11/30/2008

Defining Hyper-Calvinism

Between Two Worlds passes on a definition of Hyper-Calvinism that I wish some of my Calvinist friends on the internet would read. Here’s a part:

A hyper-Calvinist is someone who either:

Denies that the gospel call applies to all who hear,

OR Denies that faith is the duty of every sinner,

OR Denies that the gospel makes any "offer" of Christ, salvation, or mercy to the non-elect (or denies that the offer of divine mercy is free and universal),

OR Denies that there is such a thing as "common grace,"

OR Denies that God has any sort of love for the non-elect.

All five varieties of hyper-Calvinism undermine evangelism or twist the gospel message.

11/15/2008

Whatever happened to indwelling sin?

The Point gives a link to an article on a study of teen sexuality from CBS News (“Study Links Sex On TV To Teen Pregnancy: Girls Who Avidly Watch Racy Programs Have Higher Pregnancy Rates, Research Claims” CHICAGO, Nov. 3, 2008). The study:

…suggests that pregnancy rates are much higher among teens who watch a lot of TV with sexual dialogue and behavior than among those who have tamer viewing tastes…[It] is the first to link those viewing habits with teen pregnancy, said lead author Anita Chandra, a Rand Corp. behavioral scientist. Teens who watched the raciest shows were twice as likely to become pregnant over the next three years as those who watched few such programs.

Previous research by some of the same scientists had already found that watching lots of sex on TV can influence teens to have sex at earlier ages.



The conclusion reached: “Shows that highlight only the positive aspects of sexual behavior without the risks can lead teens to have unprotected sex "before they're ready to make responsible and informed decisions.”

The study only shows a correlation. Those who watch racy TV shows are more sexually active as per the study outcomes. But which comes first? Does TV watching lead to sex, or does having the mental attitudes which lead one to engage in sex also lead one to watch TV shows that are racy? Which comes first, the TV or the sexual behavior?

I propose that the same heart condition causes both racy TV watching and risqué sexual behavior. The problem is not outside the heart, but inside it. We sin because of the condition of our hearts, not because of the conditions we find ourselves in. As R. C. Sproul is somewhat famous for saying, “We are not sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners.” Jesus teaches the same thing (Matthew 15:10-20).

Our problem is not out there in society. Our problem is in here in our hearts. We are the ones who are so sinful that the raunchy stuff is attractive to us. We are the ones in need of a new heart. We are the ones hopelessly dependent on God to provide us with one.

Is there help for us? Yes. With the Apostle Paul, we can say “Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Christ’s sacrifice for us on the cross takes away the guilt of my sin (Galatians 3:13-14), and Christ’s Spirit gives us a new heart and new desires to change our behavior (2 Cor. 5:17).

Let’s stop blaming the porn and get in the business of sharing the good news of what Jesus has done for us. That’s the only way to improve society, one heart at a time.

11/13/2008

More on Election

Camp on This gives some great quotes on election. Two are reproduced below with my comments.



"Let us remember, on the other hand, that while life is promised
universally to all who believe in Christ, still faith is not common to all. For
Christ is made known and held out to the view of all, but the elect alone are
they whose eyes God opens, that they may seek him by faith. Here, too, is
displayed a wonderful effect of faith; for by it we receive Christ such as he is
given to us by the Father -- that is, as having freed us from the condemnation
of eternal death, and made us heirs of eternal life, because, by the sacrifice
of his death, he has atoned for our sins, that nothing may prevent God from
acknowledging us as his sons. Since, therefore, faith embraces Christ, with the
efficacy of his death and the fruit of his resurrection, we need not wonder if
by it we obtain likewise the life of Christ." -John Calvin


I once heard Jerry Vines say that the gates of heaven had a message printed on either side above the entrance. From the outside, the message read, “Whosoever will may come.” From the inside, the message read, “Foreordained from the foundation of the world.” Although he probably meant something different by it that what I would, it’s still true. Whoever wants to can come to Christ. However, because of our bent toward sin and lawlessness, no one wants to come. The Holy Spirit must change a person’s heart before he has ‘the want to’ to come to Jesus in repentance and faith.


"[Limited Atonement] is the most controversial of the five [points of
Calvinism], because of Bible passages apparently teaching that Christ died for
every individual. See, for example, 2 Cor. 5:15, 1 Tim. 4:10, 1 John 2:2. There
are "universal" dimensions of the atonement: (a) it is for all nations, (b) it
is a recreation of the entire human race, (c) it is universally offered, (d) it
is the only means for anyone to be saved and thus the only salvation for all
people, (e) its value is sufficient for all. Nevertheless, Christ was not the
substitute for the sins of every person; else, everybody would be saved. For the
atonement is powerful, efficacious. It does not merely make salvation possible;
rather it actually saves. When Christ "dies for" somebody, that person is saved.
One of the apparent "universal atonement texts," 2 Cor. 5:15, makes that point
very clearly. Thus he died only for those who are actually saved. The biblical
concern here is more with the efficacy of the atonement than with its
"limitation;" perhaps we should call it "efficacious atonement" rather than
"limited atonement," and, having then lost the TULIP, develop through genetic
engineering a flower we could call the TUEIP. But of course efficacy does imply
limitation, so limitation is an important aspect of this doctrine." - John Frame


Everyone on both sides of the current Southern Baptist debate on election agrees that not everyone will get to heaven. There will be a population in hell. Christ’s death will not pay for the sins of all men because some will choose to reject Christ in their bondage to sin. Christ’s death could have paid the penalty for all sins, but it did not.

God does not punish sins twice, so if He punishes some sins in hell, then Christ could not have been punished for them. Also, to my great comfort, if Christ was punished for sins, those sins will not be punished again in this life or in the life to come.

11/10/2008

R. C. Sproul Threads the Needle Again

Ligonier Ministries blog posts a section from one of R. C. Sproul’s books on election:

We conclude that fallen man is still free to choose what he desires, but because his desires are only wicked he lacks the moral ability to come to Christ. As long as he remains in the flesh, unregenerate, he will never choose Christ. He cannot choose Christ precisely because he cannot act against his own will. He has no desire for Christ. He cannot choose what he does not desire. His fall is great. It is so great that only the effectual grace of God working in his heart can bring him to faith.

Sproul’s approach to election leaves a man responsible for his choice because he chooses according to his own desires. He can be called to account for his rejection of Christ because nothing outside of him causes him to choose as he does. He is responsible before God to repent of his sins and believe the gospel.

Sproul also accurately describes a man’s bent toward evil. Men will not choose Christ without the intervention of the Holy Spirit to change their hearts.

Those who reject Christ are responsible. Those who accept Christ humbly acknowledge their dependence on God’s grace, His unmerited favor toward them.

That’s election as the Bible teaches it.

11/05/2008

After the Election, 2008 – Pray for the President-Elect

I wanted to link to a post by Al Mohler giving his post-election commentary. Here’s the best part (but please follow the link and red the rest):

Evangelical Christians face another challenge with the election of Sen. Obama, and a failure to rise to this challenge will bring disrepute upon the Gospel, as well as upon ourselves. There must be absolutely no denial of the legitimacy of President-Elect Obama's election and no failure to accord this new President the respect and honor due to anyone elected to that high office. Failure in this responsibility is disobedience to a clear biblical command…

…We are commanded to pray for rulers, and this new President faces challenges that are not only daunting but potentially disastrous. May God grant him wisdom. He and his family will face new challenges and the pressures of this office. May God protect them, give them joy in their family life, and hold them close together…

We must pray that God would change President-Elect Obama's mind and heart on issues of our crucial concern. May God change his heart and open his eyes to see abortion as the murder of the innocent unborn, to see marriage as an institution to be defended, and to see a host of issues in a new light. We must pray this from this day until the day he leaves office. God is sovereign, after all.

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