We live in a generation which is certainly under God’s judgement, if you care to pause for a few moments and ponder the general state of the society in which we now live, I’m sure that much will become quite evident. Of course, those who are of the world, who are happy to be embroiled in pursuing wealth, health and prosperity and all kinds of ways to proving their own self-righteousness and personal value before God, will not recognize the fact that they are under that very same judgement.
Never before have materialism, humanism, pride and self-worth been so prominently at the forefront of man’s thinking and priorities. Almost every marketing strategy, campaign and advert appeals directly to the will, over-inflated importance and vain pride of man. No other singular concepts have ever been as sharply focused on, as human rights, vanity and the deceitful ideology of human democracy are, in our generation.
This same critique must be leveled at the marketing done by many “churches”, the bulk of which are at great pains to take their particular brand of will-worship or church tradition to the lost multitudes of the world. The grossly erroneous interpretation of true church growth, cleverly disguised as “spiritual revival”, is one which interprets that the greater the number of misguided people who respond to these highly effective sales ploys is, the greater the tacit approval of God must be for their brand of faith or for their particular efforts. It is God who adds to His church, not pastors, synods, committees, councils, conferences or the efforts of individuals or congregations. Continue reading →
Of course there are those who do not regard Charles Haddon Spurgeon as a preacher of solely the truth. Admittedly, no man can be perfect by his own means, and even perfect holiness is acceptable to God only through Jesus Christ. There are also those who ignorantly rummage about in the published works of Spurgeon in the hope that they will find some shards of support for their own deceived religious belief system, and thereby falsely portraying the famous and well-beloved preacher as a will-worshipping Arminian, like they themselves have been misled to be.
While many Christians have had the misfortune of making the acquaintance of some unrepentant religious idiots, nevertheless, they do exist in larger numbers and their written works proliferate throughout the digital media – their presence is evidenced clearly by the overabundance of their deceitful and misrepresentative contributions. Now, please don’t get me wrong, I do not refer to them as religious idiots because I regard my own capabilities as superior to theirs in any way. I would not dare do that, because in all honesty, many of them are highly intelligent people and some are even academic giants, with qualifications way beyond my own.
Neither do I refer to them as religious idiots because I harbour some form of hatred for them, quite to the contrary, I must have compassion for their lostness. Why would I resent them? For financial gain or for fame? No, I refer to them as religious idiots because they ascribe false man-made doctrines to the Scriptures and then they promote and cling to a damning form of religion, which is set worlds apart from Christianity. I refer to them as religious idiots because they oppose Christ. Continue reading →
“But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient “ (1 Tim. 1:8-9).
At the heart of Christian legalism is a denial of the truth of the Gospel, and therefore a denial of God’s Sovereignty, of His Son and of the work of His Holy Spirit. It places God’s people into cruel, oppressive bondage and replaces the perfection and completion of the salvific work of Jesus Christ, with sick, depraved human traditions. Speaking out against the error of legalism, as I have done previously in Parts 1 and 2 of this article, by accepting the example set by Jesus, in no way constitutes creating a licence to sin. There are no two things in the world more directly opposed to one another than law and grace.
Righteousness and our acceptance by God can never come by way of legalism. Neither can justification, nor sanctification. By no means do I intend to indicate hereby that true, saved believers are antinomian (against the law), which seems to have become a fashionable term being bandied about with much self-righteous zeal. The boundaries which govern that which constitutes true antinomianism are subject to a million varied interpretations, remain practically undefined and are all subject to human interpretation. However, many legalists seem to be under the impression that every true believer who opposes legalism and works based salvation, or for that matter is found to have committed sin, is by definition antinomian. Continue reading →
Every so often a new movement comes to the forefront to challenge the historic Christian Churches teaching. Sometimes this can be good. If it is based on the truth, it can prompt us to a new understanding of the word. Sometimes it can be benign and be harmless as a challenge that goes nowhere … other times it can be just plain bogus.
None have been more bogus or ridiculous than the sacred name movement which has spiritual elitism written all over it. While there are some well intentioned people in this movement, there are also those who are prompted by pride to show how wrong and unsaved the Church is.
This movement is about using Gods correct name, restoring it and giving a revelation to people that are supposedly in darkness. (This first article is an overview and basic introduction to the movement.)
This movement is diversified and has approximately 10,000- to the most 50,000 people involved. Although we cannot be fully accurate on their membership these are the current numbers. There are assemblies range from a few to the largest of 200-250 members. Few Jewish believers are involved in this movement to their dismay since they lay claim to restoring the Hebrew name of the almighty. There are Messianic congregations that do use the Hebrew names but they do not make it an issue of salvation as those in the Sacred name movement do. Many in the SNM are involved in a metaphysical new age slant of the Bible and an added practice of legalism. So from what I can see this movement has its own leaven to purge before they able to go to the Churches of Jesus Christ (Yeshua Ha Mashiach) and tell them what to do. It’s amazing that so few have such a loud voice on the subject of the name.
With absolutely no proof historically or scholastically for their claims, they put down the name of Jesus calling it pagan and categorize all Christians that do not speak his correct Hebrew name as following and calling on a pagan God. While the Jehovah’s Witnesses have tried to do the same thing, the sacred name movement is further down the same shaky road. This movement’s claim is the Hebrew pronunciation of Yashua as his correct (in Hebrew ) and only name to be pronounced. The questions we need to ask is first is this true and if so, is God as legalistic as they present him. Because they are saying that Yahweh’s view is “if you didn’t pronounce my name right so I’m not going to save you.” The implication is that from the beginning of the Jewish/Gentile Church up until now, has been incorrect and unsaved. Continue reading →
“By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.” – 1 John 4:13 Experiencing the ministry of the Holy Spirit is evidence of genuine saving faith.
In John 14:26, Jesus described the Holy Spirit as “the Helper.” One of the most important ways He helps us is by assuring us that we belong to God. Several works of the Holy Spirit, if present in our lives, give evidence of the genuineness of our salvation. In 1 Corinthians 12:3 Paul writes, “No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.” Apart from the convicting work of the Holy Spirit, you would not know who Christ was, nor would you confess Him as Savior and Lord. If you have experienced that work of the Holy Spirit, that is evidence you are a true child of God.
. . . and why every Christian is a Calvinist of sorts.
Part V: Why this issue is really a lot simpler than most people think
At the end of the previous post, I described how even in my Arminian days, I affirmed an awful lot of truth about the sovereignty of God: I would have affirmed with no reservation whatsoever that God is God; that He does all His good pleasure; that no one can make Him do otherwise; that He is in control and in charge no matter how much noise evildoers try to make; and not only is He in charge, He is working all things out for my good and His glory. As a matter of fact, my confidence in the promise of Romans 8:28 was what motivated my prayer life.
That’s Calvinism. If you believe those things, you have affirmed the heart of Calvinism, even if you call yourself an Arminian. Those are the basic truths of Calvinism, and if you already believe those things, you are functioning with Calvinist presuppositions.
In fact, the truths of Calvinism so much permeate the heart of the gospel message, that even if you think you are a committed and consistent proponent of Arminianism, if you truly affirm the gospel you have already conceded the principle points of Calvinism anyway.
. . and why every Christian is a Calvinist of sorts.
Part I: Is Arminianism damnable heresy?
I love the doctrines of grace and don’t shy away from the label “Calvinist.” I believe in the sovereignty of God. I’m convinced Scripture teaches that God is completely sovereign not only in salvation (effectually calling and granting faith to those whom He chooses); but also in every detail of the outworking of Providence. “Whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified” (Romans 8:30). And He makes “all things work together for good to those who love God, [i.e.,] to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Quite simply, He “works all things according to the counsel of His will” (Ephesians 1:11).
That’s what people commonly mean when they speak of “Calvinism.” When I accept that label, I am not pledging allegiance to the man John Calvin. I am not affirming everything he taught, and I’m not condoning everything he did. I’m convinced Calvin was a godly man and one of the finest biblical expositors and theological minds ever, but he wasn’t always right. As a matter of fact, my own convictions are baptistic, so I am by no means one of Calvin’s devoted followers. In other words, when I accept the label “Calvinist,” it’s only for convenience’s sake. I’m not saying “I am of Calvin” in the Corinthian sense.
Let us not only think of ourselves. Let us also think of others. There are millions in the world who have no spiritual light at all. They are without God, without Christ, and without hope. (Eph. 2:12) Can we do nothing for them? There are thousands around us who are unconverted and dead in sins, seeing nothing and knowing nothing right. Can we do nothing for them?
From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled “Wrecked But Not Reckless,”
delivered June 9, 1872.
There are many young believers who get into such a squall, and do not know what to make of it. They say, “Why, had I been a child of God I could not have drifted into this frightful tempest.” How sayest thou so? Did not David go through it? He said, “All thy waves and thy billows have gone over me.” You must be very little acquainted with the history of the people of God if you think that they are strangers to these conflicts.
THE WORLD HAS DIVIDED MEN into two classes, the stupid good people and the clever wicked ones.
This false classification runs through much of the literature of the last centuries from the classics to the comic strip, from Shakespeare’s Polomus, who furnished his son with a set of good but dull moral platitudes, to Capp’s Li’l Abner, who would never knowingly do a wrong act but who would rather fall on his head than on his feet because there is more feeling in his feet than in his head.
In the Holy Scriptures things are quite the opposite. There righteousness is always associated with wisdom and evil with folly. Whatever other factors may be present in an act of wrongdoing, folly is one that is never absent. To do a wrong act a man must for the moment think wrong; he must exercise bad judgment.
We have a wonderful subject to talk about tonight and I took up a little more time than I ought to have, in one sense, but wanted to share with you what I did, so we’re going to try to squeeze it in the time we have. I want you to open your Bible to Romans 8…Romans chapter 8 and let’s begin in Romans 8 with some very familiar revelation from God.
Verse 28 which is familiar to all of us is a good starting point. Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose, for whom He foreknew He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son that He might be the firstborn among many brethren, and whom He predestined these He also called and whom He called these He also justified and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”
Those of you who have been with us know we are tackling some of the more challenging and profound and difficult doctrines in the Scripture. And I trust we’re having a wonderful time digging deeply into God’s precious truth.
Last Sunday night we began to look at the subject, “For whom did Christ die?” Or, “The Nature of the Atonement.” Or as I chose to call it, “The Doctrine of Actual Atonement.” And I want to go back to that. If you weren’t here last week, it really would be helpful for you to get the tape or the CD, whatever is best for you, and to listen to what I said and pair it up with what we’re going to say tonight because you’re going to get just a very abbreviated review of that important foundation.
Well, how many of you have always wanted to go to seminary? You’re about to go tonight. I’m going to challenge your thinking a little bit as we talk about this issue of the question, “For whom did Christ die?” We have been looking over the last number of weeks at some very important doctrines, the doctrine of perseverance, or the preservation of the saints; the doctrine of sovereign election in salvation. We have looked at the doctrine of total or absolute inability, that is the depravity of the sinner which renders it impossible for him to respond to the gospel. And tonight I want to talk to you about what I’ve chosen to call, trying to give it a more accurate name, the doctrine of actual atonement…the doctrine of actual atonement.
We have embarked upon a wonderful study of some very important doctrines on these Sunday nights. And from my viewpoint, it’s kind of open ended, I’m just kind of following the flow and seeing where it goes. But I’m having a wonderful time. As you well know through all these years, we predominantly, if not almost always, work through texts of Scripture and that way we are obligated to affirm what the Word of God says because it’s what it says. And there is always the, I suppose, potential accusation that when you leave the flow of expositional preaching and you embark upon a topical study or a doctrinal study, you ….you may be caught up in something philosophical, you may be caught up in something rational, something logical and you may be drawing conclusions that wouldn’t stand the test of Scripture. And so I want to affirm to you that everything I say I trust will be before your very eyes drawn out of Scripture, and I would encourage you, like the noble Bereans, to do a little work yourself and search the Scripture and see if these things are so. I certainly don’t want to bring to you a rational theology, although it’s not irrational. I don’t want to bring to you a philosophical approach to theology. I don’t want to follow the path of human reason to conclude the things we conclude. I want to bring you what the Word of God has to say and the Word of God does speak to these very, very important doctrinal issues.