22 June 2006

The Foreknowledge of God

"The fact is that "foreknowledge" is never used in Scripture in connection with events or actions; instead, it always has reference to persons. It is persons God is said to "foreknow," not the actions of those persons. In proof of this we shall now quote each passage where this expression is found.

The first occurrence is in Acts 2:23. There we read, "Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain." If careful attention is paid to the wording of this verse it will be seen that the apostle was not there speaking of God's foreknowledge of the act of the crucifixion, but of the Person crucified: "Him (Christ) being delivered by," etc.

The second occurrence is in Rom. 8:29,30. "For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the Firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called," etc. Weigh well the pronoun that is used here. It is not what He did foreknow, but whom He did. It is not the surrendering of their wills nor the believing of their hearts, but the persons themselves, which is here in view.

"God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew" (Rom. 11:2). Once more the plain reference is to persons, and to persons only.

The last mention is in I Peter 1:2: "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father." Who are "elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father"? The previous verse tells us: the reference is to the "strangers scattered," i.e., the Diaspora, the Dispersion, the believing Jews. Thus, here too the reference is to persons, and not to their foreseen acts.

Now in view of these passages (and there are no more) what scriptural ground is there for anyone saying God "foreknew" the acts of certain ones, viz., their "repenting and believing," and that because of those acts He elected them unto salvation? The answer is, None whatever. Scripture never speaks of repentance and faith as being foreseen or foreknown by God. Truly, He did know from all eternity that certain ones would repent and believe, yet this is not what Scripture refers to as the object of God's "foreknowledge." The word uniformly refers to God's foreknowing persons; then let us "hold fast the form of sound words" (II Tim. 1:13)"  (A.W. Pink.  "The Foreknowledge of God').

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20 June 2006

Comfort in Suffering

"Without a due sense of predestination, we shall want the surest and the most powerful inducement to patience, resignation and dependence on God under every spiritual and temporal affliction.

How sweet must the following considerations be to a distressed believer! (1) There most certainly exists an almighty, all-wise and infinitely gracious God. (2) He has given me in times past, and is giving me at present (if I had but eyes to see it), many and signal intimations of His love to me, both in a way of providence and grace. (3) This love of His is immutable; He never repents of it nor withdraws it. (4) Whatever comes to pass in time is the result of His will from everlasting, consequently (5) my afflictions were a part of His original plan, and are all ordered in number, weight and measure. (6) The very hairs of my head are (every one) counted by Him, nor can a single hair fall to the ground but in consequence of His determination. Hence (7) my distresses are not the result of chance, accident or a fortuitous combination of circumstances, but (8) the providential accomplishment of God's purpose, and (9) designed to answer some wise and gracious ends, nor (10) shall my affliction continue a moment longer than God sees meet. (11) He who brought me to it has promised to support me under it and to carry me through it. (12) All shall, most assuredly, work together for His glory and my good, therefore (13) "The cup which my heavenly Father hath given me to drink, shall I not drink it?" Yes, I will, in the strength He imparts, even rejoice in tribulation; and using the means of possible redress, which He hath or may hereafter put into my hands, I will commit myself and the event to Him, whose purpose cannot be overthrown, whose plan cannot be disconcerted, and who, whether I am resigned or not, will still go on to work all things after the counsel of His own will.

Above all, when the suffering Christian takes his election into the account, and knows that he was by an eternal and immutable act of God appointed to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ; that, of course, he hath a city prepared for him above, an building of God, a house not made with hands, but eternal in the heavens; and that the heaviest sufferings of the present life are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in the saints, what adversity can possibly befall us which the assured hope of blessings like these will not infinitely overbalance?

"A comfort so divine, May trial well endure."

However keenly afflictions might wound us on their first access, yet, under the impression of such animating views, we should quickly come to ourselves again, and the arrows of tribulation would, in great measure, become pointless. Christians want nothing but absolute resignation to render them perfectly happy in every possible circumstance, and absolute resignation can only flow from an absolute belief of, and an absolute acquiescence in, God's absolute providence, founded on absolute predestination. The apostle himself draws these conclusions to our hand in Romans 8, where, after having laid down, as most undoubted axioms, the eternity and immutability of God's purposes, he thus winds up the whole: "What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us"  (Jerome Zanchius [1516-1590].  From chapter 5 of The Doctrine of Absolute Predestination.).

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19 June 2006

The Five Claws of Grizzly Theology

by Grizzly Ben of Grizzly Bible Institute

reasuring the absolute and sweet sovereignty of God.

God is the decisive factor in all arenas of reality: from personal destinies to hole-in-ones; from childhood leukemia to devastating terrorist attacks; from the world-wide activity of Satan to the movement of a solitary ant; from answered prayers to the conversion of the lost; from deliverance from pride & anxiety to perseverance in holiness. God ordains all things: who can reverse it? While the sovereignty of God is absolute, it is ultimately sweet to the believer who humbly embraces it. As a result, God, the Infinite Giver, receives all the glory, and His people, who treasure His sweetness, get all the grace.

Uniting in the good fight of persevering faith in future grace through the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

A full & permanent justifying faith, based solely on the righteousness of Jesus Christ, is a persevering, future-oriented, Christ-embracing, heart-satisfying faith. Therefore, this kind of faith must be life-transforming leading to eternal life or it is a dead faith leading to eternal damnation. The lifelong fight of faith is fought mainly by meditating on the Scriptures, by praying to the all-sufficient God in Jesus’ name, and by uniting with others, who treasure Christ above all else, to nurture a superior satisfaction in Jesus Christ over the deceitfulness of sin.

Longing for satisfying and never-ending pleasure in the self-sufficient and exuberantly happy God.

True Christianity involves the affections. Emotions such as joy, delight, happiness, satisfaction, pleasure, gladness, exhilaration, exuberance, jubilation & exultation IN GOD are essential for authentic worship & virtue in the Christian life. These emotions are not merely the icing-on-the-cake or the caboose at the end of the train. They are part & parcel to real Christianity. Even when these feelings are languishing, a genuine longing for them (either individually or corporately) is an act of worship. Moreover, the believer is assured from Scripture that the Triune God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), whom they serve, is Himself joyful beyond our comprehension and will share that joy with the redeemed in increasing measure throughout eternity.

Imitating the radical God-centeredness and earnestness of the old paths.

Humanly speaking, the path to Christian maturity invariably comes through the help of others. In regard to books, the most lavish benefit surely is drawn from the godly men & women of past centuries (i.e. Augustine, Luther, Calvin, the Puritans, Edwards, Spurgeon, etc.). Their writings are certainly significantly more God-immersed and blood-earnest than the superficial fluff of most modern authors. Hence, the desire to imitate the Godward life of these saints is a worthy ambition even in these, so called, “postmodern” times. 

Proclaiming and boldly contending for the once-for-all delivered Word of God.

The once-for-all revealed and written Word of God, consisting of the sixty-six books of the Old & New Testaments, is the supreme & sufficient authority in dealing with the most important realities in the universe. There is absolutely no need for further revelations, accumulated traditions or alternative remedies to be given equal status with Scripture. The Bible is gloriously suited to reveal the reality & beauty of the Triune God, to save individuals from the wrath of God & the deception of sin, and to provide the clear path to everlasting joy in God. Thus, it is the duty & delight of Christians to boldly proclaim this Book to all peoples of the world in the power of the Holy Spirit.


Please pray for Ben and his vision for Grizzly Bible Institute

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18 June 2006

Some Articles Regarding Family Integrated Ministry (2)

The previous articles link didn't work properly for some, so here are the links regarding Family Integrated Ministry.
Also, I heartily agree with Elijah, the sermon linked to the previous post is worth listening to!

"Hear, my son, your father's instruction And do not forsake your mother's teaching" - Pro 1:8
How are people best lead into maturity? By being placed into peer oriented groups (Youth Group, Singles Ministry, College Group, Empty Nesters...etc)?

The biblical family is a Scripturally ordered household of parents, children, and sometimes others (such as singles, widows, divorcees, or grandparents), forming the God-ordained building blocks of the church (2 Tim. 4:19). Therefore we ought to reject the church's implementation of modern individualism by fragmenting the family through age-graded, peer-oriented, and special-interest classes, that prevents rather than promotes family unity. 

If the elders desire to find the best way to build up the youth of the church then let them find ways to build up and strengthen the families. 

Solo Christo's Reformation Statement

  1. The Family: Together in God's Presence ~ John and Noel Piper
  2. Developing a Multi-Generational Vision ~ Eric Wallace

  3. Examining The Youth Ministry ~ Mark LaVoie

  4. "The Family-like Nature of the Church" Back to the Drawing Board: The Church Is an Extended Household ~ Eric Wallace

  5. "The How and Why of Age-Integrated Teaching" Implementing a Household Approach ~ Eric Wallace

  6. Confession of the National Center for Family Integrated Churches

  7. A Book Review of Chris Schlect's "A Critique of Modern Youth Ministry" ~ Mike McHugh

  8. Adult - Centered Youth Ministry ~ David Alan Black 

  9. Family Based Youth Ministry ~ Steve Haymond

  10. The Age-Integrated Church ~ Brandon Dauphinais (age 16)


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17 June 2006

Closing the Generational Gap

Please listen to this sermon by Voddie Baucham.  It exposes the reasons why our culture (and the church in America at large) hates children.  "Closing the Generation Gap", Eph 6.1-4 (MP3 Download, 8.6mb)

He touches the birthrate, the unspoken rule of two children per family, youth ministry, and elder qualifications. This is one of the best sermons that I've heard in awhile.

(HT: Amy Scott).

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13 June 2006

2 Peter 3.9, The Achilles' Heal of Calvinism?

"The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance." (2 Peter 3:9 ESV. The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001).

 Recently, James White explained the exegetical meaning of this passage:

 Immediately one sees that unlike such passages as Ephesians 1, Romans 8-9, or John 6, this passage is not speaking about salvation as its topic. The reference to "coming to repentance" in 3:9 is made in passing. The topic is the coming of Christ. In the last days mockers will question the validity of His promise. Peter is explaining the reason why the coming of Christ has been delayed as long as it has. The day of the Lord, he says, will come like a thief, and it will come at Gods own time. This fact needs to be emphasized. The context is clearly eschatological, not primarily soteriological.


 But the next thing that stands out upon the reading of the passage is the identification of the audience to which Peter is speaking. When speaking of the mockers he refers to them in the third person, as 'them." But everywhere else he speaks directly to his audience as the "beloved" and "you." He speaks of how his audience should behave "in holy conduct and godliness," and says that they look for the day of the Lord. He includes himself in this group in verse 13, where "we are looking for a new heavens and a new earth." This is vitally important, for the assumption made by many is that when verse 9 says the Lord is "patient toward you" that this "you" refers to everyone, every person then living, or who has ever lived or ever will live. Likewise, then, when it says "not wishing for any to perish" but "all to come to repentance," it is assumed that the "any" and "all" either has no referent in the context at all, or, that these terms refer to anyone at all of the human race. Yet, the context indicates that the audience is quite specific. In any other passage of Scripture the interpreter would realize that we must decide who the "you" refers to and use this to limit the "any" and "all" of verse 9. But in this case there is a lot of tradition that comes flying through the door, deeply impacting the resultant interpretation.


 The patience of the Lord is displayed toward His elect people (the "you" of verse 9). Therefore, the "not wishing any to perish" is logically and contextually limited to the same group already in view: the elect. In the same way, the "all to come to repentance" must be the very same group. In essence Peter is saying the coming of the Lord has been delayed so that all the elect of God can be gathered in. Any modern Christian lives and knows Christ solely because Gods purpose has been to gather in His elect down through the ages to this present day. There is no reason to expand the context of the passage into a universal proclamation of a desire on Gods part that every single person come to repentance. Instead, it is clearly His plan and His will that all the elect come to repentance, and they most assuredly will do so.

Read the entire article.

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10 June 2006

Fascinated with Jesus

by Wesley Duewel.

The goal of Scripture is an intensely personal love for Jesus possessing your whole being. The goal of redemption is your love-relationship, your love-life with Jesus. Christian living is living in love with Jesus. Prayer communion is looking lovingly into Jesus' eyes, thrilling to Jesus' voice, resting in Jesus' arms.

Christ's passionate lovers have bejeweled the history and heritage of the church. No Christian is greater than his love. Few today realize the intense devotion to Christ in the early church and in our sainted martyrs. The Holy Spirit can develop in us just as ardent devotion as He did in those days.

A. W. Tozer once said, "The great of the kingdom has been those who loved God more than others did." Those who have really looked into the face of Jesus cannot but be captivate by His love. Too often our love for Jesus is sadly impersonal. We believe in His Person, we worship His Person, but we relate to Him far too impersonally. There is too much distance, a tragic remoteness in our fellowship. True, He is our infinitely holy God and we are but sin-deformed creatures before Him. He is our Sovereign King, and we bow before His majesty. But He is also our Savior who loved us with such everlasting love that He forsook heaven's throne to become the incarnate Son of Man, to die for us, to redeem us for Himself and make us the special and eternal object of His love. Indeed, He came to make us collectively His bride and personally His beloved. Let's humble ourselves before Him. Let's confess how cool and casual we too often have been in our expression of love to Him. Let's ask the Holy Spirit to give us a new baptism of love for Jesus. We need the Spirit's help to love, Jesus as we should. Perhaps we have had too little of the Spirit's fullness to enable us to love with the personal ardor Jesus desires.

All other passions build upon or flow from your passion for Jesus. A passion for souls grows out of a passion for Christ. A passion for missions builds upon a passion for Christ. When Hudson Taylor was once asked what was the greatest incentive to missionary work, he instantly replied, "Love of Christ." William Booth's passion for helping the underprivileged, the derelicts of society, and for world evangelization was built upon his passion for Christ. The most crucial danger to a Christian, whatever his role, is to lack a passion of Christ. The most direct route to personal renewal and new effectiveness is a new all-consuming passion for Jesus. Lord, give us this passion, whatever the cost!

References Used: Ablaze for God by Wesley L. Duewel

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Wesley Duewel Quote

"It takes more than a busy church, a friendly church, or even an evangelical church to impact a community for Christ.  It must be a church ablaze, led by leaders who are ablaze for God."

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07 June 2006

Church, Ex-member Go to Court over Church Discipline

"Watermark, a fast-growing nondenominational church in northeast Dallas, says the case involves accusations of adultery, a wife who wanted to save her marriage, a husband who sat on a board of a national Christian organization, and another woman who works for another church… Church officials say their responsibility is clear. As Watermark's senior pastor, the Rev. Todd Wagner, told his congregation last month: "Sue me. Nail me to a tree. Tell me you hate me. Misrepresent my motives. We're going to love you anyway (Dallas Morning News)."

On the situation, one elder at Capitol Hill Baptist Church, said, "Praise God for the faithfulness of local pastors and congregations who attempt to obey the word of God for the glory of God in all things…It is important for church leaders to realize that the practice of church discipline is very misunderstood by many, and unknown to most people today. Before exercising discipline, except in the clearest and most egregious cases, care should be taken to (1) build a healthy culture of meaningful church membership where people are committed to and invest in each other’s lives, (2) teach the congregation that discipline is an act of love (1 Cor. 5:1-5), (3) recognize that the vast majority of discipline is formative, positive growth that occurs as the Word is preached and applied, and (4) make sure the leadership understands how to lovingly and wisely administer corrective discipline when needed." More on this article.

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01 June 2006

M'Cheyne Quote

In September of 1840 Scotland's famous praying pastor, Robert Murray M’Cheyne wrote a letter to William C. Burns. He writes, "I am deepened in my conviction, that if we are to be instruments in a true revival we must be purified from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit. Oh cry for personal holiness, constant nearness to God by the blood of the Lamb! Bask in His beams, - lie back in the arms of love, - be filled with the Spirit, or all success in the ministry will only be to your own everlasting confusion."

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