- Do you believe that outsiders to an academic field know more about it than insiders? Name some academic fields where outsiders know more than the insiders who have studied it (medicine, chemical engineering, nuclear physics)?
- What was the purpose of the gospel of John? According to its author, John, why was it written? (Jn 20.30-31).
- Which NT book devotes eight chapters to explaining in detail (1) why man is not righteous before God; and (2) how does man become righteous before God?
- What is a main theme and key verse for the book of Galatians?
- To have a balanced view of the Bible, list the conservative biblical books or other resources you have read?
- Assuming that all church goers are not going to heaven, hypocrites included, explain the difference between being a real believer and having external religiosity. (Rom 10.9-10,13).
- List six distinctives unique to Jesus Christ that no other religion has.
- If you have rejected the Judeo-Christian world view, name the view which has a more cohesive solution to the issues of origin, meaning, morality and destiny. Is it pantheism, Islam or atheism?
I do not devote much time at all to debating the various systematic theologies. See the rationale for this in the questions asked below. But occasionally I am approached with a question. I try to deal with it briefly and return to more fruitful issues.
I have close friends that belong to reformed churches. It never crosses my mind to discuss it! In seminary I had both biblical theology and reformed professors. CT is considered an acceptable segment of the evangelical family. Extreme forms of CT, including Hypercalvinism, can be more controversial.
CREAM is an acrostic for my views though I hold no glassy-eyed devotion to debating them nor foist them upon others.
QUESTIONS/ISSUES FOR CALVINISM, HYPERCALVINISM :
- How has Calvinist theology (CT) impacted your zeal to fulfill the Great Commission and winning the lost ( Matt 28.18-20; Mk 16.15; Act 1.8)?
- Apparently not a few reformed CT churches have backed away from full scale evangelism and even usage of Bible terms including ‘saved,’ ‘born again.’ For some this CT slant on election seems to preclude the need to reach those who not elect. Is this biblical?
- It is reported that none of the Puritan writers adopted CT. (see apuritansmind.com)
- There is a mystery interwoven in God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility. Is it wise to go beyond what the Bible tells us? CT seeks to resolve this heavenly mystery by eliminating man’s responsibility. Is this wise or biblical?
- Paul opted to major on majors not minors: “For I was determined to know nothing among you except Christ and Him crucified.” (1 Cor 2.2).
- ‘In [salvation] essentials unity, in nonessentials liberty, in all things charity.” – old saint.
- God is using men I disagree with. -Warren Wiersbe’s Bible commentary
- Is the zealous Christian wiser to devote his time to the harvest field or cleaning out his neighbor’s theological fence rows?
Complete Atonement – Christ died sufficiently for all people, but effectively only for the elect – Jn 1.12
Ruined Nature – Man’s condition is lost, separated from God -Jer 17.9; Rom 3.23
Eternal Security – assurance of salvation for those trusting Christ’s payment alone for their sin debt – 1 Jn 2.25
Abundant Grace – God provides sufficient grace for “whosoever will’ – Rom 10.13; John 1.14-17; Rev 22.17; Eph 2.8-9
Moral Accountability – despite his sinful nature, moral responsibility has not been waived. Choices matter. He is eternally created in the image of God. His God-given conscience has the potential to respond to the wooing, the drawing of the Holy Spirit’s conviction -Lu 13.3; Romans 10.13.
T: Total depravity – Every facet of every person everywhere has been marred by sin.
U: Unconditional election – God chooses those to be saved based solely on His will.
L: Limited atonement – Christ died only for those who are elect.
I: Irresistible grace – The elect cannot resist God’s call to salvation.
P: Perseverance of the saints – The elect cannot lose their salvation.
D: Diminished depravity – Humanity is depraved, but God uses prevenient grace to restore man’s ability to respond to Him.
A: Abrogated election – God bases His election on His foreknowledge of those who freely choose Him.
I: Impersonal atonement – Christ died for everyone, making salvation possible for everyone.
S: Sedentary grace – God calls everyone to salvation, but many freely reject it.
Y: Yieldable justification – The saved can fall from grace and lose their salvation.
*The DAISY acronym is much harder to pin down as there are several different versions (I’ll discuss another when analyzing Arminianism). Also, many Arminians do not like the acrostic. Several versions of DAISY have been pushed by Calvinists as caricatures of Arminian theology. Many Calvinists seem to also enjoy making the lame joke that the Arminian flower is a daisy because they pull the petals off saying, “God loves me. He loves me not.”
R: Radical depravity – Every aspect of humanity is depraved, but we are not always as bad as we could be.
O: Overcoming grace – God’s grace is persistent in the life of the believer, but it can be resisted.
S: Sovereign election – God desires the salvation of all, but our salvation is based on His choice not ours.
E: Eternal life – God grants believers eternal security in their salvation.
S: Singular redemption – Christ died sufficiently for all people, but efficiently only for the saved.
*Timothy George, a Calvinist Baptist, uses the same acrostic as Kenneth Keathley, a Molinist. The differences lie in way the terms are defined. I will focus on the Molinist understanding as we will discuss the various forms and moderations of Calvinism with the TULIP.
Hinduism claims that god is pantheistic . . . everything is god . . . in all things . . . . but not a personal god one can form a relationship with. Ever tried to form a meaningful relationship with a galaxy, cloud, rock or glass of water?
This pantheistic world view if taken seriously, should be able to answer a few basic questions:
- Karma is one’s good and bad deeds being recorded to determine if one must be reincarnated to pay off his bad karma. Question: if god is impersonal who is keeping track of all human beings good and bad karma? Where is the accounting office?
- Karma seems cruel not to tell people how and where they have come up short. Why keep an account but not tell the person so he can learn from it?
- Reincarnation involves coming back as some animal life to pay off prior bad karma. Question: if one returns as a bumble bee how does it pay off bad karma? Is it ‘told’ to collect double the normal flower nectar or what?
- Being so vague, how do I know that this concept is not just another of the Hindu myths?
I ________ take you,________ , to be my God-ordained husband. I will have you and hold you from this day forward, until death do us part. I will continue to choose you each day, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, in tragedy or in triumph. I will love you and cherish you, and I will honor and respect you as the head of our home under Christ. I will joyfully submit to you, and faithfully remain by your side all the days of my life. All this I pledge by God’s grace and for His glory.
I _______, take you, _____
To be my God-given wife
To have and to hold
From this day forward, for the rest of my life, with all of my life
For better and for worse
For richer and for poorer
In sickness and in health
To love you unconditionally
To nourish and cherish you
To humbly serve you like Christ does for the church
To lead and shepherd you in God’s will for our lives
Til death do us part
By God’s grace and for His glory, I will!
Conversation Openers with those doubting God:
Are you happy?
How do you deal with guilt?
Have you decided what you believe spiritually?
Are you comfortable (excited) sharing what you believe spiritually?
Do you have a world view that coherently addresses key questions: how did I get here? . . . . . Why am I here? . . . . how do I assign good and evil? . . . . . my destiny?
Found life’s answers or leaving it unresolved . . . refusing to think about God?
Who do you think Jesus Christ is?
Rescued, redeemed and rejoicing!
Reasons why a true believer will never lose his salvation:
(1) The Bible promises us eternal life, not just a 43 percent chance at it (Jn 3.16; 6.37).
(2) Paul powerfully assures if it in Romans 8.38-39!
(3) Jesus promised it in John 10.28.
(4) Many New Testament salvation formula verses including Romans 10.9-10, 6.23; 10.13; Jn 1.12 do not make it conditional on merit or good works afterwards.
(5) King David was an adulterer and murderer yet he is honored to be the last human being mentioned by Jesus in the Bible (Rev 22.16).
(6) No one in the New Testament ever lost his salvation. Some sinned of course but we all do at times. Christians are not sinless but we should sin less.
(7) Good works AFTER one’s salvation day confirm that his decision was likely real (Eph 2.10).
(8) When the Holy Spirit indwells, He REMAINS!– Eph 1.13-14; Rom 8.16; 1 Jn 5.11-13.
Has the Holy Spirit witnessed to your spirit that you are saved? IF NOT, invite Jesus to come in now. Get it settled once for all. “Lord Jesus, right now I confess that I am a lost sinner. I give my life to You. Forgive my sin. I believe that You died to pay the penalty for all my sins. That alone is sufficient to save me.”
Should we praise a dog and God using the same word? Should we make a distinction in complementing things and our majestic, one-of-a-kind, holy God?
New shoes, shirt or a car may be ‘nice,’ or ‘attractive,’ but not ‘awesome.’ God is awesome! God’s mercy and grace are awesome!! My ball team may be exciting or terrific but does that compare with God’s wonders? Should we reserve some words, some superlatives, for that eternal being, the Lord God our Maker?
As the powerful, praise song lyrics proclaim, “Our God is an awesome God’! Let’s show Him by keeping our mouths holy unto Him, letting our behavior honor Him . . letting our choice of words be special, reserved for HIM!!
“God, You ALONE are AWESOME! You alone are holy, Creator, eternal, merciful, gracious, forgiving, long-suffering and wise. (Irwin Lutzer contributed to this.)
The Bible isn’t an abstract book of theology. It’s stories of how God deals with people. He wants us to see what people are really like – and how He deals with them – it’s about reality. God says, “Here is what I see and how I want you to relate to Me and to others.” For example in John 4 with the Woman at the Well, Jesus wants a heart not just a head connection. . . we have to be transparent with God. She is. We should worship in Spirit and truth not just parrot nice things to God. Christ wants us to see who we are and walk with us. – after Frank Couch
“Answers from the Bible are the answers to life” – Bob Kelley
The best present a man can give his wife and children is a godly, Christian hubby-Dad. I did not grow up in a Christian home. No one was saved there. There never was a day when Dad or Mom announced, “Jesus is my Lord and Savior. He’s going to be number One around here. We’ll be having family Bible reading and prayer time. I’ll personally be driving you to a good, Bible-teaching church where you will hear the salvation gospel and find clean friends.”
That never happened. They are gone now—too late for them. But if you have not already made this move with your family, hopefully it is not too late for you?
After getting saved, why can some husbands live clean and other don’t?cthe Christian life is won or lost in the battle of the basics. A wise fellow will avoid the five Ds.
AVOID DESTRUCTIVE FRIENDS: A Christian’s buddies should be godly men. Bluebirds don’t run with buzzards. I love sinners but not their sins. God has not called me to be a beer bar, buzz head. Point sinners to holy ground. “You can’t get some one out of the ditch by getting down in the ditch with them.” – L. Roloff.
AVOID DAMSELS-DELILAHS: We know how innocently these liaisons can begin at work. –meeting legitimate needs or just being friendly. Be so careful. Let the wife meet one’s emotional needs. Good Rule: when in doubt, err on the side of being too cautious. Though commonplace to pair up men and women for work tasks it is not discrete. That male-female chemistry is always active! There is an endless number of people one can be attracted to. Ask God for a Plan B. Like Joseph, walk away.
AVOID DIRTY PICTURES/PORN: We know when and where the temptations usually come. Set a SPECIFIC plan to totally avoid each one specifically! Sin is so mean, so sneaky. Be tough with it!! Don’t give it one inch. Pray DAILY about this temptation. Ask God for a prayer partner to meet with weekly to be accountable to if needed!!
AVOID DEBT: debt can undermine a marriage in unexpected ways. . . . stress . . . arguing . . . mistrust . . . lies . . . distance. . . working too long hours . . kids suffer. Trust God to provide. Ask God to help you live within your budget. Better to have older but the most dependable cars (Toyota, Honda, etc) and cheaper housing. Quit trying to keep up with Jones; that’s pride.
AVOID DRUGS/DRUNKENNESS: Former alcoholic Mel Trotter said, “The worst drink is the first drink.” The devil’s lie: one innocent drink is OK. Ha, how many men stop after just ONE? Addiction first TEASES, then TUGS, finally TRAPS. Too often, today’s drinking sports fan is tomorrow’s drunkard. America has become one big happy hour. Who will be the role models to show us a better life? With stimulants it is one drink in and a life time to get out. Do wise people learn everything the hard way?