God’s Absolute Attributes

Also known as His incommunicable attributes. Here is a definition from John A. Battle’s paper on the Doctrine of God:

Those attributes of God which he has in himself, which can be exercised apart from his relationship to his creation, are referred to as his absolute attributes. Those attributes exercised especially with regard to the creation are called relative attributes. Of course, there is some overlap. God’s absolute attributes are exercised in relation to his creation as well, and his knowledge and love were exercised before the creation within the Godhead. The Shorter Catechism describes God as “infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being.” The characteristics of infinity or immensity, eternity, and immutability are descriptive of all his attributes. These qualities are studied under this category of absolute or incommunicable attributes.

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Real Men Are Not Offended Over Gillette Ad Campaign: We Were Already Using Dollar Shave Club

There has been a recent dust-up over a Gillette Ad Campaign that seems to wag its finger against men for “toxic masculinity.” If you do a search about toxic masculinity, you find that it is quite difficult to actually define. Here is the Urban Dictionaries attempt:

Any Male action that doesn’t conform to liberal ideals of what a man SHOULD be in today’s society. If he isn’t sensitive and emotional and docile he is accused of toxic masculinity.

I get the impression that the men who are guilty of toxic masculinity are those of us who looked at pajama boy a few years ago with disgust. We looked at the effeminate, pajama wearing waif and could see the end result of Liberal policies on manhood and it wasn’t anything that we wanted to be a part of. We know that this isn’t our place in society, sitting around, drinking coffee like one of the girls. That is not who we have been designed to be.

We know our place. We are designed by God to be the leaders in our households. Not only the spiritual leaders, but the leaders in general. Women are designed by God to be our helpmates in our calling. This is why the godless Left is so hell-bent against destroying manhood, and womanhood for that matter. It’s their attack against God and His design (see Psalm 2).

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Give Us Barabbus!


(Just a note of irony for the above cartoon. I got it from Trinity Bible Presbyterian Church’s Facebook page).

When I first read the trial that Justin Hoke, pastor of Trinity Bible Presbyterian Church, was undergoing with his boldness to stand for the truth, I admired him. He was willing to stand up and speak the truth when so few others are will to do so in our day.

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Randy Alcorn Encourages Sinful Use of the LORD’s Day

There will come a day in the not too distant future in which a Christian who is committed to loving Christ by keeping His commandments will be accused of not being a Christian at all, simply because that Christian refuses to attend a Super Bowl Party.

This is where evangelicals are headed with Randy Alcorn leading the way. He is promoting Football Sunday which is a ministry devoted to sharing the testimonies of the many football players in the NFL. They even have a special program for your church to use during the church’s hosted Super Bowl Party. They boast that last year, because of these testimonies, more than 20,000 people have come to Christ. Well, at least that many had emotional responses.

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The LAW is at the Center of the New Covenant

26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them (Ezekiel 36:26-27).

In reading through the Westminster Confession of Faith again, I was struck by how much this verse says when it comes to the Law of God. The above verse is a description of the new covenant, which we are now under with Christ. The new covenant was and is at the center of Christ’s ministry and His people. Remember that when He instituted the signs of the new covenant, especially the LORD’s supper, He declared that the wine is the new covenant in My blood. This is not some minor doctrine of the faith.

What I want us to see is that focus of the new covenant: it’s the Law. What has God promised do under the new covenant? First, He has promised to put His Spirit within us. This shows us that the new covenant is far better than the old covenant under Moses. Not that we ignore the old covenant, there is a lot to learn from the old covenant and it helps us understand the grace we have been given under the new covenant.

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Contradiction Defined

SlimJim at the Domain for Truth gives a great definition of a contradiction. He then goes on to show how to argue against the supposed contradictions in his post which you can read here. But for our purposes, I wanted to share his definition of a contradiction for my definitions page.

 

When dealing with skeptics’ claim of Bible contradictions it seems one can never be reminded enough of what exactly is a contradiction.  A contradiction occurs when two or more claims conflict with one another so that they cannot simultaneously be true in the same sense and at the same time.  To put it another way, a Bible contradiction exists when there are claims within the Bible that are mutually exclusive in the same sense and at the same time.

Andy Stanley Reaches Logical Conclusion of Dispensationalism

I know this is old news, but Andy Stanley, the mega-church pastor in Atlanta, GA., came out last year and said that Christians needed to unhitch themselves from the Old Testament. From what I understand, his reasoning is that the Old Testament is too much of a stumbling block for many people to come to know Christ. His logic is faulty because in the end, their stumbling block is not the Old Testament, but the Christ who gave us the Old Testament.

Michael Kruger gives a solid analysis of Stanley’s book that makes the case for unhitching ourselves from the Old Testament. You can read Kruger’s article here.

The point I’m trying to make is that Stanley is doing nothing more than coming to the logical conclusion of classical dispensationalism, which is what he was trained in while at Dallas Theological Seminary. The basic understanding of the Old Testament, for Dispensationalists, is that it was written for the Jews, and not for us Christians. They also have the belief that the Old Testament is to be used to interpret the New Testament, not the other way around.

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Four Best Books of 2018

This is a SlimJim inspired post, after reading his best books list, I thought I would add mine. Now please realize, that if I finish reading a book, it falls into my “best books” category since I tend to set aside books I don’t like. Although, I also have say that there are books that fall into the “best” category but I had to set aside for a while because there was a more pressing issue and I have not finished them yet. Here are four that I did finish for the year.

Best Book On Worship

This would have to be D.G. Hart and John R. Muether’s With Reverence and Awe. This book really helped lay out the Reformed position on worship by establishing the Regulative Principle of Worship as biblical, and by showing that the RPW keeps us from falling into the temptation of our own imaginations when it comes to worship.

“What drove the starkness of Reformed worship was the conviction that worship that included unbiblical embellishments was a violation of the regulative principle. As the Westminster Confession puts it, ‘the acceptable way of worshiping the true God is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshiped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation, or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scripture’ (21.1).

Calvin described two advantages to worship regulated in this manner: ‘First, it tends greatly to establish [God’s] authority that we do not follow our own pleasure, but depend entirely on his sovereignty; and secondly, such is our folly, that when we are left at liberty, all we are able to do is to go astray’ (p. 148).”

By ignoring this principle, we end up with progressive pastors adding dancing men in tights to the worship service. We need the RPW just as much as we need God’s Law. It helps keep us from making the mistakes of Nadab and Abihu in our worship.

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The Greater Danger to Ferguson’s Reasoning


I’m still mulling over Sinclair Ferguson’s article Should Christians Abandon Christmas? because I believe there is a more serious danger in his reasoning than in the issues he addresses in the article.

One of his main points is that if a church ignores Christmas, then pastors might not ever get around to the Christmas story. He writes:

But ask the question the other way round. When churches “ignore” Christmas, how much preaching and teaching are they likely to receive on the incarnation? Somewhere between four and twelve messages? I doubt it. Such non-scientific investigation of preachers I have done indicates that, in fact, by and large, the incarnation will be ignored. Is that a more biblical approach?

I don’t buy either of one of his premises.  First, I don’t accept the incarnation as Christmas. It’s not. What Christmas has become, what it truly is, not what they say it is supposed to be, but what it truly is, has nothing to do with the incarnation. Christmas has nothing to do with being a Christian. It has nothing to do with spiritual maturity. It tends to be a carnal celebration that focuses on the lights, the sounds, the smells, family traditions, and the accumulation of material goods.

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Sinclair Ferguson Goes Willy Nilly Over Christmas


I recently read Sinclair Ferguson’s article Should Christians Abandon Christmas? and felt like someone had pirated his computer and submitted an article on Christmas in his name. It was less than what I would expect from Sinclair Ferguson. I expected a good biblical treatment of the man-made tradition with some biblical support either for or against the holiday. I expected…some light and really just got a bunch of willy nilly retread that was neither rooted in Scripture or sound reasoning. It was very un-Sinclair-like.

His basic defense of the holiday was that since God is not specific in order of worship, or specific about what the preacher preaches on Sunday morning, then we have the freedom to go all in on Christmas. In the process of saying as much, he belittles the regulative principle of worship that those in his tradition have held for several hundred years, all so we celebrate a day and in a way that God has not commanded.

First, the biblical response. We are responsible to obey all God commands in his word. But that isn’t the same as saying that unless Scripture specifically commands it we should not do it.

Actually, the regulative principle of worship is based upon a text of Scripture showing just the opposite of what Ferguson is saying. Nadab and Abihu, sons of Aaron and priests in the Levitical system, decided to offer profane fire before the LORD. The LORD had not commanded it. Given Ferguson’s statement, it should have been fine. The brothers were just being creative in their worship. But God made it clear that we don’t have the freedom to be creative in our worship, or add to what He has not commanded us to do.

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There is No True Mercy Apart From the Law of God


Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy (Matthew 5:7).

I preached on this verse recently and during my study, it hit me all over again: you cannot have true biblical mercy apart from the Law of God. This is why the world’s mercy is so empty. As Jordan Peterson pointed out in one of his lectures, the left’s concern with the poor is never a concern or love of the poor, but born out of a hatred for the rich. That is not true biblical mercy.

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The Conviction of Sin

Charles Spurgeon on the conviction of sin, from The Soul Winner:

“First, regeneration will be shown in conviction of sin. This we believe to be an indispensable mark of the Spirit’s work; the new life as it enters the heart causes intense inward pain as one of its first effects. Though nowadays we hear of persons being healed before they have been wounded, and brought into a certainty of justification without ever having lamented their condemnation, we are very dubious as to the value of such healing and justifying.”

It’s hard to imagine this ever being preached in our pulpits today. Far too many men enter to the pulpits of the church, merely to blow sunshine up the skirts of their congregations, and never mention the painful reality of becoming a Christian. If we come to Christ, we will suffer, as He suffered.

This is undeniable truth of the gospel. Coming to Christ will be a joy, but it will also be painful as we will learn to loath the sin that remains in our own hearts. This is one of the marks of a true believer, we mourn our own sinfulness. This is what Jesus was saying when He proclaimed “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

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God’s Word Has to be the Final Authority


The non-Christian thinks that his thinking process is normal. He thinks that his mind is the final court of appeal in all matters of knowledge. He takes himself to be the reference point for all interpretation of the facts. That is, he has epistemologically become a law unto himself: autonomous.

Dr. Greg L Bahnsen, Always Ready, p. 46

What is sad is that the quote above could be said just as easily about evangelicals. When push comes to shove, most set themselves up as the final authorities of what is to be believed and rejected. They are all experts. They all know what is best. Even when what they think and know to be best, is in complete contradiction to what Scripture says.

The issue is and always will be: who is our final authority? What is our final authority? It must be, as always, God’s word. This means that when we come to God’s word that contradicts what we have commonly held to be true, we must reject what is commonly held to be true, and accept it as God’s word.

Otherwise, we are no better than the non-Christians that Dr. Bahnsen writes about in the above quote.

The Need To Strive for Holiness

(Originally posted October 10, 2006). 

Maurice Roberts writes:

It is of great importance to every believer that he should understand how to think of his own sins. Many of the mistakes which we make are miseries of mine which we suffer are closely connected to our ignorance about our present relation as Christians to our sins both past and present.

We assume that all well-instructed and experienced believers are agreed on the following points: that every sin, however small in our eyes, is most hateful to God; that the best actions of the best Christians are all defiled with sin; that sin in the Christian is still sin; that all the sins of the believer are pardoned for Christ’s sake; and that a believer’s lifelong duty is to strive towards unisnning perfection.

Puting these points another way, we may say that the following is our starting point as we review our relationship as Christians to our sins. First, sin in itself, in whomsoever it exists, is highly displeasing to God. Second, the best Christians have not in this life got beyond the commission of sin. Third, sin is not less sinful when committed by Christians. Fourth, no sins committed by a Christian can ever bring him condemnation. Fifth, a Christian must not rest satisfied in his mere forgiveness but should daily strive after complete and sinless obedience to God, even though he knows it to be impossible in this life.

Of course, this is why the Bible speaks to us to press on, and to persevere after the things of God. So many want to get the stamp of approval by being saved, but they do not want to walk in holiness. They want to cease from striving, instead of cease from sinning as Peter calls us to do. If we are truly in Christ, then we know that the power of sin has been broken, but the existence of it still remains and we must pursue holiness because He has called us to that way of life.

“I Don’t Feel Saved.”


Have you ever heard anyone ever say those words? “I don’t feel saved.” Or a variation of that, such as, “I don’t feel like a Christian.”

These are words that true Christians will utter from time-to-time because they truly do not feel like a Christian, or feel saved, at least, not what people expect to feel when they are believers. I know there have been times in my own Christian walk where I have felt these things. The weight of sin in my heart, life, church, and the country are such that the joy of Christ seems to be extinguished.

So, lacking a sense of “feeling” like a Christian is quite normal.

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Our Sin is Greater Than Mount Everest

Just a portion of a sermon… taken from 1 Peter 3:18… For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the Spirit.

Let it never be said that God owed us this atonement. Let it never be said that He was obligated to provide grace. Grace only comes out His goodness and is given to those who realize their own sin, helpless to do anything about relieving themselves of this insurmountable debt.

The debt of our sin is far beyond anything we can tackle. If you piled up your debt, it would be as high as Mount Everest, at 29,029 feet above sea level. For some of us, it would be higher. And no matter how much we worked on trying to free ourselves of this debt, it would be impossible for us to do so. It would be like God requiring us to climb Mount Everest with a pick axe, then chip away a bucket full of rock, then heading off to the sea to dump the bucket. And once we got the entire mountain chipped away and dumped in the sea, then He would free us from the debt.

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Christ-like Submission


When I first arrived in Osceola, I was saddled with the responsibility of doing a wedding. The woman getting married had been associated with FPC in the past and she had no real pastor. So the elders there agreed that their pastor would conduct the wedding once he arrived. I was the man.

I met with them once or twice before the wedding and did the best I could. But at one point during the wedding, I began to speak to the idea of “submission.” And the moment I said the word, there came a shocked gasped from the back of the room where the ceremony was being conducted.

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The Vulnerability of True Religion

(Originally published in August 2006).

Every now and then I pick up Maurice Roberts The Christian’s High Calling and read. It strikes me how astute he is concerning the church and trends. In his article “The Vulnerability of True Religion,” he writes the following:

“This downward tendency in the human heart accounts for all the religious errors of the church, and of the whole world indeed. The plain fact is that truth and pure religion are such high, holy and heavenly things that man cannot love them till he is brought under the power of divine grace. Even then, man is so liable to decline in grace that he can hardly bear true religion for very long. Two generations, or perhaps three, may hold fast to a sound creed. But for more than three generations to retain the truth without serious loss is remarkable and it is rare.”

 

“The above sad fact explains the shrewd saying that ‘every institution sooner or later becomes its opposite.’ If we confine the application of this saying only to the churches, we see at once how just it is. Every church, more or less, that we know of in history has ended up by disowning its original creed! It began by admiring the Scriptures and it ended by rejecting them…”

It is for this reason that we have so many church splits. The denominations, even though I believe in denominations, will all eventually fail. They will all eventually turn and reject the truths of Scripture that they once held so dear. Yes, they do it under the guise of becoming more enlightened than their forefathers. But all that they have really become is fools and their forefathers would reject them outright as heretics.

We ask, “how is it that the liberal church has become so liberal when they started out so strong?” And the above answers that question. Men turn away from the truth of the gospel and cover their repentance from the truth under the guise of becoming more educated and more enlightened. As if somehow, today, we can become more educated and englightened than say, the apostle Paul. As if, somehow, we can know more than Peter did, or have a better understanding than Christ Himself. We take a heretical approach to Scripture and say that we are enlightened. When in fact, all we have done is reject the word outright. Jesus, Matthew, Paul and Peter had a few things to say about such approaches. But, of course, if we are truly enlightened, then we know more than they do. Silly, huh?

When we fall to the temptation to think we know more than Christ and the apostles, we have set ourselves up as little gods, and do exactly what John warns us against: we reject our first love. We say we love Christ, but reject His word because we know more than He does. We say we love our neighbor, but then reject God’s Law on how it is that we are to love our neighbor. We say we love God, but then reject His commands on how we are to worship Him. We say we are followers, but our hearts are idol factories by the moment.

As Maurice Roberts points out, if we are to stay true to the true religion, we must watch daily over our affections. He writes,

“The moment we suspect that our love of Christ is waning we must cry out for grace. If our love for any point of truth becomes dim, we are to cast ourselves to the ground before God, fearing lest he should give us over to our hardness of heart. All this is deep and humbling work. But it is the only way to hold true religion fast. The alternative is to ‘lose our first love’ (Rev. 2:4).Not for nothing does the Spirit of God say: ‘Keep they heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life'(Prov. 4:23).”

Yes, I believe all institutions will eventually fall, even the denomination that I belong to. But we must remember, that Christ came to save sinners, not institutions. Yes, they will pass away. But let us hope and pray that our labor for Christ will last into the following generations and as our denominations fail, God will use our faithful descendants to raise up more that hold to the creeds of the faith.

You can read more by ordering his book here!

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Keeping the Sabbath/LORD’s DAY!

(Originally published back in 2006, with additions from 2018).

By now, you probably have guessed my views on keeping the LORD’s day, otherwise known as Sunday. I believe that Sunday should be set aside for the worship of God. This is not a play day, or a day to sit and watch the television. We are still bound by the Moral Law and keeping that day holy.

Many have often asked why was it that those in Acts began to keep the LORD’s day on the First day of the week? Well, the simple answer is that Christ rose on the first day of the week, and the day reminds us of His resurrection and points us to the new creation to come. The resurrection is the most monumental event in history, and for that reason, the day we keep holy has changed from the seventh day, which was looking back to the original creation, to the first day, pointing to the new creation and the hope we have in Christ.

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How The Church Changes Society

How many times a week do you hear about the atrocities of our culture, our government, our world, with the following admonition: “The church must ban together to stop this atrocity.” This is usually said about abortion, or politics.

I’m all for banning abortions. I’m also all for preaching towards that end, as long as the preaching done is to preach Christ crucified so that all come to know Christ. In other words, I’m for the church doing what the church is called to do: first, worship in Spirit and truth through preaching, teaching, prayer, and the sacraments. Second, through making disciples through the peaching and teaching of God’s word. That is the church’s purpose.

The moment we make the church’s purpose any social cause, is the moment we fail in what God has called the church to do. In our wisdom, we have decided to use man’s tactics and methods in bringing about change instead of trusting in the means we have been given by God to make those changes.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I am concerned about social issues, but the best way to deal with social issues is by being what we in the church are called to be. Society will never change when we focus on bringing about that change apart from using the tools God has given us to make that change.

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