Friday, August 31, 2007

The Covenant Seed

The Covenant Seed
Author: tartanarmy (1:39 am)

The children of believing parents are included in the covenant.

The Covenant Seed
by Dr. Thomas Goodwin

That my scope may by all be fully understood, I have shut up the full sum and argument of the whole into this one proposition, that “The children of believing parents, at least their next and immediate seed, even of us Gentiles now under the gospel, are included by God within the covenant of grace, as well as Abraham's or David's seed within that covenant of theirs.” Both the proof and explication of which great point will run along together.

I will begin first to search out this right by that magna charta, that great and faithful charter which was made to Abraham, the father of the faithful, in the name of all his seed; for that is made the primary and fundamental ground of this great privilege by our divines, that we being ' Abraham's seed' (as Gal. iii. 29) as well as the Jews, and having the same covenant, are therefore ' heirs of the promise,' and so of that promise which was made to Abraham and the Jews: ' I will be the God of thee and of thy seed.'

But against this ground, as thus barely alleged, this exception hath often come thwart my mind, that this was Abraham's peculiar privilege, and an honour to him vouchsafed; as likewise was that to be styled the ' father of all the faithful,' which, as we all know, is to us incommunicable; and that therefore, although we may for our own persons indeed come into his promise as his seed, and so into that part of the promise, ' I will be the God of thy seed,' and so have the promise of God's being our God, and of the blessing by Christ for ourselves, as we are Abraham's seed, yet take the whole promise collectively made to him and us, “I will be the God of thee and of thy seed,” and it should seem to be peculiar to him alone, as to be the father of the faithful also is, by which title we are no way called, but only the sons of Abraham, and Abraham's seed.

It might have well sufficed us for our own persons to have come into his promise singly, and to be 'heirs according to the promise, as the phrase is, Gal. iii. 26, although we were not fathers also to convey the promise, as Abraham was; nor although the promise, as collectively taken, had belonged to us, as to Abraham it did, nor that part of the promise, “I will be the God of thy seed,” had been extended to us. And although the Jews, who were Abraham's seed after the flesh as well as after the Spirit, had that privilege also, that God in their generations pro­mised to be the God of them and their seed; yet that also may seem to be a special privilege proper to them, which we Gentiles cannot plead; for as in Rom. iii. 1, 'What advantage or prerogative had the Jews' but this, Rom. ix. 4, that 'to them pertaineth the adoption, and the covenant, and the promises,' as being those ' whose are the fathers after the flesh,' verse 5, and so they had this privilege, that the covenant was propagated by the flesh.

Now, in satisfaction to these two exceptions, although there must neces­sarily be granted a transcendent special honour and privilege vouchsafed to Abraham, and to the Jewish nation his seed, which we have not; yet withal a farther inquiry would be made, whether notwithstanding we Gentiles have not some correspondent sprinkling of this privilege of his and theirs, though of a lesser extent, and how far ours extendeth, in difference to that of theirs, and what further warrants there are for any such privilege to us Gentiles, who must have a charter and grant to shew for it if we would prove our seeds to be born heirs within the covenant, even as nobles and gentlemen have in & civil way for theirs; otherwise it will be the highest presumption in us to claim it, or to expect it at the hands of God.

First, then, to Abraham we grant this transcendent privilege, that he had the peculiar honour to be the ' father of all the faithful,' as Eve had the honour to be ' the mother of all living,' Gen. iii. 20, which being spoken by Adam after the promise to her seed made, ver. 15, may be interpreted in the same sense that Abraham's was; she was the ' mother of all living,' that is, that live spiritually and by faith, as Abraham was ' father of all the faith­ful,' the covenant running in her name at the first, as in Abraham's after­ward; and so Adam, in that his speech to Eve, uttered his faith in the promise made to her of her seed, and so in that respect Adam himself came in under her covenant.

Secondly, It was both Abraham's and the Jews' privilege also that they should have this promise to all generations, as Gen. xvii. For two thou­sand years the covenant to belong thus unto them, and to be entailed on them, and also that ' after the flesh Christ should come of them,' as Rom. ix. 5, and that they should be the root of our covenant, and we but engrafted on them as the 'natural branches,' Rom. xi.; and further, that after their eminent breaking off by unbelief, for well nigh two thousand years since, their covenant should be remembered, and for their fathers' sakes all Israel Should yet be saved, as in the same chapter. And as the place which be-there quotes out of Isaiah also promiseth that their seed's seed should be converted in a successive way from their second call to the world's end; and perhaps of every one, at least the most of that nation.

And indeed it hath seemed to me to be one reason why all that nation were outwardly holy (which no nation ever was) before Christ's time, that this might be a pro­phetic type that all should one day be inwardly and really holy. How transcendent a privilege is this, then, that they should have something peculiarly promised to them, which is evident even by this also, that Abra­ham and his seed had the peculiar promise of Canaan, which we Gentiles have not.

But yet let us search into the records of Holy Writ, if out of this their great charter, there be not a seal grant of a lesser, though like privilege, and this by virtue of Christ, in that we have the honour to be accounted Abraham's seed as truly as they; and likewise in that, to have the covenant entailed unto children is so great and spiritual a privilege, as would tend infinitely to the comfort of godly parents now, as then it did to theirs, to have our seed within the covenant, as theirs were.

Wherefore, though this was peculiar unto Abraham and them, to have an entail to them and to their seed for ever, yet that we should have our eyes and ears blessed with the hopes of our next seed (how far further I will not now dispute), as involved in this covenant, wag a meet mercy for God's free grace to vouch­safe to us Gentiles also. And seeing Abraham and they did partake of so great a privilege otherwise, it may well be hoped and expected, that so small sin one correspondent to theirs, God should vouchsafe to us Gentiles, upon whom the blessing of Abraham through Christ is come, in a conformity unto his blessing upon him and his.

And searching this, first, I find that this very privilege is given unto a Gentile convert by Christ himself, and founded upon this very ground, that he was a ' son of Abraham,' being become a believer. This we have, Luke xix., declared by Christ of Zaccheus when he was converted, who by all circumstances was a Gentile, and so the ancients carry it, for he was a pub­lican; and though some, yet but few Jews were such, because of the hatred of their own nation; yet he being a chief publican, was surely therefore a Gentile.

It being an office of trust to be chief custom-gatherer for the em­perors, they would be sure to put none into that office but a Gentile; and so I find out of antiquity, Cyprian and others quoted for it, that in those chief places of custom, none but equites Romani, Roman knights, were placed.* And whereas some object, that if Zaccheus had been a Gentile, that then the Jews would have clamoured against Christ for going in unto a Gentile, and that so professedly as under that notion, because a Gentile.

The answer is not far off, for, ver. 7, we read that they did quarrel him for it, ' they all murmured, saying, that he was gone to be a guest to a sinner,' that is, a Gentile; for the Jews usually called the Gentiles by the name of sinners, as Paul's phrase is, Gal. ii. 15, ' sinners of the Gentiles.' But then, further, that answer which Christ there gives unto their murmuring doth strengthen this, for he says of him, ' Inasmuch as he also is the son of Abraham,' ver. 9. The meaning of which words evidently is this, that he who is not by birth a son of Abraham, but a sinner, a Gentile, yet is made one now by grace; and when Zaccheus was thus converted, Christ enlargeth his covenant to Zaccheus his family also, ' This day is salvation come to this house, inasmuch as he is also the son of Abraham,' ver. 9.

This was spoken of him as now believing in Christ. Now if Christ's intent had been in this his answer given, to shew that he was a Jew, and so though a great sinner, yet was converted as being a son of Abraham (as some expound it), he would have made it the reason but of this only, why Zaccheus was saved himself personally; but he makes it the reason why his house should be saved also, and so the covenant stuck with them of his family likewise, because he the father of the family was now a believer; whereas had his children and family, being Jews by birth, and himself likewise, then salvation had come unto him and them all, because they all were sons of Abraham by birth (if Jews) as well as he.

So as it is evident, that as he was a Gentile by birth, so now being converted, is therefore called a ' son of Abraham ' and withal had this privilege of Abraham, as being his son (which is the point I allege this for), to have his house brought into the covenant, even of that of salvation, in conformity to his father Abraham, whose house at the first giving of that covenant, even children and all, were circumcised and saved upon that ground, Christ intending now he should go in to eat with him, to convert his household also.

And let me add this, that as Christ once before, in the conversion of the centurion, the first fruits of the Gentiles, Mat. viii., did first break open the treasury of the Gentile's conversion, so upon occasion of this man's conversion afterwards, he shews the privilege of the Gentiles, when converted, and their covenant to be the same with Abraham's in a conformity therewith; and so here first broacheth the doctrine of it, this man being the next first-fruits of the Gentiles, shewing how their covenant was to run by households, in a conformity to Abraham's family at first.

And, 2, Thus in like manner, when the apostles came to preach the gos­pel to a Gentile householder, master or father of a family, they carried the offer of it in this tenor, and in the way of this privilege, as a motive to con­version. So when Paul preached to the jailor, Acts xvi., he asking, ' What shall I do to be saved?' ver. 30, Paul answers, ' Believe on the Lord Jesus and thou shalt be saved;' and then addeth, ' thou and thine house.' As Christ published the covenant with these promises annexed to a Gentile converted already, to comfort him, so the apostles promulgate the offer of it to one to be converted, and being a master of a family, do declare his pri­vilege by this, that he should be a means to convey it to his house; and accordingly it fell out there, ver. 84, that ' he believed in God with all his house,' as Zaccheus and his household did here.

And, 3, in the New Testament we find in the event (which still answers to promises) that the gospel spread itself through whole households, this being the tenure of our covenant. So it is said of the centurion, a Gentile, Acts x. 2, that he was ' a devout man, fearing God, he and all his house;' so Lydia was converted, 'and all her house,' Acts xvi. IS, 16; so 1 Cor. i. 16, 'The household of Stephanas,' and perhaps intimated, at least some­times, in that usual phrase, ' the church in thy house.'

Now, then, when the covenant thus runs with the heads of houses for the families themselves, I argue thus from thence for their children, that they must needs be included and intended in a more special manner; for they are the natural branches, and servants but engrafted, as was said of the Jews and Gentiles in the like case. And ' the servant abides not always in the house, but the son ever abides in it,' John viii. 35. The house of Aaron and his children are put for one and the same, Ps. cxv. 12, 15. In like phrase of speech, Leah and Rachel, in bringing forth children, are said to ' build up the house of Israel,' Ruth iv. 11; and so the word house is used for posterity in all languages.

And for the further confirmation of this, namely, that this tenure of the Gentiles' covenant in a conformity to Abraham's, should run thus by fami­lies from the heads thereof, this doth fully suit with the original promise made to Abraham himself, when the Scripture foresaw, as Paul's phrase is, that the Gentiles should be justified, and so conveyed a blessing through Abraham unto them, as his seed. The promise (Gen. xii. 8) runs in these terms, ' In thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed;' as elsewhere, Gen. xviii. 18, and xxii. 18, it runs in these terms, 'All the nations of the earth shall be blessed.' These expressions are both used; the one to shew, the seed should be of all nations and people, yet so as withal the covenant was to run by families in those nations.

Therefore the New Testament quotes it in both senses: Gal. iii. 8 says, all nations, or heathens, because some of all nations shall be converted; but Peter, when he makes mention of the covenant, Acts iii. 25, though chiefly for the end to shew the Jews were the first children of the covenant, yet he expounds these words spoken to Abraham, ' In thy seed shall the families of the earth be blessed,' thus: 'In thy seed,' namely Christ (as ver. 20 he interprets it), ' all the fatherhoods or kindreds of the earth shall be blessed.' The word in the original is, 'fatherhoods of the earth; so he styleth families because of the father's covenant, through which Christ, the seed of Abraham, conveys his blessing.

And the psalmist, Ps. xxii. 27, speaking of the calling of the Gentiles by Christ, as the fruit of his death, when he says, ' All the ends of the earth shall turn unto him; and all the kindreds,' &c. The Septuagint also renders it, as Peter here, fatherhoods, and because it shall be derived sometimes by succession of birth, as a means of conveying the blessing, therefore, in the following 30th verse, he saith, 'a seed shall serve him'; that is, the posterity of those godly, who (as ver. 31) ' shall be born of them.'

Further, we see that in the calling of the Jews to come, God respects their fathers and their covenant though it be under the gospel; so Rom. xi. Yea, and the apostle quoteth for it that place of the prophet, Isa. lix. 20, 'The Redeemer shall come to Zion.' Now if we look into the words of the prophet prophesying of their call, how doth the promise of the new covenant made to them in that their call to come run ? More infallibly upon their seed than that former to Abraham's did. ' This is my covenant, my Spirit shall not depart out of the mouth of thy seed, and out of thy seed's seed, from hence­forth and for ever.' There will be in the new Jerusalem a continued suc­cession of sanctified ones, a seed's seed for ever; and not only of men con­verted when of ripe years, but when infants.

Therefore in Deut. xxx. (where God gives the covenant of the gospel, as appears by Rom. x., and that in opposition to the law given before, and expresseth it by way of prophesying what should fall out after their dispersion, as ver. 1), ho says, ' I will cir­cumcise thy heart, and the heart of thy seed,' ver. 6. You know whither the phrase circumcise leads, namely, to the sign and seal of it, which under the New Testament is baptism answering unto it. Their children's hearts he will circumcise, which is the fruit of baptism, as Col. ii. 12.

And further, that our covenant, as Abraham's seed, should run thus with us and our families, was most correspondent to that first example of the covenant then given to Abraham; for then the church was only in a family, and so the first giving of this covenant and the seal to confirm it, was estab­lished with a family through Abraham the father of it. And this was (as all knew) the primitive and natural church way, under the law of nature afore Moses, unto which therefore for ever God hath suited this family covenant, and in Abraham ratified and sanctified it to the end of world, he being con­stituted the father of all the faithful, both Jews and Gentiles; and accordingly he and his family were made the prototype of this covenant, God then blessing all families of believers, and the fathers thereof, in blessing that of his through him the father of it, even as God blessed all mankind in Adam and Eve, Gen. L, for increase and multiplying, as being the root and first sampler.

And the reason why God chose this of a family to convey the covenant by was, that this society was the only natural society of all others, and there­fore God did always choose it throughout all states of the church. Thus when the church was national among the Jews, then was this way in force: 'I and my house will serve the Lord,' said Joshua; so David, Ps. ci. And when, under the New, the institution was to consist of many believers meet­ing in one place for public worship, yet this still remains, a church in the house also. God herein engrafting (as he uses to do grace on nature, in our spirits, when he converts us), so his covenant of grace upon this cove­nant of nature to run in the channel of it.

And let me add this further observation, that in Abraham's family his ser­vants that were Gentiles, if they had children, those children were circum­cised, as fore-running pledges and types that both we and our children, who are Gentiles and strangers, were engrafted into this covenant, it held forth this our privilege to come, that in Abraham the Gentiles' seed (as well as Abraham's own) should be blessed in him.

Beyond Belief Conference!

Beyond Belief Conference!
Author: tartanarmy (11:51 pm)

I do not know if anyone has the stomach to watch over 15 hours of lecture/discussion/debate amongst some of the worlds leading Atheists and Scientists, but I actually found it fascinating.

The whole conference was about faith and God/religion, and it was at times like watching an extremist fundamentalist gathering of sad worshippers with zealous preaching that would make Benny Hinn jealous!

Here is a clip with two Atheists arguing that I found most interesting.
One of them is the hard line anti-Christian, anti-reason, anti-tolerant Sam Harris, who is here on the defensive from an actual Scientist, which of course Harris is not!


If anyone wants the links to the 10 part videos, please let me know!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Something stinks!

Something stinks!
Author: tartanarmy (4:58 am)

I do not know what is going on, but something stinks.
Here in Australia, we never have protests, well nothing worth noting, except maybe the race riots last year, but that was a flash in the pan.

But the hype about this whole APEC thing has something about it that I cannot quite put my finger on.
We are getting a huge fence put in around the city centre, and yesterday we had these $600,000 water blasting tanker engines displayed on all the news networks, issuing stern warnings to the public regarding protests etc...

Now what on earth is going on? Something is not right and I have a bad feeling and a sudden distrust of my political leaders and their Police.
None of this makes any sense whatsover..

Read Here

And here

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Sovereignty of God

The Sovereignty of God
Author: tartanarmy (4:01 am)

What a blessing!

Something to relate to!

Something to relate to!
Author: tartanarmy (3:56 am)

Passion for Doctrine!

A change of pace from Piper!

A change of pace from Piper!
Author: tartanarmy (3:41 am)

The prosperity gospel....

Speaking of false Profit$!

Speaking of false Profit$!
Author: tartanarmy (11:57 pm)


Do you think they are taking what your saying and incorporating that into foreign policy?

Wow! Makes you wonder....

Oh yeah, the anchor person ends with the following words,


You both scare me and fascinate me!

That is what I have been saying for years about this false Christianity. The message is designed to scare and intrigue the wordling!

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, not the fear of the rapture or the Iranians and Russians ganging up on a piece of soil in the Middle East!

Every Christians duty!

Every Christians duty!
Author: tartanarmy (10:22 pm)

Expose the works of darkness.
Benny Hinn exposed!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Million dollar question!

Million dollar question!
Author: tartanarmy (3:27 am)

Steve Gregg has made this interesting assertion, and I have heard Arminians say this before as if it gets at the root issue.


Arminians do not suggest that man makes the first move toward God...this would be more a description of Pelagianism. Most non-Calvinists believe that it is necessary for God to convict and draw the sinner before the latter will move toward Him.

Steve Gregg

Here is my question.

Does God do this convicting and drawing to all sinners?

Truth is often found in the details.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Potters Freedom.

The Potters Freedom.
Author: tartanarmy (5:23 am)

Numerous biblical passages can be cited that plainly teach the divine truth that God predestines men unto salvation. John 6:35-45, Romans 9:10-24, and 2 Timothy 1:8-10 all teach this truth. But I shall focus first upon the classicus locus, Ephesians 1:3-11, for my initial exegetical defense of this divine truth. As space permits, I will then briefly address Romans 9 and John 6. I invite the interested reader to follow along. I shall use as my base text the Nestle-Aland 27th edition of the Greek New Testament. English translations are my own.

Sorry about the Greek fonts, I will try to figure it out.

Ephesians 1

Paul begins this tremendous introduction to his letter with a word of blessing addressed to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (1:3). All of salvation comes from the Father, its source, and its end. It is the Father who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. Immediately we encounter three vital truths: 1) God is the one who has blessed us (we did not bless ourselves); this is seen in recognizing that oJ eujloghvsa" refers to the Father specifically; 2) that Paul is not speaking of all mankind here, but specifically of the redeemed, for he uses the personal pronoun hJma'" (us) when speaking of the scope of the blessing of the Father; we will see this is continued throughout the text; and 3) the phrase ejn Cristw' (in Christ) or its equivalent in Him, is central to Paul's thought. All of salvation takes place only "in Christ."

Verse 4 is central to our subject: "just as He chose us in Him before the creation of the world so that we should be holy and blameless before Him."

Again the Father is in view, for He is the one who chose us (hJma'", accusative, indicating direct object of "to choose"). This choice is exercised only in Christ (there is no salvation outside of the Son). It is vital to recognize the personal aspect of this choice on the part of God the Father. The passage says that we were chosen by God the Father, not that a mere "plan" was chosen, or a "process" put in place. The choice is personal both in its context (in the Son) and in its object (the elect). Next, the time of this choice by the Father is likewise important: before the creation of the world. This is a choice that is timeless. It was made before we were created, and therefore cannot possibly be based upon anything that we ourselves do or "choose."

This is sovereignty--free and unlimited.

God does nothing without a purpose. Both the means, and end, are in view. God chooses the elect to the end that they should be "holy and blameless before Him." God is redeeming for Himself a people, and no power in heaven or earth can stop Him from accomplishing His intention.

Paul continues to expand upon the nature of the Father's choice: "In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will" (v. 5). This is the first appearance of the word "predestined" in the text. The exact same term (proorivzw) is used in verse 11 as well. The meaning of the term is not ambiguous, no matter how hard some might try to avoid its impact. It means "to choose beforehand" or "to predestine."

In this context, it is unquestionably personal in its object, for again we find hJma'" as the direct object of the action of predestination. This is truly the key element of this [issue], for grammatically there is no escape from the plain assertion here made: God the Father predestined us. He did not predestine a plan, He did not merely predestine a general conclusion to all things, but He chose us and predestined us. The "us" of Ephesians 1:5 is the "we" of Ephesians 1:11 and the "elect" of Romans 8:33 and those who are "given" by the Father to the Son in John 6:37.

Often we are asked "upon what basis does God choose one person, and leave another in their sins?" Paul answers in 1:5b-6, "according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace which he freely gave us in the Beloved One." We note that there is nothing whatsoever here about man doing anything. Instead, we have the good pleasure of God's will, nothing more. And this is perfectly logical, for, as Paul says, this is to result in the praise of His glorious grace. If salvation were the result of man's choosing God (rather than God choosing man), then God's grace would not be the sole and sufficient basis for salvation, and it would not, therefore, be the object of our praise in eternity to come. But Paul here sums it all up for us, indicating that the basis is solely God's will, and therefore all praise and honor and glory will go to God's glorious grace, that grace whereby the elect of God are saved, and will persevere into the eternal state. Such a truth is utterly shattering to human pride, and to all systems of works salvation. But it is the truth nonetheless.

And note as well: again hJma'" appears, this time as the direct object of the free giving of God's grace. This is saving grace, efficient grace, that actually accomplishes the salvation of its object. And hence, it is given to the redeemed, to the elect, and they alone. This is no mere "common grace" given to all: this is specific, saving grace. And, as is his constant strain throughout this opening passage of Ephesians, Paul emphasizes once again the fact that this saving grace is only in Christ, here described as "the beloved One."

Having mentioned Christ, the beloved Son of the Father, Paul goes on to assert that it is in Him alone that we (again the elect, this time found in the first person plural ending of e[comen) have, present tense, redemption through His blood (literally, the redemption), which Paul then re-describes appositively as "the forgiveness of our sins."

The standard of God's forgiveness is said to be "according to the riches of His grace," which surely means that there is no limitation to the scope, nor power, of Christ's redeeming blood. This grace, verse 8 goes on to say, was "lavished" on us, or "super-abounded" toward us (the now almost ubiquitous hJma'" once again); obviously, it has not so abounded toward all, hence, again, the specificity of Christ's work of salvation, including His work of atonement, is seen.

In the next phrases (1:8b-10), Paul explains the centrality of Christ, both in the work of redemption as well as in the revelation of God's intention, will and purpose. All is summed up in Christ, Paul says. The Father's will is that everything be done in Christ. This "mystery of His will" He has made known to us (here hJmi'n, dative, because of gnwrivsa").

We come then, far too quickly, to the eleventh verse... "In Him (that is, in Christ) also we have been claimed as God's own possession, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the council of His own will."

Note how this passage functions as a "bookend" to sum up the preceding section:

1) The Father's work of salvation takes place exclusively in the realm of the Son, "in Him." It is in Christ that we have "been claimed as God's own possession," that is, have received the promised inheritance, though the emphasis is upon the God-ward side of this transaction, not the human side. The concept of "God's own possession" comes up again in verse 14. The elect are God's people, "a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds" (Titus 2:14).

2) Those who are God's people are so because they were "predestined." Again, no ambiguity exists in the meaning of the term, nor its use in the passage. [Some believe] that God had predestined a plan in this verse. I [point] out to [them] that proorisqevnte" is an aorist passive participle, 1st person plural. A "plan" would call for a singular form, not a plural form. Why is it plural? Because is it referring back to "we have been claimed…." The subject of the participle is found in the plural ending of ejklhrwvqhmen.

It cannot be a "plan" but is a people, God's people, the elect, who are here plainly seen to be the object of God's act of predestination.

3) The basis for God's choice is again removed from the human realm and placed squarely and inalterably in the divine. God chooses on the basis of His own purpose (not on the basis of what we do). When Paul speaks of God's purpose, He attaches a clause that describes his God. Literally, it would read, "the all things working according to the council of His will One." The emphasis in the clause is on ta; pavnta, "all things." God works all things after the council of His will. Not some things, not most things, but all things. This is true in all aspects of His creation: the God Paul proclaims is sovereign over all things, is in control of all things, and all things exist at His command, and for His purpose. That is why the Psalmist could say, "Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, In heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps" (Psalm 135:6).

Paul then applies this eternal truth to his immediate audience, those who were "the first to hope in Christ." Thanks be to God that He has continued to draw His elect over the ages, so that we living in our present day can likewise join with them in hoping in Christ, and hence resound to the "praise of His glory." But I hasten to emphasize: His glory is only praised when His complete sovereignty in salvation is plainly seen and proclaimed. Even saving faith in Christ is a gift of God given to the elect.

Men dare not intrude upon God's sole glory: and that is exactly what we see in those systems that attempt to place man in control of God, and make God dependent upon man and the puny creature's will in the matter of redemption.

Romans 9

Space will demand a less in-depth look at my other two passages, Romans 9 and John 6. Both, however, will be seen to repeat the same concepts found in Ephesians 1.

The relevance of Romans 9 is obvious upon the most casual reading.

It comes on the heels of a passage that again uses the specific term "predestined" of the elect people of God (8:29-33). Paul begins by illustrating God's electing grace in the patriarchs of the Jewish people, proving, thereby, that the Jews have no basis upon which to complain now that God, in His grace, has chosen to extend His covenant mercies to the Gentiles as well. Paul points to Jacob and Esau (9:10-13) as an example of this: "before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad" God said, "the older will serve the younger." Why does Paul emphasize that this was said before the birth of the twins, and before they had done anything good or bad?

The text is plain: "in order that God's purpose according to election would stand—not on the basis of works, but on the basis of the One calling." God's purpose in election will stand, infallibly. The choice of Jacob over Esau was not on the basis of the actions of the twins (indeed, both showed themselves unworthy by their sinful attitudes of any of God's blessings). Instead, the basis is always found in God, "the One calling." Because of this, it is written in Scripture, "Jacob I loved, and Esau I hated."

It is fascinating to note that Paul had obviously heard all the objections against the Gospel many times before. He includes an "imaginary objector" in this section to voice all the common complaints about God's absolute sovereignty and man's complete dependence upon Him. Fallen man outside of Christ hates the truth that God is the Potter, we are the clay. The unregenerate heart rebels against such a truth. When we read, "Jacob I loved, Esau I hated," we say, "that is not fair! That is unjust!" And indeed, Paul immediately voices that objection, and then answers it as well. But before looking at his answer, do remember this: the amazing thing about the statement "Jacob I loved and Esau I hated" is not that God hated Esau: Esau was a sinner, an enemy of God, and God's wrath abides upon anyone still in their sins. The amazing thing about the statement is "Jacob I loved." That is grace undeserved.

"What will we say, then? There is no injustice with God, is there?" (v. 14). As soon as sovereignty is seen, man cries foul. Paul's answer is quick: "May it never be! For he said to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.' Therefore it does not depend on the one who wills, neither on the one who runs, but on God, who shows mercy." The NET translates it, "it does not depend on human desire or exertion, but on the mercy of God." In either case, the actions and will of man are utterly removed from consideration by Paul's response. God's choice is totally free. Mercy and compassion cannot be demanded of the Righteous Judge of all. They must be free. Rather than defending the "freedom of man," the truly regenerate heart should be jealous for the freedom of God instead.

The Scriptures go on to illustrate this truth in the life of Pharaoh. Paul asserts (9:17) that God raised up Pharaoh for a specific purpose: that God's name might be proclaimed in all the earth. Again the rebellious heart cries out in complaint, while the believer bows in humble adoration. "May I be used only to bring honor and glory to the name of my God" is the cry of the broken heart. So Paul goes on to press the point home in verse 18, "Therefore He has mercy on whom He wishes; but He likewise hardens whom He wishes." How much more plainly can it be stated? The context is clearly personal: Pharaoh was a person, as were Jacob and Esau. God shows mercy to individuals, and, likewise, whether we like it or not, He hardens individuals as well. This is predestination, plain and clear.

Of course, immediately the creature rebels and cries out (v. 19), "Why does He still find fault? Who has ever resisted His will?" The clay attempts to demand of the Potter a reason for His actions. The creature climbs onto the throne of the Creator and acts as if he has a right to be there. Make no mistake: this response, natural as it is for the sinful heart, is, itself, a symptom of sin, and is an act of rebellion. As Paul will point out, it is as foolish as a cup demanding its Maker give an account for its size, color, or shape. Cups have no such rights, and neither does the creature, man...

As the NET renders it, "But who indeed are you—a mere human being—to talk back to God?" More traditionally, "Who are you, O man, to answer back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, ‘Why did you make me like this,' will it?" The answer is devastating, but only when, by grace, your heart is "given ears to hear" what it is saying. It is a shattering experience to really come to see yourself as you are: a creature, formed and made by another for His own purposes (not yours!), utterly dependent upon Him. There is no room for pride in such a truth—and so the natural man rejects it, and indeed, in my experience, hates it. Man is the "thing molded." God is the molder. God is God, man is man...

Paul presses onward to his conclusion: "Or does not the Potter have authority over the clay, to make from the same lump of clay one vessel for honorable use, and yet another for common use?" His illustration is striking. Potters have full authority to do with a lump of clay whatever they wish. It is irrational to insist that the potter has to make from one lump of clay all honorable vessels or all common ones. He can do what he wishes.

But what bothers us so tremendously here is the obvious fact that we are the vessels formed from clay! And we have no say over the purpose for which we have been made: that is the right of the Potter.

Paul goes on in verses 22-23, "What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath made for destruction, in order that He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy which He prepared beforehand for glory?" Who are these vessels prepared beforehand for glory? The elect of God, the people He has redeemed for His own name's sake. It is hard to see how Paul could have been any more clear, any more direct in his presentation of the absolute sovereignty of God in election.

John 6

It has been my experience over the years that some people... have an implicit distrust in "things Pauline." Hence, it would be good, very briefly, to demonstrate that the Apostle Paul was simply presenting the same truths enunciated by the Lord Himself in the synagogue at Capernaum. Here is the relevant passage, John 6:35-40, 44-45:9

Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. The one coming to Me will never hunger, and the one believing in Me will never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet you do not believe. All that the Father gives to me will come to Me, and the one coming to Me I will never cast out, for I have come down out of heaven not to do My own will, but the will of the One who sent Me. This is the will of the One who sent Me: that of all that He has given Me I lose none of it, but instead raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone looking on the Son and believing in Him should have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day. . . . No one is able to come to Me unless the Father, who sent Me, draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day. It stands written in the prophets: and they shall all be taught by God. Every one who hears from the Father and learns comes to Me."

Every word the Lord Jesus speaks is filled with meaning. He introduces Himself as the bread of life, the only true source of spiritual nourishment. Yet, the Jews do not believe. Why? The very incarnate Son of God was standing right in front of them! Why would they not believe? Because, as Jesus explained in John 10:26, they were not of His "sheep." They were not given to Him by the Father, for all that the Father gives to the Son will, without question, without failure, come to Him. Note that for the Father to be able to give men to the Son we must be talking about the same Father of Ephesians 1 and Romans 9: the sovereign God who is maker and creator of men, not merely an exalted man. He has the sovereign right to give certain men to Christ, but not others.

Those who are given come: those who are not do not. The divine order is clear: God's giving of men to the Son precedes and determines their coming to Christ. First comes the action of God, and then the action of men. God acts, man responds, never the other way around, in the matter of salvation.

The security of the elect is plainly seen in this text: Christ will never cast out the one who has been given to Him by the Father and has come to Him as a result; indeed, it is the very will of the Father that the Lord Jesus lose nothing of all that has been given to Him!

What a wonderful promise to realize that the Lord Jesus will never fail to do the Father's will, and hence, the salvation of God's people is as sure as the power, purity, and purpose of the very Son of God Himself!

Briefly, the final verses likewise present the utter sovereignty of God in predestination. Jesus makes it clear: No one has the ability to come to Him unless something else happens: the drawing of the Father. Now, many would say, "Well, the Father draws everyone." That is untrue. The Father draws the elect, including the elect of all nations and tribes and tongues and peoples.

Even this passage makes this clear, as it is obvious that all who are drawn are also raised up on the last day, a phrase that in John is equivalent to being given eternal life. Hence, here we are told that God draws the elect to Christ, and outside of that effectual drawing, there is no person who will come to Christ. Indeed, as Paul said, "there is no God-seeker" (Romans 3:11).


The thesis [here] is clear: does the Bible teach predestination? The answer is obvious: yes, it does. It teaches the specific, personal, individual predestination of the entire body of the elect people of God. God chooses the objects of His mercy and grace, and others He leaves in their sin and rebellion.

Adapted from a debate by James White.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Eternity, time and Open Theism.

Eternity, time and Open Theism.
Author: tartanarmy (3:53 am)


Yes, God is eternal. But this may mean only that He always existed and shall always continue to exist. The word "eternal" may mean nothing more than this. It does not tell us what He knows or does not know about the future. There are other theological terms for those ideas.

Steve Gregg

This statement speaks volumes and does not understand what eternal or "eternity" means from a Biblical worldview.
How do we understand eternity with reference to God?

Does the word God and the word eternity in the same sentence have any kind of relational aspect to one another?

For Open Theists, and I am now reasonably sure that Steve Gregg has all but yet publicly embraced this position, the idea that makes God "subject" to this concept called eternity.
Specifically, that their is some kind of time aspect to eternity, that has God limited "in time" by both knowledge and ability.

Of course, from a Biblical worldview, the concept of eternity has nothing to do with time. In fact, eternity means time-less, or without time.
To be absent of time etc.

So for Mr Gregg to suggest that "eternal" simply means always existed is a misuse of the word eternal.

In one simple statement Steve Gregg knowingly or unknowingly pulls the wool over our eyes. He does so with a half truth, namely that God has always existed.

However, in stating that truth, he changes/confuses what the word eternity itself means, and uses that to introduce Open Theism in the back door unannounced.

If you are a wee bit confused, simply think about eternity and time. Think about death and time, and then think about why there is no death in eternity.

Yes, it is because there is no time in eternity. Time is a created thing, which is inseparably linked to space and matter. Eternity is something altogether different and yet is real. I know it is a hard concept for us time bound spatial people to grasp, but it is a Biblical worldview and one that is consistent.

Of course, such a position that God may be bound to time is not orthodox, hence not even remotely Biblical. That is the Open View at it's crux.

The orthodox view has time itself as a created thing and hence views God as outside and distinct to time as a part of His creation.
Think of an Artist who is not "in his painting" but rather separate and certainly distinct from it.

To further illustrate, consider the following questions. “On what page of Hamlet could I find Shakespeare?” or “which page of Hamlet comes before Shakespeare?”
God is beyond time; He did not come into existence at some point within time.

And that orthodox view rests upon the foundation of scripture alone. (Revelation 22:13, Genesis 1:1, II Peter 3:8, Psalm 90:2, 1 Corinthians 2:7, 2 Timothy 1:9, Titus 1:2, Jude 1:25 and many more)

It is philosophical in nature, and yet men like Mr Gregg have the audacity to accuse reformed Christians of the very same charge!
Oh the irony.

Hence, what we are presented with is a different God to the one clearly presented in scripture.
Different God = Different religion.
Open theism is the logical outcome of inconsistent Arminianism, another aberration upon Biblical theology.

I warn you, that if you buy into this Open View of God, you shall shipwreck your faith and maybe even your very soul.

The Following is a list, by category, of verses used by Open Theists to support their position that God does not know all things.

Be prepared to give an answer.

1. God changes His mind
1. Exodus 32:14; Numbers 14:11; Deuteronomy. 9:13–14, 1 Samuel 2:29-30; 2 Kings 20:1–6; 1 Chronicles 21:15; Jeremiah 18:7–11; Jeremiah 26:3; Jeremiah. 26:19; Ezekiel 33:13–15; Ezekiel 20:21–22; Amos 7:1–6; Jonah 1:2; 3:2, 4–10; Joel 2:13–14;

2. God regrets
1. Genesis 6:6; 1 Samuel 15:10-11; Ezekiel 22:29–31

3. God is surprised
1. Isaiah 5:3–7; Jeremiah 3:6-7; 19–20

4. God didn't know what people would do
1. Jeremiah 7:31; Jeremiah 19:5; Jeremiah 32:35

5. God tests people to learn what they will do
1. Genesis 22:12; Exodus 16:4; Deuteronomy 8:2; Deuteronomy 13:1–3; Judges 2:21-22; 2 Chronicles 32:31.

6. God shows uncertainty about the future
1. Exodus 4:9; Exodus 13:17; Numbers 14:11; Hosea 8:5; Jeremiah 38:17–18,20; Ezekiel. 12:1–3



Friday, August 10, 2007

Give me a home where the Buffaloes ROME!

Give me a home where the Buffaloes ROME!
Author: tartanarmy (4:40 am)


But is it not fascinating, in a sad sort of way, that when it comes to Rome and its claims, the clarity of thought, the laser-like precision of thinking, that is supposed to mark Frank Beckwith...collapses?
James White

The Buffaloes have stampeded and James is the target as usual.
Man, I have been trying to keep up with the recent discussions over at Stand To Reason, particularly between James White and Frank Beckwith, the recent convert to Rome. (Though I am not convinced the man actually ever left Rome)

But here is my amazement. I had never ever heard Beckwith before, and was lead to believe the man was some kind of intelligent, visionary scholar.
I listened to him on air with Greg Koukl, and I must say I was utterly flabbergasted at this reputed great Theologian, one Mr Beckwith.
The man sounded like a below average student in a small Sunday school class. I kid you not, listen for yourselves in the link provided below.
But I did notice his writing prowess seems to at least do him some justice, but even there, just a more polished stream of nonsensical statements filled with philosophical babble. Certainly not clarity nor straightforwardness, for a man who's reputation precedes him, I was astonished.

And the main thread at Stand To Reason blog.

And The Interview itself, in part from the Dividing Line.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Speaking of things Skeptical

Speaking of things Skeptical
Author: tartanarmy (2:04 am)
Debate: "Is the Atheistic Woldview Superior to Christianity?"

Interesting debate fresh from Gene Cook Jnr. Well worth a listen to.
I do love presuppositional Christian Apologetics!!

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

For the Aussie Christians regarding "The Lost Tomb of Jesus"

For the Aussie Christians regarding "The Lost Tomb of Jesus"
Author: tartanarmy (1:03 am)

Yes, the Discovery Channel documentary found its way onto network television here in Australia, so I simply provide a link here that has numerous articles and a book refuting this lame Gnostic pile of Pseudo-scholarship.

Friday, August 03, 2007

The Passion of the Christ: Motives Revealed

The Passion of the Christ: Motives Revealed
Author: tartanarmy (6:47 pm)

A year before the film came out, I had been saying what is now even clearer, in the DVD of The Passion, the new release “Definitive Edition” .
I was castigated by fellow Christians back on the Old Dialogue Box forums for my negative views about this film and my warnings, so it is very interesting to hear that the "“Definitive Edition” " DVD clearly exposes it's agenda.

I see that Gerry Matatics is one of the contributors along with Mel Gibson!


click here for the link

see this too!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Archive to all the Critiques on Steve Gregg

Archive to all the Critiques on Steve Gregg
Author: tartanarmy (6:53 pm)

Below is a link to Dr James White's recent updated archive regarding Steve Gregg.