Sunday, November 28, 2010

piper on defectives

The following is an excerpt of John Piper's excellent message at the Third Lausanne Congress for World Evangelization. Here's the full message. I think it brings into focus what seems to have become a tug of war between evangelism and social justice.
If God had not put Christ forward to bear his own wrath, if Christ had not become a curse for us, as Galatians 3:13 says, then all the nations and all Jews would have perished under God’s wrath and entered into everlasting suffering in hell, as Jesus said in Matthew 25:46.

The reason I draw out this implication of the cross is to hold together in this congress and in the church of Christ two truths that are often felt to be at odds with each other, but don’t have to be.

One truth is that when the gospel takes root in our souls it impels us out toward the alleviation of all unjust suffering in this age. That’s what love does!

The other truth is that when the gospel takes root in our souls it awakens us to the horrible reality of eternal suffering in hell, under the wrath of a just and omnipotent God. And it impels us to rescue the perishing, and to warn people to flee from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:10).

I plead with you. Don’t choose between those two truths. Embrace them both. It doesn’t mean we all spend our time in the same way. God forbid. But it means we let the Bible define reality and define love.

Could Lausanne say—could the evangelical church say—we Christians care about all suffering, especially eternal suffering? I hope we can say that. But if we feel resistant to saying “especially eternal suffering,” or if we feel resistant to saying “we care about all suffering in this age,” then either we have a defective view of hell or a defective heart.

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

if you love me

"Jesus didn't say if you love Me you'll feel close to Me. He said if you love Me, you'll keep my commandments." ~ Kevin DeYoung, Why We Love the Church

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

churchless christianity

"Churchless Christianity makes about as much sense as a Christless church." ~ Kevin DeYoung, Why We Love the Church

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

the church and the gospel

"Theologically, we have been discovering anew that the Church is not an appendage to the Gospel: it is itself a part of the Gospel. The Gospel cannot be separated from that new people of God in which its nature is to be made manifest." ~ Stephen Neill, Christian Faith and Other Faiths

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

a new life

51Nl-D-Jqxl. Sl500 Aa300 “Because Christ lived perfectly, died sufficiently, and rose victoriously, you and I can come out of hiding. We are free to own up to, without fear, the darkest of our thoughts and motives, the ugliest of our words, our most selfish choices, and our most rebellious and unloving actions. We are freed from our bondage to guilt and shame. We are freed from hiding behind accusation, blame, recrimination, and rationalization.

Confession is powerful and effective. It turns guilt into forgiveness. It turns regret into hope. It turns slavery into freedom. It turns you from mourning over your harvest to planting new seeds of faith, repentance, and hope. You see, you are not trapped! Things are not hopeless! The Lord, the great Creator and Savior, is the God who never changes, but at the same time he is the God who promises and produces deep personal change. The changes he makes in us are so foundational that the Bible’s best words describing them are ‘new creation.’ God’s plan is to change us so fundamentally that it is as if we are longer us; something brand new has been created!”

- Paul David Tripp, Lost in the Middle: Midlife and the Grace of God


Saturday, November 13, 2010

lloyd-jones on social justice

It is not the task of the church to deal directly with these problems. The tragedy today is that while the church is talking about these particular problems and dealing directly with politics and economics and social conditions, no Christians are being produced, and the conditions are worsening and the problems mounting. It is as the church produces Christians that she changes the conditions; but always indirectly…

The church cannot change conditions; and she is not meant to change conditions. And the moment she tries to do so she is in various ways shutting the door of evangelistic opportunity…My concern as a preacher of the Gospel is with the souls of men, my business is to produce Christians; and the larger the number of Christians the greater will be the volume of Christian thinking. It is the business of individual Christians to enter Parliament, as Wilberforce did, or to speak in the House of Lords as did the Earl of Shaftesbury, or to seek election to a local Council, and in general to act as good citizens. You are still citizens—act accordingly. ~ Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Life In The Spirit In Marriage Home And Work


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Friday, November 12, 2010

spurgeon on faith

"Faith untried may be true faith, but it is sure to be little faith, and it is likely to remain dwarfish so long as it is without trials. Faith never prospers so well as when all things are against her: tempests are her trainers, and lightnings are her illuminators. When a calm reigns on the sea, spread the sails as you will, the ship moves not to its harbour; for on a slumbering ocean the keel sleeps too. Let the winds rush howling forth, and let the waters lift up themselves, then, though the vessel may rock, and her deck may be washed with waves, and her mast may creak under the pressure of the full and swelling sail, it is then that she makes headway towards her desired haven. No flowers wear so lovely a blue as those which grow at the foot of the frozen glacier; no stars gleam so brightly as those which glisten in the polar sky; no water tastes so sweet as that which springs amid the desert sand; and no faith is so precious as that which lives and triumphs in adversity. Tried faith brings experience. You could not have believed your own weakness had you not been compelled to pass through the rivers; and you would never have known God’s strength had you not been supported amid the water-floods. Faith increases in solidity, assurance, and intensity, the more it is exercised with tribulation. Faith is precious, and its trial is precious too."

Spurgeon, C. H. (2006). Morning and Evening


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Thursday, November 11, 2010

bonhoeffer on the church

In The Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes:
The Body of Christ takes up space on earth. The Body of Christ can only be a visible Body, or else it is not a Body at all. ... The Body of Christ becomes visible to the world in congregation gathered around the Word and Sacrament.

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stott on the church

In The Living Church, John Stott writes:
First, I am assuming that we are all committed to the church. We are not only Christian people; we are also church people. We are not only committed to Christ, we are also committed to the body of Christ. At least I hope so. I trust that none of my readers is that grotesque anomaly, an unchurched Christian. The New Testament knows nothing of such a person. For the church lies at the very centre of the eternal purpose of God. It is not a divine afterthought. It is not an accident of history. On the contrary, the church is God’s new community. For his purpose, conceived in a past eternity, being worked out in history, and to be perfected in a future eternity, is not just to save isolated individuals and so perpetuate our loneliness, but rather to build his church, that is, to call out of the world a people for his own glory. … So then, the reason we are committed to the church is that God is so committed.
And later, based on Acts 2:47:
The Lord did two things together. He ‘added to their number… those who were being saved.’ He didn’t add them to the church without saving them, and he didn’t save them without adding them to the church. Salvation and church membership went together; they still do.

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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

colson on church

From Kevin DeYoung's Why We Love the Church ...

When asked where he goes to church, Chuck Colson replied: "I've always resented the phrase 'Where do you go to church?' I don't go to a church. I'm a member of a church. You don't ask where somebody 'goes' to a country club. I'm not talking about where you're going. I'm talking about where you plant your flag and say, 'This is where I'm a Christian.'"

Colson also expounds on what he tell inmates to look of in churches. "Number one is a church that believes in and preaches the Bible. Calvin said that the number one task of the church is to preach the gospel. Second, it should be a place where disciples are made. Is this a place where I'm going to be discipled and grow as a Christian? The classic marks of the church, at least to the Reformers, were preaching the gospel, administering the sacraments, and number three: discipline. Discipline both in terms of holding people accountable and teaching."

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a battle reminder

"For another thing, let me warn all careless members of Churches to beware lest they trifle their souls into hell. You live on year after year as if there was no battle to be fought with sin, the world, and the devil; you pass through life a smiling, laughing, gentleman-like or ladylike person, and behave as if there was no devil, no heaven, and no hell. Oh, careless Churchman, or careless Dissenter, careless Episcopalian, careless Presbyterian, careless Independent, careless Baptist, awake and see eternal realities in their true light! Awake, and put on the armour of God! Awake, and fight hard for life! Tremble: tremble, and repent." ~ J.C. Ryle, Holiness

Monday, November 08, 2010

what do you think about this pastor

“I ask you what you think of the faithful minister of Christ, who honestly exposes sin and pricks your conscience. Mind how you answer that question. Too many, nowadays, like only those ministers who prophesy smooth things and let their sins alone, who flatter their pride and amuse their intellectual taste, but who never sound an alarm, and never tell them of a wrath to come.” ~ J.C. Ryle, Holiness

Ezra, an example, was "skilled in the law of Moses" (Ezra 7.6), "learned in the words of the commandments of the Lord" (Ezra 7.11), and that the "hand of the Lord his God was upon him" (Ezra 7.6). He had calling along with talent and training.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

what do they want

From Wy We Love the Church, Kevin DeYoung's summary of the attitudes of the postmodern (emerg*) toward the Church.

Consistency is not a postmodern virtue. And nowhere is this more aptly displayed than in the barrage of criticisms leveled against the church.
  • The church-is-lame crowd hates Constantine and notions of Christendom, but they want the church to be a patron of the arts, and run after-school programs, and bring the world together in peace and love.
  • They bemoan the over-programmed church, but then think of a hundred complex resource-hungry things the church should be doing.
  • They don’t like the church because it is too hierarchical, , but then hate it when it has poor leadership.
  • They wish the church could be more diverse, but then leave to meet in a coffee ship with other well-educated thirtysomethings who are into film festivals, NPR, and carbon offsets.
  • They want more of a family spirit, but too much family and they’ll complain that the church is “inbred.”
  • They want the church to know that its reputation with the outsiders is terrible, but then are critical they the church is too concerned with appearances.
  • They chide the church for not doing more to address social problems, but then complain when the church gets too political.
  • They want church unity and decry all our denominations, but fail to see the irony in the fact that they have left to do their own thing because they can’t find a single church that can satisfy them.
  • They are critical of the lack of community in the church, but then want services that allow for individualized worship experiences.
  • They want leaders with vision, but don’t want anyone to tell them what to do or how to think.
  • They want a church where the people really know each other and care for each other, but then they complain the church today is an isolated country club, only interested in catering to its own members.
  • They want to be connected with history, but are sick of the same prayers and same style every week.
  • They call for not judging “the spiritual path of other believers who are dedicated to pleasing God and blessing people,” and then they blast the traditional church in the harshest, most unflattering terms.”


Another creative youtube video ... this one for gardening and music lovers ...

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Saturday, November 06, 2010

shallow theology

I think Kevin DeYoung, in his short critique of The Shack in his own book, Why We Love the Church, hits the nail on the head in regard to what is wrong with the liberal theology today. The popularity of The Shack then reflects the shallow theological understanding held by many of susceptible believers.
In telling the story of Mack’s (the book’s main character) encounter with the Trinity in an old shack in the woods, Young introduces us to God the Father as a big, black woman named Papa, God the Son as a Jewish man with a big nose, and God the Spirit as a woman of Asian extraction named Sarayu. Young’s God is a God who is especially fond of everyone everywhere and loves everyone in the same way, a God who doesn’t punish people for sin (because sin is its own punishment). There is not order or authority in God. The Father submits to Jesus just as Jesus submits to the Father. In fact, God even submits to us. In Young’s theology, evil and darkness do not really exist, but are just the absence of goodness and light. I could keep going with the theological problems in The Shack… God’s sovereignty over suffering is rejected, and all human beings are already reconciled to God (we just need to choose to live in the relationship)… But the depiction of the Christan faith in The Shack is not simply a little off here or there. It is a deviation from the historic faith in many, and important, places.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

moorhead on judging

Below is Jonathan Moorhead's excellent post on judging (copied in its entirety). As I've noted before, "don't judge" is code for I don't agree with you - which is in itself a judgement.

“Who are you to judge me?! The Bible says, ‘Don’t judge.’ You need to be more like Jesus who loved people and showed grace and mercy. You need to stop your ‘holier than thou’ attitude and be like Jesus.”

We all have heard this argument in personal conversation or on television when sin is confronted. This is such a popular argument that I thought I should address it on a biblical and philosophical level.

(1) Does the Bible really say that we are not to judge one another? (2) What example did Jesus and the apostles give us? (3) Does God Himself no longer judge those in the Church? (4) What admonitions are there in Scripture for Christians today? (5) Is abstaining from judgment really the most loving, gracious, and merciful thing to do for a sinning brother or sister?

(1) Matthew 7:1 says, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged.” Usually the critic will quote this verse and consider the case to be closed. I usually like to ask him or her to continue quoting the pericope because context is very important for discerning meaning. Once the context is read, we understand that judging is not being condemned, but judging as a hypocrite is being condemned (cf. Romans 2:1-9). In the words of Jesus, “how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye” (v. 4)? The next verse is vital: “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (v. 5). In conclusion we see that the context of Matthew 7 actually supports judging, if it is done without hypocrisy.

(2) If we are to be like Jesus and the apostles, we need to know if they ever judged the sin of their followers. The evidence for judgment is overwhelming, so I will only give a few examples here:

Jesus: John 5:30 “As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” John 7:24 “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” Matthew 23:27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.” Matthew 18:15-20 is the locus classicus on confronting sin and church restoration/discipline.

John the Baptist: Luke 3:7-9 “‘You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits in keeping with repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father,’ for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham. Indeed the axe is already laid at the root of the trees; so every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

Paul: Galatians 2:11-14 “But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision. The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, ‘If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?’” 1 Corinthians 5:3-5, etc.

Apostle John: 2 John 1:9-11 “Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.”

(3) If Christians are not to judge, it would seem logical that God Himself would also refrain from judging believers. However, God continues to judge sin, even among those in the Church. God killed Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5; in 1 Corinthians 11 there were those that were weak, sick, and had died because they did not partake of the Lord’s Supper worthily; there is sin leading to death in 1 John 5:16-17; and Revelation 1-3 is a testimony of God’s judgment on sinning churches.

(4) I imagine that someone might respond, “Yes, this is the testimony of Jesus, John, the apostles, and God Himself, but do you think you have the right to talk like they did/do?” This is a valid concern, so let’s see what we are charged to do.

We have already seen from Matthew 7 that we are to judge one another, yet without hypocrisy. Matthew 18:15-20 is also a command to believers. Notice 1 Corinthians 5:12-13 “Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.” Titus 3:10 “Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.” Romans 15:14 “I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another.” 2 Timothy 4:2 “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.” 1 Timothy 5:2 “Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning.” 2 Thessalonians 3:6, Titus 1:10-16, etc.

(5) Is ignoring sin the most loving, gracious, and merciful thing to do? It is not. In reality, it is the most unloving, ungracious, unmerciful thing you can do. If you really love someone, don’t you want what is best for them? Do you practice this philosophy with your children? I doubt it, so why would you in your other relationships?

Ephesians 4:15-16 does NOT say, “In love, do not speak the truth,” but RATHER “speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”

Unfortunately, lack of confrontation shows that we lack love for the Church and God. We would rather not deal with confrontation (in disobedience to God), instead of face the prospect of being attacked by the sinning party. Or perhaps we ourselves are living in sin and are in no position to judge others. In short, the answer comes down to motive. Why do you, or why do you not confront someone’s sin?

The original statement by the critic can be shown not only to contradict Scripture, but to fail on a fundamental philosophical level. This is because the argument itself can be seen to be self-defeating. The charge is “Don’t judge me,” and yet the charge itself is a judgment! The critic wants to judge you for what you are doing, while at the same time telling you that it is unbiblical to judge. This is similar to the postmodern assertion, “all truth is relative.” Is that an absolute statement, or is it relative too? The critic is seen to be holding a double-standard, refusing to live consistently.

Important Note!
While the purpose of this article has primarily been to give a biblical defense to judging believers (this could also be shown regarding unbelievers), more needs to be said concerning the “how.” As I asked before, what is your primary motive for confronting someone’s sin? If it is not for the glory of God, it is sin. If it is done in hypocrisy and out of anger, it is sin. If it is simply to get someone kicked out of the church, it is sin. Matthew 7 clearly shows us that we should not be hypocritical judges, and 2 Timothy 2:24-26 shows us that how we judge others is vital as well:

“The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.”

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a little on fear

I read three things today that were linked (at least in my mind) by the word fear.

First I read a blog by a blind-guide I occasionally visit to get a glimpse into what goes on "on the other side". In a recent post, A Theology of Fear, he wrote the following based on a panel discussion from Advance 09.
Q: What ways do you council a young pastor to overcome their fear of man?
Piper: Grow like crazy in your fear of God. Be terrified of about God and his disapproval. Or to put it positively, fall in love with the supremacy of God and the sovereignty of God.

I get the idea that “Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.” (Prov 1:7) Fear is the starting point. It’s an orientation that aligns us to reality. God is the beginning point for reality. But we often miss that it’s the beginning…not the end. How can you love something you fear? The Gospel is the recognition of God’s love that draws us towards relationship, not something that keeps us growing in fear. Perfect love, or the awareness of God’s true response, cast out fear.
Note here that he fails to explore Scripture regarding the fear of the Lord and ignores the logic that the fear of the Lord must somehow be different than the fear that perfect love must cast out. But his error gets worse ...
What [sic] sad to me is that Piper’s idea creates and perpetuates wrath. It keeps people in a state of fear. Wrath is our manufactured and projected understanding of God’s response to something we’ve done. But it fails to see God’s response through the cross. This is largely what I was trying to get at but failed to do so adequately in this post. It’s this idea that we have to approach God from this stance that we are disapproved (unworthy). It’s this idea that God is never really approving of us. And I get why some hold onto this idea. Fear is an extremely powerful motivating force. But is it restorative in a continual state. I don’t think so. Largely because fear is a stress process on the body and cannot produce Shalom in its continued state.

What is interesting is that Piper seems to contradict himself (and I could be wrong about that) as he elaborates. He suggests we see ourselves as “with God”. The problem is that with God doesn’t grow your fear of God. It enhances your understanding of God’s love.
In contrast, and rightly, Easton's Bible Dictionary offers the following:
... in the Old Testament used as a designation of true piety (Prov. 1:7; Job 28:28; Ps. 19:9). It is a fear conjoined with love and hope, and is therefore not a slavish dread, but rather filial reverence. (Comp. Deut. 32:6; Hos. 11:1; Isa. 1:2; 63:16; 64:8.) God is called “the Fear of Isaac” (Gen. 31:42, 53), i.e., the God whom Isaac feared.

A holy fear is enjoined also in the New Testament as a preventive of carelessness in religion, and as an incentive to penitence (Matt. 10:28; 2 Cor. 5:11; 7:1; Phil. 2:12; Eph. 5:21; Heb. 12:28, 29).
And Harper's Bible Dictionary:
... the awe that a person ought to have before God (Prov. 5:7; Eccles. 12:13). As such it can be said to constitute ‘true religion’ (Ps. 34:11). This ‘fear of the Lord’ is represented by the ‘fear and trembling’ with which Paul exhorts the Philippians to work out their salvation (Phil. 2:12). It describes the piety of the growing church in Acts 9:31. However, it may also carry overtones of judgment (2 Cor. 5:11; 1 Pet. 1:17).
The blog author's confusion and false assumptions are based on his inability to grasp the Biblical beauty of God. Throughout his writings he recreates god and redefines love in an effort to deal with his own life's pains rather than to rely on the revealed Truth found in Scripture. Which moves me to the second thing I read and reposted. In this, Michael Patton I think successfully tries to paint an objective picture outlining the various views on election. Only one with a unregenerate heart seated in bias can read the Calvinist position and conclude fear and ugliness rather than freedom and beauty. That isn't to say I cannot allow for those that conclude other than Calvinism but to jump to the position of my fellow blogger above only reflects his failure to "have ears that hear".

And finally, a blog post by my friend and young-but-wise-man, Geoff Hill entitled Violence in Heaven. Whether his intention or not, it served me as a great reminder that our lives, if lived rightly, are to command a response. Either we will be despised and reject as our Lord, or the Gospel will be received and repentance and righteousness will follow. Our role is to ensure the only stumbling block is Christ crucified.

It is in that presentation that the wolves that have infiltrated the church will cry that we fail to love while they in-fact miss the true love (and beauty) found in the real Gospel presentation.

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the boat and the doctrine of election (or not)

Michael Patton provides these simply parables of the boat to explain the differences between Pelagianism, Semi-Pelagianism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, Arminianism, and Calvinism ... enjoy (or not).

All the people are on the boat with the God. At this point, in their natural condition, they don’t need to be saved as they are not in danger. However, most (if not all) people will eventually jump in the water (sin) and find themselves in need of God’s grace. The reason why they jump in the water is because they are following numerous example of those who jumped before them. This example goes all the way back to the first two who jumped into the water, setting the first bad example. God them offers them a life preserver when they call on him for help. If they respond they will be saved (synergism).

All people are in the water drowning. They are born drowning. This is the natural habitation of all humanity since the first man and woman jumped into the water. Their legs are cramping and they cannot swim to safety on their own. However, they may desire salvation on their own. Though they cannot attain it, they can call, with a wave of their arm, to God who is eagerly waiting on the edge of the boat. At the first sign of their initiative, God will then throw out the life preserver (grace). If they respond, they will be saved (synergism).

Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy
All people are in the water drowning. They are born drowning. This is the natural habitation of all humanity since the first man and woman jumped into the water. Their legs are cramping and they cannot swim to safety on their own. God, standing on the edge of the boat, makes the first initiative by throwing a life preserver to them (prevenient grace). Upon seeing this act, they make a decision to grab a hold (faith) or to swim away. If they grab a hold, God will slowly pull the rope connected to the life preserver. But they must do their part by swimming along with God’s pull (grace plus works; synergism). If at any time they let go or quit swimming, they will not be saved.

All people are floating in the water dead in their natural condition (total depravity). They are born dead because that has been the condition of humanity since the first man and woman jumped into the water and died (original sin). Death begets death. There must be intervention if they are to be saved. God uses his power to bring every one of them back to life (prevenient grace), but they are still in the water and in danger of drowning. With the regenerated ability to respond to God, now God throws the life preserver to them and calls on them all to grab hold of it. They then make the free-will decision on their own to grab a hold of the life preserver (faith) or to swim away. If they grab a hold, they must continue to hold as God pulls them in (synergism). They don’t need to do anything but hold on. Any effort to swim and aid God is superfluous (sola fide). They can let go of the preserver at any time and, as a consequence, lose their salvation.

All people are floating in the water dead in their natural condition (total depravity). They are born dead because that has been the condition of humanity since the first man and woman jumped into the water and died (original sin). Death begets death. There must be radical intervention if they are to be saved. While God calls out to all of them (general call), due to his mysterious choice, he brings back to life (regeneration) only certain people (election) while passing by the rest (reprobation). He does not use a life preserver, but grabs a hold of the elect individually and immediately pulls them onto the boat (monergism). They naturally grab a hold of God as a consequence of their regeneration (irresistible grace; sola fide). They forever stay on the boat due to their perpetual ability to recognize God’s beauty (perseverance of the saints).

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Tuesday, November 02, 2010

we are pleasing

“God’s children are pleasing and lovable to Him, since He sees in them the marks and features of His own countenance.”

- John Calvin, Institutes, 3.17.5