Tag Archives: free
It’s a chilling reality to realize that if the government can force Jack Phillips, under threat of legal penalty, to violate his core convictions, that same government can (and will) force us all to violate our conviction at some point. No one that loves liberty and freedom should desire to see such authority placed in the hands of any government.
The view concerning man’s will is one of debate among Arminians and Reformed theologians. Arminians believe that man has the ability, the free will, to choose Christ. Reformed theologians believe that due to the bondage of the will to sin, man does not have the ability to choose Christ without the regenerating work and effectual calling of the Holy Spirit. This distinction has been the source of much debate between these two theological groups.
Before moving forward, it is important to understand that it is a universally agreed upon fact that man has a will and can make choices based upon that will. However, what is not true is that man has the ability to freely choose Christ based solely upon his own free will. Let me explain the difference.
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.
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.
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.
Let me first commend to you this article by Tim Keller. Pastor Keller is a highly respected pastor, theologian, and Bible teacher. Dr. Keller has written a short commentary on three of the most asked questions regarding the doctrine of election and predestination. I highly recommend you read the entire article. The questions Keller addresses are:
If you believe in election, doesn’t that leave you with the problem of why God doesn’t choose to save everyone?
But if everything is fixed and certain, why pray, evangelize, or do anything at all?
I believe the Bible and I see all the teaching about election, but why do I still dislike it?
Those words come from Daniel McArthur, general manager of Ashers Baking Company, as he describes what it is like to have the government demand he and his family of Christians make a cake with a message that violates their religious beliefs.
It all started when a man asked for a cake with the words “support gay marriage” on it. McArthur and the people at Ashers refused to make it citing their religious beliefs. A legal battle ensued and the government sided with the customer saying that Ashers had violated the Equality Act and “discriminated” against the man. Ashers was fined $765 for “injury to feelings” and told to make the cake.
By the way, this all happened in Norther Ireland where gay marriage is illegal.
It has been confirmed by multiple sources that US-Iranian Pastor Saeed Abedini has finally been freed from the Iranian prison he was held in for more than three years.
Sources including Christianity Today and his wife Naghmeh confirmed the release of Pastor Saeed as a part of a prisoner swap between the US and Iran. The United States released 7 prisoners and Iran released 4.
Pastor Saeed was first taken in 2012 while he was in Iran helping to build a government approved orphanage. He had been warned not to participate in house churches while Iran, but was given clearance to help with the orphanage. While on a bus he was taken, arrested, and sentenced to eight years in prison.
Pastor Saeed’s wife became a tireless warrior pleading for his release. She spoke with anyone that would listen, including religious and political leaders all over the world. Mrs. Abedini’s legal representation, The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), gathered more than 1 million signatures in its effort to secure Pastor Saeed’s release.
Suppose you’re a high-school football coach that has received praise and accolades in your annual review for the last 7 years. You’ve also been told by athletes and parents about what a good influence you are on the players and what a great role model you are. You don’t do anything special or different for your entire tenure as a coach. Then, one day you find out the school is placing you on administrative leave and suggesting you not be re-hired.
What would you think?
That is the position coach Joe Kennedy found himself in when the local Washington state school district he worked for refused to allow him to continue saying silent prayers on the football field.
Here’s the story.
In 2008 Coach Kennedy saw the movie “Facing the Giants” and decided to start praying for his team. He would stroll out to the field before and after games to say a silent prayer for the athletes. He didn’t tell anyone, didn’t invite anyone, he just started praying. Before long members of his team joined him and they would silently pray before and after games. No one was forced. No one was disciplined or removed from the team for not praying. It was a completely voluntary routine.
I don’t even want to talk about a person calling himself a “Christian” wanting a cake with the words “God hates gays” on it; and what the cake was for. I’m angry at the fact that such a person exists and the damage to the Gospel said person is doing. The fact, however, that the cake shop refused to print the message is another story entirely. That is something we need to talk about.
Azucar Bakery in Denver, CO. was asked to print the cake for a man named Bill Jack. Jack also requested the cake to be in the shape of a Bible with an image of two men holding hands with a big X through them. The bakery refused to comply with the request saying the message was “discriminatory, and hateful.”
Who! Wait a minute. I thought business owners had no rights to refuse such requests based on their personal views. I thought “discriminating” against customers because of a business owners core convictions and beliefs was no frowned upon and illegal. Isn’t the idea that business owners are not allowed to refuse such requests at the heart of the Masterpiece Cake Shop story and Jack Phillips, the owner?
The most recent example of course is the subpoena of pastor’s sermons in the city of Houston. Now called “The Houston 5,” a group of pastors that openly opposed the city’s transgender bathroom bill have been asked by the city to turn over all sermons, speeches, and communications relating to the bill and Mayor Annise Parker.
That statement should be terrifying to anyone that believes in the First Amendment and both free speech and religious freedom. To think that any government agency would consider – let alone follow through – asking pastors to turn over sermons is egregious at best. Sen. Ted Cruz reminded the city of Houston that “Caesar has no jurisdiction over the pulpit” in his comments at a press conference with pastors and religious freedom advocates:
“Caesar has no jurisdiction over the pulpit. And when you subpoena one pastor, you subpoena every pastor.”
Apparently a city in Idaho is taking this sentiment literally by demanding that a pastor perform same-sex weddings or face fines and jail time. An article at The Daily Caller explains: