Arminian Today

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Posts Tagged ‘Biblical Worldview

Is Patriotism Sinful?

I’ve been enjoying a lively conversation between myself and an Australian brother.  He often writes articles on the United States often attacking us for various reasons.  It got me wondering about patriotism and whether it is sinful.  This brother believes that too many Christians in the United States place Christianity and patriotism side by side and often blur the line between Christianity and the United States itself.

First, let me state that I believe it is not sinful to be patriotic provided your patriotism doesn’t get in the way of the gospel.  The United States is not the kingdom of God and some do struggle to see that distinction.  I confess that Jesus is Lord of all (Romans 10:9-13) and He is Lord over the nations (Daniel 2:44).  The nations are His (Psalm 2:7-9).  The gospel is going to triumph over all the nations including the United States of America (Psalm 110:1; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28).  The United States, like Great Britain before her, like Spain before her, and like other nations will not matter in eternity.  The Lordship of Christ is what matters.

Jesus said that His kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36) not meaning that His kingdom is not coming to this world but rather that its power, its source is not of this world.  Our power is from God (Acts 1:8).  No nation can defeat the gospel.  Whether it be the wicked Soviet Union or the wicked United States, nothing will stop the gospel.  The gospel is going to reign over the nations (Acts 17:30-31).  Revelation 5:9 promises that there will be people from every tribe under heaven in eternity.  People of all races, languages, nations, etc. will be in heaven.  What a joy that will be!

When it comes to patriotism, I know many look at the United States and wonder about this.  Why do Americans stand at the national anthem?  Why do churches display both the Christian and US flags?  Why do churches encourage patriotism?  Even by those who do not claim Christ, patriotism is often encouraged.  Even atheists rejoice in our freedoms and encourage a loyalty to the United States.

For those outside of the US, this can be misunderstood.  I was raised to be thankful for our nation.  I was taught by my Sunday School teachers, my public education teachers, and my college professors to love our nation, to rejoice in our freedoms, to pray for our leaders.   I look around at the world and I see poverty, I see political turmoil, I see religious restrictions, I see wars, I see the government taking away people’s rights to life, to liberty, to the pursuit of happiness (to quote the Declaration of Independence) and I thank God I live in the United States.  This is not a “Christian” nation though I fear that the secular left wants to wash away the Christian foundation that is definitely part of our history that we brought over from Europe.

According to the United Nations:

With a population of over 300 million people, the market value of all goods and services was almost $14 trillion dollars in 2007—equivalent to a staggering 2.5% of the entire world’s total output. Gross domestic product (GDP) data collected by the World Bank in 2007 indicated that the United States produced more goods and services than the next four economic–powerhouse countries—Japan, Germany, China and the United Kingdom—combined.

In the US, we can live anywhere we want, drive anywhere we want, eat whatever we want at all times, do whatever we want (provided it is legal).  I live in the South here in the US and we are called “the Bible belt” for good reason.  We have thousands of churches, Bible publishers, and missionaries.  It is not uncommon to go to a civic event and hear prayers. Our leaders often speak of what church they belong to.   The United States has sent out more missionaries than any other nation in the history of the world.  More money flows from the church here in the US to world missions than any other nations combined.

I have seen people rise through the Protestant work ethic engrained in the United States.  My uncle is now with Jesus but he was born with an eye problem that led to his blindness.  He could see up until near his death but he was legally blind.  When he dropped out of school in the 1940’s, blind people often were destined for poverty.  What could they do?  He worked at a broom shop making corn brooms at $10 a week.  He married his bride and they shared a one bedroom apartment.  Over time, my uncle got saved and Jesus changed his life.  The Protestant work ethic begin to flow.  My uncle worked hard and when he died, he had purchased three homes, multiple cars, and left behind a strong biblical work ethic.   All this while legally blind.  Of course, the biblical work ethic is not about just getting homes, cars, etc. but about working to the glory of God (Colossians 3:23-24).

Despite all this, the US is a wicked nation.  We have turned from our Christian foundation. I am not implying that our founding fathers were all Christians but they did have Christian heritage that came from mainly England.  The first pilgrims to the new world brought with them The Geneva Bible and sought out the new world for the purpose of worshiping God in freedom.  11 of the 13 colonies had a national church.  Yet the liberals today want us to ignore history, to ignore Christianity as what made Europe great and when Europe turned away from Christianity, it too has fallen.  Christianity will make Africa great as well as China and Korea.  I pray that other nations learn from the history of Europe and the United States and embrace the gospel and watch the blessings of God.

The US is full of sin.  Homosexuality, abortion, murder, drunkenness, greed, lust, gambling, sports idolatry and other forms of idolatry, the worship of money, of power, of fame.  We live in a society that has lost its Protestant work ethic (that work is to the glory of God and is rewarded) but now I read that the younger generations favor socialism (stealing from the hard working to provide equality to those who do not work as hard).  This nation must repent.

So back to my original question.  Is patriotism wrong?  I believe that it should not become idolatrous.  It should not blur the gospel.  It should not rob Jesus of His reign over our lives.  We are not citizens of the United States first but we are disciples of Jesus first and foremost (Luke 14:25-35) and our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20).

Paul the Apostle was not ashamed to say where he was from (Philippians 3:5).  Paul even used his earthly citizenship to his advantage for the gospel (Acts 22:22-29).  He did not boast over others through his Roman heritage but he used it.  I pray the same for my fellow Americans.  I pray that we use our freedom to preach the gospel.  I pray that we use our right to free speech for the glory of God.  I pray that we take our money and use it to spread the gospel around the world.  I pray that we use our religious freedom to preach the gospel in the open air, to witness to people, to gather with the saints of God to worship our true King, and to pray for our leaders to repent (1 Timothy 2:1-7).

If you do not live in the United States, I ask you to pray for the US to repent.  It is a blessed nation but a wicked nation.  May God have mercy on the United States of America.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

02/16/2016 at 6:02 PM

Short Thoughts on the Islamic View of the Bible

I was listening to Dr. James White teaching on Islam and their view of the Bible and his talk got me thinking about the nature of the Islamic view of the Bible and how that plays into their view of Allah’s determinism of all things.  The Muslim view of Allah is that Allah is so sovereign that everything that happens whether good or bad happens because Allah wills it so and Allah renders all things certain.  Some have tried to place the Calvinist view of God’s sovereignty on the same level as the Muslim view but there are major differences between the two and I will not go there.  Just a cursory reading of the Calvinist view of God’s sovereignty reveals that despite their holding to divine determinism, there is a large element of God’s goodness and His love toward His creation including the reprobate (Romans 9:22).

The Muslim view of Allah is that Allah is not entirely loving and good.  His nature is not loving.  While Muslims believe that Allah is merciful and compassionate, they hold that Allah is to be known not in a loving sense but in submission (thus Muslims are those who submit to Allah).  The nature of God in Christianity is that God is love (1 John 4:7-8).  God is both holy and loving.  God hates our sins and He will judge our sins but He has also sent His Son to bear our sins on the cross (John 3:16).  This is the hope of the gospel, that Jesus has bore our sins (Galatians 1:4; Ephesians 1:7) and we will be raised to eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23).  No doubt sin separates us from our holy God and Creator (Isaiah 59:2; Ephesians 2:1-3) but God has sent His Son for our sins because of His great love for us (Ephesians 2:4-9).

The Muslim view of Allah is that Allah is completely other from his creation.  Allah often remains angry with humanity because we fail to obey his laws as he gave to Mohammad in the Quran and mostly in the Hadith.  Allah will judge all of humanity and will judge the Christians harshly for their worship of Jesus Christ (Surah 19:88-98).  Muslims fear the day of judgment .  They fear that Allah will not be merciful toward them even if they have kept his laws and sought to obey the pillars of Islam.  Some Muslims even believe that no person is safe on the day of judgment for Allah may choose to ignore the works of the Muslim and simply choose to send them to hell because of his own sovereign choice.

Now back to my original thought.  Islam holds that Allah not only controls all things but he renders certain all things.  Nothing happens that Allah has not willed so.  Allah is the supreme cause of all things.  The view of God in Islam amounts to fatalism.

Yet Muslims hold that Allah gave the Old Testament (the Torah) to the Jews.  Allah gave the New Testament to the Christians (the Gospels).  Yet they hold that the Jews and Christians corrupted the Scriptures given to them by Allah.  Therefore, Allah in his mercy sent Mohammad 600 years after the New Testament to correct true religion and to bring people back to submission to Allah.  The Quran is seen to be given by Gabriel to Mohammad as the final revelation from Allah (notice that it had to come through the angel because Allah does not deal with mankind).  Muslims then reason backwards that the newer revelation is superior to the older revelation.

Muslims hold that the Bible has been corrupted though they can’t truly point out the corruptions.  They often point to variants in the Greek text such as Mark 16:9-20 or John 8:1-10.  However, Christian scholars acknowledge these variants.  We also acknowledge the textual differences among the Greek family of manuscripts.  By the way, Muslim scholars know that there are variants in the Quran texts as well.  Bear in mind that the Quran was written years after Mohammad had even died.  The key differences here is that the Bible has thousands of manuscripts for it.  The New Testament alone has thousands of Greek texts.  Muslim scholars also now that the variants do not effect any major doctrines in Christianity.

Yet all of this, the variants, the so called corruptions in the Bible, etc. all happened because Allah willed it.  Yet Allah states in the Quran that he will guide and protect his word.  How can this be if Allah allowed the Old and New Testaments to be corrupted?  How can Allah be trusted if he allows this?  And if Allah allows the Bible to be corrupted, how can the Muslim argue that Allah has protected the Quran from error?

On my desk here as I write is a copy of the Quran along with my New American Standard Bible.  The two are not even close when you read them.  As Dr. White pointed out in his talk, just take the book of Acts and read it and notice how Luke emphasizes places, historical people, emperors, etc. while the Quran does little to none of this.  One cannot read say Surah 2 and know for sure when this is or what is happening.  The Quran is not even fun reading.  Meanwhile, the Bible is full of history, poetry, prophecy, etc. that places the Bible and its events in human history with humans interacting with God as the will of God is accomplished mainly the salvation of mankind through the cross (John 1:29).  The Bible has been given to us to reveal God’s final and ultimate revelation of Himself in His Son for His glory and for our salvation (Hebrews 1:1-3).  John 20:31 records that these were written so that we might believe in Jesus and be saved.

The Quran, on the other hand, is not that way at all.  The beauty is not there.  The historical interactions are not there and what few are there are borrowed from the Bible in some form.  Even what is known about Jesus has to come from the Bible (such as His virgin birth which the Quran has to borrow from).  The Quran has to borrow from the Christian worldview (mainly the Scriptures themselves) to establish itself.  The Book of Mormon is similar in this vein where Smith has to borrow from the Bible and then attack the Bible to establish his book above the Bible.

The bottom line is that if Allah is all-powerful and he causes all things then he caused the corruption of the Bible yet he said in the Quran that he gave the Bible and protects his words.  Which is it?  Did Allah protect the Bible or did he fail?  Obviously, if the Bible is true then we have no need for the Quran and Mohammad is a false prophet and false teacher.  This is my view.

My Reaction to Same-Sex “Marriage”

As I write this, I am heartbroken by the 5-4 decision by the United States Supreme Court to legalize homosexual “marriages.”  The SCOTUS in essence ignored democracy, ignored State’s rights, and changed the fundamental definition of marriage.  The issue before the Supreme Court was not about marriage.  It was about affirming homosexuality.  This decision by the SCOTUS will not end the homosexual agenda as the attacks will now turn up toward the religious who do not affirm homosexuality.  It not about marriage but about affirming sin.

So how do I react to this wicked decision by the SCOTUS?

1.  This decision does not change the biblical view.  While I have no doubts that many “evangelicals” will embrace homosexual “marriage,” a true disciple of Jesus will never back down.  Why?  Because homosexuality is a sin.  Homosexuals are homosexuals by their sinful choices.  They can be forgiven just as all other sinners can be forgiven (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

2.  Marriage will not be redefined by the SCOTUS nor anyone else.  A biblical worldview is against any other view of marriage but the one given to us by God Himself (Matthew 19:4-6).

3.  The Church must continue to preach against the sin of homosexuality just as we must preach the truth of biblical marriages (Ephesians 5:25-32).  God’s truth does not change because our wicked culture now affirms certain sins.  The Church must continue to call all sinners (homosexuals included) to repent and believe the gospel (Acts 2:38; 2 Corinthians 7:10).  I will not cease to preach that homosexuality is a sin and that it can be forgiven by the blood of Jesus.

4.  This decision should cause to pray for homosexuals to be saved.  Again, the fundamental issue here is not about marriage.  It is not about equality.  It is about affirmation.  Homosexuals (like all sinners) know that their actions are against God.  They know that they deserve the wrath of God because of their sins.  We all know this about our own sins whether it be homosexuality or greed or lust.  We know that God is holy and we deserve His just wrath against our sins.  Yet sinners (and not just homosexuals) want to run from this judgment.  They want to pretend that if society affirms their sin, the sin and their guilt will go away.  It will not.  The Holy Spirit is still working, He is still convicting sinners (John 16:8-11) and He will continue to convict homosexuals that their sin is against a holy God.  We must pray for homosexuals to be saved by the grace of God.

5.  This decision, of course, is not final.  God can transform our culture back to the truth of Scripture.  We must pray for Matthew 6:10 to take place.  A revival of God’s truth can not only save sinners but turn our culture back to the Word of God.  Once this happens, the SCOTUS decisions will not matter in light of the ultimate Judge.  A thousand years from now, the rulings of the SCOTUS will not matter as God will still be King.

6.  No doubt this is a sad time in the United States.  While sinners rejoice in their sins (Romans 1:32), the righteous feel mocked, we feel defeated.  Yet Jesus is still King of kings and Lord of lords (1 Timothy 6:15).  President Obama may celebrate this wicked moment but the righteous know that our true King longs for sinners to repent (2 Peter 3:9).  We should pray for the SCOTUS and for our national leaders to repent.  We should pray for the homosexuals who fought to bring this case before the Court to repent.  We should pray for the homosexual couples who now believe that their sin and guilt will go away by becoming “married” before the Government to repent.  We must pray for God to bring repentance to this nation.

7.  Lastly, we should pray for true marriages to be healthy, to be what God designed them to be.  I am not a perfect husband.  I have my many faults.  Yet I know that my marriage is a true marriage because of the Word of God.  I am married to one woman and our marriage has produced three boys that I am already teaching about true marriage.  The true reality is that only true marriages can produce children and parents of those children can teach their children the truth of marriage before the wicked culture tries to pervert the truth of marriage.  No homosexual couples will ever have children.  It is simply impossible.  Therefore, we who can have true marriages and produce children need to do so and train our children in the ways of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).  This will turn back the tide of sin and turn our nation back to true marriage.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

06/26/2015 at 6:25 PM

Do Wesleyan-Arminains Believe in Inerrancy?

Here is a link to an article on the subject of inerrancy among Wesleyan-Arminians.  Dr. Vic Reasoner has written an excellent book on inerrancy called The Importance of Inerrancy.  It is an easy read on an important topic.

You can find the article here.

You can find Dr. Reasoner’s book here.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

06/16/2015 at 1:56 PM

The Absolute Authority of Scripture

The Bible is the inerrant and infallible Word of God.  This is true because the Bible comes from God who is the absolute authority and He has said that He cannot lie (Numbers 23:19; Titus 1:2).  Because God is the absolute authority and He is perfection, His Word is both absolute in its authority and inerrant because it comes from God (John 17:17; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:16-21).  Any denial of the authority of the Word of God will always lead to the elevation of the individual to the judge of what is true and not God Himself.

For example, some claim that they follow Christ but they deny the inerrant of the Bible.  They claim that such a view is outdated and not supported by modern science or some other claim.  Either way, they have placed science or a theologian or a creed or a person to the judge of God.  God is glorious and He will not be judged by fallible humans (Job 40:2).  God is exalted above all His creation and He will not lay down on a table for us to dissect and examine.  He has given us evidence both within and without of who He is (Romans 1:20) and He will not be judged by sinful people (Romans 11:33-35).  Who are we to judge the Lord of Glory?  Who are we to question His ways?  Who are we to say that we don’t believe God could create in six days or that He could rescue Noah and his family from the worldwide flood?  Who are we to question the miracles of Scripture when in fact God can do whatever He wants to do?

The reality is that the Bible flows from Him who is truth (John 14:6).  The absolute truth is found only in God.  It is not found in religion.  It is not found in human philosophy.  It is not found in our meager attempts at knowledge.  In fact, the Bible says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 1:7) and all wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ (Colossians 2:3).  The Bible, because it has come from a perfect God who created all things, is perfect and infallible.

Everything must then submit to the authority of the Bible since the Bible comes from the One who created all things and who is the source of absolute truth.  When we reject the Bible, we reject our standard for truth and we become the standard for truth.  This only leads to insanity as we humans are so full of wickedness are easily swayed by our emotions and sins.  The standard for truth is God alone.  Any other claim of truth without God has no standing.  God is the foundation for knowledge and truth.  If you begin with any truth claim apart from God and His revelation, we have already erred.

The liberal churches give us a picture of what happens with the Bible is rejected.  Certainly liberal churches such as the PCUSA, many Episcopal, Lutheran, and Methodist churches show us what happens when the Bible is only held up as an example but not the inerrant and infallible truth.  The gospel is reduced to nothing but a social cause.  Lost is the forgiveness of sins (because sin no longer can be defined since the Word of God has been rejected and man is now the judge of sin).  Lost is the authority to warn sinners to repent.  Lost is the authority to call evil as evil and good as good.  Lost is the authority to teach sound doctrine (Titus 2:1).  All is lost and these liberal churches become nothing but social causes  and fighting for rights of sinful people without any authority.  Their authority becomes them and they sit as judges of God.  Yet God is not to be judged by us.  We will be judged by God (Romans 14:10-12; Revelation 20:11-15).

All of us approach the Bible with certain presuppositions.  I approach the Bible as the inerrant and infallible Word of God because that is what the Bible says.  Someone will argue, “But that is circular reasoning.”  Yet if I told you I was the strongest man in the world, you wouldn’t reply, “Okay, prove that but don’t use your muscles.”  My muscles are my authority to prove I am the strongest man in the world.  Why deny me my guns (see what I did there)?  The Bible claims to be from God and by definition God would be superior to us and He would be judge of us.  He would not be like us and He is not (Isaiah 40:25).  God gave us His perfect Word because it flows from Him who is perfect.

Now when a person approaches the Bible and says, “I believe in Jesus Christ but I reject the parts in the Bible about the flood or about creation or about an ax head floating or about Daniel in the lion’s den or about Jonah and the great fish.”  Who is now the judge of Scripture?  Who now judges God?  Yet I may not understand some things about the Bible but I submit to a holy and perfect God.  I believe that He is certainly more than able to do even above what I could imagine or think (Ephesians 3:20).

It is nothing for God to raise the dead or for Him to feed 5000 people.  It is nothing for God to calm the seas or to bring down fire from heaven to consume the sacrifices.  It is nothing for God to become a man and make His dwelling among us (John 1:14).  This is the greatest example of God revealing who He is to us (Isaiah 9:6-7).

In the end, there is no reason to reject the Bible as the inerrant and infallible Word of God.  Any claim otherwise is to set ourselves up as the judge of the Bible and we lose our authority and answer for truth.  From here we have no truth to stand on and our standard for truth will be our feelings, our emotions, our culture, our reasoning.  And all of this is sinful and flawed.  However, God is not sinful nor is He flawed.  He is perfect in every way possible.

The “Good” Atheist

Every once in a while you meet a person who says that they are a “good atheist” and they reason that they are a good moral person without God.  Further, they claim that the world would be a better place without God or religion.  They reason that most people are good by nature and in reality, it is very few people who are truly evil.  This, of course, runs contrary to Christianity which teaches that humanity is sinful and bent toward wickedness.  Romans 1:18 says that people suppress the truth in unrighteousness.  In other words, people despise God and refuse to submit to Him because they love their sins.  It is not about evidence.  It is about sinfulness and the desire to do what we want, to be our own gods, to set our own destiny.  The idea that we must stand before God when we die is unthinkable (Hebrews 9:27).  It does not fit the atheists worldview nor their lifestyle.

The “good atheist” is the atheist who believes they should be moral and good for the simple reason that we should be moral and good.  If pressed further, there is not eternal reason for being good and moral and no basis for the goodness nor the morality.  In the end, the good atheist is good and moral only because they deem it right to be so.  They have no authority, no reasons.  It just is.  If a person on the other hand chooses to do evil and to kill people or to rape women or to molest children, the good atheist cannot attack the wicked atheist for their evil.  They have no basis to do so.  They can say that the wicked atheist should not have done that but why?  Who cares?  Who decides what is good and what is evil?  If we look to society to deem what is good and what is evil, we are left with various cultures saying this is good and this is evil.  The Nazis would say that killing Jews was not evil because Jews are not humans and thus Nazis are doing what evolution has taught them to do, to destroy the weak.  Yet the good atheist can question the Nazi and their worldview but they have no basis to tell them they are wrong.

The problem with the “good” atheist is that they borrow from the Christian worldview while trying to ignore the God whom the Christian worships and adores.  Goodness and morality come from one source: God.  He alone is good and moral.  God alone, because of His perfection, can tell us what is good and what is evil.  We can’t.  We are not good.  We are wicked sinners.  The Bible says that our hearts are wicked before a holy God (Jeremiah 17:9).  Jesus said that it was out of the wicked heart that sin comes forth (Matthew 15:18-20).  Our hearts are corrupt.  There is not one person on the face of earth that is good.  Only God is good and His Word alone is our standard for goodness and morality.

Yet the atheist would argue then that they don’t believe the Bible and we cannot quote the Bible.  The atheist wants the Christian to deny their worldview while the atheist is allowed to embrace their worldview.  The “good” atheist borrows then from the Christian worldview of morality and goodness to establish what is moral and what is good.   The “good” atheist will then denounce pedophiles while using the Christian worldview to do so but when the Christian denounces the pedophiles because it violates the Word of God, the atheist cries “foul.”  The “good” atheist will borrow from the Christian worldview to denounce other “sins” as well including murder, rape, racism, greed, etc.  This is insanity.

In the end, the consistent atheist is one who sees humanity as nothing but cells thrown together by mere chance.  The basis for morality is in fact not real.  The atheist is free (in their worldview) to live as they want to live or die as they want to die and they can impose that on all others as well since all of us are nothing more than cells thrown together by chance and our lives are not worth more than the ant that is crushed under our tires on the highway.  Anything and everything should be allowed since we have no foundation to judge and we will not be accountable to God.

Of course, this is ridiculous and the atheist knows this.  The “good” atheist has a sense of morality and goodness because they are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27).  They know this.  They know God exists but refuse to submit to Him because of their love of self (Romans 1:18-19).  The “good” atheist borrows from the Christian worldview without submission to the Lord Jesus Christ because of their love of sin.  We all will stand before Jesus someday and answer for our lives.  In that day, the atheist will have no excuses for their sins and their “goodness” will be seen for what it is (Isaiah 64:6).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

12/10/2014 at 1:13 PM

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