Does Calvinism Discourage Evangelism?

Posted by Nathan Busenitz

Seven years ago, a group of fifteen Southern Baptist evangelists met together to bemoan the growth of Calvinism within SBC circles.

When asked about his concerns, Jerry Drace (the evangelist who initiated the meeting) explained that some Baptist pastors are so Calvinistic “that they almost laugh at evangelism. It’s almost to the extent that they believe they don’t have to do it. So [Calvinism] gives them an excuse not to do evangelism.”

Drace’s comments raise an important question. Does an affirmation of God’s sovereign election in salvation (commonly called “Calvinism”) discourage people from faithfulness in evangelism?Calvin and Company

An answer to that question could be approached from several different angles.

One could, for example, consider evangelistic efforts among Baptists — comparing those who embrace the doctrine of election with those who do not. An SBC study “found that Calvinistic recent graduates report that they conduct personal evangelism at a slightly higher rate than their non-Calvinistic peers.”

A better place to go, of course, would be the Word of God. There are many passages to which we could turn (from John 6 to Acts 13 to Ephesians 1); but I would start in Romans 9–10. Pardon the anachronism, but it is no accident that one of the most “Calvinistic” chapters in the Bible (Romans 9) is partnered with the one of the most “evangelistic” (Romans 10). Clearly, the apostle Paul saw no disconnect between the reality of God’s sovereignty in salvation and his own evangelistic zeal.

We could also look to church history. As Mitch Cervinka explains:

One needs only examine Protestant history to see that Calvinists have been on the forefront of evangelism and missions. George Whitefield was outspoken in affirming all five points of Calvinism, yet he was one of the most zealous and effective evangelists of the Great Awakening. Wherever he traveled, both in England and America, people would turn out by the thousands to hear him preach in the open fields. The modern missionary movement began in 1792 when the Calvinistic Baptist, William Carey, left England to minister the gospel in India. With the help of William Ward and Joshua Marshman, he founded 26 churches and 126 schools, and translated the Bible into 44 languages including Sanskrit. In 1812, Adoniram Judson, another Calvinistic Baptist, sailed to Burma, becoming the first American to depart for the overseas mission field. . . . Other Calvinistic evangelists and missionaries of note include Jonathan Edwards, Asahel Nettleton and Charles H. Spurgeon. More than this, the Protestant Reformation was perhaps the greatest evangelistic movement of modern history. The Lord brought it about through the evangelistic zeal and unfailing courage of men who believed that God is fully sovereign in salvation—men such as Martin Luther,William Tyndale, John Calvin and John Knox, as well as lesser known men such as William Farel, George Wishart, Martin Bucer, Hugh Latimer, Nicholas Ridley and countless others.

One of my favorite accounts from church history in this regard is the testimony of George Müller.  When he first encountered the doctrines of grace (such as mankind’s total depravity and God’s sovereign election), Müller tried to reject them. He would later describe his initial distaste in his autobiography, “Before this period I had been much opposed to the doctrines of election, particular redemption, and final persevering grace; so much so that . . . I called election a devilish doctrine.”

But as he continued to study God’s Word, Müller reached an unexpected conclusion. He wrote:

I went to the Word, reading the New Testament from the beginning, with a particular reference to these truths. To my great astonishment I found that the passages which speak decidedly for election and persevering grace, were about four times as many as those which speak apparently against these truths; and even those few, shortly after, when I had examined and understood them, served to confirm me in the above doctrines.

Müller initially feared that embracing the doctrine of election would quench his passion for evangelism. But he soon found it had the opposite effect. Consequently, he noted:

In the course of time . . . it pleased God then to show to me the doctrines of grace in a way in which I had not seen them before. At first I hated them, “If this were true I could do nothing at all in the conversion of sinners, as all would depend upon God and the working of His Spirit.” But when it pleased God to reveal these truths to me, and my heart was brought to such a state that I could say, “I am not only content simply to be a hammer, an axe, or a saw, in God’s hands; but I shall count it an honor to be taken up and used by Him in any way; and if sinners are converted through my instrumentality, from my inmost soul I will give Him all the glory;” the Lord gave me to see fruit; the Lord gave me to see fruit in abundance; sinners were converted by scores; and ever since God has used me in one way or other in His service.

That perspective fueled Müller’s evangelistic zeal — from the 10,000 orphans he helped to care for in England to the over 200,000 miles he traveled as an itinerant evangelist, taking the gospel to dozens of foreign nations. Müller’s example is one of many powerful answers, from history, to those who would allege that an affirmation of God’s sovereignty in salvation kills evangelism.

Whether we look to Scripture or church history, we quickly learn that a belief in God’s sovereign election — properly understood — is no deterrent to a passionate witness. In reality, it has the opposite effect.

A right understanding actually motivates the missionary spirit. As Charles Spurgeon explained to his students, “We must have the heathen converted; God has myriads of His elect among them, we must go and search for them somehow or other.”

That is the kind of passion for evangelism that ought to characterize all who call themselves “Calvinists.” If it doesn’t, it calls into question the authenticity of the label.

Online Source: The Cripplegate

Transgenderism: A Return to Pagan Mythology

By Fay Voshell

A great prophet once asked the question, “Can an Ethiopian change his skin or a leopard its spots?” Later, Jesus Christ asked, “Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?”

The prophet’s questions were meant to cause the listener to think about the nature of reality and human inability to change certain realities by fiat or wishful thinking.  Declaring one’s self to be other than what one is created is an assault on material and human reality — an exercise in magical thinking that is bound to run up against the reality of the created order, including the reality of humankind created as male and female. 

Yet a recent article in the Daily Beast contains a complete glossary of gender options. The glossary is currently comprised of 51 genders, among them an option to be “gender fluid,” that is, having the ability to flit from one gender to another according to what the individual would like to be. The idea is that though biologically one may be born with male or female parts, gender is a choice, not a fixed category. Instead, gender is determined by how an individual feels about his or her self.

According to the latest gender-bending theology, apparently each of us is able by mere wishful thinking about to transform ourselves from man to woman and from woman to man.  It’s a bit like Lewis Carrol’s Alice in Wonderland: “I knew who I was this morning, but I’ve changed a few times since then.”

The quote from Alice in Wonderland encapsulates via satirical means the theology of gender promoted by the increasingly radical left. And, yes, “genderism” is theology, as it deals with the intrinsic nature of human identity, humans’ place in the universe and humans’ concept of God. 

The fact is that the Left’s struggle against the clear-cut distinctions between the sexes is not about civil rights. It is not about equality. The struggle amounts to a religious war between the Jewish/Christian view of humanity and the pagan view of mankind. 

The belief that magical transformation of material reality, including the material reality of the human being can be accomplished by magical thinking of gods and goddesses is characteristic of the pagan worldview, a world the West left behind centuries ago, but to which it is rapidly returning. To believe the material world, including the human being, is infinitely malleable and capable of instantaneous transformation belongs more to the thought of ancient Greek and Roman mythology than it does to the Western concept of reality as defined by the Judeo/Christian tradition and modern science. The left’s current belief in human’s ability to achieve metamorphosis at will owes more to Ovid’s Metamorphosis than it does to Milton’s Paradise Lost

Paganism believes in metamorphosis by an act of will, human or divine. Transformation from one form to another is a constant theme in Greek mythology. The gods could become whatever or whomever they wished, often because they wished to have sex with humans who were unaware they were about to be raped by a god who had chosen the disguise of an animal. Zeus became a bull in order to seduce Europa. Once she was captured, Zeus returned to human form and raped her. The gods could also transform humans into flowers and trees. Ovid wrote that Apollo changed the nymph Daphne, with whom he wanted to have sex, into a laurel tree. Hyacinth suffered a similar fate. He was turned into a flower by the god Apollo, who fell in love with the youth’s beauty. The enchanting Leda was seduced by Zeus, who took the form of a swan.

In brief, pagan mythology is characterized by the extreme malleability of material reality, including the malleability of human beings and animals. It is anti-Christian and anti-science. The pagan viewpoint is the current mythology of the Left and is the dead end of the sexual revolution begun in the sixties and now culminating in the abolition of man and woman. The chief difference is that today’s gods and goddesses are human beings who abrogate to themselves the ability to metamorphose into whatever form (sex) they choose. The mantra “You can be whatever you want to be” has expanded to include transforming one’s self into a man or woman by proclamation of the divine, autonomous self. Self-will is as effectual as the will of the gods and goddesses of Greek and Roman mythology.

Add to the pagan myths of metamorphosis by an act of the will of gods the religion of gnosticism, which ran alongside of Greek/Roman mythology. Gnosticism proclaimed material reality is lower than spiritual reality, and that humans are trapped in a lower form. Thus the person who says he’s trapped in a male body by mistake and wants to change into a woman sees himself as ascending to a purer and wholly spiritual reality. Each of us can, at will, shake off this mortal coil of sex for a better state of being, becoming as gods.

What about us mere mortals who accept the reality of their God-given sex? What about the vast majority of us human beings who not only accept the reality of male and female, but actually rejoice in the fixed distinctions between the sexes as a blessing from the Almighty?

As it turns out, we are the ones who are regarded by the Left as delusional, hate-filled people. Though we align ourselves with the scientific knowledge that the human race is divided into male and female, though we believe that “gender” is not infinitely malleable; though we align ourselves with the knowledge every civilization past and present is built on, the Left regards us as delusional and lovers of myth. We are children who don’t realize the emperor really is clothed, not naked; that he is an android, not a man at all.

Like all mythical delusions and fantasies the Left embraces, force is required in order to get the common sense populace who believe in material reality to knuckle under to nonsensical myth. Political fantasies about reality always lead to tyranny. 

The uppity person who notes the emperor has no clothes or that a man claiming to be a woman is in the ladies bathroom exposing himself is quashed as a bigot. How dare anyone question the made up reality of the Left’s gods or goddesses? That is not really a man you see. It is a woman. You, dear reader, are crazy, not the gods. You are no longer sane enough to be a member of the Planet called Fitness. Further, your pizzerias will be shut down if you don’t bow down to the gods of the Left. In the long run, you hate-filled people who don’t buy into the multitudinous fantasies of the gods — fantasies more than fifty-one and counting — must be destroyed entirely because you don’t agree with the Left’s religion. You are the problem because, as Carroll notes, you “don’t believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

In sum, we common sense religious types who believe Jewish and Christian theology actually matches reality — “male and female created He them” — are the ones who are guilty of magical thinking, not progressives. It’s the bitter clingers to religion who are certifiably insane, not the Left. It’s those who believe there are two created sexes and that marriage is between a man and a woman who are nut cases. We are the ones who are out of touch with reality. We should be as “logical” as the Left. We should be like Alice in Wonderland, who said:

“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?”

“Contrariwise,’ continued Tweedledee, “if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn’t, it ain’t. That’s logic.”

Ultimately, the dead end of the sexual revolution is accession to the Devil’s lie to Adam and Eve when he urged them to eat the forbidden fruit and thus poison themselves with sin against the Reality of Good, Truth and Love: “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”

There can scarcely be a more deliberate attempt to separate ourselves from the God who created us than the attempt to reverse or annihilate the creation of humankind as man and woman. The hubris to claim we can by fiat reverse the image of God as man or woman by decree is insanity. We are not gods, even if we proclaim ourselves gods. 

As theologian Paul Tillich wrote, we are inclined toward idolatry, including idolatry of self-worship — what Pastor David McGee and others call the unholy trinity of Me, Myself and I. Tillich writes that humans are inclined to worship anything but God, thinking we can “we ourselves can produce the presence of the divine Spirit.” 

Or, to put it another way, the modern conceit is that we ourselves can be divine when we are actually mere mortals, male and female, in dire need of the divine intervention of redemption, wherein lies true freedom to be man and woman as God means us to be. Therein lies freedom and sanity. It does not lie in the insane idea that our identity as man and woman is completely fungible and can be created by the will of gods and goddesses.

The Left probably will not stop thinking like children who believe myths and fairy tales unless those with a grip on reality confront and demolish the mythology now mesmerizing the so-called “civil rights” movement. 

As C.S. Lewis noted, even “A child can only indulge his imagination if he has the rock of stability to return to.” If the rock of reality of humanity as man and woman is destroyed, so is freedom to be human. There is no hope of freedom when magical thinking parades as logic and the natural order is repudiated in favor of myth.

Finally, the West cannot go the way of India without winding up with a sexual caste system comprised of multitudinous genders. India’s Supreme Court has created an official third sex for eunuchs and transgenders, saying, “It is the right of every human being to choose their gender.”  There is absolutely no reason why the new gender caste, which is to be afforded special entitlements in government jobs and university placements, cannot expand into fifty-one or more privileged castes based on self-affirmed gender identity. All the new castes could be created out of thin air, with as many gender castes being created as there now are ethnicities — all clamoring for entitlements.

As the article states, “India’s transgenders include those who feel they were born into the wrong sex, men born with deformed genitals and effeminate boys disowned by their families and sent to live in eunuch colonies.”

While one can only feel compassion for those mutilated by their fellow men and those born with deformed genitals, the category to note is “those who feel they were born into the wrong sex.”   

In the long run, the fabled ability to achieve self-metamorphosis provides opportunities as limitless as the stories in Greek mythology, but it may well lead to a new caste system similar to that so detested by the hated colonizers and Christian missionaries who repudiated reincarnation of the human race in favor of redemption of mankind through Christ. To divide society among variants of gender is to invite total disintegration of Western society because the variety of such categories is almost infinite, confined as they are only by imagination and not the reality of the created order. 

The West must seek to return to and to vigorously defend the Christian view that the material world, including the human being, is designed by God; and that the created order of man as man and woman as woman cannot be changed without extreme spiritual and societal deformation.

It is one thing to wish to be like God. 

It is quite another to wish to be a god.

Fay Voshell holds a M.Div. from Princeton Seminary, where she received a prize for excellence in systematic theology. Her articles have appeared in American Thinker, National Review, PJMedia, RealClearReligion and many other online publications. She may be reached at fvoshell@yahoo.com

Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2015/04/transgenderism_a_return_to_pagan_mythology.html#ixzz3X6LMSIS0

The State of Today’s Evangelicalism

Below is an excerpt from J.I. Packer’s introduction to one of the most important classics of Christian literature, The Death of Death in the Death of Christ, by John Owen. Following the excerpt are links to both Packer’s introduction and Owen’s famous work.

“There is no doubt that Evangelicalism today is in a state of perplexity and unsettlement. In such matters as the practice of evangelism, the teaching of holiness, the building up of local church life, the pastor’s dealing with souls and the exercise of discipline, there is evidence of widespread dissatisfaction with things as they are and of equally widespread uncertainty as to the road ahead. This is a complex phenomenon, to which many factors have contributed; but, if we go to the root of the matter, we shall find that these perplexities are all ultimately due to our having lost our grip on the biblical gospel. Without realizing it, we have during the past century bartered that gospel for a substitute product which, though it looks similar enough in points of detail, is as a whole a decidedly different thing. Hence our troubles; for the substitute product does not answer the ends for which the authentic gospel has in past days proved itself so mighty. The new gospel conspicuously fails to produce deep reverence, deep repentance, deep humility, a spirit of worship, a concern for the church. Why? We would suggest that the reason lies in its own character and content. It fails to make men God-centered in their thoughts and God-fearing in their hearts because this is not primarily what it is trying to do. One way of stating the difference between it and the old gospel is to say that it is too exclusively concerned to be “helpful” to man—to bring peace, comfort, happiness, satisfaction—and too little concerned to glorify God. The old gospel was “helpful,” too—more so, indeed, than is the new—but (so to speak) incidentally, for its first concern was always to give glory to God. It was always and essentially a proclamation of Divine sovereignty in mercy and judgment, a summons to bow down and worship the mighty Lord on whom man depends for all good, both in nature and in grace. Its center of reference was unambiguously God. But in the new gospel the center of reference is man. This is just to say that the old gospel was religious in a way that the new gospel is not. Whereas the chief aim of the old was to teach men to worship God, the concern of the new seems limited to making them feel better. The subject of the old gospel was God and His ways with men; the subject of the new is man and the help God gives him. There is a world of difference.”

 

J.I.  Packer’s Introduction to The Death of Death in the Death of Christ

The Death of Death in the Death of Christ – John Owen

The Trinity, The Assembly, and Sweet Potatoes

Posted by Lyndon Unger

It seems like everyone and their dog is hearing “the voice of God” these days.

“Hearing the voice of God” used to be the mark of a prophet of God, but over the last century or so, it’s slowly become the mark of a “mature believer.”   These days, “conservative” folk (like Beth Moore or Francis Chan) regularly suggest that God speaks to them…not in audible voices, but definitely in some sort of propositional statements (ultimately the audible/inaudible distinction is meaningless).   The issue of “hearing the voice of God” is probably the most significant infiltration of bad Charismatic theology into non-Charismatic circles.  It’s a train hauling insanity and heresy that is steaming through Evangelicalism and it seems like there’s no stopping it.

Part of the danger of “God told me” train is that it’s seemingly immune to both Scripture and logic.  As illustration of that, I recently was doing some historical research into the foundation of Assemblies of God.  In 1906-1915, the “God told me” train was chugging like mad all over North America.  It was quite revealing to see how quickly the “God told me” train derailed when everyone and their dog was getting divine revelations.

In 1906, the Asuza street revival happened and Pentecostalism (at the time known as the Apostolic Faith movement) spread the “Baptism of the Ghost as exclusively evidenced by tongues-speaking” idea (among other ideas) throughout North America like wildfire.  For the record, I’m well aware that Asuza was preceded by an outbreak of tongues in 1901 in Topkea, KS.  There were also outbreaks of tongues every 5-10 years all the way back to 1830 (actually, long before 1830), so tongues wasn’t what was new.  The idea that tongues was the exclusive mark of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is what set the Topeka “outpouring” apart, and Asuza is what popularized that new idea.

By 1914, there were hundreds of Baptist, Methodist, Christian & Missionary Alliance, Congregational, etc. churches who had accepted this new “Apostolic Faith” and broken off from their denominations. 300 pastors and missionaries from these various churches/organizations (including several followers of John Alexander Dowie, aka “Elijah the Restorer.”  Here’s the nicest summary of his life I could find.  This one not so nice.) met together at Hot Springs, Arkansas in April, 1914, and banded together to form the Assemblies of God. (I just cannot resist mentioning something else. At that meeting in 1914, the closing address was by Bishop C.H. Mason, founder of the Church of God in Christ; America’s first and largest Pentecostal denomination.  He preached a sermon from Acts chapter 2, verses 16-21 [pg. 8] which was revealed to him by God speaking to him through a sweet potato.  You read that right.

In the summer of 1913, at a camp meeting at Arroyo Seco, CA, a man named John Scheppe had a personal revelation about the power of the name of “Jesus”, which led many folks to study the name more carefully.  A Canadian named R. E. McAlister preached Acts 2:38 and taught that the apostles never baptized in the common Trinitarian formula of the day, but rather baptized in Jesus name only, since “Father”, “Son”, and “Spirit” were all names for Jesus (thus making sense of Matthew 28:19…apparently).  Several people at the camp were convinced.  They promptly rejected the Trinity and were re-baptized into Jesus name only.  Shortly after the meeting at Arroyo Seco, a prominent Los Angeles pastor named Frank Ewert converted to this “Jesus only” teaching.  Along with Ewert, Charles Parham‘s former field superintendent, Howard A. Goss embraced the “Jesus only” teaching as well.  Thousands of others embraced it too; people were simply following the “new revelation” and didn’t want to miss this “new work” of the Spirit.

Then, at the Elton, LA, Bible Conference in Dec. 1915, the “new revelation” of the Arroyo Seco camp meeting was spread by David Lee Floyd, Charles A. Smith and Howard A. Goss.  Many of the leaders of the Assemblies of God were at this conference, and all but one (George Harrison of Hornbeck Assemblies of God) of them publicly denied the Trinity and embraced the “Oneness” teaching delivered at Elton.  Many of the attendees found motivation to accept this “Oneness” teaching since E.N. Bell, editor of the denominational magazine Word & Witness and general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, had already accepted this “Oneness” teaching and had been re-baptized.

After all, it was a new teaching from the Lord.  Who wants to miss that?

The atmosphere of the early Pentecostal movement was one of expectation; expectation of new moves of God, new revelations, etc.  The first generation of Pentecostals thought they were living in the last days and were also experiencing the complete fulfillment of the various prophecies of Joel 2.  So at the Elton Conference, the new teaching was embraced and 56 people were publicly baptized into the name of Jesus only — the public mark of receiving this new teaching (which they wrongly thought was the restoration of the true faith of the apostles).

After a serious struggle regarding this “new issue,” which almost entirely assimilated the Assemblies of God in a year, a few men faced it straight on.

On Oct. 1-7, 1916, in the fourth general council of the Assemblies of God, there was fierce debate about the “new issue”.  Eventually, the Bible won out against the “divinely-revealed” heresy of the “prophets,” and the Assemblies of God adopted a statement of beliefs that was prepared (mostly) by D. W. Kerr, an ex-Christian & Missionary Alliance pastor. The statement was thoroughly Trinitarian, and the momentum to accept the Trinitarian statement was magnified when E.N. Bell and others publicly confessed their error in accepting a “Jesus only” message and renounced their “Jesus only” baptisms.  Apparently, as many folks studied the Scripture (and church history), they realized that this “new teaching” was neither “new” nor in the Bible at all…and it seemed really strange for God to be promoting something so overtly against the teaching of Scripture.

Not all were convinced though.  Of the 585 members in the Assemblies of God in 1916, 156 gave the new “revelation” preeminence above Scripture, left the Assemblies of God, and started a new Oneness Pentecostal denomination.

It is absolutely frightening to see how these early Pentecostal pioneers were essentially defenseless against blazing heresy until they, in a moment of sanity, abandoned (at least in practice) their belief in modern prophetic revelation.  Remember that this was in the days before people believed in fallible revelation  (that’s a development of Charismatic/Pentecostal theology from the late 1970s).  Either God had revealed this “Oneness” teaching or he hadn’t, but almost everyone immediately adopted the teaching because they had little to no defense against it.  Like today, nobody wanted to quench the Spirit or risk missing what he was doing in someone else’s backyard.

The leadership of the Assemblies of God weren’t stupid people either.  Many of them were trained in the Scriptures and many of them had been in ministry for several years (since most of them came out of other church traditions into Pentecostalism). Once God started “speaking,” things went south really fast.  The Assemblies of God was basically a Oneness Pentecostal organization for around a year and a bit.  I praise the Lord that they finally renounced the heresy of that cursed Canadian.

Our look at history doesn’t prove that the idea is unbiblical, but only illustrates the practical dangers and inherent theological instability of thinking that God still delivers propositional revelation. If God “speaks” to both of us, what do you do when God tells me something that openly and directly contradicts what he tells you?  By what standard do we judge between “words from the Lord?”  We can appeal to Scripture, but if we have to twist Scripture to support our position on contemporary prophecy anyway, we’re at a really bad starting point to evaluate anything else objectively.  In other words, if someone suggests that John 10:27 (“my sheep hear my voice”) teaches that Christians should get propositional revelation from God as part of their Christian experience (especially through sweet potatoes), they’ve already abandoned any reasonable interpretation of the text of John 10 and have, in practice, thrown hermeneutics out the window.

If John 10:27 doesn’t mean what it says (and I’m not talking about a simple, surface reading of the text, but rather a careful exegesis of the text), then there’s no real reason to assume that any other text does either.  What’s worse is that if God can authoritatively tell a person that “this verse means [insert bizarre idea],” then any biblical correction of heresy is quite difficult.  A person cannot be bound to Scripture if the meaning of Scripture is no longer tied to the words found in Scripture.  If there’s some sort of “Holy Ghost decoder ring” to the Bible, the Bible can have any meaning. And to say the Bible can mean anything is to say the Bible means nothing.

Of course every Charismatic/Pentecostal is wildly inconsistent at this point, and that’s a good thing.  The reason that many hang on to orthodoxy (in other areas) is in spite of the hermeneutics they use to arrive at their distinctively Charismatic/Pentecostal beliefs.  I rarely encounter Pentecostals and Charismatics applying the “Holy Ghost decoder ring” to ideas like the deity of Christ…though that’s not always true.

I agree with the early leaders of the Assemblies of God who had to deny that God had prophetically revealed the Oneness teaching to R.E. McAlister, and did so because the revelation given to McAlister contradicted the biblical teaching on the Trinity.  I just suspect that if the same hermeneutics and exegesis that supported the biblical teaching on the Trinity would have been applied to the biblical teaching on prophets and prophecy, the “new issue” would never have found support in the first place…and the Assemblies of God would currently have a noticeably different statement of faith.

Online source: The Cripplegate.

Arguments against Christianity – Episode 1 – No Ultimate Truth

Originally posted on pilgrimandshire:

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh.For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” – 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

In this new series, I’d like to consider objections to Christianity that I have heard during my Christian pilgrimage. Some of the arguments require substantial refutation, while others can be dismissed rather quickly. These objections, to be sure, could very well be levied against any religion, as many of them are simply objections against a god in general. Often, when Christianity is attacked, arguments against a god (in general) are mixed with arguments against the Triune God of Christianity. Therefore, arguments that are levied against both general theism…

View original 594 more words

Some interesting commentary about “A.D”".”

I went looking for what folks are saying about Episode 1 of A.D. Here are a few comments I found interesting:

      Comment:

I Watched the last night movie Killing Jesus, I was very disappointed in the story line, It was not what I expected, The actors were OK, It was the self serving Jesus in this movie, that falls flat ! I fell asleep during the last half hour , Jesus was & is not a coward, Reply:

Reply:

Um, if you read the above article, you’d notice that Roma Downy and Mark Burnett’s production is NOT “Killing Jesus” but “A.D.: The Bible Continues.”

Different story–as this film does not come from Bill O’Reilly’s book, but from the Bible, and screen writers the producers hired–and different producers, director, actors, etcetra.

And, I watched it Sunday night. It was great! I did not bother watching “Killing Jesus” because I knew–from reading a review from Faith Driven Consumer–that it was a “humanistic, and historically & Biblically inaccurate, portrayal of Christ’s death.”

Reply to the Reply:

What was it that you thought was great?

Was it the 45 minutes of historical fiction? Mary & Mary M unbiblically having reminded the disciples of prophecy of Jesus resurrection? Was it Caiphas telling Pilate that Jesus preached insurrection against all authority? Also unbiblical. Was it the dialogue between the zealots and the disciples? Was it Joseph of Arimathea offering his tomb to Mary? Was it all the action that went on between the crucifixion and the resurrection? Was it the shining angel rolling the stone away? All the dialogue Caiphas’ wife brought to the political table? I’ll stop
there.

All of the above is pure fiction/conjecture, but that you thought it was great doesn’t really bother me.

What I do know is in the end the Romans didn’t kill Jesus, nor did the Jewish religious leaders. It was my SIN (mine, yours, & ours – the sin of all who would believe in His Name) that nailed the Son of God to
the cross. Christ was slain at the hands of sinful men according to God’s predetermination and foreknowledge. And it pleased God to send Him to bruise Him. Acts 2 ;23 & Isaiah 53:10.

Therefore, to relegate the most important event in the entire human drama to political historical is like jamming the crown of thorns deeper into His brow. IMHO

Having said all that, episode one did provide me with 2 questions to ask during discussions about the program.

1.  What did Jesus mean when he pleaded with His Father…”My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

2.  And what did Jesus mean when he said “It is finished.”

They both could blow the door wide open to share the true gospel message.

___________________________

Food for thought? Comments?

What comes first, faith or regeneration?

The ‘natural’ man, who is without the Spirit does not accept things of the Spirit, thinking that they are foolish(1 Cor 2:14). The ‘natural’ mind is completely carnal and hostile to God (Rom 8:7). The natural man can do nothing to please God (also Rom 8:7). Repenting of sin believing the Gospel (Christ’s command), pleases God. Doesn’t that mean that ‘supernatural’ regeneration must, by necessity, precede faith?