Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Foreknowledge of God

"God foreknows what will be because He has decreed what shall be. It is therefore a reversing of the order of Scripture, a putting of the cart before the horse, to affirm that God elects because He foreknows people. The truth is, He “foreknows” because He has elected."

A.W. Pink from "The Foreknowledge of God" at The Highway

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Total Depravity (Is man just sick or is he dead?)

The Reformed Doctrine of Total Depravity is a doctrine that seems to rub the edges of Arminians the wrong way. 

The Arminian would want you to believe that man is just merely sick and that God is trying very desperately to hand the sinner medicine that would save his life; if only the sinner would choose to reach out and take the medicine.

The Reformed Doctrine of Total Depravity teaches, I believe more biblically, that man is not merely sick; he is dead. And instead of God begging a sinner to take some medicine to save his life, God must make the first move and give spiritual CPR to the sinner in order raise the dead man back to life.

That, of course, is a simplistic way of contrasting the differences between Arminian and Reformed theology concerning the Doctrine of Total Depravity.

Here is a very detailed analysis on Total Depravity by A.W. Pink

Chapter 1. - Introduction

The subject which this chapter is designed to introduce is likely to meet with a decidedly mixed reception. Some readers will probably be very disappointed when they see the title of this book, considering the subject quite unattractive and unedifying. If so, they are to be pitied; we hope that God will bless the contents to them. Medicine is proverbially unpleasant, but there are times when all of us find it necessary and beneficial. Others will be thankful that, by divine grace, we seek to glorify God rather than please the flesh. And surely that which most glorifies God is to declare "all his counsel," to insist on that which puts man in his proper place before Him, and to emphasize those portions and aspects of the truth which our generation is most in need of. As we shall endeavor to show, our theme is one of immense doctrinal importance and of great practical value. Since it is a subject which occupies 

A Vital Contemporary Question 

It is our deep conviction that the vital question most requiring to be raised today is this: Is man a totally and thoroughly depraved creature by nature? Does he enter the world completely ruined and helpless, spiritually blind and dead in trespasses and sins? According as is our answer to that question, so will be our views on many others. It is on the basis of this dark background that the whole Bible proceeds. Any attempt to modify or abate, repudiate or tone down the teaching of Scripture on the matter is fatal. Put the question in another form: Is man now in such a condition that he cannot be saved without the special and direct intervention of the triune God on his behalf? In other words, is there any hope for him apart from his personal election by the Father, his particular redemption by the Son, and the supernatural operations of the Spirit within him? Or, putting it in still another way: If man is a totally depraved being, can he possibly take the first step in the matter of his return to God? 

The Scriptural Answer

The scriptural answer to that question makes evident the utter futility of the schemes of social reformers for "the moral elevation of the masses," the plans of politicians for the peace of the nations, and the ideologies of dreamers to usher in a golden age for this world. It is both pathetic and tragic to see many of our greatest men putting their faith in such chimeras. Divisions and discords, hatred and bloodshed, cannot be banished while human nature is what it is. But during the past century the steady trend of a deteriorating Christendom has been to underrate the evil of sin and overrate the moral capabilities of men. Instead of proclaiming the heinousness of sin, there has been a dwelling more upon its inconveniences, and the abasing portrayal of the lost condition of man as set forth in Holy Writ has been obscured if not obliterated by flattering disquisitions on human advancement. If the popular religion of the churches—including nine-tenths of what is termed "evangelical Christianity—be tested at this point, it will be found that it clashes directly with man's fallen, ruined and spiritually dead condition. 

There is therefore a crying need today for sin to be viewed in the light of God's law and gospel, so that its exceeding sinfulness may be demonstrated, and the dark depths of human depravity exposed by the teaching of Holy Writ, that we may learn what is connoted by those fearful words "dead in trespasses and sins." The grand object of the Bible is to make God known to us, to portray man as he appears in the eyes of his Maker, and to show the relation of one to the other. It is therefore the business of His servants not only to declare the divine character and perfections, but also to delineate the original condition and apostasy of man, as well as the divine remedy for his ruin. Until we really behold the horror of the pit in which by nature we lie, we can never properly appreciate Christ's so-great salvation. In man's fallen condition we have the awful disease for which divine redemption is the only cure, and our estimation and valuation of the provisions of divine grace will necessarily be modified in proportion as we modify the need it was meant to meet. 

David Clarkson, one of the Puritans, pointed out this fact in his sermon on Psalm 51:5: 

The end of the ministry of the Gospel is to bring sinners unto Christ. Their way to this end lies through the sense of their misery without Christ. The ingredients of this misery are our sinfulness, original and actual; the wrath of God, whereto sin has exposed us; and our impotency to free ourselves either from sin or wrath. That we may therefore promote this great end, we shall endeavour, as the Lord will assist, to lead you in this way, by the sense of misery, to Him who alone can deliver from it. Now the original of our misery being the corruption of our nature, or original sin, we thought fit to begin here, and therefore have pitched upon these words as very proper for our purpose: "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me." 

Please read the entire article here at Reformation Files

Saturday, January 21, 2012

10 Distinguishing Marks of John Calvin’s Preaching

From Nathan W. Bingham at the Ligonier blog

1.    John Calvin’s preaching was biblical in its substance.
The Reformer stood firmly on the chief cornerstone of the Reformation—sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”). … The preacher, Calvin believed, has nothing to say apart from Scripture.”

2.    John Calvin’s preaching was sequential in its pattern.
For the duration of his ministry, Calvin’s approach was to preach systematically through entire books of the Bible. … Calvin preached from the New Testament on Sunday mornings, from the New Testament or the Psalms on Sunday afternoons, and from the Old Testament every morning of the week, every other week. In this consecutive fashion, Calvin preached through most of the books of the Scriptures.”

3.    John Calvin’s preaching was direct in its message.
When expounding Scripture, Calvin was remarkably straightforward and to the point. He did not launch his message with a captivating story, a compelling quote, or a personal anecdote. Instead, Calvin immediately drew his listeners into the biblical text. The focus of the message was always Scripture, and he spoke what needed to be said with an economy of words. There were no wasted statements.”

4.    John Calvin’s preaching was extemporaneous in its delivery.
When Calvin stepped into his pulpit, he did not bring with him a written manuscript or any sermon notes. The Reformer made a conscious choice to preach extempore, that is, spontaneously. He wanted his sermons to have a natural and passionate delivery that was energetic and engaging, and he believed spontaneous preaching was best suited to achieve those ends.”

5.    John Calvin’s preaching was exegetical in its approach.
Calvin insisted that the words of Scripture must be interpreted in their particular historical backgrounds, original languages, grammatical structures, and biblical contexts. … [He] insisted on the sensus literalis, the literal sense of the biblical text.”

For the next five marks of Calvin' preaching click HERE

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Invitations and Altar Calls

Invitations are ancient, altar calls are relatively recent.

“Houston, We have a problem.” Those have come to be favorite words to describe something of great concern in a soft, non-panicked way. 
Well we in Christendom, and as Baptists, have a problem. There are many people calling themselves Christians who are not living as disciples of Christ. Now surely, at any given time, they are true believers struggling with some part of their life. 
They do not want to give up something that God requires, or perhaps they have a blind spot and are not behaving in a way that honors Christ. But they are still true believers and God will bring them through this time of difficulty.
But for many who name the name of Christ and show no devotion to Him there is another answer. They are not truly born again Christians. Jesus said there would be those who called Him Lord whom He never knew.

Is this problem worse now than in other times in history? I think so. It is easy to be called a Christian in our society.   Read rest HERE

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Two for Tuesday

From The Wittenberg Door

The Necessity of Creeds By Rev. Robert Grossmann

The Word of God calls upon believers to confess their faith. Jesus said, Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven (Matt. 10:32). The apostle Paul concurs: If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Rom. 10:9). To assure a purity of confession, the church has written various creeds over the years. Creeds are universal as summaries of the truth of the gospel.

Even those who proclaim "No Creed but Christ" have a list of propositions that defines the Christ they believe in. The problem is that they are not willing to publish this list since it might change. There should be no fear to publish the teachings of Scripture, though: the Lord got his doctrines right the first time! Nevertheless, as Christians we must agree that, if our creedal summary is in error, we will change it.

Read rest of article here

From Defending/Contending

A Case for the Pre-Existence of the Son of God

A Case for the Pre-Existence of the Son of God
Defining Who is the Son of God and Proving His Eternal Existence

            Over two-thousand years ago in the small village of Bethlehem, made famous as the boyhood home of King David (1 Sam 16:1, 17:12, Luke 2:4), a baby was born. Only a few miles from Jerusalem, the epicenter of the Jewish religious culture of the time, this baby would grow up amidst swirling controversy regarding who he was. Who is this child? He would be called many things, however, one title condemned him for blasphemy by the High Priest Caiaphas and the Council of scribes and elders who arrested and tried him and led to his execution (Mt 26:37, Mt 26:62-66, Jn 19:7). The question came from Caiaphas, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus answered directly, “You have said so.”You have stated the truth. Caiaphas tore his clothes[1] – a forbidden act by the High Priest – as a display of extreme grief for blasphemy.[2] Jesus claimed to be the Son of God and he was executed for it.

            We have the advantage on this side of the cross, two-thousand years later, with the aid of Holy Scripture to see that Jesus was in fact the Son of God (Jn 1:1-14) and was wrongly executed by the council in a purely legal point of view. However, Jesus is God and his mission the rest here

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Order Salutis (The Order of Salvation)

From Defending / Contending

What really happens when one is born again?

If all one does is consider what is seen and felt, one will conclude that one is born again by choosing Christ or accepting Him.

But there is an unseen, spiritual reality described in the Bible – that man is born of the flesh dead spiritually, unable to do anything good and unable to desire to do anything good – as defined by God.

The humble creature who desires to know the Truth will – as best a man can do – set aside his presuppositions and preconceived conclusions that are based on what he sees and feels, and he will inquire humbly of the Lord, seeking wisdom from His Spirit, as he reads His word.

This that follows is an outline showing the spiritual reality – God predestined those He would save, in time, through faith (a gift given the elect) in Christ; who saves by grace alone and not through the deeds of the flesh or will of man, but by the will of God (John 1:12 – 13).

Order of Salvation (Ordo Salutis)


Rom. 8:29, 30; 9:1-25;
Eph. 1:3-14; 2 Thess 2:12,13

Effectual Calling (Regeneration)

John 1:12,13; 3:1-10; 6:44,45, 63-65
Eph. 2:1-5; Titus 3:3-6, Rom. 8:30


Acts 20:21
Eph. 2:8,9; Phil. 1:29; Acts 13:48; 16:14;
18:27; James 2:14
Acts 5:31; 11:18; 2 Cor. 7:10-11

Justification (Legal Declaration)

Deut. 25:1; Acts 10:43; Prov. 17:15
Rom. 3:21; 4:8; 5:1,2, 12-18; 8:32;

Gal. 2:16; 3:1-13; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:9


Rom. 8:15-17, 23-25; Gal. 4:1-5
John 1:12-13; 8:40 to end
I John 3:1,2

Definitive Sanctification

John 10:26-30; Rom. 6; I Cor. 1:2; 6:9-12

Progressive Sanctification

Lev. 11:44; Matt. 5-7; Rom. 13; Eph. 4-5;
Phil 2:1-13; I Cor. 13; Gal. 5:16-23;

I Peter 1:15,16; 2 Peter 1:1-10; 3:18
(Preservation of the Saints)
Jer. 32:40; John 6:37-40; 10:26-30
Rom. 8:30-end; Phil. 1:6; I John 3:9


Matt 25; I Thess 4:13-end; 2 Cor. 5:1-8
Phil. 1:23; 3:20,21; I John 3:1-3
Rev. 6:9-10

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Paul's Reason for Enduring

From Reformation Theology -

The following is a short meditation by Dr. James White.

For this reason I endure all things for the sake of the elect, so that they also might experience the salvation which is in Christ Jesus, and with it, eternal glory. (2 Timothy 2:10 - translation by Dr. James White)

The context is important. 2 Timothy is Paul's farewell letter to Timothy. You don't waste words when writing your farewell to a dearly beloved son in the faith. He is encouraging Timothy to be strong. He calls Timothy to "share in suffering" with him (2:3), to compete, work hard, and remember Jesus Christ. Then, in verse 9, he mentions his own suffering as a criminal for the gospel. This is the context lying behind Paul's statement that he "endures."

Endures what?


All the opposition and attacks and beatings and imprisonment and long days of toil and labor--he endured it all for what reason?

Oh, surely, we could say "the glory of God," but that isn't Paul's answer here. Instead, he says he endures all of this "for the sake of the elect."

Many may wish this term did not appear in Scripture, but it is right there - "the elect," "the chosen ones." Paul uses the same term in Romans 8:33 "Who will bring a charge against God's elect?", and significantly in Colossians 3:12: "So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."

Notice that Paul refers to the professing believers in Colossae as "those who have been chosen of God." Not those who chose God (they did that, but they did so as a result of being chosen by Him: the Christian gospel is God-centered, not man-centered!). It is important to see the source of the "choosing" in election here: "chosen of God." God chooses. God disposes. God is sovereign in this matter.

1) Why preach if the identity and number of elect was fixed in eternity? Arminians ask this all the time. Because it is our glorious privilege to be used of God in His service as the means by which He brings His elect unto Himself! We who have heard the Master's call and been raised from spiritual death should long to be used of God to bring others into His kingdom, just as He used those in the faith before us to bring us the life-giving message of the gospel.

2) The interface of the divine decree ("the elect" here clearly refers to a specific people, chosen by God, not merely "foreseen down the corridors of time") with its outworking in time (seen in Paul's activity and suffering) is seen. Is God dependent upon Paul? Surely not in the eternal perspective of His decree. But we cannot "see" that decree. We have God's prescriptive will plainly revealed to us: preach the gospel to every person! Fight the good fight! Endure persecution as a slave of Jesus Christ! We know God will save His elect, and we know those who truly respond to our message do so only by grace. This gives us boldness to proclaim God's command to repent to all men everywhere.

3) The elect come to Christ. Almost every passage that speaks of the gospel's specificity in the New Testament likewise denies the concept of inclusivism or pluralism. The salvation the elect obtain is "in Christ Jesus" and in Him alone. It is simply ridiculous to think that Paul includes in this the idea of some kind of "secret, ignorant disciple who clings to falsehood but is really in Christ anyway." Such is purely wishful thinking on the part of modern neo-evangelicals who are ashamed of the exclusivity of the claims of Christ.

Reformation Theology