Category Archives: Theology
I appreciate an article by Michael Horton in which he helps to clear up some of the more common myths surrounding Reformed Theology. Horton is a well-respected theology professor and theologian that regularly blogs and discusses theological topics at his podcast, The White Horse Inn. Horton carefully discusses each of these myths and others in great detail in his work For Calvinism.
The above referenced article addresses five of the more common myths surrounding Reformed Theology in a quick, overview type format. The five myths that Horton addresses are:
For years church leaders tried to convince us that being a hip, trendy, and relevant church was the key to doing church right. It was about professional bands, cool video graphics, and more ministry choices than you can fit on one bulletin page. But after many years and many failures even the well-respected church growth guru’s are admitting that it’s really about the preaching.
But not just any preaching. The trendy “talks” that cite one Bible verse then shares stories, jokes, and illustrations for 40 minutes are also failing. What people are really looking for is teaching from the Bible that expounds the Scriptures and connects them with daily life. In other words, expository preaching. What exactly is expository preaching?
In these verses we come to understand that the will of man is bent on evil and rejection of God. There is no one that will, of his own free will, choose God (Rom. 3:10-19). In fact, the human will is so captive to sin that no man has any desire for God and prefers the darkness over the light (John 3:19). This means that the idea of free will is true. But it also means that if given a choice man will always choose sin, the darkness, and always choose to reject Christ.
When given the choice between sin and Christ, man will always choose sin.
Regarding salvation God’s sovereignty is a critical aspect that is misunderstood by many Christians. Some choose to reject the biblical doctrine of election because, in their words, “it’s not fair.” But, as we will see, the doctrine of election and God’s sovereignty cannot be divorced.
Concerning election and God’s sovereignty, we understand that God freely elects some to saving faith in Jesus while others are destined for eternal destruction. Paul writes in his letter to the Romans this way:
Some would say that if we only make our churches cool enough, make them “inclusive,” or “approachable,” that people will come and will find Jesus. But this understanding of the Gospel and the purpose of the church is wrong. The Bible makes it clear that “no one seeks God.” (Rom. 3:11) Even more blunt than that is the truth that Jesus spoke when He told us “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” (John 6:44) In these verses we have clear teaching that no one is seeking God, no one is looking for salvation in Jesus. In fact, no one has the ability to “find Jesus” unless the Father first draws that person. And Judas is a perfect example of this truth.
Judas was a devil.
Most Protestant parents have never given catechism a first thought, much less a second-thought. Our Protestant churches, Baptist in particular, don’t consider catechism important and give no effort to teaching parents its importance.
In this short video, however, Tim Keller gives a few reasons why catechism is an important aspect of spiritual formation in children. Rather than relying solely on the church to teach and train kids parents are to be intimately involved in this process.
Catechism, meaning memorization, is not something only Catholics do, although we tend to think of Catholics when we think of catechism. Catechism is the process of spiritual formation designed to impart biblical knowledge and teach children God’s word. And, as Keller points out, “memorization always leads to mediation.” This memorization and meditation is one of the key benefits of catechism. But it’s also critical for spiritual formation in a culture that is saturated with information.
The fact that God chose Abraham out of the many He could have chosen makes the concept of biblical election clear. This example also shows us that election is an act of God’s sovereign will, having nothing to do with the person being chosen (elected). Abraham didn’t petition God to be elected, God chose Abraham before Abraham chose God. But, and this is important, once God chose Abraham, Abraham then chose God. When God called Abraham to leave his country, Abraham obeyed. This is the perfect picture of election because God chose Abraham, then Abraham chose God, just as the American people choose their president and then the “president-elect” chooses the American people by accepting the position.
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.”
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.
One 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.