AWAKENING TO THE SMITING OF THE IRON AND THE MIRY CLAY

     Daniel speaks of the iron and the miry clay in the feet of the image of a great evil, a monstrous cabal throughout  history, since the days of the Babylonians.  Did Washington know it, when he spoke of the illuminati being in the land. For the past103 years a cabal has run this nation, involving it in a series of wars, causing depressions, and use the cover that monetary system to rob the American people as Jefferson indicated they would do.  It is perhaps the last great struggle before the 1000 generations (note: not a millennium of years but of generations) of the peaceful settlement of THE starry heaven (mt.24:31).  The stone smiting the old image in its feet, hits it in its weakest point, the feet of iron and miry clay.  Without its feet, the image cannot stand.  But what of the stone?  The stone represents the Gospel which is found to fit the age and every age like interlocking parts, so to speak.  Our failure is twofold, a failure to understand the cabal in its strengths and weaknesses (note the miry clay is not even mentioned in the smiting).  The strength is in the iron, but it cannot endure due to the miry clay and the smiting of the stone.

The stone has been set before us in the Great Reformation, the First and Second Great Awakenings. and the launching of the Great Century of Missions.  That stone is the theology is the Gospel, the Good News of the theology preached and taught in those visitations.  Far more interesting, exciting, and attractive, even compelling, are the truths of the stone, the truth of God’s Sovereignty as expressed in Predestination, Total Depravity/Inability, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement/Particular Redemption, Irresistible Grace, Perseverance/Preservation of the Saints, and Reprobation.  This is the theology of the Divine Visitation which shall win the whole earth in one generation and every soul in it, followed by numerous generations (I Chrion.16:15 suggests a 1000, a hyperbole perhaps, suggest of an innumerable multitude)  The innumerable sand of the seas, the stars of the heaven, and the redeemed in Heaven certainly call for enlarged conceptions, large than has been dreamed hitherto.

Such truths are invitations – even when they are the very opposites of what would normally be expected.  Our Lord said to the woman of Canaan in Mt. 15:21-28 that He was not sent but to the House of Israel.  She was not a Jew, physically that is.  She snatched as it as an opportunity to worship Him, to fall down before Him as an abject object for mercy.  The rest of the discussion, the little dogs for example, lend credence to the contention.  Actually, such truths are winsome to the sinners who need deliverance from their miseries.  When one has no hope in self, then practically anything offers hope, even the most negative of statements.  The very opposite of Hope, the message of Judgment without a hint of mercy, Jonah’s sermon to the city of Nineveh becomes the means of hope as the King’s question indicates: Who can tell?  The truths of therapeutic paradoxes work as do those of counseling therapies.  The darkest hour is just before the dawn.  Joy cometh in the morning from one end of the starry heaven to the other.  The Third Great Awakening is the last that will last.  But before that blessed time, we might well have to suffer a bit for our Savior.  It will be for His glory, and the end of the age of iron  The miry clay deserves no comment as it will melt away. 

AWAKENING TO THE LOST MASTERPIECE OF REPROBATION

Reprobation seems to be one of the most reprehensible of doctrines.  It is often portrayed as simply being predestined to Hell.  Actually, it a decision of God to let the sinner alone, to leave him or her in their sins.  The condemnation to Hell is for sins actually committed – not because of reprobation.  All men are lost, fallen, sinful, dead in trespasses and sins.  Dr. John Gill declared that God did not decree to damn any man but for sin.  It is sort of like giving the criminals the leeway to commit a crime in order to make their conviction sure.  To put it another way, they condemn themselves.

Interestingly enough, the doctrine of reprobation is just as much a doctrine of invitation to salvation as is the doctrines of predestination, total depravity, unconditional election, particular redemption, irresistible grace, and perseverance of the saints.  We find our Lord combining depravity and reprobation in His statement to the woman of Canaan, “It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.”(Mt.15:26)  The term dogs is a denigrating word in church history; it expresses how the Jews felt toward the Gentiles in our Lord’s day.  Some even feel that way today.  Peter underscores the very idea in his statement, “The dog is turned to his vomit again.”  The repulsive description surely conveys the idea of reprobation, and our Lord’s use of the term dogs is suggestive.  However, the same word is treated as an invitation by the woman.  She actually agrees with the Lord, turning His words upon Him, “Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”(Mt.15:27).  Any of God’s words in His written word can be used to reach souls for salvation.  I have read of one who was converted from reading the genealogy of our Lord.  And, contrary to the opinion of some, even the sinner’s prayer can be used to lead that person to Christ for salvation.  My brother-in-law was won to Christ by a Calvinist using the sinner’s prayer/

That man, the Rev. Bob Kleinschmidt had a sermon on Acts 16:14 with three points which both my brother-in-law and I have used in sermons: I. Her Hands were stilled.  II. Her heart was opened.  III.  Her house was saved.

AWAKENING TO THE LOST MASTERPIECE OF PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS

     “If I believed that, I would be the happiest person in the world.”  This was the saying of a Methodist lady in the 1800s to her Baptist friend, when the latter presented to her the teachings on the perseverance of the saints or eternal security as it is sometimes called.  Actually, the doctrine involves two ideas, namely, perseverance and preservation, and it is not meant to be an indulgence for a person to live any old way the pleases or, rather, it is intended for a person to live any old way he or she pleases so long as that way is pleasing to the Lord.  The precepts that promote perseverance in the Bible are intended to move the believer to become responsible, to take responsibility for his or her conduct.

There are times, when one must stress perseverance.  At other times the idea of preservation must be emphasized.  Sadly, some have put so much weight on the preservation of the saints, eternal security, it would seem, that many have in the 20th century taken it for a license to self indulgence.  Others have used perseverance in such a way as to cast doubt on the possibility of anyone every succeeding in finishing the course as a true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.

All of the teachings of Sovereign Grace involve two poles which are intended to create or produce a tension in the believer, a desirable tension which enables one to be balanced, flexible, creative, constant, and magnetic.  In short, one becomes a responsible follower of the Lord, when he or she gets the truths of God right.  Dr. George W. Truett summed it up well in his Address at the Centenary Celebration for the birth of C.H. Spurgeon in 1934, when he said: “Calvinism presses down upon the brow of man the crown of responsibility.”

AWAKENING TO THE LOST MASTERPIECE OF UBNCONDTIONAL ELECTION

     Picking upon the theme of the doctrines of grace constituting a lost masterpiece, we will look in this post upon unconditional election as a lost masterpiece of evangelism,   Certainly, it is true that this doctrine was a part of the body of divinity, a term used in years gone by to describe the theology of biblical faith, which played such an important role in the Great Awakenings and the launching of the Great Century of Missions (the Modern Missionary Movement).  The preaching of so many of the leading ministers of the 18th century was very much concerned with setting forth these truths with a view to winning people to Christ, that is, the evangelism of the lost.  Our Lord apparently thought unconditional election  was a doctrine of evangelism, because He used it in two cases, one with wonderful results and the other with sore outcome.  And, in both cases, His teaching of the truth of unconditional election was of someone else being the chosen persons.

     In both cases, as we shall see, it is not only election that our Lord preaches, it is that some else is the elect and not the person involved.  The case with the favorable outcome was that of the woman of Canaan, Mt.15:21-28.  Our Lord in the face of her pleas for help declared that He was not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  The woman’s response was to fall down before Him in worship.  The second example involved His neighbors in Nazareth, when He spoke of Elijah helping the widow of Sarepta, a city of Sidon, but did not help any widow in Israel.  Moreover, He spoke of Elisha healing Naaman the Syrian, and He called attention to the fact that the prophet did nothing for any leper in Israel.  The response of people who had known him for years was a murderous rage.

     Election is clearly a part of the statement in John 6:37, where our Lord says, “All that that the Father gives me, shall come to me, and him that comes to me I will in no wise cast out.”  If the people addressed Nazareth and in John 6 had treated our Lord’s presentation of the Divine choice as the woman of Canaan did, there would surely have been a different outcome.  Election, especially unconditional election, is a truth of God’s written word, one advocated, clearly, by our Lord Himself, and it is truth that is evangelistic, intensely evangelistic and emphatically inviting.  Such a teaching also encourages the development of humility, a very wanted grace in these days. 

AWAKENING TO THE LOST MASTERPIECE OF IRRESISTIBLE GRACE

          “Oh, it was so wonderful that I could not resist it.”  Those were the words that a convert uttered in response to the pastor who had won her to Christ, when he asked her, “Why did you respond so readily.”  He had used one of those soul winning patterns often recommended and frequently used by so many today who believe that it is all up to man and his or her free will decides.  However, if we look at John 6:44,65, we find the word draw used, a term also used to describe the drawing of a sword from the scabbard and of dragging Paul and Silas through the streets.  Hardly illustrations of power that can be successfully resisted.

Even so, the idea of the Gospel being so winsome that one cannot resist it has often been stressed in the history of the church, especially do we find this to be the case in many of the converts of the First Great Awakening.  Illustrative of this idea is a circular letter by one converted in the period of the that awakening.  The author was John Gano, and the circular letter bore the title, Effectual Calling, a term also used to describe irresistible grace.  The idea stressed is that grace is successful.  Ps.65:4 gives a statement that describes it:  “Blessed is the man whom you choose and cause to approach unto you.”  The Hebrew verb for cause is the Piel, the verb used to describe the causative idea (if memory serves correctly).  In any case, I do know that it is the causative verb form.

The problem with the teaching is that it takes the power to act out of the hands of man and places it squarely in the will of God who chooses and causes.  That such was the preaching of the leading ministers of the Awakenings (counting the second as lasting from 1800-1820).  This is not to say that some one with serious theological shortcomings such as Finney did not win souls to Christ.  Several who were converted include A.H. Strong and his father who were reported to have been converted during Finney’s greatest crusade, the Rochester Crusade. Likewise converted during Finney’s labors were T. De Witt Talmadge and his family.

Rev. John Gano, previously mentioned, was a chaplain who reportedly baptized General Washington by immersion at the latter’s request.  He also is reported to have been the last minister to address the Continental Army before it disbanded.  Gano preached with the great Ev. George Whitefield in Charleston, S.C.  His winsome message and ways was a key factor in the union of the Separate and Regular Baptists.

AWAKENING TO THE LOST MASTERPIECE OF PARTICULAR REDEMPTION

     Particular redemption or limited atonement as some call it is another masterpiece of evangelism; it is designed to provoke the sinner to realize that there is no good in himself whereby he might claim God’s blessed salvation.  It is also designed to provoke the lost to cry for mercy, to say, “Is there any hope for me.”  And, yes, despair is one of the realities aimed at, the despair of being able to do anything to save one’s self, despair of self but delight in Christ.  How can one be filled despair and have any sense of delight in Christ?  It is despair of oneself as a sinner, and the delight lies in the thought that Christ came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance or, as Paul put it, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners of whom I am chief.”

Actually, every one preaches limited atonement – even the Universalist who preaches that Christ died for all and that all will be saved.  The truth of the limitation of that view is found in the fact that it is has no power to save a sinner in this life, seeing that so many are never converted or give any evidence of salvation.  The General Atonement view suffers from the same problem and, additionally, if the sinner does not want to be saved, he or she will not be saved, since God can not violate the individual’s will.  I have a friend who would laugh at such idea.  He said he sat down to a meal without a thought on his mind about being saved, when something or someone knocked him out of his chair and he lit on his knees begging God for mercy.  Over fifty years later (at the last account I had of him) he teaches Hebrew in a seminary extension center (he holds a Ph.D. in Hebrew from Dropsie College (I think that is the school).

After I saw Christ standing before me with His hand raised like He was knocking at a door, when I was a practicing Atheist,  He changed my mind (opened my heart like He did Lydia’s in Acts 16:14) so that I called on Him for forgiveness of my sins and cried tears of joy for the first time in my life. 

The point of particular redemption is that our Lord’s redemptive death was for “many,” not every one without exception, and the power is in the blood.  The number of the redeemed, according to the promises made to Abraham will far exceed the number of the lost in Hell.  While there are and will be sinners in Hell, the redeemed will be innumerable (Rev.7:9).  Few who oppose this truth realize that they place the power of salvation in the hands of the sinner, and they take it out of the power that God has put in the blood of His precious Son.

The 5-Tool Team… A REAL Measure of Pastoral Ministry Success

clarkd52:

Having two tools would be nice!

Originally posted on Launch Clarity:

Baseball is the Greatest American Sport.

Those who moan about the slow pace or belittle the idea of hitting a 3” diameter sphere hurled at speeds of up to 100 miles-per-hour do not understand the nuance, strategy and simple beauty of The Game.

Baseball players are a rare breed, equipped with lighting fast reflexes, molasses slow patience and a coiled-spring stillness that transcend other athletic endeavors. In fact, a baseball player at their finest is said to be a 5-Tool Player, excelling in hitting for average, hitting for power, running the bases with skill and speed, throwing with precision and fielding with accuracy.

There have been few true 5-Tool players to have ever stepped on a professional baseball diamond. Some, whose trading cards still remain carefully stored in attic boxes are greats I have watched play like Rickey Henderson, Bo Jackson, Barry Bonds or Ken Griffey Junior. Others are the…

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AWAKENING TO THE LOST MASTERPIECE OF TOTAL DEPRAVITY/TOTAL INABILITY

Total depravity/total inability is a lost masterpiece of theology.  It has been lost to the knowledge even of those who believe in it, because they have forgotten that it is a doctrine of invitation to receive God on His terms.  It has been lost to the knowledge of even those who believe in it, because they have forgotten that it is a doctrine designed to stimulate the sinner to the point of response.  It has been lost to the knowledge of even those who believe, because they simply do not recognize the links between this truth and that of reprobation, another masterpiece of biblical theology designed to produce a violent resolve, a dynamic decision, a desperate determination.  It is along with Total Depravity/Inability one of the most intensely compelling truths.  It has been lost to the knowledge of even those who believe, because they know little, if anything, about therapeutic paradoxes.  There is more that could be said, but let us take one example from the ministry of our Lord.

In the case of the woman of Canaan, recorded in Mt. 15:21-28, we find that our Lord said something that was seemingly repulsive to her, when she was seeking His help fervently.  He said, “It is not meet to take the children’s bread and to cast it to dogs.”  If anything can be said about the image used, the symbolic term, it is this: It is a picture of total depravity.  A dog was an unclean animal to a Jew.  Worse yet, it appears to have been an image of reprobation, because Peter spoke of the dog as returning to its own vomit, a matter of common knowledge.  Talk about an unfriendly reception, the woman of Canaan seem to have had it.  But what was her response.  She said, “Truth, Lord.”  She agreed with Him:  Her sinfulness could be put in the most repulsive terms, even one that could lead to the suggestion of reprobation as Peter would indicate.  I can not forget having seen dogs eat their own vomit in my childhood and even since.   The idea of this truth is to awaken the sinner to his or her desperate need, and the woman’s need was so great that she not only agreed with the Lord but she even argued with Him, arguing from His own words.  Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.  No one would say that the crumbs that fall to the floor should be swept up and given to the child; they could easily be spared for the dog.  Desperation will move a person , a needy sinner, to consider and accept what he or she would not otherwise receive.  When a dog is hungry enough, it will go for the crumbs, eagerly.  When a sinner feels the need so desperately, then he or she will take even a word of condemnation as an invitation and encouragement.

AWAKENING TO A LOST MASTERPIECE

From Jan.1967-Dec.1969, I served as a Social Worker I with the Kentucky Division of Public Assistance with a case load of about 260-270 or more of ADC, PTD, GR, and OAA cases, mostly the latter (Old Age Assistance). In order to determine continued eligibility for assistance, the worker had to make a visit in the home of the client on a regular basis. One of my clients had a painting hanging on the wall of her home, It was a picture of a peasant couple standing in a field, praying over a potato harvest. The painting was greasy, stained, with a rip in it that some one had repaired by sewing. The client’s story was that one of her ancestral relatives had performed a service for the son of the artist who had recently come to America, and he had given the painting to that relative as payment for the service rendered. He also told the relative that this was the original, that the one hanging in the L’Ourve was a copy. Seems that the officials did not have a space for the artists larger painting, so they requested a smaller copy. The artist complied with predictable irritability. According to the Client, the son had said his father had made some changes in the copy, because he was upset over their rejection of his masterpiece. I saw that painting in 1967 and 1968 during my visits to determine continued eligibility. The painting was always mentioned in the case record, but no one knew the value of it, and the client did not have the money to get it to a place where experts could determine its authenticity and value.
In the Summer of 1971 while attending Columbia University in New York, I had the opportunity to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art. While there I went to the catalog section where the Museum kept photographs of the art works in other famous museums. In the section on the L’Ourve. I viewed the photograph, mentally comparing it with the painting that hung in the home of a woman on welfare. Her painting was a rectangle, possible 36″ by 48-56″, if memory serves me correctly for an educated guess as to the measurements. The one in the L’Ourve was more like a portrait, according to the information available by googling it is 21.9″ by 26″. The one in the L’Ourve showed a few potatoes still lying on the ground instead of being in the basket as one would normally expect. The painting in the home of the welfare client had all the potatoes in the basket.
The famous painting is titled, the Angelus, and it portrays the peasants giving thanks for their harvest at the time of the tolling of the bells for the evening prayers and worship known in Catholic services as the angelus. I went back to Kentucky sometime in the seventies only to find the home of the woman had burned down. There is an irony here as the artist, Jean Millet painted the poor, and it seems appropriate that his original masterpiece should wind up hanging on the wall of a poor woman.
The story of a lost masterpiece reminds us that there are stories of lost masterpieces of theological understanding and interpretation. During the Dark Ages the knowledge of Justification by faith alone was lost, only to be rediscovered by Martin Luther with the consequent revolution that the call the Reformation which, in conjunction with the renewal of learning and knowledge that we call the Renaissance, wrought a vast change in the civilization of the world.
The continuation of that rediscovery culminated and climaxed in the period from 1720-1820, in what we call the First and Second Great Awakenings and the launching of the Great Century of Missions or the Modern Missionary Movement. This great outburst of theological renewal and cultural transformations can be traced directly or indirectly to the recovery of truths in Holy Scripture which had long been hidden from sight or forgotten. We hope to say more about The Lost Masterpiece, the biblical theology of the Great Awakenings, some of which can be traced to the awakening that we call the Reformation,

AWAKENING TO PATHOLOGICAL MOTIVATIONS

There are all kinds of awakenings, but one of the most important is that of becoming aware of the shortcomings of one’s own motivations.  I have called these shortcomings pathological motivations, because they are basically destructive to all parties concerned where they become evident.  One of the extreme examples was the mass suicides of Jonestown in South America, evil produced by the sick motivations of the leader of the group, the so-called pastor, the Rev. Jim Jones. Such examples are not all that rare.  They just happen to be not that extreme.  Consider how some people can use a controversy to advance their own causes, their own careers, and do it at the expense of others.  There are instances of pastors who must have their people at church so often that the poor souls have no time for family life or anything else, except to work and support by offerings and presence, that pastor who suffers from an inner sense of insecurity.  An inner insecurity can often be satisfied only by outward signs of security, that is, by the control the individual exercises over others.  Other forms of this can involve having the biggest church, the most baptisms, etc.  I once heard of two pastors who came to the point of actually getting in a fist fight over who had the most in Sunday School on a given Sunday Morning.

      Yes, even Christians can have pathological motives.  Just consider how the Disciples of our Lord were arguing over who would be greatest in His kingdom – even in the shadow of the cross.  Two of Disciples had their mother make an effort to influence the Lord Jesus in granting them the privileges (and the power and fame they thought came with it is understood) of setting on His right hand and His left.  And this was done practically in the shadow of the cross.

     I can remember awakening to one such reality at the beginning of my seminary studies.  It was the idea that hanging out with God (to put it in common language) did not guarantee to me that I had any special powers or privileges as a result of that association.  Our Lord’s commendation of humility as well as the promoting of that virtue by His servants in their writings underscores the counteractions instituted for that pathology, the pathology of big-headedness or self-importance.  Examples of practically all of the pathologies one would find in a standard work on the subject in a university course can be found in the word of God.  Even the techniques for dealing with them are sometimes evident in the Bible.

     I once heard a pastor speak of the dysfunctional families of the Patriarchs.  And then there is the technique of reframing an event or something remarkably like it.  Joseph cast a new light on his brothers selling him into slavery, saying, “you meant it for evil, but God meant it for good, to bring it to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.”(Gen.50:20)

AWAKENING TO THEOLOGICAL MANIPULATION

Theological manipulation is a reality, but most people are not aware of it.  Moreover, it comes in all forms, shapes, and fashions.  There is the manipulation of perfectionism, the idea that one can be a better Christian, if one will only adopt what the preacher, speaker, or writer advocates.   Sometimes, the effort being made is not manipulation but a sincere effort to help the individual believer to strive for a better commitment to Christ, one that involves a more successful and fruitful service.  On the other hand, there are those who discourage such efforts and even encourage a more base response (let us sin that grace may abound).  Some people hate some doctrines, and they will do anything to divert any attention to or affection for such beliefs (the beliefs can be the doctrines of grace or some form of eschatology or being responsible in conduct).  History is replete with such examples (one of the advantages of studying that subject).  However, if the reader wants to consider an extreme example of manipulation with dire consequences, let him or her reflect on the Rev. Jim Jones and the Jonestown massacre.   Or one might investigate the crusade against the Albigensians in Southern France in the Middle Ages.  During the sack of one town, the soldiers wanted to know what to do about people gathered in a Catholic Church, claiming to be Catholics.  The papal representative’s reply was short and to the point: “Kill them all!  God knows His own!”  As a matter of balance, perhaps I should present an instance of Baptist intransigence and its consequences. In the early 1820s, shortly before his death, The Rev. Dr. Richard Furman wrote an article on the Baptists and slavery.  In it he made the statement that Baptists would write in defense of slavery.  Forty years later his mindset and manipulation (in conjunction with the mindset and manipulation of others led to the Civil War which cost the nation somewhere between 650.000 and 750,000 casualties.

     Eschatological manipulation with the portrayal of Russia as the Antichrist nation (which it was to some degree) could have led to an atomic war which resulted in the destruction of the whole earth.  Interestingly enough, the writers of such inflammatory views seemed to have prospered very well, Thank you!  More could be said about a variety of theological concepts which have been the means to motivate people to action, one way or another, and the controversies they engendered have been the means to advance the personal causes and agendas of individuals whose altruisms in the conflicts are questionable to say the least.

Awakening a Thousand Generations

     “Have you ever thought about the fact that at any one time every last soul on earth could be the elect of God?”  One of the roots of this blog post can be traced to that question put to me, circa 1967-68, by a man whom I consider to have been the wisest person I ever met.

There are other sources.  For example, Jonathan Edwards’ Humble Attempt which moved William Carey, Andrew Fuller, and others to launch what the noted historian, Kenneth Scott Latourette,  called the Great Century of Missions or the modern missionary movement as it is generally known.

The most important source is our text, I Chronicles 16:15, which states:

Be ye mindful of his covenant; the word which he commanded to a thousand generations.

Let us look at that text from a temporal and chronological perspective.  Consider the length of a generation.  Today, we think in terms of 20 years which would mean that mankind has about 20,000 years.  If we have longer generations as is implied in the idea of a man dying at a hundred being a youth and perhaps the average man living as long as Methuselah, 900+ years, then we have 900,000 years.

Couple that with the idea of men going to the stars and setting umpteen quadrillions of planets, and the inhabitants of the same being truly converted (after all, John Owen in his Death of Death in The Death of Christ suggested that the excellency of the atoning death of Christ is of such nature that it could redeem the inhabitants of any number of worlds), one can see how the cheer of the promises to the patriarchs of a seed as innumerable as the sand by the sea shore and the stars of heaven and the statement in Rev.7:9 could also be utterly truthful, the opening of the door of a vision utterly overwhelming. Continue reading

Awakening to the American Past

Dr. Thomas Kidd, a professor at Baylor University, has come out with a new volume, George Whitefield:  The Spiritual Father of America.  I hope to get access to the volume soon and write a review of it for the forum.  In the meanwhile, one can find a review of it on the blog Online Library of Law & Liberty.  I have only one note to add and that is this: If the work measures up to Dr. Kidd’s standard in his work, The Great Awakening (and I see no reason why it will not), it will deserve the time and attention of readers and historians and other scholars with an interest in the past of our nation.

Awakening To The Theology

The ground work or foundation for awakening prayer as well as for the visitation that we call an awakening is to be found in the theology we find linked to the First and Second Great Awakenings and the Launching of the Great Century of Missions as the late historian, Kenneth Scott Latourette called it or the Modern Missionary Movement as it is called today.  That theology with few exceptions must be described as Sovereign Grace or Calvinism.  The latter term actually diverts attention from the reality that Sovereign Grace is taught in Holy Scripture, and the very term is predicated on the use of the word, “reign,” used in Romans 5:21: “That as sin has reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”  Reign or rule, of course, suggests the very idea of sovereignty, the authority and power to demand that things be done with a certainty.  Sin abounds.  Grace superabounds.  The enemy comes in like a flood, and God raises up a standard against him, a counter flood, a greater flood.  Like Noah’s flood of old which covered the whole earth, the deluge of grace shall fill the whole earth with His knowledge and glory.  The stone becomes a great mountain and fills the whole earth.

Interestingly enough, all of this is to be accomplished not by force but by persuasion  Which brings us to the statement from a work which began my journey toward this understanding of God’s design.  In his Introduction to his translation of William Ames’ Marrow of Divinity (the first textbook in theology used at Harvard, so I understand), Dr. John Eusden stated; “Predestination is an invitation to begin one’s spiritual pilgrimage,….”  That statement was like a light turned on in my mind and heart. Continue reading

Awakening to Pray

Our one great need today is for an awakening to prayer.  Yes, there are many calls to pray, and there are many who pray.  However, we have yet to see a movement of the Spirit of God commensurate with what we seek.  That is why I would like to recommend Jonathan Edwards’ Humble Attempt, a tract which inspired William Carey and others to begin praying for the spread of the Gospel to other lands.  The Baptists in England began their prayer meetings in 1785.  Seven years later, 1792, Carey went to Egypt, and the rest, as they say, is history.  The interesting factor in the whole effort, however, is the work by Edwards.  His tract lists nearly a 100 prophecies and/or promises which can be pleaded in prayer as reasons for God to hear and answer.  I have been praying and pleading these promises, since the Fall of 1973 after I addressed the Pastors’ Prayer Meeting of the Sandy Creek Baptist Association on the subject of  A Great Awakening.  I would speak to that group on the fifth and tenth anniversaries.  My subject on those occasions was, A Third Great Awakening.  I cannot say I prayed every day, but I made it a policy that became entrenched to ask for such a visitation as often as possible.  Today, I seldom say grace even without asking for another awakening. Continue reading

Justin Taylor’s Doubts About 24-Hour Days of Creation – In Retrospect

A couple of weeks ago Justin Taylor posted an article entitled “Biblical Reasons to Doubt the Creation Days Were 24-Hour Periods”. Since that time, many have posted articles refuting Justin’s arguments. In this article I will post links to some of the ones I know about and make a couple of observations myself.

First, let me start off by saying that in general I respect Justin. He’s a well-reasoned man of good character and genuinely strives for biblical accuracy. I just think he missed the mark on this one. Nevertheless, his article seems to have given many of us the incentive to hash this issue out. Continue reading

Shedding Light on the Length of Pre-Sun Creation Days: A Text-Based Approach

In the ongoing debate over the Genesis creation account, one supposed problem that seems particularly troublesome for many is the question of the length of a day prior to the creation of the sun (on Day 4). Since the sun is the means by which a day is usually measured, then it is objected by Old-Earthers that we are left without any sure understanding of what God might possibly mean by the term, “day,” when it is used to describe the first three days of creation. Here’s the text:

Genesis 1 ESV
1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. Continue reading

Answers in Genesis files lawsuit against Ky.

Baptist PressPETERSBURG, Ky. (BP) — Answers in Genesis is suing the government of Kentucky for alleged discrimination in refusing to extend a sales tax rebate incentive program to the Ark Encounter theme park the apologetics ministry is building in northern Kentucky.

The state’s decision to deny the tax incentive based on AiG’s status as a religious organization is against the law and violates legal precedent, the lawsuit asserts.

“The state was so insistent on treating our religious entity as a second-class citizen that we were simply left with no alternative but to proceed to court,” AiG president Ken Ham said. “This is the latest example of increasing government hostility towards religion in America, and it’s certainly among the most blatant. Our organization spent many months attempting to reason with state officials so that this lawsuit would not be necessary.”

via Answers in Genesis files lawsuit against Ky..

Caner’s departure addressed, trustee resigns

Baptist PressEDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated since being posted earlier this afternoon (Feb. 3).

MOUNT VERNON, Ga. (BP) — Brewton-Parker College trustee chairman Gary Campbell is the third high-profile figure to leave the college’s leadership team in the past two weeks.

Campbell tendered his resignation on Feb. 2 shortly before introducing Interim President Charles “Charlie” Bass to faculty and staff at the South Georgia college.

But before departing, Campbell discussed the unexpected resignation of President Ergun Caner on Jan. 20 and, barely a week later, the termination of Vice President C.B. Scott. On Jan. 29 Campbell told Vidalia-based Southeast Georgia Today news outlet that he could not comment on Scott’s departure due to it being a personnel matter.

Ergun Caner

Scott was one of the first administrative appointments made by Caner, calling him “the perfect man for the job” of overseeing the college’s alumni and college relations programs. Scott, who was already serving in various capacities at the college, according to the original press release announcing his appointment, was elevated to the cabinet-level position in January 2014.

Before announcing his own resignation, Campbell took several minutes to “set the record straight concerning speculation regarding recent leadership changes at Brewton-Parker College.”

via Caner’s departure addressed, trustee resigns.

AiG to File Discrimination Suit against Kentucky | Answers in Genesis

answers-in-genesis-logoLawsuit to defend religious freedom explained in new video

by Mark Looy on February 3, 2015

Note: This article is slightly adapted from a news release being sent to the national media today. The release and this web article provide a link to a video of AiG President Ken Ham interviewing attorney Mike Johnson about the religious freedom lawsuit—watch the video at the link above.

Answers in Genesis (AiG), developer of the Ark Encounter theme park in Northern Kentucky, confirmed today it is filing a federal lawsuit against state officials for denying the park participation in the state’s tax rebate incentive program. Although the program is available to all qualifying tourist attractions seeking to build in the state, AiG’s application was rejected solely because of the religious identity and message of AiG. The lawsuit explains how this action by Kentucky officials, including Gov. Steve Beshear, violates federal and state law and amounts to unlawful viewpoint discrimination.

via AiG to File Discrimination Suit against Kentucky | Answers in Genesis.