Do You Understand God’s Part and Man’s Part in Salvation?

Posted on March 28, 2017 in Theology by

graceI recently read an incredibly well written article detailing God’s part and man’s part in salvation. It helps to clear up many of the misconceptions and misunderstandings about the part each plays in God’s saving work.

Many misconceptions about salvation exist today. Misconceptions such as “everyone can be saved” pave the way for massive evangelistic efforts that leave churches wondering, “what went wrong?” Other misconceptions, such as “man has no part in salvation” make it seem as though anyone that is saved is saved against their will. These misconceptions and others are creating confusion as to the nature of salvation and the part that God and man play in the process.

An article by John Reisinger at Monergism does an excellent job of explaining the process of salvation, including God’s part and man’s part in the process. I want to share it with you in the hopes of clearing up misconceptions and laying out the biblical process for salvation. The article starts by stating:

“God and man must both do something before a man can be saved.  Hyper-Calvinism denies the necessity of human action, and Arminianism denies the true nature of the Divine action.  The Bible clearly sets forth both the divine and human as essential in God’s plan of salvation.  This is not to say, as Arminianism does, God’s part is to freely provide salvation for all men, and man’s part is to become willing to accept it.  This is not what we said above, nor is it what the Bible teaches.” Continue reading

The Shack: Why This Popular Book and Movie Should Be Condemned by Christians

Posted on March 22, 2017 in Theology by

The ShackSo much hoopla has been made over the new movie “The Shack.” Unfortunately, many Christians are supporting this film that is filled with much heresy. Let’s take a look at why Christians should be avoiding this terrible film instead of supporting it.

We live in a day and age when many Christians are deceived by feel-good theology. Whether in the form of books, movies, or preachers on television with white smiles and perfect hair, Christians are often led astray by their lack of theological discernment. This is a problem for individuals and for the local church alike.

Compounding this problem is a “don’t judge me” culture in which even Christians have fallen for the lie that it is wrong to judge. This is sad considering the many verses in Scripture that not only teach us that we have a responsibility to judge, but show us the right and proper way to do it. (See: Matthew 7:15–20; 18; Luke 6:43–45; 1 Corinthians 1:11; Galatians 6:1; 2 Timothy 2:25, 3:16; Titus 2:1.)

The end result is that many Christians will readily accept a book, movie, or preacher that has remotely spiritual overtones without discerning whether they are biblical or not. They will also quickly condemn any person that dares to speak against said book, movie, or preacher as “judgmental.” This is causing a rise in “Christian heresy” in our culture and in our churches.

And then there is the favorite Christian excuse: “well, if it leads one person to Jesus it’s okay with me.” What a cowardly, damnable position to take. I should know; I used to take that position. I used to be of the opinion that anything that could lead a person toward Jesus was a good thing. The problem is that when the thing you are using to lead people to Jesus doesn’t accurately reflect the truth of who Jesus is, you are leading people to a false Jesus, a false Gospel, and a lie. Furthermore, you are creating an idol. Anything, book, movie, or preacher that does not biblically represent Jesus is creating an idol for others to worship. For this reason, movies like The Shack are little more than heretical portrayals of God in need of rebuke by Christians, not support. Continue reading

Friends in Maryland: Did You Know Your Elected Officials Were Doing This?

Posted on March 21, 2017 in Life by

Planned Parenthood MarylandIt is no secret that a super majority of Americans want the abortion business Planned Parenthood defunded of tax dollars. For years Planned Parenthood has operated by taking millions, more than $500 million annually to be exact, from tax payers, given to them by the federal government. But taxpayers, both pro-life and pro-abortion, have made it clear that they don’t want their tax dollars paying for elective abortions.

The previous administration refused to even consider defunding Planned Parenthood, despite bi-partisan support. The Trump administration has said, however, that it is willing to cut funding. That seems like a no-brainer considering the bi-partisan support and overall common sense it makes.

In case you aren’t aware that a majority of people want to see Planned Parenthood defunded, a recent article reports:

A recent survey found that community health centers not only provide more comprehensive health care than Planned Parenthood, excluding abortions, they also outnumber the abortion group’s facilities by 20 to one.”

Democrats in Maryland have responded by saying they will take the tax dollars of Maryland residents approximately, $2.7 million annually, and send it to Planned Parenthood. Continue reading

Romans 9: Understanding Objections to Election and Making Sense of Paul’s Teaching

Posted on March 15, 2017 in Theology by

The-Doctrines-of-GraceOne of the biggest advantages of understanding the doctrine of election is that it makes sense of some of the most difficult passages in the Bible. Romans chapter 9 is no exception.

Romans chapter 9 is one of the most difficult passages in the Bible concerning election, salvation, and God’s purpose in it all. In this chapter we have a very difficult verse: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated” (v. 13). Making sense out of this verse is very difficult. How do we properly reconcile the God that loves all with a verse in the Bible that says God hated someone?

When taken as a stand-alone verse it doesn’t make much sense. That is proven by some of the terrible interpretations of the verse. Interpretations such as, “God loves the Jews but hates the Arabs.” Or, “God loved all the descendants of Jacob but hates all the descendants of Esau.” Or even, “God will bless the line of Jacob but will not bless the line of Esau.” All of these interpretations are wrong and do terrible violence to the text and its proper understanding.

When this verse is understood in proper context of the larger passage discussing God’s will, election, and salvation, it makes sense.

The first thing we need to understand is that God chose Jacob over Esau. Before they were born, before they did anything good or bad, God made a sovereign choice for no other reason than “God’s purpose of election might continue” (v. 11). And what is God’s purpose in election?

According to the following verses in Romans 9, God’s purpose is nothing less than having “mercy on whomever he wills,” and to “harden whomever he wills.” In other words, Gods purpose in salvation(election) is entirely His own. We have nothing to do with it. It has nothing to do with man because “it depends not on human will or exertion” (v. 16). And the reality is that God has created some “vessels of wrath prepared for destruction” (v. 22). And God has also created some “vessels of mercy…prepared beforehand for glory” (v. 23). Continue reading

VIDEO: Family Sued, Loses Business for Adhering to Religious Convictions

Posted on March 14, 2017 in Religious Freedom by

 

Aaron & Melissa KleinImagine for a moment that you own a business in your community. For years you proudly serve the people of your community. Regardless of who they are, you serve each person with respect and excellence. Your business grows and you gain a reputation for being a great local business that treats everyone with respect and has great service.

As the years pass by you get to know people that are regular customers of your business. Despite having different views on many weighty issues, you continue to serve each person with genuine respect. After all, part of being a business open to the public means serving people you disagree with. So you happily, and proudly serve people from all walks of life.

The, one day, one of your customers, someone that you have served more than once, asks you to take part in her wedding. She would like you to create a work of art to help celebrate her wedding. You respectfully decline to take part in her wedding. Since this is someone you’ve served on more than one occasion she will surely understand that you can’t take part in her wedding because it would violate your deeply held religious convictions.

The next thing you know, you are being sued by the client and the state for…to your surprise, discrimination. How can you be sued for discrimination when you happily served every person that walked through your front door? Can the state really force you to violate your convictions? Do you have to choose between your convictions and your business? Continue reading

This One Powerful Tool Could Change Your Financial Future

Posted on March 8, 2017 in Money by

Peggy BankUtilizing one simple, yet powerful tool could make all the difference in the world for your financial future. Knowing how underused this tool is among American households makes it easy to understand why so many are in financial trouble.

What if I told you there is one very simple, yet powerful tool you can begin using today to make a significant impact in your family’s financial future? Would you be interested in learning more?

The reality is that a majority of Americans are in financial trouble. Everything from student loans to credit card debt is keeping Americans from reaching their financial goals. And, for some, it is keeping them from even saving money on a regular basis. A recent survey found that 33% of Americans have no savings at all, making them prey for financial shock.

But it is possible for all that to change with just one simple, yet powerful tool that can be implemented into any household today. That tool: a budget.

Did you know that only one in three Americans prepare and follow a monthly budget? That is according to a recent Gallup poll. It’s no surprise that so many are on the brink of financial ruin. The most basic, and powerful tool needed to avoid massive debt, save for emergencies, and prepare for retirement is going ignored by most Americans. Continue reading

Pro-Life Teen Responds to Teen Vogue Abortion Article in Powerful Video

Posted on March 7, 2017 in Life by

Autumn

Image credit: Students for Life America

It is unthinkable to me that abortion would be marketed to teenagers as “no big deal.” Among the many things that teenagers will deal with as they grow and mature, abortion should not be one. But, to tell them abortion is a nonchalant experience is reprehensible.

Teen Vogue recently decided to tell their young readers that abortion was nothing to be concerned about. In fact, the folks at Teen Vogue want abortion to be so nonchalant that people buy gifts for their friends who have an abortion and treat it like a celebration. Seriously

Sadly, in their attempt to create “girl power” among their readers they, like many abortion supporters, failed to realize that they are encouraging the death of many unborn girls. That irony is lost on so many in the modern “feminist” movement. While they rally and campaign for women’s right they also champion one of the greatest female holocausts in history.

But one teen is fighting back. The video below features Autumn, a 16 year old pro-life advocate. She decided to confront Teen Vogue for their despicable treatment of abortion. Autumn opens by telling Teen Vogue that since their ad was aimed at teens her age, she would like to respond to the ad. Her opening remark is that, despite what Teen Vogue tells their readers, “abortion is a big deal.”

Autumn is the abortion industry’s worst nightmare: a young woman with a pro-life conscience. Thankfully, Autumn is not alone. She is one of the many millions of women that have rejected the lies of the abortion industry and are fighting to defend the unborn. She is a terror to the abortion industry because already, at a young age, she is convicted by the reality that the unborn are human lives that deserve to be defended.

Take a moment to watch this well-reasoned response to Teen Vogue and the abortion industry. Be encouraged that a great majority of young millennials are pro-life and have soundly rejected the false narrative of abortion on demand fed to them by Planned Parenthood and their shills like Teen Vogue. Share this video with others as a testimony to the unborn and the defense of human life.

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If You Plan to Live by Your Faith – Read This

Posted on March 1, 2017 in Marriage, Public Policy, Religious Freedom by

Stutzman FloristWhat if I told you some people are free to discriminate while others (Christians) are vindictively attacked for seeking to live out their faith in public?

It became national news when famous designers refused to dress Melania Trump for the inauguration. Designers that were all too eager to dress Michelle Obama made it clear that they had no intention of rendering their services to Mrs. Trump. The mainstream media were all too happy to make sure everyone knew just how proud they were of the designers for their discrimination.

One designer, Sophie Theallet, made the following statement:

“As a family owned company, our bottom line is not just about money. We value our artistic freedom. As one who celebrates and strives for diversity, individual freedom, and respect for all lifestyles, I will not participate in dressing or associating in any way with the next First Lady.”

Theallet is making the argument that artists, among others, should be free to decline service when it would violate their sincerely held views. She is making the argument that freedom of association is critical to personal liberty. Hmm…where have we heard that argument before?

In a twist of irony so ironic that it’s hard to miss for anyone with even a small measure of common sense, the same people that applaud Theallat for adhering to her beliefs and refusing service to Melania Trump, are the same people that believe a florist should have to violate her beliefs or be put out of business. Continue reading

Predestination and Election: If God has Already Decided Why Should We Preach and Evangelize?

Posted on February 28, 2017 in Theology by

Doctrines of GraceLast week I wrote concerning the issue of predestination and election. Specifically, I addressed the question “If you believe in election, doesn’t that leave you with the problem of why God doesn’t choose to save everyone?” This question is asked and answered in a well-written article by Tim Keller, author, pastor, and theologian. (You can read that article here.)

Today I want to address the second question in Keller’s article: “But if everything is fixed and certain, why pray, evangelize, or do anything at all?

This objection is often leveled at supporters of reformed theology. The argument says that if God has already decided who will and will not be saved, there is no need for evangelism at all. But this is a misunderstanding of the doctrines of election and predestination and, more importantly, a misunderstanding of the Gospel.

The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 10:17, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” This is just one of many verses in the Bible that makes it clear that faith and salvation are connected with the hearing of the Gospel in Scripture. What we can, therefore, conclude is that the only way a person can be saved is by first hearing the Gospel as recoded in the Scriptures. Apart from hearing the Gospel message there is no vehicle by which faith can be gifted to an individual so that repentance and salvation may take place.

With this in mind the idea any doctrine would eliminate the preaching of the Gospel is not just unbiblical, it is heresy. But, the doctrines of election and predestination in no way eliminate the necessity of the Gospel for salvation, or the personal responsibility for believers to be actively engaged in evangelism. Keller shares wise words on this point: Continue reading

Predestination and Election: Why Doesn’t God Choose to Save Everyone?

Posted on February 22, 2017 in Theology by

Five SolasOne topic I want to begin writing more about is that of election and predestination. This is by far one of the most difficult theological topics in the entire Bible. And yet, it presents significant joy and spiritual growth in our understanding of God. To this end, I hope to gain a better understanding and help others do the same.

Let me start by saying I am by no means an expert on this issue. Over the last several years I have endeavored to study and learn and gain a biblical understanding of this rich theology. And while I have experienced growth in my own understanding, I have also wrestled with nagging questions.

Some might say that nagging questions are a sign that something is wrong. I would disagree. One encounter with Jesus stands out to me. A boy’s father was desperate for Jesus to cast the demon that had afflicted his son for many years. The disciples couldn’t do it. So the boy’s father begged Jesus to cast the demon out. Jesus reminded the father, “all things are possible for one who believes.” (Mark 9:23) Thee father replied, “I believe. Help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24) I am reminded that it is ok to wrestle with our beliefs. At times we will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that something is true and yet, we will still wrestle to fully understand it. And this seems to be consistent with the Bible’s teaching. (You can read that entire encounter with Jesus in Mark 9:14-29.)

I will be the first to say that the doctrine of election and predestination is one that will require much wrestling. It is not a doctrine that you will one day wake up and fully accept. It is a doctrine that will take time, prayer, study, wrestling, and conversation. And, chances are, you will need to ask God some very difficult questions along the way. That’s ok, God doesn’t mind. Continue reading

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