Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Decline of the Sabbath?

Ingrid Schleuter from Slice of Laodicea has written a short article called The Opinion Journal on the “Decline of the Sabbath.”

In order to see my take on it, read my post The Sabbath: Celebrating Christ in the New Covenant.

Hell's Best Kept Secret

How do you present the gospel?

See this video from The Way of the Master by Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron.

Monday, June 18, 2007


Can this guy even sing? I read so many emails about this guy, I just had to see it for myself.

Warnie and his Arminian brothers

Go to Warnie's blog!I just read a post by Adrian Warnock called, Terry Virgo On Healings Driscoll and Theology. I have no real problem with the post. Here is a quote:
"One of the temptations for us Reformed Charismatics is to just not talk about our experiences of the Spirit and the things we see. If we just don't talk about our charismatic experience it is much easier for us to fit in with our reformed brothers. At times I feel I am more interested in fitting in with my reformed brothers than my Arminian Charismatic brothers!"

Adrian nails it on the head concerning wanting to fit in with "our reformed brothers." My reasons for doing so may not be the same as Adrian's.

You see, I am a charismatic, but I am also very committed to the Reformed faith, more specifically New Covenant Theology.

I was a committed Arminian for many years and defended Arminianism against these crazy Calvinists. However, God showed me the light back in 1998.

In my experience with Arminian Charismatics (ACs), theology is not a high priority. In fact, they are more led by their noses than the Scriptures so graciously given to us by God to be sufficient in faith and morals. To most ACs (and I chose "most" here carefully), Christianity is a life led by experiences and anecdotes. Even their "truth" is based on experience and anecdotes.

The last time I heard any exegetical justification from an AC for anything he believes or does, even from the pulpit, was ... um, aah, urgh! I can't think when that was!

ACs have no problem allowing Word-of-Faith preachers, modalists (read here, here, here, here and here), and the like in their fold because these guys are such dynamic preachers and they heal people! There are very few ACs that ever look at other preachers critically, especially if they are dynamic speakers. Being very funny from the pulpit will also give one great standing among ACs.

Are all ACs like this? I guess not! However, from my experience that would be the exception.

It is for the reasons above that I prefer to be "in" with our reformed brothers.

Updated: 19 June 2007
I bolded, italicized, and "redded" the words "my experience" in my post, since there are some brothers (sisters too?) out there that do not seem to have the ability to read clearly.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology

The MP3s of the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology for the 4 different host churches (Sacramento, Jackson, Grand Rapids, Philadelphia) are available at the website of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals.

Unfortunately, you will have to pay for these MP3s!

Freely you have received, freely give! Ironic, isn't it?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Discount: What Jesus Demands from the World

John Piper's book, What Jesus Demands from the World, has been discounted for all Desiring God Blog readers. Make use of this excellent opportunity!

This is a limited offer with only 500 books available. So, get over there now!

John Calvin: 500!

Get ready for the celebration of John Calvin's 500th birthday... on July 10, 2009! Yes, 2009!

Preparations are underway for the celebration of Calvin's 500 birthday, and you can read more about it here.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Decision Making and the Will of God - Part 6

Due to the length of time that it has been taking to do this series on Decision Making and the Will of God, I have decided to combine more chapters at a time per post. My last post was on chapter 8 of the book.

Even though it is taking much longer to read this book than I had initially anticipated, I am enjoying what Friesen is saying in this volume very much. He is very balanced in his approach to the subject of "finding" the will of God. And, what I mean by being balanced, is that he only uses the Bible as the counterbalance on the other side of the scale. He constantly does exegesis of the relevant passages making sure that what he is proposing remains true to the Scriptures.

Many writers on this subject use page upon page of ditty little anecdotes to "prove" their point while hardly ever attempting to let the Bible speak for itself. Anecdotes prove nothing more than gullibility on the subject, since people have stories about just about anything in which they have "experienced" something to disprove our own "experiences."

Friesen continues to let the Bible speak on this issue, and I know that some out there will simply not like what Friesen has to say because of their own presuppositional biases.

Chapter 9 handles the subject of our God-given freedom and responsibility to choose. Friesen refers to Augustine who set forth a principle that says, "Where there is no command, God gives us freedom (and responsibility) to choose."[1] These are not Augustine's words, but this is what the principle comes down to.

Inside God's moral will, there is an area of freedom and responsibility. As a result, anything in which God did not pronounce a direct command or law, we have freedom and responsibility to choose the wise option. This freedom and responsibility as a unit is exemplified in God's command to Adam that he could eat from any tree of the garden except one. God gave a specific command concerning only one tree, from which Adam could not eat. Therefore, Adam could choose freely from any of the other trees without the need to be told which one to eat from next. This principle shows that within the given boundaries there is freedom.

After learning in chapter 9 about the freedom and responsibility to choose, we come to chapter 10 which answers the question, "On what basis does the believer make decisions?"

Whereas in chapter 9 we read that where there is no command, God gives us the freedom and responsibility to choose, we now find a further principle, "Where there is no command, God gives us wisdom to choose."[2] Friesen shows how men of God, in both the Old and New Testaments, had wisdom to make decisions in situations where God did not give direct revelation. Examples of verses in this regard are Eccl 10:10, Mt 10:16, Ac 15:28-29, 1 Cor 16:3-4 and 1 Thes 3:1.

Having built a case for the way of wisdom in chapter 10, drawing from the OT, Jesus and from the apostles, Friesen moves into chapter 11 looking more deeply at the lives of the apostles.

At the end of chapter 10, Friesen tells us that the real "clincher--the biblical data that provoked the radical reshaping of my understanding of decision making and the will of God--was the instruction of the apostles."[3]

Something that I have been battling with for some time now, way before I started reading Decision Making, is the idea that we should be seeking God's individual will for our lives on a daily basis, yet there are no examples, nor instruction to do so anywhere in the NT. Friesen picks up on this teaching and categorically states that it is not recorded even once, that the apostles ever tried to discover God's individual will for their lives. The apostles use phrases concerning their decision making that point to freedom in decision making.

I agree in this regard. We will be hard-pressed to prove from the NT that we are supposed to search for God's individual will for our daily lives.

As usual, Friesen builds principles in this regard: "In the area of freedom, the believer's goal is to make wise decisions on the basis of spiritual usefulness, Or, when there is no command, God gives freedom and wisdom to make spiritually advantageous decisions."[4 - Italics supplied by Friesen]

Naturally, Christians will ask how this wisdom is acquired. This involves the believer's attitude and approach.

A Christian's attitude must reflect the following:
1. Each Christian must become aware of the fact that no man is naturally wise,
2. He must have the conviction that God is the ultimate source of wisdom,
3. God will grant wisdom to those with certain characteristics, such as reverence for God, humility, teachableness, etc.,
4. The believer must have faith.

In the proper approach, the believer must understand the following:
1. He must ask God for wisdom,
2. Wisdom is found in the Scriptures,
3. Outside research must be done where appropriate.
4. Wise counsellors are needed,
5. Life itself can provide wisdom, and
6. Direct revelation may sometimes be used by God himself to direct us. [This is dealt with in chapter 15 of Friesen's book.]

What Friesen is telling us here is that wisdom ultimately comes from God himself. The principle that where God has given us no commands, He gives us wisdom to choose is aimed at here. That wisdom can then be acquired through the right attitude and approach.

Continue with part 7...

1. Friesen, p137.
2. Ibid., p160.
3. Ibid., p173.
4. Ibid., pp174-175.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Piper speaks clearly on prosperity gospel

John Piper is very concerned about the spread of the "Prosperity Gospel" heresy. And, rightly so! When I walk through Christian bookstores, I see the sections on heresy growing at an alarming rate! Christian bookstore chains such as Impact, CUM, and Gospel Direct sell books by these heretics of the prosperity cult and others that by right should not be called Christians.

It is troubling that churches keep on supporting the sellers of and even sell these heresies themselves. I have posted extensively on this subject before in the series, Heresies in the Church.

John Piper, from Desiring God is also angry about these heretics that are given free reign. Watch this video to hear his words on this matter.

This is probably the angriest I have heard in Piper's tone!

HT: Eddie Beal
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