Arminian Today

A Jesus-Centered Arminian Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Books

ESV Thompson Chain Reference Bible

I have pre-ordered my copy of the ESV Thompson Chain Reference Bible from CBD.  I am excited about this Bible.  The Thompson Chain Reference Bible has been a favorite of mine for many years.  I currently own two NIV copies, an NASB, and a KJV.  I have longed for the Thompson Chain Reference Bible to come out in the ESV but always feared they would not but thank God they have and it comes out September 19, 2016 according to CBD.

You can see the page here but no information has been given yet on the CBD site.  I will publish a review of the Bible when I receive mine.

Glory to the King!

Written by The Seeking Disciple

09/03/2016 at 8:56 PM

The Key Difference Between Wesley and the Puritans Over Postmillennialism

I know that was a long title.  I tried to think of ways to make it shorter.  I could not.

I rarely dive into eschatological views.  I try to limit my blog to mainly defining and defending Arminianism as well as just writing about general Christian subjects.  The purpose of this post is not to give a scholarly understanding of the postmillennial views of John Wesley versus the Puritans.  I will leave that to others and frankly I am not that good of a writer to jump into such an issue.

Let me begin by stating that it may come as a shock to some that John Wesley was a postmillennialist.  When I was first saved, I instantly was taught a premillennial view of eschatology.  I was taught the rapture of the Church before the seven year tribulation followed by the millennial reign of Jesus Christ.  I remember I use to pray (as my father had prayed) that I would be worthy to be raptured by the Lord Jesus.  I would have dreams of Jesus coming back to rapture His Church and I would start to rise only to be dropped back on earth after flying a few feet off the ground (probably because of some sin I had committed).

My eschatology views have changed since those days.  I bounced from a pre tribulation view of the rapture to a mid tribulation view before I ended up embracing the postmillennial views of John Wesley.  I was shocked when I first learned that John Wesley was a postmillennialist.  I honestly thought only liberals were postmillennial (a view still held by some in the premillennial camp I might add).  I was unaware that most of the Reformers were either amillennial or postmillennial (Arminius was likely amillennial though not proven).  As I studied Church History, I begin to see that eschatology has long been a hotly debated subject.  Thus, I have often avoided the issue.  It seems to me that Jesus will come back and this should be our starting point.  From there we can debate the future but so long as we stay faithful to the fact that Jesus will come again (though I was told once by a lady that I would surely miss the rapture since I didn’t believe in it anymore).

The key difference between the postmillennial views of John Wesley versus the Puritans lies in their salvation doctrines.  Wesley, being a faithful Arminian, believed that Jesus died for all men and thus he believe that the doctrine of unlimited atonement was the passion for world evangelism.  Further, he believed that the kingdom of God would spread all over the world because of the doctrine of unlimited atonement.  The victory of Jesus would go forth in the power the gospel until the end would come and the Lord’s enemies would be made His footstool (Psalm 110:1; 1 Corinthians 15:24-26).

The Puritans passion for postmillennialism was based their view of God’s sovereignty from their Calvinist perspective.  Further, the Puritans were divided over how the world would be won to Christ with some saying that it would begin with the top (leaders, authorities and nations coming to faith in Christ) while others held from the bottom (churches preaching in small towns that would spread to the nations with the gospel bringing a mighty revival).  Both the Puritans and Mr. Wesley held that God would ultimately be glorified through the preaching of the gospel to all people though the disagreed over the doctrine of unconditional election.

A great book to read on this issue is Dr. Vic Reasoner’s book The Hope of the Gospel.  In the book, Dr. Reasoner lays out a biblical and faithful Arminian eschatology based on the doctrines of biblical Arminianism.  He shows how the early Methodists were driven by a passion for the gospel for world missions based on their view of the atonement and their view of eschatology.  Our eschatological views do matter and they do effect how we live our lives.

A final note on this.  It is easy to look around at our sin-filled world and become discouraged.  Some premillennialists (and myself at one time would be included here) often do their eschatology based on what they see in the news and not in the Bible.  We can look around and see our sinful world and start to believe that surely it will get worst  before it gets better.  I am the opposite.  In fact postmillennialism is the only truly optimistic view of end times.  I hold that Jesus will win (as do the others to be fair) and in the end, the gospel will transform our world (Mark 4:30-32).  It might not happen in my lifetime but the Lord is faithful to His promises and I believe a great harvest is coming.  I long to see sinners saved by the grace of God just as He saved me by His grace.

I close by pointing back to the truth that all true Christians share and that is that Jesus is coming again.  Many are passionate for their end times views but I believe that we should have grace toward one another over these issues.  I would gladly fellowship with those who do not agree with my eschatological views.  One truth that unites us is that Jesus died for us on the cross.  This we know (1 John 5:13).  We know He will come again (Acts 1:11) though we not know the day nor the hour (Mark 13:32).  The hope for the disciple of Jesus is the resurrection from the dead that He secured for us by dying for our sins and through Him we will live (John 5:24-25; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).  My hope is in the gospel (Hebrews 9:27-28) and not my end times views.  I pray that for you as well.

I do say with John, “Come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20).

Review of the ESV Fire Bible

The Fire Bible was the first study Bible I ever owned.  It was called the Full Life Study Bible in those days (early 1990’s).  It changed its name to the Life in the Spirit Study Bible and now is the Fire Bible.

The Fire Bible was originally published by Zondervan and was found in the NIV and KJV.  I had the NIV.  However, over the years my theology changed as well as my Bible translation.  I now use the ESV for most of my Bible reading and study.  I was thrilled then to see the Fire Bible come out in the ESV.

The Fire Bible is a classical Pentecostal study Bible.  The notes are focused on four cardinal doctrines of the Pentecostal movement:

  • Jesus Saves (Salvation)
  • Jesus Baptizes in the Spirit (Subsequent to Salvation)
  • Jesus Heals (Divine Healing)
  • Jesus is Coming Again (Jesus’ Second Coming)

These four doctrines are emphasized in the Fire Bible.  The notes reflect these doctrines.

The layout of the ESV Fire Bible is impressive.  The biblical text is double columned with cross references on the side.  This Bible is easy to read without ghosting (where you can see the writing on the other page coming through to the page you are reading).  The leather is well done (mine is black genuine leather and is very nice).  The paper is not as quality as a Cambridge Bible but is good.  I don’t write in my Bibles but this Bible does not have much space for notes.

The commentary is classical Pentecostal as I mentioned above.  The view of salvation is Arminian.  The view of end times is premillennial with a pre tribulation rapture.  While this Bible emphasizes divine healing, the article on healing is clear that doctors are good and needed.  Of course, the view of the Holy Spirit is a Pentecostal view with all spiritual gifts available today.

While I am not 100% on board with every note (for example I am post millennial), the notes are solid.  What I appreciate is that the notes have a Pentecostal feel to them.  Having grown up in the Pentecostal movement and was saved in a Pentecostal church, I know that doctrine does matter but experience flows from the biblical text.  This study Bible emphasizes that aspect with a focus on sound doctrine but also upon living the biblical life.  Christianity is not merely doctrine but is a life.

I recommend this study Bible.  Even if you are not a Pentecostal (say a Wesleyan), this study Bible is useful.  The commentary is soundly conservative (for example this study Bible has only one writer of Isaiah).  As an Arminian, this is the only Arminian study Bible I am aware of on the market at this time (December 2015).  I appreciated the articles on salvation that are clearly Arminian.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

12/06/2015 at 12:34 PM

This and That For 9/23/2015

Just a few notes.

The Fire Bible is now out in the ESV.  The notes are Pentecostal but Arminian in their soteriology.

I did a review of Robert Tourville’s commentary on the book of Acts found here.

I recommend the blog Postmillennialism Today as a good starting point for studying postmillennialism.

And lastly, Dr. Norman Geisler will be the featured speaker at the Fundamental Wesleyan Conference this October.  You can find out more about the conference here.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

09/23/2015 at 1:24 PM

Grace For All Book Review (Chapter 3) Part 1

You can find the previous posts here and here.

This is chapter 3 of the book Grace For All.  This chapter is entitled, “Calvinism and Problematic Readings of New Testament Texts or, Why I Am Not a Calvinist.”

This was an excellent chapter.  The first two chapters laid down the biblical and philosophical foundations to why Arminians reject Calvinism but now we turn completely to the Word of God for our understanding of why Calvinism is flawed.  It begins with what Arminians have the most problem with in regard to Calvinism and that is the Calvinistic teaching of divine determinism.  I was surprised once when talking with an educated Calvinist and he said that he had never heard of divine determinism.  However, we Arminians view Calvinism as divine determinism.  As Glen Shellrude points out in the opening of this chapter, “Theological determinism affirms that everything that happens does so because God has ordained it to happen that way.”  Shellrude points to the Westminster Confession of Faith which clearly teaches that all things come to pass by the ordaining of God.  While many Calvinists affirm unconditional election and thus they affirm divine determinism from a salvation perspective, many Calvinists fail to see that Calvinism (when taken logically) must affirm God’s sovereignty (all-power and all-rule) as “specific sovereignty” meaning that even the “trajectory of the smallest raindrop” is controlled and ordained by God.

Taken further, divine determinism affirms not just the good of the saints (Romans 8:28) but the evil as well (Genesis 50:20).  Yet as Austin Fischer asks, “What about the reprobate? How does God work good for them?”  Of course, He doesn’t.  God’s plan for the reprobate in Calvinism is hell.  This is said to be for His glory.  Reading Calvinist works on the issue of God’s love and the reprobate one understands why John Wesley said that unconditional predestination makes our blood boil.  It simply doesn’t fit the picture of the Bible about God, His nature, His creation, His love, and those whom He created in His image.

Shellrude points out that Calvinists often try to use the language of permission when speaking of evil and divine determinism but this will not fit with the Calvinist understanding of the sovereignty of God.  Divine determinism means that all that happens happens not because God merely permitted it but rather that He plans and renders everything certain for His glory.  So what about evil deeds done by evil men that God did not permit but purposed and rendered certain?  Some Calvinists simply appeal to mystery but some such as Gordon Clark affirm the goodness of God despite His planning evil deeds and events:

God is the ultimate cause of sin, He is not the author of sin. The author is the immediate cause of an action. Man is the immediate cause of his sin. But he was not free to do otherwise. For God is the ultimate cause of sin.

God’s causing a man to sin is not sin. There is no law, superior to God, which forbids him to decree sinful acts. Sin presupposes a law, for sin is lawlessness.

So how does God in Calvinism escape sinning?  Because He is God.  Because God can do what He wants, God cannot be held responsible for sin since He is above the law.  Reminds me of the cops I see flying down the highway going too fast without their emergency lights on yet cops would argue that they are above the law.  I find Clark’s answer less than satisfying.

In the next post I want to jump into this chapter.  Chapter 3 was excellent at exploring how Calvinism fits into the Bible but it doesn’t.  One must have presuppositions of Calvinism to make Calvinism fit into the Bible.  We will examine the many texts that Shellrude looks at in this chapter.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

09/05/2015 at 1:11 PM

Series of Posts on Two Arminian Books

I know other Arminians have been blogging recently on the new book from John Wagner entitled Grace For All but I want to throw my own review in as well.  I am working on a review of this for The Arminian magazine.

I also want to blog on J. Matthew Pinson’s latest book Arminian and Baptist.  This will be a challenge to blog on both but I pray that the Lord will give me grace.

I know the blog has slowed down some but this was on purpose.  I have been consumed with work and with family.  Both are good things.  The Lord knows that I love to write but I needed the break.  However, look for the new posts on the books to be coming soon.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

06/24/2015 at 7:20 PM

Thoughts on Arminian Book Publishing

I was honored to be able to attend the 2014 Fundamental Wesleyan Conference held at the Southern Wesleyan College in Orangeburg, SC.  I was blessed as I listened to brother Mark Horton, pastor of Faith United Community Church in Nicholasville, KY teach us on John Wesley and the early Methodists use of accountability groups as a form of both conversion and discipleship of true saints.  He pointed out that George Whitefield lamented at his death that Wesley had done that right, by starting his “bands” for the purpose of accountability and overcoming sin.

The theme of the conference was on Christian perfection.  We heard lectures related to that theme.  It was pointed out that the Bible calls us to perfection (Matthew 5:48; 19:21; 1 Corinthians 2:6; Philippians 3:15; Colossians 1:28; 4:12; James 1:4; 3:2).  We are be a people of holiness (Hebrews 12:14) just as God Himself is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16).  Yet the modern rise in Calvinism has brought with it the antinomian approach to sin.  The Calvinist mindset is that we can never conquer sin even with the Spirit of God abiding within.  Our best hope, says Calvin, is Romans 7.  John Wesley differed greatly with this and he emphasized that Christians must first rightly define sin and then we can see that the call to holiness is not hypothetical but very real.  We can be holy.  We can live in a godly life in Christ Jesus.  We don’t have to live a life of sinning (1 John 3:4-10).  We can “stop sinning” (1 Corinthians 15:34).

While that was all very good teaching, I appreciated Dr. Vic Reasoner speaking on the subject of the need for Arminian publishing of books.  He pointed out that less than 50 years ago, there were essentially four major Christian publishers and all were located in Grand Rapids, MI.  Those family publishers have since been bought out and now are owned by very large and very liberal companies such as News Corp and Penguin Press. He pointed out that a Christian publisher in Waterbrook Multnomah was recently ousted from the NRB for their willingness to publish openly homosexual and “Christian” authors.  Why?  Reasoner points out that the bottom line is money.

Reasoner went on to discuss how he had a friend who was asked by his publisher to remove things from his work because it was too offensive or didn’t follow the policies of the publisher.

Reasoner also talked about how most of the major books today are Calvinistic especially in the area of discipleship and Biblical studies.  This, he said, must change but it will not so long as the publishers are only willing to publish what they deem follows their agenda or makes them money.

The need then is for Arminian publishing to arise.  The Nazarene Publishing House (NPH) is closing its doors in December.  The NPH had once been a vital Arminian voice publishing the works of Wesley and Arminius.  My own copies of Arminius’ works came from the NPH.  Other Arminian publishers such as Pathway Press (Church of God, Cleveland, TN) and Gospel Publishing House (Assemblies of God) are avoiding theological books these days and are not a major player in publishing Arminian books.

During the 18th century Wesleyan revival here in the West, the Wesleyan movement published thousands of books mainly in London.  These works went out into the world and impacted a generation.  It was not uncommon for even Calvinists to be reading Wesleyan books on theology or Bible commentaries.  The works of Adam Clarke and Thomas Coke both were used by God to send forth sound Arminianism.  Even Charles Spurgeon owned a well used copy of Clarke’s Bible commentary.  The sermons of Wesley and Asbury were published and sent forth.  The works of John Fletcher or Richard Watson were sold all over the world.  It was a book by Daniel Whitby that led John Gill to write his book countering the rise in Arminianism.

My point here is that we do need Arminian books and Arminian publishers.  I urge you to pray for this endeavor.  Dr. Reasoner and the Fundamental Wesleyan Press is teaming up with a few other smaller Arminian publishers to seek to get out Arminian books.  Pray that the Lord is glorified in this work.  Pray for the finances to come forth for this work.  Pray that solid biblical truth goes forth.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

10/24/2014 at 12:54 PM

%d bloggers like this: