Stunning

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Dr White and Dr Brown discussion...............

In light of the recent discussion between Dr White and Dr Brown regarding Calvinism/Arminianism, Dr Brown made an interesting comment upon his blog that caught my eye. In fact, at his blog, the comments are running at over 117 thus far after only Part 1 of the discussion, showing again the importance of this whole matter of Monergism vs Synergism.

Anyway, regarding the Joseph story, Dr Brown said the following.

“They had one thing in mind (evil) and God had another thing in mind (good). If you want to claim that the text states that God ordered these events in detail and moved on the brothers to act in hate and malice, be my guest, but what it actually states is that God had different purposes to accomplish through these events.

Once again, it appears that I hold to a higher view of sovereignty that do my Calvinist friends. He does not have to decree events in order to accomplish His purposes. (emphasis mine)

In any case, if the text stated that God moved on the brothers to do evil, so be it. I would bow down to God and His Word without hesitation. It simply doesn’t state that.”

How is this a higher view of Sovereignty? If there is no decree, then logically, God is and must be acting in response to the actions of men. How is this a higher view of sovereignty?

It is no secret that Arminians and Calvinists have different ideas about the term “sovereignty”.

At the end of the day, I am reasonably sure that thinking Arminians like Dr Brown, are attempting to protect what they perceive is a slight upon the very nature of God. For them, the whole matter is about defending their own limited, and I use that word deliberately, understanding of the God of scripture.

If these Arminians could simply allow that God regenerates men prior to the act of faith, and reigns with definite plan and purpose, then just about every argument they offer against Calvinism, the free will issue etc is actually answered.
The problem lies in their presuppositions, and even though we all have them, presuppositions have to be biblical too.

One quick observation. This whole mantra of “Hundreds of verses” which refute Calvinism is exactly that. An empty mantra no better than anything a “new ager” may recite in his spirituality.
Let us bring all verses to the table and exegete them in context and see where it leads, but please Mr Arminian, test your presuppositions also by that standard of scripture, and if you do so, then the whole charge of being “man centred” would disappear, and monergism would triumph over synergism as it should.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

We All Deserve an "F" on the Atonement

01/22/2010 - Alan Kurschner

I once heard a lecture by Dr. Paul Lim on the extent of the atonement. He commented that years ago students approached their grade from the perspective of a zero with the aim of increasing the points to a letter grace of D, C, B, and hopefully an A. He said this is not the case anymore since many students today assume that they start with (deserve) an "A" and only the possibility of losing their points or grade level. Dr. Lim's point is obvious: many approach the blood of Christ today assuming that God is obligatory in his grace. And since the blood of Christ is predicated on his love, the same is said of the love of God. It is not demanded; it is freely bestowed -- not on everyone, but to those whom he chooses based on his infinite wise counsel. The person who demurs that God is free to confer his electing grace on his chosen cannot with any honesty believe that "God owes us nothing." But if God owes us something, why would we think so highly of his love and grace? It would be expected and deserved.

   All of this is a good reason why the term "limited atonement" should probably be jettisoned from the Reformed vocabulary. It suggests that all deserve the atonement (everyone starts with the letter grade "A"), and therefore God "takes away" something that he is obliged to bestow. The reality is everyone starts with an "F", and thus God in his wisdom, freedom, and love, bestows grace to a particular or definite undeserving people.

   It is one thing to say that we are undeserving sinners; it is another to be consistent and apply that to the love and blood of Christ. As it is often said in Reformed circles, we dare not ask for a "fair" God since fairness and justness would require us to suffer for our own sins in eternal perdition. We do not want a fair God, rather our hope is in a merciful God whose willing Son absorbed the wrath on the cross as our glorious substitute.

Amen........ 

Mark

Saturday, January 09, 2010

A debate!..........lets see!

 I will be joining Dr. Michael Brown live on his Line of Fire radio program January 26th and 27th to discuss Calvinism. Dr. Brown did a series a few months ago on why he is no longer a Calvinist, and he mentioned then that he wanted to do a debate on his program. After we do those programs we will arrange to have him on the DL as well. We might be able to go more in-depth on the DL as we can be more flexible with our time. I hope to engage more of the exegetical subjects in that context. But till then, be looking forward to this discussion on Line of Fire in just a few weeks! (Dr James White)


Friday, January 08, 2010

Global Warming hoax



           

As of late, the Global Warming hoax has been taking its share of hits and bad news.
Al Gore has not been seen or heard from in news over the last several weeks.  Some suspect that he's probably hiding from the press in a cave somewhere in the State of Tennessee where he lives.
In reality, he really calls his huge mansion home, which uses an average of more than 12 times the kilowatt hours of electric than the average home in that area of the country according Snopes.com.
We all know that God is in control of the environment, not mankind!

Yes, it's true that we should take care of our environment.

However, the facts remain (if you follow the money) that Global Warming was a hoax to make a lot of people very wealthy.  Al Gore is just one of those people.  The reality is (if you're a real Christian) that God is in control.  Man's filth  is simply a dust speck on the windshield of God's creation.

He can clean his windshield any time He wants to.  We really have no control over our environment, but simply an influence, and that influence is just the same as that dust speck on God's windshield, not much.

The email's that were made public about the Global Warming hoax was just the beginning of the end.  Those who manipulated the so-called facts about Global Warming have paid a high price for their stupidity and greed, mostly in the integrity column.

Companies who are, or were in league with these manipulating devils will also pay the price.  General Electric is one such company that will pay for their engagement with the Global Warming hoax.  But, none the less, there will be those die hards and government agencies/employees who will attempt to push this exposed hoax.  Why?  For the Government, it's all about control and taxes!

Today, the Weather Channel noted that 56 percent of the continental U.S. was covered with snow.  Temperatures in the U.S. are frigid and are expected to go lower.  It has been reported that the some people in the UK are burning books to keep warm .   The untimely and historic snows and cold temps in the UK have caused havoc.  Florida races to save its crops because of the cold weather, and in Tampa,flights were delayed because of ice.

The hoax is over and Al Gore 'ain't the king' of Global Warming anymore.  The reality of the Global Warming hoax has come to light, and that is;  God is 'still' in control, and will continue to be in control.

Oh yeah, where I live in Australia, we are still waiting for the usual summer hot weather, but anyday now, it should be here, when the global warming arrives....

Mark

Little stories like these keep me in check amidst much noise and discouragement!

(Charles Simeon writing about his experience in the third person perspective).

He has something to teach us all.
May the Lord grant us a double portion of his spirit today.

A young Minister, about three or four years after he was ordained, had an opportunity of conversing familiarly with the great and venerable leader of the Arminians in this kingdom; and, wishing to improve the occasion to the uttermost, he addressed him nearly in the following words: "Sir, I understand that you are called an Arminian; and I have been sometimes called a Calvinist; and therefore I suppose we are to draw daggers. But before I consent to begin the combat, with your permission I will ask you a few questions, not from impertinent curiosity, but for real instruction." Permission being very readily and kindly granted, the young Minister proceeded to ask, "Pray, Sir, do you feel yourself a depraved creature, so depraved, that you would never have thought of turning unto God, if God had not first put [it] into your heart?"--"Yes," says the veteran, "I do indeed."--"And do you utterly despair of recommending yourself to God by any thing that you can do; and look for salvation solely through the blood and righteousness of Christ?"--"Yes, solely through Christ."--"But, Sir, supposing you were first saved by Christ, are you not somehow or other to save yourself afterwards by your own works?"--"No; I must be saved by Christ from first to last."--"Allowing then that you were first turned by the grace of God, are you not in some way or other to keep yourself by your own power?"--"No."--"What then, are you to be upheld every hour and every moment by God, as much as an infant in its motherĂ¢€™s arms?"--"Yes; altogether."--"And is all your hope in the grace and mercy of God to preserve you unto his heavenly kingdom?"--"Yes; I have no hope, but in him."--"Then, Sir, with your leave, I will put up my dagger again; for this is all my Calvinism; this is my election, my justification by faith, my final perseverance: it is, in substance, all that I hold, and as I hold it: and therefore, if you please, instead of searching out terms and phrases to be a ground of contention between us, we will cordially unite in those things wherein we agree."
The Arminian leader was so pleased with the conversation, that he made particular mention of it in his journals; notwithstanding there never afterwards was any connexion between the parties, he retained an unfeigned regard for his young inquirer to the hour of his death.
(Charles Simeon, Expository Outlines on the Whole Bible, Vol. 1: Genesis-Leviticus Preface, pp. xvii-xviii)

Monday, January 04, 2010

Oh the double standard! Will the media report? No way!!

As many as 50 Muslim villagers armed with clubs and axes recently attacked a showing of the 'Jesus' film near Sargodha, Pakistan, injuring three part-time evangelists and four Christians in attendance.
Two of the evangelists were said to be seriously injured. The Muslim hardliners also damaged a movie projector, burned reels of the film and absconded with the public address system and donations from Christian viewers in Chak village, about 10 kilometers northeast of Sargodha.

Officers at the Saddr police station refused to register a case against the Muslim assailants, sources said....

The evangelists said a Muslim cleric instigated the Muslim villagers, who were armed with clubs, spades and axes.


We get instead... 

TIGER Woods' decision to withdraw from professional golf due to a sex scandal has raised questions about his future as a magnet for corporate sponsors, with US phone company AT&T saying it was evaluating its ties.
The phone and wireless operator was among the first to respond to the star athlete's admission of marital infidelity and his announcement that he was taking an indefinite hiatus from the sport.















This happens so often anymore that for many it has become "ho hum."

This is how Muslims act in Muslim lands. 

This is what happens when a religion rooted in 7th century Arabian ethics is forced upon the modern world. But think for just a moment. What if there was a "Muhammad" film? Would you expect to hear of Christians with clubs and axes attacking villagers and burning copies of the film?

And if such a thing did happen, what would be the response?

Riots in the streets, if the Danish cartoons were any indication.
Burning buildings and the like.

But will the state-run media point these things out? No, they sit in silence, focused upon Tiger Woods. The double standard is striking.
 

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Robert Reymond, James White, Unchained radio and Tartanarmy thrown in for free! (Revisited)

Someone recently contacted me, confused it seems, about some matters well documented on this blog, so I have put an old post up with the audio link below, which may help some people regarding what was being hotly discussed just over a year ago.

Mark

Well, in the midst of this ongoing situation regarding the charges of Hyper Calvinism, I decided to take some time out by catching up with the Narrow Mind podcast, the Gene Cook/Jonathon Goundry led discussion program, which I always listen to. In fact, I admit to being one of the Narrow mind addicts and I have probably heard every single recording. And as some of you know!, I used to moderate the forums connected with the show until I resigned amidst some controversy.

Anyways, I am in my bed, headphones on, enjoying the recording, and toward the end of the podcast, both Gene and Jonathon are reading various emails that they receive, but then Jonathon has an email from a fellow Australian, who apparently would like Tartanarmy to have an opportunity to be on the show with Tony Byrne, so that the other side can get their view across. (all of this can be heard from 44 minutes to about 56 minutes in)



I was a bit gobsmacked to tell you the truth, not so much because I was mentioned, but because of the strange way I was mentioned by both of these guys. It was kind of like even mentioning my name, and their reaction to who I am, put me in some other kind of realm, maybe even having Gene's old Twilight zone music playing in the background or something!

It was like, yeah we remember him. Ol Tartanarmy! Then a strange, awkward silence!

Be that as it may, I can only say that with regards to my over 3 years of participation at Gene's forums, I only ever defended the gospel of God's grace, particularly the doctrine of Limited atonement, and I defended Gene too, against those who did oppose the gospel, but in the end, the old adage that familiarity breeds contempt ultimately won the day sadly, and after my discussions with Byrne and Ponter and Trey Austin my end was immanent.

Getting back to the email from my fellow Australian. At that moment, Gene announces that Tony Byrne is in the chat channel, and he is asked to phone in to answer a point made clear in the email, and the point had to do with why anyone should accept Byrne's chart, his ideas about what is Hyper and what is not Hyper? The email sought to find out whether what Tony had to say actually was indicative of what Historically was said of Hyper Calvinism etc.

It was a good question, and Tony comes on line to affirm that he is not the one coming up with this stuff, and he then proceeds to quote other men which he certainly loves to do. So he quotes from Iain Murray and Curt Daniel, and then he breaks his silence about me, something he has said he will not do, meaning he has told me he has no intention of ever addressing me ever again.
But, as soon as he publicly has an audience, his heart convictions about me are turned aside and he maligns yet again what I have said about these matters. The man has no shame.

I know all of this is personal, but I can do nothing about that. It just is what it is, but I shall yet again provide a response against this Tony Byrne, who obviously has been given a free platform over at Unchained radio to issue forth his decrees about God's will, Hyper Calvinism and other related subjects.

First of all. Tony's sources.

Others, more intelligent and capable than me have shown how selective this man is in using his sources and have provided reasoned and well thought out answers concerning this "revisionism" taking place whenever Tony opens his mouth.

I actually laughed out loud when Tony stated that this thing called Hyper Calvinism is not like some kind of wax nose that can be shaped whatever way we wish, and then he uses the term "Postmodern" to insinuate that his opponents do this! Like I said, I laughed out loud.

Folks. The people who have been providing a response to Byrne and his views are the very apologists speaking out against Postmodernism, hence why I laughed out loud.

The truth is very ironic.
It is precisely because of postmodernism, and by that I mean the modern views that have been coming out of the Church for the last several decades, including John Murray's views upon this subject, going back to Van Til and Abraham Kuyper, that we are even having to dig deep into these matters.

I have wrote about John Murray's book on the free offer and many other Calvinists like me, have opposed some of what Murray said, even though we love John Murray's views in other areas. Who can even dare to say anything bad about "Redemption accomplished and applied?"

Then there is Iain Murray's views regarding Hyper Calvinism. Is he the final authority on this subject? I mean, it's not as if he has an axe to grind is it? Is he balanced? Did he not have Banner of Truth edit Arthur Pink's Sovereignty of God book, with no shame about it all? Yes he did, and he was wrong to do that and many Calvinists know all about these matters.

Then there is Curt Daniel, who is a moderate Calvinist himself. That means that even he is not as strong in his Calvinism as the following men as reported by Byrne himself. See chart below



Now, I understand that Curt Daniel is well respected, and that he has written a dissertation on the subject of Hyper Calvinism, but so what?
Has anyone read that dissertation and if so, is everything he says gospel truth?
Personally, I find that he tones down and softens many of the earlier writers upon this subject, which seems to be the way to write in academia these days, in order to be accepted and have a wider audience. I find that truth comes off second best under such conditions sadly.

I can respect this man though, as he certainly is not like Tony Byrne and the Ponterites in his rhetoric and way of communicating, and for that he deserves respect from anyone.

Would Curt Daniel label James White as a Hyper Calvinist?
Would he call Robert Reymond a Hyper Calvinist?
I do not think so.


Byrne is spinning the facts my friends. He has an agenda. He has presuppositions which at the foundation, relate to his views upon the actual atonement itself, and yet he is nowhere near as vociferous in regards to his "universal expiation" views upon the atonement.
Fact.

He has mountains of selective quotes from Calvinists, and is guilty of anachronistically looking back to their contexts etc and reading his own modern contexts and presuppositions into their writings, and of course as all of these men are dead, they cannot provide a response to how their writings are being used. But again, smarter men than me have commented upon Byrne's usage of these sources, and these men have valid points to make concerning Byrne and his usage of these men.

I gave up trying to quote some of these men that Byrne and Ponter use, as I soon came to see that some of the writings of these men can be made to say whatever you wanted them to say.
Calvin himself is a good example as has been shown many times by others, but still, Byrne and Ponter would have John Calvin on their side of the fence, which is just ridiculous.

Now, I will simply like to respond yet again to Byrne's charges against me, which he again repeated on Gene's Unchained radio.

He says that I completely reject that God in any sense loves the Non Elect, and that makes me a Hyper Calvinist, and he says that I utterly reject that God has a universal will for all to be saved including the Non Elect.
These two assertions makes me a Hyper Calvinist.

The facts are not being said and truth is found in the details.

1/ I have maintained since day one that the use of the term "love" is confusing. I have freely admitted that if hard pressed to use the word, I would do so. Tony and others against me know that I have plainly said that, but does it matter to him? No, he is deaf apparently.

In good conscience, I do not like to use the word "love" as this term represents the highest and purest form of God's disposition to His elect people. It signifies a profound relationship between God and His Church. The word is used in contexts that deserve the highest and purest use.
I have affirmed openly that God is kind and benevolent to the Non Elect every day. I have affirmed what classically has been called Common grace, even though that term can be misunderstood and certainly is missaplied in modern Christianity.
I have said much on this subject in my writings and when interacting one on one with Byrne and Ponter at every occasion. Gene knows this also, as that was his own position to a degree.

Does Tony, when speaking about me bring this out? No, he does not. The man is not honest.
So, when he says "Any sense or some sense", which he is so apt to find ultimate meaning in, does he consider that my position in "some sense" is not totally denying that God shows favor, kindness, real loving kindness if you wish, to the Non Elect? No, he misrepresents me!

Now the other matter concerning God's universal saving will or His desire for all to be saved.

This one is a no brainer for me, and I am totally on the same page as Dr White and Robert Reymond, who Tony is more than willing to also Label as Hyper. Oh the shame!

The idea that God desires, wills the salvation of everyone makes God Schizophrenic, and I have said this many times.
This is the reason Dr White responds as he does, about God having these unfulfilled desires and disappointments etc.
Dr White is spot on, and just because Byrne and others wish to embrace irrationality, does not change the argument at all. Call it paradox if you wish and celebrate that kind of thinking, but I do not wish to go down that slippery slope, and for good reasons.

Now even though I am quite open about my views here, there is this other thing which needs to be mentioned in this regard as it pertains to God's will, and again confusion reigns supreme with some of these guys who do not seem capable of parsing terms in a balanced way.
I affirm that God commands all men to repent and believe the gospel, so in that sense I affirm that God has a purpose in calling all men, but these guys loose the plot at this point.

I am glad that Phil Johnson has attempted to clarify these matters, and unequivocably affirms that as these matters relate to God's desires etc, we really need to be careful. Mainly because of the Arminian baggage that surrounds the use of these terms, but Phil is smart enough to cut some slack to his fellow Calvinist brothers rather than throw them under the bus as Tony does.

Gene might remember way back when, that I argued strongly with Ponter and Byrne that command is not a synonym for desire or vice versa. Truth is in the details folks.

Anyway, Byrne misrepresents my views and yet again I have to defend what I have actually said. These guys have no concern for what some of us have been consistently saying, and the evidence is plain and available on the public record.

It was disappointing that Gene did not challenge Tony to prove his accusations, especially about Dr White and even Robert Reymond. Forget about me, I am a nobody in the grand scheme of things. I am just a lay person with some strong convictions, but these other men have wrote Systematic Theology and numerous scholarly works and being labeled Hyper Calvinists.
It is amazing for sure.

I would love for Gene to really challenge Byrne on his "universal expiation" views and try and find out if those views are what underpins his emphasis upon God's desires, will and various and other sundry beliefs that are related. That would be a show worth listening to.

I am now of the opinion, that if Tony calls me Hyper, then it is a badge of honor coming from him.
It is no secret that these days, if anyone is a little bit higher in their Calvinism than the next guy, then such a person is Hyper!

Enough for now.
If anyone really is struggling in this area please feel free to drop me a line and I would be happy to direct you to other sources regarding these matters. It is important.

And to Gene I would simply say this. Please read all the links I have provided above, and then you will educate yourself more fully about these matters and have a better grasp of these matters, and I promise you that even your narrow mind shall become a wee bid wider! I still love you brother, even though we disagree about some of these issues.

And here is an after thought. Would you, or Tony or anyone else that contends for this universal saving will by precept, ever say to someone the following. "Hi, God loves you preceptively, which means He has a saving desire for the salvation of your soul, but that does not mean he has decreed or intends to save you. Does that help clarify God's will for you my friend?"

No, I do not think so, but to be consistent and honest, this is precisely what you need to tell everyone.
Now, go out and do that, and then report on your findings. It will make interesting reading.

I tell people that God's love is so vast and mans sins so great, that God has decided to justify sinners through the death of His Son, and that means that God is free to show mercy to whom He shall show mercy, and will show compassion to whoever He shall show compassion.
However, God commands that all men everywhere are to repent and believe the Gospel, for the Love of God is most clearly found in Jesus Christ and all those who by faith believe in Him, and God shall never ever turn away any who come to Christ alone for salvation. Amen!

Here is another article written by Jim Ellis, worth reading, which gets away from the generic kind of stuff out there about Hyper Calvinism.

Mark