Wednesday, December 24, 2014

"I've Tried to Believe But Can't. What Can I Do?" - John Piper's Answer Examined

I recently stumbled across John Piper's attempt to handle the following statement and question:
I've concluded that I don't have saving faith. I've tried to believe in Jesus for two years but I can't. I fear I'm beyond saving. What can I do?  
In Piper's attempt to answer this query he makes a number of theological assertions contrary to the notion of salvation by sovereign grace, but which are no-doubt frequently affirmed in Christendom today. What follows is a line-by-line, biblical analysis of Piper's answer:

Friday, December 5, 2014

Exercises in Right Division (Ezekiel 3:20)

Statement One:  Ezekiel 3:20 says, "Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling-block before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered."  This verse is commonly interpreted to mean that an eternally saved man to lose his salvation through sinning.

Statement Two: The Lord Jesus Christ taught, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." (John 10:27-28) Here the Lord is teaching that he gives a gift to a people he refers to as his "sheep" and that this gift is something called "eternal life" which involves a promise that they "shall never perish."  This statement is often used to support the notion that it is impossible for someone who once possessed eternal salvation to ever fall from grace.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Exercises in Right Division (Ezekiel 18:23)

STATEMENT ONE: “Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?” (Ezekiel 18:23) This passage is often proffered in support of the notion that God desires the salvation of all of humanity and that the gospel is a well-meant offer of salvation to all of humanity.

STATEMENT TWO:  "But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased." (Psalm 115:3) This passage teaches that the Lord God does as he pleases with the world he created.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Election and Predestination: Pure Fallacy or Pure Doctrine?

I am often struck by some of the things I hear other Christians say. I seem to regularly encounter believers who react violently to the notion that God chose a people to show mercy upon and that he predetermined that heaven would be their eternal home. While I will admit that I was raised in an environment that never questioned the doctrine of election and predestination, and thus was never poisoned against this biblical truth, I still find myself astounded by the degree of opposition that some Christians have regarding this very clearly taught and repeatedly articulated biblical doctrine. One recent objection follows:

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

It Shall Prosper

I have often been asked why I so frequently write against the notion of the Well-Meant Offer of salvation to all of humanity (WMO). My answer is that this belief is among the very most prevalent errors in Christendom today. The WMO distorts the nature of the gospel message and in so doing posits a God who contradicts his own testimony regarding election (Ephesians 1:4-5), particular redemption (John 17:2), and the purpose of the gospel (II Timothy 1:10). The prophet Isaiah wrote...

Monday, August 25, 2014

Regeneration Precedes Faith: What Others Mean vs What PBs Mean.

The new birth is an incredibly important Christian doctrine. When it comes to having a proper understanding of our eternal salvation, few doctrines provide as much explanatory power as the bible's teaching on the new birth. Nowhere is this more true than when the new birth is represented on a timeline along with the exercise of faith. Since both the new birth and the exercise of faith are events in time, it follows that there are only three possible timely relationships between the two.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Journey Round MacArthur's Park

MacArthur's Statement

I recently stumbled across the following quote which appeared in the first release of Hard to Believe, by John MacArthur.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Offering of Salvation

In a recent dialog with another believer, I was endeavoring to prove the bible's position that the gospel is not a well-meant offer of salvation to all of humanity. In that conversation I made the following statement:

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Exercises in Right Division (Acts 2:40)

STATEMENT ONE:  In reference to the work of man’s eternal salvation, the Lord Jesus Christ stated, “with men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)  

STATEMENT TWO:  Yet in his sermon on the day of Pentecost we find the apostle Peter telling men “Save yourselves from this untoward generation.” (Acts 2:40)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Steve Lawson - The Narrow Way to Life - Biblically Examined

This short excerpt from Steve Lawson speaking on the topic of the narrow gate is a good example of how Lordship Salvation theologians violate numerous fundamental sovereign grace precepts when they interpret scripture. Those precepts are:
  1. Repentance is commanded and therefore an act of obedience, and any act of obedience is a work of righteousness. (Matthew 3:2)
  2. We are saved “not by works of righteousness which we have done.” (Titus 3:5)
  3. All of the requirements of eternal salvation were met by Christ, not by us. (Hebrews 1:3, II Timothy 1:9)
  4. Man in his natural state is incapable of receiving spiritual truth (I Corinthians 2:14) and unable to respond based on spiritual deadness (Ephesians 2:1). 

A closer look at Lawson's statements on what is meant by the strait gate is helpful in pointing out how Lordship Salvation theology violates the aforementioned sovereign grace precepts.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Regenerate Yet Unconverted - Is There Such a Thing?

In a recent discussion with some fellow Christians, I made reference to someone being "regenerate yet unconverted" - a scenario which has been well described as "believer's unbelief." (Mark 9:24) This reference was immediately met with strong opposition. Some insisted that the phrase "regenerate yet unconverted" is self-contradictory because to be born again means to be converted by God from sin. By that definition then, a "born again yet unconverted" man is an impossibility. While I will concede that this is likely the majority position among professing Christians - the more important question remains - is the majority position correct? A closer look at the bible's testimony regarding "conversion" is revealing.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Train Metaphor for Salvation

I recently stumbled across the following train metaphor used by some Christians to describe how they believe the Christian doctrine of salvation works:

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The "Lord, Lord" Crowd (Matthew 7:21-23)

"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (Matthew 7:21-23)

Monday, June 23, 2014

Exercises in Right Division (Romans 10:9)

STATEMENT ONE:  Of the natural (unregenerate) man Paul said, “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:” (Romans 3:12-14)

Friday, May 23, 2014

TGC Article Examined

I recently came across an article entitled Jesus, Friend of Sinners: But How? by Kevin DeYoung at the The Gospel Coalition (TGC) Website.  The article sets out to correct the popular false notion that the phrase "Jesus is a friend of sinners" means that "Jesus loved a good party." Given that such ludicrous notions are frequently promoted within Christendom today, we believe that brother DeYoung's intent in this respect is both noble and necessary. But as is so often case among NeoEvangelicals, in his efforts to address this error, DeYoung ends up staking out a position that is contrary to the precepts of salvation by sovereign grace. Consider these statements from the article:

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Tim Conway's NeoCalvinism Examined

NeoCalvinism is an increasingly popular form of Christian irrationalism in the evangelical marketplace today. This theology has been promoted by the likes of John MacArthur, John Piper, Paul Washer, Al Mohler, Steve Lawson, along with a host of others with whom they are loosely affiliated. We believe that NeoCalvinism is particularly dangerous because it teaches that a correct understanding of doctrine is only achieved when one embraces contradictory precepts, and that though the matter cannot be logically reconciled, it is, none-the-less, the rightly divided truth of scripture. On this point we want to be very, very clear: We are certain that this ludicrous claim of NeoCalvinism is every bit as devastating to our ability to reason from the scriptures as is the claim that the scriptures are not inspired. For the purpose of this blog, we will define NeoCalvinism as any theology that attempts to embrace the following three precepts:

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Reflections on How to be Born Again by Billy Graham

Subtitle:  How does man perform a monergistic act of God?

It may be that there is no man in the 20th century more well-known, influential, and respected in all of Christendom than the Reverend Billy Graham.  I can recall a time years ago when I made a statement among a group of fellow believers in opposition to the teachings of Billy Graham and was confronted by a combination of horror and astonishment.  From the looks on some of their faces, one might have well concluded that I had just uttered the most blasphemous phrase ever to take flight from human lips, something on the order of, "This here picante sauce is made in New York City!"

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Second Galatian Confession of Faith

Think your appeal to an Old Baptist confession carries any weight? Think again.

There has been a lot of ink spilled on the issue of confessions in the Baptist church in recent years, from a variety of different perspectives. There are those who appeal to the Second London Confession of 1689, others who look to the Fulton Confession of 1900, while still others point to a variety of other historic Baptist confessions such as the Midland Confession of 1655 or the Goat Yard Declaration of 1729. Stepping back to take in the vast landscape of confessions that have been written among Baptists, and the subsequent discussions of their relative merits, it occurs to me that one confession is conspicuously absent - The Second Galatian Confession of Faith (SGC). This oversight is particularly alarming when one considers that the provisions of this confession are explicitly spelled-out in the book of Galatians by the apostle Paul under divine inspiration. A closer look at the Second Galatian Confession of Faith yields two indisputable observations that must govern our attitude regarding all such creeds and confessions:

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Error of Prevenient Grace

Prevenient grace is the theological equivalent of affirming total depravity
while crossing your fingers.

Recently I was directed to this quote from Arminian apologist Roger Olson:

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Four Spiritual Laws and Four Biblical Observations

We have long held to the belief that Bill Bright’s Four Spiritual Laws (FSL) exemplifies the self-contradictory false-gospels that dominate the Christian marketplace. A brief moment of sober, biblical reflection on these “laws” is revealing:

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Does John 15 Teach that a Child of God Can Lose His Salvation?

John 15 is about fruit bearing, not eternal salvation.

The misinterpretation of John 15 is a common stumbling block for many professing Christians. Many insist that the Lord's teaching in this passage is related to matters of eternal salvation. Such interpretations turn a blind eye to the fact that the Lord said to his audience, "Now ye ARE CLEAN through the word which I have spoken unto you." (John 15:3) Those previously spoken words included great and precious promises of the eternal deliverance of God's people based on the work of the Lord Jesus Christ alone.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Problem of "If We Ask" Salvation

Theologian, we have a problem...

In a recent Internet conversation with a fellow Christian of another order, I was confronted with the following statement:
"Being saved by grace is a gift from God that He gives freely to all, if we ask Him." (Anonymous)
This belief is by far, by FAR, the most common belief regarding eternal salvation among professing evangelicals today. So universally accepted is this statement that to oppose it places one outside the camp of Christianity in the eyes of a great many professing Christians. Matters of popularity notwithstanding, what is the proper response to such a statement in light of the testimony of the scriptures?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Born Again: The Doctrine of Effectual Calling by Elder Michael L. Gowens

By Elder Michael L. Gowens

The hour is coming and now is when the dead 
shall hear the voice of the Son of God, 
and they that hear shall live. (John 5:25)

"Sovereign Grace" is an expression calculated to suggest that God is sovereign in the salvation of sinners. What does that mean? It means, specifically, that He takes the initiative, moving toward man to bestow salvation, not because He is obligated to bless, but because it is His sovereign pleasure to bless. There is no external compulsion upon the Almighty to bestow salvation on sinners. It also means that God is in absolute control of the work of salvation and nothing can thwart His plans. There are no external limitations upon His power. God is sovereign in the salvation of sinners.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Can an Unregenerate Man Seek God?

"Ho, everyone that thirsteth..." (Isaiah 55:1)  Is this dead fellow thirsty?

There is a great deal of preaching under the moniker of "sovereign grace" in the Christian marketplace today. I am firmly convinced that the VAST majority of such teaching cannot be logically reconciled with the fundamental precepts of grace (TULIP), and that such teaching is nothing more than well-meant-offerism cloaked in a thin veneer of grace terminology. A biblical analysis of the statements made in such sermons is revealing....

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Are All Men "Laboring and Heavy Laden"?

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you..."

In conversations with variety of Christians of other orders, I have inquired as to the single best verse of scripture that supports the notion of the well-meant offer of salvation to all of humanity (WMO). I have repeatedly been given Matt 11:28 in response.