Let's be reasonable with one another, shall we?

Thursday, August 31, 2006

I love this photo!

Does anybody recognize any or all of these guys?

Monday, August 28, 2006

A New Series: Mischaracterizations and Logical Conclusions

This series will pop in and out of “regular posting” as I throw out examples here and there, some that I already have ... and some that I am sure I will run across in my weekly reading. I think it would be fun to find dispensationalist and covenant theology examples, too. I have a few in mind already.

I read an article by Kevin Bauder that Jeremy had sent his readers to. I have thought about the article a lot. One thing that seemed quite telling was that he spoke of Calvinists and Arminians as though these are the only two options for theology. This dichotomy is something that some Calvinists do which peeves me. He never once mentioned “non-Calvinists” like me. Then again, I know Dr. Bauder is at least a four point Calvinist.

I did think the article was good overall, and it got me mind a-brewin’. I got to thinking about what he said were both sides’ mischaracterizations of the other. He didn’t give any examples, so I was forced to think of my own. While I don’t think mischaracterizations are helpful, I do think stating in stark terms the logical conclusions of a doctrine is helpful.

Here are a few examples:

Non Calvinist -- > Calvinist on Irresistible Grace
The Calvinist says that God irresistibly draws His chosen unto belief in the gospel.
The Non-Calvinist may mischaracterize this in very dramatic terms by saying that God drags them kicking and screaming into heaven.
The fairer “logical conclusion” would be that the Calvinist leaves no room for a responsibilty to accept or reject the gospel… the reason why one believes and another doesn't believe is because they were or were not chosen and drawn.

Do you see the point? It is not best to mischaracterize someone with whom you disagree for the sake of making their doctrine sound more repugnant than it is. However, I believe it is helpful to state what the logical conclusions of any doctrines are, even if these are not as palatable as the way those who hold those doctrines would state the doctrines themselves. This helps us all get to the nitty-gritty of what we and others believe.

Calvinist -- > Non-Calvinist on Faith
The non-Calvinist may say that faith is a response from man toward God (not apart from God), but it is not a “gift” from God, deposited in your heart ,so that you may believe.
The Calvinist would mischaracterize this by saying that the non-Calvinist believes people save themselves.
The fairer “logical conclusion” would be that the non-Calvinist believes sinners can yeild to Christ's gospel and respond to Him in faith when they are convinced of the truth.

This should be repugnant enough to the Calvinist because they don’t seem to see that unregenerate, not-yet-born-again sinners can yeild to God ... or have any faith.

Calvinist -- > Non-Calvinist on Human Responsibilty
The Non-Calvinist would say that because Christ is drawing all men unto Himself, if one hears the gospel and rejects it, they are responsible because they could have responded, they could have allowed themselves to consider God’s gift.
The Calvinist mischaracterizes this by saying that in the non-Calvinist view, faith is conjured up by man/woman … evangelization would be like calling people to "make themselves a new heart."
The logical conclusion is that the non-Calvinist believes that men can respond to the gospel and those who don’t are fools.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Comments for the gospel post below

I thought J. Moorhead had a good idea about writing out the the gospel and posting it so that we could put it in a prominent place on our sidebar. I decided to do this so that whosoever happens upon this blog may read it and be exposed to the Good News.

Feel free to tell me if I may improve this post in any way.

This is Good News for You

Have you ever felt like someone was watching you? Did you ever think about what God would say if He could tell you what He thinks of you and how He sees you? I used to think about this a lot and I figured that God would understand everything about me and would see me as “OK” because He knew what made me tick and would know that I was a result of “input --> output.” Garbage in --> garbage out.

Later, I learned this is only partly true. God does know what makes us tick. He knows everything about us. He has said this about the human race:

There is none righteous, no, not one;
There is none who understands;
There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside;
They have together become unprofitable;
There is none who does good, no, not one (Romans 3:10-12)

Wow, that is pretty serious. He is not making excuses for our failing to be good people. We are all doing our own thing, fulfilling our selfish “needs” and desires. If we are honest with ourselves, we know this. This goes for all people. Even people who are kind and seem selfless are not pure in motive all of the time … none of us can be pure all the time! Therefore, according to God, none of us is good enough.

For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. (James 2:10)

So there you have it – who can measure up? This “standard” is dictated by the nature of the One setting the standard. It is as though God is a consuming fire … and sin … is like a dry piece of kindling. The kindling cannot be in the presence of the fire without being burned … they are incompatible. And so it is with those of us who have sin within us.
We are incompatible with God.

It would seem, then, that because of how perfect God is, the standard for goodness is such that only He can reach it … and alas, He became one of us. Jesus Christ is God as a man. He is the one man that ever fulfilled all “righteousness.” He was really the best man that ever walked the earth. He knew no sin. He had nothing within him or about him that was incompatible with God … which is no surprise … since He was God in the flesh. The Bible teaches that because of this perfect nature, He was the only “lamb of God” who could take away the failings (sin) of all others.

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29)

You see, an ordinary person cannot take away the sin of others … or take any consequence of others’ sins … because He is so weighed down with his own sins. This man, Jesus was altogether different! He had no sin of His own. This Jesus came here with a specific purpose relative to all mankind.

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Cor 5:21)

He took every sin of every person who has ever lived upon His shoulders when He suffered and died upon the cross. He died with that sin upon Him. Then, because He has the very life of God within Him and was without any of this sin problem of His own, He was able to rise from the dead … truly!

The resurrection proved that sin has no more ultimate power to burn us up as a piece of dry kindling, because our sin has “passed through the fire” so to speak. Christ’s death and resurrection has paved the way for you … if you will but take hold of Jesus and His gift of salvation. You will be saved from the consequence of sin which is death, if you but trust Him for this work that He has done to bring you life forever with God. It is a gift you must receive, as any gift. Instead of consequence now, God is doling out life to whoever will receive this Jesus. This goes for all people!

This message is for you, whoever you are.
This is all that God asks – that you look to Jesus Christ in simple faith, believing that He has done this for you. Receive His generous offer of a life that never ends – His own life within you. God is very aware of you, He is watching you … and if you receive Christ as He has planned, He will no longer see you as someone who has missed the mark, but He will look upon you as His very own child. This change makes you compatible with God!

Of course, your body will still die, but your eternal being will not have to burn and die forever, because you will have life instead of the death caused by sin. You can be God’s very own “son”! This is the best gift ever. (And it comes with a new and improved body too, just in case you were thinking that floating aorund in a nebulous eternity sounds scary.)

… as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the children of God, even to them that believe on his name … (John 1:12)

… this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. (1 John 5:11-12)

He has done all this for you; receive Him today. He wants to give you this great blessing, this wonderful gift.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Some changes in profile

Tomorrow, I will have to change my profile. No, I will not be removing my interest in “Non-Calvinism” (he he), but I will be changing my age to “over the hill.” (ha ha) I will be 40 tomorrow. Actually, I am sort of feigning the drama – this age thing sort of creeps up: when I was in my twenties, I sorta felt like I was just a very much more grown up teenager, a young adult. I could still relate to those under 20 pretty easily. Then, when I turned 30 I thought “So? Big deal…” – it really did not feel all that different – teenager and young adult were still right behind me and I just felt a little more established as I had begun to have children and was maturing emotionally and spiritually. However, something happened after I turned about 36. I really have felt as though the younger me is a thing of the past! Do any of those reading this understand what I am talking about? So, turning 40 is not that dramatic, it is just par for the course!

My husband, John really created a dramatic birthday surprise for me a couple of nights ago. He tricked me! Here is how he did it: The ladies in my "Sunday School" class started passing around a sign-up sheet for a "ladies night out" about 3 weeks ago. (This was all part of John’s plan.) The lady organizing it said we would go out to dinner and then go for a walk together at the local metropark. There were about 9 of us women and we got to the metropark and started walking. Then, we turned a corner and … shazaam! There were about 75 people standing under one of the picnic table/shelters all saying "SURPRISE!" to me. My reaction was so silly - I ran behind a bush and hid. Then, I came out as they were singing “Happy Birthday”, and my surprise just kept unfolding as I saw people from several different parts of my world - like friends from church, my family, John's family, neighbors, Sunday School class etc... It was so unexpected ... it shocked me!

My face was red for 5 solid minutes, according to my brother.

Speaking of surprises, my profile is changing in another way, too. No, I don’t mean my blogger profile. I am talking about “profile” as in the view of someone from the side. My abdomen is becoming rather “swollen” because John and I have the #4 child on the way! This blessing will come to us right around Christmas … we have about 4 months to go. Wow. This must be God’s plan because it certainly wasn’t ours! This was quite a surprise!

Life is just full of surprises ... and changes in profile!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Free Grace Theology

Free Grace Theology and Repentance

Antonio writes a post entitled "Free Grace Theology and Repentance -- A Reply To Matthew Waymeyer Part 1"
He taught me something that I had not thought of before - or at least I did not know how to articulate it - the difference between a logical necessity and a theological necessity.

What do you think? Go read it.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Chez Kneel: The Bugblaster

Chez Kneel: A question for my amillennial friends

An interesting question and some very interesting responses.

Time for a new avatar

I think I look a little less skeptical than the other one, and I am not holding any controversial books.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Worthy to Be Believed

by J. Vernon McGee

Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way. And his disciples say unto him, Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude? (Matthew 15:32, 33)
Frankly, this seems like just a rerun of the feeding of the five thousand. It appears to be a repetition, and we wonder why Matthew included it since it doesn't seem to add any further advancement of the messianic claims of the Lord Jesus. However, this is a section in which the emphasis is not upon Jesus pressing His messianic claim but the emphasis is on the rejection of His claim. And this miracle shows how slowly the disciples were to learn. They had already witnessed the feeding of the five thousand (and I think it took place only a few days before this), yet here they raise the same old objections of unbelief. Again His disciples say to Him, "Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude?"

And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven, and a few little fishes. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. (Matthew 15:34-36)
This is a revelation that the disciples had not really learned the lesson. Their reluctance to believe actually constitutes a form of rejection. My friend, unbelief is sin. In Romans 14:23 it says "whatsoever is not of faith is sin." In Hebrews 12:1 we are admonished to "lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us." What is that weight? I think it is unbelief. Unbelief is sin. I am willing to make this confession: I wish that I believed Him more. He is worthy to be believed; I ought to believe Him fully, but the problem is with me. And I suspect that the problem is with you, also.

This chapter reveals that our Lord's disciples are not keeping up. They are slow to believe and slow to understand. This is actually hindering the Lord Jesus. It seems at this point that, since He has reached the breaking point with the religious rulers, He is having a real problem with His disciples. He appears to be just marking time until they catch up.

Frankly, He is very patient with you and me, also. Many of us need to catch up; we are far behind in our belief and understanding. Oh, that we might believe Him!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

I've been tagged

My friend, Matthew, the Dyspraxic Fundamentalist "tagged" me.

1. One book that changed your life:
The Bible
(I know - that is "the" answer, but I cannot attribute "life-changing" to any other book. None of them have done anything of the sort.)

2. One book that you’ve read more than once:
Follow the River by James Alexander Thom
An awesome book - must read! It moved me ... I couldn't put it down ... it made me thankful for my safety.

3. One book you’d want on a desert island:
The Zion Covenant (set) by Bodie Thoene

4. One book that made you laugh:
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
(the movie "Simon Birch" was based on this book, but I read it long before. It was profound in ways, but very funny at times also.)

5. One book that made you cry [or feel really sad]:
Pet Sematary by Stephen King
This book not only made me cry, it made me feel a profound greif in my soul. Very disturbing - the most awful book I have ever read.

6. One book that you wish had been written:
Why I now see that Non-Calvinism is the only correct position; I recant my Lordship Salvation Teachings by John MacArthur

7. One book that you wish had never been written: The Koran

8. One book you’re currently reading:
The London Refrain by Bodie Thoene

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read:
The Gospel Under Seige by Zane Hodges and
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
(see, I can't follow simple rules)

10. Now tag five people: I don't play well with others.
KC, Antonio, Bobby, Loren, Angie

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Was Jonah like the Pharisees?

I was thinking about the last few parables and Jonah came to mind.

God told him,

"Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me." (Jonah 1:2)
The Lord wanted to bring their impending disaster to their mind and show them the error of their ways through his servant. Jonah was irritated that God would have compassion on the Ninevites. It is apparent that he understood this to be the purpose of his preaching when we read in chapter 4:

"But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry. 2 He prayed to the LORD, "O LORD, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity."
So what's the problem?
He didn't care for the Ninevites and he didn't think they deserved mercy. The Pharisees saw the "sinners" in the same way. They were worthless rubbish who deserved nothing of God's grace. May we never view any lost people in such a way.

On another note, here is one of my favorite verses from Jonah (2):
8 Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.


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