There they were, talking theology again. It seemed like every time I went upstairs to the second floor of Lincoln Hall, I would find those four guys discussing theology. Travis Campbell was one of them. You can see him here discussing 10 Undisputed Facts About Jesus. As they would discuss theology, I would stand there and listen as long as possible. But truth be told, most of it was over my head.
They discussed things like predestination, the sovereignty of God, election, and man’s free will, or lack thereof (depending on how you define free will). I had a great deal of respect for the men who were in those debates, many have gone on to fruitful ministries.
I’m preaching through 1 Peter and decided to read Calvin’s Sermons on Ephesians for the corresponding passage dealing with wives submitting to their husbands. I love reading commentaries from men of Calvin’s generation in helping me understand how the text has been viewed in history given that our culture is so completely inundated with the idolatry of the individual, also known as radical feminism.
I was going to use the following quote but decided that it was too controversial in nature. Heidi told me it was what we call a “parachute illustration.” That comes from a fellow pastor, Grover Gunn, who used an opening sermon illustration that was so horrifying in its description that, I didn’t hear the rest of his sermon. That illustration involved a man who was parachuting with a group of others and his job was to film everyone else. As they were descending, one after another pulled their chute and he continued to fall. After the last of the group opened his chute, the view from the camera became erratic, and it started spinning. The man who was filming the others, forget to put his shoot on before jumping out of the plane. He fell to his death. But alas, the camera survived and we have this horrible story to share with our congregations.
From Charles Spurgeon’s sermon The Blood of the Everlasting Covenant, preached October 2nd, 1859.
Nothing which man has made is everlasting, because he cannot ensure it against decay. But as for the covenant of grace, well did David say of it, ‘It is ordered in all things and sure.’
…There is not an ‘if’ or a ‘but’ in the whole of it from beginning to end. Freewill hates God’s ‘shalls’ and ‘wills,’ and like man’s ‘ifs’ and ‘buts,’ but there are no ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ in the covenant of grace.
…Almighty grace rides victoriously over the neck of freewill, and leads it captive in glorious captivity to the all-conquering power of irresistible grace and love. It is a sure covenant, and therefore deserves the title of everlasting.
Furthermore, it is not only sure, but it is immutable. If it were not immutable it could not be everlasting. That which changes passes away. We may be quite sure that anything that has the word ‘change’ on it, will sooner or later die, and be put away as a thing of nought. But in the covenant (of grace) everything is immutable. Whatever God has established must come to pass, and not word, or line, or letter can be altered.
I never really know what to do when I get comments like the one below on a post or my blog. Robert, who is a first-time visitor, was able to discern from my posts that not only do I believe in original sin (see Romans 5:12) but also the fact that all are conceived in iniquity, therefore sinners, even at their conception (see Psalm 51:5).
In other words, there are no innocent children. No one is born with a clean slate. We are all born into iniquity. In fact, Paul shows us in Ephesians 2 that we “were all by nature children of wrath” until we were made alive by the Spirit of God. The implication is that this is what we are born into because of the fallen nature we inherited from Adam (original sin). We start life in the realm of Satan, the flesh and the world, and it is by God’s mercy that we are moved from being dead in our trespasses and sins, to a state of salvation and new life.
It is that time again, when we look back over the past year to see our accomplishments. For me personally, this is truly a wonderful exercise given how the LORD has worked in my life in the past year. A year ago, I was single, barely employed, and living with family. Now, I’m married to a wonderful woman, teaching urchins in the public schools, and currently looking for a house to buy. God’s hand has really been evident.
I have also seen some major accomplishments with my blog. Two major milestones were reached, the first was that this year has been the most popular since moving to WordPress back in 2010. The site crested more that 70,000 hits for the year and is currently approaching 77,000 hits.
Updating my blogroll use to happen far more frequently than it does now. I think that was because I was able to spend more time on blogging, reading as well as writing. I can no longer do that. I have barely enough time to write any posts at all, much less keep up with all the blogs I’ve subscribed to. The only reason I’m doing it now is because I cannot sleep.
If you have held Calvinistic positions on anything concerning Scripture for more than a minute, you know that the moment you voice such convictions, it will not take long for someone to make the claim that they disagree with you and “will not put God in a box.”
The irony is that the moment they say they will not put God in a box, is the moment they do. The problem with their box is that it is much worse than the box used by Calvinists because their feelings and emotions define the box they use, as opposed to the box used by Calvinists, which is scripture.
I hate surprise arguments, especially the ones that make no sense at all. I confess, the argument the Arminian made to me in my last debate so caught me off guard and surprised me that I was almost speechless. Given Proverbs about not answering a fool lest he think himself wise, I probably should have remained speechless.
I have been trying to write this article for several days now. I recently re-read J.I. Packer’s Introductory Essay to John Owen’s Death of Death in the Death of Christ. I first read the article about 15 years ago when I was an intern in Dallas.
Again, I was listening to another excellent sermon by Voddie Baucham yesterday and he pointed out the falsehood that so many use in their attempt to destroy the doctrine of election from 2 Peter 3:8-9.
But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us,[a] not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
Using verse 9 alone, many make the argument that God doesn’t want anyone to go to hell. They see it as support for their position that only the only people who go to hell are those who refuse to turn to Christ in repentance.