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

Flesh and Blood Has Not Revealed this to You & John 3:16

by John Hendryx

The commandments of God were never meant to empower us but to strip us of trusting in our own ability so that we would come to an end of ourselves. With striking clarity, Paul teaches that this is the intent of Divine legislation (Rom 3:20, 5:20, Gal 3:19,24).  A command or invitation with an open ended hypothetical statement such as John 3:16 ('whosover believes') does not imply the ability to fulfill it. This is especially true in light of texts such as John 1:13, Rom 9:16, John 6:37, 44, 63-65; Rom 3:11; Matt 16-26' 1 Cor 2:14 and many more which show man's moral inability to come to faith or believe the Gospel in their fallen state. In our unregenerate nature we do not want God but rather love darkness and "will not come into the light" * (John 3:19, 20).

If men are never found naturally willing to submit in faith to the humbling terms of the gospel of Christ, then how can it be good news? (Rom 3:11; John 6:64,65; 2 Thessalonians 3:2) Because in Christ Jesus, God gives to us freely, what he demands from us. In the gospel God reveals the same righteousness and faith for us that God demands from us. What we had to have, but could not create or achieve or fulfill, God grants us freely, namely, the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21) and living faith that unites to Christ. He reveals, as a gift in Christ Jesus, the faith and righteousness that was once only a demand. Faith is not something that the sinner contributes towards the price of His salvation. Jesus has already paid that price in full for us.  Faith is our first gasp of breath in our new birth, so to speak.  It is a witness of God's work of grace already haven taken place within us (Eph 2:5, 8; 2 Tim 2:25; 1 John 5:1; John 6:63, 65). 

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 12:14 -- john_hendryx

Helpful Theological Essays for Your Smart-Phone

From time to time here at Monergism we plan on taking some good theological resources and making them available in a way that they can easily be read in a smart-phone friendly format. Of course these can also be read on your laptop or tablet, but many of these were previously only available in such a way that smart-phone users could only see them in tiny almost unreadable text.

The following are a few that I have been working recently on that I thought you would find helpful and edifying.

What is Covenant Theology? by J I Packer

Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Mortality; Judgement; Heaven; Hell by J I Packer

Man's Own Character No Ground Of Peace by Horatius Bonar

The Present State of the World by Herman Bavinck

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - Each Part in Saving Sinners by James Buchanan

Five Arguments for the Unity of the Covenant of Grace by Robert L Reymond

The Knowledge of Christ Crucified by Stephen Charnock

Verifying The Resurrection: Six Evidences by James Montgomery Boice

The Virgin Birth and History by James Montgomery Boice

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 16:51 -- john_hendryx

The Moral and Immoral Both Alienated from God

Both moral and immoral individuals are alienated from God and are offensive to Him. This may be counterintuitive, but moral people may be lost due to their "goodness." Why? It is often the case that goodness keeps people from God. In fact, many people avoid sin and Jesus in an attempt to become their own saviors, justifying themselves. However, the gospel is not about moralism or relativism and is equally offensive to both the moral and the irreligious. Christ calls us to repent of both our good and bad works, for we have no righteousness of our own.

Jesus disapproved of people who trusted in their own morality, as shown by His statement, "If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, 'We see,' your guilt remains" (John 9:41). Those who believe that God will accept them based on their goodness only understand part of the truth. Although God loves what is good, He also loves the truth. Therefore, we must confess that, in light of God's holy law, we are not good and have woefully failed to do what is pleasing to God, replacing Him with worthless self-pleasing idol substitutes, and deserve punishment for it. Those who think they have done enough to please God have not understood the seriousness of their condition. John Calvin once said, "Man is never sufficiently touched and affected by the awareness of his lowly state until he has compared himself with God's majesty." In light of God's holiness, all individuals, even the best of us, would become undone. This was even the case with the holiest saints of the Bible, who fell at God's feet as though dead when He revealed Himself to them. God created us to enjoy and glorify Him, but humans voluntarily rebelled against Him, falling into the bondage of the self-centeredness of sin, and cannot help themselves out of it.

Wed, 12/18/2013 - 09:59 -- john_hendryx

Free MP3s on Every Chapter of Scripture - For Smart Phones

Those who love listening to sermons and MP3s, especially smart-phone users, check out the following page. It is a hub for MP3s on every chapter of Scripture - including only solid Reformed pastors and teachers or teachers we otherwise think are helpful. There are thousands of free MP3s here that are just waiting for you to download into your smart-phone or tablet.

This is a must see >>> Bookmark this page <<<

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 10:07 -- john_hendryx


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