Sunday, September 30, 2007

Plodding on at Steve Gregg's board....

Plodding on at Steve Gregg's board....
Author: tartanarmy (11:10 pm)

Still discussing issues here with Steve and others.

Did not last long..I have been banned.

The last post from the board Open Theist is for me, and it says


I think those who post here have been very patient with the man, and have exhibited Christ-like attitudes in your responses.

Steve has been patient, reprimanding him and warning him many times. I
think he has been given every opportunity to conduct himself in a respectful and Christ-like manner. But he did not change.

There is a proverb that might be somewhat applicable:

Proverbs 29:1 He that, being often reproved, stiffeneth his neck shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.

Wow! This threat, for defending the simple fact that Christ shall save His people and that He is an actual Redeemer rather than a potential Redeemer .

The battleline seems obvious from where I am standing on this issue.

And as Steve Gregg has banned me and also asked me a question, I respond here.



You wrote to Homer:

"You pervert the Word of God and I will prove it yet again.
Jesus says that 'NO MAN' can come to Him. Joh 6:44 and repeats it again in John 6:65...So Homer, if Jesus clearly says that 'NO MAN' can come to Him, what perversion of His Words will you offer in response?"

Just curious. Why do you say that Jesus said no man can come to Him? The verses you cite indicate that some men come to Him, but only in response to the drawing of the Father. Therefore, some men do come to Him, but only because of God's drawing. That is stated in the verses you selected.

It is your assertion that the drawing of the Father is restricted to those who have been elected beforehand to be drawn, while others are not being drawn. It seems equally likely that all men are drawn (John 1:9; 12:32), and some actually come. The rest resist the drawing (John 3:19/ Matt.23:37/2 Thess.2:10). If all men are drawn, then any might come, according to your verses.

You also wrote:

"But, I am just quoting the text and exegeting it in context and using valid hermeneutical principals [sic]. I am consistent and you are not. "

Could you give an example of a text that you have exegeted in this thread, and identify which hermeneutical principles you employed?
In Jesus,

Steve, if all are drawn as indicated by you above, then all shall be raised up on the last day according to the valid hermeneutical principals employed in John 6.

Are all raised up on the last day?

No, the group called is the same group raised on the last day. Only the elect are called efficaciously and raised on the last day to eternal life.

All men resist the call of the Holy Spirit, but Jesus teaches that some men shall be effectually called, and I have more than proven the case at your boards with regards to John 6.
You want all men called with the focus upon some men having a better ability to choose than other men.

Away with such a man centred gospel, for it perverts the truth that God alone provides salvation for His people, and it is by grace, through faith and not of yourselves, but the free gift of God.
Monergism vs Synergism Steve, and you are on the wrong end of the battle sadly, and now you have decided to close the matter in a less than open handed way.

You hide behind a wall of self righteousness and ignorance and lead others into profound errors, including the heresy of Open Theism.

I have opposed your doctrine from the start nearly three years ago when I engaged you, and I will continue to do so, praying that God will open your eyes to His amazing grace, and that you will cease and desist from promoting a man centred theology and being Open to Open Theism. God help those influenced by you and your teachings.



The last couple of posts from the same thread nearly floored me!


Its too bad that he couldn't behave.

However, could we address his last post here?

For instance, why do the 2 calls of God as he describes them support Calvinism?
It seems that a non-Calvinist would also agree that there is an outward and an inward call.

Anyone want to take a shot?


Then This!


Hi Dave, Smile

You wrote:
Anyone want to take a shot?

Personally, it just gets too weird for me.

God, imo, is a Person (a personal being!) -- NOT -- some kind of "Universal Rationale" or "Cosmic First Cause," THE ULTIMATE MIND (gets sorta new-agey huh?), imo. Augustine was a Manichean and a Neo-Platonist: Go figure >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Idea

True, there is a kind of "outward call" via when the Gospel is preached (you hear the words when they go in your ears). And I suppose there might be some sort of "inside of me call" when I really hear HIM (talking to me personally).

Rinnnng, Rinnnng, Rinnnng: Hello? << How odd is that?
(Wait a minute...did I "will" that they call me...or did they "will" I answer the phone...or could I have chosen to not answer it even if they "willed" I HAD to...or Wait: Was I totally deaf my whole life? but suddenly could hear the phone ring? coz who called me "willed" it? or WHAT)???????


To me it's (precisely the same as) talking to another person coz God is a Person....
Why does anyone have to analyze that: God used His people to "talk to me for the first time" (they proclaimed the Good News, I heard it, heard HIM in the insides of me, and believed)? I know I don't. Why?

Paul said what I mean right here:

2 Thess (ESV)
2:13 And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.

Jesus sed, Paul sed, a guy who witnessed to me (a lot) later sed.......

Dave, I feel talking with God is about like you reading my posts & me yours -- it's a personal exchange -- not all that complicated, to me. Not at all, really. Btw, did you "hear the call" of this post? lol Wink (Also, and this is pretty important (sarcasm): You don't HAVE to post back. Rilly, you don't: Unless ya wanna).....Right? ROFLMArminianismOff!!!

Anyways, I can't stand too much of this kind of stuff (though I did take it upon myself to study Calvinism as one of my relatives is a Calvinist preacher...and it about drove me BONKERZ).

It makes God seem like A ROBOT and me some kind of "cog" or something, or a computer chip or whatever, Shocked, cept I'm a person, just like: GOD.

P.S. This may not say much about my "orthodoxy"...but I've wondered that: If I had to become something other than what I am and had the choices of: JW, Mormon, or Calvinist; all three options would be difficult...and the last one is probably impossible (I'll put it like that & leave it there)......

Incredible really. Maybe those that say we are talking about different religions, actually have a point!


Thursday, September 27, 2007

"Limited Atonement - is it Biblical?"

"Limited Atonement - is it Biblical?"
Author: tartanarmy (12:28 am)

Question: "Limited Atonement - is it Biblical?"

Answer: Limited Atonement, or Particular Redemption, is the most controversial doctrine in Calvinism. Limited Atonement simply teaches that Christ’s atoning work on the cross was not to redeem the whole world but to redeem only those given to the Son before the foundation of the world. Christ’s atonement was powerful enough to redeem any number of individuals, even the whole world, but it is only aimed to redeem those who are chosen by God before the foundation of the world. That means, no matter how hard it is to accept, Jesus did not die for every single person on the cross. It is very clear that Christ died for many (Isaiah 53:12; Matthew 20:28, 26:28), the church (Ephesians 5:25), the sheep (John 10:15), and those who will live for righteousness (1 Peter 2:24).

There are many important things to be reminded of when viewing the atonement. First, it is very important to always view Limited Atonement through the eyes of Unconditional Election. If a person really considers the truth of Unconditional Election, then one sees the logical fallacy of saying that Christ died for everyone! Why would Christ die for those who will never be cleansed by His blood (1 Peter 3:18)? Are Christ and the Father not in unity? Is the Trinity confused? Did Jesus want to die for all when the Father wanted to save only some? If a person is not part of the elect then they will irrevocably remain in their willful unbelief and will eternally perish. They will never be cleansed by the blood of Christ! Why then would Christ spill His blood for those who will never be cleansed by it? He didn't! He died only for the sins of those who will believe according to the will of God.

Second, it is vital for someone to understand that, unless you are a universalist, or if you believe that a man doesn’t go to heaven unless he is cleansed by the blood of Christ, then you believe in a limited atonement because you don’t believe everyone goes to heaven. The question then becomes not “Is the atonement limited?” but “How is the atonement limited?” Is the atonement limited by the free will of man or the free will of God? The answer is found in the definition of “atonement.” If Christ atoned for the sins of everyone, then everyone goes to heaven. For that is the meaning of “atonement.”

To atone for sin is to clear sin from a person. "Atone" or "Atonement" in the Bible is primarily the Hebrew word "kaphar." "Kaphar" means "to cover over," "to pacify," or "to make propitiation for." "Propitiation" ("hilasmos") in the New Testament means "to appease." In 1 John 2:2, if by, "He is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world," the Apostle John means that Jesus propitiated (appeased the wrath of God) then why would any one go to hell? Then you might say, "Well, the sins of all men are propitiated for, but that propitiation can only be applied by personal belief." My reply to that is twofold.

First, who determines who will believe? Is it man or God? It is God (review "Total Depravity" and "Irresistible Grace"), and God causes men to believe on the basis of election. So, to believe that the propitiation is "waiting" for the faith of men is to believe falsehood. Second, if one believes that belief or unbelief in Christ is the sin that condemns, then it must follow that those who do not get a chance to believe or disbelieve go to heaven. Sharing the Gospel would then become counter-productive, and there is an element to Christ's suffering that is rendered vain. The idea that people who do not hear the Gospel go to heaven is clearly rejected by Romans 1:20 and 2:15.

Thirdly, it is important to remember that Christ did not come to die just to make salvation possible, but Christ came to save. He came to die for the sins of His people whom He foreknew. There was no uncertainty about Christ’s work on the cross. Christ Himself knew that He was dying for those whom the Father had given Him before the foundation of the world and that He would lose none of them (John 6:37-39). Fourthly, if God punished the sins of men who went to hell on Christ, and then again punished men in hell for the same sins which Christ died, this would illogical, and would be an instance of "double-punishment" or "double-jeopardy," and God would be guilty of injustice to sinners and to Christ. If Christ suffered for the sins of men who are in hell, then whose sin are the men in hell suffering for? For Christ to die for men who will never believe would render a portion of His sufferings as vain. Not one drop of Christ’s shed blood was in vain.

Fifthly, Christ's death is substitutionary!! Please take note of this. For Christ to die for sins means that He was the actual substitute for men. Substitution means that someone actually fills the place of another. If I had a substitute teacher who didn't show up for my class, did I have a substitute teacher? If Christ indeed suffered a substitutionary death for every single individual person in the world, then He indeed showed up and was punished for them. Which means what? It means that the sins of all are paid for. Again, whose sins are the people in hell suffering for? They are suffering for their own because Christ did not substitute for them.


The first thing that I want to point out is concerning the definition of the word “world” used in the New Testament. I believe that Jesus died for the entire world, but does the word “world” always refer to every single person in the world? Can “world” simply refer to an unspecified number of people from within the world? I obviously take the latter position. I take this position, not because I as a Calvinist must believe in limited atonement, but because of the truth of election, and, most importantly, Scripture supports that the definition of world does not mean “every single person without exception.” I qualify this conviction with Revelation 5:9, "And they sang a new song saying, 'Worthy art Thou to take the book, and to break its seals; for Thou wast slain, and did purchase for God with Thy blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.''

People from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation are the world! Yes, “God so loved the world (people from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation), that He gave His only Son.” Yes, I agree with John the Baptist when he described Christ as, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Yes, I believe John when he writes in 1 John 2:2, “He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world” (people from every tribe, tongue, etc.).

Logical Transition:

We see that Christ died only for many, the church, the sheep, and those who will die to themselves in obedience of Christ, and not for every single person in the whole world. Now, this leads us to our next point. We see that God has chosen only some to save, and only those elected are who Christ came to die for. Since Scripture explicitly teaches men are incapable of coming to Christ on their own, how then does a man become a Christian?

Total Depravity asserts that men love darkness rather than light and do not come to the light lest their evil deeds be exposed, and also that men cannot submit to the things of God. How then does a man believe in Christ for salvation? Does God file down someone’s depravity until they come to a point where they can choose or accept? Does God, in drawing men to Him, mean that He brings them to a condition where they then have the ability to choose or reject? There are answers to these questions in the following section.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Ever Reforming...

Ever Reforming...
Author: tartanarmy (5:06 am)

A few passages in order to reform us in our claim to be reformed....Part 1

Heb 6:1 Therefore, having left the discourse of the beginning of Christ, let us go on to full growth, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
Heb 6:2 of the baptisms, of doctrine, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
Heb 6:3 And this we will do, if God permits.
Heb 6:4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit,
Heb 6:5 and have tasted the good Word of God and the powers of the world to come,
Heb 6:6 and who have fallen away; it is impossible, I say, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify the Son of God afresh to themselves and put Him to an open shame.
Heb 6:7 (For the earth which drinks in the rain that comes often upon it, and brings forth plants fit for those by whom it is dressed, receives blessing from God.
Heb 6:8 But that which bears thorns and briers is rejected and is a curse, whose end is to be burned.)

According to these passages, only within a New Covenant perspective, made up of believers and unbelievers, being part of the Visible Church, can we make sense of the force and language contained in these passages.

A few thoughts to consider.

1/ Who here is referred to as those who "have fallen away" and have "Crucified afresh the Son of God?"
Before you try and rely on any presuppositions you may or may not have, I simply ask for you to pause for a moment and read the texts again.

What is presented here are people who have been "a part" of several things.
These people who are "falling away" are said to have been,

a) Once enlightened
b) Tasted of the Heavenly gift.
c) Partakers of the Holy Spirit.
d) Tasted the good word of God.
e) And the powers of the world to come.

Now before I explain the nature of the New Covenant more fully in part 2, I want to alleviate any fears over the doctrine of Perseverance of the Saints.
That doctrine is not threatened by these passages (verses 1-8), as a right reading of verses 9-20 of this chapter follows up on, but not for the reasons many attempt to read into these passages.
Some Christians tell us that these persons falling away are nothing but false believers, unregenerate unbelievers, people who are not part of or ever were part of the New Covenant Church.
Often 1Jn 2:19 is quoted as a simple defense, which sadly does not go to the depth being here spoken by the author of Hebrews.

Whilst I agree that these persons are surely unregenerate unbelievers, it is not quite so simple to suggest that they were not members of the Church in the New Covenant community.

If we hold to a view of the New Covenant which holds that every member in the Church is regenerate (Invisible Church), then we will no doubt minimise the force of the language being used here by the author of Hebrews.

In what sense can an unregenerate unbeliever be enlightened, and have tasted the Heavenly gift, partook of the Holy Spirit, tasted the good word of God and the powers of the world to come?

These things can only make sense when we see that the Church as a whole is understood as being a group which contains both believers and unbelievers.
There is a Visible Christianity and within it, an Invisible Elect body of believers known only to the Lord.

The author uses such language, as he is talking about the Visible Church to whom he is actually addressing as do much of the Epistles, the very place where all the benefits of Christ and salvation are found. The Church is the object that receives such things as enlightenment, Heavenly gifts, the Holy Spirit and the good Word of God and it's power.

To say that only the regenerate make up the New Covenant, negates so much truth about the Church Visible and the Now/Not yet paradigm that all of us as Christians are now currently experiencing and being exhorted every day to persevere in.

Whilst it is true that the "elect" are the Church Invisible, and that ultimately they shall "one day" be the Pure Church of God (In the eschaton), it is error to see the Church in the here and now as "only" a regenerate membership, for the New Testament/Covenant does not present such a Church in the here and now. It does in the "Not yet", and such goes without saying.

If you want to say that false Christians were never really Christians, that is fine, but only by hindsight and known Apostasy can we know that.
(btw, Apostasy is something believers do, not unbelievers in the general sense of the term)
Some formerly professing Christians shall fall away and be lost forever, but at one point in time they were part of the New Covenant professing Church and as such were experiencing real benefits by virtue of their association with all that the New Covenant holds out to the gathered Church community of believers in this New Covenant dispensation.

The writer of Hebrews, knowing a thing or two about Covenant Theology, has a worldview which is radically different to us in our own modern, individualistic day.
In part two I will try and flesh out the New Covenant and reference other scriptures that address it's nature, and I hope my fellow Christians who tenaciously hold to a "regenerate only New Covenant Church" shall patiently give me a solemn hearing, that is, my reformed Baptist and Dispensational friends who lean toward Calvinism and reformed Theology.

A thought related...

Is there any difference between a normal Un-churched Pagan unbeliever and an Apostate, that is, between someone who had professed Christianity and departed from it and someone who never made nor joined with those who made such a profession?


In Hebrews 10:29 we learn that God will severely punish those who treat as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them.

If salvation cannot be lost, whom can this verse possibly describe?

It must be someone who, though not a true saint, was yet considered in covenant with God, someone who was "sanctified" or "made holy" by "the blood of the covenant"

- it must be an unbeliever in the visible church (regardless whether he was baptized as an infant or as an adult).

Maybe later, I will do a post exposing "Covenant language" from the scriptures, which may help us see how the original writers used such terminology in their writings, which sheds much light on the nature of the Covenants, especially New Covenant as per Jer 31...



Thursday, September 20, 2007

These last days!

These last days!
Author: tartanarmy (5:28 am)

Recent Henry Mahan at age 82!

Will Calvinism kill a Church?

Will Calvinism kill a Church?
Author: tartanarmy (3:13 am)
Way back in 1979, ol Henry Mahan (Probably the greatest preacher in the last 50 years) preaches truth plainly and powerfully.
I would rather hear this man preach than just about anything else out there. A faithful Minister of the Gospel and still preaching occasionally today.

I will put up recent sermons when I get the opportunity.
Comments are very welcome and encouraged.

"If you preach the Bible, the saved will get glad, the sinners will get mad, and the religious will get confused"


Sunday, September 16, 2007

Tis a point I long to know

Tis a point I long to know
Author: tartanarmy (5:12 am)

’Tis a point I long to know

’Tis a point I long to know,
Oft it causes anxious thought;
Do I love the Lord, or no?
Am I His, or am I not?

If I love, why am I thus,
Why this dull, this lifeless frame?
Hardly, sure, can they be worse,
Who have never heard His name.

Could my heart so hard remain,
Prayer a task and burden prove,
Every trifle give me pain,
If I knew a Saviour’s love?

When I turn my eyes within,
All is dark and vain and wild;
Filled with unbelief and sin,
Can I deem myself a child?

If I pray, or hear, or read,
Sin is mixed with all I do;
You that love the Lord indeed,
Tell me, is it thus with you?

Yet I mourn my stubborn will,
Find my sin a grief and thrall!
Should I grieve for what I feel,
If I did not love at all?

Could I joy His saints to meet
Choose the ways I once abhor’d,
Find at times the promise sweet,
If I did not love the Lord?

Lord, decide the doubtful case,
Thou who art Thy people’s sun:
Shine upon Thy work of grace,
If it be indeed begun.

Let me love Thee more and more.
If I love at all, I pray;
If I have not loved before,
Help me to begin today.

John Newton

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Remembering 9-11. A Sermon from my old Pastor.

Remembering 9-11. A Sermon from my old Pastor.
Author: tartanarmy (4:40 am)

This sermon was preached by Dr Peter Dart, the Pastor of the Smithfield Baptist Church, Sydney, NSW, on Sunday morning of the 16th September 2001.


Turn with me to the Psalm 130.
We are going to be looking today at verses 3 and 4. I will read the first four verses but we will look particularly at verses three and four today:

Out of the depths I have cried to you O Lord; Lord, hear my voice!

Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.

If you Lord should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?

But there is forgiveness with you, that you may be feared.

Now I am actually not going to bring the sermon that I had planned to bring on these verses. We may look at something else a little later, but it became apparent to me when I was thinking about these verses that they have something important to say to us about the events of this last week and the situation the world finds itself in today. I am not a great fan of preaching that focuses on current events but I think these are important things. I think we would all agree that it is impossible for us not to have been affected deeply by the loss of life in the World Trade Centre and at the Pentagon this week.

At home we watched these events last Tuesday night as they were occurring and it was just one shock, one terrible blow after another. We cannot but be affected. I think it is also impossible for us not to ask ourselves why, or to be seriously challenged by the questions that people are asking about what has happened and how our God fits into the picture when such horrible things take place.

I was struck by one man in New York who had just come to look. He had not been involved in the incident, but he came to look and he was asked why he had come to look. He said, “This is so important, this is about life.” Now for a New Yorker to stop and think about life and not to think about the stock market is a significant thing. He recognised that something of great significance had happened; that in the end there are issues far greater than any of the political or economic events that happen on the world stage. It is not the politics of this situation that matters. It is the personal aspect. It is what has happened to people; it is what has happened to people who are God's creatures. This is what has been on many people's minds. Everywhere people have been seen in churches during the day. Against that there have been some sceptical comments relating to God put around by the media, which one would expect. There have also been TV interviews with various theologians and clergymen, which we cannot have avoided seeing.

Now what is important for us as Christians is to think clearly. It is important for us to think clearly, not emotionally. We need to do this because we live in a suffering world and there comes a point where we face these things as reality and not just theory. We can have a lot of theory about how God works and is involved in the whole question of suffering, but when the reality of suffering confronts people it should bring home to us that we live in a perishing world and that we must have clear answers. They may not be answers that are acceptable to the world, but we must know what the answers are. I think we also need to realise, and probably have realised as we've listened to things that have been said on television, that unless we have God's answers, ultimately the answers that we are given are just unhelpful. They really do not lead us anywhere. They take us to a certain point but no further.

Since Tuesday we have also seen people praying. Last week, as we looked at verses 1 & 2 of Psalm 130, we asked the question, “What is true prayer?” We concluded that it is prayer that is “out of the depths”. Out of the depths of a heart which has not just seen its unhappiness, but its sin. This is where verses 3 & 4 bring us:

If you Lord should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?

But there is forgiveness with you, that you may be feared.

The issue before the writer is not the tragedy of suffering, but the tragedy of sin. This is prayer out of the depths.

Now what has been our impression as we have heard people praying this week? I think as Australians we are always impressed by the fact that American leaders use the name of God and often pray publicly. (I suppose that this is better than what we see among our own leaders.) Also we cannot fail to have been moved by the depth of feeling and concern that there has been on a human level. But it seems to me that in the answers to people's questions about suffering and in the prayer that we have heard there has been something seriously lacking—and it is something which these verses teach us about. That is, the knowledge of God and a true knowledge of ourselves, without which we have no answers at all.

Once again, what do these verses say?

If you Lord should mark iniquities, Oh Lord, who could stand?

But there is forgiveness with you, that you may be feared.

There are basically three things here. These are not the three points for this sermon, but there are three things that the verse plainly teaches us. The first thing is that sin is serious. Sin is serious. The writer is not merely saying that God overlooks sin. He is saying that if God should take note of every sin where would we be? In justice, where would we be? Who could stand? Now the answer is not directly given, but the answer is clearly, “No one.” And that is because God takes all sin seriously. The second thing is that the only reason we stand and continue to live in this world is because of God's mercy; because God in his mercy has overlooked, for the moment, certain things.

The third point is contained in verse 4. “There is forgiveness with you that you may be feared.” There is forgiveness with God, but forgiveness is not something which God is obliged to give. We so often have a view of God that he is the heavenly dispensary of all forgiveness, and that sin matters so little to him that he will simply forgive and forget—that he is somehow obliged to forgive and forget. This forgiveness is a convenience for us, so that he can just forgive us and we can get on with our lives. “Forget the message that suffering brings to us!” we say. “Let’s just open up the stock exchanges again and do whatever else needs to be done.”

But God's forgiveness is a mercy that is so great that we are told here that those who receive it fear him. They fear him. Spurgeon paraphrases these words, “that you may be feared,” like this: “that you may be worshipped, loved and served.” Forgiveness should lead us to worship, to love and to serve God. His mercy is so great, so undeserved that those who receive it fear him like this.

So that is the plain teaching of the verses, but given these things, let us look at some particular questions that people ask when suffering and tragedy come. Firstly, is God to blame? Is God to blame for these things that happened on the 11th of September. Questions about suffering are often asked in this way. If God is all-powerful, then surely he is responsible for evil and suffering. If he controls everything then both good and evil must come directly from him. Now, is that true?

We acknowledge freely and fully that God is all-powerful; that he is the Sovereign Lord. In verse 3, the words translated “Lord” are different in Hebrew, but both point to the fact of God's sovereignty. The first LORD is the covenant name of God; that is Jehovah, the self-existent “I am”, the King of Heaven who makes a covenant with his people. The second Lord, Adonai, simply means “master”. And that is what he is. He is our sovereign king and master, and everything that happens, happens because a sovereign God either brings it to pass by his direct action or he allows it to happen for his ultimate purposes. These things are true and we must not be afraid to say that they are so. Even the pagan king Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged God in this way,

His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand or say to Him, “What have you done?” (Dan 4:34-35).

This is our God. This is the God of Creation and of the Bible. This is the God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ. And this Lord Jesus, who is God revealed in the flesh, is called the King of kings and Lord of lords. It is he who rules the nations with a rod of iron.

These are great truths, but along with these truths we also acknowledge that God is not the direct cause of evil. That also is the truth and it is a balancing truth. God is not a man that he should lie. There is no unrighteousness with God. James tells us, “Let no one say when he is tempted “‘I am tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed” (James 1:13-14). So inasmuch as evil things happen, our God allows them and uses them for his purpose, but he is not the cause of the evil actions of men. Rather it is man who is responsible for his own actions and is accountable. God's sovereignty and man’s responsibility are balancing truths which the Bible brings together in a way that we do not always understand. For example, we are told in Acts 2:23 that the sacrifice of God's own Son was according to God's determinate counsel and foreknowledge. He knew that it would happen and he brought it to pass by his definite decision. But in the very same verse Peter says to the Jews, “You slew him by wicked hands.” They were responsible for their wicked act even though God determined that act for good in saving sinners.

But let us not just think of it in general terms; that men in general are responsible. We are all personally responsible for our actions and as human beings we come from a long line of people who evade responsibility and want to put the blame back on God. What did Adam say? The Lord asked him, “What have you done?” and Adam replied “The woman who you gave me, she made me do it. You are to blame. You gave me the woman. What do you expect?” He was wrong on all counts. Adam was responsible. God was not to blame. As I said before, sin is serious. But sin is also personal. We are at the centre of our own problem. We are responsible.

Even so, a second question might be raised. “Why doesn't God prevent suffering?” If God is both all-powerful and good, surely he is responsible in that he did not prevent disaster on 11th September. Now this is a much more serious question, isn't it? I think it is more serious and more difficult than the first one, although not as difficult as it may seem at first sight.

One of the television interviews that I saw this week was with a group of religious “experts”. There was the Jewish Rabbi, Harold Kushner who wrote the bestseller, When Bad Things Happen to Good People. There was also a Roman Catholic priest and also James Dobson as the Protestant representative. Now, they were asked this very question. “Why didn't God prevent it happening?” And all of them, all of them, Dobson included, gave this one answer which was completely unsatisfactory and untrue. They said, “Well, God respects our freedom so much that he doesn't interfere.” That was their answer. Now as good democratic people living in a modern democratic age, this sounds pretty good, doesn't it. God loves people to be free and just to do what they want. God respects our freedom more than he respects his glory or his sovereignty because he is decent and democratic.

But as good as it sounds might I say at this point that this is actually the cruellest answer that anyone could give. It is a cruel and a harsh answer. It seems generous, but at bottom it is cruel. Can you imagine a legal system which operated like that; which operated on the basis that we value people's freedom above people's lives? Is that the sort of God that we have? A God who prefers the freedom of people who fly an aeroplane into a building, above the lives of the people who are there and are killed? That is a cruel answer.

These theologians may of course have meant that God leaves us to work out solutions to our own problems. But is this any better? Really that is just a counsel of despair too. Look at what history teaches us. Since the Cold War, America and the western world have felt very strong. We feel like we have the economic answers sewn up. The previous President Bush felt that the new world order had world peace sewn up. We feel that we have got everything sewn up, but this is not the first time that the world has ridden on the crest of a wave. It is not the first time that there was supposedly peace and prosperity in the world. What was pax romana but that. The peace of Rome in the ancient world. What was the ancient Persian Empire but a wonderfully enlightened empire in many ways in which people were prosperous and free. But where are these empires now? They are gone. Think of all the suffering that they brought, all the suffering that came because they failed and all the suffering there has been between these so-called highlights of history. All their promise came to nothing. But what our theologians are asking us to believe is that God’s compassion shines most brightly when man is left to work out solutions to his own problems. To put it another way, they are saying that the best answer that we have for suffering is that God never intrudes, but leaves us to flounder from one crisis to another in an endless cycle of suffering and failure.

But what does the Bible teach us? Above everything else it teaches us that we are weak, that we are sinful and that we need God. We may feel optimistic about human beings, but the Bible is not. Again and again the Bible shows that even the best people are utterly helpless and that God allows suffering to make us aware of how helpless we are. We will not learn it any other way. On one hand he gives us his mercies to show us his goodness. (There wasn't just horror in the World Trade Centre or at the Pentagon last week. There were mercies as well. There were people who escaped. There were people helping.) On the other hand, God allows suffering to bring us to a point where, like the man in this psalm, we cry out of the depths. It is often through suffering that God brings us to a point where we begin to examine ourselves. Then we know, at the bottom of our own hearts, that if the Lord should mark iniquity we could not stand. That is the beginning of repentance, and God allows these things to lead us to repentance. Why didn’t God stop it happening? He didn’t stop it happening because men and women throughout this world need to be reminded of their Creator; that there is a holy God who we neglect everyday, whose demands we neglect, who we overlook entirely. It is a call for us to stop and think!

The third question is also a difficult one: Why has God let this happen to innocent people? Now might I say at this point that, as good evangelical Christians, we might be tempted to answer this a little bit too quickly and just pull out the proof texts. We know that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” so we enthusiastically remind people that no one is innocent, that “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.”

But we can be too quick and too clever with our proof texts. You know, there is a sense in which the people who died this week were truly innocent. They weren't guilty of a crime. They had certainly committed no crime against the people who flew the aeroplanes into their buildings, or who hijacked their aeroplanes. They were not receiving justice for any crime. They were actually victims of cruelty, victims of great injustice. They were victims of a system which is no better than ‘pay-back’—just killing anyone for the sake of revenge. So, in a sense, it is quite true that the people who died were innocent. That must be acknowledged.

Actually, I think the questions that people are asking when they ask, “Why do innocent people suffer?” are these: “Why these people and not others? Why these people now and not later? Why these people who were in the prime of their life? Why children? Why people who had so much potential and possibility?” And the answer again is in our text. “If you Lord should mark iniquity, who could stand?”

The Bible clearly teaches us that we live in a world which is under judgement. We live in a world which has a dagger of judgement hanging over it and the judgement to which it has been committed is the judgement of death and suffering. That is what Genesis 3 shows us. Adam and Eve sinned and with them the whole human race fell into sin and rebellion against God and the penalty for this is that they would surely die. With that came suffering and grief and hurt, which we see as early as Genesis 4 where Cain kills his brother Abel. Then the record just goes on with one sad tale after another. Clearly we learn from the Bible that we live in a world which is under judgement, a world in which things have gone terribly wrong.

Now of course, we are shocked and angered by what happened in New York and Washington but in the whole scheme of things, if we look at the world, events like this are not unusual. Countries like Somalia have suffered as much in recent years. We see suffering everywhere because God's judgement is on a world which has rebelled against him. It is not that each tragedy is a punishment for particular sins, or aimed at particular people. Rather, the world is like this because, by nature, we are all rebels against the God who made us. You would have to be blind not to recognise that we live in a world which suffers and in which there is death. In the end everyone must die, everyone suffers. Among the people who died in the World Trade Centre there were Christians. There must have been. It was not targeted against evil people only. This is just the sort of world that we live in, and for all of us death will come because sin has brought ruin to the whole human race, including you and me. Our death might be sudden like theirs, or it may be prolonged and painful. We do not know. But inevitably it will come. Inevitably all of us will also die alone. In the end we die by ourselves and it is always tragic. It does not matter how old a person is. It is always a tragedy because each person is loved or has been loved. It is even more tragic if they have known very little love. And each person has lived a life which God has given. Each person is one who is created in God's image and to wipe out that image is a tragedy. We must think seriously about these things.

The people in the World Trade Centre were not greater sinners than others in New York. That of course is what we pick up in Luke 13. I am sure you picked up the significance when I read it earlier. In verse 4 the Lord speaks about eighteen people on whom a tower in Siloam fell and who were killed. “Do you think,” says Jesus, “that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem?” And what is out Lord's answer? It is a wonderful answer, because it is both compassionate and direct. He says, “No! They weren't.” Then he adds, “But unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”

Once again, that is what our text in Psalm 130 teaches. That it is only God's mercy that preserves you and I, day by day, in a world which has been made dangerous, not by God, but by sin. And it is only God's mercy that will bring us the forgiveness of sins that leads to eternal life in Christ Jesus. “If you Lord should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?” It is only God's mercy that stands between all of us and an instant death, and it is only God's mercy that will ever stand between you and eternal death. That is what is being said here, and each tragedy, each death, all the suffering that happens in the world is designed to wake us up. All suffering is a reminder of the greater judgement which is yet to come. Weighed up against the Day of Judgement all suffering in this life is a small thing, and that Day will bring judgement that we cannot avoid.

Going back to Luke 13, our Lord goes on to give a parable about a fig tree. The owner of the tree did not find fruit on it, so he said to his gardener, “Dig it out.” But the gardener made a plea. “No, let me work it for another year and if there is no fruit after that then I will dig it out.” Now, that is God's way. He gives us warnings. There have been warnings in the past. There are warnings now. There will be warnings in the future. The time will come when he says, “Enough, enough! The day of grace is finished. Enough! No more warnings! No more hearing of the Gospel! No more time!” Judgement will come, and judgement will come on all creation. “Kiss the Son lest he be angry and you perish in the way when his wrath is kindled but a little” (Psalm 2:12). Each judgement in this life is God’s wrath when it is “kindled but a little.” Each warning like this is designed to bring us to our senses so that we will not perish from the way and reach final damnation. As long as life lasts even the worst suffering is a part of God's goodness to lead men and women to repentance. The Apostle Paul wrote:

Do you despise the richness of his goodness, forbearance and long-suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgement of God” (Rom 2:4-5).

These then are some of the questions that people are asking and, hopefully, we have seen some of the answers that God gives us in his Word. But to bring things to a conclusion, I want to add one more question. I think that all of these questions can be summed up in one complaint. It is the complaint which stands behind all of the questions that have been asked. Whether out of unbelief or genuine desire people are asking, “Where is God? Where is God?”

In the face of events like these there are some people who conclude that there is no God, that there is no other possible explanation for these things happening than that there is no God. One of us had someone at work say this very thing this week. But let me say that to conclude that there is no God can only lead us to greater despair. If the only answer for suffering in the world is that there is no God, that means that suffering has no reason; it has no resolution. It means that suffering is just there and we have to put up with it. It means that our lives, whether they are full of suffering or happiness are meaningless; that our humanity is nothing. That life has no purpose.

Psalm 14 tells us that it is the fool who has said in his heart, “There is no God.” In the end isn't this explanation the most shallow answer of all? Many of our intellectuals hold this point of view, but it is the most shallow thinking of all because it amounts to a real failure for us to examine the world and to examine ourselves closely. Psalm 14 itself brings us directly to the root of the problem and its solution. It is not God or a belief in God that causes the problem, but the utter sinfulness of man without God (verses 2-4). The same psalm then brings us the promise of certain hope for those who trust in the Lord (verses 5-7). That is where hope is to be found. The only hope that there is in this suffering world is that there is a God; that although “the workers of iniquity . . . eat up my people as they eat bread” (verse 4), yet “the Lord is [our] refuge” (verse 6), “the Lord [will bring] back the captivity of his people” (verse 7). In the midst of unaccountable and unjust suffering we have a God who is our refuge, our place of safety and our comfort.

So where is God? Where is he? The answer is in verse 4: “There is forgiveness with you that you may be feared.” The answer this question, “Where is God?” is that there is forgiveness that God may be feared. What do I mean by this? I mean that God is seen in the history of Israel forgiving again and again, and responding to their cries and calls for help. But most magnificently of all, God is seen in the incarnation, in the birth and the life of our Lord Jesus Christ—God manifest in the flesh. “Where is God?” you ask. The answer of the bible is that God himself has broken directly into history. He has stood and has walked on this earth. Two thousand years ago our Lord Jesus Christ stood and walked and preached and healed and showed compassion and preached the Gospel to man.

Where is God? He is seen in Christ, suffering on the cross. “God was in the Christ, reconciling the world to himself” (2 Cor 5:19). This is where God’s love and mercy are most magnificently seen? This is where his judgement is most magnificently seen? It is seen in the cross, in that place where all of the contradictions of suffering and of sin and of judgement meet the mercy and compassion and grace and goodness of God. It is seen here because Christ took all of this suffering and sin and judgment on himself. The real evil of our hearts is when we refuse to accept and to see the goodness that God has poured out in his Son. Where is God? He is seen in Jesus Christ. He is seen in the resurrection of Christ which is a resurrection of victory, a resurrection that promises and gives us a sure and certain hope that the sin and suffering of this world will end. Where is God? He is always seen as history is acted out. He will be seen when history is completed and brought to fulfilment on the day when Christ returns and all evil is done away, when all suffering comes to an end, and when eternal life is brought in for all who have believed the gospel.

So people have no excuse. The Gospel is plainly preached, and as I said before, this is a mercy which is so great, so precious and so costly that those who receive it love and worship and serve the king who has done this for them. This is the message that we have for the world. It is not just a glossy, glittery message of hope to make people feel better in difficult times. It is a message of truth which tells us the truth of our condition before God and at the same time tells us what God’s grace has done for us.

As we know, people will not receive the gospel unless God opens their hearts. But the God’s word is not short of offers and invitations, or a clear declaration of what God has done. And we are commanded to believe! We are commanded to repent and to believe this Gospel.

Just a few practical points to end with. What do we derive practically from this? First of all we should come back to the question we began with and ask ourselves, “Where is God?” We should ask that question again, but in a different way. Not where has God gone from us, but where have we gone from him. That is the way we should be thinking. We must look at ourselves and think about the price we have paid for neglecting our Creator. Our natural tendency to complain, not to repent. I think the saddest thing this week is that I have not heard one person say, “I thank God that I came out alive.” Of course, people must have said this, but we have not actually heard anyone say “I thank God that I am safe.” And we have not heard anyone pray “Lord have mercy on us! Lord show us our sin! Show us how we have offended you! Show us the right path!”

While there has been much calling upon God it has been calling upon a God who is already our friend, who automatically takes America’s side. This is not the response that we should be hearing. We should be asking. “Where have we gone from God?” The experiences of this week should have taught us to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God.

What right do we have to question what God does. I know that this is a hard saying, and it is a hard saying. (I do not mean it in a way that would make us lose compassion for people who are suffering. That is not the way of Christ.) But while all suffering is a tragedy, the most tragic thing of all is when people neglect or despise the chastening of the Lord. “It is a fearful thing,” said Robert Murray McCheyne, “not to ask God’s meaning in affliction; it is his loudest knock, and it is often his last.” It is often his last warning. So what have we learnt this week? What have we learnt in life from our own sufferings?

Last of all we should also remember that this is still the day of grace. If you are a Christian today, remember those who are not. Remember the burning desire in Paul’s heart for his own people, for Israel, that they would be saved. Of course is right for us to be reminded, every time a tragic event like this takes place, that God is going to judge the world; but I think that we are far too ready to read the immediate end of the world every time something like this happens. “Here it is,” we say. “It is just around the corner.” Well, I don’t know. But I do know that our Lord gave us a commission to take the gospel to the ends of the earth. I do know that people like Hudson Taylor, who looked forward to our Lord’s returned, also worked and prayed for the world’s millions. And what about the millions today. What are we to do? What about those people that the West despises now? If there was forgiveness for us surely, as long as it is God’s day of grace, there is forgiveness for others too and we should pray and seek that God will show mercy.

If you are not a Christian today, listen to the words of this Psalm, “There is forgiveness.” Remember that, in a sinful and fallen world, suffering and even death are not the worst thing that can happen to you. The worst thing that can happen to you is for you to stand before the judgement seat of God on that terrible day and to be cast out of his presence forever. “There is forgiveness.” Again McCheyne said this, “If his mercies and judgements don’t convert you, God has no other arrows left in his quiver.” If God’s mercies and judgements don’t convert you, he has no arrows left. Perhaps in your case he is running short of arrows. Don’t be among those who despise God’s day of grace.


Let us sing together Hymn number 513 (Christian Hymns).

O teach me what it meaneth,

That cross uplifted high,

With One, the Man of Sorrows,

Condemned to bleed and die.

O teach me what it cost Thee

To make a sinner whole,

And teach me, Saviour, teach me

The value of the soul.

Concluding prayer.

Father indeed, we bring no other plea to you except that you have invited us to cast ourselves upon you; no other plea but Christ himself. Lord, we have cast ourselves upon him and upon his work. Father we pray that others this day would cast themselves upon Christ and upon that work of the cross, in which you have declared that you will not mark iniquity, that you will pass over the sins of your people because they are being punished forever in your Son. We thank you Lord that in Christ the day of judgement, for all who believe, is past forever. Lord we pray that you will bring people to birth this day. We pay for repentance and we pray for faith, and we pray Lord that these things would continue throughout or lives.

And now to the King, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honour and glory forever and ever, Amen.

This sermon was preached by Dr Peter Dart, the Pastor of the Smithfield Baptist Church, Sydney, NSW, on Sunday morning of the 16th September 2001.

A discussion with Peter Meney on Duty Faith. (Editor of New Focus)

A discussion with Peter Meney on Duty Faith. (Editor of New Focus)
Author: tartanarmy (2:26 am)

Dear Peter,

I have put up part of our discussion at my blog, in the hopes it may start some interesting conversation among our readers.

Please feel free to make comment and or provide your original email if you like, alternatively, if you do not wish the discussion to be available for others to interact with, please let me know and I will remove it at the earliest convenience. (I am reasonably sure you would not mind others discussing this issue)

I believe there is no reason not to discuss these things publicly, as we are both responding to things that are on the public record, whether it is Pinks views or Huntington or mine and yours as well as the Gospel Standard Baptists.

For everyone else, I am affirming "Duty Faith" and Peter is against "Duty Faith".

Dear Mark,

Further to your letter I am setting out some thoughts on Mr Pink’s article on Duty Faith.

A few of points to clarify first, if I may.

1. I am not an apologist for the Gospel Standard Baptists. That denomination, of which AWP speaks, still exists. I am not a member of their churches nor have I signed their statement of faith. They still hold to the Articles Pink criticises and have themselves published several defences of them in recent years. One is “What Gospel Standard Baptist Believe” by J H Gosden and a second, more recent, is “A Godly Heritage” by J A Watts and G D Buss. (In my opinion the latter does not improve upon the former.)

2. While I say that I do not believe in duty faith, I do not say that men have no duties or obligations towards God. Clearly they do: God is our creator and all men owe Him honour and obedience as such.

Does this obedience include trusting in Him?....Tartanarmy
Furthermore, just as God is every man’s creator, all men, as such, are under legal obligation to Him.

Are all men under the obligation to trust in Him?....Tartanarmy

3. In discussing duty-faith we need to distinguish between two things which most of those who advocate duty faith fail to do. You will see this in Pink’s paper. We must distinguish not between those things men can and cannot do, but between those things we are, and are not, commanded to do, irrespective of ability.

Those, like Pink, who say that simply because people cannot do a thing is no barrier to them being commanded to do it have a point which I accept,

For me, that is the crux of the issue.....Tartanarmy

But those of us who have a problem with the modern duty faith debate do not believe that all sinners, or even all sinners who have the gospel preached to them, have the command to believe imposed upon them, regardless of ability to perform.

That seems to undermine any duty, even in the above comments.....Tartanarmy

Ability is not the issue but applicability. We would say that in the gospel the call or command to believe follows the gift of faith and is contingent upon it. Who has, and who has not faith is not man’s business but God’s business.

Is this not confusing what God commands with what He decrees?, and if so, what business do we have to make doctrine based upon the secret things of God? Sure we know that God gives faith etc, but we have no clue as to who shall receive it, therefore we, by default make the command to repent and believe binding upon all.....Tartanarmy

The listed quotes

Turning to Mr Pink, I am not able to deal with the quotations individually as I do not have the context of the quotes given and even if I had, all they prove is that people’s views upon this matter have varied over the years and Pink has selected quotes he believes back up his position. However, each of us to whom these matters are revealed have the privilege of seeking an answer for ourselves and need not be swayed one way or the other simply because someone else believed it.

I will say that I did look up the final listed quote from John Gill and discovered that Gill is interpreting John 6:37; “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” He is speaking about the Jews’ failure to accept Christ as Messiah (not as Saviour) despite the fact that they were waiting and expecting the Messiah. Furthermore, the sentence Pink quotes does not end where he stops but continues, “ … since this does not arise from any decree of God but from the corruption of nature through sin: and this being blameworthy, what follows upon it, or is the effect of it, must be so too.”

Thus, with all due respect to Mr Pink, Gill is not saying that sinners are blameworthy for not accepting Christ, or as some might say “for not doing their duty to believe”, but rather he is pointing out that sinners are “criminal and blameworthy” for their perverseness and inability to accept Christ.

But what is this inability if it is not the ability to repent and believe? Your answer makes no sense.....Tartanarmy

They are guilty first for what they are and therefore must be guilty for what they do. You cannot get clean water out a dirty pipe. They are blameworthy because they cannot accept Christ, and not because they do not. I conclude therefore that at the very least this quotation is inappropriate to use in support of Pink’s argument and had he supplied the comments in context and provided the whole sentence his usage would have lost its force.

This is such a small play on words as far as I can tell.....Tartanarmy

False logic

As far as Pink’s own comments are concerned permit me to draw a couple of things to your attention. Pink goes to great lengths to show where he agrees with the GS Baptists which is good, for there is a lot to be agreed upon. But then he lays great store upon what he sees as their false use of human reasoning and logic. He gives the examples of trying to reason out spiritual things like the Trinity and the existence of eternal damnation notwithstanding the love of God. He concludes that we must “repudiate all reasoning upon spiritual things as utterly worthless”.

I would have to reply that this is not responsible debating. Any promoter of error could say the same.

Yes, but let us remember it is Pink saying this, not just "any" old purveyor of error. I think there is wisdom in what he is saying here.....Tartanarmy

Are we simply to disengage our faculties of reason because someone says that humanly speaking it can’t be understood and therefore we ought not to try?

Such a reply has no merit against a Pink, for he would not accept the charge, and I for one would agree with him.....Tartanarmy

Every false teaching imaginable could enlist this argument and I am very sure that you have encountered Arminians who have tried to use the very same technique on you.

There is a difference between the type of an argument and the substance it contains. I believe you are confusing the two, and certainly pink would pick up on that.....Tartanarmy

However, we are new creatures. We see with spiritually open eyes and Christians are perfectly entitled to apply the gifts of spiritual insight and understanding to spiritual questions. The apostles argue logically throughout their epistles, building up cases and showing the reasonable consequences of their doctrine.

Pink would have no concerns about that, just as long as the substance in the arguments are solid.....Tartanarmy

Is Pink suggesting that these GS Baptists with whom he is in “hearty accord” upon just about everything else, have used spiritual reasoning to reach every conclusion upon which they agree with his own views only to suspended it on this one issue? Or is it possible they had greater light than he?

Of course it is possible, but not likely. Pink was one of those men who refused to tow the party line, and that is one of his huge strengths in my opinion.

Again, many use similar arguments which is fine, but truth is found in the details, namely the substance of the arguments, not the style of it.

Even logic can be turned aside quite easily if one particular proposition can be shown to be in error. The argument itself may be logically consistent, but upon closer examination one or more of the premises may be wrong, hence changing the structure of the argument may yield an entirely different outcome. Happens all the time in formal logic.....Tartanarmy

To return to Pink’s examples, I believe that Christians can gain much by meditating and contemplating upon the Triune God and surely it is not too difficult to both Biblically and logically set forth a reasonable explanation of a God of love and the existence of a place of eternal punishment. Similarly, it is quite possible to set out a rational Biblical argument against duty faith without resorting to jibes about it being “utterly worthless” reasoning.

Fair enough, but if the foundation of the argument for rejecting Duty Faith is exposed as weak and unconvincing, then the resultant outcome could be said to be worthless in a measure.....Tartanarmy

Responsibility and accountability

Next Pink goes on to say, “while holding fast to the total depravity and the spiritual inability of the natural man, we must also believe in his moral responsibility and accountability to God.”

I see no fault here and agree wholly with Pink.....Tartanarmy

This begins his next major point and I reply, who disagrees? I certainly don’t nor do I believe that any who deny duty faith suggest that man is not morally responsible and accountable before God for his actions. We are responsible for doing what we are commanded to do and accountable when we don’t do it. But surely we are not responsible to do what we are not commanded to do, nor will we be held accountable for not doing it.

What you now need to do is set forth from Scripture where it explicitly teaches that man is not commanded to trust in the Lord? This you must do if you wish your doctrine to be taken seriously. This is where the rubber meets the road in your argument I believe....Tartanarmy.

If we were, God would be totally unjust and this can never be.

This statement actually concerns me, for it is awfully close to the same objection made by Non Calvinists.....Tartanarmy

For Pink to use this argument he must show where God commands all men to have faith.

Actually the opposite is also true! One also needs to positively show where man is not commanded to repent and believe.....Tartanarmy

While Pink is looking for this command I would ask him also to show me one instance where God commands a sinner to give spiritual birth to himself,

That is an error in logic and a category error, therefore moot.

The statement contains concepts that scripturally cannot be broken down to one proposition. It is like asking a man if he has stopped beating his wife?

One only has to demonstrate from scripture, that what God commands, does not necessitate that God enables the will to obey such a command.....Tartanarmy

one command to quicken his own soul, and one to make himself a new creature. Pink would no doubt reply that such verses cannot be found because these tasks are not the responsibility of the sinner but the work of the Holy Ghost.

Actually, Pink would maintain that they are the responsibility of the sinner, BUT, also teach that the Holy Spirit undertakes to enable certain sinners to meet this responsibility by way of regeneration, so I think you may be not fully understanding Pink and Calvinism at this point.....Tartanarmy

He would say, they are God’s responsibility as He sovereignly works His eternal purpose in the hearts of His chosen people, not the duty of the natural man. I would agree. But why then does Pink say that to have faith, which is also the gift of God (Ephesians 2:4,5, 8), is a human duty and responsibility?

It is because Pink is not confused about who does what. He knows that all men are duty bound, but only some men are enabled to perform this duty.

Surely you would never say that believers do nothing whatsoever and that the Holy Spirit does everything?

Regeneration yes, only The Holy Spirit does that, but the resulting faith and repentance is an act of man, and hence a responsible act.

Just because not all are regenerated, does not mean that all are not duty bound to repent and believe, and just because God enables some to manifest this duty, does not make the rest somehow not duty bound to do so.....Tartanarmy

Why does he say this when Christ in John 6:29 explicitly says “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”

Apart from being a scripture often debated by fine reformed men in the past, such a passage is not watertight for any view on this matter. If anything, a plain reading of the text reconciles well with Duty faith, to the point of expressing the fullness that God shall do this work but you will also be involved and shall believe and hence able to do your duty.....Tartanarmy

Misusing William Huntington

Pink goes on to say that the compilers of the GS articles were influenced by William Huntington and particularly his letter, “Excommunication: and the Duty of all men to believe weighed in the balance.” Pink quotes one paragraph, or about 250 words, from a letter of almost 15,000 words! He picks one argument from a whole clutch, declares it to be a confused jumble and in a single blow dismisses the whole paper as unworthy of further consideration.

Yet even Pink’s ‘pick of the bunch’ shows his own bias.

Just keep in mind that Pink is already convinced from Scripture, thereby, anyone, whether it be Huntington or you and me, the man is already convinced from scripture. He is not investigating the doctrine, so unless Huntington or anyone else comes up with some powerful evidence against his committed belief, such will be turned aside easily.

I can relate to that. It is not as if Pink is just trying to form an opinion or research this doctrine, no!....Tartanarmy

Again he has quoted selectively from Huntington – the paragraph is much longer than the sentences he gives and more is excluded than Pink’s ellipsis suggests. Still he has to acknowledge that Huntington accepts what Pink pretends he does not. Pink says, “In allowing that Peter ‘spoke the Word promiscuously to all’ Mr. Huntington pulled down what he laboured so hard to build up.” Once again, is Pink wiser than Huntington? Is Huntington so foolish that he employs arguments that contradict his own premise? Or perhaps Pink has not quite grasped the point Huntington is making!

Perhaps Pink, is wiser than Huntington. Perhaps he is not swayed by the voluminous effort others make upon this doctrine.

Some men when they get invested in a doctrine, can go all out, and subsequently become imbalanced by paying way too much attention to one particular aspect to the negation of another aspect. Pink had a gift for getting at both sides like few men ever in my opinion. I will comment more about this later.....Tartanarmy

In fact all Huntington is saying here is that there is a difference in scripture between legal commandments and gospel commandments; legal repentance and gospel or evangelical repentance. Legal obligations fall upon the natural man, and gospel obligations come to those who are spiritually quickened. Judas repented (Matthew 27:3) but his repentance was not unto salvation. Many believed (John 2:23-25), but Christ knew their hearts. Huntington is right in his conclusions that while the gospel call goes out to all promiscuously, it is not the duty of the natural man to work spiritual works. If they did repent it would be a natural Judas’ repentance. If they did believe it would not be a genuine, heart-felt faith.

Here is the problem. In finely articulating this doctrine, no one who affirms "Duty Faith" is saying that is is mans responsibility to "impart" spiritual life! That is the whole point.

Notwithstanding the fact that all men are Spiritually dead and have no life, does not negate their responsibility to trust in God and follow His ways.

The matter cannot be answered by dissecting legal commands and gospel commands! Such a thing offers no answer to the argument. All it does is help to clarify that certain commands can be understood in ways that are helpful to draw parallels between law and gospel, which is another huge subject all by itself.

Of course if they repented it would be real as opposed to "natural". The point is no one shall do that!....Tartanarmy

Apostolic preaching

Towards the end of his paper Pink turns on the GS article regarding the ministry of the Apostles furnishing no precedent for God’s servants today. Here I have some sympathy with Pink because I think the GS article in question is somewhat ambiguous and might have been better phrased. What the original authors seem to have intended is good theology, what they actually wrote could have been set out more clearly. The GS themselves accept this and have tried over the years to address any confusion in the wording, particularly in the two books I mentioned at the beginning. However, I have no sympathy that Pink has used this article to blacken the anti-duty-faith position of the Gospel Standard. The Apostle Paul found cause to withstand Peter (Galatians 2:11). He blamed him where there was cause but he did not employ Peter’s error to cast suspicion on his other teaching. Pink appears to imply, if the GS are wrong on this they may be wrong about duty-faith, too.

Well, without getting into all that, I think that Pink is being reasonable.....Tartanarmy

Dead men don’t pray

In his final point Pink says, “The physical condition of those in the cemetery is vastly different from the moral state of the unregenerate still upon the earth.” But spiritually speaking this is simply not true. Of course men can read their Bibles, and even call upon God for mercy, and countless do in the formal, sterile, lifeless religion of our day. Does this take them any closer to saving grace? Does it recommend them as good material for salvation? Is there anything about the efforts of the natural man that commends him to God? The answer is certainly No!

I am not sure if you are trying here to attribute things to Pink that he himself would never say, so I will not further comment.....Tartanarmy

Does this mean that doing these things is a waste of time? No! The fault lies not in the doing of these things but in the heart of man which renders these things useless to his darkened mind until the light of the gospel shines in. Should we encourage people to do these things? Yes, of course, they are wholesome and suitable for all men, but of themselves they will never lead to grace or salvation.

Yes but God has ordained to work through means. He does not merely zap people here and there and then they become these Christians. We are called to call people to this Covenant of grace, whereby God is calling for us to makedisciples, going forth baptizing and teaching people. God works in our midst, and through the means of grace, is regenerating people in the ordinary going forth of the gospel message. The fact that man's heart is dead means little to us who know that God has an elect people, and they shall be saved, every single one of them.

As far as the false professors etc, that is where discipline needs to be met out, and one of the reasons the Visible Church seems such a joke today, is precisely because there is no discipline, which is of course another huge area for discussion/debate.....Tartanarmy

Duty-faith and the free-offer

Our opposition to duty-faith is connected closely to our opposition against the so-called free-offer of the gospel.

Peter Meney

This area is much confused today. I am old school here, and not with Murray and the modern men.

The free offer was always about us freely proclaiming the gospel to all men as we are able to, and it had nothing to do with God Himself, explicitly desiring the salvation of everyone without exception. I have had many heated discussions on this matter and it is most frustrating to say the least.

By far the most popular teaching is the "well meant offer"/Free offer" espoused by Murray/Stonehouse as well as Arminians,Amerauldians and other Non Calvinists.

Mark (Tartanarmy)

Recent email response from Peter Meney.

Dear Mark,

Thanks for the feedback. You are welcome to use the letter I sent you as you see fit. I'm pleased to know that you are a man after my own heart - whether we actually see eye to eye on duty faith or not! Both Don Fortner and Henry Mahan are known to me. Don I know better than Henry but both are highly respected. I had the pleasure of having Don Fortner stay at my home recently with his wife Shelby when he was over in the UK preaching at our church.

I have read your blog and your comments. I hope you get some feedback for your blog. As far as the free offer of the gospel is concerned I'd be delighted to stand with you if by the term 'free offer' men simply meant preaching the gospel promiscuously to all people. I am for that 100% and do so whenever I have opportunity. I have a little saying which I sometimes use, its not original and I don't know who said it first, but it nicely sums up my position with respect to this issue. "I believe in the promiscuous preaching of a particular gospel." That for me is the essence of this debate. We are to preach the gospel to all, but the gospel we preach must be the distinctive gospel of free grace with the elective purpose of the Father, the particular atoning work of the Son, and the quickening work of the Holy Spirit, central to the declaration we make. We err if we leave men thinking that salvation is offered to them to accept or reject.

However, the modern free-offer teaching which is simply Arminianism in Reformed clothes, is not about preaching to everyone without exception, it is about telling everyone that God wants to save them if they will only believe. It is this teaching that I contend with. I do not believe that God desires the salvation of all men. I do not believe that God offers salvation to all men. I believe that salvation is offered to all within the covenant of grace and all within that covenant accept it, being made willing in the day of His power.



Monday, September 10, 2007

Roman Catholicism.

Roman Catholicism.
Author: tartanarmy (4:37 am)

For the very best Apologetics that provides good in depth responses to all that Roman Catholicism represents, teaches and promotes, please visit Dr James R White's mass (pardon the pun!) of work.

Cults - Jehovah's Witness

Cults - Jehovah's Witness
Author: tartanarmy (4:23 am)

Jehovah's Witness at Your Door
Doctrinal Differences

The Trinity

They Say: There is no Trinity - Let God be True, p. 100-101; Make Sure of All Things p. 386.

The Church Says: The doctrine of the Trinity is Biblically based. (Matthew 28:19; John 14:26; John 15:26; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 1 Peter 1:2)

The Holy Spirit

They Say: The Holy Spirit is God's impersonal active force - The Watchtower, June 1, 1952, p. 24

The Church Says: The Holy Spirit is not impersonal. (John 14:26; John 16:13 ; Acts 10:19)

Jesus and Michael

They Say: Jesus was Michael the archangel who became a man, Jehovah's first creation was his 'only-begotten Son' and was used by Jehovah in creating all other things - Aid to Bible Understanding, pp. 390-391. The Watchtower, May 15, 1963, p. 307; The New Word, 284.

The Church Says: Jesus is the Creator not a created being. (John 1:1-3; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Colossians 1:15-17)

The Resurrection

They Say: Jesus did not rise from the dead in his physical body - Awake! July 22, 1973, p. 4.

The Church Says: Jesus did rise in Body. (Luke 24:36; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8;John 20:24-29)

The Cross

They Say: Jesus did not die on a cross but on a stake - The Truth Shall Make You Free, p. 300.

The Church Says: Jesus was crucified on a cross. (John 19:17-19 ; 1 Corinthians 1:18)

Those Who Will Be Saved

They Say: Only their church members will be saved - The Watchtower, Feb. 15, 1979, p. 30.

The Church Says: Whoever believes that Jesus is Lord will be saved. (John 3:16 John 14:4-6; Romans 3:23-26)


They Say: There is no hell of fire where the wicked are punished - Let God be True, p. 79, 60.

The Church Says: All who deny Jesus as Lord will one day know first hand there is a Hell. (Matthew 25:41; Mark 9:44; Rev. 1:17-18; 20:10, 14-15; 21:8)

Those Who Will Enter Heaven

They Say: Only 144,000 Jehovah's Witness go to heaven - Reasoning from the Scriptures, 1985, pp. 166-167, 361; Let God be True, p 121.

The Church Says: All who believe that Jesus is Lord will enter into Heaven.(John 14:1-5, 23; Matthew 16:19)

Here are some other beliefs they practice:

* Blood transfusions are a sin.
* The soul ceases to exist after death.
* They refuse to vote.
* They will not salute the flag.
* They will not sing the "Star Spangled Banner."
* They do not celebrate Christmas or birthdays.
* Their leadership will not allow them to serve in the armed forces.
* Those that leave the organization are known as apostates. Jehovah's Witnesses cannot talk to them or even greet them on the street.
* For many years it was taught that Blacks were that color as a result of God's curse on Canaan.
* Lying is part of "theocratic war strategy." A Jehovah's Witness can lie to someone if they are not entitled to know the truth.
* Periodically Jehovah's Witness doctrine will change. This is known as "new light."

Are these the guidelines that an Awesome, Gracious, Merciful, Loving, All Knowing God, would give you? NOT!

Jehovah's Witnesses are trained in the art of verbal battle. Do not engage them. Pray first and share the scriptures verse by verse, point by point. Share in stern love, you will disarm them.

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.
1 Peter 3:15

Defend Your Faith With The Word!

All Scripture Is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. 2 Timothy. 3:16

To go more in depth, please visit the link below,

The Book of Job

The Book of Job
Author: tartanarmy (4:17 am)

The Book of Job

The Book of Job has long been praised as a masterpiece of literature. Consider these quotes:
"Tomorrow, if all literature was to be destroyed and it was left to me to retain one work only, I should save Job." (Victor Hugo)
"...the greatest poem, whether of ancient or modern literature." (Tennyson)
"The Book of Job taken as a mere work of literary genius, is one of the most wonderful productions of any age or of any language." (Daniel Webster)

What is it about the book that prompts such praise? Most Christians I know don't feel that way about the Book of Job. Perhaps it is because many tend to neglect the Old Testament altogether. Yet Paul wrote of the value of the Old Testament scriptures:
For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. (Ro 15:4)

Note that the Old Testament was written for our learning, that it provides patience and comfort, and as such can be a source of hope. This is especially true with the story of Job, to whom James referred when seeking to instill patience (cf. Ja 5:10-11). Because the Book of Job is so often neglected, yet presents a valuable lesson and is so highly praised by even people of the world, Christians should certainly take the time to study this portion of God's Word!

THE PLACE OF JOB IN THE OLD TESTAMENT: Job is the first of five books commonly referred to as "The Books Of Poetry". These include Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon. Called such because they are written in poetic style in contrast to the narrative style of most other books, they are also often referred to as "Wisdom Literature" (especially Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes). Oswald Chambers (1874-1917) offered this concise summary of the five books:
* Job - How to suffer
* Psalms - How to pray
* Proverbs - How to act
* Ecclesiastes - How to enjoy
* Song of Solomon - How to love

Now let's take a look at the Book of Job in particular...

AUTHOR AND DATE OF WRITING: Who wrote the book, and when? No one really knows. Jewish tradition attributes the book to Moses, and other authors have been suggested (Job, Elihu, Solomon, Isaiah, Hezekiah, and Baruch, Jeremiah's scribe). "All that can be said with certainty is that the author was a loyal Hebrew who was not strictly bound by the popular creed that assumed suffering was always the direct result of sin" (Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown). Because the author is unknown, it's date has been hotly debated among scholars. Some think it was written before Moses (pre 1500 B.C.). Others put it at the time of Solomon (ca. 900 B.C.), and some even as late as the Babylonian Exile or later (post 600 B.C.).

The uncertainty of author and date does not nullify the book's inspiration, for it is affirmed in the New Testament. Paul quotes from it on several occasions in his writings (cf. 1 Co 3:19 with Job 5:13; and Ro 11:35 with Job 4:11). For the Christian who accepts the inspiration of the New Testament, such evidence is sufficient.

THE HISTORICITY OF THE BOOK: Even though inspired, are we to take the events described in it as historically true? There are several reasons for believing that they are:
* The style of the opening and close of the book certainly conform to other Biblical narratives that are historical (cf. 1:1 with 1 Sam 1:1 and Lk 1:5).
* In Ezekiel 14:14, Job is mentioned along with Noah and Daniel, two other figures of history.
* James, the Lord's brother, refers to Job as an example of perseverance (Ja 5:11).

THE SETTING OF THE BOOK: The historical events appear to be set in the "Patriarchal" period (i.e., sometime between Noah and Moses). There are no allusions to the Law of Moses in the book, but there is a mention of a flood (22:16). Job functions as a priest in offering sacrifices for his family (1:5), similar to what we find with Abraham (cf. Gen 12:7). His longevity is typical of the patriarchs (42:16; cf. Gen 11:22-26,32). For such reasons I would place him somewhat contemporary with Abraham (i.e., ca 2000 B.C.).

THE PURPOSE OF THE BOOK: It is common to suggest that the purpose of the book is to answer the age-old question, "Why does God allow the righteous to suffer?" That is certainly the question Job raises, but it is worthy to note that he himself never receives a direct answer. Nor is one given by the author, other than to answer Satan's challenge, "Does Job fear God for nothing?". We are privileged to know of the challenge of Satan, and that God allows Job to suffer in answer to that challenge, but Job is never told of this. Therefore, I suggest that the purpose of the book is:
To answer the question, "How should the righteous suffer?"

While Job's questions and complaints often come close to charging God with wrong, he never crosses the line and humbly submits to God when told that the answers to his questions are beyond his ability to understand. Thus the book shows us how the righteous should bear up under suffering ("You have heard of the perseverance of Job" - Ja 5:11)

SOME LESSONS FROM THE BOOK: In his study on the book (The Book Of Job, Quality Pub.), Wayne Jackson offers the following lessons to be gleaned:
* The book defends the absolute glory and perfection of God - It sets forth the theme echoed in Ps 18:3 ("I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised"). God is deserving of our praise simply on the basis of who He is, apart from the blessings He bestows. Satan denied this (1:9-11), but Job proved him wrong (1:20-22; 2:10).
* The question of suffering is addressed - Why do we suffer? Who or what causes it? Why doesn't God do something? Not all questions are answered, but some important points are made:
- Man is unable to subject the painful experiences of human existence to a meaningful analysis - God's workings are beyond man's ability to fathom. Man simply cannot tie all the "loose ends" of the Lord's purposes together. We must learn to trust in God, no matter the circumstances.
- Suffering is not always the result of personal sin - The erroneous conclusion drawn by Job's friends is that suffering is always a consequence of sin. Job proves this is not the case.
- Suffering may be allowed as a compliment to one's spirituality
- God allowed Job to suffer to prove to Satan what kind of man he really was. What confidence God had in Job!
* The book paints a beautiful picture of "patience" - The Greek word is "hupomone", which describes the trait of one who is able to abide under the weight of trials. From the "patience of Job", we learn that it means to maintain fidelity to God, even under great trials in which we do not understand what is happening.
* The book also prepares the way for the coming of Jesus Christ!
- His coming is anticipated in several ways. Job longs for a mediator between him and God (9:33; 33:23), and Jesus is one (1 Ti 2:5). Job confessed his faith in a Redeemer who would one day come (19:25); Christ is that Redeemer (Ep 1:7)!


(adapted from Warren Wiersbe)
B. HIS ADVERSITY (1:6-2:13)
1. Eliphaz (4-5)_Job's reply (6-7)
2. Bildad (8)_Job's reply (9-10)
3. Zophar (11)_Job's reply (12-14)
1. Eliphaz (15)_Job's reply (16-17)
2. Bildad (18)_Job's reply (19)
3. Zophar (20)_Job's reply (21)
1. Eliphaz (22)_Job's reply (23-24)
2. Bildad (25)_Job's reply (26-31)
1. Contradicting Job's friends (32)
2. Contradicting Job himself (33)
3. Proclaiming God's justice, goodness, and majesty (34-37)
A. GOD HUMBLES JOB (38:1-42:6)
1. Through questions too great to answer (38:1-41:34)
2. Job acknowledges his inability to understand (42:1-6)
B. GOD HONORS JOB (42:7-17)
1. God rebukes his critics (42:7-10)
2. God restores his wealth (42:11-17)

1) What are Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon, often called?
- Books of Poetry
- Wisdom Literature
2) Who wrote the book, and when?
- We do not know
3) What evidence is there that this book describes an event that actually occurred?
- It both starts and ends like other books of history in the Old Testament
- Job is included with Noah and Daniel, as figures of history, in Ezek 14:14
- James refers to the example of Job in teaching on perseverance (Ja 5:11)
4) In what historical time frame is the story of Job possibly set?
- During the period of the patriarchs, perhaps contemporary with Abraham
5) What is the purpose of this book, as suggested in the introduction?
- To answer the question, "How should the righteous suffer?"
6) According to the outline suggested above, what are the three main divisions of the book?
- Job's Distress (1-3)
- Job's Defense (4-37)
- Job's Deliverance (38-42)

Executable Outlines, Copyright ©