Calvinism vs. Biblical Christianity

Consider for a moment the message of the Calvinist to the unbelieving world:

You can’t become a Christian unless you were chosen, and that happened before the beginning of the world – before you were created – and can’t be changed.  In fact you’re blind and can’t even see that you need a Savior.  So, you’re destined to eternal punishment.

Now, consider the message of Biblical Christianity to the unbelieving world:

  1. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. John 1:12
  2. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
  3. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him. John 3:36
  4. Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” Luke 9:23-26
  5. Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live? Ezekiel 18:23
  6. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:3-4
  7. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9
  8. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. Romans 1:18-20
  9. As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ, ” he said. Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and not a few prominent women. Acts 17:2-4
  10. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. Acts 17:26-27
  11. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved –you and your household.” Acts 16:30-31
  12. First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. Acts 26:20
  13. Do not be stiff-necked, as your fathers were; submit to the LORD. Come to the sanctuary, which he has consecrated forever. Serve the LORD your God, so that his fierce anger will turn away from you. 2 Chronicles 30:8
  14. You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. James 4:4
  15. yet you refuse to come to me to have life. John 5:40
  16. Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. Isaiah 55:6-7
  17. Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8
  18. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD. Joshua 24:15
  19. See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.” Hebrews 3:12-15
  20. Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father. John 10:37-38
  21. Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 1 Timothy 6:17
  22. let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:22
  23. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8a
  24. Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. Matthew 10:32
  25. Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
  26. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. Romans 8:29

Let’s not make Christianity an exclusive club that you can’t get into.  Let’s make the offer open to everyone who will repent and believe in the Jesus as their Savior and Lord.  I would recommend 2 books:

  1. Chosen But Free – https://www.amazon.com/Chosen-But-Free-Norman-Geisler/dp/0764225219/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0
  2. Deconstructing Calvinism – https://www.amazon.com/Deconstructing-Calvinism-Revised-Hutson-Smelley/dp/1613799381/ref=tmm_pap_title_0

I would also highly recommend visiting the website http://evangelicalarminians.org/.

mid-week apologetics booster (5-25-2017)

Good morning friends,

Here are your weekly links:

  1. Teaching Series on Why the Resurrection of Jesus Matters | THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM – This page has 6 embedded youtube videos: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2017/05/19/teaching-series-on-why-the-resurrection-of-jesus-matters/
  2. Apologetic Engagement-Fish or Cut Bait – Southern by His Grace: http://southernbyhisgrace.com/apologetic-engagement/
  3. Are Objective Moral Truths Merely a Matter of Cultural Agreement? | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2017/are-objective-moral-truths-merely-a-matter-of-cultural-agreement/
  4. Defending the Age of Accountability | SOTERIOLOGY 101: https://soteriology101.wordpress.com/2017/05/09/defending-the-age-of-accountability/
  5. What Happens to Our Pets When They Die?: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/what-happens-to-pets-when-they-die
  6. ACLU and Planned Parenthood Fighting for Teens to Get Secret Abortions Without Their Parents Knowing | LifeNews.com: http://www.lifenews.com/2017/05/18/aclu-and-planned-parenthood-fighting-for-teens-to-get-secret-abortions-without-their-parents-knowing/
  7. Atheist Astrophysicist Explains Her Journey To Jesus | Reasons for Jesus: http://reasonsforjesus.com/atheist-astrophysicist-explains-her-journey-to-jesus/
  8. Modalism | carm: https://carm.org/modalism
  9. Creation Clips – CMI Mobile: http://creation.mobi/creation-videos?fileID=YddmGJofbL0
  10. Leading Millennials? Core Issues You Need to Know | ChurchLeaders.com: http://churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/303966-leading-millennials-core-issues-need-know.html
  11. Six Enemies of Apologetic Engagement – bethinking.org: https://www.bethinking.org/apologetics/six-enemies-of-apologetic-engagement
  12. Are Christians Intolerant Haters? The Charges are Not New – Michael J. Kruger: http://www.biblestudytools.com/blogs/michael-j-kruger/are-christians-intolerant-haters-the-charges-are-not-new.html
  13. Four Iowa Planned Parenthood Locations Closing After State Cuts Funding to Abortion Facilities | Christian News Network: http://christiannews.net/2017/05/22/four-iowa-planned-parenthood-locations-closing-after-state-cuts-funding-to-abortion-facilities/
  14. Case-Making 101: How does the Bible compare to other ancient documents? Truth, Faith and Reason: http://truthfaithandreason.com/case-making-101-how-does-the-bible-compare-to-other-ancient-documents/
  15. Who Has the Burden of Proof When Discussing God? | Strange Notions: http://strangenotions.com/who-has-the-burden-of-proof-when-discussing-god/
  16. Truthbomb Apologetics: Video: True for You, but Not For Me? by Brett Kunkle: http://truthbomb.blogspot.com/2017/05/video-true-for-you-but-not-for-me-by.html
  17. Pro-Abortion Students at Catholic Notre Dame Walk Out of Pro-Life VP Mike Pences Commence Speech | LifeNews.com: http://www.lifenews.com/2017/05/22/pro-abortion-students-at-catholic-notre-dame-walk-out-of-pro-life-vp-mike-pences-commence-speech/
  18. Is Right and Wrong Simply a Matter of Human Flourishing? | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2017/is-right-and-wrong-simply-a-matter-of-human-flourishing/
  19. Four Things We Wont Need in Heaven (But Ought to Pursue Here on Earth) | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2014/four-things-we-wont-need-in-heaven-but-ought-to-pursue-here-on-earth/
  20. How to Become a True Student and a Better Apologist: http://crossexamined.org/how-to-become-a-true-student-and-a-better-apologist/
  21. Nature & Scripture: Argument for the Early Dating of Christian Theology and Christian Writings: http://natureandscripture.blogspot.com/2017/05/argument-for-early-dating-of-christian.html
  22. The Trinity is Not A Problem, Its A Solution | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2016/the-trinity-is-not-a-problem-its-a-solution/
  23. Why I Wish Christians Would Argue MORE (No, Seriously) ChurchLeaders.com: http://churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/301281-wish-christians-argue-no-seriously-trevin-wax.html
  24. The Empty Tomb | The John 10:10 Project: http://thejohn1010project.com/the-empty-tomb.html
  25. Matthew 7:1-6 Why the Confusion About Judging? | Dr. Mike Spaulding: http://www.drmikespaulding.com/?p=1993
  26. Apologetics Mission Trips – Brett Kunkle | Stand To Reason – Opening monologue is pretty powerful: http://subsplash.com/standtoreason/v/5nfgovh
  27. Pastor James MacDonald – Are You Saved? – Very convicting sermon, which I like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVRUTknpA7Q
  28. What is the Best Evidence for Intelligent Design? Interview with Brian Johnson. – Sean McDowell: http://seanmcdowell.org/blog/what-is-the-best-evidence-for-intelligent-design-interview-with-brian-johnson

My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death assail me. Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me. I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest– I would flee far away and stay in the desert; “Selah” Psalms 55:4-7

Blessings to you all

mid-week apologetics booster (3-23-2017)

Good morning friends,

I sincerely hope you’re enjoying your week!  I was blessed again to be a Community Judge at a homeschool speech and debate tournament – the Camelback Classic!  What an event and what an encouragement to see these young people so proficiently able to defend the faith and to speak intelligently about current events!  I was judge for 2 different events:

Apologetics – Semi Final Round – Saturday morning.  Here are the questions that I judged:

  1. What does it mean that Jesus Christ is the Mediator?  Why does this matter?
  2. What does John 1:1-3 mean when it says that Jesus is the Word?  Why does this matter?
  3. How would you respond to the common observation: “Jesus was a good man and a good teacher, but certainly not the Son of God”?
  4. What does it mean to call Jesus Christ the Lamb of God?  Why does this matter?
  5. Is the Resurrection essential to the Christian faith?
  6. Compare and contrast the origins of the Quran and the origins of the Bible?
  7. Are Mormons Christians?
  8. What are unique features of Christianity that set it apart from all other religions of the world?

Extemporaneous (Current Events) – Friday morning.  Here were the questions that I judged:

  1. What will be President Obama’s legacy?
  2. Is ‘Alt Right’ the new face of American Conservatism?
  3. Will conservative Republican congressmen scuttle the repeal of Obamacare?
  4. Will punishing the media backfire on President Trump?
  5. Was it wrong for Attorney General Sessions to ask all of the federal district attorneys to resign?
  6. Will President Trump’s affinity for Russian President Putin last?
  7. Will the “Resistance” topple President Trump?

I was greatly encouraged to watch them “make the case”.  My thought was, could any adults get up and give extemporaneous talks on any of these topics?  Maybe, but it would certainly be a challenge.  If you want to be encouraged about the next generation of Christians being raised up, I would highly recommend that you volunteer to be a community judge.  The local events occur in November (Cactus Clash) and March (Camelback Classic).

Here are your weekly links:

  1. The Source of Our Fear When It Comes to Evangelism: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2017/the-source-of-our-fear-when-it-comes-to-evangelism/
  2. Carbon-14, Radiometric Dating and Index Fossils: http://creationstudies.org/articles/science/geology/196-radiometric-dating-and-fossils
  3. Three Things The Gospel Authors Would Have Never Invented About Jesus – THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2017/03/17/three-things-the-gospel-authors-would-have-never-invented-about-jesus-4/
  4. Watch “G.O.S.P.E.L. – Propaganda (Full Video)” on YouTube this is a “rap” presentation of the Gospel: https://youtu.be/jyYFxp7apl4
  5. Reasons To Believe : 12 Evidences for the Resurrection of Jesus, Part 1: http://www.reasons.org/blogs/reflections/12-evidences-for-the-resurrection-of-jesus–part-1
  6. This Will Help Quiet Pro-Lifers Speak Up | Jim Daly: http://jimdaly.focusonthefamily.com/will-help-quiet-pro-lifers-speak/
  7. Did Jesus & His Disciples Speak Greek? | Reasons for Jesus: http://reasonsforjesus.com/did-jesus-his-disciples-speak-greek/
  8. Patrick: Reclaiming the Great Missionary: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/st.-patrick-reclaiming-the-great-missionary
  9. Answering another abortion argument: http://creation.com/abortion-answer
  10. Bible Contradictions:
    1. HOW TO ANSWER ALLEGED BIBLE DISCREPANCIES AND CONTRADICTIONS: http://christianapologeticstraining.com/how-to-answer-alleged-bible-discrepancies-and-contradictions
    2. Are There Any Errors in the Bible? http://normangeisler.com/are-there-any-errors-in-the-bible/
    3. Watch “Is the Bible Full of Contradictions?” on YouTube – Tim Barnett – we watched this video in our apologetics class Sunday: https://youtu.be/YQgR3BrBhss
  11. This is the ‘Single Greatest Contributor’ to Millennials Abandoning Faith According to New Book – Faithwire: http://www.faithwire.com/2017/03/09/author-reveals-the-single-greatest-contributor-he-says-has-led-so-many-millennials-to-abandon-faith/
  12. Why Apologists are Not Reaching Pop Culture – Free Thinking Ministries: http://freethinkingministries.com/why-apologists-are-not-reaching-pop-culture/
  13. CNN religion quiz needs to take Christianity seriously | Fox News: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/03/19/cnn-religion-quiz-needs-to-take-christianity-seriously.html
  14. Here we go again: Will someone please explain Christianity to the Associated Press? — GetReligion: https://www.getreligion.org/getreligion/2017/3/20/here-we-go-again-will-someone-please-explain-christianity-to-the-associated-press
  15. How to Unmask a Hardened Skeptic: http://www.blogos.org/compellingtruth/skeptic-scoffer.php
  16. Disney:
    1. A Beast of a Decision? Should Christians Watch Disney’s Beauty and the Beast? https://answersingenesis.org/reviews/movies/should-christians-watch-disneys-beauty-and-beast/
    2. Is It Time to Kiss Disney Goodbye? https://answersingenesis.org/family/homosexuality/time-to-kiss-disney-goodbye/
  17. Romans 1:16:
    1. What does it mean to not be ashamed of the Gospel (Romans 1:16)? https://www.gotquestions.org/not-ashamed-Gospel.html
    2. The Power of God for Salvation | Reformed Bible Studies & Devotionals at Ligonier.org: http://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/power-god-salvation/
    3. Romans – Wayne Barber/Part 5 | John Ankerberg Show: https://www.jashow.org/articles/bible/bible-studies/romans/romans-wayne-barberpart-5/
    4. Watch “I Am Not Ashamed of the TRUE Gospel. (Paul Washer)” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/vwpm1G5pVho
    5. Six Signs That You May Be Ashamed of the Gospel: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2014/07/22/six-signs-you-may-be-ashamed-of-the-gospel/
  18. Watch “An Atheist’s Conversion” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/h4j7FBYXQKs
  19. Watch “Living Waters University, Kevin” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/4Uftyxz0SWk
  20. Watch “I’m A Christian, But I Don’t Read My Bible” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/jvBmRGD8FuI
  21. Watch “I’ve Kinda Given Up On God” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/jPNslXAxAvI
  22. Watch “Ricky Gervais & God’s Existence” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/EM-53Bq_U6M
  23. Watch “Ten of the Top Scientific Facts in the Bible” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/t2sMJMXDiH4
  24. 17 States Force Taxpayers to Fund Abortions. Does Yours? | LifeNews.com: http://www.lifenews.com/2017/03/17/17-states-force-taxpayers-to-fund-abortions-does-yours/
  25. Watch “Nabeel Qureshi // Why I stopped believing Islam is a religion of peace” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/2htOWOF4gqs
  26. Watch “Shabir Ally & Dr.Nabeel Qureshi – What is GOD really like? part 1 of 2” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/dghjlgnZzuY
  27. Ten quick responses to atheist claims | Christian News on Christian Today: http://www.christiantoday.com/article/ten.quick.responses.to.atheist.claims/41439.htm
  28. Don’t All Religions Basically Say the Same Thing? (Quick Video) – Alisa Childers: http://www.alisachilders.com/blog/dont-all-religions-basically-say-the-same-thing-quick-video
  29. Let’s Make Jesus Less … Offensive! | The Stream (Satire): https://stream.org/make-jesus-less-offensive/
  30. Remember Those Exciting “Earth-Like” Planets of the TRAPPIST-1 System? The Honeymoon Is Over | Evolution News: https://www.evolutionnews.org/2017/03/remember-those-exciting-earth-like-planets-of-the-trappist-1-system-the-honeymoon-is-over/
  31. The Shack Author Rejects Biblical Substitutionary Atonement: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=703
  32. Frank Turek podcast and a guy calls and asking about predestination at about 34 minutes into the show. Frank gives interesting analogy about God’s foreknowledge and man’s free will: http://subspla.sh/ohvtxka

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel — which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!  Galatians 1:6-8

Blessings to you all

The Reasons Why I’m not a Five Point Calvinist

First of all I think that many of the arguments for Five Point Calvinism commit the “fallacy of sweeping generalization”, which is applying a general principle as if it were a universal rule, or the “fallacy of hasty generalization”, which is drawing a generalization from too few specific examples.

For example just because Paul was called against his will with a light from heaven and immediately turned 180 degrees from his original direction (see Acts 9:1-20), does not mean that everyone is converted in that way.  God has the power to do whatever He wants, but it appears that He does not always work in that way. Also in 2 Timothy 2:25 when it says to pray “that God may grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth”, it doesn’t mean that the only way a man can repent is by God granting it to him.  In Acts 17:30, Paul tells us that “God commands all men everywhere to repent”. Yet, although God wants all men to repent, and all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth and God, it is an irrefutable truth that not all men do repent, nor do they come to a knowledge of the truth, and as a result are not saved.  Jesus clearly taught this in Matthew 7:13-14:

Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

As well as his talk in Matthew 13:18-23 about the parable of the sower and the four soils:

Hear then the parable of the sower.  “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away. And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.”

Only one of the four soils represents that of a saved person. At least two of the other four soils look to be saved, but in fact are not saved.

Here are the specific problems I have with the following Five Points of Calvinism as represented by the acronym T.U.L.I.P.

  1. T (total depravity) – I agree with this point, so long as it is defined properly. This does not mean that man is as bad as he could possibly be but, rather, as RC Sproul says that fallenness, original sin, depravity has affected every aspect of man.
  2. U (Unconditional Election) – well it is actually conditional, not unconditional. The condition stated in God’s word is faith. John 1:12 clearly says this:Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of GodNotice the order – Receive, Believe, Become. Also, Ephesians 2:8:      For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith –and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God

    By the way, when it says “it is a gift of God” in that verse, “it” refers to the grace, not the faith.

    Additionally, why is salvation pictured as a ‘gift’ (Romans 6:23)?  Gifts must be received (accepted) and opened in order to benefit the recipient.  If you left your Christmas gifts under the tree and never opened them, would they be of any benefit to you?    Are you doing any kind of works to earn your gift by receiving it and opening it?  No.  On the other hand, if the person handed you the gift, and you handed them back a $100 bill to pay them back for the cost of the gift, that would be an offense to the giver.  Same thing with salvation – it is not a “works salvation” to decide or choose to receive a gift and open it.  It is still by grace alone, through faith alone.  I liked this quote given by Dr. D. James Kennedy in a sermon on faith “Faith leads to justification + good works”.

  3. L (Limited Atonement) – this is clearly refuted by 1 John 2:1b-2:Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
  4. I (Irresistible Grace) – This is refuted again by Jesus’ Parables teaching that not everyone is saved although God wants everyone to be saved (1 Timothy 2:3-4; 2 Peter 3:9):This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:3-4)He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9)Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live? (Ezek. 18:23)I do not find the argument convincing that God has “2 wills” and yes, I have read John Piper’s article on the 2 wills of God. I’ve also read a comprehensive, point by point rebuttal to the Piper article which I find more convincing.Paul even tells us in at least 2 places that people are active in refusing to believe:For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. (Romans 1:18-19)

    They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved (2 Thess. 2:10b)

  5. P (Perseverance of the Saints) – I agree with that one. All truly saved people will persevere to the end.  Jesus said “those who endure to the end will be saved” (Mark 13:13).  He also said “By standing firm you will gain life” (Luke 21:19).  Paul further clarified how we stand firm “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:21)

So, then, how can I reconcile this view with all the many Scriptures that say that only the elect will be saved and that God predestines only some to be saved?

I think there are at least 2 possible ways to make sense of this:

  1. Election is talking about “corporate election”. God has elected those who will believe in Christ (also known as “the Church”) to be saved.  For example, when Paul is talking to the Colossians, he says “Therefore, as God’s chosen people…” (Col. 3:12a), he could be talking just about the church.  Or when he says “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world…” (Eph. 1:4), the ‘us’ could refer to the church (the believers in Christ).
  2. He could be choosing individuals based on His foreknowledge that those individuals will believe. Romans 8:29 seems to indicate this: “For those God foreknew he also predestined…”.  Acts 17 seems to indicate that God places us where we are in this world, so that we can find him: “From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:26-27)

It seems like most of the Christians I know are Calvinist leaning.  It is tough because it causes contention in Bible studies and fellowship, but I know that I will be shoulder to shoulder with my Calvinist brothers and sisters praising our amazing God for all the ages to come in His glorious heaven and we’ll probably be laughing at our earthly selves thinking about all those hours we spent writing, discussing (and sometimes arguing) about how someone comes to believe the truth and be saved!

mid-week apologetics booster (6-2-2016)

Good morning friends,

I would like to recommend to you all the book I’m currently reading – “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity” by Nabeel Qureshi.  I’m actually not reading it, but listening to it on an “audible.com” book, where Nabeel himself is reading.  You’ll learn a lot about Islam because he describes his young life as a devout Muslim – and you’ll hear the correct pronouncement of all these Arabic words.  You’ll also learn how you can minister and witness to Muslims by the example of David Wood, who witnessed to Nabeel…

Here are a few links for you to look at this morning:

  1. How Do We Help Kids Who Have Left the Faith? – Sean McDowell: http://seanmcdowell.org/blog/how-do-we-help-kids-who-have-left-the-faith
  2. The Anti-materialist Self-Contradiction Argument – Truthbomb Apologetics: http://truthbomb.blogspot.com/2016/06/the-antimaterialist-self-contradiction.html
  3. Study: biological convergence found in human and squid eye genes | WINTERY KNIGHT: https://winteryknight.com/2016/06/01/study-biological-convergence-found-in-human-and-squid-eye-genes/
  4. Responding to an attack posing as an argument | Surprised by Logic: https://logicalgal.com/2016/06/01/responding-to-an-attack-posing-as-an-argument
  5. Is the God of the Old Testament Different than the God of the New Testament? – Sean McDowell: http://seanmcdowell.org/blog/is-the-god-of-the-old-testament-different-than-the-god-of-the-new-testament
  6. Faithful Thinkers: Pride in Discourse: http://lukenixblog.blogspot.com/2016/02/pride-in-discourse.html
  7. Why trying to explain away God with science is an ERROR: http://godevidence.com/2012/10/why-trying-to-explain-away-god-with-science-is-an-error/
  8. What Came First, The Oprah or the Egg? – because it’s true: http://www.becauseitstrue.com/blogarticles/what-came-first-the-oprah-or-the-egg
  9. Detecting Design — Photos, Stories, and Thoughts: http://www.daviddesonier.com/apologetics/2015/12/5/when-to-infer-design
  10. What’s the One Question No Christian Can Answer? (I really like the answer here…): http://apologetics-notes.comereason.org/2016/05/whats-one-question-no-christian-can.html
  11. Is Isaiah 52-53 Speaking of National Israel Rather than the Messiah? | Tough Questions Answered: http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org/2016/05/25/is-isaiah-52-53-speaking-of-national-israel-rather-than-the-messiah/
  12. Are Humans Sophisticated Carbon-Based Machines? http://crossexamined.org/are-humans-sophisticated-carbon-based-machines/
  13. Paul Kalanithi: Why I gave up on atheism | Fox News: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2016/05/27/paul-kalanithi-why-gave-up-on-atheism.html
  14. Cerebral Faith: 5 Reasons To Believe That Modalism Is False: http://cerebralfaith.blogspot.com/2015/11/5-reasons-to-believe-that-modalism-is.html
  15. What are some of the signs of genuine saving faith? http://www.gotquestions.org/signs-saving-faith.html
  16. Is it God’s will that all people be saved? In the interest of fairness, I will include this.  I don’t think the question is answered satisfactorily and I think this is one of the most powerful arguments against 5 point Calvinism (specifically the “I” in the T.U.L.I.P. acronym): http://calvinistcorner.com/god-desires-all-saved.htm
  17. Am I Good Enough to Go to Heaven? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xK-h-X4VV6Y
  18. The Bible’s Reliability & Accuracy – A collection of videos looking at the historical and spiritual history of the bibles reliability: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0OWYAf2TNA
  19. Why is the Bible reliable? Tim Keller at Veritas: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZAPFKXMy_Y
  20. Is the Bible Reliable as a Historical Document? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEThB3CWfVY

Additionally, there are 2 movies now playing at the cheap theater now in Tempe (for $3.00), which I think are worth seeing:

  1. God’s Not Dead 2 – this actually features appearances from the following Christian apologists, who are shown defending the faith either on the witness stand or being interviewed: J. Warner Wallace, Lee Strobel, Gary Habermas.  I believe that this movie was better than the first one.
  2. Miracles From Heaven – this portrays the struggle of a woman contemplating the problem of evil as her daughter falls ill.  It was better than I thought it would be.

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:2

mid-week apologetics booster (12-3-2015)

Good morning everyone!

Pick an article or video below to become informed on a topic that interests you!

  1. Reasons To Believe : Quantum Mechanics and the Nature of Reality: http://www.reasons.org/articles/quantum-mechanics-and-the-nature-of-reality
  2. Didn’t the Old Testament punish blasphemy with death? How is that different from radical Islam? http://www.gotquestions.org/Old-Testament-blasphemy.html
  3. Apologetics in the Real World | Hope’s Reason: http://www.stephenjbedard.com/apologetics-in-the-real-world/
  4. True for you, not true for me? https://youtu.be/Zsp-OyC9nAc
  5. John Lennox DNA and the origin of the self-replicating cell: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWN0V7yoirI
  6. Professor explains how his study of the historical Jesus made him leave atheism | WINTERY KNIGHT: http://winteryknight.com/2015/11/28/professor-explains-how-his-study-of-the-historical-jesus-made-him-leave-atheism-3/
  7. Refuting Evolution—Chapter 4 – Bird Evolution: http://creation.mobi/refuting-evolution-chapter-4-bird-evolution
  8. Case-Making 101: Is There Evidence In the Universe For The Existence of God? Part 3 Evidence from Biochemistry: http://truthfaithandreason.com/case-making-101-is-there-evidence-in-the-universe-for-the-existence-of-god-part-3-evidence-from-biochemistry/
  9. Microevolution versus Macroevolution: Two Mistakes – Evolution News & Views: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2015/07/microevolution097801.html
  10. ARE ORGANS IRREDUCIBLY COMPLEX, THEREBY DEFYING DARWINIAN GRADUALISM? http://mannsword.blogspot.com/2015/11/are-organs-irreducibly-complex-thereby.html
  11. Smoking high-strength cannabis may damage nerve fibres in brain | Science | The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/nov/27/smoking-high-strength-cannabis-skunk-may-damage-nerves-brain
  12. Book Review: Talking to Catholics about the Gospel, by Chris Castaldo: http://9marks.org/review/book-review-talking-to-catholics-about-the-gospel-by-christ-cataldo/
  13. Is Roman Catholicism and Christianity the Same Thing? Roman Catholicism Denies Justification by Faith Alone in Christ Alone: https://carm.org/is-catholicism-christian
  14. Molinism:
    1. Watch “Greg Koukl – Molinism” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/KGU3t31xTY0
    2. Watch “Dr William Lane Craig Explains God’s Middle Knowledge (Molinism)” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/ZuuLdzZSlmw
  15. Watch “How Should We Think about Faith and What Is the Role of Evidence?” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/cv1q9z2a0Ms
  16. Watch “Is There An Intellect Directing Nature Towards An End?” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/eTlXCWTQBzo
  17. Greed drives the advocacy of organizations on climate change | WINTERY KNIGHT: http://winteryknight.com/2015/11/27/greed-drives-the-advocacy-of-organizations-on-climate-change/
  18. Southern Greenland—warm and ice free! http://creation.mobi/a/6955
  19. Pleading the First with Adam Metropolis Series:
    1. Watch “DARWIN IS DEAD, Part 1: “Your Children” [Pleading the First with Adam Metropolis]” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/1Obu8i0EWaM
    2. Watch “DARWIN IS DEAD, Part 2: “Suppressing the Truth” [Pleading the First with Adam Metropolis]” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/LG2LHSsU-VU
    3. Watch “DARWIN IS DEAD, Part 3: “Manuscript Evidence” [Pleading the First with Adam Metropolis]” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/N73GoOB765w
    4. Watch “DARWIN IS DEAD, Part 4: “Fall of the Mind” [Pleading the first w/Adam Metropolis]” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/fEhwHtyf9pQ
  20. Statistics on violence, rape, terror, sharia, and Isis: https://carm.org/islamic-muslim-statistics-on-violence-rape-terror-sharia-isis-welfare
  21. Statistics regarding increase of sexually transmitted diseases in 2014: http://cnsnews.com/news/article/michael-w-chapman/cdc-83-syphilis-cases-2014-among-gay-men-where-sex-sex-partner-was

As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” He said to another man, “Follow me.” But the man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.” Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:57-62.

Blessings to you all!

Pondering Election and Predestination

It has been a long standing aspect of my Christian walk that I’ve questioned whether the prevailing (Calvinist) understanding of election and predestination is true. It really boils down to the reconciliation of the following facts:

  1. God is omnipotent
    (Isaiah 14:26-27; 10:6; 32:17,27; 51:15; Lam. 3:37; Matt. 19:26b)
  2. God is omniscient
    (Heb. 4:13; 1 Sam. 2:3b; Ps. 33:13-15; Job 9:4)
  3. God selects (elects/predestines) certain individuals to be saved and others to go to hell before the creation of the world
    (John 6:37,44,65; 8:47; 15:19; 8:28-30; 9:10-24; 11:7; Eph. 1:3-8,11; 2:1-10; 2 Tim. 1:9; Col. 3:12; 2 Thess. 2:13; 2 Pet. 1:3; Acts 13:47-48; Deut. 30:6)
  4. God wants all men to be saved
    (1 Tim. 2:3-4; John 3:36)
  5. God doesn’t want anyone to perish and He wants all men to come to repentance
    (2 Pet. 3:9; Mk. 1:15; John 3:16; Ezek. 18:23; John 7:17)
  6. All men are not saved. Many do not repent and do perish.
    (Matt. 7:13-14; 22-23; 25:46; Luke 13:34; Acts 7:51)

So, could it be that we’re misunderstanding election and predestination? 1 Tim. 2:3-4 and 2 Peter 3:9 are very clear and unambiguous. I checked the Greek on the word translated ‘all’. The Greek word ‘Pas’, means “each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything”. I also checked the word for ‘Men’, which is ‘Anthropos’. It means: a human being, whether male or female; generically, to include all human individuals. So, these verses tell us in very clear terms that God wants ALL PEOPLE to be saved. Although God is omnipotent and omniscient, His word tells us (and we also see plainly) that all men are not saved and do not repent. So, those facts lead me to conclude that God gives men the free will to resist Him or to choose Him. As C.S. Lewis said in “The Great Divorce”:

‘There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened.’

So, if that is true, how can the verses be true that say God elects people to be saved before the foundation of the world? Well, I think the key may be Romans 8:29, which says “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren”. The Greek word translated “foreknew” is Proginosko, which means “to have knowledge before hand”. So, could it be that God has foreknowledge, looking into the future, of those who would believe if presented with the gospel and then elects those individuals? He can then work that out by placing them in places and times where they will in fact hear the gospel:

“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.” Acts 17:24-27

So, for those who dogmatically and unquestionably hold to the Calvinist view of election/predestination, I ask you to humble yourselves and consider these facts from God’s word and how they might be reconciled. I want to emphasize that I strongly believe that we are saved by God’s grace, not through our own works. I want to make that clear, so that no one will misunderstand my message here. I don’t claim to have it all figured out, but am searching and digging into God’s word for the truth.

One additional thing.  John Piper tries to address my concern in an article entitled “Are There Two Wills in God? Divine Election and God’s Desire for All to Be Saved”.  I think in that article he really has to do gymnastics to get these verses to mean what he needs them to mean.  Also, there is a response to John Piper’s article by the Society of Evangelical Arminians called “John Piper: Are There Two Wills in God? A Response.”  These are great articles for additional reading on this very important topic.

Does God persuade people or do we?

I was talking with some fellow Christians about evangelism yesterday and the topic of persuasion came up.  There was a general opinion that we shouldn’t be trying to persuade, because God does the persuading.  I acknowledged the truth of that, but still tried to explain to them that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try to persuade.  So, this morning I made a table that shows that both points of view are correct.  God does the “convincing/convicting/persuading” (on the left) and man must still try to “convince/convict/persuade/” and ask people to choose (on the right):

 

God Does the Convincing/Convicting/Persuading Man must convince/convict/persuade/choose
2 Cor. 4:4 “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” 1 Cor. 11:1 [Paul speaking] “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” (Since he said this, let’s see what his example is in Acts in the verses below)
1 Cor. 3:5-7 “What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe–as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.” Acts 9:22 – “Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ.”
Matt. 11:27 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him Acts 9:29 “He talked and debated with the Grecian Jews, but they tried to kill him.”
John 3:3 “In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. “” Acts 14:1 – “At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Gentiles believed.”
John 6:44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.” Acts 17:2-4 “As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ, ” he said. Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and not a few prominent women. ”
John 6:65 ‘He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.”’ Acts 17:16-17 “While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there.”
John 8:47 “He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” Acts 18:4 “Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks”
John 12:37 “Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him Acts 18:12-13 “While Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him into court. “This man,” they charged, “is persuading the people to worship God in ways contrary to the law.””
John 16:8 “When He [the Holy Spirit] comes, He will convict the world of guilt, in regard to sin and righteousness and judgement.” Acts 18:19 “They arrived at Ephesus, where Paul left Priscilla and Aquila. He himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews
John 17:6 “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word” Acts 18:28 “For he [Apollos] vigorously refuted the Jews in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.”
Acts 14:27 “On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles” Acts 19:8 “Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God.”
Acts 16:14 “One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.” Acts 26:24-29 ‘At this point Festus interrupted Paul’s defense. “You are out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted. “Your great learning is driving you insane.”  “I am not insane, most excellent Festus,” Paul replied. “What I am saying is true and reasonable.  The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner. King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.” Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”  Paul replied, “Short time or long–I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.” ’
1 Cor. 1:18 “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” Acts 28:23-24 “They [the leaders of the Jews in Rome] arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. From morning till evening he explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe”
1 Cor. 2:14 “But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Cor. 9:22 “To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.”
1 Cor. 2:4-5 “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.” 2 Cor. 5:11a “Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men
Romans 8:7 “the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so” 2 Cor. 5:20 “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”
Ezekiel 36:26 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh 2 Cor. 10:5a “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God”
Eph. 2:4-5 “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions –it is by grace you have been saved” Acts 1:3 “After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God”
Phil. 2:13 “for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” Matthew 10:16 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”
Col. 2:13 “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ.” Joshua 24:15 “…choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…”
1 Thess. 1:5 “…our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction…” 1 Kings 18:21 ‘Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” But the people said nothing.’
2 Thess. 2:13-14 “But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” John 7:17 “If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.”
Rom. 9:15-16 “For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.” Rom. 3:19 “Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God”
John 10:25-26 ‘Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. ‘ 2 Timothy 2:24-26 “And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. ”