En Gedi: Finding rest in the wilderness!

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Posts Tagged ‘debate’

Interpreting Scripture!

Posted by Scott on March 5, 2008

Interpreting Scripture (Hermeneutics)

Hermeneutics is defined in one dictionary as “the art of finding the meaning of an author’s words and phrases, and of explaining it to others.” When applied to Scripture, accurate hermeneutics would require the scholar to:

  • Study the context of the passage and the theme of the book.
  • Look up the actual meaning of each word in the original languages.
  • Note the verb tenses, the cases, and other grammatical determinants.
  • Learn the cultural setting of the passage.
  • Determine what the original readers understood it to mean.
  • Check out cross-references to see how the words are used in other contexts.
  • See how the first mention of the word or topic is presented in the Bible.
  • Confirm an interpretation with two or three similar passages.

These are all proven study methods. However, it has always puzzled me how Bible scholars who claim to follow all of them arrive at totally opposite interpretations of the same passage.

For example, in a seminary in the Northwest, two professors wrote on the topic of divorce and remarriage. Each one assured his readers that he was following sound rules of Biblical interpretation. Yet, each one arrived at a view that was opposite of the other.

One day, I called up my former Greek professor at Wheaton Graduate School. He had written on the subject of hermeneutics, and I asked him if he could summarize the rules of hermeneutics in a concise list. His answer startled me. He said, “Bill, there is no such list.” I asked how we would know if we are breaking hermeneutical rules if there are no rules. He explained that there are certainly guidelines of interpretation. However, they cannot be confined to one set of rules.

So, what are the additional factors of correct Biblical hermeneutics?

1. Spiritual Perception Over Intellectual Understanding

The first factor of interpreting Scripture is to approach it as an exercise in spiritual discernment rather than just an intellectual pursuit. Paul emphasized this in his letter to the Corinthian believers. “But 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” (I Corinthians 2:14). Jesus Himself confirmed that Biblical understanding does not come from human reasoning but from spiritual enlightenment. He said, “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes” (Matthew 11:25).

The Holy Spirit is the One Who inspired the writing of Scripture, and He is the most qualified One to interpret its meaning to each reader. Jesus assured us that the Holy Spirit would indeed guide us into all truth. “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13).

This being the case, it is also reasonable to conclude that if a person who wants to interpret Scripture has sinful habits or practices in his life that grieve the Holy Spirit and quench His power, the Holy Spirit will not reveal the truth of Scripture to such a person. In fact, God warns that such individuals will take Scripture out of context to their own destruction. (See II Peter 3:16.) This result supports the axiom that a man’s morality will dictate his theology and his philosophy.

2. God’s Revelation Over Human Reasoning

In the final analysis, accurate Biblical interpretation is based on the revelation of Jesus Christ throughout the Scriptures. Nowhere is this more clearly demonstrated than on that walk on the road to Emmaus. The disciples had been personally taught by Jesus for three years. However, they still did not understand the Scriptures from which He taught. They were distracted by the conflicting interpretations of contemporary scholars. It was not until Jesus began with Moses and all the prophets and explained how they revealed Him that they understood the true meaning of Scripture. “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27). They later recalled, “Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the Scriptures?” (Luke 24:32).

The scholars of Jesus’ day carried out heated debates over the correct interpretation of Scripture, but Jesus counseled them to search the Scriptures on the basis that they testified of Him. “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39).

3. Genuine Love Rather Than Justification of Selfishness

Since the Scriptures reveal the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ, it also follows that the primary theme of the Bible is the love of God and how we are to live out His love in our daily words and actions.

When a clever lawyer tried to involve Jesus in a wordy battle, He began his forensic sparring with the question “Which is the greatest commandment?” The reply that Jesus gave is a profound principle for Biblical interpretation. All the Law and prophets are based on the command to love God with all of our hearts, souls, minds, and strength, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Therefore, we must interpret Scripture on the basis of how it teaches us to love God and to love others. Love is the theme of the Bible. All good character qualities are simply practical expressions of genuine love. When the Pharisees used the Law of Moses to justify their harsh and unloving treatment of wives, Jesus reproved them for hardness of heart and took them back to the Creation design of one man and one woman becoming one flesh for the rest of their lives.

The lawyer who tried to engage Jesus in debate then tried to justify himself by asking, “Who is my neighbor?” to which Jesus responded with the parable of the Good Samaritan.

4. Christ’s Commands Over Man’s Theology

Every interpretation of Scripture is based on some foundational structure of reasoning. Jesus provides the structure of truth in the commands that He gave to His disciples during His earthly ministry, and they are the guiding lights for correct Biblical interpretation. They clarify what was written in the Old Testament and are further explained in New Testament teaching. Jesus promises that if we keep His commands before our eyes, He will reveal more of Himself to us. This was the great goal of Paul: “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection” (Philippians 3:10). Jesus further promises, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31–32).

It is customary for a Bible scholar to base his interpretation of a passage on the theological position that he has accepted. The problem with this approach is that no theological system is totally without some human error, because it is not inspired. It is man’s explanation of Biblical truth.

This is not to say that theology is unimportant. Wrong doctrine leads to wrong behavior. No one was more concerned about false doctrine than the Apostle Paul. He maintained a continual battle against false teaching. However, he did not base sound doctrine on the theological views of his day but on the words of Jesus Christ and that which leads to Christlike living.

He explains this in his epistle to Timothy. “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself” (I Timothy 6:3–5).

5. One Interpretation and Many Applications

The Bible makes it clear that there is only one interpretation of Scripture. However, there can be many applications. It is the Holy Spirit Who guides us not only to the right interpretation of a passage but also to the precise application of Scripture to our daily lives. If our lives are in harmony with the Lord, we can expect the Holy Spirit to illuminate certain passages of Scripture for our personal application. When this happens, it is God giving us a “rhema” of Scripture.

In the New Testament, the Word of God is generally referred to by the Greek word logos. Jesus is identified as the Living Word (logos). However, there are many references that use the Greek word rhema to define the Word of God. A rhema is a precise direction of Scripture for a particular person or circumstance. When Jesus told Peter to cast his net on the other side of the boat, Peter replied, “Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word [rhema] I will let down the net” (Luke 5:5). Jesus did not tell every one to cast their nets on the other side of the boat—only Peter.

It is on the point of the Holy Spirit applying a passage of Scripture to a decision that critics often rise up and claim that this is not acceptable hermeneutics. Their quarrel is not with believers who know in their spirits that God is directing them by the witness of two or three rhemas, but with the Holy Spirit Who confirms the application of rhemas.

Jesus used rhemas in overcoming Satan’s temptations, and one of the passages He used affirms rhemas. “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word [rhema] that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

6. Correct Divisions of Truth Versus Truth Out of Balance

Paul gave Timothy wise instruction in hermeneutics when he wrote, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (II Timothy 2:15).

Scripture is a living, powerful instrument in the hand of God. It functions on what appears to us to be paradoxes. In a similar fashion, the muscles in our bodies are only able to function by opposing tensions.

On the one hand, Scripture presents the Law of God, but then it contrasts this with the grace of God. Scripture teaches the need for justice, but then it counters this with mercy. We are told to cease from our own labor and enter the rest that is in Christ. At the same time, we are commanded to work for the night is coming when no man can work and to labor for the Lord. We have freedom in Christ. However, we are to make ourselves servants to all people.

If we emphasize only one side of God’s Biblical equation, we can certainly support it with verses of Scripture, but we will come out with the wrong answer. Truth out of balance leads to heresy. For example, if we emphasize the “rest” that a believer has and fail to give equal and primary emphasis to the “labor” of a believer, we will view any emphasis on working for the Lord as legalism.

Paul put labor and rest together when he wrote, “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief” (Hebrews 4:9–11). Similarly, there is certainly freedom in Christ. However, if we focus on freedom, we will react to God-ordained authority as being oppressive and cultish.

Proper hermeneutics requires diligent use of all the above factors under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Copyright © 2002–2006, William (Bill) Gothard. All Rights Reserved.

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A New Voice in the Abortion Debate-Fathers!

Posted by Scott on January 28, 2008

A new voice is emerging in the abortion debate, and this voice is a powerful witness to the tragedy of killing the unborn. This voice is the voice of the fathers of abortion.

“We had abortions. . . . I’ve had abortions,” says Mark B. Morrow, a Christian counselor and participant in arranging four abortions. Morrow was speaking to a gathering of men who have become antiabortion activists through reflection on their own experiences and their own lost children.

Stephanie Simon of The Los Angeles Times provides a report on this new movement in “Changing Abortion’s Pronoun,” published in the January 7, 2008 edition of the paper. Here is her introduction to the story:

Jason Baier talks often to the little boy he calls Jamie. He imagines this boy — his son — with blond hair and green eyes, chubby cheeks, a sweet smile.  But he’ll never know for sure. His fiancee’s sister told him about the abortion after it was over. Baier remembers that he cried. The next weeks and months go black. He knows he drank far too much. He and his fiancee fought until they broke up. “I hated the world,” he said.  Baier, 36, still longs for the child who might have been, with an intensity that bewilders him: “How can I miss something I never even held?”

That question haunts many men, as Simon’s report makes clear. These men are raising their voices against abortion and the Culture of Death, and they call themselves “post-abortive men.” As Simon explains, “Abortion is usually portrayed as a woman’s issue: her body, her choice, her relief or her regret. This new movement — both political and deeply personal in nature — contends that the pronoun is all wrong.”

The concept of “post-abortion syndrome” has gained currency in recent years as women who have experienced abortions speak of their trauma and pain. As the paper’s report acknowledges, these reports of post-abortion pain and deep distress were cited in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision allowing the government to ban partial-birth abortions.

The focus on the voices of men is new, but it reveals again that abortion takes a toll on all concerned, including those who are the fathers of aborted babies. The stories vary with the individuals involved. Some of these “post-abortive men” demanded and facilitated the abortion, others never knew of the pregnancy until it was too late.

More from Mark Morrow:

Morrow, the counselor, described his regret as sneaking up on him in midlife — more than a decade after he impregnated three girlfriends (one of them twice) in quick succession in the late 1980s. All four pregnancies ended in abortion.  Years later, when his wife told him she was pregnant, “I suddenly realized that I had four dead children,” said Morrow, 47, who lives near Erie, Pa. “I hadn’t given it a thought. Now it all came crashing down on me — look what you’ve done.”  A few months ago, Morrow reached out to the ex-girlfriend who aborted twice. They met and prayed together, seeking peace. After they parted, she spilled her anger in a letter: “That long day we sat in that God-forsaken clinic, I hoped every moment that you would stand up and say, ‘We can’t do this’. . . but you didn’t.”

“Look what you’ve done.” Those words come with a haunting sense of reality, guilt, and grief. These voices are also causing concern among abortion rights advocates. As Simon reports:

Abortion rights supporters watch this latest mobilization warily: If anecdotes from grieving women can move the Supreme Court, what will testimony about men’s pain accomplish?  “They can potentially shift the entire debate,” said Marjorie Signer of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, an interfaith group that supports abortion rights.

We can only respond with the hope that she is right. While the primary focus of the pro-life movement should be on the unborn baby who deserves to be born, a focus on the effects of abortion on both the women and the men involved holds the potential of reaching more minds and hearts.

A new voice is being heard in the abortion debate — and it’s about time.

Albert Mohler Jr.

-Scott Bailey 2008

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Parents Acting Like Teenagers!

Posted by Scott on November 21, 2007

Dr. Mohler’s Blog

“Freak Dancing” — When Parents Advocate Misbehavior

The Wall Street Journal is out with one of the those eye-opening stories that defies common moral sense. It seems that Jason Ceyanes, the 35-year-old superintendent of schools in Argyle, Texas, decided to crack down on sexually-suggestive dancing at the local high school. But, when the superintendent banned “freak dancing,” he got into trouble with some of Argyle’s parents.

Here is how The Wall Street Journal introduced its account of the controversy:

A new resolve by school officials in this booming Dallas suburb to crack down on sexually suggestive dancing — and skimpy clothing — has sparked a rancorous debate over what boundaries should be set for teenagers’ self-expression. Argyle joins a long list of other schools around the country that have banned the hip-hop inspired dancing known as “grinding” or “freak dancing.”

But in Argyle, a once-sleepy farming community strained by explosive growth from an influx of well-to-do suburbanites, the controversy has gotten vicious. Some parents blame the newly installed school superintendent, Jason Ceyanes, 35, for ruining their children’s October homecoming dance by enforcing a strict dress code and making provocative dancing off-limits. Disgusted, a lot of kids left, and the dance ended early.

Mr. Ceyanes says he fears current cleavage-baring dress styles combined with sexually charged dancing could lead to an unsafe environment for students.

“This is not just shaking your booty,” he said. “This is pelvis-to-pelvis physical contact in the private areas…and then moving around.”

“Freak dancing” is well known throughout the nation, and it involves what can only be described as “sexually charged” physical contact and movement. But many of the kids in Argyle were “disgusted” that freak dancing was banned at the homecoming dance, so they left. That might be fairly easy to understand. After all, adolescents are expected to exhibit adolescent patterns of misbehavior. What makes this story so interesting is that so many parents responded by joining their adolescents in immature response. In fact, their protest of the superintendent’s policy is shocking.

As the paper explained, “Many parents support Mr. Ceyanes’s actions. But another vocal faction has been harshly critical of the new superintendent, creating a deep rift in the community. These parents defend the children of Argyle as ‘good kids,’ and say they should be trusted to dance and dress the way they want.”

Here is one of the moral hallmarks of our confused age. Parents defy authority and propriety and justify the misbehavior of their own children while calling them “good kids.” In this case, they argue that these “good kids” should be allowed “to dance and dress the way they want” — even if that means sexually suggestive dress and sexually charged dancing.

Mr. Ceyanes held a public meeting for parents and played a video of freak dancing. “I cannot imagine that there is a father in this room who could watch this video and be all right with a young man dancing with his daughter in that fashion,” he told the parents.

This is further evidence of a trend long in coming. Fashion styles for adult women now mimic those of adolescent girls. Why? So many moms want to act like teenagers and dress as provocatively as their offspring. Far too many parents want to act like their teenagers’ friends and peers, not like parents. Parents, after all, are expected to act like adults, and this is a society that depreciates adulthood and valorizes adolescence.

When a story like this makes the front page of The Wall Street Journal, something significant has shifted on the moral landscape. When parents demand that their “good kids” be allowed to freak dance at school events, the real story shifts from the kids to the parents.

___________________

The Wall Street Journal also features this video coverage of the story [go here].  We discussed this issue on Tuesday’s edition of The Albert Mohler Program [listen here].

-Scott Bailey 2007

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Luther’s “A Mighty Fortress is our God!

Posted by Scott on October 21, 2007



A Mighty Fortress is our God

Ein’ feste Burg ist unser Gott.

Words and music by Martin Luther
Click To Play The Song


A mighty fortress is our God, A bulwark never failing; Our helper He, amid the flood Of mortal ills prevailing, For still our ancient foe Doth seek to work us woe; his craft and power are great, And, armed with cruel hate, On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing,
Were not the right Man on our side, The man of God’s own choosing.   Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He; Lord Sabaoth is His  name, From age to age the same. And He MUST win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, Should threaten to undo us We will not fear, for God hath willed His Truth to triumph through us. The prince of Darkness grim, We tremble not for him; his rage we can endure.  For lo! his doom is sure, One little Word shall fell him.

That Word above all earthly powers – No thanks to them abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours, Through Him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go, This mortal life also; The body they may kill; God’s Truth abideth still. His kingdom is forever Amen!!

Martin Luther hated war, bloodshed and violence. When the armies of Emperor Charles were mobilizing to destroy Wittenberg, the German princes were prepared to go the war to defend Luther. Luther’s reply to this gathering storm? He got married to Catherine von Bora. . . . The blow that was meant to fall on Luther fell on Rome instead. Emperor and Pope began to quarrel. In November, 1526, 15,000 Spanish and German soldiers crossed the Alps and by May, 1527, were outside the gates of Rome. Rome was sacked and pillaged for 10 days. All the wealth of the nations that had flowed into that city for over 1000 years was destroyed in a few days!!

-Scott Bailey 2007

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TheFive Points of Calvinism by R.L. Dabney!

Posted by Scott on October 21, 2007

THE FIVE POINTS OF CALVINISM

by R. L. Dabney (1820-1898)


American Presbyterian theologian

Chaplain to Gen. Stonewall Jackson during the Civil War

Historically, this title is of little accuracy or worth; I use it to denote certain points of doctrine, because custom has made it familiar. Early in the seventeenth century the Presbyterian Church of Holland, whose doctrinal confession is the same in substance with ours, was much troubled by a species of new-school minority, headed by one of its preachers and professors, James Harmensen, in Latin, Arminius (hence, ever since, Arminians). Church and state have always been united in Holland; hence the civil government took up the quarrel. Professor Harmensen (Arminius) and his party were required to appear before the State’s General (what we would call Federal Congress) and say what their objections were against the doctrines of their own church, which they had freely promised in their ordination vows to teach. Arminius handed in a writing in which he named five points of doctrine concerning which he and his friends either differed or doubted. These points were virtually: Original sin, unconditional predestination, invincible grace in conversion, particular redemption, and perseverance of saints. I may add, the result was: that the Federal legislature ordered the holding of a general council of all the Presbyterian churches then in the world, to discuss anew and settle these five doctrines. This was the famous Synod of Dort, or Dordrecht, where not only Holland ministers, but delegates from the French, German, Swiss, and British churches met in 1618. The Synod adopted the rule that every doctrine should be decided by the sole authority of the word of God, leaving out all human philosophies and opinions on both sides. The result was a short set of articles which were made a part thenceforward of the Confession of Faith of the Holland Presbyterian Church. They are clear, sound, and moderate, exactly the same in substance with those of our Westminster Confession, enacted twenty-seven years afterward.

I have always considered this paper handed in by Arminius as of little worth or importance. It is neither honest nor clear. On several points it seeks cunningly to insinuate doubts or to confuse the minds of opponents by using the language of pretended orthodoxy. But as the debate went on, the differences of the Arminians disclosed themselves as being, under a pretended new name nothing in the world but the old semi-pelagianism which had been plaguing the churches for a thousand years, the cousin-german of the Socinian or Unitarian creed. Virtually it denied that the fallen Adam had brought man’s heart into an entire and decisive alienation from God; it asserted that his election of grace was not sovereign, but founded in his own foresight of the faith, repentance and perseverance of such as would choose to embrace the gospel. That grace in effectual calling is not efficacious and invincible, but resistible, so that all actual conversions are the joint result of this grace and the sinner’s will working abreast. That Christ died equally for the non-elect and the elect, providing an indefinite, universal atonement for all; and that true converts may, and sometimes do, fall away totally and finally from the state of grace and salvation; their perseverance therein depending not on efficacious grace, but on their own free will to continue in gospel duties.

Let any plain mind review these five changes and perversions of Bible truth, and he will see two facts: One, that the debate about them all will hinge mainly upon the first question, whether man’s original sin is or is not a complete and decisive enmity to godliness; and the other, that this whole plan is a contrivance to gratify human pride and self-righteousness and to escape that great humbling fact everywhere so prominent in the real gospel, that man’s ruin of himself by sin is utter, and the whole credit of his redemption from it is God’s.

We Presbyterians care very little about the name Calvinism. We are not ashamed of it; but we are not bound to it. Some opponents seem to harbor the ridiculous notion that this set of doctrines was the new invention of the Frenchman John Calvin. They would represent us as in this thing followers of him instead of followers of the Bible. This is a stupid historical error. John Calvin no more invented these doctrines than he invented this world which God had created six thousand years before. We believe that he was a very gifted, learned, and, in the main, godly man, who still had his faults. He found substantially this system of doctrines just where we find them, in the faithful study of the Bible, Where we see them taught by all the prophets, apostles, and the Messiah himself, from Genesis to Revelation.

Calvin also found the same doctrines handed down by the best, most learned, most godly, uninspired church fathers, as Augustine and Saint Thomas Aquinas, still running through the errors of popery. He wielded a wide influence over the Protestant churches; but the Westminster Assembly and the Presbyterian churches by no means adopted all Calvin’s opinions. Like the Synod of Dort, we draw our doctrines, not from any mortal man or human philosophy, but from the Holy Ghost speaking in the Bible. Yet, we do find some inferior comfort in discovering these same doctrines of grace in the most learned and pious of all churches and ages; of the great fathers of Romanism, of Martin Luther, of Blaise Pascal, of the original Protestant churches, German, Swiss, French, Holland, English and Scotch, and far the largest part of the real scriptural churches of our own day. The object of this tractate is simply to enable all honest inquirers after truth to understand just what those doctrines really are which people style the peculiar “doctrines of Presbyterians,” and thus to enable honest minds to answer all objections and perversions. I do not write because of any lack in our church of existing treatises well adapted to our purpose; nor because I think anyone can now add anything really new to the argument. But our pastors and missionaries think that some additional good may come from another short discussion suitable for unprofessional readers. To such I would earnestly recommend two little books, Dr. Mathews’ on the Divine Purpose , and Dr. Nathan Rice’s God Sovereign and Man Free. For those who wish to investigate these doctrines more extensively there are, in addition to their Bible, the standard works in the English language on doctrinal divinity, such as Calvin’s Institutes (translated), Witsius on the Covenants, Dr. William Cunningham’s, of Edinburgh, Hill’s and Dicks’ Theologies, and in the United States those of Hedge, Dabney, and Shedd. All these can be purchased from or through our Assembly’s Committee of Publication, No. 1001 Main street Richmond, Va., and sent by mail.

I. WHAT PRESBYTERIANS REALLY MEAN BY “ORIGINAL SIN,” “TOTAL DEPRAVITY,” AND “INABILITY OF THE WILL”:

Confession of Faith, Chapter IX, Section iii. “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.”

click Five Points of Calvinism for the rest of the information!

-Scott Bailey 2007

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A Defense of Calvinism by C.H. Spurgeon!

Posted by Scott on October 21, 2007

A Defense of Calvinism

by

C. H. Spurgeon

The old truth that Calvin preached, that Augustine preached, that Paul preached, is the truth that I must preach to-day, or else be false to my conscience and my God. I cannot shape the truth; I know of no such thing as paring off the rough edges of a doctrine. John Knox’s gospel is my gospel. That which thundered through Scotland must thunder through England again.

It is a great thing to begin the Christian life by believing good solid doctrine. Some people have received twenty different “gospels” in as many years; how many more they will accept before they get to their journey’s end, it would be difficult to predict. I thank God that He early taught me the gospel, and I have been so perfectly satisfied with it, that I do not want to know any other. Constant change of creed is sure loss. If a tree has to be taken up two or three times a year, you will not need to build a very large loft in which to store the apples. When people are always shifting their doctrinal principles, they are not likely to bring forth much fruit to the glory of God. It is good for young believers to begin with a firm hold upon those great fundamental doctrines which the Lord has taught in His Word. Why, if I believed what some preach about the temporary, trumpery salvation which only lasts for a time, I would scarcely be at all grateful for it; but when I know that those whom God saves He saves with an everlasting salvation, when I know that He gives to them an everlasting righteousness, when I know that He settles them on an everlasting foundation of everlasting love, and that He will bring them to His everlasting kingdom, oh, then I do wonder, and I am astonished that such a blessing as this should ever have been given to me!

“Pause, my soul! adore, and wonder!
Ask, ‘Oh, why such love to me?’
Grace hath put me in the number
Of the Saviour’s family:
Hallelujah!
Thanks, eternal thanks, to Thee

I suppose there are some persons whose minds naturally incline towards the doctrine of free-will. I can only say that mine inclines as naturally towards the doctrines of sovereign grace. Sometimes, when I see some of the worst characters in the street, I feel as if my heart must burst forth in tears of gratitude that God has never let me act as they have done! I have thought, if God had left me alone, and had not touched me by His grace, what a great sinner I should have been! I should have run to the utmost lengths of sin, dived into the very depths of evil, nor should I have stopped at any vice or folly, if God had not restrained me. I feel that I should have been a very king of sinners, if God had let me alone. I cannot understand the reason why I am saved, except upon the ground that God would have it so. I cannot, if I look ever so earnestly, discover any kind of reason in myself why I should be a partaker of Divine grace. If I am not at this moment without Christ, it is only because Christ Jesus would have His will with me, and that will was that I should be with Him where He is, and should share His glory. I can put the crown nowhere but upon the head of Him whose mighty grace has saved me from going down into the pit. Looking back on my past life, I can see that the dawning of it all was of God; of God effectively. I took no torch with which to light the sun, but the sun enlightened me. I did not commence my spiritual life-no, I rather kicked, and struggled against the things of the Spirit: when He drew me, for a time I did not run after Him: there was a natural hatred in my soul of everything holy and good. Wooings were lost upon me-warnings were cast to the wind- thunders were despised; and as for the whispers of His love, they were rejected as being less than nothing and vanity. But, sure I am, I can say now, speaking on behalf of myself, “He only is my salvation.” It was He who turned my heart, and brought me down on my knees before Him. I can in very deed, say with Doddridge and Toplady-

“Grace taught my soul to pray,

And made my eyes o’erflow.”

and coming to this moment, I can add-

“Tis grace has kept me to this day,

And will not let me go.”

Click Spurgeon Defends for the rest of the information!

-Scott Bailey 2007

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Canons of Dordt-Synod of Dordrecht 1618-1619

Posted by Scott on October 21, 2007

CANONS OF DORDT

Synod of Dordrecht

November 13, 1618 – May 9, 1619

FIRST HEAD OF DOCTRINE. DIVINE ELECTION AND REPROBATION

FIRST HEAD: ARTICLE 1. As all men have sinned in Adam, lie under the curse, and are deserving of eternal death, God would have done no injustice by leaving them all to perish and delivering them over to condemnation on account of sin, according to the words of the apostle: “that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.” (Rom 3:19). And: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Rom 3:23). And: “For the wages of sin is death.” (Rom 6:23).

FIRST HEAD: ARTICLE 2. but in this the love of God was manifested, that He “sent his one and only Son into the world, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (1 John 4:9, John 3:16).

FIRST HEAD: ARTICLE 3. And that men may be brought to believe, God mercifully sends the messengers of these most joyful tiding to whom He will and at what time He pleases; by whose ministry men are called to repentance and faith in Christ crucified. “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent?” (Rom 10:14-15).

Click Canon of Dordt for the rest of the information.

-Scott Bailey 2007

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-Spurgeon: Recovering a Bold Vision for Biblical Preaching by Al Mohler Jr.

Posted by Scott on October 12, 2007

From a Dying Man to Dying Men — Recovering a Bold Vision for Biblical Preaching

Posted: Friday, October 12, 2007 at 4:01 am ET

And how will they hear without a preacher?  Romans 10:14

Is preaching still central to Christian worship? This question is asked again and again as contemporary evangelicalism is observed. How can this be up for question?

In some circles, preaching has fallen on hard times. An open debate is now being waged over the character and centrality of preaching in the church. At stake is nothing less than the integrity of Christian worship and proclamation.

How did this happen? Given the central place of preaching in the New Testament church, it would seem that the priority of biblical preaching should be uncontested. After all, as John A. Broadus–one of Southern Seminary’s founding faculty–famously remarked, “Preaching is characteristic of Christianity. No other religion has made the regular and frequent assembling of groups of people, to hear religious instruction and exhortation, an integral part of Christian worship.”

Yet, numerous influential voices within evangelicalism suggest that the age of the expository sermon is now past. In its place, some contemporary preachers now substitute messages intentionally designed to reach secular or superficial congregations–messages which avoid preaching a biblical text, and thus avoid a potentially embarrassing confrontation with biblical truth.

A subtle shift visible at the onset of the twentieth century has become a great divide as the century ends. The shift from expository preaching to more topical and human-centered approaches has grown into a debate over the place of Scripture in preaching, and the nature of preaching itself.

Two famous statements about preaching illustrate this growing divide. Reflecting poetically on the urgency and centrality of preaching, the Puritan pastor Richard Baxter once remarked, “I preach as never sure to preach again, and as a dying man to dying men.” With vivid expression and a sense of gospel gravity, Baxter understood that preaching is literally a life or death affair. Eternity hangs in the balance as the preacher proclaims the Word.

Contrast that statement to the words of Harry Emerson Fosdick, perhaps the most famous (or infamous) preacher of this century’s early decades. Fosdick, pastor of the Riverside Church in New York City, provides an instructive contrast to the venerable Baxter. “Preaching,” he explained, “is personal counseling on a group basis.”

These two statements about preaching reveal the contours of the contemporary debate. For Baxter, the promise of heaven and the horrors of hell frame the preacher’s consuming burden. For Fosdick, the preacher is a kindly counselor offering helpful advice and encouragement.

The current debate over preaching is most commonly explained as an argument about the focus and shape of the sermon. Should the preacher seek to preach a biblical text through an expository sermon? Or, should the preacher direct the sermon to the “felt needs” and perceived concerns of the hearers?

Clearly, many evangelicals now favor the second approach. Urged on by devotees of “needs-based preaching,” many evangelicals have abandoned the text without recognizing that they have done so. These preachers may eventually get to the text in the course of the sermon, but the text does not set the agenda or establish the shape of the message.

Focusing on so-called “perceived needs” and allowing these needs to set the preaching agenda inevitably leads to a loss of biblical authority and biblical content in the sermon. Yet, this pattern is increasingly the norm in many evangelical pulpits. Fosdick must be smiling from the grave.

Earlier evangelicals recognized Fosdick’s approach as a rejection of biblical preaching. An out-of-the-closet theological liberal, Fosdick paraded his rejection of biblical inspiration, inerrancy, and infallibility–and rejected other doctrines central to the Christian faith. Enamored with trends in psychological theory, Fosdick became liberal Protestantism’s happy pulpit therapist. The goal of his preaching was well captured by the title of one of his many books, On Being a Real Person.

Shockingly, this is now the approach evident in many evangelical pulpits. The sacred desk has become an advice center and the pew has become the therapist’s couch. Psychological and practical concerns have displaced theological exegesis and the preacher directs his sermon to the congregation’s perceived needs.

The problem is, of course, that the sinner does not know what his most urgent need is. She is blind to her need for redemption and reconciliation with God, and focuses on potentially real but temporal needs such as personal fulfillment, financial security, family peace, and career advancement. Too many sermons settle for answering these expressed needs and concerns, and fail to proclaim the Word of Truth.

Without doubt, few preachers following this popular trend intend to depart from the Bible. But under the guise of an intention to reach modern secular men and women “where they are,” the sermon has been transformed into a success seminar. Some verses of Scripture may be added to the mix, but for a sermon to be genuinely biblical, the text must set the agenda as the foundation of the message–not as an authority cited for spiritual footnoting.

Charles Spurgeon confronted the very same pattern of wavering pulpits in his own day. Some of the most fashionable and well-attended London churches featured pulpiteers who were the precursors to modern needs-based preachers. Spurgeon–who managed to draw a few hearers despite his insistence on biblical preaching–confessed that “The true ambassador for Christ feels that he himself stands before God and has to deal with souls in God’s stead as God’s servant, and stands in a solemn place–a place in which unfaithfulness is inhumanity to man as well as treason to God.”

Spurgeon and Baxter understood the dangerous mandate of the preacher, and were therefore driven to the Bible as their only authority and message. They left their pulpits trembling with urgent concern for the souls of their hearers and fully aware of their accountability to God for preaching His Word, and His Word alone. Their sermons were measured by power; Fosdick’s by popularity.

The current debate over preaching may well shake congregations, denominations, and the evangelical movement. But know this: The recovery and renewal of the church in this generation will come only when from pulpit to pulpit the herald preaches as never sure to preach again, and as a dying man to dying men.

This was from Al Mohler Jr. blog site.  He is a renowned radio personality on the Salem Radio Network and the ninth President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.  You can visit his site at www.AlbertMohler.com for more of his topics, commentaries, and discussions. 

 -Scott Bailey 2007

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-Great Books to Read…Continued!

Posted by Scott on October 12, 2007

bookshelf1.jpg

Here is a continuation of books I have either read or have started reading.  There is many more great books out there that I have not come across yet, but rest assured I will.  I am a book-a-holic….this is how I have educated myself in many things. 

-Answers to Prayer by George Mueller ctmfa4ca3cmi6xcah97ci0ca5ap8hoca76t0eocavharlbcavprcl5caimp2gucan4pszncaq8315kcaxehl6kcac2mx9dcax452qxca35pux1cabcqj5dca1j6yapca553j87caofgi2hcakrfl61.jpg

-Great Leaders of the Christian Church edited by John Woodbridge

-Understanding Man by Ray C. Stedman  exjnlmca5rky62ca9d8i4dcaf5m0xncarf3r1bcatx75h7ca3tzm8hcaimn9q6ca2pps4ycam2vfxmcafcvl30caej2f24cawcwgxtcagcks1ccawvpt3ucarwm5u3camo8dylcab5glvfca3exv33.jpg

-JOB by J. Vernon McGee

-Running with the Giants by John Maxwell

-Seasons of Life by Charles (Chuck) Swindoll 9n7uo5can2yyv7caufguq6cannc6adcam8m3dycayizchacatoafszca03eihycavbiqojca5zd3kscaa5p04oca62g5akca617pypcam0w411cay1h2mccajr2fqlcam1epnhcawdxgp3caeejeqh.jpg

-To Laugh Again by Charles Swindoll

-Series of Books on David, Joseph, Moses, & Elijah by Charles Swindoll

-Raising Modern Day Knight by Robert Lewis

-Adventuring with God & Study Guide by Charles Swindoll

-The Bible Lessons of John Quincy Adams for His Sons by Doug Phillips

-The Birkenhead Drill by Doug Phillips

-The Mystery of God’s Will by Charles Swindoll

-Folk Psalms of the Faith by Ray C. Stedman

-What on Earth’s Going to Happen by Ray C. Stedman

-Theodore Roosevelt on Leadership by James Strock

-Spurgeon & Sons by Skinner

-The Perfect Christian by Tony Evans

-God in You by David Jeremiah

-How Now Shall We Live by Chuck Colson

-The Five Love Languages the Mens Addition by Gary Chapman

-The Dangerous Book for Boys by Iggulden & Iggulden

-Spugeon Sermon Series Vol 1-10 by Baker  wquptzcagp2nffcajcp771ca2y280nca3j299ncabxmj2ncaxxdn05ca5kyeh6ca2ub5udcawgyiuscaybyrnhcajq8mfecajl1qw2ca57kl3xcadkcudxcaw5sdmacamhjgr1cayq9y17ca360mge.jpg

-In the Prescence of My Enemy by Gracia Burnham & Dean Merrill

-Waking the Dead by John Eldredge  1z72nqca4397a5ca59swqvcawfqepocais6f8tca9imk25ca72qr6cca523x3qca2wjpdhca2dn8ktcapr5q00camjwvnvcauq51w6canylddmcab580eccafu4zovca9nb58hca7zt9r8cao0y0y8.jpg

As I read more great books I will pass those along!

-Scott Bailey (c) 2007

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-From A Dad: I Was Chosen by God!

Posted by Scott on October 10, 2007

k1htsoca535setca79oisuca30dloycawwv2vbcaop3va0cajhvt4lcas305necafnttd3camtzzigcapshk71camd1j7tcaoqef1pcazbk8yocaximerycaryu4ywcaruj3roca8fljh8cad2dmgn.jpg   In my recent research and study it very obvious that God seeks us out.  He comes for us like a hound on the trail of a fox.  Without a God hunting for us and calling us out we would never seek Him out.  Jesus says in John 6:44 “No one can come to Me, unless the Father draw him to Me….”  The Hebrew or Greek understanding here would be like “drag”…..”unless the Father dragged him to me.”   He will seek us out no matter where we are.  If we are not feeling that “draw” or pulling/tug we have not been called.  It is a sad thing for those that God has not called to Himself, but the scriptures teach us that not all will answer the call.  Fact is not all have been chosen and not all are equiped to answer His calling.  This is His design for His purposes.  His ways are not our ways nor are our thoughts His thoughts.  We view things from a humanly point, but God knows the purpose He has.  God sees everything and knows everything from the past to the future.

“…for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for He called you out of the darkness into His wonderful light.”  1 Peter 2:9 NLT

uhkk4ocat0pr9fca6dye4ncar4r18pcaxj97okca9789omcaiju04zca11bxpjcaul6lewca0lttnvcaxbboghcadb2t25cawlo6omcagu60gtcaq8eg0scao28zjscazh93r1calivtu3ca645tg6.jpg   It is such a tremendous honor to be one of God’s elect.  That it was nothing that I have done in my own power, could have done or even would have done, but that God in His vast wisdom and sovereignty chose me before the foundations of the world were ever developed.  This is such a special honor and very humbling it is hard to comprehend…humbling in the sense that I have no power in reality to direct my own future, but that God is working His plan for my life to this very day.  You can liken this to a child that has been abandoned by his birth family and now is adopted into another family where some of the children are born into the family and the other is adopted or chosen into that family.  That is such a priviledge for that adopted child that these parents chose them especially out of possibly hundreds of other children.  This is the exuberance my heart feels that knowing I did not choose God from some fabricated free will of my own power without the Holy Spirits intervention and the desire supplanted by God at my birth in one corner of my heart and mind to even want Him.  He wanted me before I ever thought about wanting Him.  With tremendous joy and praise my heart nearly leaps from my chest at this very thought today.  I hope that others can receive this same joy and gratification in knowing God chose them not that we chose Him.  To be chosen by God to spend an eternity in paradise with Him words cannot describe. 

snf5r4car7xm5jcaknp70hca62knxscag2fb47ca7js6hvcayqu339cayl4hbhcaaf038acagn9whjca8yj02wcantgibbcaxgl173ca24d3cfcagp6cincax0twqmca9k62plcatyn6s5ca5g3303.jpg   My conversion was not of my efforts to find Him or seek Him out…I was fighting the calling upon my life every week.  My salvation was not of some “free will” that I embarked on a mission to find Christ and once I found Him I accepted Him….far be it from me to have wanted Him or the life of suffering that a Christian must embrace.  However, in my sinful state at birth I was not looking for Jesus, but He was waiting for me.  In an early morning Vacation Bible Study time at the age of 10 God through the prompting of the Holy Spirit began to call upon me.  He pricked at the very portion of my heart that God had left bare at my birth for this moment…the ticker that He planted in order to be activated at the precise moment of my acceptance of Christ.  The ground work was planted before my conception.  As I gripped the back of the church pew my heart and mind surrendered to His calling on my life.  I could no longer resist God’s amazing grace.  In an instance the door was opened to my heart and Christ entered for all eternity into my life.  He picked me for that moment to join His family for eternity.  My heart swells and my eyes fill with tears now to know that my God loved me that much to choose me out of the millions of people that would walk upon the dirt of this world in all of time.  I am a chosen one part of the elect of God. 

No matter the choice of someone elses theology, doctrine, or belief…no one can take away my salvation nor the belief that in God’s sovereign will He came after me, because He chose me and elected me and I am one of His.  My love for the heavenly Father has never been greater in my life than it is at this very moment.  As Jesus gave up His life for mine, no greater love has any man shown me than He lay down His life for another…me.  He justified me in that one instance and by faith alone in Him I am saved.  On that cross He already knew I was one of those He was dying for.  He had already chosen me before that selfless act of love had taken place.  My witness this day is that Christ died for me and I am now one of His. 

“…I give eternal life to them and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand.  My Father who has given them to Me, is greater than all and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.  I and the Father are one.”  John 11:28-30  NAS

-Scott Bailey (c) 2007 

Posted in Christianity, Relationship with Christ! | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »