” (2 Tim. 2.10). Romans 10 contains Paul’s clearest and most impassioned plea for Christians to send out people to preach the gospel because it is the only way people are saved; but this impassioned plea comes after what many consider Paul’s plainest teaching about the doctrine of election in Romans 9. He didn’t see any inconsistency that a sovereign God is also a saving God.

Somehow, Paul found the doctrine of God’s sovereignty an encouragement in his evangelism. Do we need to recover this confidence in a day of increasing opposition to the public preaching of the gospel? I think we do. I fear that much of today’s evangelism will soon end. As evangelism becomes more and more unpopular, I fear that some Christians will simply dilute it, water it down, alter it, or even stop sharing the good news altogether. I think a better understanding of the Bible’s teaching on God’s election would help them. I think it would give them confidence and joy in their evangelism. (pp.104-105)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Adrian Rogers on Predestination

Ephesians 1:3-4: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.”

We are chosen in Christ. So what does that mean?

Adrian Rogers explains:
“How do you get into the family of God? You are spiritually born into the family
of God. You are legally adopted into the family of God. Now when you are born in to God’s family, that’s thenew birth. That deals with your position in Christ. When you are adopted, that deals with your privilege in Christ, and in Christ, we have both birth and adoption and we are predestined to this adoption. Therefore, we are fully accepted.”

Ephesians 1:5-6: “In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.”

Adrian Rogers explains: “What is Predestination? Predestination is not God saying from eternity that one man’s going to heaven and another man is going to hell. Predestination deals primarily with what God intends to do for those who trust Him and what God will do for saved people. Predestination teaches me on the authority of God that when I’ve trusted Christ as my personal Savior and Lord, I will be like Jesus Christ.”

If you adopt a child, then you have adopted them into your family. They take on your own last name. They are no longer outside of your family, calling you “Sir” or “Mr.” Therefore, when we receive the spirit of adoption as sons, we cry out, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15) Our position in Christ, is the basis for our adoption in the Father as the children of God. That is the eternal plan of God in Christ.

Tell them about Jesus

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sproul on Predestination

What is predestination? - R. C. Sproul

When the Bible speaks of predestination, it speaks of God's sovereign involvement in certain things before they happen. He chooses in advance certain things to take place. For example, he predestined creation. Before God created the world, he decided to do it.

Usually when people think of predestination, they think about whether or not somebody was hit by an automobile on a given day because God had decided ahead of time that that should happen on that day.

Theologically, the principal issue of predestination in the Bible has to do with God selecting people for salvation beforehand. The Bible clearly does teach that somehow God chooses people for salvation before they're even born. Virtually every Christian church believes that, because this concept is so clearly taught in Scripture.

Paul refers to Jacob and Esau. Before they were even born, before they had done any good or evil, God decreed in advance that the elder would serve the younger: "Jacob have I loved; Esau have I hated." The point there is that God had chosen certain benefits for one of those two before they were even born.

The real debate is, On what basis does God predestine? We know that he predestines, but why does he predestine, and what is the basis for his choices? Many Christians believe that God knows in advance what people are going to do, what choices they're going to make, and what activities they're going to be involved in. As he looks through the corridor of time and knows what choices you will make, for example, he knows that you will hear the gospel. He knows whether you will say yes or no. If he knows that you are going to say yes, then he chooses you for salvation on the basis of his prior knowledge. I don't hold that position. I think that God does this sovereignly, not arbitrarily, not whimsically. The only basis I see for predestination in the Bible is the good pleasure of his own will. The only other reason is to honor his only begotten Son. The reason for his selection is not in me and not in you and not in some foreseen good or evil, but in his own sovereignty.

What do you think?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Tozer on God

A.W. Tozer writing on Psalm 18:35 (“your gentleness made me great”):

“God is easy to live with. Satan’s first attack upon the human race was his sly effort to destroy Eve’s confidence in the kindness of God. Unfortunately for her and for us he succeeded too well. From that day, men have had a false conception of God, and it is exactly this that has cut out from under them the ground of righteousness and driven them to reckless and destructive living.

Nothing twists and deforms the soul more than a low or unworthy conception of God. Certain sects, such as the Pharisees, while they held that God was stern and austere, yet managed to maintain a fairly high level of external morality; but their righteousness was only outward.

Instinctively we try to be like our God, and if He is conceived to be stern and exacting, so will we ourselves be. The truth is that God is the most winsome of all beings and His service one of unspeakable pleasure.

The fellowship of God is delightful beyond all telling. He communes with His redeemed ones in an easy, uninhibited fellowship that is restful and healing to the soul.

He remembers our frame and knows that we are dust. He may sometimes chasten us, it is true, but even this He does with a smile, the proud, tender smile of a Father who is bursting with pleasure over an imperfect but promising son who is coming every day to look more and more like the One whose child he is.”

– A.W. Tozer in The Root of the Righteous, pp. 13-16.

(HT: Shepherd Scrapbook)

Friday, September 18, 2009

John MacArthur on Divine Sovereignty

No doctrine is more despised by the natural mind than the truth that God is absolutely sovereign. Human pride loathes the suggestion that God orders everything, controls everything, rules over everything. T he carnal mind, burning with enmity against God, abhors the biblical teaching that nothing comes to pass except according to His eternal decrees.

Scripture affirms both divine sovereignty and human responsibility. We must accept both sides of the truth, though we may not understand how they correspond to one another. People are responsible for what they do with the gospel—or with whatever light they have (Rom. 2:19, 20), so that punishment is just if they reject the light. And those who reject do so voluntarily. Jesus lamented, “You are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life” (John 5:40). He told unbelievers, “Unless you believe that I am [God], you shall die in your sins” (John 8:24). In John chapter 6, our Lord combined both divine sovereignty and human responsibility when He said, “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out” (v. 37); “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life” (v. 40); “No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him” (v. 44); “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life” (v. 47); and, “No one can come to Me, unless it has been granted him from the Father” (v. 65). How both of those two realities can be true simultaneously cannot be understood by the human mind—only by God.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tyler the Actor

Lose a dog. Tyler (the greatest basketball player of all time) will help you find it. Is there anything he can't do?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

An Interview with an Abortionist (baby killer)

Recently Newsweek magazine did a profile on abortionist, Leroy Carhart. In case you are not familiar with the specifics of what he does to these children, he describes it below:

Under oath in July 1997, abortionist Carhart comments on how he performs abortions. Here he is questioned by his attorney:

Question: Are there times when you don’t remove the fetus intact?

Carhart: Yes, sir.

Question: Can you tell me about that, when that occurs?

Carhart: That occurs when the tissue fragments, or frequently when you rupture the membranes, an arm will spontaneously prolapse through the oz. I think most...statistically the most common presentation, we talk about the forehead or the skull being first. We talked about the feet being first, but I think in probably the great majority of terminations, it’s what they world call a transverse lie, so really you’re looking at a side profile of a curved fetus. When the patient...the uterus is already starting to contract and they are starting to miscarry, when you rupture the waters, usually something prolapses through the uterine, through the cervical os, not always, but very often an extremity will.

Question: What do you do then?

Carhart: My normal course would be to dismember that extremity and then go back and try to take the fetus out either foot or skull first, whatever end I can get to first.

Question: How do you go about dismembering that extremity?

Carhart: Just traction and rotation, grasping the portion that you can get a hold of which would be usually somewhere up the shaft of the exposed portion of the fetus, pulling down on it through the os, using the internal os as your counter-traction and rotating to dismember the shoulder or the hip or whatever it would be. Sometimes you will get one leg and you can’t get the other leg out.

Question: In that situation, are you, when you pull on the arm and remove it, is the fetus still alive?

Carhart: Yes.

Question: In that situation, are you, when you pull on the arm and remove it, is the fetus still alive?

Carhart: Yes

Question: Do you consider an arm, for example, to be a substantial portion of the fetus?

Carhart: In the way I read it, I think if I lost my arm, that would be a substantial loss to me. I think I would have to interpret it that way.

Question: And then what happens next after you remove the arm? You then try to remove the rest of the fetus?

Carhart: Then I would go back and attempt to either bring the feet down or bring the skull down, or even sometimes you bring the other arm down and remove that also and then get the feet down.

Question: At what point is the fetus...does the fetus die during that process?

Carhart: I don’t really know. I know that the fetus is alive during the process most of the time because I can see fetal heartbeat on the ultrasound.
"I know that the fetus is alive..." There are no words.

(HT:Vitamin Z)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Greatest of All Time!

Which one am I talking about? All 3

I Can Do This!

John Piper on The President's School Speech

This is the speech I expected the President to give to our children—excellent.

Given that he is not directing them to Christ, which would be the best counsel, his advice is a wonderful gift of common grace from God to the students of our land.

If you settle for the news headlines that say the president tells the kids to wash their hands and take care of the environment, you will miss the wisdom and courage in this speech. Within its spiritual limitations it is simply amazing.

You can read it all at the White House Site. Here are my excerpts.

I’ve talked about your teachers’ responsibility for inspiring you, and pushing you to learn.
I’ve talked about your parents’ responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and get your homework done, and don’t spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox.
But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world - and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities.

Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed.
And that’s what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education.

Maybe you could be a good writer - maybe even good enough to write a book or articles in a newspaper - but you might not know it until you write a paper for your English class.
Maybe you could be an innovator or an inventor - maybe even good enough to come up with the next iPhone or a new medicine or vaccine - but you might not know it until you do a project for your science class.

Maybe you could be a mayor or a Senator or a Supreme Court Justice, but you might not know that until you join student government or the debate team.
And no matter what you want to do with your life - I guarantee that you’ll need an education to do it.
You can’t drop out of school and just drop into a good job. You’ve got to work for it and train for it and learn for it.

And this isn’t just important for your own life and your own future. What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country.
What you’re learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future.
You’ll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to cure diseases like cancer and AIDS, and to develop new energy technologies and protect our environment.

You’ll need the insights and critical thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and more free.
You’ll need the creativity and ingenuity you develop in all your classes to build new companies that will create new jobs and boost our economy.

If you don’t do that - if you quit on school - you’re not just quitting on yourself, you’re quitting on your country.
I was raised by a single mother who struggled at times to pay the bills and wasn’t always able to give us things the other kids had. There were times when I missed having a father in my life.

But I was fortunate. I got a lot of second chances and had the opportunity to go to college, and law school, and follow my dreams.
Some of you might not have those advantages. Maybe you don’t have adults in your life who give you the support that you need. Maybe someone in your family has lost their job, and there’s not enough money to go around.

Maybe you live in a neighborhood where you don’t feel safe, or have friends who are pressuring you to do things you know aren’t right.
But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life - what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home - that’s no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude.

That’s no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That’s no excuse for not trying.
Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future.

Today, I’m calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education - and to do everything you can to meet them.
Your goal can be something as simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class, or spending time each day reading a book.

I know that sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work -- that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, you’re not going to be any of those things.

But the truth is, being successful is hard. You won’t love every subject you study. You won’t click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try.
That’s OK. Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures.

If you get in trouble, that doesn’t mean you’re a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave. If you get a bad grade, that doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something, and to learn something new.

So find an adult you trust - a parent, grandparent or teacher; a coach or counselor - and ask them to help you stay on track to meet your goals.
And even when you’re struggling, even when you’re discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you - don’t ever give up on yourself. Because when you give up on yourself, you give up on your country.

But you’ve got to do your part too. So I expect you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you.
So don’t let us down - don’t let your family or your country or yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America

Monday, September 7, 2009


(HT:Dash House)

Bob Kauflin said:
How many of our thoughts about music and worship revolve around what we like, what we prefer, what interests us, and what we find appealing? And how often is that attitude passed on to the next generation, who then focus on what appeals to them?

I suspect this may be one of the reasons churches develop separate meetings for different musical tastes. In the short run it may bring more people to your church. But in the long run it keeps us stuck in the mindset that musical styles have more power to divide us than the gospel has to unite us. (my emphasis)

How do we pass on biblical values of worship to coming generations when we can’t even sing in the same room with them?

We have to look beyond our own generation, both past and future, if we’re to clearly understand what God wants us to do now. Otherwise we can be guilty of a chronological narcissism that always views our generation as the most important one. As Winston Churchill insightfully wrote, “The further back you can look, the further forward you can see.”

Enough thinking about ourselves and what kind of music we like to use to worship God. God wants us to have an eye on our children, our grandchildren, and even our great grandchildren. We have a message to proclaim: “God is good, for His steadfast love endures forever.”

Let’s not allow shortsightedness or selfish preferences keep us from proclaiming it together.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Wednesday, September 2, 2009