Stunning

Monday, February 26, 2007

U.S. court upholds same-sex teaching to children

2007/02/25
U.S. court upholds same-sex teaching to children
Category:
Author: tartanarmy (5:25 am)
BOSTON (Reuters) - A federal judge in Boston has dismissed a suit by two families who wanted to stop a Massachusetts town and its public school system from teaching their children about gay marriage, court documents show.

The families last year filed the suit asserting that the reading of a gay-themed book and handing out to elementary school students of other children's books that discussed homosexuality without first notifying parents was a violation of their religious rights.

Federal Judge Mark Wolf ruled on Friday that public schools are "entitled to teach anything that is reasonably related to the goals of preparing students to become engaged and productive citizens in our democracy."

"Diversity is a hallmark of our nation. It is increasingly evident that our diversity includes differences in sexual orientation," he said.

He said the courts had decided in other cases that parents' rights to exercise their religious beliefs were not violated when their children were exposed to contrary ideas in school.

The complaint filed against the town of Lexington, about 12 miles west of Boston, had said the school had "begun a process of intentionally indoctrinating very young children to affirm the notion that homosexuality is right and normal in direct denigration of the plaintiffs' deeply held faith."

The book that sparked the case was "King & King" which tells the story of a crown prince who rejects a bevy of beautiful princesses, rebuffing each suitor until falling in love with a prince. The two marry, sealing the union with a kiss, and live happily ever after.

The Lexington school system had said reading the book was not intended as sex education but as a way to educate children about the world in which they live, especially in Massachusetts, the only U.S. state where gays and lesbians can legally wed.

A lawyer for the families said they would appeal the ruling, the Boston Globe reported on Saturday.

© Reuters 2007.

click here

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Extent of the atonement- A review

2007/02/25
Extent of the atonement- A review
Category:
Author: tartanarmy (1:27 am)
G. Michael Thomas.

The Extent of the Atonement: A Dilemma for Reformed Theology from Calvin to the Consensus (1536-1675).

Consensus today among Reformed theologians is jeopardized when historians of doctrine fail to agree in their explanation of the teachings of the original shapers of the theological tradition. Michael Thomas's interpretation on the extent of the atonement must be judged erroneous by those who stand in the line of historic Reformed orthodoxy. Though comprehensive in research and helpful at times, the author fails to present an accurate account of the historical-theological period under review. Thomas argues that historic Reformed theology is inherently flawed. He proceeds to document his argument from the storehouse of theological writings, hoping to convince his readers of what he judges to be weighty differences of opinion held among leading exponents within the tradition. Thomas's Barthian convictions bear directly on his reading and analysis of Reformed theology. Among the tenets of neoorthodox historicism Thomas advocates is a view of the Reformation which sees John Calvin to be at odds with later Calvinism, i.e., orthodox scholasticism. The hero in Thomas's study of the period extending from Calvin to the latter part of the seventeenth century is Moise Amyraut. The informed reader may ask: How can this be? To that question we now turn.

Not surprisingly, the chief culprit in the alleged theological deformation Thomas sees taking place in the latter part of the sixteenth century into the seventeenth is the doctrine of predestination. This doctrinal element more than any other illustrates for the Barthian school the orthodox scholastic propensity for abstract rationalization and logical deduction, hallmarks, we are told, of the theological tradition here under attack. The argument is not against theological system as such; rather, it is an argument against one particular system of doctrine, namely, that espoused by Reformed orthodoxy. (This systematization is characteristic of Protestant scholasticism as a whole.) In making his case, the author attempts to offer "a more nuanced presentation of Calvin's thought on the extent of the atonement" (p. 12). And his guiding light in this foray is Karl Barth. Although it is one thing to say that Calvin did not express himself on the controverted points in the same manner or with the same degree of precision as did the later orthodox scholastics, it is another thing to say that Calvin's formulations were incompatible with those that followed. Thomas unsuccessfully sets out to restate Calvin's teaching on the question of the extent of the atonement in terms of "other, more prominent aspects of his theology" (p. 13).

With respect to Calvin and some of the subsequent figures addressed in this monograph, Thomas contends that by assessing the effects of God working out his salvation in the lives of believers one can properly contemplate the (prior) electing purpose of God revealed in Jesus Christ. He comments:

It has been shown, then, that Calvin often approached election as the ex post facto explanation of conversion. This understanding left room for a logically prior universal promise and was capable of being combined with a doctrine of universal atonement. However, Calvin was not confined to this perspective. Although election could be presented as God's "last" act, it was also the fountain and foundation of the whole work of salvation. As such, it was the grace which constituted Christ as mediator, a synonym for the love of God. Seen as a decree to save part of humanity only, and occupying this primary position, it would seem to imply a limited scope to the whole of God's saving activity in Christ. In fact, Calvin's two ways of relating election to soteriology do not harmonize easily and ensured that an uncomfortably dual approach would emerge when he tried to define for whom Christ had died. (p. 23)

The error of the orthodox scholastics, Thomas maintains, was to dissolve the paradox by means of logical deductions respecting election and reprobation, including limiting the saving effect of Christ's atonementto the elect only. In their struggle with Calvin's "deep dualism" (p. 25), the later Calvinists ended up departing from the spirit and letter of their spiritual mentor.

It is something of a commonplace in Calvin historiography to speak of Theodore Beza as the spearhead of rationalistic scholasticism. Thomas concedes:

It could be said that Beza aligned himself with the logical rather than the homiletic and apologetic Calvin. Whilst Beza was undoubtedly giving greater definition to Calvin's teaching, he was seeking thereby only to give it greater coherence. Calvin's apparent approval of Beza's relevant work strongly suggests that he saw his own concerns reflected there. (p. 48)

Thomas's assessment of Heinrich Bullinger's work is similarly based upon the erroneous supposition of two varieties of Reformed covenant theology, one speculative (deductionistic) and the other humanistic (biblical). Following the thesis of J. Wayne Baker, Thomas identifies Bullinger as representative of "the other Reformed tradition." Accordingly, Bullinger's teaching "constitutes a theology of history, in harmony with Bullinger's pastoral concern to avoid distressing preoccupation with the eternal decrees" (p. 74). Here, as elsewhere, the author's reading of the Reformed doctrine of the covenants obscures rather than clarifies issues.

Next, attention is given to the Heidelberg school, one of the early centers of covenant theology. Thomas writes: "A system was constructed in which God's dealings with the human race in nature and grace were radically opposed, and yet in which grace operated largely in accordance with the legal-covenantal pattern of pre-fall nature." He further explains: "Ursinus made the conditionality of the gospel, which all Reformed theologians acknowledged to some degree, approximate to a formal legal obligation" (p. 105). But Thomas concludes by falsely pitting Zacharius Ursinus's pastoral concerns against Caspar Olevianus's alleged speculative predestinarianism.

Turning to the Synod of Dort, we find that diversity of expression and occasional opposition among the Reformed delegates did not hinder genuine consensus on the main points in the theological dispute with the Arminians and Amyraudians-what Thomas would seemingly have us forget. Here several doctrinal strands converge: predestination (election and reprobation), supra- and infralapsarianism, the two contrasting covenants ("Works" and "Grace"), including the relationship between the Mosaic covenant and the new (both under the rubric of the "Covenant of Grace"), conditionality versus nonconditionality within the covenants, the two wills of God, the free offer of the gospel (and the warrant to believe), the sufficiency versus efficiency of Christ's atoning death, and actual versus potential redemption. They are all important elements in the system of Reformed doctrine. (Superior to Thomas's assessment of the Synod of Dort is W. Robert Godfey's study of the "tensions within international Calvinism." Comparison of Godfrey and Thomas proves illuminating, especially with respect to their divergent readings on the significance of John Davenant's work prior to Dort and developments at Saumur.)

In the closing portion of our author's study, attention centers on the teachings of John Cameron and Moise Amyraut. This section (chaps. 8 through 11) constitutes the largest part of the book. Thomas argues that the distinctive teachings of these two individuals were by no means novel; they were merely a refinement and expansion of earlier themes appearing in the history of doctrine. He insists that although Cameron was a creative thinker, his doctrine of the extent of the atonement was not new, but rooted in an already existing Reformed tradition. Universal atonement was indeed important to Cameron and Amyraut, but they can neither be blamed nor credited with introducing it into Reformed theology. (p. 164)
Space limitations prevent us from evaluating Cameron's and Amyraut's teaching on the covenants, notably, their advocacy of a threefold classification of the covenants, rather than the traditional twofold. This much can be said: whereas the Puritan Samuel Bolton commended highly Cameron's historico-covenantal schematization, Cameron's denial of the active obedience of Christ imputed to believers in justification was deemed unorthodox. Thomas mistakenly reasons that Reformed thinkers by employing Aristotelian causality had viewed all historical events as means preordained by God for the accomplishment of certain ends.... [I]nfralapsarians attempted to present the fall as somehow exempt from this tight causal system, thus introducing one moment of genuine historical interaction between God and humanity. (p. 191)

This line of argument simply fails to do justice to classic Reformed theology. In the end, even Amyraut does not escape vitiating criticism. His teachings likewise are found to suffer from rationalization, thereby undermining a truly biblical theology.

It may be granted that Amyraut came closer to a biblical approach than did his opponents in ensuring that the interaction of God with the human race in history was not lost behind a theology of comprehensive eternal decrees. However, our survey of the Saumur teaching shows that, like their opponents, Cameron and Amyraut also began with a certain concept of God, and applied it logically to the field of soteriology.... In fact, to the same degree to which Amyraut marks a break with the scholastic logic of the past, his preoccupation with the comprehensibility of the moral character and requirements of God seems to foreshadow the rationalism of the future. (pp. 203-4)

The remedy for all this, Thomas suggests, is found in the epochal work of Barth. The last section reads: "Reformulation: Barth on the Doctrine of Election." Thomas's study leaves us with these crucial questions: Has not God sovereignly decreed the eternal destinies of sinners? Has not Christ accomplished redemption for his own (those chosen from the foundation of the world)? And is not the work of Christ and his Spirit unified? Is not Christ himself, not election, the only and sufficient warrant to believe? Or does Scripture teach a potential universalism, as Thomas would have us believe? I remain convinced that Barthianism is nothing more than an ancient heresy in modern cloak, a revival of Pelagianism. Those guilty of idle speculation are not the orthodox Reformed scholastics, but the critics of consistent Calvinism.

Mark W. Karlberg

Warminster, PA

Copyright Trinity International University Spring 1999
Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Mark

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Lessons from the Anglican Turmoil.

2007/02/24
Lessons from the Anglican Turmoil.
Category:
Author: tartanarmy (4:51 am)



Click Here

I must be doing something right!

2007/02/24
I must be doing something right!
Category:
Author: tartanarmy (2:52 am)




encouraging behaviour Click Here!


I live a strange life. I truly do!
Mark

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Ever Wonder?


2007/02/21
Ever Wonder?
Category:
Author: tartanarmy (8:03 pm)



You know that indestructible black box that is used on airplanes?
Why don't they make the whole plane out of that stuff?

Why don't sheep shrink when it rains?

Why are they called apartments when they are all stuck together?

If con is the opposite of pro, is Congress the opposite of progress?

If flying is so safe, why do they call the airport the terminal?

Churches back plan to unite under Pope.

2007/02/21
Churches back plan to unite under Pope.
Category:
Author: tartanarmy (5:18 pm)



click here

-----------------------------------------------------------

Mark

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Pentecostal Bedlam

2007/02/19
Pentecostal Bedlam
Category:
Author: tartanarmy (1:32 pm)

Man, it is hard watching this video, but check it out nonetheless.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Bunyan - 7 Things I find

2007/02/17
Bunyan - 7 Things I find
Category:
Author: tartanarmy (3:09 am)
Bunyan - 7 Things I find

A great encouragement to the Saints!
Tartanarmy


1. Of all the temptations that ever I met with in my life, to question the being of God, and the truth of His gospel, is the worst, and the worst to be borne; when this temptation comes, it takes away my girdle from me, and removeth the foundations from under me. Oh, I have often thought of that word, 'Have your loins girt about with truth'; and of that, 'When the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?'

2. Sometimes, when, after sin committed, I have looked for sore chastisement from the hand of God, the very next that I have had from Him hath been the discovery of His grace. Sometimes, when I have been comforted, I have called myself a fool for my so sinking under trouble. And then, again, when I have been cast down, I thought I was not wise to give such way to comfort. With such strength and weight have both these been upon me.

3. I have wondered much at this one thing, that though God doth visit my soul with never so blessed a discovery of Himself, yet I have found again, that such hours have attended me afterwards, that I have been in my spirit so filled with darkness, that I could not so much as once conceive what that God and that comfort was with which I have been refreshed.

4. I have sometimes seen more in a line of the Bible than I could well tell how to stand under, and yet at another time the whole Bible hath been to me as dry as a stick; or rather, my heart hath been so dead and dry unto it, that I could not conceive the least drachm of refreshment, though I have looked it all over.

5. Of all tears, they are the best that are made by the blood of Christ; and of all joy, that is the sweetest that is mixed with mourning over Christ. Oh! it is a goodly thing to be on our knees, with Christ in our arms, before God. I hope I know something of these things.

6. I find to this day seven abominations in my heart: (1) Inclinings to unbelief. (2) Suddenly to forget the love and mercy that Christ manifesteth. (3) A leaning to the works of the law. (4) Wanderings and coldness in prayer. (5) To forget to watch for that I pray for. (6) Apt to murmur because I have no more, and yet ready to abuse what I have. (7) I can do none of those things which God commands me, but my corruptions will thrust in themselves, 'When I would do good, evil is present with me.'

7. These things I continually see and feel, and am afflicted and oppressed with; yet the wisdom of God doth order them for my good. (1) They make me abhor myself. (2) They keep me from trusting my heart. (3) They convince me of the insufficiency of all inherent righteousness. (4) They show me the necessity of flying to Jesus. (5) They press me to pray unto God. (6) They show me the need I have to watch and be sober. (7) And provoke me to look to God, through Christ, to help me, and carry me through this world. Amen.

JOHN BUNYAN

Blessings
Mark

Friday, February 16, 2007

That any should perish.

2007/02/16
That any should perish.
Category:
Author: tartanarmy (1:51 am)
That any should perish.

An old post of mine from 2003 I was re-reading again.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.


Who are the “us” mentioned in this verse?

From the entire context, one can only conclude the ‘us” are believers, also known as the elect, and not every single person in the world.

There is no word gymnastics being done either, but rather a false presupposition that God must be all love and all willing to save everyone to the same fair and neutral position as sinful man deems appropriate.

Some comments,

Beloved……………….verse 1 Are all people the “beloved” of God or the Apostle? Or is it a term of affection for true believers only.

pure minds……………….verse 1 Do all people posses this pure mind? Or would that only meaningfully apply to those who were no longer under the Judgement of God. Believers only. Those who had been washed in the blood.

beloved……………….verse 8 Are all people the “beloved” of God or the Apostle? Or is it a term of affection for true believers only.


toward us……………….verse 9 That is ‘us” believers, the exact context of what and who Peter here is addressing. It is obvious who his audience in this letter is from start to end!

ought “you” to be……………….verse 11 A qualifier to his audience, “ought you” as over and against unbelievers.

“we”, according to His promise……………….verse 13 Again, the “we” here are the believers, the beloved, the “you” and the “us”.
All flows perfectly.

Therefore, beloved……………….verse 14 Need I labour the point?

“beloved brother Paul”……………….verse 15 Labouring how the term is used to speak of “whom” a ‘beloved” actually is. A believer.

You therefore, “beloved”, since “you” know this beforehand……………….verse 17 The "you" and the "beloved" are believers and not unbelievers.

Those who teach that God is not willing that every single person should perish but that all the world should believe, will need to forsake this passage.

(2006 UPDATE-Has not yet happened, rather, even professing Calvinists interpret the passage with a universal application etc!)

Also. It is only “believers” who come to "repentance". In context the “all” are all the elect.

To interpret all, to mean every single person, would create a dilemma and a frustration in the will of almighty God, which is absurd. No offence Mr Piper, whom I greatly respect.
Also, to link this passage with the context of God getting no pleasure from the death of the wicked Ezekiel 33:11, is to abuse context once again. Just my thoughts.

And, to make matters even worse, the whole context of these passages are addressing the second coming of Jesus Christ, NOT the finer points of "soteriology".

Blessings
Mark

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A never ending debate!

2007/02/12
A never ending debate!
Category:
Author: tartanarmy (3:56 pm)
A never ending debate!



From http://unchainedradio.com/nuke/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=1018



Quote:

Tony’s Comment:

It is interesting how some high Calvinists immediately, as if unconsciously, take the term "wicked" and convert it into "non-elect". It doesn't even seem to occur to them that they slide right into thinking of the "wicked" as the "non-elect" in dealing with this quote. In their desperation to use this single Calvin citation to demonstrate their continuity with him on the atonement, they don't even pause to consider the fact that the unbelieving elect are also "wicked" prior to faith, even as the rest (see Eph. 2:3). The ones that are not wicked are not the elect as such, but the believing elect. The "wicked" are the unbelievers, whether elect or not.

The high Calvinist template or strict particularist presupposition gets stamped on the data as if they're not even epistemologically self-aware. And, contrary to Cunningham, they found everything upon this one quote.
_________________
In Him,
Tony




Tony, is referring to a quote from John Calvin,

Quote:

But the first thing to be explained is, how Christ is present with the unbelievers, as being the spiritual food of souls, and, in short, the life and salvation of the world. And as he adheres so doggedly to the words, I should like to know how the wicked can eat the flesh which was not crucified for them? and how they can drink the blood which was not shed to expiate their sins? I agree with him, that Christ is present as a strict judge when his supper is profaned. But it is one thing to be eaten, and another to be a judge. . . . Christ, considered as the living bread and the victim immolated on the cross, cannot enter any human body which is devoid of his Spirit. [2]



So called “High Calvinists” mishandle the quote. He even seems to think that Calvinists base their position upon this single Calvin quote!
I will simply say this in response.

When I considered the quote by Calvin, I did not think about the elect or unbelieving elect etc. I simply saw the statement at face value, and how it refutes a Universal expiation.
Calvin explicitly states that the “blood” that was not shed, and the “blood” that does not expiate.
It is irrelevant, whether we are discussing believing/unbelieving elect etc.
A universal expiation is a universal expiation regardless of the objects. This just seems to fly by Tony’s epistemological self aware radar completely for some reason!

Mark

[2] We quote from the Tracts and Treatise (CTS edition), vol. II, p. 527. This was the translation available to Cunningham and Hodge, although the former quotes the Latin and the latter offers what seems to be his own translation. Lane and Helm refer to the more recent translation in J.K.S. Reid, Theological Treatises, p. 285.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Slave in the Divine Freedom (Part 1)

2007/02/11
Slave in the Divine Freedom (Part 1)
Category:
Author: tartanarmy (7:52 pm)

”A line by line Response to “Free in the Divine Freedom by J. Michael Feazell

Slave in the Divine Freedom
By Tartanarmy

Rom 6:22 But now, being made free from sin, and having become slaves to God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end everlasting life.


10-February-2007(Part 1)


Free in the Divine Freedom
by J. Michael Feazell.

OK, I see that I can rest assured in my salvation in Christ. And I can’t tell you how great it is to trust God’s word and stop worrying that I’m not good enough for him to save me.

“Now I am wondering about predestination. What does it mean in Romans 8:29 that ‘those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son’?



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

For a good study on this term “foreknew”, please read the following link below,
http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByDate/1985/512_Those_Whom_He_Foreknew_He_Predestined/
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quote:


Does that mean that I will be saved no matter what because God predestined me to be saved? Are some people predestined to be saved and the rest predestined not to be saved?”
I’m glad you asked.




Since this is the first premise brought up, let me give a simple reformed Calvinist response to this assertion.
When we deal with this important subject, it does us no good to put forward such a general assertion as the author does here. It will not lead to a necessary balance regarding this doctrine.
The first thing to be said, is that this doctrine is nowhere laid out in scripture as some kind of even level arbitrary act of God. Let me explain. When discussing predestination, we must make a distinction of categories. There is one category of “Grace” and another of “Justice”.

These two categories are NOT laid upon some kind of arbitrary choice of God. One group of persons are elected by grace, and this is a positive act of God showing mercy to some of mankind, rescuing them from their sins, and all to the glory of God’s great grace and mercy. It is undeserved to all whom God shows mercy, revealed in time through the instrument of faith. It is an act of divine mercy upon the sinner.

The other is an act of “passing” over the rest of mankind, who justly deserve divine judgement against their sins. There is no positive act or extra work of God that is done, in leaving sinful man to his own ends. This is done to the great glory of God’s justice. Man is left to his own sinful nature, which he willingly uses to oppose God.
God is not “forcing” man to act against his nature, but rather leaves them to their own ruin and just judgement.

In Scripture, no man deserves “Grace” and all men deserve to be judged and punished for their sins, but God positively acts to save some from this judgement. That is His prerogative as Sovereign Creator.

Please take note how the original premise by the author, lacks these necessary and balanced biblical distinctions and or qualifiers.


Quote:

It is definitely true that we can rest assured in our salvation. And it is great to trust God that our salvation is given free to us on Christ’s account, not our own, so we can certainly quit worrying about the fact that we’re not good enough. But the concept of “predestination” comes in many wrappers, and it will do us good to spend some time looking at what the Bible teaches us about it.



This statement only serves to confuse an otherwise quite simple biblical doctrine.
All Christians of course, believe in predestination,
see http://christianstudy.homestead.com/files/classes/predestination/lesson1.htm


Quote:

First Things First
Before we begin, let’s remember that you are saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. Your salvation does not rest on what you do, but on what Christ did.




Amen.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quote:

Through the Incarnation of his only Son, God redeemed no less than the whole creation (not just some part of the creation, nor just some people and not others).


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is a very subtle announcement of what is called a “Universal atonement”, which the scriptures clearly do not teach.
See http://www.sounddoctrine.net/LIBRARY/Modern%20Day%20Reform%20Teaching/James%20White/saved_cross_white.htm
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quote:

When we talk about the redemption of the creation through the Incarnation of the Son of God (Jesus’ conception, birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension), we are not talking about just some logical argument or some finely tuned set of propositions.

We are talking about the mystery of ultimate Truth itself, the mystery contained in the being of God’s own Son.
When the Son of God takes up the created order into himself by becoming something he was not (that is, human), what he takes up into himself cannot fail to be redeemed, because it has been taken into the One who “upholds the universe by his word of power” (Hebrews 1:3).



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is what we call classic “eisogesis”, and an utter misuse of the text appealed to. It is a statement that is so obviously being governed by a preconceived belief, and then reading it into the text of scripture, but we must be on our guard when handling the word of God. We must not attempt to bring our preconceived beliefs, traditions etc to the Word.
The author is also misusing the term “redeemed” and therefore teaching error regarding not only the objects of the atonement, but every legitimate facet that flows from an accomplished redemption.

See http://www.the-highway.com/br_redmptmurray.html
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quote:

When you trust in Christ, you are not just hoping things will work out all right, you are in communion with the Reality who eternally makes all things all right. It’s all summed up in Romans 8:31-39.
We have been predestined to be conformed to the image of the Son of God. It was God’s great plan from the beginning, the mystery of the ages revealed in Jesus Christ at the fullness of time, to redeem wayward humanity (all of us) to himself.



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It is hard to know where to begin, so I will just simply state at this point that God did not “intend” the salvation of “all men” without exception. If He did, then He certainly is a “failure” at saving all men, which sentiment no Christian could even begin to take seriously.
Even under this authors system of theology, if God decided to look down the passage of time and know and see who would “accept Jesus”, one is still left with the dilemma, that God created some sinners who “He knew” beforehand would not ever believe, and therefore ultimately end up in Hell, and yet He still created them.
Only a proper reformed view of these issues can be harmonised with scripture.
The author leaves many more questions that must be answered, and one cannot help but smell the theology of error, otherwise known as Neo-Orthodoxy.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quote:

Some people are called to faith in Christ and taste his redemption before others (Ephesians 1:12).

Those called to faith early are a living testament to the grace God has poured out on the world, a grace that will come fully into view at the appearing of Christ (Titus 2:11-14). And it is all done according to the foreknowledge of the God of grace who has been working out in Christ his gracious plan for humanity from the beginning (Matthew 25:34).



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

All of this leads to the heresy of Universalism. I am assuming for the moment that this author does not believe in Universalism.

See http://www.carm.org/universalism.htm
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quote:

The creation cannot fail to be redeemed and transformed when the Son of God takes it up into his own being. It becomes a new creation. As the original creation was declared “good” by God, then spoiled by rebellion, so the new creation is made “good” in Christ, and cannot be spoiled, because it dwells in the uncreated light of the Son.



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Scripture certainly teaches that the creation itself shall be once again renewed at His coming, but for the time being, it is cursed and in bondage to corruption, due to the original sin of Man in the Garden of Eden. See Rom 8:22, 2Pe 3:13
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quote:

What God makes is good. Human freedom is good. What humans have done with that good gift of freedom is not good. But, in Christ, God redeems sinners.



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This statement sounds nice, but is it biblical? Please note the assumption of so called “libertarian free will” etc.
Please note the lack of a thought regarding the freedom lost through the fall of man!
Joh 8:34 Jesus answered them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Whoever practices sin is the slave of sin.
Eph 2:1 And He has made you alive, who were once dead in trespasses and sins,
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Quote:


In Christ, God Chooses All

The doctrine of predestination is sometimes referred to as “election,” in the sense that God chooses some people out from among others for his own purposes. Abraham was chosen, or elected, by God, for example, as were his son and grandson, Isaac and Jacob. Other chosen ones included Moses, Joshua, David, the prophets, and of course, the people of Israel were chosen from among the other nations.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Let us not omit the following clear passage in our treatment upon this subject.

"But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ."-2 Thessalonians 2:13-14.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quote:

The apostle Paul wrote about predestination in several passages. In Romans 8:28-30 and Ephesians 1:3-6, Paul emphasizes that election is specifically “in Christ” and that it is solely a matter of God’s own choice for his own purposes.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Please just take a mental note of this comment, as I will refer back to it a little later on, when the author makes another similar comment.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quote:

Then, in Romans 9-11, Paul takes the question of election further by exploring the question of Israel’s rejection of her Messiah. In the course of his argument in Romans 9-11, Paul asks the question, “What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the objects of wrath that are made for destruction; and what if he has done so in order to make known the riches of his glory for the objects of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory - including us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?” (Romans 9:22-24).



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Please note the words “objects”, referring of course to “individual” persons.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quote:

As you might expect, this passage has been much debated over the centuries. Taken out of its context, it sounds a lot like double predestination - some predestined to be saved, the rest predestined to be damned. But we should take note of two important factors.


First, Paul is not making a statement. Instead, he is asking the question What if?



---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is incoherent, and certainly not what Paul intends to be the thought. One of the great things about Paul, is just how often he builds premise upon premise. The author needs to understand Paul’s way of making a point. The way he reasons. The way he answers objections, even when no objection is presented personally in the text. The Apostle is a master at building a core belief from propositions, hypotheticals and plain old repetition, in order to cement what he is saying, one layer at a time, and always with a point leading to a conclusion etc.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quote:

The point he is making in Romans 9 and 10 is that

1) Israel has failed to be found righteous before God because they sought after righteousness their own way instead of putting their trust in Christ.

2) This does not mean that God’s covenant promises have failed, however, because God is free to have mercy on whomever he chooses.

3) God has had mercy on the gentiles by bringing them into the kingdom through faith, and he has had mercy on Israel by saving a remnant though faith.



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Please take note that the author, after saying everything above (which are true statements), does not even begin to interact with “anything” against “his own predetermined” understanding in Romans 9. It is a complete dodge of the clear subject matter. I also detect a “Barthian” quality regarding the authors position.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quote:

4) Next, Paul answers in chapter 11 the dilemmas he set up in chapters 9 and 10. “So I ask, have they stumbled so as to fall? By no means!



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

There is no dilemma here to answer. The author is confused, and choosing to deliberately deal with one subject, one aspect, namely the “who” of salvation, and not the “how” or “whom” of salvation. It is like a card trick, that keeps one away from the implications of Romans 9 and the whole subject of Predestination and election, completely avoiding the “individual election of persons” aspect, which is crystal clear in Roman 9.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quote:

But through their stumbling salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. Now if their stumbling means riches for the world, and if their defeat means riches for Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!” (verses 11-12).
Yes, Paul argues, Israel has rejected Christ and therefore, except for a believing remnant, falls under the covenant judgments. But… then comes the biggest and best But statement in the world! “And even those of Israel, if they do not persist in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again” (Romans 11:23).



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I am sure the author here is reading some kind of Dispensational slant into the text. No reformed believer would give so much emphasis on that word “BUT” as this author seems to give it, as it is in reference to Israel.
It is just so obvious that the author is coming to these texts, and reading his own theological ideas into them.
The writer has simply been successful at “changing the subject” or “shifting the emphasis” and therefore ignoring the plain teachings contained throughout Romans 9.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quote:


That’s right. Initial unbelief is not the end of the story, after all. These people rejected Christ, yet God still holds out hope for them, hope rooted in his eternal purpose for humans and manifest in his gracious love and power to bring people, in Christ, into his kingdom. The God who is forever faithful to his covenant love provides opportunity for unbelievers to become believers, and he can do it even for dead, unbelieving Israelites.



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Let us remember that the author correctly stated that “predestination” is all about those who are “In Christ”, which he stated earlier, and again above, which I affirm is the Biblical position, and yet, the writer departs from this position at this particular point, and turns salvation into some kind of hypothetical opportunity to every single person who ever lived. The Bible does not present this type of salvation that is apart from being “In Christ” at all. There is a Divine intention in the atonement that this author seems to deny, and it is for persons.
It is true that the gospel is to be preached to all that will hear, and that there is no lack in the sufficiency of Christ to save to the uttermost, but we know that God shall call His elect people through the preaching of the gospel.

Mat 22:14 For many are called, but few chosen.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Quote:


Through Christ, unbelief can turn into belief!



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Amen, but why and for whom?
Is all of this just left up to the will of man?
Scripture is not silent upon these matters.
Eph 2:8 For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God,
Eph 2:9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Jam 1:18 Of His own will He brought us forth with the Word of truth, for us to be a certain firstfruit of His creatures.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quote:

Paul continues: “So that you may not claim to be wiser than you are, brothers and sisters, I want you to understand this mystery: a hardening has come upon part of Israel, until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved; as it is written, ‘Out of Zion will come the Deliverer; he will banish ungodliness from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them, when I take away their sins’” (verses 25-27).


God works in his own ways and in his own times, but his work is aimed toward one final outcome, his will for all people to be saved: “For God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may be merciful to all. O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” (verses 32-33).


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Rom 11:32 is abused/misapplied here by the author.
If one reads the parallel verse in Gal 3:22, one will find the error immediately, which exposes the complete separation the author is here suggesting, from Jesus Christ and faith.
It is truly amazing how often this author changes the subject from one verse to another. There is no harmonisation of texts taking place, except those that seem to support his underlying predetermined ideas.
Compare the two texts side by side.

Rom 11:32 For God has shut up all in unbelief, so that He might show mercy to all.
That is the passage he quotes from above, but a parallel passage found elsewhere reads,
Gal 3:22 But the Scripture shut up all under sin, so that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

So, when he constantly states throughout this article, and I quote from above, “God works in his own ways and in his own times, but his work is aimed toward one final outcome, his will for all people to be saved:”

He is simply wrong and abusing scripture.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quote:

Even if God were to pre-consign some to damnation and some to salvation, we would have no room to complain, because pots don’t tell the potter how to make them.



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is true, but this author does not teach this in any way, shape or form!
I find it interesting that he comes “suddenly” back to Romans 9 here, as if it is playing upon his mind, as he continues on in his merry way to ignore these issues completely!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quote:

But the good news, the gospel truth, is that even though God has every right to destroy us all, he instead takes our sins on himself in Christ and so redeems us and saves us.



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Universalism?
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quote:

God knows what he is doing - giving us his kingdom - regardless of how it sometimes looks to us, and we can trust him to do it.



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So I ask. Why not just believe that God knows what He is doing, when He intends to save “some” and not others?
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quote:

Common Ideas

OK, now we can talk about some common ideas regarding predestination. Probably the most well-known is what is called “Calvinism.” This view of predestination is named after the Reformation theologian, John Calvin.



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As a Calvinist, I am sure every other reformed Christian gets fed up with this basic and often repeated assertion, and yet it is stated time and time again.
Calvin did not come up with the doctrine of predestination. Scripture did.
John Calvin (July 10, 1509 - May 27, 1564) wrote about it, as too did many before him, all the way back to Paul himself.
Augustine (354 - 430) wrote much about it, and so too have many others before him and after him.
Some 50 years after Calvin’s death, the Arminians rejected the biblical and established doctrines, and these Arminians wrote what is called the “Remonstrance” in 1610, which was five points that disagreed with the established reformed Churches at that time.

The response to Arminianism came about at the Synod of Dort, 1618-1619, where the five points of Calvinism were re-established once again.

http://www.theopedia.com/Five_Articles_of_Remonstrance

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quote:

It was constructed in this form by some of his followers, and is the general position of what are called Reformed churches, which includes many Presbyterians, Congregationalists and Dutch and German Reformed Churches.


The Calvinist view, though there are variations, is usually defined using the acronym TULIP. It looks like this:

* Total depravity
* Unconditional election
* Limited atonement
* Irresistible grace
* Perseverance of the saints


Because TULIP has five points, its adherents are often called “five point Calvinists.” Let’s look at each point of the TULIP.



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Now let us remember to set all of this against the historical backdrop of Arminianism as outlined above, rather than just think that Calvinism per say, is some kind of new and noble invention.
It is Arminianism, which the Church rejected as heresy, and that is the truth of history.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quote:


1. “Total depravity” refers to the sinful condition of human beings. Contrary to what you may have heard, it does not mean that humans are “totally depraved.” It means that there is no part of the human condition that has not been touched and tainted by sin. Therefore, all humans are unfit for the kingdom of God apart from Christ.



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

True enough, and I appreciate the more accurate meaning stated here, for often Arminian’s get this doctrine wrong, right at the start.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Quote:

2. “Unconditional election” means that God has chosen some to be saved completely of his own will by grace without any conditions being required or met for that choice.



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

True enough.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quote:

3. “Limited atonement” means that Jesus’ sacrifice is not effective for all humans. It is effective only for those who were predestined to be saved, not for those who are predestined to be damned.



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Not quite accurate.
This doctrine is also known by the better term “Particular redemption” or “Definite atonement.”
If the author was consistent, he would also confirm that Christ’s sacrifice is not effective for all humans, because not all humans end up saved! But alas, such is the inconsistency of this system.
In other words, all Christians put a limitation upon the atonement. One is a limitation as to scope and design (Calvinism), and the other a limitation as to power and accomplishment (Arminianism).
An old illustration about two bridges states it simply. One is wide enough for everyone to enter upon, but only goes half way across to the other side! (Arminainism), the other bridge is narrow, but takes all who enter upon it, all the way across to the other side without fail! (Calvinism)

And again, please see the necessary distinctions I mention at the beginning of this response as pertaining to the issue of God predestining both the saved and the non saved.

Here is a better definition of Limited/Definite Atonement/Particular redemption,

The teaching that Jesus's atonement was definite and certain in its design and accomplishment. It teaches that the atonement was intended to render complete satisfaction for those and only those whom the Father had chosen before the foundation of the world. Calvinists do not believe that the atonement is limited in its value or power (if the Father had willed it, all the people of all generations could be saved), but rather they believe that the atonement is limited in that it is designed for some and not all.
See http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/topic/definiteatonement.html
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Quote:

4. “Irresistible grace” means that the grace God gives to those predestined to be saved cannot be resisted. God’s grace will lead them to become believers, no matter how hard they might resist it. The idea is that if a human could ultimately refuse God’s grace, then it would mean that God’s will can be thwarted by humans, which would undermine God’s sovereignty.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Again, this misses the main thrust of the doctrine, and confuses or could confuse the idea that men do in fact resist God’s will, at least they do preceptively.

“His preceptive will. Here God reveals His will through His holy law. For example, it is the will of God that we do not steal; that we love our enemies; that we repent; that we be holy. This aspect of God's will is revealed in His Word as well as in our conscience, by which God has written His moral law upon our heart.
His laws, whether they be found in the Scripture or in the heart, are binding. We have no authority to violate this will. We have the power or ability to thwart the preceptive will of God, though never the right to do so. ” (RC Sproul)

This doctrine, also known as “Effectual Calling” teaches that when God deals with the sinner in mercy and grace, He does so, in such a way, that the sinners resistance is completely undone. The sinner being awakened to his desperate need of forgiveness and reconciliation, is irresistibly drawn to the Saviour of sinners.

I personally consider this teaching as the doctrine that “all true Christians will bow the knee to”, and if not, I wonder if such a one is even saved at all.
It is that serious and foundational to Christian conversion.

It is all about being “made” willing to embrace Jesus Christ, and by being made willing, I specifically mean, having your pride and rebellion and stubbornness taken out of the way, so that only a fleeing to Christ is the inevitable result.

Psa 110:3 Your people shall be willing in the day of Your power

Joh 6:37,39, 45, 65

All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will in no way cast out. And this is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all which He has given Me I should lose nothing but should raise it up again at the last day. It is written in the Prophets, "And they shall all be taught of God." Therefore everyone who hears and learns from the Father comes to Me. And He said, Because of this I said to you that no one can come to Me unless it was given to him from My Father.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Quote:


5. “Perseverance of the saints” means that those predestined to be saved will not only become believers, but they will remain under the grace of God and cannot ever fall away, no matter what they do.



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Not really.
The Doctrine is certainly all about not falling away ultimately, but the actual doctrine is focussed upon the believer “persevering in their faith”, as it is God who is at work in them to the very end. And what they “do” certainly matters, for Christians shall walk in Holiness of life, by the grace of God. Not perfectly, and often stumbling, but they will not lead lives that are consistently evil with no regard to holiness, out of love and thankfulness for what God has done for them in Jesus Christ their Saviour by forgiving them their sins.
It is the Arminian teaching regarding “Once saved, always saved” that lends itself to unholy conduct and character, not the reformed teaching regarding “Perseverance of the Saints”.

I also like to point out to Arminians, that if they believe in “Once saved, always saved”, then why can’t they by their free will “get out” of salvation? Has their so called free will, that made a choice to get them into Christ and salvation, now been taken away? Such are the inconsistencies of this system the author is supporting.

Phi 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ:
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quote:

Practical Terms

Let’s now look at how the TULIP plays out in practical terms: First, it is based on a certain concept of the sovereignty, or ruling power, of God.



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes and no. There are just so many passages of scripture supporting the five points, that not much of scripture would be left without them! I kid you not! Some interaction with them at this point or somewhere in this article would be certainly helpful, but none is given, as usual.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Quote:


In this concept, nothing can ever happen that God did not, before all time and Creation, decide and design to happen.



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The strange thing however, is that this author has the very same problem! It is simply amazing how he does not see it.
According to his beliefs, God knows every single event in History before there is any history! And yet, God creates, knowing full well the exact outcome before it happens in time.
The only thing we are left with, is
1/ Either God has a purpose in everything that comes to pass, because He has planned everything that comes to pass, both the good and the evil (see Eph 1-11 and Rom 8-28, then Isa 46:10, Dan 4:35 )
or
2/ God simply is a spectator in world History, who just so happens to have rolled the cosmic dice and everything turns out exactly as He knew it would.

The authors views here are an insult not only to God’s sovereignty, but a misunderstanding of the implications of his very own position!
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quote:

Since we read in the Bible that some people are saved and some people are not, this view would mean that God decided before all time that he would create some people for salvation and some people for damnation.

In other words, since nothing happens that God did not personally decide and design to happen, God not only knew all along who would be saved and who would be lost, he is the one who decided it. This view is sometimes called “double predestination.”



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Actually, double predestination is certainly related, and I would definitely question this particular authors understanding of this Biblical teaching, “but” in the context of this authors argument, we are in fact discussing God’s omniscience and Foreknowledge, which are basic Christian doctrines.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Quote:

A number of theologians who teach predestination of the saved, however, do not take a stance on predestination of the damned. They explain it along these lines: “Since all humans are sinners and lost without God’s grace, those who are not elected to be saved simply receive the just reward of their rebellion. It is not that God specifically predestined, or elected, them to be damned, it is just that since God didn’t elect them to receive grace and be saved, they simply wind up getting what they deserve.”

This view is sometimes called “single predestination.”



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
That is actually the Historic Reformed understanding regarding Predestination, which is sometimes labelled “Double Predestination”. Some modern Calvinists are a bit confused when they advocate “Single” Predestination, and have simply not yet worked out the implications of predestination from scripture..

Single Predestination is predominantly a “Lutheran” doctrine and not a reformed teaching.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Quote:


Whether single or double, it boils down to this: God made lots of people; they are all sinners and can do nothing about that themselves; God extends grace and mercy to a select few, and damns the others. But so what? They deserve it. So to hell with them.



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I really hate the rhetoric and false assertions associated with these so called statements that “represent” Calvinism.
First of all, scripture and Calvinists teach that this “so called” select “few”, is in fact a number so large that no man can number. Gen 13:16 That is the first point.
Secondly, there is no symmetrical equivalence in double predestination, but necessary distinctions as already stated earlier regarding damnation and election.

See http://www.the-highway.com/DoublePredestination_Sproul.html


This same author earlier affirmed the vain idea of the “Pots talking back to the Potter”, and yet, when such assertions as he is making above and throughout this entire article, are in fact staring him in the face, he cannot even see it!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quote:

In practical terms, it works like this: If you’re in, you’re in, but if you’re out, you’re out. And there is no way of knowing for sure whether you are in or out. But you can have some evidence that you might be in - good works. So, it is a good idea to do lots of good works. The more you do, the more likely you might be in, but don’t get the idea it proves anything.



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It is at this point in the authors article, that the quality of it has just stooped down into the absurd.
There is nothing here even remotely connected to Calvinism. It is the Dave Hunt caricature version being re-told once again.
You see, if one does not comprehend even “part” of one of the five points, then it is certain that errors shall be attributed to the other points. Not just a few errors either, but many, many errors shall flow, and then STRAWMEN arguments shall be formed and misrepresentations shall become the target, and true historical Calvinism, like Elvis, has left the building! It can get so frustrating to interact at this point.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quote:

If you don’t have any good works, it is good evidence that you are probably not in (but even that is not certain). So what this doctrine gives with one hand (assurance of salvation for the elect), it takes away with the other (the only evidence you have that you are saved is your changed life in terms of good works).



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Frustrating. It is as if the author has just decided to re-hash any old false assertion against Calvinism at this point. Is there something tangible here to work with? I do not see it.
He jumps suddenly from the five points and his own inaccurate definitions “for the most part”, to single and double predestination stated innacurately, and then rolls on over to assurance of salvation.

How can one even begin to interact with such ramblings?

And here is the thing. It is not as if there is not plenty of reformed material out there, that deals with these issues. Is there any interaction with such materials? Nope.
In fact, in all my years studying these issues from those who oppose Calvinism, I have yet to read even a hint of a rebuttal that interacts with what Calvinists have taught and published for hundreds and hundreds of years. I almost sounded like Dave Hunt there! Those who follow these issues will know why I said that!
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Quote:

This doctrine is bad news for most of humanity (the damned non-elect), and it is hard to call it good news even for the elect (they never know for sure in this life whether they are elect or damned). The gospel, however, is good news, and it is good news for everybody.



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I will at this point, simply say the following.
This “Universalist” author, and that is what he surely must be or soon shall be, has no biblical basis for what he is saying. He has been misled. He has not researched the position he so nonchalantly attacks.
If all of humanity is fallen (and it is) and therefore dead in its sins (and it is) and deserving of death and Hell (and it is), and God decides to save those who repent and believe from that fate, (and He does), how is that not good news?

Let me state it from another angle, and again this is Calvinism 101.
God commands all men everywhere to repent. If any man shall repent and believe in Jesus Christ alone, he shall be saved!
Is that not good news to the world?

The fundamental problem here is quite simple. One side has a “full-orbed” theology, and the other has a mish mash of half truths and philosophical speculations.
One side stands under the scripture and lets it speak, and the other tramples all over scripture.
One side has a biblical view of man and God and sin, the other side an emotional zeal full of empty rhetoric. One side is open and honest, the other side is ignorant and often just plain stubborn and lazy with the truth.
I shall let the reader decide which side is guilty as charged.

He talks about the good news to everybody without distinction and yet scripture never “ever” teaches this.
Jesus Himself has said,

Luk 5:32 I am not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.
Mat 15:24 But He answered and said, I am not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Mat 10:34 Think not that I came to send peace on the earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
Mat 10:35 For I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law:
Mat 10:36 and a man's foes shall be they of his own household.
Joh 8:47 He who is of God hears God's Words. Therefore you do not hear them because you are not of God.
Joh 10:26 But you did not believe because you are not of My sheep.
Joh 10:27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.
Joh 10:28 And I give to them eternal life, and they shall never ever perish, and not anyone shall pluck them out of My hand.
Joh 10:29 My Father who gave them to me is greater than all, and no one is able to pluck them out of My Father's hand.
Joh 6:44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who has sent Me draw him
Joh 6:65 And He said, Because of this I said to you that no one can come to Me unless it was given to him from My Father.

Again, there are practical distinctions laid out for us in scripture. There are numerous examples and parables and amazing stories and battles, all depicting the state of man before a Holy and righteous God, and how God humbles and saves man. Are we to just throw all of this stuff out, and worship the four spiritual laws? Are we to abandon faithful preaching and patient evangelising for the pragmatic quick whatever works theology of the modern so called Christian evangelical Church?

We read in scripture about those who mourn, those who are thirsty, those who are hungry, those who are undone, those who are heavy laden, those who are in the dust, those who are looking for rest, those who cannot even lift up their eyes to heaven because of shame and guilt, those who are naked, those who are sinners.

Where have they all gone?
Modern evangelicals have taken the Sovereign God of the Bible and told Him to stand back, and not fret, for we have everything under control. Man is told that the great and Holy God is really not that angry with anyone but hurt instead, and He loves everyone so much, has a plan for their life, and is such a perfect gentleman, waiting for you to accept His pleas of salvation. We are told that man is hurting, and that he is merely a bit out of whack with his creator, and all we have to do is get them to open up their hearts and the saviour will walk right on in, and punch their tickets all the way to heaven.

The good news of the gospel, first sets about to bring man down upon his knees. It seeks to expose his utter bankruptcy of soul and person, and convict him of his many sins against his creator. This gospel of scripture is first of all “bad news” to all that end up calling it good news. And it is simply bad news to everyone else, for the natural man does not love God but hates God, nor does he understand His ways and neither is he able to do so.
Rom 8:7 because the carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can it be.

This the author does not seem to comprehend at all with his above statements regarding everyone receiving this so called good news.
Aside from that, the true gospel really is the best news “any” man will ever hear, but scripture teaches that man has to be given ears to hear and eyes to see it.

To God Alone Be All The Glory.
End of Part 1

Tartanarmy

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Dawkins Delusion.

2007/02/06
The Dawkins Delusion.
Category:
Author: tartanarmy (2:46 am)
Click below for a wee laugh!

Click here