April 2015

Neither Moralism Nor License

Any church which teaches that we can trust in our own righteousness; that God favors us, and not others, because we are somehow better ... and/or teaches that Jesus' main mission was to be a moral example that we are to follow, can no longer be considered remotely Christian. On other other hand, those churches which adopt the culture's sexual ethic and teach that any call to obedience to God's commands is needlessly injuring people, has also completely abandoned the faith. The gospel is neither moralism nor license, nor is it some balance between the two but something entirely different ... something new. Sin comes in many forms but moralism and antinomianism are the most prominent temptations in the church. That is one reason the author of Hebrews declares, "But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." (Heb 3:13)

If God has redeemed a person in Christ, he has been sealed by the Holy Spirit for the Day of redemption, who is the guarantee of our inheritance (Eph. 1:13,14). No part of our salvation further depends on the believers act(s) of obedience. No person can attain or maintain their own just standing before God. We cannot become MORE JUSTIFIED than we already are. That was/is the work of Christ alone. But because, by the mercy of God, we are born again, God has renewed us and changed the disposition and affections of our heart that we might love God and His commands. Something not even possible for the natural man. Indifference or continued resistance to God's commands is the sign of an unrenewed heart:

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 17:25 -- john_hendryx

We Do Not Wage War as the World Does

There are more and more Christians in the US now being forced out of a job because of their convictions ...(e.g. Brendan Eich (Former Chief of Mozilla Firefox), Kelvin Cochran (former Atlanta Fire Chief) & The Benham brothers (HGTV, Flip it Forward) and many other similar examples ... but we are not called to retaliate in kind. We do not use illiberal tactics to further the Kingdom of God, but proclaim the truth in good conscience and continue to do good to those who wish to harm us. Many in the world have a dualistic, Manichean worldview, in which those who share their views represent the forces of goodness and light while those who don't share their views represent the forces of evil and darkness. But we do not wage war as the world does. (2 Cor. 10:3-5; Rom. 12:14, Matt 5:44). Our war is not against flesh and blood but against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places which blind them and take them captive (Eph 6:12; 2 Tim 2:26). We can have empathy for those in the world who are against us because we are like them and we were one of them, but for the grace of God. And we now know that the gospel message of Jesus Christ (which we have been entrusted) is their only hope to be rescued out of it. We do this, not by browbeating but we persuade men (2 Cor. 5:11)

Mon, 04/27/2015 - 16:02 -- john_hendryx

Blacklisting and Other Coercive Measures

The following is a letter I recently wrote to a good long time friend of mine who happens to be a strong liberal supporter of LGBT rights.

Dear _____

I have a question for you about the whole LGBT rights issue. I can understand why you have your position and, in fact, I am sympathetic to many of the goals which would protect them from not enjoying many of the same basic rights as others.  

However, what I don't understand, is how good liberals like you, can stand by dumb and idle at many of the undemocratic tactics which a large percentage of the LGBT lobby and community are using to further their agenda. It seems obvious that many in the LGBT lobby make no real distinctions whatsoever between persons who disagree with their viewpoint.  Anyone who disagrees, at least by a vocal group within the lobby, is immediately shouted down and dismissed and called a hater, bigot or homophobe. The effect of this is not merely to quash free speech and freedom of conscience, but has far-reaching implications beyond this.  It is becoming clear that the agenda of many in the lobby is not merely to pass their anti-discrimination laws but to homogenize the culture into some kind of groupthink. And this is being carried out with coercive measures.

Here are some examples I have in mind from several recent events.

1) the Atlanta fire chief lost his job because somewhere in a book he had written he mentioned, among a list of other sins, that sex between members of the same gender was a sin. Did he single homosexuality to be the only sin? No. Other sins were included.

Fri, 04/24/2015 - 15:06 -- john_hendryx

Does Effectual Grace Make People Into Robots?

Visitor: Sovereignty is king, free will is queen. it takes 100% of both to get to heaven. Or else its is coercion or robotics. that is why John Wesley taught about prevenient grace. It brings you to the place you can either accept or reject Christ. Its not saving grace, but the Holy Spirit works on ya.

Response: John Wesley may have taught prevenient grace but the Bible only speaks of two states of man ... regenerate and unregenerate ... Wesley had to create this doctrine, apart from Scripture, entirely with human logic (which creates a third state in-between regenerate and unregenerate) in order to maintain his theological system. However, the Bible speaks of no additional in-between state. We are either "in the flesh" (which can do nothing) or "in the Spirit". As such, Jesus declares, "the Spirit quickens, the flesh counts for nothing ... that is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me grants it...[and] "all that the Father gives me will come to me".... John 6:63, 65,37. No one can come to faith in Jesus unless God grants it and all to whom He grants it will come to faith in Him." This does away with prevenient grace altogether... Jesus left no room for it in these clear statements.

The Bible indeed calls us to declare the gospel to all people ... but, left to themselves, none of them will respond to it. All have turned aside. They remain stiff-necked in their opposition to God's loving plea to come to Christ for life. Yet, in His great mercy, God still saves a people for Himself out of all the ill-deserving people of the earth.  

Fri, 04/24/2015 - 12:00 -- john_hendryx

Don't Make a Savior out of Your Morality

Dear Christian, Are you less deserving of hell than others? Or more deserving of heaven? Are you better than others? What makes you to differ? But for the grace of God we are no different than anyone. (1 Cor 4:7) Oh so you do good now? Then give God the glory for the grace He has shown you in Christ, for it is He who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. (Phil. 2:13).

We all agree that the Bible teaches that, as Christians, we are called to strive to live a holy life. No Christian can be God's child and be indifferent to God's law. But our motives for being holy makes all the difference as to whether we are Christians or moralists. If we are doing good out of a Spirit-renewed, grateful heart that trusts in Christ alone for our standing and favor before a holy God then, then by the grace of God, you understand the gospel... but if your motive for doing good is (even partly) out of the hope to earn, deserve or maintain God's favor then you have not yet understood that basics of the gospel, but are trusting, at least partly, in morality as your savior. The Christian does not make a practice of sin because God’s SEED dwells in him, and he cannot abide in sin BECAUSE he HAS BEEN BORN OF GOD. (1 John 3:9 emphasis mine). One motive gives all glory to God and the other leaves room for boasting:

"...because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,  so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (1 Cor 1:29-31).

Mon, 04/20/2015 - 11:50 -- john_hendryx

Do you think you are more deserving of heaven than your gay neighbor?

I saw the cartoon on the right on the Internet today and thought I would comment on it.

if you did a survey of visitors to any theologically conservative website like monergism.com and asked them "Do you think you are more deserving of heaven than your gay neighbor?" I am willing to wager that 95 out of every 100 Christian persons surveyed would emphatically say no they are not more deserving ... not even close.

Why would they say this? Because it is politically correct? No. Because it is Christianity 101. No one who understands even the very basics of Christianity thinks they are more deserving of heaven than anyone else because if they did they they do not even remotely understand the gospel. In fact the entire Christian community would consider such a view to be outside the realm of Christian orthodoxy:

Sat, 04/18/2015 - 19:17 -- john_hendryx

Can Fallen Man Do Anything to Please God?

Question: Can fallen man do anything to please God? Can the natural man make choices all the time for things that are good and evil?

Response: All fallen, unregenerate human beings are endowed with many of God's common graces. God has blessed all men with a conscience and the capacity to promote virtue and civil righteousness. It is abundantly clear that many beautiful aspects of the world we live in have been brought forth by those which are unredeemed by God's regenerative grace. God has gifted natural men and women with the skill to create beautiful music, make profound works of art, to invent intricate machines and do countless things that are productive, excellent and praiseworthy. But even these "good things" are not done purely to glorify God. i.e. the source of natural man's affections and motives for doing things come from a polluted well.

Fallen man's many good works, even though in accord with God's commands, are not well pleasing to God when weighed against His ultimate criteria and standard of perfection. The love of God and His law is not the unbelievers' deepest animating motive and principle (nor is it his motive at all), so it does not earn him the right to redemptive blessings from a holy God. The Scripture clearly implies this when it states "...without faith it is impossible to please Him." (Hebrews 11:6a, NASB) and "whatever is not from faith is sin." (Romans 14:23)

Sat, 04/18/2015 - 11:48 -- john_hendryx

What Do Theologically Conservative Christians Really Think About People with Same-Sex Attraction?

Online Comment: Christian conversion of gay people should be banned, especially to your type of Christianity. People cannot become un-gay. You do not realize the amount of teasing and bullying gay people receive.

Response: I can understand how being bullied and teased growing up might be very tough in this world. I have experienced my share. It is sad when bigoted people wish harm upon others. I believe those persons with same-sex attraction ought to be treated with the same respect as other human beings created in the image of God ... the same as I would want to be treated. But from this an other comments you have made I get the distinct feeling that you have a fairly limited understanding of what Christianity is really all about and what the vast majority of theologically conservative Christians actually think about those with same-sex attraction..

Wed, 04/15/2015 - 16:01 -- john_hendryx


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