Hoping to find that my misgivings were unjustified, I instead found them reinforced rather frequently as I watched many of the videos of the forum that are available. It’s not that the GFF isn’t worthwhile or is all together bad. Much of what I found was very good—indeed, the GFF as intended (without the problems presented below) might be at the forefront of what Evangelical missions ought to look like at this point in time. Even Dr. Ed Stetzer, the President of LifeWay Research, had a lot of good things to say in his 2010 speech at the GFF and in his 2010 blog article, entitled, “Multifaith and the Global Faith Forum.” Dr. Roberts’ passionate love for Christ and for his fellow man come through very clearly. I do not doubt his faith or his good intentions, and I commend him on his tremendous efforts to foster a greater understanding among Christians, Jews, Muslims and Buddhists, etc. However, sprinkled throughout the Global Faith Forum are statements that are theologically sloppy at exactly the places where such a movement ought to be clear and precise.Continue reading →
1 Kings 18:21 NKJV, “And Elijah came to all the people, and said, ‘How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.’ But the people answered him not a word.
If the Lord is a God of supernatural actions, then believe Him; but if not, then in whom do you believe? For all of us who claim to believe in Christ, this issue should have been settled beyond all question at the empty tomb. Continue reading →
“Predestination is an invitation to begin one’s spiritual pilgrimage,….” In 1972 that statement by Dr. John D. Eusden in his Introduction to his translation of William Ames’ The Marrow of Divinity focused my attention like a salmon fixes the eye of a soaring eagle. Continue reading →
Regeneration is perhaps the most difficult topic to be debated between the opposing views, due to the intertwining of such topics as spiritual death and life, depravity, rebirth, faith, the role of the Holy Spirit, etc. Call me an optimist, but I still see the potential for fruitful discussion. Continue reading →
Any time that some truth which is held in balance in God’s word is given an emphasis on only one side, then misunderstanding and error result. It is true, as the Calvinists emphasize, that election in eternity past is unconditional. But the neglected Biblical balance is this: salvation in this temporal world is conditional, and God blesses no one with the saving, justifying, regenerating, life-giving union with Christ until they drop their rebellion, humble themselves, and come in genuine, repentant, fully surrendered faith. It is true, as the Calvinists emphasize, that faith is the gift of God; but it is just as Biblically true that faith is the requirement of God for salvation. Continue reading →
“Young Earth” creationism (YEC), as part of the Christian faith, stands on certain presuppositions, such as the existence of God and the divine, verbal inspiration of Scripture. The kind of apologetic argument that acknowledges that such presuppositions are assumed, and does not attempt to prove them, is presuppositional apologetics. Continue reading →
Immanence is mostly forgotten as an attribute of God and a method by which He works in the world. Calvinists and Traditionalists argue over the limits of God’s transcendent acts of grace and the limits of men without such transcendent grace. Both sides, it seems, have a presupposed agreement to frame the debate around a transcendent grace, while the solution sits dust-covered in the theological closet. Continue reading →
As we approach 2014, Christianity is under attack as never before in this country. These are troubling times. The evangelical Church has always been in the minority, and the world has always been opposed to the Church; but, here in America, at least, the world seemed to tolerate the Church Continue reading →
After the Protestant Reformation, there were 5 major tenets of faith which emerged to help explain what the Reformers (Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Wycliffe, Tyndale, et al) were protesting about the Church of their day. These have come to be known as the 5 Solas of the Reformation. They are: Sola Scriptura (by Scripture Alone), Sola Fide (by Faith alone), Sola gratia (by Grace alone), Sola Cristus (through Christ alone), and Soli Deo Gloria (for the glory of God alone).
Please, pardon my title. It is an attempt to capture the shallow thinking of our time when it comes to weekly worship gatherings. “How was that sermon?” “Oh, it was great! Our pastor can really bring down the house! He’s such a good speaker!” “The worship was so good today. Those songs are such a blessing to me! Our praise band just knows how to minister to us, don’t they?” I wonder what would happen if the Apostle Paul came to preach in one of our churches next week?
Ordinarily, I would avoid topics such as this, which are a kind of “tabloid theology” for those obsessed with such things. But this particular issue has grown in such popularity and its speculative errors are propagated with such tenacious authority that a voice of reason is desperately needed. Continue reading →
When I read the Scriptures, I can’t help but notice a common theme throughout that seems to be lost in American Christianity today. The theme is “the necessity of suffering.” I might have also said, “the benefits of suffering.” No matter how you state it, it’s very clear that Jesus and His Apostles taught clearly that suffering is an expected part of the Christian life.
I've been reading through J.I. Packer's Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God and came across a section of the book that beautifully sums up what God has been working in me in recent years regarding our evangelistic efforts and tools. Here is the excerpt:
"While we must always remember that it is our responsibility to proclaim salvation, we must never forget that it is God who saves.
I owed it ALL. ALL of His blood was needed to wash away my sin alone. I cannot look to His cross and say that only one stripe on His back or only one drop of His blood was for me—He suffered my penalty and all of it was for me. So how is there any left over to save you? Continue reading →
Imagine a good king who is asked to forgive a rebel who has rebelled against his kingdom. The king asks if the rebel has a desire to quit his rebellion and pledge allegiance to the king. The answer is no; the rebel wants a pardon for his crimes but will not quit the crimes nor pledge allegiance to the king. Continue reading →
By dismissing as insignificant the Augustinian principle of a spiritual participation of all men in Adam’s sin, Dr. Harwood (with agreement of both Calvinists and Traditionalists) discards that which offers the most hope for bringing Southern Baptists closer together (and closer to the Biblical truth) on this issue. Continue reading →
Adam Harwood spoke at the 2013 John 3:16 Conference, and the paper he presented there is available on the conference e-book at SBC Today. Like Dr. Harwood, I deny that anyone is born condemned for Adam’s sin; but unlike Dr. Harwood, I find in Scripture such a real union of mankind in Adam as to justify the inheriting of all the temporal penalties for Adam’s sin, including the spiritual death and depravity that all are born into Continue reading →
Years ago, when I was a student in Dr. J.P. Dane’s Church Administration class at Grand Canyon University, which was then a Southern Baptist-related school, he made a statement that I will never forget.
We know with certainty that the facts about God and Christ, as testified in Scripture, are true by revelation, and we accept (or embrace) that truth by faith. We can choose to accept by faith what God has revealed, or we can choose to deny by unbelief what God has revealed. Continue reading →
The area in which Calvinists and Libertarians are farthest apart is that of determinism. Yet, as we have seen in other such areas, the root of this disagreement can be found in a single faulty premise upon which both sides agree. In this case, it is the premise that if God meticulously controls the events and actions of men, then such divine determinism eliminates all alternative possibilities (and thus “freedom to do otherwise”) for men. This premise is false; and once it is eliminated, there is much room for agreement, by which the two sides can be brought closer together. Continue reading →
There is much room for agreement on atonement… and misunderstandings to avoid on all sides. Libertarians (both Traditionalists and Arminians) can find unexpected common ground even with a Reformed theologian, such as Charles HodgeContinue reading →
There are twoprofound changes that happen to a man as he is converted: first, the man is changed from a man who hates God to a man who is ready to repent and turn to God (this is what the Calvinists focus on—how profound it is that a man who shakes his fist at God becomes a man on his knees at the altar!); and second, God responds to the man who turns from his sin and justifies him, indwelling him with the Holy Spirit and bringing life back to his spirit (this is what Libertarians tend to focus on—the “new creation,” being “born again” and restored to communion with God). Continue reading →
At every point of doctrinal disagreement between Calvinists and Libertarians (both Traditionalists and Arminians), there are Biblical propositions that can pull the two sides closer together without leaving the moorings of their particular theology. Continue reading →
The Southern Baptist Convention is unique in its composition of a wide range of approaches to the doctrines of salvation. As was shown in Part 3, the basic presuppositions of Calvinists and Libertarians (Traditionalists as well as Arminians) are seemingly irreconcilable; and yet, these groups have found enough on which to agree that we as a convention have remained unified for a very long time. Continue reading →
Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?” But when Jesus heard this, He said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick.
The most obvious characteristic of the debate between Calvinism and Libertarians (whether Arminians or Traditionalists) is its unending futility. Very little is ever accomplished. The same old straw-man misrepresentations are continually presented, and the same old misunderstandings continually occur. Continue reading →
To disbelieve is NOT to know it as true and disagree with it.
To disbelieve is NOT to know something as true and refuse to submit to it.
To disbelieve is to not think it true at all. Continue reading →
There is currently a radical change in thought being propagated in the Church, which is destructive to the truth. It is the ever more popular idea, even within the SBC, that the truths in Scripture are so far beyond our understanding that no one can have any credible assurance that their view on any doctrinal Issue is the accurate and correct view. Continue reading →
Despite the many misguided characterizations of the SBC as a polarized body of Calvinists and “Traditionalists,” Southern Baptists are represented by a spectrum of beliefs* and are not a mere two-party denomination. A key to regaining unity in the SBC is found in the recognition that the two groups who are most opposed to one another do not make up the whole of the convention Continue reading →
“But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret…” Matthew 6:6
I’ve been thinking and meditating on this thought this week and I’ve come to the conclusion that times of private prayer are vital to a Christian’s life and work. I realize that perhaps I just made the most obvious statement of all, but I would ask you to bear with me for a moment in thinking about this…
It’s not as simple as God choosing men based on His foreknowledge of their choice to accept His grace and gospel. God’s foreknowledge of men’s choices and actions cannot be divorced from His own planned actions.
The covenant model is merely a template by which to describe the reality, and may be discarded without loss to the traditional Baptist position. Even without any covenant, Adam’s sin would have been just as wrong and just as worthy of death (physical and spiritual). Continue reading →
There is a popular misconception, taught authoritatively in pulpits across this land. It is the idea that sins do not send anyone to hell, but rather, unbelief (or, rejecting Christ) alone sends one to hell. Continue reading →
Systematic Theology, the greatest of the sciences, has fallen upon evil days. Between the rejection and ridicule of it by the so-called progressives and the neglect and abridgment of it by the orthodox, it, as a potent influence, is approaching the point of extinction. Continue reading →
I recently returned from giving a series of lectures on the New Hampshire Confession of Faith. The exercise was stimulating (at least to me) and gave a real sense of privilege and gratitude for blessing. In particular, I mean the blessing of joining with the saints of decades and centuries gone by in confessing truths that have been revealed by God—redemptive truths that bear within them the matter for endless praise. Read more at Founders Ministries Blog»
Many of you have probably heard of the online dating site eHarmony. The cofounder, Neil Clark Warren, describes himself as a “passionate follower of Jesus,” and eHarmony initially only provided its services to heterosexual people. After a legal battle, eHarmony included homosexuals, first in a separate site and later in its main site. Read more at Ken Ham’s blog»
Unlike all the other creatures, man was made in the likeness and image of God. Yet, like all the other creatures, God created man as a propagative being—a being that could “multiply and fill the earth.” Continue reading →