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An Arminian Response to Mark Dever

Brother William Birch has written an excellent piece on the Arminian response to Mark Dever’s recent lecture he called, “Where did all these Calvinists come from?”  Dever bounces off the rise of Calvinism among the so-called “young, restless, and reformed” generation that has abandoned Arminianism and non-Calvinism for Calvinism.  Dever believe this, of course, is a good thing and a work of the Lord.

William shows that in reality, Calvinism is not held by the majority of Christians nor has Calvinism ever been the major view in Church History.  At times there have been seasons of revival for both Arminians and Calvinists.  I think back to John Wesley and how the Wesleyan revival spread to the United States and sparked a revival of Arminianism that would dominate the American church for the next 100 + years.  Around the turn of the century, liberalism invaded the American Methodist movement and Calvinism saw a rise again.  The Pentecostal movement spread like fire in the mid 1900’s and again Arminianism saw a rise again.  Now we are seeing the rise of Calvinism.  I have several reasons why I believe this to be so and will save them for a later post.

For now, enjoy brother Birch’s article that you can find here.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

10/24/2013 at 7:30 PM

Tony Miano Arrested For Preaching Against Sin In England

Here is a link to an article of brother Tony Miano being arrested in England for preaching against sin.  I watched the post-arrest video from Tony concerning this event.  Tony and his team were preaching the gospel and passing out tracts at the Wimbledon Tennis Tournament in England.  Tony chose to preach from 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 and was preaching against all sexual immorality including homosexuality.  A woman heard Tony preaching against homosexuality, cursed at him as she walked by, and then called the police to complain about his sermon.  The police arrived and arrested Tony for his “hate speech” against homosexuals.

Tony was then taken to a police station where he was questioned about his faith in Christ.  The British asked him where in the Bible he was preaching, did he hate homosexuals, would he help a homosexual if they asked him for food, and would he continue to preach against homosexuality if they let him go.  He answered appropriately but on the last question, he told them he would continue to preach against homosexuality since it was condemned in Scripture.  At this point the British told him he would not be released but would have to stand trial for his crimes against homosexuals.

This is coming to the United States.  It will be a crime to preach against the sin of homosexuality in this nation in due time.  My prediction is less than 10 years.  However, the Church of Christ must preach against all sins.  We must not pick and choose what sins to preach against but must declare what God’s Word says about all sin (1 John 3:4).  The Bible condemns not just homosexuality (1 Corinthians 6:9-10) but also lying, greed, idolatry, adultery, racism, etc.  May we be faithful to preach against all sin that robs God of His glory and sends people to hell (Romans 6:23).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

07/04/2013 at 9:46 AM

Rethinking Hell

Here is a blog by Calvinist Chris Date on the subject of hell.  Date has adopted the view known as conditionalism.  He now holds to annihilation.  I have followed Date’s struggles with the traditional view of hell and then his ultimate adoption of the view he now holds.  I must admit that if you have never read literature on the conditionalist view, it is very appealing.  Even Arminian Dr. Roger Olson states that he finds conditionalism appealing as it reflects the love of God in that sinners are merely thrown into hell and cease to exist.

Over the years I have gone back and forth.  I read Edward Fudge’s book and his arguments are very convincing.  I have likewise read other works on hell such as Francis Chan’s book Erasing Hell.  The problem with the debate over hell is that it often turns into an issue of salvation (if you don’t believe in hell you are wrong or if you do believe in hell you are wrong) and emotions.  The thought of dear granny Smith burning in hell bothers us.  Yet we have no problem seeing Hitler burning in hell.  However, we must admit that both are guilty before God of sin and if granny Smith did not repent, she is guilty before God just as Hitler is though she might not be punished on the same level.

Arminius said little about hell.  His debate was over salvation so he rarely went beyond that.  John Wesley preached on hell and his sermons have often been sources for those who believe in the traditional view of hell.  Of course Jonathan Edwards famous sermon, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, reflects the traditional view.

I do think there is room in the church to debate hell.  I would not divide over a brother or a sister who rejects the traditional view.  I would reject someone if they completely reject hell (such as universalist).  Even conditionalist speak of hell.  They simply debate whether hell is eternal or not.  I don’t write this post to sway you either way.  I pray that we preach that all sinners must repent or they will face the judgement of God (Acts 17:30-31).  God will judge all people (Hebrew 9:27).  This I do know and this I will preach (Hebrews 12:29).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

05/04/2013 at 10:00 AM

Top Ten Books

The top ten books in the world.  Interesting.  You can find them here.

HT: Scot McKnight

Written by The Seeking Disciple

04/29/2013 at 9:33 PM

Short Thoughts on the Early Church Fathers

Thanks to my friend Chris over at his blog,  I have picked back up reading David Bercot’s book, Will the Real Heretics Please Stand Up.  This book is an excellent book that shows that the early Church Fathers were not evangelicals.  They are some points of evangelicalism that they would agree to but they would not be Calvinists and would not be Arminians though they would agree with Arminius more so than with Calvin.  Bercot shows what the early Christians believed about various theological issues ranging from salvation by grace to free will to obedience to Christ being necessary for salvation.  Many of these themes have been debated in our times as well but it is interesting to read the early Church Fathers especially over issues such as original sin or free will.

Now before you go and accuse me of placing the Church Fathers on par with Scripture, I assure you that Scripture must be our authority.  Yet to ignore the early Church Fathers in favor of our views is simply misleading.  These were men who lived closer to the time of Apostles than we did and many of them knew some of the Apostles.  While I agree that their views are not infallible, they are worth reading.  For instance, their views on free will.  Nearly every early Church Father believed in free will and it is clear in their writings that they would reject divine determinism.  The writings of Augustine would transform the church from believing in free will to believing in such a view of depravity that robs people of free will.  Let me give you just a few quotes from the Church Fathers on free will to make my point:

Justin Martyr: “And again, unless the human race have the power of avoiding evil and choosing good by free choice, they are not accountable for their actions…”

Minucius Felix: “For God made man free, and with power over himself. …That, then, which man brought upon himself through carelessness and disobedience, this God now vouchsafes to him as a gift through His own philanthropy and pity, when men obey Him. … so, obeying the will of God, he who desires is able to procure for himself life everlasting.”

Tertullian 200-240 A.D. 3:220 “Still there is a portion of good in the soul, of that original, divine, and genuine good, which is its proper nature. For that which is derived from God is rather obscured than extinguished.” 3:301 “Therefore it was proper that (he who is) the image and likeness of God should be formed with a free will and a mastery of himself; so that this very thing – namely, freedom of will and self-command – might be reckoned as the image and likeness of God in him.” 3:303 No doubt it was an angel [Lucifer] who was the seducer; but then the victim of that seduction [Adam] was free, and master of himself;” 3:308 “Who is the author of good, but He who also requires it?” 3:308 “Behold, they [Marcionites] say, how He acknowledges Himself to be the creator of evil in the passage, ‘It is I who created evil.’ They take a word whose one form reduces to confusion and ambiguity two kinds of evils (because both sins and punishments are called evils), and will have Him in every passage to be understood as the creator of all evil things, in order that He may be designated the author of evil.” Against Marcion chap. 14.

Arnobius: “To all, He says, the fountain of life is open, and no one is hindered or kept back from drinking. If you are so fastidious as to spurn the kindly offered gift, … why should He keep on inviting you, while His only duty is to make the enjoyment of His bounty depend upon your own free choice?”

And there are many, many more.  While it is true that the Church Fathers are not equal with Scripture, we must not be so foolish as to think that they cannot provide us with wisdom.  Further, to ignore their words until you get to Augustine would be foolish as well.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

04/19/2013 at 11:13 AM

Missionaries to Guatemala

Wanted to point you to a link for a few friends of mine who have left the luxury of the United States to move to Guatemala to work with an orphanage.  Surely James 1:27 fits them well where James writes:

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”

My friends are young (all under 25) and are going because they believe that the nation of Guatemala needs the gospel.  I ask you to check out their website and pray for them to see God move in power throughout that great nation.

You can find the site here.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

09/16/2011 at 3:32 PM

Posted in Missions

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