Arminian Today

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Posts Tagged ‘Missions

Pray For Caleb Fielding

I ask you to join me in praying for brother Caleb Fielding who is going to England to be a missionary.  Pray for the Lord to use Caleb to preach the gospel and to disciple those who repent and believe the gospel (Matthew 28:19-20).  Pray for souls to hear the gospel and be saved (Romans 10:14-17).  Pray for Caleb to be a man of God, a man of holiness toward the sinners in England (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1).  Pray for the Church of Jesus Christ in England to experience revival and see souls saved for the glory of God.

For more information on brother Caleb, please see http://www.calebfielding.com

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Written by The Seeking Disciple

03/19/2017 at 1:55 PM

God’s Love for a Little Jungle Pastor: A Clip from Paul Washer

I saw this excerpt clip from a larger sermon by Paul Washer about a month ago and for some reason I’ve been thinking about this. I hope you watch it, it’s short enough (6 minutes).   It made me think a lot about the incredible need for good biblical resources for pastors and church leaders […]

https://veritasdomain.wordpress.com/2016/03/14/gods-love-for-a-little-jungle-pastor-a-clip-from-paul-washer/

Written by The Seeking Disciple

03/17/2016 at 11:37 AM

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

Why the Secular World Has No Answer For ISIS

I recently watched a video on the Islamic State or better known as ISIS.  The video was not produced by Christians so the video simply wanted to tell the story of ISIS and why they do what they do and what is their goal.  The reality was that ISIS members were not murderers bent on simply killing infidels in the name of Islam but they are simple, normal Muslims who truly love Islam and are seeking to follow the ways of their Prophet.  These Muslims fill their day with learning from the Quran, with prayer, and with seeking to imitate the life of Mohammad in every way possible including jihad.  Their passion is simple: they want to do the will of their god as it gave it to their prophet.

The secular world simply cannot fathom this devotion.  They look at ISIS and see a people who must be mad at the West for something.  Perhaps its our morals (and that is part of it) or our freedom (they see it as bondage because the will of their god is not being followed).  The secular world thinks it’s about land or oil or money or even sex.  The reality is that the members of ISIS and especially the leadership are well-educated Muslims who are bent on being true to the Quran and to their prophet.  This is not about a fight for land.  This is not a fight over the US involvement with Iraq or Afghanistan per se (though ISIS hates the Americans for being in Muslim lands).  This is not about Jews or Christians (though they despise them both for their “false worship”).  This is about their god.  And the secular world has no answer.

The reason is simple why the secular worldview has no answer: they have no god.  The “god” of the secular is themselves (Romans 1:22-23).  The false god of Islam is not much different other than that the Muslim believes in a god outside of themselves.  Their god is still a false god.  Either way, the secularist has no answer for Islam.

The Christian reply is that the Muslims are worshiping a false god.  A comparison of the God of the Bible with the god of the Quran shows a god who is much different in Islam.  Even a comparison of the life and teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ with Mohammad shows worlds difference between the two.  The Lord Jesus was perfect, sinless and He never struck down those who attacked Him (1 Peter 2:21-24).  Jesus even prayed for those who were killing Him (Luke 23:34).  The Bible even says that we are to love our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48) and Paul the Apostle advocated the same (Romans 12:12-21).  Jesus did teach His disciples to advance His kingdom (Acts 1:8) because of His authority (Matthew 28:18-20) but this advancement is not with weapons of warfare (2 Corinthians 10:3-4) but with the gospel.  The gospel will conquer the nations (Psalm 110:1; Daniel 7:13-14; 1 Corinthians 15:24-26) and the Lord will redeem sinners from every nation (Revelation 5:9-10).  Yet Jesus, unlike Mohammad, never called His followers to advance His kingdom by force or power.  The gospel alone can transform a person and this comes from above (John 3:3; cf. Luke 17:20-21).

ISIS is not following Jesus.  In fact, ISIS hates Jesus and the true and living God of the Bible as all sinners do (Romans 1:18-19).  ISIS, like other forms of Islam, cannot convert one person because they have no gospel, no power.  Islam offers no forgiveness of sins because they reject sin.  Islam offers no assurance of salvation but to martyrs.  Islam offers no hope that their god loves them but only that it is merciful.  Islam has no concept of individual salvation but with only submission to their god.  The very name “Muslim” means “one who submits.”  Yet ISIS views all forms of Islam false who also do not follow sharia law (or the laws put forth by various Muslim clerics about how to follow the Quran and the life of Mohammad).  If a nation or person does not follow sharia law as set forth by ISIS, they are deemed infidels and must repent and come back to the true religion.  This is not a religion of peace but one of submission.

ISIS’s goal is clear: to raise the black flag of ISIS over every nation.  In the video I watched, ISIS promised to raise the flag over Turkey (if they did not open a dam to allow water into Syria) and over all the Middle East (including Iran and Israel whom they both hate).  ISIS even promised to raise the flag of Islam over the White House in the United States.  This is not a religion of peace but as the name states – of submission.  Sharia law is to be the law of the land wherever ISIS comes.

What can the secularist say to this?  They have no solution.  No answers.  The President of the United States will not even see that they are true Muslims but he views them as false Muslims.  Any simple reading of the Quran and the Hadith would show otherwise.  Some secular religious scholar is giving the President of the United States bad advice.  I agree that warfare is not the total answer.  ISIS wants war.  ISIS would love to face the United States to the battlefield (though they would probably lose in my estimation).  ISIS believes that their holy war is from their god.  The US military would just view it as another war with terrorists.  While the US could defeat ISIS in battles, the hearts for the people living in Muslim lands must be won with the gospel.  And the US (and other nations) would not get that part.  Until they do, they would have to continue to fight Islamic fighters for years to come.

The answer for combatting ISIS is this: send missionaries.  You could (and I think should) fight ISIS on the battlefield for they continue to kill people who are simply in their way.  ISIS must be stopped and stopped by a strong military force (just as the European nations sent the Crusaders in the middle ages not to take over the Middle East but to combat the spread of Islam into European nations).  After stopping ISIS on the battlefield, we must turn the work over to the gospel.  Muslims need to freely hear the gospel.  One ISIS soldier even said that he hated seeing the Americans in Iraq because they would build Christian churches.  This is what we must do.  We must send forth the gospel.

The gospel can transform the Middle East.  It did in the first 600 years after the resurrection of Christ until the false prophet Mohammad sought to build a cult off the teachings of Judaism and Christianity.  Since then, the gospel has struggled against the false teachings of Islam.  Islam is not merely another religion from Christianity but it is the antithesis of Christianity.  Islam doesn’t merely teach against Jesus but another Jesus altogether to pervert the true Jesus of the Bible.

Thank God for the reports of Muslims hearing the gospel through the Internet and through radio.  ISIS will kill whoever converts to Christianity and ISIS will kill whoever is found with a Bible or listening to Christian programs.  This is not about peace but submission.  Yahweh is sending forth His truth against the false teachings of Islam.  Yahweh will be glorified through His Son in all nations and the promise is that all nations will bow to His dominion (Psalm 72:8-9).

I pray that ISIS will repent.  God saved a Jew bent on killing disciples of Christ in Acts 9 and He can do the same with members of ISIS.  I pray that nations will see the threat of ISIS and see that the answer is not found in secularism.  It is not found in money or sex.  The answer for ISIS is the gospel of the Jesus Christ.  I pray that members of ISIS will turn from their sins and the Spirit of God would bring deep conviction upon them (John 16:8-11).  Jesus is able to save even the worse of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15).  May we intercede for this (1 Timothy 2:1-7).

Why I Will Not Do The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

The ALS ice bucket challenge is making the rounds.  Celebrities, politicians, sports stars, even pastors are making videos of them having ice water poured on them to support funding for ALS.  While Christians certainly should support those who are suffering from ALS (or Lou Gehrig’s disease) and pray for the a cure from this disease, the ALS donations are also helping to fund stem-cell research from aborted babies.  A disciple of Christ should never support any cause that advocates, promotes, or even is involved with abortion.

So what is the disciple to do?

Ironically, the ALS ice bucket challenge has become the baptism of “good doers.”  Atheists have begun using the challenge to say that this is their baptism without Christ.  They are pledging to do good for others despite their lack of understanding where the idea of good can come from nor how they determine what is good or bad.

Liberals are using the ALS challenge to promote their social gospel.  When a church denies the Bible as the inerrant and infallible Word, all that is left is to do good for other people rather than preaching the gospel to them.

I personally don’t  support any causes that don’t also preach the gospel.  Feeding the poor is good.  Helping people battle cancer is good.  Supporting those who are suffering in this life is good.  But unless you preach the gospel to the hurting, the suffering, the poor, the rich, etc., you are not giving them the cure for their greatest disease: sin.  Romans 6:23 tells us that the wages of sin is death.  People with ALS can still be wicked sinners and still go to hell.  People with cancer die every single day and they don’t know Christ nor His gospel.  People living with HIV die each day but if they don’t know Christ, they will perish (John 3:18).  The gospel is the only solution to our fallen world.  The gospel prepares men and women for eternity unlike the temporary relief of suffering in this world.

I do think that it is good to do good (Matthew 5:13-18).  Galatians 6:10 tells us to do good toward all men and especially the household of faith.  Doing good is good.  But let us not make the mistake of thinking that doing good equals giving people the gospel.  Let us not make the mistake that doing good means that we earn God’s righteousness (Isaiah 64:6).  Disciples do good because of the Spirit at work in us (Ephesians 6:10) unlike the world who do good hoping that their good outweighs their bad.

My advice then is to take the money that would be used by the ALS and give it to true Christian charities who work with ALS victims or to missions.  The gospel going out is better by far.  Again, many with ALS (and other diseases) need to hear the gospel more than anything else.  The poor, the hurting, the suffering, the abused – all these need the gospel.  Do good but preach the gospel.

For more information on charities that support pro-life positions, see this page.

 

 

Written by The Seeking Disciple

08/20/2014 at 12:13 PM

The Ideological Struggle with Islam

What President Obama and the media in the West does not understand that is that battle with Islam is not over human rights.  It is not over land for peace.  It is not over the desire to live in peace and under a republic.  The struggle of Islam is that the fundamental desire is to control the world by force.  This is both taught in the Quran as well in the Hadith.  The Muslim prophet Mohammad set this example by his own life.

For the Christian, we know that the struggle over Islam is a spiritual battle.  In reality, the hope for the Middle East does not depend on the United States, the United Nations, or Israel.  The hope for the Middle East is the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The gospel is the only true solution to the war with Islam.  Nations will try to fight the Muslims with weapons of warfare but in reality, the heart of the Muslim must be turned away from their false worship to the true and living God.

Ephesians 6:12 reminds us:

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 tells us how to fight this war:

4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.

This battle with Islam will be fought and won when the Church preaches the gospel to the lost Muslims.  I praise God that He is indeed saving Muslims all across the 10/40 window.  Yet this should be the Church’s call to prayer, to call out to God for Him to save Muslims and this alone will bring true peace to our wicked world.  I call to Christians to pray for ISIS to repent before the Lord Jesus (1 Timothy 2:1-6).  Despite what we might think of the lost Muslims who are committing wicked deeds in the name of their god, we should remember Ezekiel 18:32.  We should remember 2 Peter 3:9.  We should remember that Jesus shed His blood on the cross not just for us but also for the lost Muslims (Revelation 5:9-10).

I urge you to pray Psalm 110:1 and Matthew 6:10 over the 10/40 window.  Pray for the Lord to pour out His Spirit and bring salvation to the nations.  1 Corinthians 15:25 promises us that all His enemies will be placed under His feet at the end.  I pray that the Lord’s enemies will repent and turn to Him in true faith.  So many Muslims want to practice their religion in peace but dear friends, they still are lost and on their way to hell.  They still need to know the truth of salvation (Romans 10:14-17).  Let us pray that their eyes will be open to the grace of God that brings salvation (2 Corinthians 4:4).  Let us pray that the God of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-21) will reconcile lost Muslims unto Himself.

Friends, the hope for the Middle East is not found in war.  It is found in the gospel of Christ being preached.  This alone will turn the Middle East away from their false religion toward the truth of God.  This gospel will end the violence, will end the corruption, will end the torture, and will end the backwards thinking of so many in the Middle East.  This gospel will bring true peace (Ephesians 2:15).

Salvation is the Work (Energeo) of Only One (Mono)

I borrowed my title from a sentence in George Bryson’s book The Dark Side of Calvinism.  This statement reflects the Arminian doctrine of salvation.  Arminianism affirms that salvation is the work (energeo) of only one (mono) and thus we can affirm monergism.

Arminians affirm that Jesus alone saves.  We are not saved by what we do.  We are not saved by our good works (Ephesians 2:8-9), by our being Jewish (Romans 11:5-6), by our being part of a certain denomination or church.  Our only hope for salvation is the Lord Jesus Christ and what He has done for us.  This is clear from passages such as 1 Timothy 2:5-6 where Jesus is our only mediator before God.  Hebrews 9:22 tells us that without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.  Romans 10:4 tells us that Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.  Jesus shed His own blood for our salvation (Matthew 26:28; Hebrews 9:14).  Ephesians 1:7 reminds us that in Jesus alone do we have forgiveness of our sins.  Acts 13:38-39 tells us that faith in Christ frees us from the bondage of sin.  Romans 5:1 tells us that we are justified before God through faith in Christ.

It is not then our works that save us.  It is faith in Christ and His works that save us.  The cross stands as the point of our salvation.  Jesus laid down His life for sinners (John 3:16; Romans 5:8-9).  1 John 4:14 tells us that Jesus is the Savior of the world but only those in 1 John 4:15 are truly the saved.  The same is true of 1 Timothy 4:10.  It is not enough that Jesus shed His blood but one must place their faith in Jesus alone to save them.  We don’t place our faith in our faith, in our election, or in our goodness.  We place our faith in the Lord Jesus alone to save us by His grace (Romans 4:5).

The notion then that Arminians believe in “works righteousness” to save us is not biblically based.  We affirm over and over again that salvation is the work of God.  We affirm total inability in which no one can earn salvation by their good works (Isaiah 64:6).  We affirm that we are dead in our sins (Ephesians 2:3) and apart from the gospel and the work of the Spirit in the preaching of the gospel, none could be saved.  The Spirit opens the sinners heart to the gospel (Acts 16:14-15).  Jesus Himself told us in John 6:44 that none can come to Him unless the Father who sent Him draws them.  Jesus promised in John 16:8-11 that the Spirit would do His work in the whole world.  The Spirit works through the preaching of the gospel to bring people to salvation (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:47-49; Romans 10:14-17).  This is why missions and evangelism are vital.  People must hear the gospel to be saved.

What then brings condemnation?  Romans 1:18-19 teaches us that people rebel against God because they love their sins.  It doesn’t matter if the person is in a Christian nation, a Muslim nation, a Hindu nation, etc.  People, by nature, rebel against God (Romans 3:10-18).  People love their sins and do not want Christ as Lord over them.  They are thus condemned because of their sins.  Secondly, people are condemned because of their refusal to repent.  We learn this in 2 Thessalonians 2:10 where Paul tells us that people “refused to love the truth and so be saved.”  The just condemnation of God is not based on His part but our part.  We are condemned because of our sins and our refusal to repent (John 3:18).  This is not an issue of divine decrees but our own stubbornness and ignorance.

Our passion then must be to preach the gospel to the lost.  People must hear the gospel to be saved.  This is no salvation apart from Christ (John 14:6).  Salvation is the divine work of God based on His work, His energy (energeo) and is based on one (mono) person only, the Lord Jesus Christ.

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