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:

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.

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:

Two Kingdom Theology

I have heard and read about the Two Kingdom theology for some time now, but recently came across this interview with David VanDrunen who has written a book, Living in God’s Two Kingdoms,  about this aspect of Reformed Theology. I thought the interview was quite helpful and I do plan on reading the book as soon as it arrives.

Here is Chris Cooper’s question and VanDrunen’s answer and definition of the Two Kingdom theology:

Could you briefly define Two-Kingdoms Theology and explain how it differs from a transformationist approach to Christ and culture?

I like to describe the two kingdoms doctrine briefly as the conviction that God through his Son rules the whole world, but rules it in two distinct ways. As creator and sustainer, God rules the natural order and the ordinary institutions and structures of human society, and does so through his common grace, for purposes of preserving the ongoing life of this world. As redeemer, God also rules an eschatological kingdom that is already manifest in the life and ministry of the church, and he rules this kingdom through saving grace as he calls a special people to himself through the proclamation of the Scriptures.

As Christians, we participate in both kingdoms but should not confuse the purposes of one with those of the other. As a Reformed theologian devoted to a rich covenant theology, I think it helpful to see these two kingdoms in the light of the biblical covenants. In the covenant with Noah after the flood, God promised to preserve the natural order and human society (not to redeem them!), and this included all human beings and all living creatures.

But God also established special, redemptive covenant relationships with Abraham, with Israel through Moses, and now with the church under the new covenant. We Christians participate in both the Noahic and new covenants (remember that the covenant with Noah was put in place for as long as the earth endures), and through them in this twofold rule of God—or, God’s two kingdoms.

The “transformationist” approach to Christ and culture is embraced by so many people and used in so many different ways that I often wonder how useful a category it is. If by “transformation” we simply mean that we, as Christians, should strive for excellence in all areas of life and try to make a healthy impact on our workplace, neighborhood, etc., I am a transformationist.

But what people often mean by “transformationist” is that the structures and institutions of human society are being redeemed here and now, that is, that we should work to transform them according to the pattern of the redemptive kingdom of Christ. I believe the two kingdoms doctrine offers an approach that is clearly different from this.

Following the two kingdoms doctrine, a Christian politician, for example, would reject working for the redemption of the state (whatever that means) but recognize that God preserves the state for good purposes and strive to help the state operate the best it can for those temporary and provisional purposes.

If I’m understanding him correctly, then we do not vote for those who will turn the government back into the a theocracy. That should not be our goal. But that doesn’t mean that we do not work in politics as Christians. We are to be there living as Christians, seeking to serve as God calls us too, knowing that our service there may or may not lead to a more godly state. Go here to read the rest of the interview. I’m really looking forward to diving into this when the book arrives.

Debate: Calvinism — For or Against?

I heard about this debate from one of the men attending my church. I’m glad he mentioned it and glad I found it at Ed Stetzer’s site. It’s worth the listen, so play it in the background while you go about your work. I will post comments once I finish listening to it. Also, listen to it and see if there is something said by either side that really challenges your views.

Thoughts? After I listened to it, I saw what the man in my church told me about the debate. Michael Horton, who was defending Calvinism, kept referring to passage after passage, while Roger E. Olson just kept appealing to his logic. Not good.

One point that both Horton and Olson agreed upon were about those who try to claim to be “biblicist” as opposed to being Arminian or Calvinist. I saw this in my series in Answering an Arminian, where that writer tried to claim to be a Biblicist. I liked what both men pointed out is that the moment you open Scripture, read it and begin to interpret it, you start doing theology and that immediately puts you in one camp or the other. so this claim to be a “biblicist” is completely false. No one can just open Scripture and quote it without interpretation.

Jimmy Swaggert Gives Typical Misrepresentation of Calvinism

Jimmy Swaggert gives a fine misrepresentation of Calvinism. This is on Youtube as a “wonderful sermon,” but it’s not wonderful in the sense that it doesn’t represent the truth of what Calvin said, nor what Calvin believed.

What we believe is that Jesus death is only effectual for the elect, or those who believe. Yes, the number of elect is determined by God before the foundations of the world, based upon the immutable counsel of HIS will. Yes, the offer of salvation goes to all. This is why Jesus hung on the cross, outside the city on one of the main roads leading in and out of Jerusalem. God ordained that Jesus was there before all.

BUT, only those elected by the Father and born again by the Holy Spirit will believe in Christ and be saved (John 3). If God doesn’t move in them, they stay right where they are by their own free will, which Christ declares to us when He says that men do not come to the light because they love the darkness. They love the darkness because their deeds are evil. Therefore it takes the Holy Spirit blowing where He pleases in order to change the hearts and minds of those who would much rather sit in the darkness with the evilness of their sins than be saved.

Calvinist do agree with Swaggert that the gospel is to go to all. We would also agree that it is the responsibility of everyone, even those who have not heard, to trust in Christ for salvation. Where we disagree is on ability. The lost, even those who are of the elect, do not have the ability to believe with saving faith on their own. This is why Jesus declares that we must be born again. The Spirit must move in a person before they will believe, giving that person a new heart to believe, new ears to hear and new eyes to see. Otherwise they are dead in trespasses and sins and the beauty of the gospel means nothing to them.

Thanks be to the God and Father of Our LORD Jesus Christ that He does not leave us alone and that the Holy Spirit does blow where He pleases. Otherwise none would be saved and all would be lost. But by God’s grace, some are saved.

As for “just a few” as Swaggert declares, please note that Calvinist believe there are so many elect that they are uncountable. This is a fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham, that his descendants in the faith would be so numerous, they would be like the sand upon the sea shore. Again, another misrepresentation of Calvinism by a card-carrying Arminian.

UPDATE: If Swaggert wants to go off on people who say just a few will make it into heaven, then he really needs to look to Jesus Himself. Matthew 7:13-14 Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because[a] narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. This is the problem that so man Arminians have… that Bible keeps getting in the way of all their humanistic arguments.