In the world, but not of the world, but which world is that, really?

by Grant Swart

The things of this world, wars, famine, suffering, poverty, etc., impact Christians and non-Christians alike. By remembering that we, as Christians, are “not of this world,” remembering that these things are just for a little while, we can see them in a different light. We are still in this world but we are no longer of it (John 17:14).

Believers are no longer of the world—we are no longer ruled by sin, nor are we bound by the principles of the world. In addition, we are being changed into the image of Christ, causing our interest in the things of the world to become less and less as we mature in Christ. Believers in Jesus Christ are simply in the world—physically present—but not of it, not part of its values. As believers, we should be set apart from the world, we often hear this, even refer to this and remind each other of it, but do we know what that world entails?   Continue reading

The Arminian Christ vs. The Christ of the Bible (a short addendum)

Grant Swart

The scene above pictures the absolute powerlessness of man against the elements of nature in which we live. Man and matter at the mercy of a mere ocean wave. Although it certainly is an imposing wave and a very small island, it depicts a miniature occurrence in the scope of the vastness of Creation and the (un)known universe. A single solar flare from our own sun contains sufficient energy to vaporize, in an instant, everything we recognize as our home, planet Earth and beyond.

Considering these facts, it seems ludicrous that we would even think to challenge or question the omnipotence of God in relation to our salvation, in the way that those of Arminian persuasion do. Those who believe, by their pride, that they occupy positions of particular importance before a Sovereign God and that they can ‘choose’ God on behalf of His Son; that they can simply decide by themselves to change their sinful behaviour and thereby manipulate His decision regarding their salvific position, are surely deceived.

A few months ago I wrote an article entitled The Arminian Christ vs. The Christ of the Bible. You can find it in our articles section of July 2011 or you can link to it by clicking here:. More recently, one of Charles Spurgeon’s quotes was brought to my attention (one of many by the great preacher), which illustrates his position on this exact subject. Many of his quotes are certainly worth reminding ourselves of from time to time. This one is no exception:

I do not serve the god of the Arminians at all; I have nothing to do with him, and I do not bow down before the Baal they have set up; he is not my God, nor shall he ever be; I fear him not, nor tremble at his presence…The God that saith today and denieth tomorrow, that justifieth today and condemns the next…is no relation to my God in the least degree. He may be a relation of Ashtaroth or Baal, but Jehovah never was or can be his name.” – C.H. Spurgeon

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Genesis 1: Fact or Framework?

John MacArthur – Grace to You

The Framework HypothesisOne popular view held by many old-earth advocates is known as the “framework hypothesis.” This is the belief that the “days” of creation are not even distinct eras, but overlapping stages of a long evolutionary process. According to this view, the six days described in Genesis 1 do not set forth a chronology of any kind, but rather a metaphorical “framework” by which the creative process is described for our finite human minds.

This view was apparently first set forth by liberal German theologians in the nineteenth century, but it has been adopted and propagated in recent years by some leading evangelicals, most notably Dr. Meredith G. Kline of Westminster theological seminary.

The framework hypothesis starts with the view that the “days” of creation in Genesis 1 are symbolic expressions that have nothing to do with time. Framework advocates note the obvious parallelism between days one and four (the creation of light and the placing of lights in the firmament), days two and five (the separation of air and water and the creation of fish and birds to inhabit air and water), and days three and six (the emergence of the dry land and the creation of land animals)–and they suggest that such parallelism is a clue that the structure of the chapter is merely poetic.

Thus, according to this theory, the sequence of creation may essentially be disregarded, as if some literary form in the passage nullified its literal meaning.

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POLL: What do you believe about evolution?

There are three major origin-of-life worldviews, atheistic evolution (also commonly known as Darwinian evolution and naturalistic evolution), theistic evolution and special creation.

Atheistic evolution says that there is no God and that life can and did emerge naturally from preexisting, non-living building blocks under the influence of natural laws (like gravity, etc), although the origin of those natural laws is not explained. Special creation says that God created life directly, either from nothing or from preexisting materials.

Theistic evolution says one of two things. The first option is that there is a God, but He was not directly involved in the origin of life. He may have created the building blocks, He may have created the natural laws, He may even have created these things with the eventual emergence of life in mind, but at some point early on He stepped back and let His creation take over. He let it do what it does, whatever that is, and life eventually emerged from non-living material. This view is similar to atheistic evolution in that it presumes a naturalistic origin of life.

The second alternative of theistic evolution is that God did not perform just one or two miracles to bring about the origin of life as we know it. His miracles were constant. He led life step by step down a path that took it from primeval simplicity to contemporary complexity, similar to Darwin’s evolutionary tree of life (fish begot amphibians who begot reptiles who begot birds and mammals, etc). Where life was not able to evolve naturally (how does a reptile’s limb evolve into a bird’s wing naturally?), God stepped in. This view is similar to special creation in that it presumes that God acted supernaturally in some way to bring about life as we know it.

Special creation says that God created life directly, either from nothing or from preexisting materials, exactly according to the Genesis account over a literal six day period.

Share with us your views on which of these three is true of how, what we see today in the universe, came to be. Please feel free to leave us a comment on the subject, in support your view.

– Grant Swart

Enjoying God’s Creation — Charles Spurgeon

 

“Where the birds make their nests; The stork has her home in the fir trees. The high hills are for the wild goats; The cliffs are a refuge for the rock badgers.” — Psalm 104:17-18.

Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892)


Psalm 104 is all through a song of nature, the adoration of God in the great outward temple of the universe. Some in these modern times have thought it to be a mark of high spirituality never to observe nature; and I remember sorrowfully reading the expressions of a godly person, who, in sailing down one of the most famous rivers in the world closed his eyes, lest the picturesque beauties of the scene should divert his mind from scriptural topics. This may be regarded by some as profound spirituality; to me it seems to savor of absurdity. There may be persons who think they have grown in grace when they have attained to this; it seems to me that they are growing out of their senses. To despise the creating work of God—what is it but, in a measure, to despise God Himself? “Whoso mocketh the poor despiseth his Maker.”

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Great theologians on the subject of animals

Grant Swart

John Calvin devoted much time in his extensive (exhaustive) teachings to animals and nature. Here is one link which describes this briefly, there are more, of course: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3817/is_199903/ai_n8845145/?tag=mantle_skin;content

It becomes obvious from this, and from much work of other similarly great theologians, that far too little attention is given to teaching on these matters in the church. People have become obsessed with human earthly matters and how to deal with those things from the point of view of the church. Adaptation to a comfortable life while attempting to conform to biblical standards.

This is a reality, even though the natural world is a subject which affects every moment of Christian’s lives, as we play our part in all of creation. It is also a very common topic of informal discussion among church members. I feel it deserves far more attention from the Continue reading

Sorrow in Christian Homes

by J. R. Miller

“Men die, but sorrow never dies;
The corroding years divide in vain,
And the wide world is knit with ties
Of common brotherhood in pain.”

Susan Coolidge

Sooner or later, sorrow comes to every home. No conditions of wealth or culture or social standing, or even of religion, can exclude it. When two young people come from the marriage-altar, and set up their new home, it seems to them that its joy never can be disturbed, that grief can never reach their hearts in that charmed spot. For a few years, perhaps, their fond dream remains unbroken. The flowers bloom into still softer beauty

and richer fragrance; the music continues light and joyous, with no minor chords; the circle is unbroken; child-lives grow up in the tender atmosphere, blessing the home with their love and lovableness; the household life flows on softly and smoothly, like a river, gathering in breadth and depth as it flows. In other homes, all about, there are sorrows,—bereavements,—but amid these desolations of the dreams of other households, this one remains untouched, like an oasis in the desert; but not forever does the exemption continue. There comes a day when the strange messenger of sorrow stands at the door, nor waits for bidding and welcome, but enters, and lays his withering hand on some sweet flower.

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