2022 State of Theology Summary

The following is extracted from an article posted online by Ligonier Ministries. I will let it speak for itself.

What do Americans believe about God, salvation, ethics, and the Bible? Ligonier Ministries and LifeWay Research partnered to find out. Every two years, we take the theological temperature of the United States to help Christians better understand today’s culture and to equip the church with better insights for discipleship. Read some of our key findings from 2022 below and explore the data for yourself.

Does God Change?

As we look at ourselves and at the world, it is clear that human beings, along with the rest of creation, undergo frequent changes. But does this principle of change apply to God as well?

The Bible affirms the truth that the triune God is both omniscient, meaning that He knows all things, and immutable, meaning that He cannot and does not change (Isa. 46:10; Mal. 3:6; James 1:17; 1 John 3:20). Despite this truth, the majority of adults in the United States believe that God both learns and adapts to different circumstances.

Despite the clear teaching of Scripture, this year’s survey reveals that approximately half of evangelicals believe that God learns and adapts to various situations, meaning that they believe that God does change.

STATEMENT NO. 4

God learns and adapts to different circumstances.

U.S. Adult Finding: 51% agree vs. 32% disagree

U.S. Evangelical Finding: 48% agree vs. 43% disagree

These results show that American evangelicals and the general U.S. population are essentially equivalent in their agreement with this statement. Nearly half of both groups believe that God changes by learning and adapting. This may indicate the influence of open theism (which denies God’s complete knowledge of future events) and process theology (which denies God’s omnipotence and asserts that He does undergo changes) within the evangelical church. This finding may also indicate a lack of clear, biblical teaching on the character of God in evangelical churches.

Are We Born Innocent?

When God created the world, everything He made was good (Gen. 1:10, 21, 25, 31). Yet through Adam and Eve’s rebellion in the garden of Eden, humankind became corrupted. The Bible teaches the concept of original sin, which means that since the fall, every human being inherits a sin nature from the time of their conception (Ps. 51:5; Rom. 5:12). In other words, we are not sinners because we sin; rather, we sin because we are sinners.

It is unsurprising that most U.S. adults believe that humans are born innocent, given the influence of humanistic philosophies and worldviews that teach self-determinism and a view of humankind as basically good.

STATEMENT NO. 15

Everyone is born innocent in the eyes of God.

U.S. Adult Finding: 71% agree vs. 21% disagree

U.S. Evangelical Finding: 65% agree vs. 32% disagree

The fact that almost two-thirds of evangelicals believe that humans are born in a state of innocence reveals that the biblical teaching of original sin is not embraced by most evangelicals. God’s Word, however, makes clear that all humans are “by nature children of wrath” (Eph. 2:3). This truth is foundational for an accurate understanding of the gospel and of our absolute need for the grace of God in salvation.

U.S. Evangelicals: Trends

The 2022 survey results for U.S. evangelicals reveal concerning trends related to the exclusivity and deity of Jesus Christ, the historicity and divine nature of Scripture, objective truth, gender identity, and homosexuality. At the same time, encouraging trends include evangelicals’ increasingly biblical views on abortion and sex outside of marriage.

God

Key to orthodox Christianity is Jesus’ own assertion that He alone is “the way, and the truth, and the life,” and that “no one comes to the Father except through [Him]” (John 14:6, emphasis added). Trends over time and the 2022 survey results reveal an increasingly unbiblical belief among evangelicals that God is pleased by worship that comes from those outside the Christian faith.

STATEMENT NO. 3

God accepts the worship of all religions, including Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.

U.S. Evangelical Finding:

2016: 48% agree
2018: 51% agree
2020: 42% agree
2022: 56% agree

This year’s survey also revealed a significant increase in evangelicals who deny Jesus’ divinity. Such a belief is contrary to Scripture, which affirms from beginning to end that Jesus is indeed God (John 1:1; 8:58; Rom. 9:5; Heb. 1:1-4).

STATEMENT NO. 7

Jesus was a great teacher, but he was not God.

U.S. Evangelical Finding:

2020: 30% agree
2022: 43% agree

Truth

Embracing the reality of objective truth is necessary to a right and proper understanding of the world. Scripture affirms that God is truth (Num. 23:19; John 1:14; 14:6; 16:13), and because the Bible is His Word, Scripture is truth as well (Ps. 119:160; John 17:17; 2 Tim. 2:15). Despite the testimony of Scripture, evangelicals increasingly believe that the Bible is not literally true.

STATEMENT NO. 16

The Bible, like all sacred writings, contains helpful accounts of ancient myths but is not literally true.

U.S. Evangelical Finding:

2016: 17% agree
2018: 23% agree
2020: 15% agree
2022: 26% agree

A rising disbelief in the Bible’s literal truth may help us understand why American evangelicals also increasingly believe that religious faith is a subjective experience rather than an objective reality.

STATEMENT NO. 31

Religious belief is a matter of personal opinion; it is not about objective truth.

U.S. Evangelical Finding:

2018: 32% agree
2020: 23% agree
2022: 38% agree

Sexual Ethics

The changes in sexual ethics in the United States are occurring at an alarmingly rapid pace. However, one encouraging finding is that evangelicals affirm a biblical view of fornication and adultery in greater numbers.

STATEMENT NO. 25

Sex outside of traditional marriage is a sin.

U.S. Evangelical Finding:

2016: 91% agree
2018: 89% agree
2020: 90% agree
2022: 94% agree

While evangelicals are more likely than U.S. adults in general to affirm a biblical sexual ethic, in the areas of gender identity and homosexuality, a significant rise of an unbiblical worldview is apparent, especially in the 2022 survey.

STATEMENT NO. 27

Gender identity is a matter of choice.

U.S. Evangelical Finding:

2016: 32% agree
2018: 30% agree
2020: 22% agree
2022: 37% agree

The rise of unbiblical views among American evangelicals on the subjects of gender and sexuality may indicate the influence of a secular worldview that is making greater inroads into the church.

STATEMENT NO. 28

The Bible’s condemnation of homosexual behavior doesn’t apply today.

U.S. Evangelical Finding:

2016: 19% agree
2018: 20% agree
2020: 11% agree
2022: 28% agree

Abortion

The Bible teaches the personhood of those in the womb (Ps. 139:13, 16; Luke 1:41, 44). As such, the practice of abortion is the murder of a human being who is an image bearer of God. Past survey results among evangelicals have remained fairly consistent since 2016, with an uptick in 2022 of more evangelicals asserting that abortion is a sin. While the reasons for this positive trend are unknown, it is encouraging to see more evangelicals affirming the personhood of human beings in the womb.

STATEMENT NO. 26

Abortion is a sin.

U.S. Evangelical Finding:

2016: 87% agree
2018: 88% agree
2020: 88% agree
2022: 91% agree

______________________

Evangelicals were defined by LifeWay Research as people who strongly agreed with the following four statements:

  • The Bible is the highest authority for what I believe.
  • It is very important for me personally to encourage non-Christians to trust Jesus Christ as their Savior.
  • Jesus Christ’s death on the cross is the only sacrifice that could remove the penalty of my sin.
  • Only those who trust in Jesus Christ alone as their Savior receive God’s free gift of eternal salvation.

Respondents can also be identified as evangelical in the State of Theology data explorer based on their supplied church affiliation.

Conclusion

The 2022 State of Theology survey reveals that Americans increasingly reject the divine origin and complete accuracy of the Bible. With no enduring plumb line of absolute truth to conform to, U.S. adults are also increasingly holding to unbiblical worldviews related to human sexuality. In the evangelical sphere, doctrines including the deity and exclusivity of Jesus Christ, as well as the inspiration and authority of the Bible, are increasingly being rejected. While positive trends are present, including evangelicals’ views on abortion and sex outside of marriage, an inconsistent biblical ethic is also evident, with more evangelicals embracing a secular worldview in the areas of homosexuality and gender identity.

These results convey the ongoing need for the church to be engaged in apologetics, helping unbelievers by providing a well-reasoned defense of the Christian faith, and helping believers by strengthening their clarity and conviction regarding why they believe what they do. Additionally, the people of God must continue to obey the Great Commission by communicating the whole counsel of God in biblical evangelism and discipleship. The need is great, but the power and promises of God can equip the church to bring truth and light to a deceived and dark world.

Layman’s Partial Book Review – “Making Sense of Salvation” by Wayne Grudem

clip_image002This is a layman’s partial book review because after all, I am just an ordinary retired Army guy who has long been interested in things theological. It’s a ‘partial’ review because I am not finished reading it yet. If I waited until then, Any review at all would be much further down the road.

“Making Sense of Salvation” is one of seven parts from Grudem’s Systematic Theology. Apparently, he took the seven major sections of his Systematic Theology and published them separately, as a “Making Sense Of” series I found them when I was studying the “chicken and the egg” topic concerning regeneration and faith, which is chapter five of this book in the series. Here is the introduction to “Making Sense Of Salvation” from Amazon:

“With clear writing—technical terms kept to a minimum—and a contemporary approach, emphasizing how each doctrine should be understood and applied by present-day Christians, Making Sense of Salvation explores God’s common grace to redeem those who will be saved, and to demonstrate his goodness, mercy, justice, and glory. Topics include but are not limited to the order of salvation—from God’s choice of people to be saved to the chosen people receiving a resurrection body; effective calling—the act of God the father speaking through the human proclamation of the gospel to summons people to himself in saving faith; regeneration—a secret act of God in which he imparts new spiritual life to us; and glorification—when Christ returns and raises from the dead the bodies of all believers for all time who have died. Written in a friendly tone, appealing to the emotions and the spirit as well as the intellect, Making Sense of Salvation helps readers overcome wrong ideas, make better decisions on new questions, and grow as Christians.”

As I already said, I read Chapter 5 – Regeneration first, which is quite acceptable, since the chapters do stand alone and can be read separately. I have since read through Chapters 1 – 3; Introduction to Theology, Common Grace, & Election and Reprobation. Bear in mind that this book is an introduction to systematic theology, written for, and easily understood by students and laymen alike. Each chapter begins with an Explanation and Scriptural Basis for the topic being discussed, clear definitions of terms and concepts, clear examples and analogies where needed, as well as answers to common objections to some topics and explanations of false teachings that we might come across as we continue to grow in faith.

The print edition is 240 pages long and contains 14 chapters organized according to the logical “Order of Salvation” found in Scripture.

While I have several other systematic theologies more appropriate for “deep dives” into the Bible, so far I have found this book to be clearly written using everyday English and suitable for just reading and capturing “the big picture” concerning major topics about our salvation as believers in Christ.

“Making Sense of Salvation” truly is an appropriate title!

Be Blessed!

The REST of the Verse – Romans 10:9 – 10

It’s been said by some biblical scholars that the three most important rules for a proper and thorough understanding of the text of Scripture are Context, Context, & Context. By that we mean:

  • The immediate context in a section or chapter of Scripture
  • The larger context of a particular book in the Bible
  • The broad context of the entire Bible and God’s plan for his children

I freely admit that some passages of Scripture can be valuable in and of themselves as precious promises, words of comfort, or even admonition or warning. They can also be used to ‘prove’ one’s personal opinion or preferred interpretation. Examining context can therefore be not only profitable, but at times harmful.

With that said, let’s examine Romans 10:9 -10. 

What a wonderful promise of salvation! There are sincere and well-meaning Christians who use these passages to lead others to faith in Christ. Some will tell you that it describes two separate acts, both of which are necessary for salvation; a heartfelt belief in Jesus Christ as savior and a public confession of faith. But is that what these two verses are actually teaching us?

1. What is the context of Romans 10:9 – 10?

In Romans Chapter 10, specifically verses 5 – 13, the Apostle Paul, speaking to Christians in Rome, contrasts two types of righteousness; righteousness based on obedience to the Law (the old covenant) as practiced by the Israelites, and righteousness by faith in Jesus Christ (the new covenant). In fact, Paul refers to the OT law to make his case, quoting from a passage in Deuteronomy (Deut 30:14) in Romans 10 verse 8, immediately preceding vv. 9-10. If we add verse 8 to our passage, we can see Paul’s comparison of the Old and New covenants:

8But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” (vv. 8-10) 

As we can see, verses 9 –10 complete Paul’s interpretation of the Deuteronomy passage quoted in verse 8. Verse 9 explains the relevance of “heart” and “mouth” in verse 8, while verse 10 explains verse 9. Allegiance to Christ, rather than adherence to the law, is both covenant faithfulness and salvation. Christ is the fulfillment of the law.[1]

2. If the Romans 10:9-10 passage isn’t talking about two separate acts leading to salvation, what IS it teaching us?

This was a great time for consulting commentaries!

After consulting several good commentaries, I did find one (John Wesley) that spoke of two separate acts leading to salvation:

Rom 10:10 For with the heart—Not the understanding only, man believeth to righteousness—So as to obtain justification: and with the mouth confession is made, so as to obtain final salvation. Confession here implies the whole of outward, as believing does the root of all inward religion.[2]

Other commentaries I consulted all agreed that the confessing that “Jesus is Lord “describes an outward expression of inward trust, an indication of true salvation, for at least two reasons:

1.  When Paul wrote the letter to the Romans, for a person to accept Christ and confess Him as Lord typically resulted in persecution and, ultimately, death. To embrace Christ and confess Him as Lord, knowing that persecution was sure to come, was an indication of true salvation and the work of the Holy Spirit.

2. The Greek verb for “confess” (homologeō – verb ), is derived from a root  a root word (homologos – adverb) meaning “the same/together”, reinforcing the idea that confessing Jesus as Lord is merely “confirming” with the mouth what has taken place in the heart.

Finally, we can read passages of Scripture that state very clearly what is required and/or not required for salvation. Here are but a few:

  • John 5:24, [Jesus said:] “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
  • Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
  • Titus 3:5, “He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.
  • Acts 16:30-31, [Someone asked the apostle Paul] “‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ And they said, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.’

In the above passages we are told that all those who simply believe in the Lord Jesus will be saved, without any mention of making a public confession of faith. We are also told that human works (i.e., public confessions of faith) do not contribute to our salvation.

3. So what? How do we apply what we have just learned when we share the gracious message of salvation in Christ to others?

First let me say that it’s not necessary to explain the finer points of our selected passages if you are engaged in personal evangelism with a lost friend or loved one. If that’s your situation, stick to what is necessary in sharing the message of the gospel – the problem of sin, the solution to that problem in Christ, and the need to respond to the message. If our Romans passage enters the conversation you will be ready to discuss it.

On the other hand, if you are involved in a discussion about what one must do to be saved, and more specifically, someone suggests that making a public confession of faith is absolutely required to be saved, you will be ready to offer a sound biblical explanation!

So regardless of what anyone says about Romans 10:9 – 10, now you have. . .

. . .the REST of the verse!

Be blessed!


[1] Douglas Mangum, ed., Lexham Context Commentary: New Testament, Lexham Context Commentary (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2020), Ro 10:5–13.

[2] John Wesley, Explanatory Notes upon the New Testament, Fourth American Edition. (New York: J. Soule and T. Mason, 1818), 404.

The REST of the Verse – 2 Chronicles 7:14

It’s been said by some biblical scholars that the three most important rules for a proper and thorough understanding of the text of Scripture are Context, Context, & Context. By that we mean:

  • The immediate context in a section or chapter of Scripture
  • The larger context of a particular book in the Bible
  • The broad context of the entire Bible and God’s plan for his children

I freely admit that some passages of Scripture can be valuable in and of themselves as precious promises, words of comfort, or even admonition or warning. They can also be used to ‘prove’ one’s personal opinion or preferred interpretation. Examining context can therefore be not only profitable, but extremely edifying.

With that said, let’s examine 2 Chronicles 7:14.

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A familiar verse indeed, and a tremendous reminder that we, as Christians need to pray with humble and repentant hearts, turn away from evil and seek God, we will hear from heaven! Not only that, God promises to heal the land!

I confess that, like many others, I too have used this verse to claim healing for the nation, at least until I read it in its original context.

1. What is the biblical context of 2 Chronicles 7:14?

The context of this passage is the dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem after Solomon had completed its construction. 2 Chronicles, Chapter 7 begins with the assembly of the people of Israel gathered before Solomon offering praise and thanksgiving to God after the priests had placed the Ark of the Covenant in the inner sanctuary.

Solomon then faced the assembly, blessed the people, and offered a prayer of dedication. When the prayer was finished, “fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple” (Ch 7, v. 1).

The dedication ceremony lasted 7 days, with King Solomon and the people offering more sacrifices and burnt offerings, Praises were lifted to God continuously and the sound of trumpets filled the air. A 7-day feast followed the dedication, after which Solomon sent the people back to their homes, rejoicing and glad of heart because of God’s great blessing upon the house of David.

God then appeared to Solomon in the night and spoke this to him:

13When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, 14if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:13 -14)

As you can see, between verses 13 and 14 there’s a comma indicating that verse 14 finishes the sentence that began with verse 13.

We like to read and interpret 2 Chron 7:14 as if it’s a standalone verse, when it’s actually a secondary clause that completes a thought that in 13! I consulted multiple translations and paraphrases and they all presented both verses as a single thought from God, with a connecting punctuation mark, a connecting word, or both. Let’s look at the verses again from the ESV, with a particular emphasis on two words;

13When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, 14if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:13 -14) (Emphasis mine)

So what’s really going on here?

God is speaking to Solomon and telling him that that when he (God) causes certain calamities and if his chosen people (the Israelites) do certain things, then he (God) will heal their land. God takes direct responsibility for drought, devouring locusts and infectious disease, as well as healing the nation. Furthermore, this is definitely a reminder of the covenant God initiated with the people of Israel we see in Deuteronomy 28, the Book of Judges, and elsewhere the Old Testament.

In 2 Chronicles 7, the Lord simply reminds Solomon of the previous agreement. If Israel obeys, they will be blessed. If they disobey, they will be judged. The judgment is meant to bring Israel to repentance, and God assures Solomon that, if they will be humble, pray, and repent, then God will deliver them from the judgment.

2. Is 2 Chronicles 7:14 a promise for the United States of America?

For several decades or so, whenever our country has found itself in distressful situations, Christians have claimed half of a promise from God to the nation of Israel as a promise to heal what ails the United States of America. As we wonder if our country will survive its current decline and moral decay, 2 Chronicles 7:14 quotes and Facebook memes are popping up on a regular basis. So that I don’t offend anyone, I won’t answer that directly, but I will ask a few questions that might help us:

      • Does God have an eternal covenant relationship with the United States like the OT covenant with Israel?
      • If the answer is NO, should we claim the promises given to Solomon for Israel for our nation?
      • God’s promises for the nation of Israel included judgement (drought & pestilence for sin and restoration dependent upon national repentance Given the continuing moral decay in our nation, does God have the responsibility to ‘heal the land’ if Christians (God’s chosen remnant) are praying and seeking God’s face, but our nation continues in its descent into the moral abyss?

NOTE: In fact, both Solomon and the nation of Israel sinned, resulting in the destruction of the nation and the temple.

  • Given that our culture, as well as the leader of our nation, promote and even celebrate that which is abomination in the eyes of God, might our nation be headed for God’s judgment and the dustbin of history?

3. How should we respond to 2 Chronicles 7:14?

As Christians, humble repentance, confession, and the forsaking of sin should be the continuous lifestyle of any believer. It may be that God in His grace will bless our nation as a result—but is there a guarantee of national deliverance? Even if God did use our efforts to bring about national repentance and revival, is there a guarantee that the nation would be politically or economically saved?

While God will do with our nation what it is He has planned to do, we can certainly follow Paul’s advice to young Timothy:

“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” (1 Tim 2:1-2)

Finally, it is our duty as believers to live holy lives, seek God, pray, and share the gospel knowing that all who believe will be saved. So I have to ask myself: “Self, what are you most concerned with, saving our nation, or the salvation of lost sinners?

So regardless of what you have believed about 2 Chronicles 7:14, now you have. . .

. . .the REST of the verse!

Be blessed!

Does the Bible Teach Prevenient Grace?

Something that popped up again. I already have various articles and commentaries  that speak to the question, some more easily understood than others. I still favor R.C. Sproul’s response to the question. He merely asks a series of questions followed by his conclusion in the matter. Enjoy!

Does the Bible Teach Prevenient Grace?

by R. C. Sproul

As the name suggests, prevenient grace is grace that “comes before” something. It is normally defined as a work that God does for everybody. He gives all people enough grace to respond to Jesus. That is, it is enough grace to make it possible for people to choose Christ. Those who cooperate with and assent to this grace are “elect.” Those who refuse to cooperate with this grace are lost. The strength of this view is that it recognizes that fallen man’s spiritual condition is severe enough that it requires God’s grace to save him. The weakness of the position may be seen in two ways. If this prevenient grace is merely external to man, then it fails in the same manner that the medicine and the life preserver analogies fail. What good is prevenient grace if offered outwardly to spiritually dead creatures?

On the other hand, if prevenient grace refers to something that God does within the heart of fallen man, then we must ask why it is not always effectual. Why is it that some fallen creatures choose to cooperate with prevenient grace and others choose not to? Doesn’t everyone get the same amount?

Think of it this way, in personal terms. If you are a Christian you are surely aware of other people who are not Christians. Why is it that you have chosen Christ and they have not? Why did you say yes to prevenient grace while they said no? Was it because you were more righteous than they were? If so, then indeed you have something in which to boast. Was that greater righteousness something you achieved on your own or was it the gift of God? If it was something you achieved, then at the bottom line your salvation depends on your own righteousness. If the righteousness was a gift, then why didn’t God give the same gift to everybody?

Perhaps it wasn’t because you were more righteous. Perhaps it was because you are more intelligent. Why are you more intelligent? Because you study more (which really means you are more righteous)? Or are you more intelligent because God gave you a gift of intelligence he withheld from others?

To be sure, most Christians who hold to the prevenient grace view would shrink from such answers. They see the implied arrogance in them. Rather they are more likely to say, “No, I chose Christ because I recognized my desperate need for him.” That certainly sounds more humble. But I must press the question. Why did you recognize your desperate need for Christ while your neighbor didn’t? Was it because you were more righteous than your neighbor, or more intelligent?

The question for advocates of prevenient grace is why some people cooperate with it and others don’t. How we answer that will reveal how gracious we believe our salvation really is. The $64,000 question is, “Does the Bible teach such a doctrine of prevenient grace? If so, where?”

We conclude that our salvation is of the Lord. He is the One who regenerates us. Those whom he regenerates come to Christ. Without regeneration no one will ever come to Christ. With regeneration no one will ever reject him. God’s saving grace effects what he intends to effect by it.

—–
Excerpt: R. C. Sproul, Chosen by God

Does The Bible Teach Free Will? by Clark Gallagher

The issue of man’s free will has been debated for centuries and just might be one of the most hotly contested issues. We could lower the debate temperature significantly if we but answer the question “What do the Scriptures teach? At the same time,  I know many will tell me that this verse or that verse teaches the doctrine of free will when the passages they use have nothing to do with the state of the human will after the Fall of the first Adam.  They assume that if their favorite verses are about “choosing’ they must be teachings free will.  Clark Gallagaher wrote an excellent article asking the question that’s the title of this post. The article not only presents its case well, and answers the most common objections to the notion that man’s will isn’t really as “free” as the majority of evangelicals today assume it is. Here is a short excerpt from that article:

Introduction

“Does the Bible teach free will? The importance of asking this question lies in the fact that the doctrine of free will is so widely taught by Pastors and ascribed to by their congregations. Because of this fact we are bound by Scripture to test this teaching (1 Th 5:21; 1 Cor 4:6; 2 Cor 10:5) by Scripture. We must not readily accept any teaching (regardless of who teaches it or what sense it makes to us), until it is demonstrated that it agrees with what the Bible teaches.

Several times in the Pastoral Epistles the Apostle Paul makes mention of sound doctrine. The Greek word most commonly translated as sound in the Pastoral Epistles is u`giainw (hugiaino). Sound doctrine is teaching that is free from error and that produces spiritual health and godliness. Therefore, using the Bible as our sole authoritative guide on doctrinal and moral issues, any teaching which is found in conflict with the Scriptures is in error and will lead to spiritual sickness, ungodliness, and possibly even damnable heresy.

How we answer the question of whether or not the Bible teaches free will significantly affects our view of the inspiration of Scripture, our understanding of God, man, evangelism, and salvation. This issue is not a dry academic discussion which is important only to theologians and philosophers. Rather, it is instead a vitally relevant issue which must be engaged by all who name the name of Christ. Those who neglect discussing and deciding the issue of free will (in the name that it is divisive or unspiritual), are anything but spiritual or mature, and need to get on track with what Scripture teaches.”

. . .

“The final rule for answering the question of whether or not the Bible teaches libertarian free will is the Bible itself, and not human reason, nor the Greek philosophers, nor the humanist theologians and apologists of our time. As the Apostle Peter commands us to set apart Christ as Lord in our hearts (1 Pet 3:15) so should the answering of the question of free will be an exercise in the Lordship of Jesus Christ over all things. The word of God, not the finite sin corrupted reason of men, nor our own emotions, is to be the judge of free will.”

I highly encourage reading the entire article, no matter on which side of issue you find yourself.., but only if you have a teachable spirit. Enjoy!

Online Source

Why the Reformation Still Matters

As Reformation Day approaches, a timely reminder posted here a few years ago.

The Battle Cry

by Michael Reeves

Last year, on October 31, Pope Francis announced that after five hundred years, Protestants and Catholics now “have the opportunity to mend a critical moment of our history by moving beyond the controversies and disagreements that have often prevented us from understanding one another.” From that, it sounds as if the Reformation was an unfortunate and unnecessary squabble over trifles, a childish outburst that we can all put behind us now that we have grown up.

But tell that to Martin Luther, who felt such liberation and joy at his rediscovery of justification by faith alone that he wrote, “I felt that I was altogether born again and had entered paradise itself through open gates.” Tell that to William Tyndale, who found it such “merry, glad and joyful tidings” that it made him “sing, dance, and leap for joy.” Tell it to Thomas Bilney, who found it…

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A Comparison of Arminianism and Calvinism

From 10+ years ago, and still relevant today.

The Battle Cry

The information below provides an accurate and easily understood explanation of the central teachings of two schools of thought concerning the salvation of men. This post is not intended to promote one view or the other. The topics presented can certainly be discussed without labels connected to the men they represent, Jacob Arminius and John Calvin. However, they seem inextricably linked and therefore are used in this post. You are encouraged to further research both systems of thought, and to examine both in the light of Scripture.

Free-Will or Human Ability – Arminianism

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…

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Who CAN (is able) come to Christ?

This is a blast from the past (2011) worthy of repeating…

The Battle Cry

Is anyone and everyone able to come to Christ, solely in the strength of human will? What, if anything, does the Bible have to say about who can (has the ability) come to Christ? For the moment, lay any doctrinal position you already have aside and just focus on the words in the pages of Scripture.

No one cancome to me unlessthe Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyonewho has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.” – John 6:44-45

Those who are drawn by the Father, and who have heard from and learned from the Father are able to come to Christ. We are in fact told that they will come.

“. . .no one can come to…

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