Friday, February 28, 2014

When calvinism stops following calvin

In the last few years, Calvinism has experienced quite a resurgence in evangelicalism and especially Baptists life.  Calvinism is a heavily theological movement and so ideas are thus worked out. However, Reformed Baptists have an awkward challenge before them.because John Calvin was not a baptist and his entire theological system was designed in contradiction to baptist theology.  This has lead these baptist ministers to go in directions which are heterodox to both baptists and reformers.  Such is the case with the baptist reformed doctrine of Lordship Salvation.  Reformed baptist unlike their reformed step parents emphasize more emotion and not as much strict logic in their theology.  This has lead to the following caricature.  A negative attitude towards humanity, a zealous desire to avenge God, and an elitist relationship with God. Core to the baptist reformed doctrine is the axiom of regeneration prior to faith fusing faith with repentance of sin.  In order to evangelize, the reformed baptist must ask the unbeliever to believe and do good works as well, thus being practically indifferent from works based salvation.   Now the reformed baptist are sure to know that this is not the traditional baptist understanding of evangelism.  In fact reformed baptist like Paul washer and David Platt have been quick to anathematize modern baptists evangelist.  And while the contemporary church growth "seeker sensitivity" methods of white washing conversion are long overdo for criticism.  These reformers seek more and at times ignore this enemy regardless. (referring to John Piper having Rick Warren Speak at the desiring God conference 2010)  
But are reformed Baptists aware that there views on regeneration prior to faith are not the views held by John Calvin??
These are some excerpts THE INSTITUTES OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION(henry beveridge trans.): book 3 chapter3  "Regeneration by Faith. of repentance"
section 9 "In one word, then, by repentance I understand regeneration, the only aim of which is to form anew the image of God, which was sullied, and all but effaced by the transgression of Adam."
section 1 "The shortest transition, however, will be from faith to repentance; for repentance being properly understood, it will better appear how a man is justified freely by faith alone, and yet that holiness of life, real holiness, as it is called, is inseparable from the free imputation of Christ righteousness.  That repentance not only follows faith, but is produced by it ought to be without controversy." Now as Calvin defined repentance to be the timing of regeneration, we see that calvin taught that faith is prior to regeneration. Repentance is then the natural product of justification and not the pre-requisite. "... it is certain, that no man can embrace the grace of the gospel without betaking himself from the errors of his former life into the right path and making it his whole study to practice repentance."
section 5 "For in comprehending Faith under repentance, they are at variance with what Paul says in the acts, as to his 'testifying both to the Jews and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ"(acts xx.21).  Here he mentions faith and repentance as two different things.  What then? Can true repentance exist without faith? by no means  But although they cannot be separated, they ought to be disttinguished.  As there is no faith without hope, and yet faith and hope are different, so repentance and faith, though consistently linked together, are only to be united, not confounded."
Calvin defends the protestant view of distinction.  This is the foundation that leads to the separation of justification and sanctification.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Did He see God?

John 1:18

King James Version (KJV)
18 No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

genesis 30:29 And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there.
30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.
31 And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh.
32 Therefore the children of Israel eat not of the sinew which shrank, which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day: because he touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh in the sinew that shrank.

So here Jacob sees God, and yet John declares that no man has ever seen God.
But to be fair this concept is mentioned elsewhere in OT scripture.

Exodus 33:20

King James Version (KJV)
20 And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.

So It is clear that we see examples of people claiming to see God, and yet also the claim is made that no one has seen God.   Does this not prove that Bible contradicts itself?

First of all we have to identify the nature of the problem.  It is not a textual or translational problem.  It is an attack on the whole of scripture.  It is a problem that must be dealt with in systematic theology, can these two paradoxical messages be reconciled?
If we are given the opportunity to explain the revelation which has been entrusted to us, then yes!

In the story with Jacob, we see Jacob, we see an individual in a wrestling match with him.  Jacob assumes him to be human.
jacob was used to this as the passage indicates..
  32 And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him.
And when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God's host: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim.

So spirits had the ability to manifest themselves in a physical form. This does not mean that they were truly physical or if this was an illusion. But they have done this.
hebrews 13:Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
With the multitudes of people that travel in and out of the modern world it would be extremely easy for a person to appear and disappear in society and there are many stories of mysterious strangers doing just that.

In systematic theology when we see a character being introduced who is in fact God in visible form, we identify that as a christophany or a theophany.

 Question: "What is a theophany? What is a Christophany?"

A theophany is a manifestation of God in the Bible that is tangible to the human senses. In its most restrictive sense, it is a visible appearance of God in the Old Testament period, often, but not always, in human form.

Screipture bears witness to this here.
colossians 1:12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
 john 1:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
15 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.
16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.
17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

creed of the Niagra Bible conference

Here is a creed which I and New Testament christians can affirm

14 point creed of the Niagara Bible Conference of 1878:
1. The verbal, plenary inspiration of the Scriptures in the original manuscripts.
2. The Trinity.
3. The Creation of man, the Fall into sin, and total depravity.
4. The universal transmission of spiritual death from Adam.
5. The necessity of the new birth.
6. Redemption by the blood of Christ.
7. Salvation by faith alone in Christ.
8. The assurance of salvation.
9. The centrality of Jesus Christ in the Scriptures.
10. The constitution of the true church by genuine believers.
11. The personality of the Holy Spirit.
12. The believer’s call to a holy life.
13. The immediate passing of the souls of believers to be with Christ at death.
14. The premillennial Second Coming of Christ.

Niagara Bible Conference
"In 1883 a group of Christian bible scholars met for the first time at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, near Niagara Falls and established the principles of Christian fundamentalism. It was here that the Niagara Bible Conference gathered every year from 1883 through 1897 (with the exception of 1884). It met at the Queen's Royal Hotel and its pavilion. James Brooks, in his Truth magazine describes the meeting of 1892 as one

"more largely attended than ever before. Often every seat in the pavilion was occupied, and the porches were filled with eager hearers of the Word. The place too becomes more beautiful as the years go by, and it would be difficult to find a spot better suited to the quiet and prayerful study of the Sacred Scriptures. The building in which the Conference meets, overlooking Lake Ontario and the River Niagara, and surrounded by green trees, is secluded from the noise of the world; and so excellent were the arrangements for the accommodation of the guests, both in Queen's Royal Hotel and in the boarding houses of the village, that not a word of complaint was heard from any one." Some of the scholars who were present, known as the founding fathers of Fundamentalism, were W.E. Blackstone, Charles Erdman, James H. Brookes, William Moorehead, A.J. Gordon, A.C. Dixon, C.I. Scofield, and J. Hudson Taylor (who founded the China Inland Mission).

The messages generally centered on the doctrines of Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the Bible, missions and prophecy. Premillennialism was defended and taught. Article XIV of the 1878 Niagara Bible Conference Creed states,

"We believe that the world will not be converted during the present dispensation, but is fast ripening for judgment, while there will be a fearful apostasy in the professing Christian body; and hence that the Lord Jesus will come in person to introduce the millennial age, when Israel shall be restored to their own land, and the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord; and that this personal and premillennial advent is the blessed hope set before us in the Gospel for which we should be constantly looking." Some of the contributions of the Niagara Conference were:

The conference spawned new missionary activity and evangelism
The conference contributed to the rise and spread of a large Bible conference movement (such as the Northfield conferences)
The conference had a significant impact on the rise of the Bible institute and Bible college movement
The conference gave early expression to Fundamentalism's emphasis on concentrated Bible study
The conference precipitated a vast amount of Fundamentalist literature, especially on the subjects of prophecy, the Person and work of Christ, the Holy Spirit and missions."

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Tell me your story Lori (song for my wife)

Tell me your story Lori
How'd you hide your glow so well?
Behind every curve of your smile there is a story to tell
tragedies and triumphs
pain and joy to sell
Well you study and you think a lot but you seem to doubt the wisdom you got.
Some people take for granted what they need most
But no matter what happens with you I can surely boast
everyday people need air to breath
And that's why your like air to me.
Your not a woman with words, But a woman with heart.
And I know just how easily you'd settle for less.
But I just can't settle till I give you my best
Tell me your story Lori