Is Calvinism Dangerous?

31 03 2008

I’ve been listening to these MP3’s all week and can’t get enough so I thought I’d pass them on. These are right up there with the legendary James White Romans 9 MP3 that has been traded more than a Mint condition Captain James T. Kirk rookie card at a Star Trek convention!

These MP3’s are kind of unique. They’re of an audio sermon that Pastor Jim McClarty and Jeff Young had heard that they decided to re-create it into a teaching tool. They play the sermon, and periodically stop to explain the mistakes, misrepresentations, and misinterpreted scripture that it contains.

The topic of the sermon is: “Is Calvinism dangerous?”

If you download these MP3’s that’s the question you’ll have answered.

Here is the link to the page where the MP3’s are located, courtesy of Phillip over at Reformed Voices…(a site I highly recommend by the way.)

Paul on Mars Hill: contextualizing the gospel or not?

30 03 2008

I have said it many times, but as usual Phil Johnson over at the Pyros said it much better than I ever did, so instead of talking about this myself, I’ll let Phil explain it. He’s making a point about Paul and his sermon on Mars Hill, and how some types latch on to that to rationalize any crazy idea in the name of contextualization of the gospel.

Take it away Phil…

In Acts 17, Paul preaches to the intellectual elite of Athens. The narrative includes one of the classic examples of New Testament gospel-preaching. It shows us the apostolic evangelistic strategy in action. It’s an especially helpful example of how to confront false religion, philosophy, and elitism in an evangelistic setting. And it takes place in a highbrow academic environment.

It’s one of the best-known portions of the book of Acts, but it’s also one of the most-abused sections in all of Scripture. It’s a favorite passage for those who insist if we’re not finding (or creating) as much common ground as possible between church and culture we are not properly contextualizing the gospel.

People who are enthralled with style-driven missional strategies almost always single out this famous account.

“Paul blended into the culture,” they say. “He adopted the worldview and communications style of his hearers. He observed their religion and listened to their beliefs and learned from them before he tried to teach them. And he didn’t step on their toes by refuting what they believed. Instead, he took their idea of the unknown god, embraced that, and used it as the starting point for his message about Christ.

And there you have some of the major elements of postmodern missional ministry: culture, contextualization, conversation, and charitableness.

I think if we look at this passage carefully in its context, what we’ll see is that Paul used none of those strategies-at least not in the way they have been defined and packaged by most today’s postmodern, Emergent, and missional trend-setters.

Paul was bold and plain-spoken. He was counter-cultural, confrontive, confident, and (by Athenian standards, much less today’s standards) closed-minded. He offended a significant number of Athens’s intellectual elite, and he walked away from that encounter without winning the admiration of society at large, but with just a small group of converts who followed him.

That is the biblical approach to ministry. You don’t measure its success or failure by how pleased the crowd is at the end of the meeting. Our first concern ought to be the clarity and power with which the message is delivered.

The right question to ask is not how many people received the message warmly. (It’s nice if they do, but that’s not usually the majority response.)

The right question to ask is whether the signs of conviction are seen in those who have heard.

And sometimes a forceful negative reaction is the result of the gospel’s convicting aspects. In fact, when unbelievers walk away without repenting of sin and embracing Christ, an overtly hostile reaction is a much better indication that the message was delivered clearly and accurately than a round of applause and an outpouring of good feeling from a crowd of appreciative worldlings.

We need to remember that. We’re tempted to think that when people reject the gospel it’s because we have done a poor job of presenting it. Sometimes that may be true, but it’s not necessarily true. Of course, our job is to be as clear and accurate as possible, and not to be a stumbling-block that keeps people from hearing the gospel.

But the gospel itself is a stumbling-block for unbelievers, so people will stumble and even get angry when they are presented with it.

And we have no right to try to reshape the gospel so that it’s no longer a stumbling-block. You can’t proclaim the gospel faithfully if your goal is for no one ever to be offended or upset by it.

We could learn a lot from what Jesus did in John 6. That chapter begins with this in verse 2: “Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased.” They liked it when He did miracles, but they didn’t want His message.

He preached to them anyway, and at the end of the chapter (v. 66), John writes: “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.” And then while the crowd was diminishing to almost nothing, Jesus turned to the twelve and said, “Do you also want to go away?” (v. 67). And then in verse 70, He added, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?”

In the face of a mass exodus of His disciples, Jesus was not concerned about doing what He could to seem more “likable.” He pressed the message with more clarity and more candor than ever.

That’s exactly what Paul does in Acts 17. His strategy was about as far as possible from the postmodernized approach that drives so much of the contemporary evangelical church’s outreach efforts.

Read if for yourself.

From my daily scripture reading.

30 03 2008

I’ve been reading through the McCheyene reading plan this year and I came across a particularly amazing passage. Over at Old Truth there has been some discussion about “convert counting” and that’s branched off into (predictably) the question of “who does the saving?” Your answer to this question affects everything else in your theology…so it’s important to look closely and honestly at it. Follow who’s doing what to whom. Search your heart, give this some thought and prayer…do your beliefs about God’s sovereign power in salvation line up with scripture?
Here is the passage I read…I’ll let it speak for itself:

John 12:37-40
Although Jesus had performed so many miraculous signs before them, they still refused to believe in him, so that the word of Isaiah the prophet would be fulfilled. He said,

Lord, who has believed our message,

and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?“

For this reason they could not believe, because again Isaiah said,

He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart,

so that they would not see with their eyes and

understand with their heart,

and turn to me, and I would heal them.

“ Biblical Studies Press. (2006; 2006). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Jn 12:37-40). Biblical Studies Press.

From Slice: “Hannah Montana” says “I Do it All For Jesus”

29 03 2008

This came from Ingrid over at Slice. How disgusting. Has Christianity sunk so low that this goes by without so much as a comment?

The Christian Post reports that Miley Cyrus, aka Hannah Montana, says she does it all for Jesus. What exactly is she doing for Jesus? See below.

This poor girl, raised in a celebrity world, has never been taught the basics of the Gospel, or that there is a difference between flesh and spirit, between the values of the world and the values of a Christian. Here are some critical verses that make things plain.

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

-Galatians 5:24-25

Jesus does not call us to be idols for the foolish world to follow, but rather to deny ourselves, take up our crosses and follow Him alone.

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

-I John 3:1

Jesus Christ himself stated that the world will hate those who follow Him, not applaud them. The world loves Hannah Montana. She is a product of the world’s system and idolatrous thinking.

If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.

If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

-John 15:18-20

I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.

They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

-John 17:15-17

Christ further tell us that to be friends with the world is to be an enemy of God.

Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

-James 4:4

One of Miley Cyrus’ hit songs is “Best of Both Worlds”. There is no such thing in the Christian life. We can’t serve the world and God at the same time. When Jesus Christ comes in and transforms us from death to life, from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of Light, our value system changes, everything changes. When you have been brought to life by the living Christ, you can’t stay the same.

Miley is serving as a role model to millions of little girls who are losing their childhood and innocence because their parents are feeding their idolatry for this rock singer while those who put her on stage are making millions of dollars. It’s a huge industry. You can see the face of one little girl with shining eyes in this video that jumps out at you from the audience. These girls are not being pointed to Jesus and away from the world and the flesh by Miley Cyrus. They’re being drawn in.

The new non-gospel of evangelicalism has led to this. All a star needs to say is, “I love Jesus. I really do. I do it all for Him.” Then they keep on with their disobedient conduct, their carnal desires and their worldly acclaim. This is the false gospel that has been embraced by so many millions today. That’s why I have a passion for the work that I do, to help be a voice calling people back to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, back to the authority and truth of the Word, and away from this deceit that is leading so many to hell, ironically, in Jesus name.

Does the bible teach “Free Will”?

27 03 2008

  The following is a Question & Answer about free will from Jim McClarty over at Grace Christian Assembly in Tennessee. It’s a great site chocked full of good resources! Here is the link to the Q&A page:

I’m taking an English 102 class right now in college and we are going over “Paradise Lost” right now. I don’t know how familiar you are with the book, but the basic gist of it is the story of Satan’s rebellion against God and the loss of Paradise for Adam and Eve.

The writer, John Milton, is apparently a staunch Arminian and brings up the subject of free will quite often i.e. Satan had the free will to get kicked out of heaven, Eve had the free will to eat the apple, Adam had the free will to sin with his wife.

Anyway, last night during our class we got to the part of the book where God is talking to Jesus and talking about how man has now ruined himself because he ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God looks around heaven and sees if there is someone around who is willing to take the place of the sinners and Jesus voluntarily says He’ll take their place.

This ultimately led to a group discussion of free will and it’s “beauty” (quoth my teacher).

There are about 9 people in my class; 2 of us are “reformed” or Calvinist, 3 of them are free will proponents, and the other 4 don’t really know/care what we are talking about.

During the said discussion, my teacher started spouting off about how God allows us to choose whether or not to accept Him or reject Him and that it has to be a choice because otherwise we would be robots and it wouldn’t be real love and devotion. I argued with him for a while, quoting Ephesians and Romans and talking about how we are dead in sin, but then he answered “but Adam was not born dead into sin, he had the free ability to choose.

How do you explain that?”

And I couldn’t.

  Read the rest of this entry »

Paul Washer video sermon; “The modern church worships and serves humanism”

27 03 2008

I don’t know if there is anyone left on the planet earth who doesn’t know who Paul Washer is but just in case, I’m posting this sermon.

All of Paul’s sermons are good but this one really hits the spot!

Also, props go to Truth Matters for posting consistently quality stuff like this, If that’s not on your regular surfing list, I urge you to hit the favorites button now!

Sinners in the hands of an angry God…audio sermon download

26 03 2008

This is an MP3 download of a sermon delivered by Johnathan Edwards in Enfield, CT in 1741.

It’s been called the greatest sermon ever preached on American soil…if it’s not it’s in the top 10…

This audio reading of Edward’s sermon is by Mark Dever of 9 Marks ministry and has some background on Johnathan Edwards at the beginning.

Click on the link below; download it and give it a listen.

Click here