What I Read Online – 11/17/2011 (a.m.)

    • Want to work towards world peace? Follow Paul’s lead and tell people about the peace and reconciliation that Jesus has already accomplished. 
    • However, there is one point that is worth pondering briefly: Non-Calvinist theologies are just as vulnerable on this question. Classic Arminian theology shares with Calvinism—indeed with all historic branches of Christianity—that God’s foreknowledge comprehends all future events. There is nothing that happens, nothing that you and I do, that lies outside of God’s eternal foreknowledge.
    • In other words, everyone who affirms God’s exhaustive foreknowledge has exactly the same problem as any Calvinist. If God knows that Adam will sin—or that you and I will sin—and could keep it from happening, but does not, and God’s knowledge is infallible, then it is just as certain as if he had predestined it. In fact, it is the same as being predestined. Then the only difference is whether it is determined without purpose or with purpose.
    • To permit something is to make a positive determination, even if it in no way makes the one permitting it responsible for the action
    • unwilling permission is an oxymoron
    • Known as “open theism,” this denial of God’s omniscience recognizes that Arminianism and Calvinism are unable to resolve this dilemma. They rightly see that if God foreknows everything from eternity, including our free acts, then these acts are certain to come to pass. Foreknowledge entails predestination, so they reject the classical Christian doctrine of God’s omniscience.
    • Hyper-Calvinists and hyper-Arminians share the same impatience with mystery. Neither position bows reverently before God’s revelation, acknowledging its clear affirmations of divine sovereignty and human responsibility without answering all of our philosophical questions. Contradictions are abhorrent to the faith, but every important docrine in Scripture is shrouded in mystery.
    • The real difference between Calvinism and Arminianism is whether God has a purpose when he allows sin and suffering. Again, both views affirm that nothing happens apart from God’s permission. However, Calvinism teaches that God never allows any evil that he has not already determined to work together for our good (Rom 8:28). Nothing that he allows can terminate in evil. What would we say of a deity who “reluctantly permitted” a terrible disaster or moral tragedy, without a determination to overcome that evil with good? But that takes a plan and that plan must necessarily comprehend the evil that he is to conquer.
    • Any view that makes God the author of sin does indeed turn the object of our worship into a moral monster. However, any deity who merely stands around reluctantly permitting horrible things for which he has no greater purpose in view, is equally reprehensible. In the one, God is sovereign but not good; in the latter, God is neither. Once you acknowledge that God foreknows a sinful act and chooses to allow it (however reluctantly) when he could have chosen not to, the only consolation is that God never would have allowed it unless he had already determined why he would permit it and how he has decided to overcome it for his glory and our good. Mercifully, Scripture does reveal that God does exactly that. Roger agrees that God “chose to allow” suffering and sin (72). The Calvinist says that God chose to allow them for a reason. It’s permitting rather than creating, but it’s permission with a purpose. Permission without purpose makes God a “moral monster” indeed.
    • Reformed theology has maintained consistently that Scripture teaches God’s exhaustive sovereignty and human responsibility. God does not cause evil. In fact, God does not force anyone to do anything against his or her will. And yet, nothing lies outside of the wise, loving, good, and just plan “of him who works all things after the council of his own will” (Eph 1:11). That God’s sovereignty and human responsibility are true, no serious student of Scripture can deny. How they can be true is beyond our capacity to understand. As Calvin put the matter, following Luther, any attempt to unravel the mystery of predestination and human responsibilty beyond Scripture is a “seeking outside the way.” “Better to limp along this path,” says Calvin, “than to rush with all speed outside of it.”
    • So, in a nut shell: know and play your position.  Don’t assume your position.  Know it.  Trust it.  Make sure it lines up with the Word of God.  Then, play your position with all your might as unto the Lord and not unto men.
    • Vision, no matter how clear, tends to rust over time. We need to hear it again and again.
    • P – Pray for a generous heart
    • L – Lifestyle cap
    • A – Accountability
    • N – No less than a tithe
    • A visible multi-generational presence
    • The older mentoring the younger
    • Distinct, visible gender roles
    • Who else but the pastor/teacher can devote himself  wholly to prayer and the ministry of the Word?

       

      2.  Who else, but the pastor/teacher will defend the faith today? 

       

      3. Who else but the pastor/teacher can bring back to our nation the knowledge of the true God? 

       

      4. Who else but the pastor/teacher can give the Bible back to the British people?

       

      5.  Who else but the pastor/teacher will train the laity properly?

       

      6.  Who else but the pastor/teacher can hope substantially to change the course of the church in our land?

       

      7.  Who else but the pastor/teacher can hope to contribute so effectively to the welfare of our nation today?

    • From the Kentucky Baptist Western Recorder:

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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About Joe Fleener

Lover of Christ & His Gospel, Husband to Mandy, Father to three wonderful children, Servant to the Local Church, Bible College Lecturer
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