November 2015

Can a Christian Lose His or Her Salvation?

by Greg Johnson

One major debate within Christian circles is the question of whether or not a Christian can lose his or her salvation. Arminians argue that true believers can sin so much that they lose their faith and perish. Some Christians respond by arguing that once a person professes faith in Jesus, he is eternally secure in his salvation and—even if he commits complete apostasy ("falls away") and vocally rejects Jesus Christ—will still go to heaven, for "once saved, always saved." In light of the biblical doctrine of predestination, how should we understand the security we have under God's care? There have been three main approaches to the question:

1. Classic Arminianism

• One must persevere in faith to be saved.

• True believers can lose their faith.

• Those dying without faith in Christ are condemned.

"The believer who loses his faith is damned."


2. Antinomianism

• One need not persevere in faith to be saved.

• True believers can lose their faith.

• Those who lose their faith are saved, since they once believed.

"The believer who loses his faith is saved."


3. Classic Calvinism

• One must persevere in faith to be saved.

• True believers cannot lose their faith, since it's God's gift.

• Those dying without faith in Christ are condemned.

• Those who "lose" their faith never had it to begin with.

• God will preserve true believers and they will be saved.

Mon, 11/30/2015 - 14:17 -- john_hendryx

Cyber Monday Kindle Deals for the Reformed Reader

Free eBooks on Regeneration

Note: After going to download page, remember to right-click the download link and save to your hard drive
Charnock, Stephen Regeneration
Kuyper, Abraham Saved by Grace Alone: The Work of the Holy Spirit in Calling and Regeneration
Lloyd-Jones, Martyn Effectual Calling & Regeneration
Owen, John The Work of the Holy Spirit in Regeneration
Pink, A. W. Regeneration, or the New Birth
Smeaton, George The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit
Buchanan, James The Office and Work of the Holy Spirit





Mon, 11/30/2015 - 13:36 -- john_hendryx

Calvin's Commentary on Zechariah 8:14

by John Calvin

"For thus saith Jehovah of hosts: As I thought to do evil unto you, when your fathers provoked me to wrath, and I repented not; so again have I thought in these days to do good unto Jerusalem and the house of Judah; fear ye not." - Zechariah 8:14

The Prophet confirms the truth in the preceding verse, when he said that there would be a wholly different lot to the Jews, as they would in every way be blessed. He shows the cause of the change; for God would begin to favor them, who had been before displeased with them. We indeed know that the Holy Spirit everywhere calls men before God’s tribunal, that they may know that no adversity happens to them, except through their sins. So also in this place Zechariah reminds us, that God had been angry with the Jews, because they had provoked his wrath. But now a promise is added, that God had turned; not that he had changed his mind, but he meant to show that he was pacified. (88) We indeed know that we are to judge of God’s love or hatred to us by outward things; for when God treats us severely, manifest tokens of his wrath appear; but when he deals kindly with us, then the fruit of reconciliation seems evident. According to this view does he now say, that God was of another mind than formerly towards the Jews; for he designed to show them kindness, having before sharply and severely chastised them. But we must more particularly consider each part.

Sun, 11/29/2015 - 10:41 -- john_hendryx

Islamic and Secular Fundamentalism

Both Muslim and militant Secular fundamentalists are quite alike. They both seek a monopoly on power and wield this power through the worship of an "us vs. them" political deity which will use just about any means, including demolishing their opponents, to accomplish their political ends. Both marginalize their rivals: one uses the tactics of fear in mass media by demonizing their opponents, relegating them to a outer margins of society through the endless repeating of the mantra that those who do not think like them belong to the untouchable status of a bigoted hate group; the other through forced conversions or death. Both groups are ultra-violent and genocidal: one toward those who do not convert; the other to those who are an inconvenience. Both are enemies of free speech: The secularist originally championed free speech but now that they have gained power the first amendment has started to become a liability to them. Political Islam believes outward submission is all that matters so as long as no one freely speaks about their actual thoughts and feelings then all is well. Both fine or tax groups that disagree with their agenda (Jizya). Militant Secularism sings "Imagine no religion" while seeking to privilege its atheistic values, as in Communist states. Islam sings "Imagine a worldwide caliphate." Hmm, Not that different after all.  The biggest difference between these groups, I would argue, is that Fundamentalist Islam does not really conceal their true intentions. It is right there in their historic doctrine and early practices.  But Secularism is a bit less transparent. It pretends to be tolerant and believe in freedom of conscience, all the while ultimately having similar totalitarian tendencies.

Sat, 11/28/2015 - 14:13 -- john_hendryx

This Thanksgiving, You are Not Going to Persuade Your Friends and Family of the Truth of the Gospel

This Thanksgiving, YOU are not going to convince your relatives and friends of the truth of the gospel. You can present evidence or argue with them till you are blue in the face, and they are not going to budge. At least you cannot win them over by argument alone. Remember, the reason people do not change their minds about what they believe is because their affections control their reasoning, their motivations, their presuppositions and their intuitions (John 3:19-20; Rom 1:18-21). Affections shape and bias the way we all process information and so people tend to rationalize on behalf of outcomes they want to see. People are skeptical of, and hardened toward, information they don't want to believe and have deep motivations to protect information they do want to believe. So evidence, by itself, is a really bad way to try to convince someone of the gospel. But join your evidence and the gospel with your persistent heartfelt prayers for your friends and family and God may show up and surprise you. The seeds you plant and water may be germinated by the Spirit. So do not stop reasoning and persuading, but remember that understanding the gospel is a supernatural event where God changes hearts of stone to flesh (Ezek 36:26; ! Cor 3:7; 12:3; 1 Thess 1:4, 5) so continue to look up in prayer for God's help as you lovingly communicate the only truth which can deliver them from their captivity, of which we all once were a part.

Related Resources
Biblical Regeneration and Affectional Theology by John Hendryx

Thu, 11/26/2015 - 12:39 -- john_hendryx

The Necessity of Word & Spirit in Conversion

The following is an expression of the extraordinarily balanced understanding of John Calvin with regards to the work of the Holy Spirit in bringing persons to faith through the preaching of the gospel. Commenting on Acts, it shows the outworking of God's plan through the agency of men in casting forth the seed of the gospel, which, the Bible testifies, can only be responded to when germinated (so to speak) by the Holy Spirit. The Scripture testifies that that the word alone is not enough to enter and change the heart of natural man (who is hostile to God's word) but that the heart must be opened and the mind illumined by the concurrent work of the Spirit. An biblical example of this can be found in 1 Thes 1:4, 5. "For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction..."

by John Calvin

“One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.” Acts 16:14-15

Wed, 11/25/2015 - 10:41 -- john_hendryx

How's Your Prayer Life?

by Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones

What is the place of prayer in your life? What prominence does it have in our lives? It is a question that I address to all. It is as necessary that it should reach the man who is well versed in the Scripture, and who has a knowledge of its doctrine and its theology, as that it should reach anyone else. What part does prayer play in our lives and how essential is it to us? Do we realize that without it we faint? Our ultimate position as Christians is tested by the character of our prayer life. It is more important than knowledge and understanding. Do not imagine that I am detracting from the importance of knowledge. I spend most of my life trying to show the importance of having a knowledge of truth and an understanding of it. That is vitally important. There is only one thing that is more important, and that is prayer. The ultimate test of my understanding of the Scriptural teaching is the amount of time I spend in prayer. As theology is ultimately the knowledge of God, the more theology I know, the more it should drive me to seek to know God. Not to know about Him, but to know Him. The whole object of salvation is to bring me to a knowledge of God. I may talk learnedly about regeneration, but what is eternal life? It is that they might know Thee, the only true God in Jesus Christ whom God has sent. If all my knowledge does not lead me to prayer there is something wrong somewhere. It is meant to do that. The value of the knowledge is that it gives me such an understanding of the value of prayer, that I devote time to prayer and delight in prayer. If it does not product these results in my life, there is something wrong and spurious about it, or else I am handling it in a wrong manner.


Related Resources

Tue, 11/24/2015 - 14:41 -- john_hendryx

There Arose No Little Disturbance Concerning the Way

When the apostle Paul went into the city of Ephesus, through his witness, a significant number of idolaters there, by the grace of God, had a change of heart and become Christians. (Acts 19:11-20) Because this threatened the livelihood of most of the silversmiths (who made idols) they began spreading the word that there was a danger that "the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be counted as nothing." (Acts 11:27) A good number of people were enraged and were crying out, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” So the city was filled with the confusion.." (Acts 11:29-30) Such confusion that most of those who gathered did not know why they had come together and there was practically a riot.  

Today, in our current culture, where people worship at the altar of their idols of hyper sexuality, it often seems like the the same kind of inner rage is directed toward those who hold Christian convictions. Those who are blinded to the gospel proclamation of liberty and still want to be chained to their old masters, are threatened by the gospel ... that it will overthrow their gods so they are "enraged" and think that by shouting louder than others they can get the wider culture to believe the false message that our love for our fellow human beings is really hate and bigotry. But for several thousand years Christians & Jews have believed that the only place for sexual union is in a marriage covenant between one man and one woman for life. This is a matter of conscience and change cannot be forced or coerced by bullying, social pressure, contrary values of culture, politics, or law. This is who we are and what we believe and it is not going to change.

Tue, 11/03/2015 - 12:55 -- john_hendryx

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