Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Southern Baptist Convention's Teaching on Salvation

The purpose of this post is to examine the teachings of the Southern Baptist Convention in light of the teaching of salvation by sovereign grace taught in the scriptures. This statement of beliefs was pulled from the Bellevue Baptist Church website on 10/10/2010 as a representation of the beliefs held by SBC churches. I have added commentary below each section.  

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Greg Gilbert - What is the Gospel?

Several years ago I was given Greg Gilbert's short book What is the Gospel? as a gift. While this book makes many good affirmations, it is also an example of the sort of self-contradictory assertions made by those in the Neo-Calvinist camp.  

Friday, December 14, 2012

Total Depravity Requires Immediate Holy Spirit Regeneration

No desert road is too remote for the grace of God.  
It seems that most Christians believe in something other than immediate Holy Spirit regeneration. Many will suggest that the grace of eternal salvation is imparted to God's people through means - either by the gospel, or by repentance and faith, or by church membership, or by the so-called sacraments, or by water baptism, etc. Primitive Baptists have long held that the impartation of eternal life is not by any such means but rather by the direct or immediate operation of God upon a subject that is spiritually dead.  

Monday, December 10, 2012

Long Ere the Sun

The song service has long been an important part of Primitive Baptist worship. One of the first songs I learned when I began attending the church was Long Ere the Sun. The way that this song embraces and glories in the beautiful truth of sovereign election and salvation by an everlasting covenant really struck a chord with me. As a result it has been one of my favorites from that day forward. It is for this reason that I decided to republish the lyrics here and provide a brief commentary regarding the truths contained therein.  


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Primitive Baptist Articles of Faith Commentary


For those wondering what the Primitive Baptists believe, this short commentary is intended to provide an introduction. The 13 Articles of Faith below are from Harmony Primitive Baptist Church in Donaldson, AR, and are extremely similar to the articles of faith found in other Primitive Baptist churches around the world.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

What is the Church?

As I drive to work each day, I am certain that I pass a dozen or more houses of worship.  There are Southern Baptists, Catholics, Adventists, Presbyterians, Missionary Baptists, Lutherans, Pentecostals, and a host of others. A reasonable question for anyone seeking the identity of the Lord's church is - Which of these numerous denominations most closely resembles the institution the Lord Jesus Christ established? Since each of these churches teaches a distinctly different doctrine and practice, it is obvious to any reasonable person that they cannot all be right. Which church then most closely resembles the doctrine and practice of the apostles?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Angelica Zambrano's Dramatic Testimony Scripturally Examined

Recently a Christian friend asked me about the testimony of people who claim to have died and gone to either heaven or hell and included a link to Angelica Zambrano's testimony in his correspondence. His question had to do with how one should go about reconciling such testimony with the biblical teaching of the preservation of the saints, given that they seem to contradict one another. What follows is my response to him:

Saturday, October 27, 2012

John MacArthur - The Love of God

A few years ago I wrote a commentary on John MacArthur's book, The Love of God - He Will Do Whatever It Takes To Make Us Holy. This book is riddled with contradictory statements such that I could not possibly recommend it as a guide to understanding the love of God. Indeed, why on earth would someone promote a book that purports to help a man understand the love of God, when the book itself rests on irrationalism? That is a very straightforward indictment. So much so that it may at once raise the hackles of any MacArthurite. As always, we would ask that one examine our analysis of MacArthur's teaching in light of the scriptures before coming to any conclusion.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Covenants by Elder James Oliphant (Audio Book)

In this audioblog version of his short essay, The Covenants, Elder James Oliphant gives a concise and accurate summary of some of the covenants found in the bible with particular attention given to the conditional and unconditional natures of each, and the ramifications of such on the everlasting covenant of salvation.  A proper understanding of the unconditional nature of this covenant, so far as man's participation therein is concerned, is a great remedy to many false doctrines taught today which seek to conjoin the works of God and man in the fulfillment of this covenant.

Friday, October 5, 2012

John Murray - Free Offer of the Gospel

John Murray author of The Free Offer of the Gospel

Those who have followed theearstohear's commentaries in recent years are no doubt familiar with our position that great errors in both doctrine and practice have been introduced among God's people by the false notion that the gospel is a well-meant offer
 of salvation to all of humanity. Perhaps no single work has been cited more often as definitive proof of this teaching than John Murray’s, The Free Offer of the Gospel. It is our opinion that this work clearly teaches that eternal salvation is conditioned upon acts that must be performed by men and that it is therefore not teaching salvation by sovereign grace but salvation by works.  

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Marc Driscoll on Hell and Salvation

This week I stumbled across an article on CNN's belief blog that asks the question:  Should we abandon the idea of hell?  Now when an outfit like CNN endeavors to grapple with matters of the Christian faith, one should approach their commentary with extreme skepticism and discernment.  In my experience, a major news outlet's handling of matters of Christian doctrine and practice is a bit like watching a chimp on a Steinway: amusing to watch but hard to listen to.  It their simian attempts at handling the truth, they juxtapose yea and nay on the abandonment of hell.  In the yea category is Frank Schaeffer, son of Francis Schaeffer, whose thoroughly unbiblical perspective can be fairly well ascertained by his closing quote, "We need 'hell' like a hole in the head. It’s time for the alternative of empathetic merciful religion to be understood."  I submit that the very fact that we would know almost nothing of the doctrine of hell were it not for the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ himself so strongly contradicts this "Frank" assertion, that such a quote deserves no further consideration among God's people.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What is the gospel?

Often asked yet rarely answered correctly.

The gospel is the good news of the finished work (John 19:30) of the Lord Jesus Christ to save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). Sins are the manifold instances wherein man breaks God's moral law (Exodus 20) which prove that he is both a sinner by nature (Ps 51:5), as a result of Adam's transgression (Romans 5:12), as well as by practice (Romans 3:10-18, 5:12) since all have sinned (Romans 3:23).  

As a result of Adam's fall, man is spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1). He is therefore utterly incapable of doing anything to merit, obtain, or effectuate his own salvation (Romans 3:10-18) because he is ungodly and without strength (Romans 5:6). Moreover, because God is Holy (Isaiah 6:3) he shall and must punish sin. Since man can do nothing to fix his sin problem (Romans 3:20), the salvation of God's chosen people is an intercessory work performed by their substitute (John 10:11) who by himself purged our sins (Hebrews 1:3), perfected his people by his one offering (Hebrews 10:14), redeemed them by his blood (Hebrews 9:12), and made them legally righteous by his obedience alone (Romans 5:19). The gospel is liberty to the captives (Isaiah 61:1) in that it proclaims the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ on behalf of his people as the sole means whereby men are eternally saved (Acts 4:12) and whereby they find rest (Matthew 11:28) and comfort (Isaiah 61:2). It is the declaration that Christ died for our sins, according to the scriptures; that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day, according to the scriptures. (I Corinthians 15:3-4)

What Assurances Accompany the Gospel?

It is accompanied by the assurance that those who believe this account have everlasting life (John 3:16) and have passed from death unto life (John 5:24) as a result of the grace of God alone (Ephesians 2:8-9) and not by their works (Titus 3:5, Romans 9:16). Those who believe are admonished to repent of their sins (Acts 2:40) and be baptized into the the Lord's New Testament Church (Acts 2:41) and to walk in obedient discipleship under the precepts of the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 2:42, John 14:15).

To Whom is the Gospel Good News?

The gospel can ever and only be received by a man who has been born again (John 8:47) who was chosen in Christ from eternity past (Ephesians 1:4) to be a son (Ephesians 1:5) and for which reason he was regenerated in time (Galatians 4:6) by the working of the same mighty power of God which resurrected the Lord Jesus Christ from the grave (Ephesians 1:19-20). Such men are described as thirsty (Isaiah 55:1, Revelation 22:17, Matthew 5:6), hungry (Matthew 5:6), blessed (Matthew 5:6) and willing (Psalm 110:3, Revelation 22:17) in the scriptures.

Who Cannot Recieve the Gospel?

Conversely, the gospel cannot be received by a man who has not been born again (John 8:47) because he lacks the spiritual eyes to see (John 3:3), lacks the capacity to receive or understand spiritual truth (I Corinthians 2:11-14, Romans 3:12), lacks any fear of God (Romans 3:18) and has absolutely no desire for spiritual things (Psalm 10:4).

So What Do We Conclude From All of This?

Salvation is all by the grace of God (Ephesians 2:8-9) and any spiritual capacity you ever see in a man is never anything more than an evidence of a salvation wrought entirely by God beforehand on his behalf (Ephesians 2:10, Galatians 5:22, Hebrews 11:1).

--------------------------------------------------Supporting Scriptures----------------------------------------------

John 19:30 - When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

Matthew 1:21 - And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

Ephesians 2:1 - And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Romans 3:10-18 - As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.

Romans 5:6 - For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

Isaiah 6:3 - And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.

Romans 3:23 - For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Romans 3:20 - Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 

Hebrews 1:3 - Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; 

Hebrews 10:14 - For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

Hebrews 9:12 - Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. 

Romans 5:19 - For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

Isaiah 61:1-2 - Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

Matthew 11:28 - Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest

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

I Corinthians 15:3-4 - For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 

John 3:16 - For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 5:24 - Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

Ephesians 2:8-10 -  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Titus 3:5 - Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost

Romans 9:16 - So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. 

Acts 2:40-42 - And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers

John 14:15 -  If ye love me keep my commandments.

John 8:47 - He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.

Ephesians 1:4-5 - According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.

Galatians 4:6 - And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

Ephesians 1:19-20 - And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,

Isaiah 55:1 - Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

Revelation 22:17 - And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

Matthew 5:6 - Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Psalm 110:3 - Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.

John 3:3 - Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 

I Corinthians 2:14 - But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Romans 3:12 - They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Psalm 10:4 - The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.

Galatians 5:22 - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

Hebrews 11:1 - Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

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Monday, October 1, 2012

Michael Horton - What is the gospel?

Michael Horton answers the question - What is the gospel? Having watched innumerable YouTube videos of Christians attempting to answer this fundamental question, I found Horton's comments to be among the more profitable and rare. Among his uncommon and worthwhile observations are:
  • The gospel is not good advice.
  • The gospel never tells us something to do, the gospel tells us about something that's been done. (Amen, brother!)
  • You can't do the gospel.
  • If we confuse law and gospel we'll make our selves partly our own saviors.
I have provided a complete transcript of Horton's short video below along with teth's commentary.

Mark Dever - What is the gospel?

In this video, self-styled "slobbering five-point Calvinist" Mark Dever endeavors to answer the question - What is the gospel? Unfortunately his answer, while laden with much biblical truth, is found wanting in several respects, especially from a minister who claims to believe that salvation is monergistic. You will find below a complete transcript of Dever's comments along with theearstohear commentary in blue. We believe that Dever's errors fall into three categories:

1.  Contradictory assertions regarding man's depravity.
2.  The positing of prerequisites for obtaining eternal life.
3.  Failure to attribute man's alienation to Adam's sin.

With that by way of introduction, I will Leave it to Dever....

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Tim Keller - What is the gospel?

There are numerous NeoCalvinists in evangelicalism who claim to be preaching salvation by sovereign grace. Such men make regular, firm, and absolute declarations regarding the abject depravity of man. On that much we can agree, but when taken alongside the totality of their teachings on the doctrine of salvation, we find them contradicting this fundamental precept they so readily "affirm." Of what value is the notion of total depravity if, in the final mix, it is cast aside in one's ordo salutis or relegated to an unknowable mystery?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Jonathan Edwards - Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

When publishing a commentary on some work of theology it is my preference to provide a significant portion of the work alongside my commentary. This is to help ensure that my commentary is accurate and that I have not merely selected certain statements out of context to set up as theological pinatas to take a swipe at. It was my intention on this post to provide the famous Jonathan Edwards sermon Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God in its entirety. After completing my commentary however, I found the work to be so ponderous and disagreeable that I have decided instead to summarize the sermon in outline form and to provide commentary regarding certain of Edwards's comments which are most objectionable to anyone who believes that salvation is by sovereign grace.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

"Might Have Been" Redemption Examined

Over the years, I have noticed how we tend to build a great deal of unprofitable mythos around our Christian heros. There have undoubtedly been those who greatly loved the Lord who have endured great suffering and gone to incredible lengths to serve the God of the bible. I can even admit that I have, at times, found inspiration in their examples of dedication. That said we should all be well aware of the dangers that attend the establishment of men as evangelical heros. A zeal of God is not the same as a right knowledge of the manner in which God saves his people, and we should not confound the two. Stated plainly - just because a man endured great afflictions and displayed great convictions does not establish that man as a faithful guide concerning the truths of the word of God. Let God be true and every man be a liar. That includes men of evident zeal and commitment to God. One such man was Adoniram Judson. I came across this quote from the much ballyhooed Judson and found it quite an eye-opener with respect to his soteriology:

Monday, September 17, 2012

Lordship Salvation Dialogue

In a recent YouTube dialog regarding a video by Paul Washer, I engaged in the following discussion on the doctrine of Lordship Salvation.  It is all too common for Christians to defend the patron saints of their theological camps in the manner that this brother does, and not upon the validity of the doctrinal truths these men promote.  I'm passing this dialog along as an example of how these conversations tend to go.  

Cornelius and Immediate Holy Spirit Regeneration

In a recent dialog with a fellow Christian regarding the "salvation" of Cornelius, I made the statement that Cornelius was already in possession of eternal life prior to Peter's preaching the gospel to him per the testimony of Acts 10:2, which prompted the following, common response:
God's Word clearly states that Cornelius was saved after He had heard Peter's proclamation of the Gospel. Your assumption that he had already been a regenerated man when Peter arrived at his home is just sheer nonsense.
To which I posted the following response:

Will The Real Spurgeon Please Stand Up?

Over the years I have made note of the liberal quotation of Charles Spurgeon by men whose doctrine of salvation runs across the continuum from Arminianism to Calvinism and all points in between and beyond. It seems that the blue-carpet, sign-the-card, mourner's-bench, raise-your-hand Arminian wants Spurgeon on "his side" of the battle every bit as much as the most strident of Calvinists. I suggest that this is the case because Spurgeon possessed a double-minded soteriology, believing that both God's sovereignty and man's responsibility are involved in the salvation of men's souls. As a result, he was unstable where his preaching on salvation is concerned - at times affirming great truths, at other times denying them.  

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Steve Lawson - It Will Cost You Everything

The doctrine of Lordship Salvation (LS) has certainly made great in-roads in evangelicalism over the last two decades. The writings and sermons of John MacArthur and his numerous disciples have, to many, become the theological standard whereby biblical orthodoxy is assessed. This is in spite of the fact that LS theology is riddled with antinomies and contradictory assertions. Perhaps nowhere is this more on display than in the LS assertion that the bible makes no distinction between sonship, or eternal salvation; and discipleship, which is walking in obedience. The fundamental issue with the LS assertion that there is no distinction between eternal salvation and discipleship is brought to light when one considers the bible’s testimony that eternal salvation is by grace and not works (Ephesians 2:8-9), alongside the bible’s testimony that discipleship comes with great personal cost (Luke 14:26-27).

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Does "Determinism" Accurately Describe the Salvation of God's People Taught in the Scriptures?

This dialog was taken from a recent exchange on YouTube in response to the video John Piper - What's your stance on birth control.  The interesting part of this dialog to me is the matter of whether or not our salvation is the result of determinism:

Monday, June 18, 2012

John 3:16 - Assurance of Salvation to God's People

An excerpt from Street Theology 101

John 3:16 is undoubtedly one of the most well-known scriptures in the bible. As I drive to work in the morning, I see it posted on numerous church billboards and signs. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most misunderstood and often misused passages in the scriptures. Most Christians use this verse to support the notion that the gospel is a "well-meant offer" of salvation to all of humanity, citing "whosoever" as ironclad proof of such.

Five Primitive Baptist Distinctives

Often people ask us where we go to church. In our experience, when we respond by saying "I attend the Primitive Baptist Church" this inevitably leads to the question - "What makes Primitive Baptist's different from all of the other types of Baptists?" In response to that important question we offer up five Primitive Baptist distinctives for your consideration:

Monday, June 4, 2012

Mormon Church Beliefs Examined

You will find below a transcript of the YouTube video entitled MORMON CHURCH BELIEFS (only watch if you want to see truth!) which claims to be a brief summary of the beliefs of the LDS religion.  I have broken this transcript into 37 assertions and provided commentary on why these beliefs are at variance with the scriptures below each statement in red.  It is my hope that this might clarify the distinctions between biblical Christianity and the LDS religion of works-based-salvation.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

YouTube Sensation 'theearstohear' Hits the Blogosphere

Since launching the hypo-viral YouTube channel 'theearstohear' a couple of years ago, and experiencing the explosive response of "literally tens of visitors" on a monthly basis, we have seen the need to expand our efforts to include a site that can deal with theological topics and questions in more depth than what we are typically able to do in the YouTube comments section of our videos. It is for this purpose that we have created this blog. Here we hope to provide more explicit scriptural support for the doctrine of salvation by sovereign grace for your examination and edification as well as the commentary of one lone Primitive Baptist on the great variety of unscriptural notions that are being peddled in the broader Christian marketplace today. As always we invite you to examine the scriptures daily to see if these things are so (Acts 17:11) and to prove all things and hold fast that which is good (I Thessalonians 5:21).

An object of mercy,