Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Wake Up Dead Man

Who's the Dead Man in the song?  Certainly not Jesus, though maybe the one singing might have started out feeling that way.  We all need to wake up.  Some of us have (thanks only to God). 

It'll all be all right some day.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Doug Wilson believes in Eternal Conscious Torment, but I don't.

Posted this on Doug Wilson's Blog and Mablog
There is definitely wrath for sin, which Jesus bore. The lake of fire is God's hammer to soften everyone that He does not soften in this lifetime. Read Philippians 2:10-11: "so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." 1 Cor 12:3: "no one can say, 'Jesus is Lord,' except by the Holy Spirit." Rev. 22:17 describes the call given *after* the lake of fire judgment: "The Spirit and the bride say, 'Come.' And let the one who hears say, 'Come.' And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost."

Rob Bell may be doing a disservice by only asking provocative questions, but there are solid answers, and the truth turns out to be kind in the end. Praise God!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Reepicheep - Clark and Van Til

I'm glad to hear that Clark and Van Til eventually reconciled.
Reepicheep - Clark and Van Til
Thanks to Turretinfan for the link.

Reveleation 1:1 Tachos

Why do the ESV and the KJV and the NASB translate 'tachos' Rev. 1:1 as 'soon'.  The word means 'quickly'.  In other words, no mention of when it will happen, but when it starts to happen, hold on to your hats, because it's all going to happen rapidly. 

So all these Dispensation-bashers can stuff it.  It doesn't say 'soon'.

For my part, I believe there's much to learn from Preterists, A-Millenialists, and even Post-Millenialists, while I still hold to the Pre-Millenial position as the most natural reading of the texts.  The Post-Mils are correct, I believe, in saying that the general state of things will improve (maybe even in a sawtooth pattern, but upwards in general) because of the influence of the Church.  But they're incorrect in denying the actualness of the Tribulation and the revealing of Christ in the way Revelation and Daniel (and Zechariah, and Ezekiel, etc...) depict.  That's just the crowning crisis of the sawtooth process.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

God is the Potter, we are the pots

I believe we have totally overblown the word "choose".  How many sermons emphasize the word "choose".  "I choose to follow You" (Brian Doerksen), "Everyday, I choose my fate" (Switchfoot), "I Choose to Believe" (Phillips, Craig & Dean). Erwin McManus's sermons are loaded with the term. 

It's an insertion of the supposed autonomous will of man, that mysterious element I used to believe in which I called free will.  That thing fundamental to my being which motivates me to go in one direction or another.

But it's an illusion.  Free Will is nothing other than the ability to act according to ones biggest desire.  It is not this supposed random number generator that could choose one way or another, independent of the input influences.  The "I choose" concept, commonly understood by most Christians, is nowhere found in Scripture, and is an idol.

It doesn't give freedom anyway.  It takes it away.  What in the supposed autonomous free will of man causes him to choose one way or another?  If it's my decision that I'd rather be good than bad, or I'd rather put myself on the trajectory to Glory than the trajectory to horror and ruin, then what caused this decision?  Prior acts of the will, whatever they are.  I.e., are my choices determined?  If not, then they're random, and so they're at the whim of randomness, and "I" have nothing to do with it.  Too bad for me, if randomness sends me to Hell.  Lucky me, if randomness sends me to Heaven.  It's either good me/bad me or lucky me/unlucky me.  Neither of which is Scriptural.

There's another alternative.  God is the Potter; His providence, His hand, His power influences us in the way He wants us to grow, and is the ultimate cause of our destiny.  This is the essence of Monergism.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Women keep silent!

Did the law really say this?

Is 1 Cor. 14:34-36 an interpolation? See Philip Payne's article at his website http://www.pbpayne.com.

Is 1 Cor. 14:34-36 consistent with the rest of the letter?

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Blessed be the name of Yahweh

I don't understand how people can get away with saying that Job's conclusion to the loss of his children -- "Jehovah hath given and Jehovah hath taken: let the name of Jehovah be blessed" (Job 1:21) -- is his own fallible understanding of God's ways and not an infallible statement. In the very next verse it says "In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong."

(What spurred this on? Listening to Jesus to a Child, by George Michael.)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Kinder, Gentler, More Logical

Penal Substitutionary Atonement is a good thing. Is it the most important facet of Christ's self-sacrifice on the Cross? I don't know, but it's essential to what He did, and it seems to be always under attack.

Everybody's trying to invent a kinder, gentler, more logical hermeneutic. They recoil from the penal substitutionary explanation of Christ's death on the cross, calling it divine child abuse. They call it a cold piece of business, or a legal fiction. So they have to invent something that makes sense to their framework.

They also conveniently forget the fact that we were all vile rebel sinners before God got to us. "No one does good, not even one" (see Romans 3:9-18).

"Christ crucified" is a stumbling block to earthy Jews, foolishness to heady Gentiles (1Co 1:23).

How else do you explain Romans 4:3 along with Romans 5:9-10?

These people make the strawman objection to a position of a wrathful vindictive God whose attitude must be changed by Jesus, whereas the best Reformed or Dispensational theologians will be quick to tell you that "For God so loved the world, F18 that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16) or "But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:10). This last verse is right on the heels of being saved from the wrath of God. And Romans 5:1 makes a big deal of now having peace with God.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Justification, Regeneration, Perseverance

I just listened to Dr. James White's debate with Mitchell Pacwa, SJ, on Justification. Very informative and clear contrast between two systems of thought. More and more I'm seeing the systematic corruption of the Roman Catholic doctrine of justification. Thanks, Dr. White.

Then I listened to Dr. James White's debate with Dr. Robert Wilkins, on Regeneration and Perseverance and Lordship Salvation. Dr. White did a fine job of presenting his positive case, with some amount of addressing and dismantling the other side. In contrast, all Dr. Wilkins did was parasitically attack Dr. White, and made no case of his own, other than what he could say in the process of trying to tear down Dr. White. He didn't understand Dr. White's position, and gave some bizarre arguments against it (like, how could Cornelius be drawn by the Holy Spirit before he was regerated?  Huh?).  I was disappointed.

I agree that those who are saved with show forth fruits, and that faith is not just mere intellectual assent. Faith is saying 'Amen', i.e., the settled inner witness of the biblical heart, which includes the mind but also the affections. My only problems with Lordship Salvation is that it can tend to say that coming to the Lord in justifying faith means you have to commit to change your ways, and it can tend to harp on people too much to produce [a certain culturally acceptable kind of ] fruit. No, justifying faith runs to the Lord, saying with all the heart, "I am undone, I have offended a holy God, please save me from my sins." Of course there must be a change of attitude about sin. But there's nothing in the text about making commitments, changing your ways, and I think Lordship Salvation advocates can tend to say you do have to change your ways to get in the door.

Having said all this, when you respond with true faith, your ways will change (some instantly, and some progressively). God gives his elect ones new desires and they work these out with fear and trembling (Greek colloquialism for awe and respect). I agree with Dr. White when he says there's no such thing as salvation without discipleship, justfication without sanctification.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Gene Scott on the Necessity of Faith

Been listening to Dr. Gene Scott lately, on the warfare of the Christian. "Finally, brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God so that you may be able to stand against the craftiness of the Devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, authorities, world-rulers of this present darkness, and spiritual forces of wickedness in the air around us." (Eph. 6:10-12) This is serious. This wrestling, Dr. Scott kept saying, is a one-on-one fight until one or the other combatant has his foot on the neck of the other. And we wrestle by faith, which takes a promise of God and believes it and acts on it.

I would disagree with the Dr., and say that Faith does not include action, but is the settled inner confidence that something is true. It then, if it is true, will produce action. Also, it is something given by God.

So walk by the faith you have. Know that this is a life or death struggle, but the outcome is predestined (God wins).

Sunday, June 03, 2012

More of George Mueller, on Faith

"Impressions have neither one thing nor the other to do with faith. Faith has to do with the Word of God. It is not impressions, strong or weak, which will make the difference. We have to do with the Written Word and not ourselves or our impressions."

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

George Mueller on Faith

Got this quote of George Mueller from http://withchrist.org/mjs/faith.htm:
"God delights to increase the faith of His children. We ought, instead of wanting no trials before victory, no exercise for patience, to be willing to take them from God's hand as a means. I say -- and say it deliberately -- trials, obstacles, difficulties, and sometimes defeats, are the very food of faith."
Fight the good fight!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Progressive Revelation?

If Eternal Conscious Torment is true, then why didn't God warn Adam about it? or Moses and the Israelites?

If you cry, "Progressive Revelation!" I will cry "Foul!"

Faith Comes by Hearing

So then, Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.

So just put forth Scripture, and see what happens. People will hear it and believe, and then exhibit the fruits of belief, and the world around them will change. You don't need Dallas Willard to tell you how to really make societal transformation happen. And yes, I split an infinitive. Some will believe, and some won't. There will be wheat and tares. Deal with it. Don't pronounce failure on a project on which God has not embarked yet.

All the Spiritual Disciplines you need are in the second half (or last third or so, depending on which one) of Paul's epistles. Throw away your enneagrams and labyrinths, stop "working on your issues", stop trying to figure out how to be good to yourself so you can properly love others. By faith, love God and love others. And if, in your attempt to love, you run into a wall, soak in the Gospel and let faith come by hearing. Be patient and wait for fruit to grow.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Spiritual Invariants

For those whom God foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover, those whom He predestined, He also called; and those whom He called, he also justified; and those whom He justified, He also glorified.
This 'foreknew' is not a foreknowledge of what free agents will choose, as though God takes in knowledge of events, outside of his decree, that from His perspective could have been otherwise. It is an active, personal knowing. To illustrate the distinction, Spanish (and I presume many other languages) has a distinction between two kinds of knowing: saber, which means to know about stuff; and conocer, which means to have intimate experience with people and/or stuff. (And I believe conocer is a cognate of the greek ginosko, which is part of the word translated foreknow--proginosko). Paul is talking about an active knowing of a specific people ('those whom...'), and there is no indication of any qualification on their part. That is, despite the classic Arminian interpretation, it doesn't say, "Those whom God foreknew would accept Christ." To beat this dead horse, it is not that God foreknew something about certain people; God foreknew these people.

This is one of the clear passages in Scripture regarding the security of the believer, against which all warning passages that might cast doubt on our security must be judged and interpreted.

The other question is, "What about those whom God did not foreknow?" As a believer in Universal Reconciliation, I yet believe there is a predestined Elect in this age, and the purpose for this election is succinctly and brilliantly (thank you, Holy Spirit) stated by Paul, in Ephesians 2:7:
That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Feast of Trumpets

The Rapture happens on a Feast of Trumpets. Looking forward to the sound of the last Shofar blast.

Monday, May 07, 2012

The Red Letters

I am unabashedly Pauline. My goal is to follow Paul as he follows Christ.


I don't pray the Our Father (incorrectly known as "The Lord's Prayer"). It's not part of the instructions for me.

I don't forgive to get forgiven (Matt. 6:15). I forgive because I'm forgiven (Eph. 4:32, Col. 3:13).

I don't need to sell all, give to the poor, and literally follow Jesus (Matt. 19:21). I need to hold on loosely to what God has richly supplied me with (1 Tim 6:17), to be generous with it (1 Tim 6:18), and to give cheerfully from the heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion (2 Cor. 9:7-8).

James told Israelites that they would be justified by their works (James 2:24). Fine, but Paul told the Church that one is justified by faith, apart from the works of the law (Rom 3:28). James was not writing to me. Paul was.

I am suspicious of everything Tony Campolo and Richard Rohr say, since they explicitly deny the necessity of seeing the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) in the light of Pauline truth. And I distrust Scot McKnight for the same reason (though he might be a little less explicit in his denial).

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Tricky Kids

My kids like to offer me go-gurts that look full, and they say, "Here you go, Daddy!"  Then I try to have some only to find they've blown it up with air.  "Aww!" says Daddy, and they get a big kick out of it.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Oh, by the way...

Since the second to last post (the one in 2009), I've come to understand that God wants to save everyone. Aionios does not mean infinitely forever, and that breaks the whole Eternal Torment thing apart.

Dispensationalism vs. Covenantalism

If only the Dispensationalists (of the Arminian type) could shed their beloved 'choice' and understand Predestination from a Compatibilist perspective...

If only the Reformed could shed their habitual returning to the Law (i.e., the Third Use) and be truly free... If only they could rightly divide scripture...