Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Perseverance Of The Saints

Finally, we come to the “P” which is Perseverance of the Saints. We often hear this doctrine called, “Once saved, always saved”. The Scriptures teach that man has the ability to choose whom he will serve and that his eternal soul will be judged on that choice. No one who believes in “Once saved, always saved” would deny that Paul was one of the “elect”. Yet when we read 1 Corinthians 9:27 we find that he constantly “worked” to stay in that saved condition. We can also look to Simon the Sorcerer (Acts 8) as one who was saved and then lost. Judas was another. He was given the ability to do miracles like the rest of the disciples (Matthew 10:1). No one can deny that he was saved. Yet we know that he fell away. It will be our actions that will be judged on the judgment day hence, we decide whether we will go to heaven or hell by those actions (2 Corinthians 5:10).

The first and most glaring problem that this person has when it comes to the perseverance of the saints is that, as with the other points of doctrine already examined, he really doesn’t know what it means. Perseverance of the Saints does not mean “once saved always saved.” Although the true believer will endure to the end, what is often meant by once saved always saved is that, regardless of what a person does once he has made a decision for Christ he will be saved in the end (one of the many problems that the decisional salvation model holds). Although many will reject that idea, in practice that is what often ends up being taught. It is obvious that such is not what we believe. But when we speak of the perseverance of the saints, we do not look at it from man’s point of view as much as from God’s point of view. Let me explain.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

“I Need More Evidence!”

“I’m sorry, but I am not convinced by your arguments, and I find myself unable to believe something without evidence. I’m sure if there is a supreme being as described by the average Christian, he or she would know that my “belief” was false and based on fear tactics. It just doesn’t make sense to me. Also, being an atheist just means you don’t believe in a god, other than that atheists are as different from each other as strict Geek (sic) Orthodox adherents and snake handlers.”

From time to time I get something in my inbox telling me that someone has made a comment about one of my videos. The paragraph above is the latest of these efforts and was motivated by a video I did some time back reviewing a website called “Infidels.org.” As one can imagine, the website is dedicated to denigrating religion in general, especially Christianity, and for the average atheist to bask in the glory of their supposed superior intellect. After all, who but a complete ignoramus would be so gullible as to believe that there is a God and, even worse, that He came to earth and died and rose again.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Irresistible Grace

“I” stands for the next doctrine to spring up called Irresistible Grace. This is the belief that the elect (those chosen by God) are going to be saved whether they desire to be or not. This would mean that a man could hate God; even worship Satan, and still be allowed to enter into heaven. Joshua told us that we have the ability to choose whom we will serve (Joshua 24:15). Peter told those on Pentecost to save themselves (Acts 2:40).

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Limited Atonement

Unconditional Election eventually led to the doctrine of Limited Atonement. This is our “L” in the TULIP doctrine. This is simply the belief that Christ only died for those select few whom God had chosen. Thus the atonement for sins given by his death was “limited”. This doctrine is easily proven false. First, the Bible says that Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6). Limited Atonement says that He only died for the godly.John 3:16 tells us that God so loved the “world”. God did not only love a select few but all men (1 Timothy 2:42 Peter 3:9).

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Unconditional Election

This is the third in the series.

As a result of the belief that man is born in a sinful state, another false teaching called Unconditional Election arose. This is our “U” in the TULIP doctrine. They believe that since man is born in such a sinful state, there is nothing that an individual can do in order to be saved. They say that salvation is solely the work of God, not man. After all, we are saved by grace and not works (Romans 3:24). Furthermore, they say that God chooses those who will be saved and those who will be lost.

To answer this doctrine, we have to remember that God’s Word is never going to contradict itself. Having said that; there are to many places that show that man must play a part in his salvation. Peter preached on Pentecost that those present must “save themselves” (Acts 2:40). Further, the Lord said that only those who “do” the will of the Father will see the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 7:21). The Bible teaches that we are going to be judged by our “works” on the last day (2 Corinthians 5:10John 12:48Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). If this Unconditional Election were true, there would not need to be a judgment, for God has already decided. Finally, this doctrine makes God unjust because he would be condemning some having never given them a chance to serve him, even if they desired to do so.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Total Depravity

I've been examining an article I read some years back entitled "Refuting the False TULIP Doctrine". Last time I introduced the subject and this time I'd like to address his take on Total Depravity.

Total Hereditary Depravity
“T” stands for Total Hereditary Depravity. This is the core belief of the TULIP doctrine. As a result of this belief all of the other doctrines are created. Put simply, this is the belief that the human soul is born corrupt. As soon as a baby is born, according to this doctrine, it is in sin and in need of a redeemer. In an attempt to support this doctrine they go to Psalm 51:5 and Psalm 58:3 among others. However, notice that in Psalm 51:5, David is not saying that he was born a sinner but rather that he was born into a sinful world. What if the verse read this way, “Behold I was shaped in a potato patch and in a field of spuds did my mother conceive me?” Would this mean that David was born a potato? No, it simply means that he was born in the presence of potatoes. Also, notice that in Psalm 58:3 it says that one goes astray from the mother’s womb. One is not born astray but has to go astray. That verse proves that we are born sinless not sinful!

Saturday, September 7, 2019

The Dreaded TULIP...What More Can They Say?

A few years ago, someone sent me an article they had found on the internet dealing with Calvinism in an attempt to refute the Doctrines of Grace. The article, which was written by Mike Riley (a church of Christ minister, but of whom I know nothing more), set out to, first tell the reader what Calvinism is (using the famous acrostic TULIP), and then to tell us why each of the doctrines that are ascribed to each letter are wrong. Unfortunately, I think you’ll see that the effort not only suffers from a woeful lack of scholarly investigation and knowledge, but also it is characterized by an amazing lack of understanding as to what Calvinism truly is.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

We're Going to Impeach the "bleep"

Every single person on the face of this earth is guilty of inconsistency at one time or another. I look at some of the things that I have said in sermons and videos or have written in blogs and other media and sometimes cringe at what I hear or read. There is no doubt that consistency is a jewel that we often struggle to keep polished. But there is inconsistency that comes with the natural human tendency to forget, and inconsistency that comes because the individual committing it is blinded to the truth. Take the recent forum on Netroots where several women, including members of Congress, were discussing a variety of issues. 

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Saved By Faith...With a Sprinkling of Works?

One of the cornerstones of the Reformation was the belief that we are saved by faith apart from works. This was emphasized strongly and was based on the clear teaching of the Scriptures notably by Paul in his book to the Galatians and the Romans, especially chapters 4 and 5 of the latter. The Reformers emphasized their belief in this doctrine by what they referred to as Sola Gratia, Grace Alone, and Sola Fide, Faith Alone. This echoed Paul's famous passage in his letter to the Ephesians where in chapter 2:8-9, he declared that "for by grace are you saved, through faith and that not of yourselves it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest anyone should boast."

Sunday, June 9, 2019

"Worshiping God Better"

In His 1968 book "The God Who is There", Francis Shaeffer tells the story of his encounter with a pastor and their discussion about various matters he termed “intellectual rather than devotional.” At the end of the discussion, Shaeffer, believing that the pastor would say something related to what they had discussed such as “thank you for helping me be a better evangelist,” was completely surprised by what the pastor said in closing their exchange. "Thank you for opening these doors for me, now I can worship God better." Although Shaeffer was taken aback by the comment, he nevertheless says that, not only was he glad that he had been used by God to bring about that result in the life of the pastor, but he understood why that had been his reaction. 

Saturday, May 18, 2019

"Remember Your Baptism"

The preacher at our congregation is going through 1 Corinthians 15. In verse 29, Paul mentions something rather curious which has given many an exegete lots of headaches. "Otherwise, what will they do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised, why are they baptized for them?" As the preacher mentioned, you will probably find as many opinions on just what exactly Paul meant as there are commentators. This passage is one of those biblical passages which is not quite clear and that demonstrates the importance of examining such verses in their full context: culturally, socially, historically and biblically.  

Friday, April 19, 2019

What is Faith?

Recently I read a circular message sent to those of us who work at a particular government agency from the person in charge of a higher office. As you can imagine, there were a lot of platitudes about the work that we do, about how important it is and how grateful this individual was for us and our dedication to the mission. But there was one particular section that really caught my eye. And it was in the middle of a section of the message where he spoke about his own personal experiences and values. 

Friday, March 22, 2019

Civility Indeed!

A few days ago, I had a conversation with a coworker who is a believer. During the course of the exchange, he mentioned that he's glad that his children are home schooled and are not exposed, on a daily basis, to the barrage of foul language that is heard over the airwaves and has become a constant drumbeat. He mentioned that just the day before, he heard a few little kids coming by his house on the way home from school, dropping the "f-bomb" in their conversation with seeming natural ease. This showed, he said, the perversion that even little kids are capable of.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Our Awesome God!

Recently, at the recommendation of one of our pastors, I began reading Stephen Charnock's The Existence and Attributes of God. I can assure you that, although it is not light reading, it is indeed quite inspiring and thought provoking. (Puritans were not known for their succinctness. As one of my dear brothers in the faith commented once, they were known for adhering to the philosophy that "why use 10 words, when 100 will do"!). Certainly, Charnock goes about explaining his thesis in a quite verbose way. But what he has to say should be something that every Christian ponders in thinking and meditating on the greatness of the God we serve.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

"Like Others Who Have No Hope"

"Now concerning those who have fallen asleep,we do not want you to ignorant, that you may not grieve as those who have no hope" (1 Thessalonians 4:13).

Recently, one of our dear brothers at Grace passed into eternity, quietly and peacefully. His passing, though rather sudden, has reminded me of the fleeting nature of life and the true meaning of our existence. The apostle Paul had to deal with a myriad of thoughts and ideas about what death was really all about. "What happens when we die"? "How will the dead be raised"? "If the Lord comes, what will happen to those who have already died"? And on and on it went. As you can imagine, a faith that had been established in the Gentile world a mere two decades before the writings of the New Testament, was bound to raise a lot of questions in the minds of the believers. 

Saturday, January 19, 2019

"The Least of These"

Forty six years ago this coming Wednesday the nation finally extirpated itself from the quagmire that was the Vietnam war. But only one day earlier on January 22nd, the supreme court handed down its decision that legalized abortion. In the "shadows and penumbras" the highest court of this land found a right for people to murder the unborn. As one posting on the internet puts it "it is hard to believe that this nation has treated the murder of the unborn as a right for 46 years." Exactly. Our nation has sanctioned murder for over four decades and the millions that have been sacrificed at the altar of convenience are an appalling fact. To think that a society that prides itself on its "enlightenment" continues to grind out death after death can only make your head spin. Just one day before we finally ended our participation in the carnage in Vietnam, we sanctioned a carnage that has cost millions more lives than that conflict did. 

Saturday, January 5, 2019

The One Point "Calvinist"

If you're familiar with the Calvinist system, you're aware of the fact that there are five points laid out by the system as a convenient way to describe what God and man's roles in salvation are. The well-known acrostic TULIP, describes the primary points that the system seeks to identify. T stands for total depravity, the idea that man is dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1) and that he needs God to quicken him (Ephesians 2:5) in order to respond and be saved. U stands for unconditional election. Since man is dead in sin, God has selected those whom He will to save from the mass of sinners in the world. L is for limited atonement. God, having chosen those whom He wills to save, has provided a way for them to be so saved through Christ. I is for irresistible grace. Again, since man is dead in sin, it is God who has to draw man to Himself. Man cannot do so of his own accord. And P is for perseverance of the saints. It is here that we have the one point to which the title of this article refers.