Ministerial Meanderings

God centered theology in a man centered world.

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Location: Springfield, Missouri, United States

I was born in Washington D.C. and raised in Laurel, Maryland. I served in the United States Air Force for 20 years then retired. Then God led me to become a pastor. I was converted to Christ in the summer of 1966. I enjoy the company of my wife, children and grandchildren. I live with my three cats Hobbs, Taz, and Chloe.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My 15 Minutes of Fame

My blog post on Hypercalvinism drew the attention of none other than TurretinFan. He wrote about my blog on his blog. He did not agree with everything I said, but thought I did well on the whole. You can read his comments here ....

http://turretinfan.blogspot.com/2009/09/defining-hyper-calvinism.html

His blog teaches us these important lessons. First, in looking for the truth of a matter, it is best to do in a manner befitting our high profession of faith and without the mindset of "getting the guy" who might be wrong. And second, that no matter how much we may get right, we rarely, if ever, get everything right. Therefore, we always have more to learn.

May God continue to raise up Christians who love peace and the truth above their pet theological systems, no matter how good (or bad) that system may be.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Hypercalvinism

This is a repost of one I wrote almost a year ago. But certain issues keep coming up and certain things need to said over and over. So, here it goes ...

I have learned that truth in Christianity is usually balanced. Now that does not mean that one cannot be excessively zealous for the truth. But the truth itself is balanced. When you hear something that seems extreme, or fringe, it usually is. John Calvin once said that when the Bible speaks, we speak. But when the Bible is silent, we dare not speak. Those are wise words that are worth remembering.

There is such a thing as Biblical Calvinism. It is a high truth, full of God glorifying doctrine and a biblical worldview that carries through our daily lives. You can read about that Biblical Calvinism here at http://www.seeking4truth.com/5_points.htm . But it has been noted by others that wherever Biblical Calvinism can be found there is a danger of Hypercalvinism appearing. This is of interest to us today because there are many, including some in the SBC leadership, who warn about the dangers of Hypercalvinism and then try to lump Biblical Calvinists into that group, trying to make them all look the same. But they are not the same.

Hypercalvinism is what one gets if one takes biblical doctrine then goes beyond what the Bible says. Hypercalvinism teaches that God works without means. In other words, if one is elect, then God will save that person even if they never hear the gospel or believe in Jesus as savior. Hypercalvinism teaches that since there is an elect people, we need not evangelize. Since God is completely sovereign over all things then man is not responsible for his sin. Since Christ died for his people then the gospel is not genuinely offered to those who are not elect. God does not love all the human race. And other such teachings. All these are found within the boundaries of Hypercalvinism. But none of them are biblical. All of them are, as the Hypercalvinists would say, the logical conclusions that you would get if you followed Biblical Calvinism to it's ends. But no Biblical Calvinist teaches these things. Hypercalvinism is wrong because it goes beyond what the Bible teaches. All these things I have mentioned are NOT taught in the Bible. Nor can they be derived from the Bible's true teaching.

God uses the means of the gospel and faithful preachers and witnesses to bring his chosen people to faith in Christ. God uses means. God is sovereign over all things and man is responsible for his sin. Christ did dies for God's elect people and we still must be zealous for evangelism and missions. Christ is genuinely offered every time the gospel is faithfully presented. God does have a love for all the human race. He just loves his Bride more. As Calvin said, when the Bible speaks, we must speak .. but where it is silent we dare not speak. Hypercalvinism presumes to speak for God things He has not said. And it leads people to bad conclusions.

Hear me here. Hypercalvinism is not just an error, it is a heresy. Hypercalvinism is not a Christian teaching. It is outside the faith. That is why we must be on guard against it. Remember that wherever true Biblical Calvinism is found, there is always a danger of Hypercalvinism appearing. We must watch for it and repudiate it whenever we find it.

As Christians, it is our goal to be biblical Christians. We err greatly if we speak where God has not spoken. Calvinism in it's totality is a beautiful and God honoring doctrine. But it is an ugly thing in it's perversions. May God fill our present generation with God honoring and Biblical Christians. Anything else is just ... well ... something else.

From this blog, December 2008.

Friday, September 04, 2009

A Hard Truth

"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. " (Acts 4:12).

One of the central teachings of the Christian religion is the exclusivity of Christ. That means that salvation is found exclusively in Jesus Christ. No other god, man, religion, philosophy, idea, work, deed or anything else will be able to reconcile a person to God. Only Jesus Christ.

Most Christians would acknowledge that as a given fact, an axiom. But with it comes a whole load of baggage that goes along with it. Because if it is true that salvation can only be found in Jesus Christ, then it also means that every person outside of Christ is lost and on their way to hell (barring some intervention). It also means that every person who dies without Christ goes to hell.

First, let me define what I mean when I say "dies without Christ." It means that the person has not heard the gospel message OR not believed it when they did hear it. It means that the person has not trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as their God and Savior and put their saving faith in the finished work of Jesus on the cross of Calvary alone. If Peter was right (and I believe he certainly was), and the Ark of Noah was a picture of Jesus and that those inside the Ark were saved and those outside it perished in God's judgment, then those who die without Christ are those who are outside the Ark (who is Christ) on judgment day.

Let me be perfectly clear here. Every person who dies without having personal saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, dies lost and condemned. It does not matter that they never heard the gospel message or if they ever heard the name of "Jesus," if they die without believing the gospel, they die lost.

That is why we spend so much time and money on training and sending missionaries to every part of the world. Because we know that people must be confronted with the gospel if they are going to be saved from God's wrath on the day of judgment. How can a person believe in someone of whom they have never heard? And how can they hear unless someone tells them? And how can someone tell them unless he is sent? Sent to do what? To preach the gospel of the good news of the forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God through the death and life of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Hell is real my friends, and people go there. No one in the world and be saved without hearing the gospel. That is why we go. Our love for Jesus, who looked in the multitudes and was moved with compassion, impels us into the world to preach the gospel to every creature.

The knowledge that there are people who, as if yet, have not heard the blessed gospel message, should break us and compel us to do everything possible to see that the gospel is carried to the uttermost parts of the earth. Remember, hell is real, and only Jesus Christ can keep a person from ending up there. And WE are the ones he has entrusted with this truth. So what are we going to do about that? That is a hard truth for us to hear and a hard question we need to answer. But it needed to be said clearly.