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Archive for May, 2014

Reliability of Sense Perception-Defending Your Faith Part 7

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Bible Logic Fallacies of Libertarian Free Will Theism

The following numbered items are common assumptions made by synergists (Arminians, Roman Catholics and semi-Pelagians) in rejecting the bondage of the will and God’s sovereign grace in salvation.

Fallacy #1. God would not command us to do what we cannot do.

God gave the Law to Moses, The Ten Commandments, to reveal what man cannot do, not what he can do.

A. Premise #1 is unscriptural. God gave the Law for two reasons: To expose sin and to increase it so man would have no excuse for declaring his own righteousness. Why? Because in the context, he does NO righteousness. As Martin Luther said to Erasmus, when you are finished with all your commands and exhortations from the Old Testament, I’ll write Ro.3:20 over the top of it all. [“Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.” Rom 3:19, 20] Why use commands and exhortations from the Old Testament to show free will when they were actually given to prove man’s sinfulness? The law came so that the trespass might increase (Rom 5:20).It exists to reveal what we cannot do rather than what we can do; our spiritual impotence, not our moral ability. Yes, God gave commands to man which man cannot do. Therefore commandments and exhortations do not prove free will. Nowhere in scripture is there any hint that God gives commands to unregenerate men to prove they are able to perform them. It no more unfair for God to call men to do something they cannot do than it is for a bank to call people to repay their debts (even if they don’t have the money to do so).

B. This premise is irrational. There may be many reasons for commanding someone to do something, other than the assumption that the can do it. The purpose, as above, may be to show the person his inability to perform the command. Thus, NOTHING can be deduced about abilities from a mere command. As Luther said, passages which state things such as “If thou art willing” and “whosoever believes” are spoken in the subjunctive (hypothetical) mood. A grammarian would explain that this is a conditional statement that asserts nothing indicatively. In such passages, what we “ought” to do does not necessarily imply what we “can” do.

C. The consequences of Adam’s disobedience on his descendants includes spiritual impotence in several areas: man’s inability to understand God (Psalm 50:21; Job 11:7-8; Rom 3:11); to see spiritual things (John 3:3); to know his own heart (Jer 17:9); to direct his own steps in the path of life (Jeremiah 10:23; Proverbs 14:12); to free himself from the curse of the Law (Galatians 3:10); to receive the Holy Spirit (John 14:17); to hear, understand or receive the words of God (John 8:47; 1 Corinthians 2:14); to give himself birth into God’s family (John 1:13, Romans 9:15-16); to produce repentance and faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9; John 6:64,65; 2 Thessalonians 3:2; Philippians 1:29; 2 Timothy 2:25); to come to Christ (John 10:26; John 6:44); and to please God (Romans 8:5, 8, 9).

 

 

Read the remaining three fallacies here.

Elders Represent the Knowledge of Christ in the Church-Conclusion

This brings us, finally, back to our beginning text, wherein is shown the manner in which those who preach and teach the church must regard those whom they teach; in other words, their example of living by the Spirit imparting the grace of God in Christ Jesus to their own lives, in various circumstances, demands that they see the results of that great sacrificial death in those they are preaching and teaching the doctrine of Christ too.

The proposition put forth is that of not seeing those who are bought by the death of Christ as if they were in their carnal estate, but as if they are already in their eternal estate. The second proposition put forth is that the first is done because they no longer look to Christ as He was before His glorification, but indeed, as having died and risen in glory. We might well reverse these propositions thusly: Since Christ has suffered death for those He purchased for God, and has risen in glory as the first to be resurrected, preceding all those encompassed in that propitiatory death, we do not look at Him as He was before that death, but as He is, sitting on the right hand of majesty; since all He died for are, indeed, encompassed in His death and resurrection, we view them according to the work of our Lord which was completed upon their behalf. These propositions necessarily entail our looking at one another according to the new creation God began in the resurrection of His Son, so that we all consider ourselves according to that new creation, and not in light of the old creation, which has commenced passing away, and which new creation will be fully realized at the eschaton, where we are given, of God, those new, glorified bodies which will be like our Lord’s glorified human body, to dwell in the perfection of God’s completed new creation eternally, per His glory in Christ Jesus.

 
Read the entire article here.

Arminian Errors Pt 3

(ii) TOTAL DEPRAVITY

The Truth of God teaches that man through the Fall is in a state of spiritual death and alienation from God. He is depraved and defiled in his nature. His understanding, will, and affections are under the power and love of sin. ‘Out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness’ (Mark 7:21-22). ‘The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no not one’ (Psalm 14:2,3). “The whole human race,” in the words of Dr. Charles Hodge, “by their apostacy from God are totally depraved. By total depravity is not meant that all men are equally wicked, nor that any man is as thoroughly corrupt as it is possible for a man to be—but there is common to all men a total alienation of the soul from God so that no unrenewed man either understands or seeks after God: no such man ever makes God his portion, or God’s glory the chief end of his being. The apostacy from God is total or complete. All men worship and serve the creature rather than, and more than, the Creator. They are all therefore, declared in Scripture to be spiritually dead. They are destitute of any principle of spiritual life.” That is man’s condition as he is before God. ‘The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God’ (Romans 8:7,8). ‘That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee: Ye must be born again’ (John 3:6,7). ‘The heart is deceitful above all things; and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).

Arminians deny the total depravity of man, in that they hold that the will of man is free and has the ability to choose Christ and the salvation that is in Him. Such teaching is false and delusive. The will of man is free only to choose according to his moral nature, and as his nature is under the dominion of sin, man chooses accordingly. “Man by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation; so as a natural man, being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto.” (‘[Westminster] Confession of Faith,’ Chapter 9, Section 3). ‘The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned’ (1 Cor. 2:14). ‘No man can come unto Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day’ (John 6:44). ‘Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto Me, except it were given unto him of My Father. From that time many of His disciples went back and walked no more with Him’ (John 6:65,66). All who are born again are said to be ‘born not of blood nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God’ (John 1:13). The “evangelism” of decisionism, coming forward to the front, or standing up to make a decision for Christ, or signing decision cards, is purely Arminian. It is not of God, but of the will of man and can only end in delusion and eternal despair.

This “evangelism” of decisionism is based on another false and erroneous doctrine held and propagated by Arminians, that of a Universal Atonement. “There is in every mind, containing any acquaintance with gospel truth,” said the eminent Dr. John Kennedy of Dingwall, “the idea that an interest in Christ’s death is essential to safety. There is in every unrenewed heart a desire to avoid the necessity of dealing with a personal Saviour, and to attain to hope, through the gospel, without being ‘born again.’ The figment of a universal atonement, has been produced to meet this craving. It is just the gospel perverted to suit the taste of proud carnal man. ‘Christ died for all, and therefore for me; I believe this, and therefore I shall be saved,’ are the short stages of an easy journey to the hope of peace. To believe that Christ died for me, because He died for all, is to ‘believe a lie’; but even if it were true, of what advantage could this faith be to me? His dying for me, because for all, secures nothing for me. And to believe this, is something else than to believe in Christ Himself. It is, in effect, making His death a substitute for Himself. But instead of looking on the death of Christ as it refers to you, look, in the first instance, on its bearing on His own fitness to save, and on the prospects of all who are one with Him. To view it thus, is to see Christ commended instead of superseded by His death. The first thing, I require to be assured of, is Christ’s fitness to save me, a sinner. It is in Him I am called to trust. Ere I can do so, I must be persuaded that He is worthy of my confidence. This I cannot be assured of, unless I know Him as a sacrifice for sin. The merit of His sacrifice I cannot appreciate, but in the light of His personal glory. And I cannot appropriate the benefits secured by it, till I have first taken hold of Himself by faith. What I discover in the light of the cross is, that He can save me in a way that shall be to the glory of God. This is His great recommendation as a Saviour to me. If this were not true regarding Him, I could never confide in Him. And in the light in which I realize the infinite merit of His sacrifice, I know His love to be such as ‘passeth knowledge.’ To connect that love and the death by which it was commended, with those whom the Father gave to Him, does not deprive me of hope. It only assures me of how certain, and therefore how desirable the redemption is, which was purchased by His blood. The Person, in all His power and love, is presented to me; and the authority of God shuts me up to the acceptance of Him, in order to my salvation. It is light, revealing the glorious person, the infinite merit, and the ineffable love of Christ, and a call requiring me to come to Him; and not any supposed reference of His death to me, that encourages me to receive Him that I may be saved.”

William MacLean-Arminianism-Another Gospel

Predestination should be publicly taught and insisted upon, in order to confirm and strengthen true believers in the certainty and confidence of their salvation

Chapter V

SHOWING THAT THE SCRIPTURE DOCTRINE OF PREDESTINATION SHOULD BE OPENLY
PREACHED AND INSISTED ON, AND FOR WHAT REASONS.

UPON the whole, it is evident that the doctrine of God’s eternal and unchangeable predestination should neither be wholly suppressed and laid aside, nor yet be confined to the disquisition of the learned and speculative only; but likewise should be publicly taught from the pulpit and the press, that even the meanest of the people may not be ignorant of a truth which reflects such glory on God, and is the very foundation of happiness to man. Let it, however, be preached with judgment and discretion, 1:e., delivered by the preacher as it is delivered in Scripture, and no otherwise. By which means, it can neither be abused to licentiousness nor misapprehended to despair, but will eminently conduce to the knowledge, establishment, improvement and comfort of them that hear. That predestination ought to be preached, I thus prove:-

IV.-Predestination should be publicly taught and insisted upon, in order to confirm and strengthen true believers in the certainty and confidence of their salvation.* For when regenerate persons are told, and are enabled to believe, that the glorification of the elect is so assuredly fixed in God’s eternal purpose that it is impossible for any of them to perish, and when the regenerate are led to consider themselves as actually belonging to this elect body of Christ, what can establish, strengthen and settle their faith like this? Nor is such a faith presumptuous, for every converted man may and ought to conclude himself elected, since God the Spirit renews those only who were chosen by God the Father and redeemed by God the Son. This is a “hope which maketh not ashamed,” nor can possibly issue in disappointment if entertained by those into whose hearts the love of God is poured forth by the Holy Ghost given unto them (Rom 5:5).

* Our venerable Reformers, in the 17th of our XXXIX. Articles, make the very same observation, and nearly in the same words: “The godly consideration of predestination and our election in Christ is full of sweet, pleasant and unspeakable comfort to godly persons, because it doth greatly establish end confirm their faith of everlasting salvation to be enjoyed through Christ,” etc.

The holy triumph and assurance resulting from this blessed view are expressly warranted by the apostle, where he deduces effectual calling from a prior predestination, and infers the certainty of final salvation from effectual calling: “Whom He did predestinate, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified” (Rom 8:). How naturally from such premises does the apostle add, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?” Who and where is he that condemneth them? Who and what “shall separate us from the love of Christ? In all these things we are,” and shall be, “more than conquerors through Him that hath loved us, for I am persuaded [pepeismai, I am MOST clearly and assuredly confident]* that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” So elsewhere the foundation of the Lord, 1:e., His decree or purpose, according to election, standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are His,” which is particularly noted by the apostle, lest true believers might be discouraged and begin to doubt of their own certain perseverance to salvation, either from a sense of their remaining imperfections or from observing the open apostasy of unregenerate professors (2Ti 2:). How little obliged, therefore, are the flock of Christ to those persons who would, by stifling the mention of predestination, expunge the sense and certainty of everlasting blessedness from the list of Christian privileges!

* Certus sum, Ar. Montan. Certa fide persuasum mihi habeo, Erasm. Victa omni dubitatione, Bengel. “I am assured,” Dutch version.

Jerome Zanchius-The Doctrine of Absolute Predestination Stated and Asserted-Translated by Augustus Montague Toplady

Question 72-Puritan Catechism

Spurgeon 3Q. How is the Word made effectual to salvation?

A. The Spirit of God makes the reading, but especially the preaching of the Word, an effectual means of convicting and converting sinners, (Psalm 19:7) and of building them up in holiness and comfort, (1 Thessalonians 1:6) through faith to salvation. (Romans 1:16)

Charles Haddon Spurgeon-A Puritan Catechism

Ancient Theologians condemned the formation and worship of idols

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015Objection, — That images are the books of the unlearned.
Answer continued,
2. Ancient Theologians condemn the formation and worship of idols.

6. Moreover, let Lactantius and Eusebius be read on this subject. These writers assume it as an indisputable fact, that all the beings whose images were erected were originally men. In like manner, Augustine distinctly declares, that it is unlawful not only to worship images, but to dedicate them. And in this he says no more than had been long before decreed by the Libertine Council, the thirty-sixth Canon of which is, “There must be no pictures used in churches: Let nothing which is adored or worshipped be painted on walls.” But the most memorable passage of all is that which Augustine quotes in another place from Varro, and in which he expressly concurs: — “Those who first introduced images of the gods both took away fear and brought in error.” Were this merely the saying of Varro, it might perhaps be of little weight, though it might well make us ashamed, that a heathen, groping as it were in darkness, should have attained to such a degree of light, as to see that corporeal images are unworthy of the majesty of God, and that, because they diminish reverential fear and encourage error. The sentiment itself bears witness that it was uttered with no less truth than shrewdness. But Augustine, while he borrows it from Varro, adduces it as conveying his own opinion. At the outset, indeed, he declares that the first errors into which men fell concerning God did not originate with images, but increased with them, as if new fuel had been added. Afterwards, he explains how the fear of God was thereby extinguished or impaired, his presence being brought into contempt by foolish, and childish, and absurd representations. The truth of this latter remark I wish we did not so thoroughly experience. Whosoever, therefore, is desirous of being instructed in the true knowledge of God must apply to some other teacher than images.

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 11-Henry Beveridge Translation