I’m convinced that some simply want to believe the worst and have no interest in a friendly dialogue about the truth claims of Reformed theology. But with so much common ground between Reformed theology and Arminianism, it should be our goal to build one another up, not tear down.
Most of all, I’m tired of the sin in my own heart. It calls to me daily to enjoy a moment of pleasure and forget about the season of death that will follow. I struggle daily to kill the sin that lives in me. The battle is never ending and tiring. My soul is weary. My heart is heavy.
What makes it harder is that Christians largely don’t know how to “bear one another’s burdens.” We’re too busy being judgmental.
If we understand our money and possessions as being a trust, something given to us for the purpose of helping and serving others, it will change how we view wealth. We will carefully add giving to our financial plan and seek to better the circumstances of those around us. Not for fame or recognition, but to say “thank you” for the blessings we have received in our life.
When we can’t make it to church on Sunday, it’s not a problem because we “live under grace” and God’s okay with it. The end result is a Christian that sees Sunday morning as the primary time to “be a Christian” but doesn’t attend faithfully (which is okay) because of distractions and recreations.
This is an issue that stirs up all sorts of trouble with Christians. Accusations of legalism and judgment abound when someone starts stepping on toes regarding recreation. It’s hard to comprehend Christians getting angry over someone saying they should be faithful to their Christian duties. Welcome to modern America.
The simple answer is yes! He had to show us that He was Lord over all heaven and earth. He couldn’t just come and die for us without first showing us Who He really was. He knew we wouldn’t believe that He was God’s Son without some evidence, some proof that He more than just a man. He knew our hearts would doubt, even if we watched Him die. So He came as a baby, lived as a man, and bent time and space to His will with just the words of His mouth.
He needed to walk on the water so we knew that the powerful ocean was under His command. He needed to calm the storm so we knew that the untamable wind obeyed His voice. The mighty earth with vast oceans and dizzying mountains belong to Him and He wanted to make sure we knew they would bow to Him when commanded to do so.
The lost world often takes Scripture out of context in order to make it mean what they want it to mean. Verses are twisted and little to no exegesis is ever used in the effort to justify sin. This is completely understandable, as lost people do not have the Holy Spirit to guide them in understanding the Bible.
What about Christians that seem to do the same thing? How do we make sense of a professing Christian that holds to an unbiblical view or takes verses out of context? That’s a big conversation reserved for another day. For today, let’s focus on some of the most abused verses in the Bible and see if we can gain some clarity on their proper, contextual and biblical meaning.
Here’s a short list of some of the most misused, abused, and taken out of context verses in the Bible.
The question that arose in conversation is whether taxes are appropriate or whether they are theft. Some subsequent conversation is whether Christians should stand against taxes and oppose any form of taxation or dutifully pay our taxes.
There’s one perspective that says: the Bible says theft is sin, taxes are theft, and therefore taxes are sinful.
Though this is a simplification of the position, it is a good summary and starting point for the discussion. This position says that God never ordains taxes and never gives the government authority to impose taxes. Because all authority is derived from God and God never gives explicit authority to impose taxes, taxation is theft. And since theft is a violation of God’s moral law (10 Commandments), any government imposition of taxes is theft and should be opposed.
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.”