Arminian Today

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Posts Tagged ‘The Word of God

This Arminian Went To Hear RC Sproul Sr.

Yes folks it is true.  I your beloved reformed Arminian went to hear Dr. R.C. Sproul Sr. preach at First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, SC this past Friday.  I must say that I enjoyed myself.  I had to sit on the floor as the building (which is over 200 years old probably but incredibly beautiful; see picture here) but was thrilled that on a Friday night, hundreds of people came out to hear Dr. Sproul preach.  I went get to his sermon in a moment.

Dr. Sinclair Ferguson is the preacher at First Pres (as most call it around here).  I actually have a few books from Ferguson and knew of him before he came to Columbia.  He is from Scotland and I enjoy his accent.  While a bit boring to me, Ferguson is an expository preacher through and through and I appreciate that.  His passion is for the truth.  Myself and a good brother of mine often spend time praying for Ferguson and other Bible teachers in our city.  I pray that he burns with zeal for Jesus, a passion for the lost, and a hunger to communicate the Word of God to the people of God.

The meeting itself was part of a spiritual life conference that First Pres does each year at this time with various Reformed speakers.  When I heard that Dr. Sproul was going to be the keynote speaker, I wanted to go.  The conference itself was boring to me.  I enjoy more “charismatic” type of singing though I do loathe some new “worship” songs.  At First Pres, the songs were no doubt from the 17th century.  Not that this is bad.  The theology in these songs were far more in-depth than modern songs.  Yet they were sung almost like we were at a funeral and not seeking to worship the King.  Even if you wanted to lift your hands to praise God, you had to hold the bulletin to know the lines of the songs.  Half the words I had trouble pronouncing.  But worship is not about what we sing as much as our hearts seeking our Savior (John 4:23-24).

The preaching itself was solid.  Sproul took his text from Hosea 4:1-6 and the famine of the Word of God in the land.  Sproul took aim at preachers who avoid preaching doctrine while trying to entertain the masses.  He noted that when we speak for God, we are speaking doctrinally about Him.  He noted that religious studies at secular universities are not theological in nature but sociology  and anthropology studies where religion is studied to how it effects human behavior but theology proper is the study of God Himself.  The highest calling of the disciple of Jesus is to know God and love Him (John 17:3).  Our passion should be that we always are seeking to love God with all our hearts, strength, and mind (Mark 12:30).  Sproul said that the study of God is his one fear that when he dies he will have wasted time not seeking to know God more.

Sproul noted from Hosea 4:1-5 the ramifications of not knowing God.  Romans 1:24 says that God gives up people who reject His revelation (Romans 1:18-23) to a debased mind.  People then become wicked beyond measure.  Sproul pointed out from Hosea 4:4-5 that Yahweh’s major contention is with His own people.  Hosea is serving as God’s chief prosecutor in this case.  The problem is not just that the people have rejected Yahweh and His laws but the priests who claim to serve Him are abandoning His laws.  Is not the case today?  Sproul pointed out that the number one question they receive at Ligonier Ministries is always, “Where can I find a church in my area that is faithfully preaching the Word of God?”  Sproul said that such questions so the nature of the modern church and it breaks his heart that people are out there, hungry for God, and yet no churches are seeking to feed the people of God the manna of heaven (1 Peter 3:1-3).

Following Sproul’s sermon, I went over to a large building that had a bookstore in it.  I purchased The Reformation Study Bible and a book on sola scriptura for $30.  You can’t beat that.

What are my impressions of Sproul?  First, I expected him to be polished as a speaker and he was.  He clearly has experience speaking before large audiences and keeping their attention.  He did a good job.  He was also faithful to his text and taught it correctly in my estimation.  He is a very intelligent man.

Secondly, I half expected a swipe toward Arminians.  He never did.  He touched briefly on modern evangelism and the cry of “unconditional love” toward all people by God and Sproul noted that such teaching was not true.  God’s love is conditioned upon people being repenting of their sins.  Sproul noted that God does love people but not in a saving way.  I had no problem with what he said.  I agree that apart from salvation, people are under the wrath of God (Ephesians 2:1-3).  Sproul and I would disagree, I am sure, over whether God actually loves people enough to desire to save them all.

Lastly, what Sproul said was all true.  We are lacking so much biblical content in the Western Church.  Where is the knowledge of God?  Where is the study of God?  Where is the longing to know God not just as a Person but in truth?  As he was preaching I kept pondering 2 Thessalonians 2:10 where Paul states that people are perishing because they refuse to “love the truth.”  I pray that I always love the truth.  Doctrine and worship go hand in hand.

One final note and I may blog on this in the future but Sproul said in passing that Christians are what we read.  He noted that sadly most Christians don’t read.  We don’t take time to study our Bible nor to pick up great books that can help us to know God more.  I would to God that the Church would be full of readers.  I pray that we would read our Bibles foremost but also take time to read all kinds of great Christian books even if you don’t fully agree with them all.  I appreciate Dr. Sproul even if he and I don’t see eye-to-eye on all issues.  His passion for God was felt that night as he preached.  I pray that he is a man of holiness and prayer.  I pray that God will glorify His name through Sproul and his ministry.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

02/12/2012 at 6:31 PM

Posted in R.C. Sproul Sr.

Tagged with ,

On Knowledge of the Scriptures

How important it is for us to know the Scriptures.  I have seen this over and over again when sharing the gospel with the lost.  The knowledge of the Scriptures is vital.  Sometimes people will even quote Scripture back to me (as did the devil to Jesus in Matthew 4:6) and its important to be able to know the context that the person is using the passage.  For example, I shared the gospel today with the guy who came to fix my wife’s car window.  He actually brought up the conversation by asking me about my many “religious” books that I have.  This led to discussing religion, denominations, and then he took a twist by asking me if I believed in hell.  I affirmed my belief in hell and he said that he denied this.  When I asked why he said that he had studied the Bible and was convinced that hell was the second death and that we would be destroyed completely in hell.

Yet he used some key words that led me to know that he had studied this from Jehovah’s Witnesses.  When I asked him what did he do with Matthew 25:46 where the word “eternal” was used of both hell and eternal life, he had no answer.  But the issue at hand was not hell.  The issue was whether he was guilty before God.  When I took him through the moral law of God, he admitted that he was a liar, sexually immoral, a thief, and guilty of misusing God’s holy name in vain.  I told him that the doctrine of hell was not the issue.  His soul was.  He was guilty before God and needed to pay the price for his own sins.  Apart from Jesus, he has no such advocate (1 John 2:1-2).  I told him that Jehovah’s organization had no answers for salvation from a holy God.  He and all Jehovah’s Witnesses will give an account before God as will all people (Hebrews 9:27-28) and on that day, denominations will not matter.  Jesus Christ and His blood will.  Jesus is the only way to God (John 14:6) and none come to Him through a group or a ritual but by faith (Romans 10:14-17).  All who repent of their sins and become His disciple will gain eternal life (Acts 2:38-39; Romans 2:4-11) through Jesus Christ.

Now imagine such a conversation if I didn’t know the Scriptures.  I could quote to this man my story of how God saved me from sin but the Scriptures are full of the power of God (Romans 1:16-17; Hebrews 4:12-13).  The Scriptures are the only God-breathed truth (2 Timothy 3:16-17) and they faithfully reveal the truth of God (John 17:17).  When we know the Scriptures, we know truth from error (Hebrews 5:14).  God gives us discernment from His Word (Proverbs 2:3; James 1:5).  The Word also protects us from error and thus keeps us saved (James 1:21).  Jesus said that the blessed one is the one who hears the Word of God and keeps it (Luke 11:28).  James 2:14-26 also points out that to say that we know God is demonstrable by our actions.  How do we learn God’s ways apart from His Word?  We can’t.

So take the Word of God and hide it deep in your soul.  The Word helps us not just when preaching the gospel to the lost but also in our daily lives.  The Word builds us up (Acts 20:32).  The Word keeps us from sin (Psalm 119:11).  The Word helps us be Jesus’ true disciples (John 8:31-32).  The Word sanctifies us (Ephesians 5:26).

Praise God for His Word!

Written by The Seeking Disciple

09/03/2011 at 11:56 AM

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