December 2013

Resisting the Holy Spirit

An argument frequently made against the biblical doctrine of irresistible grace is an appeal to Acts 7:51 which declares “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you."

It should be noted, however, that the very text here cited by some to demonstrate that grace is resistible contains the very language that makes a decisive argument against their own position. Indeed these persons Stephen is directing the comments toward are resisting the Holy Spirit, but look closely... the Text declares that their heart and ears are "uncircumcised". In the Old Testament this is commonly used language used for regeneration (See Deut 29:4, 30:6 & Ezek 36:26) so being unregenerate, to resist every outward working of the Spirit, is simply acting in accordance with their natures.

People always resist the outward call of the gospel.. ALWAYS, until God chooses to open their eyes, ears and heart to the gospel. That is called circumcision of heart, the new birth or regeneration. The work of the Holy Spirit is manifold, regeneration being only one aspect of redemption ... The Bible declares that He may convict the unregenerate of certain sin and do many things short of regenerating grace. Anything short of regeneration CAN and WILL BE be resisted.

Question: "Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn." Deut. 10:16 --> If God commands the Israelites to circumcise their own hearts in this verse and in Jer. 4:4, how can we reconcile these two verses with monergistic principles?

Answer: Good question.

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 11:50 -- john_hendryx

Our Poisoned Culture of Libel and Defamation

I have not historically spent much time, if any, obsessing on the various sexual liberation agendas in our culture. But it has come to my attention that perhaps the most troubled and confused people in our current society are those who accuse Christians of hate speech and homophobia for simply wanting to share the gospel with them. Such groundless declarations of hate betray the speakers themselves as a people driven by irrational prejudice. In doing so they are creating a poisoned cultural, educational and political atmosphere which they teach others to hate Christians for something they don't even believe, nor has it crossed our mind .... since no true Christian believes he/she morally better and many of us have committed much worse sins. We are here to proclaim freedom to those enslaved, ourselves included. It is mercy alone which saved us, and certainly not any good in us.

It is one thing to say that you don't believe Christianity to be true but quite another to declare that it must come from hate. Sadly I do believe a large number of people promoting these cultural myths know this, but truth seems to go out the window for people when they have a political agenda. However, when such an agenda involves smearing others with non-existent motives, then this is a form of defamation and is ITSELF perhaps the worst form of hate there is. Perhaps THIS is the source of our very hostile, divided culture. If there are so-called Christians, who are hateful, and no doubt there are, surprising as it may sound to some, a more conservative view of theology is the answer to dealing with such ignorance and bigotry. Jesus who delivers ALL OF US from some form(s) of bondage, calls us to proclaim liberty to captives whoever they may be, homosexual or otherwise.

Sat, 12/28/2013 - 14:26 -- john_hendryx

We Changed, God Didn't

At the fall, we changed, God didn't. By nature God is holy so He cannot become less-than-holy and still remain God. Even in our fallen state, God gives us commands to live in perfect holiness if we would live. For example, He calls us to love him with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, yet this is an impossible supposition for fallen man - but, notice, this does not stop God from commanding us to do so. Why? Paul says the purpose of the Law for lost men and women is not to reveal their moral ability but their inability... "Through the law comes knowledge of sin."(Rom 3:19, 20) Thus, when God humbles us through His law, we see our utter spiritual bankruptcy ... that there is absolutely no hope left in ourselves, and God does this to make room for the gospel, since in our helpess state, it becomes obvious that the mercy of God in Christ can ALONE save us.

Sat, 12/28/2013 - 13:24 -- john_hendryx

If My People ...

by John Hendryx

Many Christians will (reluctantly) acknowledge that there indeed do appear to be passages in the Bible, especially in the Gospel of John and the the theology of the Pauline epistles which strongly suggest that salvation is by grace alone, apart from the will or effort or cooperation of man (John 6:63, 65, 37; Rom 9:15, 16). However these same individuals will then quickly point out the "many" passages which give the appearance of teaching the free will of man to believe and follow Christ, apart from such grace. For example they appeal to passages in the Bible which say "if you are willing", "if you will hear", "if you will do" and they assume that such appeals to man demonstrates that he has a free will to believe.

Recently one individual with this view pointed out a similar type of passage in Jeremiah 26 where the Lord declares:

"Tell them everything I command you; do not omit a word. 3Perhaps they will listen and each will turn from their evil ways. Then I will relent and not inflict on them the disaster I was planning because of the evil they have done. 4Say to them, 'This is what the Lord says: If you do not listen to me and follow my law, which I have set before you, 5and if you do not listen to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I have sent to you again and again (though you have not listened), 6then I will make this house like Shiloh and this city a curse among all the nations of the earth.'"

The person who quoted the passage said the phrase "perhaps they will listen" is proof positive that man has a free will to repent and believe on their own and that the bible does not present such passages as deception.

Fri, 12/27/2013 - 12:58 -- john_hendryx

Monergism's Top 12 Christian Books of 2013

I can't believe it is already the end of 2013.  Lot's a very good titles to choose from this year.  These were not necessarily best-sellers .. or at least I did not take this number into account when compiling this list.. They were simply books we liked or thought were the most important in the last 12 months ... even if (on rare occassion) we did not agree with every detail ... lots of good reading here!!!

Thu, 12/26/2013 - 14:25 -- john_hendryx

Why Does the Bible Condone Genocide?

by John Hendryx

Visitor's Question: Why does the Bible condone genocide? Was that just the Old Testament "god" who demanded that? It is clear that in the book of Joshua, God commanded the Jews to utterly wipe out people groups that inhabited Canaan. If this is so, why didn't Jesus denounce him? Christians often try to avoid this question, it seems to me.

Response: Actually, I am surprised that this question should be avoided, as it provides one of the clearest illustrations of a most significant truth in the Bible: Not only did God take the lives of those He ordered the Israelites to kill (the Canaanites) – He also takes the life of everyone on earth. The peoples of Canaan may have faced the death penalty earlier than expected, but in essence, their fate was no different than ours. We are all subject to death. Death, as the Bible reveals, is the just penalty imposed for Adam's disobedience in the garden (Genesis 2:16-17; Rom. 5:12-14). Thus, not only may God take life as He sees fit – He does take the life of every last human on earth (see Heb. 9:27). We should not lose sight of this alarming truth: death is not natural, it is not a normal process of time and chance, nor is it a necessary mechanism of evolution. Humans were created to live, and the fact that they do not speaks to a terrifying reality – we are all born under divine wrath and judgment.

Thu, 12/26/2013 - 07:05 -- john_hendryx

Legalism and Antinomianism: The Two Gospel Thieves by Pastor Nick Batzig (Guest Post)

In recent years, pastors and theologians in Evangelical and Calvinistic churches have laid a great deal of emphasis on two theological terms that seek to describe the two main categories of theological error into which professing Christians may fall. These categories, under which much theological error occurs, are legalism and antinomianism. These terms are certainly not novel (albeit, the latter has certainly been employed with much less frequency in our day than the former). Theologians throughout the history of Protestantism have used these two terms when addressing doctrinal error in the church—as their historical context demanded. That being said, it is right for us to understand that these two errors always pose a threat to true Gospel ministry. In his short essay on Antinomianism, James Henley Thornwell made the following illustrative statement about these two errors into which God’s people are ever prone to fall:

The natural vibration of the mind is from the extreme of legalism to that of licentiousness, and nothing but the grace of God can fix it in the proper medium of Divine truth. The Gospel, like its blessed Master, is always crucified between two thieves—legalists of all sorts on the one hand and Antinomians on the other; the former robbing the Savior of the glory of his work for us, and the other robbing him of the glory of his work within us. (1)

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 23:25 -- john_hendryx

Key Quotes From Luther's Bondage of the Will

The subsequent quotations are extracted from "The Bondage of the Will," which Luther believed to be his most significant work. The doctrine of faith, as expressed in "De Servo Arbitrio," is deeply grounded in Scripture. Should Luther's thesis be correct, then all religions that are founded on human ability are fundamentally mistaken.

Luther was responding to Erasmus' claims that humans possess a natural moral capacity to obey the gospel. Erasmus assumed that all of God's commands to obey demonstrated that we had the "free-will" or moral ability to fulfill them. Erasmus frequently inquired, "If we are unable to do anything, what is the purpose of all the laws, precepts, threats, and promises in the Bible? All these commandments are worthless if nothing is attributed to the human will. If it is not within the power of every person to keep what is commanded, all the exhortations of Scripture are necessarily meaningless." In response, Luther with great acumen and sarcasm reveals why Erasmus' notion of free will is an erroneous and unscriptural doctrine that ultimately undermines the gospel itself.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 17:16 -- john_hendryx

The Wisdom of the Age

The wisdom of the age has it backwards. Declaring that a person is a sinner does not make one a hater, but a lover of that person ... and of mankind. Do Christians point out sin to shame, bully or incite violence against someone? Absurd and a profound misapprehension of our intent. In calling someone a sinner do Christians think they are superior, more moral? May it never be! Most people's sin pales in comparison to mine. Fact is, it would only be hate or discrimination if we refused the gospel to someone because we thought their sin makes them somehow unworthy of it. The gospel declares that anyone who, by the grace of God, comes to Christ will be forgiven, no matter how abominable their sin. And such are granted a new heart which loves God and his law.

The gospel is offensive, and according to the Bible, a stumbling block (Matt 21:44; 1 Cor 1:23; 1 Pet. 2:8). If people were not offended by it then I would think we were doing something wrong. Of course, we should not make ourselves needlessly offensive in the process. But I thank the Lord he is forgiving, or I would not stand a chance on my own. And He will forgive you if, by grace, you come to Jesus. He has come to bring good news to the afflicted, to bind up the brokenhearted and to proclaim liberty to the captives. (Isaiah 61)

Related Essays
If God loves all people, why does he condemn gays? by John Hendryx
But God Made Me this Way! by John Frame
Duck Dynasty: ‘Going to shoot him? The woman? Me?’ by Marvin Olasky

Sat, 12/21/2013 - 12:24 -- john_hendryx

The Atonement as Taught by Jesus Himself (eBook)

by Rev. George Smeaton, D.D.

in .mobi, ePub & .pdf formats

The present volume is intended to be the first portion of a larger whole, which if completed, will exhibit the entire New Testament teaching on the subject of the atonement. I purposed to survey the whole testimony of our Lord and of His apostles; beginning with the former as fundamental. But as the subject grew in my hands, it was found necessary to reserve, in the meantime, the consideration of the apostolic testimony.

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 15:35 -- john_hendryx


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