By Ken Hamrick
John Murray’s treatment of sanctification, particularly his essay, “The Agency in Definitive Sanctification,” makes some surprising inroads toward grasping the believer’s retroactive, realistic identification with Christ. He does not go as far as to acknowledge that the reality of the spiritual union of Christ in the believer brings a title to all that Christ accomplished just as if the believer had accomplished it. Instead, he prefers to call it a mysterious “divine constitution.” But he does recognize the “tension” between the historical objectivity of Christ dying and rising again, and the fact of the believer subjectively dying to sin and rising to new life in Christ—and that the two are often spoken of in the New Testament as if they were one and the same events. The believer did not die to sin until coming to Christ in faith; and yet, the power of that dying to sin is firmly grounded in the once-and-for-all quality of Christ’s death—as if the historically objective death of Christ somehow became an historically objective fact of the believer’s life once he came to Christ […]
Read More at the Source: KenHamrick.com
by Tim Chaffey […]
Christ’s Resurrection is the most mocked and vilified miracle in the annals of human history. “Impossible, a fake,” modern scholars say. Yet a closer examination confirms the Bible’s historical integrity.
“”Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said”” (Matthew 28:5–6).
Unlike many world religions, Christianity’s origins are not shrouded in an unwitnessed, mythical past.
Unlike many world religions, Christianity’s origins are not shrouded in an unwitnessed, mythical past. The Christian faith centers on the person and work of Jesus Christ. His life and miracles were witnessed by thousands, and His sacrificial death on the Cross was also a public spectacle. Three days later, God raised His Son from the dead, and over the next forty days, Jesus appeared to hundreds of individuals.
Overstating the importance of the Resurrection is impossible. It conclusively demonstrated Christ’s power over the grave, secured our hope of eternal life, and proved that He truly was and is the Son of God. Because He rose, Christ also proved that every non-Christian belief system is false, and that He will eventually return to judge this world (Acts 17:30–31).
So it’s no surprise that people have tried to deny the historic reality of the Resurrection. The attacks began the day of the miracle (Matthew 28:11–15) and have continued until the present day, from the Jesus Seminar to the recent “Jesus myther” fad. The ongoing assaults demonstrate that nobody has found a workable alternative. The biblical and historical evidence is just too overwhelming.1 Continue reading →
What would you consider essential to worship? What is truly necessary if true worship is to occur? Is it a certain style of preaching? Is it a certain type of music? Is it a sense of reverence and awe? Is it a sense of excitement and praise? Of course it is important to be intentional and thoughtful about our preaching and singing in worship. And it is important that we respond in appropriate ways as we worship. But Jesus points us to something deeper at the heart of worship.
In John 4, in the midst of a conversation at the well with a woman from Samaria, Jesus revealed the essence of true worship. Continue reading →
The Ultimate Proof
by Mike Matthews […]Jesus Christ and His followers were fearless when it came to proclaiming God’s Word. What gave them such boldness and self-assuredness? They knew without a shadow of doubt the eternal power and absolute trustworthiness of each word in scripture. They also knew that the Holy Spirit went before them, impressing hearers with the truth of His Word.
You’re sharing the gospel and out of the blue you’re asked, “How do you know the Bible is true?” How would you answer?
If you’ve read much on the subject, you’ve probably come across long lists of “proofs”—amazing prophecies, archaeological discoveries, and the like. Yet this emphasis can get some important points backward, if the Bible is to be our guide. Continue reading →
Many evangelical churches and denominations are in a state of plateau or decline. Why aren’t Pentecostals? | Ed Stetzer
There are parts of the globe where the greatest church growth is happening through the Pentecostal movement. One of the most asked questions is, “In a world where the church seems to be declining in many areas, how they are bucking the trend?”
There is never one reason why a movement succeeds. But some factors rise to the surface. Pentecostals will say they are growing because the Spirit is moving in a powerful way. I get that, and actually would affirm that as part of the reason, but from a sociological perspective, other things are happening and worth exploring. Continue reading →
Jesus, Continued…: Why the Spirit Inside You Is Better than Jesus Beside You is officially available to order starting today!
Most books about the Holy Spirit focus on describing who the Holy Spirit is. This book is not so much about the Holy Spirit as it is for helping you understand the Spirit’s guidance in your life and how to move in his power. This book asks one, central question: Are you living by the power of the Spirit and do you know what it means to walk with him? Continue reading →
by Cameron Buettel
It’s been just over a year since the highly publicized and controversial Strange Fire conference.
As a Grace to You employee with a charismatic background, I watched the buildup to the conference with a considerable amount of interest. I am certainly no stranger to the grievous damage caused by reckless false prophecies in the charismatic church. But since none of that spiritual fallout ever touched me personally, my animosity for the movement did not run deep. In fact, the major gripe I had with my old mainstream Pentecostal church was the same gripe I have with the church growth and emergent movements—a failure to rightly preach the gospel.
But as Strange Fire approached, I had the opportunity to study the charismatic movement with much closer scrutiny than before. Continue reading →
If you think being filled by the Holy Spirit means an endless series of miracles, burning bushes, still, small voices, warm fuzzies, and sensations of peace that pass all understanding, then you are going to be disappointed.
The greatest (and most honest) saints have always confessed that they had to walk through many valleys with no sense of God’s presence. Sometimes they nearly went deaf from the heavenly silence. Often they stumbled helplessly in what felt like total darkness. C. S. Lewis wrote that during one of the most painful times of his life, he cried out to God and got: Continue reading →
In 1 John 2:27 the apostle tells his readers, “you have no need that anyone should teach you.” He says this because they have been “anointed by the Holy One”. As a result of this anointing they don’t need anyone to teach them.
What about us?
Is this an affirmation that if I have the “anointing of the Holy One” that I’m fine missing Sunday School? After all, if I’ve got God Almighty teaching my heart then, I don’t need nobody teachin’ me nuthin’.
What is the “anointing”?
In order to answer this question we first need to be clear on what this “anointing” is? Continue reading →
First, let me say I’m not a cessationist. I believe that the 1st century church and the church today have the same access to the same God through the same Holy Spirit with the same power. That being said, it’s not the 1st century, there are no more Apostles. To be an Apostle, you had to see Jesus in the body resurrected. That isn’t happening today, there is no one holding the office of Apostle. Even so, there are churches everywhere that grow out of the excitement of the charismatic movement, let’s talk about why for a minute, and go back in time a ways. Continue reading →
Ronnie Rogers | Pastor
Trinity Baptist Church, Norman, OK
This article seeks to address the question: does physical birth demonstrate the Calvinist idea that faith precedes spiritual birth? Calvinists argue that the new birth (regeneration) precedes and provisions faith, whereas I contend that faith precedes and provisions the new birth. Calvinists frequently seek to demonstrate their belief by employing an argument based on the analogy between physical and spiritual birth. They thusly claim that just as man did not contribute to his physical birth, he does not contribute to his new birth; hence, regeneration precedes faith. I find the Calvinist analogy to be both unnecessary with regard to the creation of life and dis-analogous to the relationship of faith to the new birth, which is the point of the analogy.
I find it to be unnecessary with regard to the creation of life, new or otherwise. Here I gladly agree with my Calvinist brothers and sisters that man did not contribute to his human birth (creation), and therefore, analogically, he does not contribute to the new birth, the creation of his new spiritual life. Continue reading →
What does experiencing the presence of the Holy Spirit feel like?
A friend once told me about a Christian singer he knew who rented a recording studio. After an extensive setup and sound check, she began performing her first song. The sound technician thought it sounded great, but about hallway through the first verse, she stopped abruptly, threw up her hands, and said, “It’s no use. Turn it off! He’s not here.”
The sound tech said through the studio mic, “Uh…Who’s not here?”
“Him,” she said, “the Holy Spirit. His presence—it’s missing.” She called a few friends into the studio, and they commenced to laying their hands on various pieces of equipment, praying for God’s presence and dabbing the equipment with oil. Continue reading →
We are justified by faith in Christ. But is that justification a mere legal fiction, as the Catholics object? Many look for the answer in the analogies of marriage and adoption. While these are good pictures, there is a more explicit answer: it is the spiritual union of Christ in the believer. But to really explain that answer will require some review of history—and one that is not usually taught, so you might find it interesting and useful.
An Historical Overview
Over the course of the last several centuries, the importance of reality in Christian theology has been eclipsed by the importance of position. Imputation and justification have come to be seen as mere exercises within God’s mind—a divine choice to put people in the categories of guilty or righteous—without regard to what people are in reality. The importance of reality has been all but lost, and this decline has resulted from abandoning the idea of a real union of the moral nature of all men within Adam when he sinned. To regain the reality, the Church must retrace her steps, and revisit the doctrine of the union in Adam. A return to reality must begin with a return to the Biblical realism that was implicitly contained in all the creeds and confessions of the early Reformed Church, and which flowed from Augustine, and ultimately from Scripture. 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
How do we know that the Bible is true? How do we know that God exists? Continue reading