The Prayer of an Arminian

I have often said that when an Arminian prays, they pray like Calvinist when it comes to the salvation of others. What I mean by this is that Calvinist believe that the Spirit of God must move in a person’s heart before they are saved. The Spirit moves, causing them to be born again, and THEN they have the ability to believe in Jesus Christ for salvation. God gets all the glory for our salvation because we are completely dependent upon Him.

Whereas the Arminian goes around spouting the damnable doctrine of free will. They say that we have the freedom to choose God of our own and when we trust in Christ for salvation, it is because we are just infinitely smarter than everyone else. The focus is always on what we “do.”

Yet, when it comes to their prayers, Arminian’s do not pray consistently with their doctrine. Instead of praying that God need not move in the hearts of the unbeliever, since they are wise enough to make the choice on their own, they pray that God would move and change their hearts… O Lawd!!!

Jerry Johnson, with Against the World, demonstrates this by giving us a consistent Arminian prayer in the following video:

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We Cannot Put God into a Testtube

In a recent post, I argued that an atheist’s attempt to deny the existence of God by saying we cannot prove His existence scientifically was playing on our ignorance of science and their ignorance of knowledge. What I meant by this is that we know quite a bit of what we know, without the advantage of science. Science truly is limited in it’s ability to help us know and understand our world and God. After all, you cannot put God in a testtube.

Just the thought of putting God in a testtube is beyond any level of reason since the God who has revealed Himself to us through His Word is outside of nature itself. Theologians have known this for years because we have been willing to look to His word to know what we know about Him. How are we to take that which is unknowable outside of special revelation and test Him using aspects of His creation? In other words, how do we test something or someone that is completely “other” than creation with creation itself?

When we say that God is “other” what we mean by this is that He is NOT His creation. God is something “other” than His creation. Therefore when we do look to creation, as theologians and believers, we do see His fingerprints, but we do not see Him. True Christianity does not believe in pantheism, which is the belief that God is actually creation itself. The living and true God exists outside of creation and is “other” than it. We do not know what this “other” is, but we do know that God is “other” and not the chair that I sit upon as I write this.

This is why the Bible is so necessary for us to know the God who is. This completely “other” being that created all things, in His love and kindness, not only revealed Himself to us, but also stepped into the created world to become the God-Man, known as Jesus Christ. This is why the incarnation is such a miracle: that which was “other” became a part of creation in order to save those who rebelled against the Supreme Other behind creation. He did not just sit off at a distance and judge us as was His right to do. He came after those that belonged to Him in order to save them from their rebellion.

This knowledge that we have been given through His word is historical in nature, not scientific in nature. This is the means and method God has chosen to reveal Himself to us. While science is very helpful in our world, it is not the end all and be all of what we know. It is actually quite limited in its capabilities for understanding the world in which we live, and if you study scientists and their theories long enough, you will find that quite a few of them have their own set of “beliefs” as well, since science is so limited.

For another take on science and knowing God, read David Glass’s article: The Evidence for God.

Baptist Vote to Keep “Sinner’s Prayer”

The Southern Baptist Church voted this week at their convention to keep the “sinner’s prayer” as a form of conversion. Some might think this an odd thing, but the there have been those Baptist Calvinist who have questioned the use of the “sinner’s prayer.” They have done so because it gives the allusion that by saying the “sinner’s prayer,” one is actually saved.

One is not saved by saying the “sinner’s prayer.” I agree with the Calvinistic Baptist and this in one of the reasons I left the SBC back in the 1990s. Too much emphasis is put on what we do as opposed to what God does in saving us. No where does the Bible ever tell us to utter this prayer, it truly is an invention of men, specifically that bastard of revivalism known as Charles Finney. Sorry but I must call him that. He did more damage to the church in American than a hundred liberal courts or seminaries with the implementation of his new methods, i.e., the sinner’s prayer. More churches have been led down a hell-bound path by adopting such practices as altar call than any liberal professor could ever dream of. It would boggle our minds to know the number of people who were led to believe they were saved by trusting in these damnable actions of their own, instead of trusting in Christ. You hear it today every time the sinner’s prayer is put forth, and once a person says this prayer, they are told to write the date down so they can remember when they were saved.

This is all focused on what the sinner does and not what Christ does. If we are truly to be saved, we must believe in Jesus Christ for salvation. We are not to “say” a prayer, although prayer will result after true belief comes about. We are not told in Scripture to walk an aisle, go to the altar or do any other thing in order to be saved. Simply believe in Christ and His work for salvation. We are saved by faith alone in Christ alone, and this is NOT of ourselves, but is a gift of God. We are merely passive recipients of God’s grace.

To take and add altar calls and sinner’s prayers to the gospel is no different than the Roman Catholics calling for indulgences in order to be saved. It is Christ plus our works that ends up not saving us at all.

So I am saddened by the actions of the Souther Baptist Convention. They have added works to our salvation. This should be rejected by all Christians, Baptist and non-Baptist alike.

Here is a bit from the story about the SBC:

The resolution was originally presented by Eric Hankins, pastor of First Baptist Church in Oxford, Mississippi, though the version approved by the committee omitted language designed to refute the denomination’s increasingly Calvinist membership. (An effort to put much of the language back in was defeated in a floor vote, as was an effort to remove references to the phrase “Sinner’s Prayer.”)

Indeed, Hankins says his resolution was sparked by a talk from one of the SBC’s Calvinist stars, David Platt. Speaking at the Verge church leaders’ conference March 1, the pastor of the Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama, said the emphasis on the Sinner’s Prayer is unbiblical and damning.

“I’m convinced that many people in our churches are simply missing the life of Christ, and a lot of it has to do with what we’ve sold them as the gospel, i.e. pray this prayer, accept Jesus into your heart, invite Christ into your life,” Platt said. “Should it not concern us that there is no such superstitious prayer in the New Testament? Should it not concern us that the Bible never uses the phrase, ‘accept Jesus into your heart’ or ‘invite Christ into your life’? It’s not the gospel we see being preached, it’s modern evangelism built on sinking sand. And it runs the risk of disillusioning millions of souls.”

Speaking at the SBC Pastors’ Conference preceding the Baptist’s annual meeting, Platt referenced his Verge sermon, lamenting that his messages “can become three-minute YouTube clips.” But, preaching from John 2-3, he reiterated his statements that believing in Jesus is not enough. “Many assume they are saved simply because of a prayer they prayed,” he said. “It’s not that praying a prayer in and of itself is bad—but the question in John 2 and 3 is what kind of faith are we calling people to?”

The Sin of Class Warfare

As the presidential elections heat up during the year, I’m sure we will be exposed to new levels of class warfare since this has been a part of the Democratic National Committee’s plan of attack for the past 50 or so years. The idea is that we are to elect Democrats so that they will go after the greedy, selfish, self interested rich and make them pay their fair share. No attempts are made to ever clarify what their “fair” share is, but we can assumed that according to the greedy Democratic National Committee, it’s one dollar more than they are collecting now in taxes.

Just this fact alone is dishonest in it’s approach and should be rejected. If we are going to be fair, then let the tax system be truly fair: everyone pays 10 percent of their income to the government. Not just rich people. Not jus the middle class. Fair is for all to pay, even those on welfare need to pay their fair share. Whatever the tax rate is, we should all be paying the same rate of taxes for this is the only way to be truly fair.

However there is more sin to the notion of class warfare than just this dishonesty. This attitude toward the rich, whether put forth by the DNC, or anyone else, is a sinful attitude that needs to be repented of for several reasons.

First, class warfare is based upon envy and covetousness. This is a sin according to God’s Moral Law found in the Ten Commandments, which states: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife; and you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field, his male servant, his female servant, his ox, his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”

Class warfare exists on the basis that it’s OK to look at what our neighbor has, determine if it is too much, and take it by force through the use of the government. This is not only stealing, which breaks the Eighth Commandment, but also the Tenth. What our neighbor has, be they poor or rich, belongs to them and we are not to covet those things nor take them by force. This principle of owning private property has been a foundation of this country since its inception.

Secondly, class warfare actually works against God’s hand as well. Proverbs 22:2 The rich and the poor have this in common, the LORD is the maker of them all. This means that if someone is rich, they are rich because of God’s hand, not their own. We tend to think that the rich get where they are in life because they work harder, have more talent, etc., than anyone else. Proverbs even supports part of this reality. Those who do work hard, will be made rich and not poor. But we also must concede that those are placed in the position of being rich by God’s hand. He gave them the talents, desire, drive and opportunity to become rich. It is God’s hand that raises up the rich.

Therefore, to rail against that is to rail against God’s sovereign hand. It is to rail against God Himself.

Now, I’m not saying that the rich have God’s eternal favor on them just because they are rich. The bible is full of warnings about trusting in riches and looking to riches in the day of wrath. That is another aspect all together. What I’m saying is that class warfare is a sin because it involves coveting, and railing against God’s sovereign decree.

We should actually be grateful for the rich. The rich spend money, buy things that help keep the economy going, which helps employ those who are not rich, but looking simply to  work and live in our society. We should be grateful God has allowed us to live in a country where we have rich, middle class and poor.

Third, class warfare is also sinful in that it makes being rich a sin, which God has not declared. Yes, we have the warnings about being rich, but no where does the Bible condemn being rich simply for being rich. There are many pitfalls to being rich, but the simple act of being rich is not sinful in and of itself. Declaring it so, is making something sinful in which God has not done so, IS sinful.

So the next time you hear someone practicing the art of class warfare, reject the notion all together and the one espousing this sin.

The Need For Christ Crucified — J.C. Ryle

The following is from J.C. Ryle’s Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, on John 6:1-14 when Jesus fed the 5,000.

Let us never doubt for a moment, that the preaching of Christ crucified, — the old story of His blood, and righteousness, and substitution,– is enough for all the spiritual necessities of all mankind. It is not worn out. It is not obsolete. It has not lost its power. We want nothing new,– nothing more broad and kind,– nothing more intellectual,– nothing more efficacious. We want nothing but the true bread of life which Christ bestows, distributed faithfully among starving souls. Let men sneer or ridicule as they will. Nothing else can do good in this sinful world. No other teaching can fill hungry consciences, and give them peace. We are all in a wilderness. We must feed on Christ crucified, and the atonement made by His death, or we shall die in our sins.

Even today, with all of man’s inventions and technological advances, we still need the same old gospel of Jesus Christ for salvation. Nothing will ever replace that need for mankind because no matter how we rationalize, we are still sinners in need of God’s grace.

Armageddon

Well, maybe not exactly, but it sure looked like Armageddon on Sunday afternoon as the smoke from forrest fires over in Lincoln National Forrest descended upon our community. I was hoping to capture the gloominess of the moment, but I don’t think I quite got it.

I’m not one to look at all the signs and wonders around the world and say, “The end is near!” But I am one to say that Christ could return at any moment. Some believe that there are certain things that must happen before Christ returns, like the gospel going forth to all nations and peoples, or the temple in Jerusalem must be rebuilt, etc. I don’t believe that anything must happen before Christ returns because all that is necessary for His return has already happened.

Remember, the gospel has gone forth to all nations. Yes, I know there are un-reached people groups around the world, but that doesn’t mean that the gospel hasn’t been there before. Places like India, China, and that area all had the gospel there back in the 10th Century because of the Apostle Thomas. There are places, like South America, that didn’t get the gospel until the last 100 years or so, but that shows us it has been there.

The point is that Jesus could return at any moment. Our goal is to be ready for His return by believing in Him while it is yet today.

The Death of Love

Jerry Johnson, of the Nicene Council, does an excellent job of showing that true-biblical love has slowly died since the beginning of the Romantic age in literature. What has replaced biblical love is romantic love, based upon our base emotions toward a person instead of our covenantal commitment spoken of in Scripture. For example, we know that Christ died on the cross for the love of His people, who, were quite unlovable when He died for them. Had He waited for the modern-day emotion that so many base love upon, He would have bypassed the cross all together.

True love for a person is a covenantal commitment before God, not emotions that determine our happiness. After all, if we base our marriages on emotional happiness, what will happen when that happiness fades? The question isn’t: “will it fade?” But, “when will it fade?”

When it does fade, we need to remember that true, covenantal love is a commitment toward a person, not just an emotion toward a person. This is alteration of the definition of love is the reason so many have caved in the area of marriage, be it biblical marriage, or the current debate surrounding gay unions. Since so many believe that love is based on emotions and not commitment, then who are we to truly question the emotions of people who divorce and remarry, who marry people of the same sex, or marry their dog (which is coming next). When we return to the biblical understanding of love, and marriage, these arguments fall by the wayside.

Watch the video:

Here is the true definition of love according to 1 Corinthians 13:

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, it profits me nothing.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part.10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

New Greek Manuscripts of the Bible Found

Seven new Greek Manuscripts of the Bible have been found over the past several months. According to Professor Dan Wallace, of the New Testament Department at Dallas Theological Seminary, the seven manuscripts are a great find because one of them, a part of the Gospel of Mark, dates to the first century.

A second, a part of the gospel of Luke, dates to the early second century, along with a piece of Matthew’s gospel, along with two manuscripts from the book of Hebrews, one from 1 Corinthians and another from the book of Romans.

What this means is that we have more evidence that the Bible is reliable and that the books were not written some 400 to 500 years after the fact, as the graduates of the DaVinci School for Ignorance typically attest.

We already had one manuscript from the gospel of John that dated to the second century and one from Paul that dated to the third century. These seven manuscripts predate all of them and shows us that we can trust the Bible that we have been given. It is reliable.

Watch the video as Dan Wallace explains how even these new manuscripts will not give us any new information, but confirm that the manuscripts we already had were and are reliable.

You can also refer to an article entitle Can We Trust the Bible? by Arthur Khachatryan. Here is a bit of what he writes:

So how sure are we that we can identify what the originals said? How certain can we be of their consistency? Some have made a cottage industry out of embellishing some of these inconsistencies by claiming that there are upwards of about 300,000 individual variations of the text of the NT. However, most of the differences, such as spelling errors, grammatical mistakes and inverted phrases, are inconsequential. A full comparison shows 98% agreement, and of the remaining differences, virtually all yield to vigorous textual criticism. This means that the NT of today is 99.5% textually pure. In the entire text of roughly 30,000 verses, only 50 are in doubt and none affect any significant doctrine.

An often-cited apparent inconsistency is that there are copies that have errors and deviations from other copies, which make it difficult to trust the text altogether. However, when we take a deeper look at the deviations, we can see that these differences between the copies are expected and do not reduce the trustworthiness of the texts. To expect writings of its length to be copied without any errors is unrealistic. In fact, the text would be more subject to scrutiny if the copies matched too perfectly, as we could charge it with collusion. We need to always account for human error, no matter the topic. Spelling and grammatical errors should be expected. We also see differences in sentence structure, in order to more correctly relay the message. But the substance doesn’t change. What is also significant about the number of copies is that it bodes very well for the determining the exact content matter of the original writings. Ultimately, whatever errors and inconsistencies exist across copies do not matter that much, because we can clearly understand what was contained in the original writings.

You Cannot Prove God Exists Scientifically

One of the lines that you will often hear from atheists in their attacks on Christianity is that you cannot prove God scientifically. They make this claim in order to prove that there is no God, playing on our ignorance as believers about science.

You have to understand two things about what they are saying. First off, you cannot prove a negative. In other words you cannot prove that something does not exist scientifically because the method used to test something scientifically is to put forth a theory, test the theory, be able to see if the evidence in the theory is repeatable by others, and then develop new statements of thesis based upon what was learned.

Since proving something does not exist cannot be tested, then we cannot measure it scientifically. This is not to say that God does not exist, what it says is that the atheist who makes the claim, doesn’t understand science.

The other falsehood this is overlooked in the atheist’s claim that God doesn’t exist because you cannot prove Him scientifically is the assumption that we only know things to be true if we can prove them scientifically.

Their assumption is a very broad one because so many people put their faith in science for what we know to be true. Yet, you cannot prove a mother’s love for her children scientifically. You can prove it because you witness this love at a certain point in time, but that is not something that is repeatable over and over again.

In fact, we would be hard pressed to prove a lot of what we know scientifically.

The reality is that there are many ways we know things to be true that does not rest in the scientific realm. For instance, wisdom is not something that you can gain through science, and I’m merely speaking of general wisdom, not godly wisdom. General wisdom simply comes about by living life and going through various experiences that teach us what we know to be true and what we know to be false.

For instance, my mother told me when I was a teenager that it was always good to be home by 10 p.m. because nothing good ever happened after 10 p.m. I kind of thought she was being a kill joy until one night me and a guy were driving around in his car and we were attacked by some drunken thugs. The guy I was with was getting really upset as these drunken thugs smashed the windows out of his car. I was upset with him because he sat there and screamed about his car while they were hitting me with a pipe.

The next time my mother told me to be home by 10 p.m., because nothing ever good happened after 10 p.m., it suddenly dawned on me as to what she meant.

The point is that there are ways we know things to be true outside of science. While those in the scientific community may see the fingerprint of God in creation around them, it takes those with discerning hearts and minds to see His fingerprint for what it is. The rest are blind to those fingerprints.

The other reality we must admit when it comes to knowing about God is that He has not chosen to reveal Himself scientifically, but historically. He has revealed Himself to us in history and through His word.

This shows the true arrogance of the atheists because they refuse to believe in a God that will not submit Himself to their demands for scientific revelation. The truth of the matter is that God is God and He reveals Himself as He pleases, not at the whims of our modern-day skeptics.

He has also made it clear that where there is no belief, there is no knowledge. The atheists will never come to know God at all until he or she comes by faith to His word and accepts as given. Too many atheists won’t do that, because that requires them to believe in something far greater than they are, that has the right to judge them. This is the core reason most people don’t believe. They believe wrongly that if they don’t believe, God has no right to judge them. Since judgment is what they are trying to avoid, they remain in ignorance and the judgment is heaped upon them.

Vision for Victory — Jerry Johnson

I have to say this one convicted me a great deal. Jerry Johnson asks the question of why so many young people are joining moves such as Obama’s campaign in 2008, Ron Paul’s campaign today and the empty-headedness of the Occupy Wall Street movement over the past year, but they don’t join the church?

It’s because of so many inside the church that have pessimistic, doom and gloom, cut-your wrists theologies like Dispensationalism, and pessimistic Amillellinnialist. In other words, far too many believe the world is going to hell in a handbasket and there is nothing we can do about it… even though we… the church, have the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the power unto salvation, which is the message that turned the world on its head 2,000 years ago, and again 500 years ago, and again 250 years ago… Watch the video: