Monday, December 28, 2015

John Piper and Rick Warren on the Atonement

"We're closer than I thought we were." (Rick Warren)

In this short video, John Piper and Rick Warren discuss their views of the atonement and in so doing come to the conclusion that they are actually not far off from one another on their understanding of this critical Christian doctrine. This should come as no surprise to those who have followed TETH’s analysis over the years, given that in earlier efforts we have noted that John Piper wholeheartedly endorses Arminian Theologian Millard J. Erickson’s word-for-word description of the atonement as a valid definition of what Piper regards as the doctrine of Limited Atonement; and this in spite of the fact that Erickson’s comments sit directly under the heading of “Universal Atonement” found on page 846 of his Systematic Theology. This is really confusion of the very highest order, but rather than make that point now, let’s listen in on Piper’s discussion with Warren along with my commentary…

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

From the Peanut Gallery - "You're not Rightly Dividing. You're Compartmental Partitioning!"

I get a lot of feedback from people about my online efforts. In fact, I'm finding it increasingly difficult to keep up with the level of correspondence and inquiry that I encounter on a daily basis from the Internet. Those interactions often raise issues that I believe are likely raised in the minds of many who read and participate in theological discussions. As a result I've decided to begin sharing some excerpts from these interactions. In so doing I hope to provide more clarity on some of the nuances, objections, and accusations that come my way.

I recently encountered the following accusation from the peanut gallery:

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Is Believing in God Illogical?

Believing in God is not illogical. It is il-natural, but it is not illogical. To suggest that believing in God is "fundamentally illogical" is to embrace, perhaps unknowingly, that there can be NOTHING beyond the natural world; this in spite of our lack of definitive evidence to establish that this is so. That said, if one embraces "pure naturalism" (the belief that there is nothing beyond the natural domain of matter and energy) one must still deal with the problem of the existence of life and matter. The moment one suggests that a solution lies within nature itself one has created an illogical and unscientific circular reference, because we have absolutely NO scientific or naturalistic basis for asserting that matter arises out of nothing, nor to assert that that which is dead and inanimate randomly assembles itself into life - not for some fleeting moment mind you - but in an unbroken chain of self improvement and radical diversification spanning literally hundreds of millions of years. I submit that to believe either of those two things - which science foists upon its naive and zealous converts as "scientific truth" - is perhaps the greatest expression of abject irrationalism ever known. I believe one of the greatest 20th century philosophers said it best when he quipped...

"Nothin' from nothin' leaves nothin'." (William Preston)

Sunday, November 29, 2015

John Piper on the Death of Christ for the Non-Elect

I recently stumbled upon this video of the popular Calvinist minister John Piper answering the question: Did the death of Christ accomplish anything for the non-elect? I believe an analysis of Piper’s answer is helpful in establishing some of the nonsensical notions upon which his neo-reformed theology finds its unsure footing. Let’s listen…

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Spurgeon's Take on "All Men" Examined

A look at Spurgeon's comments regarding I Timothy 2:4 is revealing.

I guess it is no secret that I am not a fan of Charles Spurgeon. It is not that Spurgeon didn’t say a lot of wonderful things over the course of his ministry, he most certainly did. Indeed, his ability to turn a phrase is the envy of most who would endeavor to speak publically. It is because a great many of the errors that I see among evangelicals, and especially modern Calvinists, find their headwaters in his ministry.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Exercises in Right Division (Romans 5:18)

The Verse: "Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life." (Romans 5:18)

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Pondering Christian Outrage Over Wendy Davis

"I made my decision out of love" (Wendy Davis)

A great many of the Christians who are extremely agitated by the ludicrous assertion that Wendy Davis "loved" the baby she aborted will sit in churches come Sunday morning that insist that God "loves" those whom he consigns to eternal hell, and will be totally unmoved by that blasphemous atrocity.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Regarding TULIP

Properly understood and defined, TULIP is an acrostic summary of the mechanics of eternal salvation by grace. However, it is incredibly important that we not lose sight of the the distinction between being saved by this grace and having an understanding of this grace. These are two separate matters entirely. The fact that TULIP designs the eternally-saving, monergistic motions of God completely eliminates any requirement that the recipient of such grace must possess or acquire an understanding of the workings thereof as a matter of logical consequence. When one comes to understand that all of the requirements of eternal salvation have been met by the Lord Jesus Christ, then one sees that anything ever observed in the life of one saved by grace is never anything more than an ex post facto evidence of grace already imparted.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Creeds and Liberty

How often have you heard these statements? “I affirm the Fulton Confession of 1900, just as all sound PB brethren did over a century ago.” Or maybe, “I stand by the Second London Confession of Faith (1689), as our Baptist forefathers did.” Such unprofitable intramural squabbles have existed for some time among the Old Baptists, even as some of our forefathers short-sightedly declared, “I am of Paul” and “I am of Apollos.” 

Friday, August 21, 2015

The King's Edict

I often encounter Christians on the internet who believe in particular redemption while also insisting that the gospel is a well-meant (sincere) offer of salvation to all of humanity (WMO). This is the most popular belief found among most professing Calvinists today, though it is an extraordinarly irrational position. To demonstrate this irrationalism, I usually ask them, "How can you sincerely offer eternal life to a man for whom Jesus Christ did not die?" The most common response I receive is the question, "How do you know whom Christ didn't die for?" The implication of this question is that if one denies the WMO, then they are likewise saying that we should only preach the gospel to the elect, and since we have no way of knowing who are elect among the unconverted, then this is an irrelevant observation. But this is an unwarranted and unnecessary conclusion to draw from a denial of the WMO. The observation that the gospel is not a WMO has no bearing on the broadcast audience, but rather has bearing on the nature of the broadcast message. Consider the following...

Saturday, June 13, 2015

An Example of Evangelical Irrationalism

It is no exaggeration to state that contradictory theological claims dominate the evangelical landscape today. In an article entitled Five Lies I Used to Believe About Being Christian, Tyler Speegle starts with a very sound affirmation regarding the Love of God for his people:
"But the truth is you don’t have to try to use your behavior to earn God’s love. He loves you despite your behavior." (Tyler Speegle)
I completely agree with this statement. The love of God for his chosen people is not based on anything found in them, neither is it based upon any actions they have ever taken, but is rather, in spite of the fact that they, in their natural state (Ephesians 2:3), are completely lacking either of those things (Romans 3:10-18). Had Speegle stopped there he would have done well. Instead he goes on to say...
"God’s love for you isn’t based on what you do or don’t do, it's based on His Son Jesus AND YOUR DECISION TO ACCEPT HIM" (Speegle)

Thursday, June 11, 2015

If Christian Theology Worked Like a Business Case...

I have often wondered how the following business case would go over in my secular employment:

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The "Good" Shepherd?

In what sense can a shepherd who loses sheep of his flock be regarded as good? (John 10:11-30) Much less great? (Hebrews 13:20)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Omnipotence of God

Christians often make the statement that "God is omnipotent" and insist that this means that "God can do absolutely anything." In turn this coarse and unscriptural definition becomes philosophical fodder for scoffers who intend to confound and undermine the Lord's people with questions like, "Can God make a rock so large that he cannot pick it up?" When most evangelicals are confronted with this objection (and a host of others like it), it has been my observation that they often seek refuge in the cave of irrationalism in order to justify their belief, opting for a sad mixture of hopelessly quixotic arguments to defend a fundamentally indefensible position. It's not pretty, to say the least.  But this approach is proven both unprofitable and unnecessary provided we allow the bible to define our terminology.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Does the Rich Young Ruler Story Teach Lordship Salvation?

I suppose it is no mystery that TETH has long opposed the teaching that is commonly referred to as Lordship Salvation.  Having spent a great deal of time in the company of Lordship Salvationists, I am aware that there are some texts in the bible that they believe support a Lordship Salvation point of view.  I was recently confronted with the following statement about the Lord’s interaction with the Rich Young Ruler (RYR) in Matthew 19:

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Gospel and the New Birth

"Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." 
(Jesus Christ to Nicodemus, John 3:3)

There is certainly a great deal of misunderstanding on the topic of the new birth in Christendom today. I believe that regeneration is as broadly misunderstood in our day as it was in the time of Christ and that a great many professing Christians stand to benefit from the exact same lesson that the Lord Jesus Christ taught Nicodemus some 2000 years ago. Consider the following:

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The "Loving Savior" of Modern Christendom

Consider the following: One man is promoted by others as the "loving savior" of another man who is perishing. He is said to possess the following attributes...

Monday, March 2, 2015

Another Jesus

"Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him." (II Corinthians 11:1-4)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Perseverance: Three Observations

It seems that there is always some measure of fur flying over the topic of Preservation vs Perseverance among baptists. In many such discussions, a great deal of time is wasted debating the matter without anyone providing an explicit definition of perseverance, apart from which all such discussions prove to be more profitable in promoting vain contention than in defending the faith once delivered to the saints. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Salon Article "10 Reasons Why Christian Heaven Would Actually Be Hell" Examined

Salon recently posted an article entitled 10 Reasons Why Christian Heaven Would Actually Be Hell. Below are the 10 reasons cited in bold followed by TETH's response.