There is nothing that makes us love a man so much as praying for him. —William Law
Freedom of Conscience Wins a Round
In its order upholding HOO’s right not to speak — its right not to assist in spreading a message endorsing an unbiblical view of sexuality — the court relied on the Supreme Court’s clear statement in Wooley v. Maynard: We begin with the proposition that the right of freedom of thought protected by the First Amendment against state action includes both the right to speak freely and the right to refrain from speaking at all.
Free Speech Still Cool on Campus, Religious Freedom … Not So Much
What about freedom of association? In California, Assemblywoman Shannon Grove introduced the California Freedom of Association Act as a response to—in the words of Assemblyman Tim Donnelly—“an all-out assault on religious liberty and the right to associate freely on California college campuses.” California’s public universities have forced Christian campus ministries either to embrace non-Christian leaders, or leave campus.
Losing My Religion For Equality
I am also familiar with vivid descriptions in the same Scriptures in which women are revered as pre-eminent leaders. During the years of the early Christian church women served as deacons, priests, bishops, apostles, teachers and prophets. It wasn’t until the fourth century that dominant Christian leaders, all men, twisted and distorted Holy Scriptures to perpetuate their ascendant positions within the religious hierarchy.
College Students and the Church (3): A Challenge to Churches
The neglected key to college student ministry is the exhortation of Peter: “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling” (1 Peter 4:9). It actually is that simple. The vision is to build relationships with college students, relationships in which counsel and discipleship and life-togetherness will come naturally and organically. This requires hospitality. It requires welcoming them into your home and life. To put it differently, when you see college students (or anyone, for that matter) worshipping with you, you simply are the church’s ministry to that person.
Hymns We Should Sing More Often: “God Moves”
Cowper wrote “God Moves in a Mysterious Way” in 1773 before he fell into a deep depression. In the mysterious providence of God this hymn has brought comfort and hope to countless believers who, like Cowper, struggle through the long dark night of the soul.
Pompous and Pathetic
According to God’s own review, Moses was the meekest man on the planet. And gloriously, when his days of earthly toil and ministry were completed, God took him home to reign with him on high until the New Heavens and New Earth are created. In the end, the meek Moses had it all, left it all, and received it all back. Because he was not pompous, his end was not pathetic.
The Man Who Could Redefine Marriage
Anthony Kennedy led the majority with this breathtaking proclamation: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”… Of course, in truth, this is plainly not the Christian/Catholic understanding of liberty. What Kennedy and allies expressed is a totally non-Christian (arguably anti-Christian) and completely individualistic understanding.
The opening words of Scripture establish the divine context for all human history and indeed for all special revelation: “In the beginning, God. . .” (Genesis 1:1). In other words, all biblical context is divine before it is human. Biblical content is divine before it is human. Human history, grammar, genre and situatedness serve divine ends; they do not confine the Spirit of God to their own limits or reduce the gloriously diverse text to something less than pure, supernatural revelation.
Logic on Fire: The Life and Legacy of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (DVD Review)
“This film was recently debuted at the Gospel Coalition conference in Orlando where many of the guests featured on the DVD documentary were speaking, preaching, and lecturing. I have to say, there was a great amount of excitement about the release of Logic on Fire.”
Faith, Union With Christ, And The Means Of Grace (Part 1)
“Catechism questions are not just opportunities for an answer. They are not just filling space. They often contain important truths. In Calvin’s catechisms the question is sometimes the answer. He asked long questions the answer to which was, “Yes, teacher.”
13 Tips for Leading the Congregation in Prayer
“Make sure there is a flow and direction. Don’t get too wordy. Keep a good pace. It often makes sense to work from the inside out, praying first for concerns of the congregation and then moving out to the community, the global church, and the world.”
Why Think About Heaven
“Recognizing that they will soon be in the presence of their heavenly King, those who belong to Christ desire to please Him and reflect His perfect character in every way possible. As the apostle John wrote in his first epistle, “We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”
Something Important That I Have Learned From My Parents
“Whether we come from a great home or a highly dysfunctional one, I’m pretty confident that most of us come out of our childhood with a list of things that we will do differently with our own children. We are thankful for all the good that we may have inherited from our parents, and we are ready to combine that with our even better, more enlightened ways.”
It’s Come To This: Having Good Parents Is An ‘Unfair Advantage’
“Swift and his ilk, rather than seeing that mom and dad kicking the soccer ball around with the kids after dinner is a good thing and we need more of it, believe we should take a parent out of the picture or scrap the family bonding time. What?”
Gordon College Wins—and Loses?
“The New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) may have left Gordon alone for the time being but only because they are satisfied that advocates for homosexual relations have (so to speak) secured the beachhead and are advancing inland. After reading the College’s own “Questions about Gordon’s Working Group” I felt some sadness for a college I love.”
This Is How God Works. Don’t Look Down On It.
“How often we despise the day of small things. Often when people first get saved, we see little fruit. We can’t imagine how many prayers it will take to see someone healed. A church building project can seem overwhelming considering the few resources we have. It may feel like we have an impossible mountain to climb before we ever get victory over sin. It may seem pointless to even try.”
For Mothers and Daughters and All Women
Research is clear: dads matter for children. But no research is even necessary to know that moms matter. Of course they do. In fact, all women matter.
Listen Now | Download
Articles, Resources, and More . . . Oh My! (05/08/15)
I admit, I struggle with this—in its subtler forms. Erik Raymond has a strong admonition for us.
Philippians 4:13. We’ve all quoted it. But have we really understood it within its context?
Chris Martin: “The Christian cannot be a passive theologian who has idle thoughts about God here and there. Christians are called to be active theologians who are constantly trying to learn more about the God we worship.”
The Lord doesn’t work according to our economy. It just may be that the very things we despise most in our lives are those things that God uses to bring Himself great glory and us more good than we could have imagined. Help us believe, Lord!
While we want to look for transformation, let’s be quick to extend grace to those who are new in the faith—slow and steady usually wins the race.
WEEKLY APOLOETICS LINKS:
• If Jesus did not really rise from the dead
• The Best Christian Case Making (Apologetics) Content on Twitter
• Credo Courses: Craig Blomberg on the Reliability of the Gospels
• Seven Tips for Good Christian Case Making Conversations (Free Bible Insert)
This Week in Calvinism – May 8, 2015
- Simmons College of Kentucky has formed ties with the Kentucky Baptist Fellowship. Its president, Kevin Cosby, welcomed the union because he was concerned about the introduction of Calvinism into his community. According to KBF interim coordinator Chris Sanders, “He sees the strain of Calvinism some are trying to plant there as harmful, as it makes people fatalistic and docile, the antithesis of African-American empowerment He is opposed to all forms of discrimination, be it race, gender or sexual orientation.”
- David Mathis of Desiring God writes, “While the issue of online access to porn may be new to this generation — and progressively devastating to those who were exposed to it younger — the invitation to repentance from besetting sin is gloriously ancient.”
- Doug Wilson shares his observations on the Baltimore riots.
- Free stuff? Sure. Who doesn’t like free stuff?
9 Things Adult Daughters Want Their Mothers to Know
“And Mom, for my 18th birthday . . .”
The rest of my daughter’s sentence sounded like an adult in a Charlie Brown special. Anna spoke clearly enough, but I focused on the impending reality of those last four words.
I looked up at my daughter. “I’m sorry. . . . What? What were you saying?”
She shook her head and her eyes narrowed. “You weren’t listening, were you?”
Anna, like many young women, is a self-proclaimed Daddy’s girl. Throughout her life, he’d been the go-to parent for her. “I’m just like Dad,” she would explain. “Besides, Nathan is your favorite anyway.”
Ouch. I didn’t want to be accused of playing favorites. With my husband’s recent death, I held both my children closer than ever. How could I improve my relationship with my adult daughter and point her to Christ?
Recently, I asked Anna, now 22 and a senior at Covenant College, to give me nine things a mother needs to know about her adult daughter. So she and her friends crowded around a lunch table. Much of what they said, to me, looks a lot like the practical application of Ephesians 6.
Faith Plus Works vs. Faith Alone and Works as Evidence of Faith: Is it Just Semantics?
Visitor: Faith + Works [heresy?] = Faith + Sanctification [works is essential !] = Justification, Sanctification, Glorification = Salvation?
To me, it just points to why so much division is in Christianity. No sooner than a work is done, someone will claim heresy. Another will claim it as their testimony of faith.
Response: Salvation by Christ alone vs. salvation by Christ plus works are two entirely different visions of Christianity, not just a simple division over whether we should have red or green carpet in our local church building. To think that “Christ alone” does not matter or is not important enough to fight for is more worrisome to me. Indifference or thinking that church unity is somehow more important than preaching Christ alone … i.e.. that we can (at least partly) maintain our own just standing before God — is not a matter simple division among otherwise well-meaning brothers… this is critical as to whether we are honoring God or dishonoring Him (Gal 3:3; Phil 3:3). This is where the rubber meets the road.
Visitor: You’re kidding, right? The “Christ alone” view keeps insisting that it includes works that is evidence ..
but the works gets interpreted as heresy vs. evidence of faith in “Christ alone”.
Response: are you, then, affirming, that Jesus Christ is not sufficient to save you? That you yourself must MAINTAIN your just standing before God? That Jesus isn’t enough? I am talking about your justification here – your right standing before God. To believe that your flesh contributes one bit of righteousness to your standing before God is the heresy Paul refers to in Galatians 3:3.
Adrian Rogers on the difference between false religion and true religion
‘I will ascend to heaven;
above the stars of God
I will set my throne on high;
I will sit on the mount of assembly
in the far reaches of the north;
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.’(Isaiah 14:13-14)
I will, I will, I will, I will, I will; five times satan is recorded as mulling over what he will do and what he will get. He has been on a tear ever since, telling us through false religion what we can do and what we can get (if we disobey God).
I will, I will, I will, I will, I will…
Yet Jesus prayed:
Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done. (Luke 22:42b)
God’s will. The focus is on Him, His Son, and His Spirit. What we can do for Him, to Him, about Him, through Him, and by Him- so He can get the glory.
Do not be fooled by satan’s tricks. As the late Adrian Rogers said in his sermon “Counterfeit Christianity-”
One of Satan’s chief tools in his bag of tricks is religion. The very first temptation in the Garden of Eden was a religious temptation; it was a temptation not to be ungodly, but to be godly “and ye shall be as gods”. (Genesis 3:1-5)
It’s a very good sermon, please take a listen. The part when he describes people who have falsely depended on a spiritual experience for their faith and not the Person of Faith (Jesus), and they try to convince God to let them enter heaven, is devastating. “But, but I had a vision, I was engulfed in light, I saw heaven…” Satan standing aside saying, “You fool, that was me.”
Our focus should always be on precious Jesus, as it says in Hebrews 12:2
looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 Simple Ways to Debunk Relativism, Skepticism, and Materialism
by Joe Heschmeyer
Gorgias the Nihilist, an ancient Greek philosopher, was said to have argued the following four points:
1. Nothing exists;
2. Even if something exists, nothing can be known about it; and
3. Even if something can be known about it, knowledge about it can’t be communicated to others.
4. Even if it can be communicated, it cannot be understood.
Of course, if you can understand his argument, he’s wrong. So too, many modern thinkers hold to positions that, fall apart into self-refutation when critically examined.
Today, I want to look at three such popular claims. In showing their inherent contradictions, I hope to show why we can (and must) affirm that knowable, non-empirically testable, absolute truths exist.
Step 1: Answering Relativism
The claim: “Absolute truth does not exist.”
Why it’s self-refuting: The claim “absolute truth does not exist” is either absolutely true or it’s not. But, of course, it can’t be absolutely true, since that would create a contradiction: we would have proven the existence of an absolute truth, the claim itself. Since it cannot be absolutely true, we must concede that there are some cases in which the proposition “absolute truth does not exist” must be false… in which case, we’re back to affirming the existence of absolute truth.
What we can know: Absolute truth exists. Put another way, the claim “absolute truth exists” is absolutely true…
FOLLOW THE LINK BELOW TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE >>>
Why Christian Discipleship Is Critical to Christian Survival
by J. Warner Wallace
Just before leaving the disciples, Jesus gathered them together and commissioned them with an important task. He told them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you…” (Matthew 28:18-20). Jesus understood the importance of discipleship (the process of making disciples). In fact, it was so important, He made sure it was His last directive to those who followed Him. What precisely is discipleship and why is it so important? Is it simply a matter of making converts? No, it’s much more. The process of making disciples is often misunderstood and neglected in the Church today, and as a result, we are in danger of losing our identity as Christians. Christian discipleship is critical to Christian survival.
Even secular dictionaries recognize discipleship as something more than simply creating “members” or “converts”. Dictionary.com describes a disciple as “a person who is a pupil or an adherent of the doctrines of another.” Webster’s online dictionary defines a disciple as “one who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrines of another.” At least one aspect of discipleship involves learning the doctrines of a particular system or teacher. This intellectual aspect of being a disciple is affirmed in the Bible. The Greek word used for “disciple” in the New Testament is “mathētḗs” and its root, “math-“, means the “mental effort needed to think something through“. Disciples are “learners”, “scholars” and followers of Christ who “learn the doctrines of Scripture and the lifestyle they require”. There is an important connection between doctrine and behavior. It’s not enough to simply follow Jesus’ moral teaching related to behavior, true disciples must understand the doctrines of Christianity. What does our worldview teach, theologically or philosophically? How are we to make a defense (1 Peter 3:15), hold fast the faithful word which is in accordance with this teaching (Titus 1:9), recognize a heresy when we see one (Titus 3:10), and guard the treasure which has been entrusted to us (2 Timothy 1:14)? Becoming a disciple means becoming a learner.
Sadly, many in the Church have neglected this important aspect of discipleship, and their hesitancy to celebrate the life of the mind continues to put the Church in great peril…
FOLLOW THE LINK BELOW TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE >>>
MILLENNIAL FAITH THAT STICKS: MORE THAN “NICENESS”
by John Basie
“True gospel-centered morality isn’t so easily whittled away. Faith as niceness is another story. ”
Over the years we’ve found the Barna Group’s research on faith and Millennials to be helpful, as well as consistent with our experience. Their 2006 study gets at the heart of why Impact 360 Institute’s Gap Year was started in the first place, namely the problem of Millennials disengaging from their faith during and after the college years. The study shows that the “most potent data regarding disengagement is that a majority of twentysomethings – 61% of today’s young adults – had been churched at one point during their teen years but they are now spiritually disengaged (i.e., not actively attending church, reading the Bible, or praying).”
“Only one-fifth of twentysomethings (20%) have maintained a level of spiritual activity consistent with their high school experiences.”
This statistic is consistent with my own experience in college and beyond (including first-hand reports from parents of college students). I can remember one young lady in my class in college—I’ll call her “Katie”—whose story is one of losing faith through a slow and steady loss of gospel-centered morality. She lost her biblical saltiness (Matt. 5:13-15) with each year she was in college. She came in on fire for all things Christ-oriented her freshman year and left stone cold. She married an unbeliever after college and is already divorced—all of this within the span of 3 or 4 years after we graduated. Did she “know” a lot about biology when she left college? Sure. How well did she fare regarding her soul? The early church father St. Augustine believed that what we know is to a large degree determined by what we love. Katie’s love for God was easily outmatched by the scintillating things college had to offer her at the time. Looking back, her faith was more or less “niceness.”
If you are currently in college or are about to be, then consider this…
FOLLOW THE LINK BELOW TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE >>>
This ‘n’ That
- The rise of the feminine church.
- Speaking of feminine church…yikes. Don’t worry, I’ve already contacted them to see if I can be on Season 2.
- Here’s Elizabeth Prata’s take on that last one.
- Yep, female religious leaders are everywhere.
- Also, this is weird.
- Here’s your weekly dose of adorable.
- Polygamy leads to heart disease. Sorry, but I think that’s one of the more amusing sentences I’ve written lately.
- Some people don’t like to think about death or even heaven. But why should we think about heaven?
- On moralistic therapeutic deism.
- When unity is not unity.
- Tepid worship:
Weekend Apologetics Hit and Misc: Making Apologetics Understandable
- 10 Facts to Memorize about the New Testament Canon – By Living Waters
- Stand to Reason | Quick Thought – Making Apologetics Understandable
- Scooby-Doo and the Shift in Worldviews | Stephen Bedard
- Reasons To Believe : Why Aren’t There Any 900-Year Old Human Fossils?
- Truthbomb Apologetics: Video: Is Atheism Winning the Battle for Science?
- Reasons To Believe : My Response to a Young-Earth Critique of Navigating Genesis
- Why 100 Former Muslims Converted to Christianity | ChristianityToday.com
- Belief in God is the Motor that Drove Science | Come Reason’s Apologetics Notes
- Resources to Help You Respond to Mormonism – Cross Examined
- Truthbomb Apologetics: New Testament Scholar Craig Blomberg on the Gospels
- 8 Things Christians Must Understand About Our Cultural Moment| Think Christianly
- Stand to Reason | No Other Man Did This
Articles of the Week
How the Prosperity Gospel Hurts Racial Reconciliation, Russell Moore. “When a prophet calls down fire from heaven, it’s wise to stand to the side. That’s how I felt a few weeks ago when John Perkins, the revered preacher and civil rights activist, brought up prosperity gospel pastor Creflo Dollar during a live interview. Perkins lamented that there are so few accredited African-American evangelical schools in the United States while at the same time Dollar is asking for money for a $65 million dollar private jet. ‘That’s almost witchcraft,’ he said. The more I’ve thought of that over the past few weeks, the more I’m convinced that Perkins is right. The prosperity gospel is a barrier to racial reconciliation.”
Three Ways to Shut Down Gossip, Erik Raymond. As Raymond aptly puts it, gossip is like a devilish Ponzi scheme, a way for powers of darkness to get rich on “verbal assassination.” Everyone—the gossip speaker, the gossip subject, the gossip hearer—loses when gossip is allowed to flourish. But how can we begin to root it out?
Would the Apostle Paul Listen to Lecrae? Brandon Smith. This article is worth your time if only for this one wonderful little gem: “I’d prefer a Trinity-centered Gregorian chant over an ambiguous Christian pop song any day.” (Those Gregorian chants don’t get very much air time these days, sadly.) But Smith isn’t here arguing for a return to ancient worship styles. Quite the contrary: he thinks that if Paul were around today, he’d be completely fine with some—by no means all—contemporary Christian music.
DC Talk & the Influence of “Faith-fortifying” Songs, Trevin Wax. Speaking of contemporary Christian music (CCM, for those in the biz), Wax offers another helpful reflection, this one focused on one of the most popular Christian bands of all time: DC Talk. I (Chris) still remember listening to “In the Light” after becoming a believer, and thinking that what was previously cheesy was (now) really encouraging. Wax would agree: there may be a lot of garbage in the CCM world, but DC Talk was a bright spot.
Three Myths About Women’s Emotions, Sharon Hodde Miller. In the most anti-climactic announcement of 2015, Hillary Clinton announced that she’s running for our nation’s top office in 2016. Her official declaration led many to swiftly and publicly announce why they wouldn’t be voting for her. Some of those reasons, of course, are good and right. But our friend Sharon takes on one of the more suspect “reasons” – Clinton would be a bad leader because she’s a woman, and women are emotional. There’s a whole bundle of error in that statement, and Sharon helpfully sorts some of it out.
The Lure of the Prosperity Gospel
May 08, 2015 06:27 am | Mike
Today we continue our look at the Word of Faith movement with our guest Pastor David Hocking. The movement understandably appeals to Americans because of the promise of earthly blessings–but is it leaving disappointment and devastation in its wake while a handful live a life of fame and fortune? Pastor David Hocking joins us by […]
A sister and a soldier: Update on Caryl Matrisciana
May 07, 2015 09:55 am | A. S.
An update on our friend, Caryl Matrisciana: I spoke with her a few nights ago, and she has encouraged me to share her latest newsletter released this morning to update everyone on her battle with cancer. I don’t want you to miss two words in that last sentence: She encouraged me. That’s the kind of […]
The post A sister and a soldier: Update on Caryl Matrisciana appeared first on Stand Up For The Truth.
The Danger of the Word Faith Movement
May 07, 2015 07:02 am | Mike
Jesus taught that a man must be willing to give up wealth, friends and even family to follow Him as His disciple. The Christian life is one of obedience and submission to Jesus Christ in every area of our life. But there are some who believe the Christian life should be marked by health, wealth […]
Those deep theological questions
May 06, 2015 08:42 am | A. S.
Today we’re opening up our phone lines and inviting you to ask anything you’ve ever wanted to know about the Bible, about the character and nature of God, and about how pastors stand firm for the truth in these times. Joining us to talk about this is a frequent guest, Dr. Randy White, pastor of […]
“Forgive the Shooter.” The Most Difficult Command?
May 05, 2015 06:19 am | A. S.
Today we’ll be covering some breaking and alarming news: ISIS claims responsibility for Texas shooting, threatens more attacks. Every day the news reports another story of senseless killing, terror and the murder of Christians. Our flesh wants to lash out in vengeance–yet Jesus taught us In Matthew 5 to love, forgive and pray for our […]
The post “Forgive the Shooter.” The Most Difficult Command? appeared first on Stand Up For The Truth.
Nothing to see here?
May 04, 2015 09:13 am | A. S.
There is so much to pray about today.When the government and military combine forces on a global scale, you’ve got the beginning of the end. And what are we doing about it? Today we covered: He who has an ear (Mike’s Thoughts) Hebrew Roots founder Jim Staley admits defrauding elderly investors Jesus Calling” Book Sales […]
He Who Has an Ear
May 04, 2015 08:28 am | Mike
The Founding Fathers of this nation realized the dangers of a powerful federal government. From the establishment of the Constitution to the Bill of Rights to the insistence on States’ Rights, our founders realized that centralized power was an open door for corruption and tyranny. They knew that sinful men could not be trusted to […]
Treating the Symptoms, Not the Sin – “Many parents live in fear that any parental misstep might mar their child’s character in some irreparable way. They think if something goes wrong in childhood, the child might begin to drift spiritually or wander morally. But the truth is that our children are already marred by sin from the moment they are conceived. The drive to sin is embedded in their very natures. All that is required for the tragic harvest is that children be allowed to give unrestrained expression to those evil desires.”
Rick Warren Having A Gay Old Time – “On today’s program, JD discusses prayer requests from the Bunker, and an article about a United Methodist pastrix being persecuted for upholding ‘traditional marriage.’ Then, JD discusses Rick Warren’s hand-holding with Elton John and his ‘joke’ about kissing him.”
Finding Truth: Why Worldviews Commit Suicide – “So far, we’ve learned how to identify the idol in a worldview (i.e., its understanding of the nature of ultimate reality), to find where it reduces the view of the human person to something less than human, and to see where that reductionism fails to match reality. This week, Nancy Pearcey explains how to find where a worldview contradicts itself…”
The Lure of the Prosperity Gospel – “Today we continue our look at the Word of Faith movement with our guest Pastor David Hocking. The movement understandably appeals to Americans because of the promise of earthly blessings–but is it leaving disappointment and devastation in its wake while a handful live a life of fame and fortune?”
9 Things Adult Daughters Want Their Mothers to Know – “Anna, like many young women, is a self-proclaimed Daddy’s girl. Throughout her life, he’d been the go-to parent for her. ‘I’m just like Dad,’ she would explain. ‘Besides, Nathan is your favorite anyway.’”
Art Azurdia – Spirit Empowered Preaching – Art Azurdia [Part 2]
“I’ve never killed anyone”
“I Don’t believe in God, but I do believe in a higher being.”
“If you alter or obscure the Biblical portrait of God in order to attract converts, you don’t get converts to God, you get converts to an illusion. This is not evangelism but deception.” – John Piper
What happens to babies who die?
|Elisha Raises the Shunammite woman’s Son: Frederic Leighton|
The total depravity of our children is a faith-doctrine, a biblical insight. Our natural instinct is to think of new-born children as moral and spiritual tabulae rasae, clean sheets on which to write a successful life. Admittedly the page may soon be a little blotted (the occasional temper tantrum!), but the background is still basically white, surely? Not so, according to the Scriptures: the wicked go astray from the womb and speak lies from birth, insists the psalmist.
Here is a chart comparing Arminianism and Calvinism. I’ll excerpt the part about our sin-nature.
Arminianism Free Will or Human Ability says:
Although human nature was seriously affected by the fall, man has not been left in a state of total spiritual helplessness. God graciously enables every sinner to repent and believe, but He does not interfere with man’s freedom. Each sinner possesses a free will, and his eternal destiny depends on how he uses it. Man’s freedom consists of his ability to choose good over evil in spiritual matters; his will is not enslaved to his sinful nature. The sinner has the power to either cooperate with God’s Spirit and be regenerated or resist God’s grace and perish. The lost sinner needs the Spirit’s assistance, but he does not have to be regenerated by the Spirit before he can believe, for faith is man’s act and precedes the new birth. Faith is the sinner’s gift to God; it is man’s contribution to salvation.
Calvinism: Total Inability or Total Depravity says:
Because of the fall, man is unable of himself to savingly believe the gospel. The sinner is dead, blind, and deaf to the things of God; his heart is deceitful and desperately corrupt. His will is not free, it is in bondage to his evil nature, therefore, he will not — indeed he cannot — choose good over evil in the spiritual realm. Consequently, it takes much more than the Spirit’s assistance to bring a sinner to Christ — it takes regeneration by which the Spirit makes the sinner alive and gives him a new nature. Faith is not something man contributes to salvation but is itself a part of God’s gift of salvation— it is God’s gift to the sinner, not the sinner’s gift to God.
|Jan Sluijters (1881-1957), Elisha and the son of the
Shunammite woman, 1904
Total depravity does not mean that all humans are all as bad as they could be. Not everyone is a Hitler, is he? There are people who are nice and compassionate and do kind things. Then there’s the Hitlers and Stalins and Pol Pots of the world. No, total depravity means that sin has touched every part of our being, totally, and we are totally unable to do anything good for God. We are all criminals in God’s eyes and in His capacity as Judge He would be righteous if He sent all humans to hell upon their death. Even children.
So what happens to children who die, if they are completely depraved but are unable to consciously and maturely respond to the Gospel?
One of the complaints I receive about the Doctrines of Grace is that God would be horribly mean to send babies to hell when they do not have the mind to even be able to contemplate the Gospel and formulate a response to it, the basis of faith and the key to entry into the Kingdom. I agree, that would be hard to swallow. But God does not send babies or children to hell. He is just, and He is sovereign, and He has a plan.
After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, John MacArthur was invited to the Larry King talk/interview show to try and help people make sense of the spiritual questions the event raised. In a subsequent sermon titled What Happens to Babies Who Die?, Dr MacArthur said this:
Some of you who tuned in to the Larry King Show a week ago Saturday will remember that Larry fired a question to me on the air that came out of nowhere. The question that reveals a nagging, troubling issue in the human heart. He asked me, “What about a two-year-old baby crushed at the bottom of the World Trade Center?”
I answered, “Instant heaven.”
He replied with another question. “Wasn’t a sinner?”
I again answered, “Instant heaven.”
That’s a compelling question, what about a baby crushed at the bottom of the Trade Center? What about any baby that dies? It’s an agonizing question. It’s a question that plagues Christians and non-Christians alike…what happens to babies that die?
In the essay, MacArthur shows from scripture that they go to heaven. Though they are sinners from the womb and though they have not hard or responded to the Gospel, God made a provision.
The Doctrines of Grace make me love Jesus all the more. He made a provision for the children and adults otherwise unable to cognitively understand their sin or the Gospel. God is love and His provision is demonstrates no better than the very moment an apple cheeked youngster’s laugh is stilled by death, when He receives them instantly to His arms.
The seed of every known sin is planted in their hearts. Robert Murray McCheyne
Never forget that there is more grace in Christ than there is sin in your heart and your child’s heart combined. Sinclair Ferguson
These essays show from scripture why their authors believe children who die go to heaven.
Charles Spurgeon: Infant Salvation
R. Albert Mohler, Jr. and Daniel L. Akin: The Salvation of the ‘Little Ones’: Do Infants who Die Go to Heaven?
John Piper: What Happens to Infants Who Die?
Can You Answer The Most Important Question Of Your Life?
I am asking you the most important question of your life. Your joy or your sorrow for all eternity depends upon your answer.
“And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!” John 1:36 (KJV)
The question is: Are you saved? It is not a question of how good you are, nor if you are a church member, but are you saved? Are you sure you will go to Heaven when you die?
God says in order to go to Heaven, you must be born again. In John 3:7, Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Ye must be born again.” In the Bible God gives us the plan of how to be born again which means to be saved. His plan is simple! You can be saved today. How?
First, my friend, you must realize you are a sinner. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Because you are a sinner, you are condemned to death. “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). This includes eternal separation from God in Hell.
“ . . . it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).
But God loved you so much He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus, to bear your sin and die in your place. “ . . . He hath made Him [Jesus, Who knew no sin] to be sin for us. . . that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Jesus had to shed His blood and die. “For the life of the flesh is in the blood” (Lev. 17:11). “ . . . without shedding of blood is no remission [pardon]” (Hebrews 9:22).
“ . . . God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Although we cannot understand how, God said my sins and your sins were laid upon Jesus and He died in our place. He became our substitute. It is true. God cannot lie.
My friend, “God commandeth all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). This repentance is a change of mind that agrees with God that one is a sinner, and also agrees with what Jesus did for us on the Cross.
Do you know Him? Don’t try to mislead me. Do you know my King?
In Acts 16:30-31, the Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas: “ . . . ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ And they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved . . . .’ ”
Simply believe on Him as the one who bore your sin, died in your place, was buried, and whom God resurrected. His resurrection powerfully assures that the believer can claim everlasting life when Jesus is received as Savior.
“But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, evento them that believe on His name” (John 1:12).
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13).
Whosoever includes you. Shall be saved means not maybe, nor can, but shall be saved. Surely, you realize you are a sinner. Right now, wherever you are, repenting, lift your heart to God in prayer.
In Luke 18:13, the sinner prayed:
“God be merciful to me a sinner.” Just pray: “Oh God, I know I am a sinner. I believe Jesus was my substitute when He died on the Cross. I believe His shed blood, death, burial, and resurrection were for me. I now receive Him as my Savior. I thank You for the forgiveness of my sins, the gift of salvation and everlasting life, because of Your merciful grace. Amen.”
Just take God at His word and claim His salvation by faith. Believe, and you will be saved. No church, no lodge, no good works can save you. Remember, God does the saving. All of it!
God’s simple plan of salvation is: You are a sinner. Therefore, unless you believe on Jesus Who died in your place, you will spend eternity in Hell. If you believe on Him as your crucified, buried, and risen Savior, you receive forgiveness for all of your sins and His gift of eternal salvation by faith.
You say, “Surely, it cannot be that simple.” Yes, that simple! It is scriptural. It is God’s plan.My friend, believe on Jesus and receive Him as Savior today.
If His plan is not perfectly clear, read this tract over and over, without laying it down, until you understand it. Your soul is worth more than all the world.
“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?”(Mark 8:36). Be sure you are saved. If you lose your soul, you miss Heaven and lose all. Please! Let God save you this very moment.
God’s power will save you, keep you saved, and enable you to live a victorious Christian life. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, Who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Do not trust your feelings. They change. Stand on God’s promises. They never change. After you are saved, there are three things to practice daily for spiritual growth:
- Pray — you talk to God.
- Read your Bible — God talks to you.
- Witness — you talk for God.
- Join a Bible Study — You will grow in your faith.
- Develop relationships with other believers – Fellowship is so important!
All scripture verse from the King James 1611 Authorized Version Holy Bible, and used by permission of the Author.
The post Can You Answer The Most Important Question Of Your Life? appeared first on Now The End Begins.
Who Was Jesus Calling Children Of The Devil?
Q. Your website is a blessing to me. I listen to your mp3’s nearly all night while I’m working. Someone I know questioned me about John 8:31. This verse speaks of “the Jews who believed in him (Jesus) and then in the next few verses Jesus calls them children of the devil that wanted to kill him. If they believed in him I don’t understand how this could be.
Understanding The Bible
Q. Why is so much of the Bible hard to understand? Not impossible but hard! I’ve come to the conclusion was that it was meant to be that way. If the Bible read like a long list of rules or a concise way to live your life from A to Z where would be the passion that comes from studying the word? Would people dedicate their entire lives to learning scripture? What do you think?
Q. My question is about sanctification. I have family members that can point to a time in their lives (30 years ago) when they accepted Christ as their personal savior, but they show no ‘spiritual fruit’ at all . They do not live as Christians in any sense of the word. I know that the bible basically says “once saved always saved”, but if there is no spiritaul growth & no desire for God or His word, meaning they are not being sanctified, is it possible that the conversion was not genuine? I’m confused about this. Does this mean that they are still saved, but it will affect their rewards once in Heaven? continue reading
Children In The Post Rapture World
Q. No children are mentioned in Daniel’s 70th Week or Rev 6-19. Is that because all children are raptured? Children are innocent; sinners of course, but not of age to even understand sin or commit their lives to Jesus. Will those living at the time of the rapture be caught up even though they are not part of the Church?
Is There A Bible Just For The Church?
Q. I was taught that the verses in the Bible that referenced the Jews are now meant for the Church, since they rejected Jesus Christ. We are the spiritual Jews, the chosen people. If that isn’t so and verses like Jeremiah 29:11 have no application to me personally, why read them? When I need verses to hold onto in times of trouble, verses to commit to memory to comfort me in the dark hours of the night, I want the ones that apply to the Church. Why hasn’t there been a Bible written with just verses that apply to the Church?
Seeking The Lord’s Will
Q. The pastor of my church asked the congregation to enter into a 21-day “Daniel fast” as in Daniel 10:2-3. We were to consecrate ourselves, seek the Lord’s will and then His guidance to fulfill that will. The end result was to be an action plan for the coming year regarding our family, finances, whatever we wished. Knowing our God knows better than I, I left the door open to His direction from the get-go. I asked for nothing in particular … only that he would lead me in paths of righteousness.
The Ascendancy Of Evil
Commentary by Jack Kelley
For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way (2 Thes 2:7).
The number of emails I receive from people who are discouraged, frustrated, even despondent, is steadily increasing. They point to current conditions in the world and wonder how much worse things can get.
Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner?
“My Last Day” — the Jesus Anime
9 powerful minutes of animation that begins with a thief behind bars watching the scourging of Jesus, and it ends with the thief dying next to Jesus, and waking to see Him in a beautiful place.
The dying thief: What was so great about his faith?
Our Time is Short
Ready to start your new life with God?
Who do you think that I am?
With that brief question Jesus Christ confronted His followers with the most important issue they would ever face. He had spent much time with them and made some bold claims about His identity and authority. Now the time had come for them either to believe or deny His teachings.
Who do you say Jesus is? Your response to Him will determine not only your values and lifestyle, but your eternal destiny as well.
Consider what the Bible says about Him: Read more
Look to Jesus
Have you ever felt a little lost and wished there was a quick-start guide to your relationship with God? This is it!
30 Day Next Steps
John Beckett, a leading Christian businessman, has written a series to read over 30 days for new believers.
New Believers Guide
The New Believer’s Guide is a series of articles designed to show you how to walk in the new life Christ has given you— a life of faith and freedom.
Jesus is the Savior of the world. Discover who Jesus is today in this series.
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed
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