Thursday, June 29, 2006

Tozer on Religious Entertainment

"Without Biblical authority, or any other right under the sun, carnal religious leaders have introduced a host of attractions that serve no purpose except to provide entertainment for the retarded saints. It is now common practice in most evangelical churches to offer the people, especially the young people, a maximum of entertainment and a minimum of serious instruction. . . . One can only conclude that God’s professed children are bored with Him, for they must be wooed to meeting with a stick of striped candy in the form of religious movies, games and refreshments."

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Consider the Testimony of R.C. Sproul

I recently listened to an interview with R.C. Sproul, popular author, speaker, professor for those of us in the Reformed faith. I encourage you to download it free over at . They have a bunch of great interviews and audio resources. Just go to the audio page and scroll down to 'Life and Apologetics' with R.C. Sproul. Sproul is one of my favorite teachers, and if you are one who has not been blessed by his ministry, I strongly encourage you to read his works and buy his CDs (

I was compelled by his testimony. As a freshman at college he was going out drinking with a buddy one Friday night but forgot his cigarrettes. They went back to his dorm lobby where there was a cigarette machine. As they stood there buying smokes, a young man initiated a conversation with them and shared the good news of Christ. R.C. went back to his room and fell under deep conviction and put his faith in Christ.

God has used R.C. profoundly through the teaching fellowship of Ligonier Ministries and his faithful commitment to Reformed Evangelicalism (R.C. has been a key player in many defining evangelical conflicts over the past 30 years; he, James M. Boice, and J.I. Packer were the primary influences in calling together the International Council for Biblical Inerrancy with R.C. as the initial crafter of the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy ).

My heart was moved to thank and praise God for giving us champions like R.C. .
My heart was also moved to praise God for the young evangelist who was bold enough to share the gospel with a couple of college kids buying cigarettes.

Who might God save through your bold proclamation of good news?


Monday, June 26, 2006

The Wisdom of Starbucks

I know, I know, I am a total corporate sell out. But the coffee is so good!

So, I'm sitting on a date with Tori and I glance at the cup in my hand (venti extra shot americano with vanilla). The Starbucks gods make our caffeine charged outing an evening of social enlightenment by putting little nuggets of wisdom from this or that muckity muck on the side of the cup. (I hear the inimitable Rev. Warren even got a blurb. Yes, yes, I've sent one in and it is in production. Patience, dear ones.)

Here's the one that brought us some precious awareness last night:

"According to the Federal Reserve Bank, $1 spent on excellent preschool education saves $7 in special education, social service and future incarceration costs more than a dozen years later. Are we, as citizens, willing to elect government leaders who spend our taxes on something that offers a return so far in the future? I hope so."

-- Rob Waldron
President and CEO of Jumpstart, a national nonprofit early education organization.

Let's think about this for a moment. What is 'preschool education'? This used to be called 'daycare'. And, government sponsored babysitting certainly doesn't have the same ring. Oh well, whatever helps us get through the night.

You know what we need to learn to do these days? We need to ask the right questions. The ones that Mr. Waldron and the Starbucks propagandists don't want you to ask. Questions that can't be quantified with such powerful, albeit crudely utilitarian, statistics as provided by the Federal Reserve Bank.

Questions like:

What is happening to our little ones that we must provide this 'preschool education'?
What cruel forces are at work conspiring against our 3 mos - 4 year olds today that would necessitate such 'special education', 'social service', and 'future incarceration'?
Why is it that when we hear of such grievous ills facing our children 12 years down the road, we somehow feel better that big brother is throwing our tax dollars at the problem while we enjoy our $5 latte?
Where are the mothers of these little ones?
Where are their fathers?
Where are their pastors?
What is happening in our culture that our babies are abandoned, only to be swooped up by the loving arms of government funded, state sponsored daycare?
Why do we deem such remedies as acceptable, laudable, or even preferrable to the God ordained relationships built into human society to nurture and care for children?
If $1 today keeps them out of jail in twelve years, how many dollars would it take to make them whole, balanced, loved, confident, learned, aware, joyful, and hopeful?

I didn't say I had all the answers.

I just wanted to make sure that we keep asking some of the right questions.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Men, Husbands, and Fathers

In my Father's Day sermon one of the points I made was that we need to see the 'theological importance' of headship. We need to go beyond a more utilitarian approach to dealing with the problems that face our fatherless, emasculated culture and ask why the absence of fathers in the home, heads in the marriage, and male leadership in the church is so devastating. We need to reach into the foundational questions of WHY the image of God is male and female. WHY is there an economic, functional order in that creation? Why is there a pattern of leadership and submission? Why are these truths under attack or abandoned in our culture? In getting to the why of all this we can truly begin to embrace the how of establishing these biblical patterns of living in marriage, family, and the covenant community.

The feminist answer often points to a post-fall arrangement. God established such an economy due to the sin of men. It is a bit like the sanction of divorce due to the hardness of men's hearts. But the economic order, pointed out by Paul in 1 Timothy 2, is established at the creation of man and woman before the Fall. And this order of headship, again pointed out by Paul in 1 Cor 11:3, communicates and patterns for us the headship, fatherhood, and authority of God. There are deep theological implications for the practice of this biblical principle (as with everything else). Our homes break down, our churches break down (can any one point to a healthy, thriving denomination that has embraced feminism?), and our society breaks down because we cannot function and thrive where our lives are not flowing out of these important and life giving truths.

Men, Husbands, Fathers, and Sons are INTEGRAL. They are the sine qua non of a thriving, growing, blessed, and abundant life. And so we labor to be a church that has a redemptive strategy for being fathers to the orphan, husbands to the abandoned and widowed, and men to the glory of God.


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Time for Some Cultural Relevance...

Every once in awhile I take some time to share what's on my ipod... take it or leave it.

Jose Gonzalez - "Heartbeats" and "Save Your Day" (excellent! go to itunes and check em out)

My Morning Jacket - "Wordless Chorus", "Off the Record", "I'll Sing you Songs", and "The Bear" (I really dig these guys, tho they are a bit quirky)

Keane - their new album, Under the Iron Sea, is great (these guys don't put out much I don't like)

Also, you must go see Nacho Libre. It will be a mundane distraction- but I thought it was very funny, bizarre, and a sweet, relatively clean movie. You gotta love a movie about a Mexican priest who is obsessed with Lucha Libre (mexican professional wrestling) and wrestles for the orphans he ministers to. If you didn't like Napolean Dynamite, you won't like this one. If you don't like Jack Black, I suggest you pass as well. But, for the rest of you weirdos- enjoy.

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Saturday, June 17, 2006

A Few Important Points

Sorry to sidetrack you into the mundane, but I wanted to make a few points about this blog.

I see this blog as part of my ministry as a pastor and not just some trivial ramblings. Yes, there are sometimes ramblings, and yes, they sometimes may border on trivial. But fundamentally, I see this as an important forum for folks in my fellowship to get to know me better, find out what I'm thinking, and discover where I might stand on this issue or that. It is also a place to go back and forth on important issues seeking the truth of God's Word in all things. I know there are a bunch of you that read and post on this blog that aren't 'oaksters' - I also see this as a forum to reach out past our church and community via the glories of the internet into the lives of others.

That being said, let me set a few groundrules for how I will run this blog.

First, especially if you are an oakster, though I am a pastor at Four Oaks you must know that not all of the opinions and convictions that I might set forth from time to time necessarily represent the leadership of Four Oaks church. That being said, know that I am fully submitted to the elders of the church and am open to their wise and gentle censure at all times.

Second, if you are going to post a comment you must identify yourself (name, email). I put no stock in anonymous opinions. From here on, I will simply remove all anonymous comments. If you are unable to identify yourself when logging on to comments, just identify yourself in the text of your comment. I will also remove comments with questionable content at my discretion.

Third, I cannot respond to all the comments. Just because you make a comment, that doesn't mean I will respond. I hardly have enough time to post, much less wade through all the comments thoughtfully and respond in kind. This is because I am so busy and important (he he). I do read all the comments, and I greatly appreciate them, and I strongly encourage you to comment as much as you can (it lets me know that you are reading and enjoying the blog, and I do enjoy the exchange and hearing your positions).

By the way, if you read the blog, let me know with a comment. Many of you make personal comments to me re: the blog, but I would have never known you were reading otherwise. I don't request this to inflate my ego, but to ensure that this is a worthwhile endeavor.

Peace out....

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Limited Atonement 2

Well, let me make some more comments regarding the doctrine of ‘particular atonement’.
I’d like to refer all of you to an excellent little book on the atonement by John Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied. It is a short book, 181 small pages, and I commend it to you. I will cut and paste some important paragraphs from his chapter on the extent of the atonement (chapter 4).

First of all I would like to touch on the emotionally charged nature of this discussion. In a real sense, this should be a ‘touchy’ issue considering that our topic is so crucial, it is so near to our hearts. We are talking about the most important event in human history- the offering up of God the Father his very own Son for the salvation of his people. It is a most important doctrine to grapple with because of its vast significance to every other aspect of theology. People respond very viscerally to the doctrine of particular redemption because at first blush it seems so contrary to the universal call of the gospel. As with all of the doctrines of grace and biblical issues that touch on the absolute sovereignty of God, particular redemption smacks of exclusivity and elitism. Much of the reaction against this doctrine in this regard is due to the caricature of the doctrine and its adherents throughout history. Sometimes if the name Calvin is even mentioned in certain quarters there is an immediate reaction of disdain as if John Calvin were one of the great villains of human history (when in actuality he was one of the greatest gifts of God to his church). There is also the spirit of the age that is so focused on individual autonomy and a libertarian concept of freedom that is obviously dismissed by so many passages of Scripture. This spirit also prioritizes issues of tone and style in our discourse while ignoring fundamental issues of meaning, reason, and truth. It just seems mean to talk about a limited atonement. It hurts people’s feelings. It seems a cold, heartless approach to understanding of the atonement. Brothers and sisters, it is the call of Christ and His Word to search the Scriptures, preach the gospel, and defend sound doctrine (which is essential to the entrusting of the gospel and our most holy faith to others)- and to prioritize the truth of the whole counsel of God’s Word over and against the currents of culture and the emotional responses we might bring to the equation.

Let me quote John Murray on the issue of those passages that use terms like ‘all’ (“all we like sheep have gone astray…the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” Isa. 53:6), ‘every’ (“by the grace of God [Christ] should taste death for every man” Heb. 2:9), and ‘world’ (“And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the whole world” 1 John 2:2) on this issue of the extent of Christ’s atoning work. He says:

From beginning to end the Bible uses expressions that are universal in form but cannot be interpreted as meaning all men distributively and inclusively. Such words as “world” and “all” and such expressions as “every one” and “all men” do not always in Scripture mean every member of the human race. . . when Paul says, “As through one trespass judgment came upon all men unto condemnation, even so through one righteous act judgment came upon all men unto justification of life” (Romans 5:18), are we to suppose that justification came upon the whole human race, upon all men distributively and inclusively? . . . Numerous other examples like these, though universalistic in form, frequently bear a restricted reference and do not mean every person of the human race.

It is important for us in this discussion to ask the right questions and to offer up biblically meaningful definitions for the terms we are using. The very nature and meaning of redemption has ‘particular’ application. We must accept that the substitutionary nature of ‘redemption’ (the offering up of one for another) is integral to a healthy biblical understanding of the atonement. The clear teaching of substitutionary atonement throughout the Scriptures (currently under sharp criticism from our emergent fringes) necessarily limits the atonement. The work of Christ was a sacrifice for sin. When there is a sacrifice for sin, there is the remission of sin. If indeed the substitutionary work of Christ was for all men, then we must conclude that all men will be saved! If the sacrifice for sin was for all men and all sins then we must conclude that there is definite remission of sin. Murray goes on:

The question is precisely the reference of the death of Christ when this death is viewed as vicarious death, that is to say, as vicarious obedience, as substitutionary sacrifice, and expiation, as effective propitiation, reconciliation, and redemption. In a word, it is the strict and proper connotation of the expression “died for” that must be kept in mind. When Paul says that Christ “died for us” (1 Thess 5:10) or that “Christ died for our sins” (1 Cor 15:3), he does not have in mind some blessing that may accrue from the death of Christ but of which we may be deprived in due time and which may thus be forfeited. He is thinking of the stupendous truth that Christ lived him and gave himself up for him (Gal. 2:20), that Christ died in his room and stead, and that therefore we have redemption through the blood of Christ.

So, a particularist view of the atonement limits extent and grants efficacy.
A universalist limits efficacy while granting extent.

Let’s read further from Murray:

Christ did not come to put men in a redeemable position but to redeem to himself a people. . . Christ did not come to make sins expiable. He came to expiate sins – “when he made purification of sins, he sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high” (Heb 1:3). Christ did not come to make God reconcilable, He reconciled us to God by his own blood. . . Did Christ come to make the salvation of all men possible, to remove obstacles that stood in the way of salvation, and merely to make provision for salvation? Or did he come to save his people? Did he come to put all men in a salvable state? Or did he come to secure the salvation of all those who are ordained to eternal life? Did he come to make men redeemable? Or did he come effectually and infallibly to redeem? The doctrine of the atonement must be radically revised if, as atonement, it applies to those who finally perish as well as to those who are the heirs of eternal life.

You see, unless you believe in the final salvation of all men, you hold to some sort of ‘limited atonement’. The difference between us most likely would be, if you have what might be called an Arminian or semi-Pelagian view of the atonement, that the atonement is limited by YOU. In a Reformed view of the atonement, the atonement is ordained of God and accomplished by God and applied by God through his mercy and by his completely unconditional and efficacious grace that cannot be thwarted by the will, the sin, or the ‘choice’ of any creature. Therefore, the extent of the atonement is limited by God.

“So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.” Romans 9:16


Monday, June 12, 2006

What do J.Gresham Machen and Don Richardson have in common?

I read their books while on vacation!

Whilst relaxing at 'the ministry house' in St. Augustine (actually the home of a generous family who allow mooching pastors like me bring their families for some R&R) and visiting our dear friends the Gordons who are planting Coquina Fellowship in the ancient city, I stole two books from Gardner Gordon's library: Peace Child by Don Richardson and Christianity and Liberalism by J. G. Machen. I had read portions of Richardson's book and all of Machen's (a couple of times- you must go get it and read it immediately if you haven't already) before.

It was exhilarating to be challenged again to cultivate a heart for the lost of the farthest reaches of the world through Richardson's story of his ministry amongst the primitive cannibals of Netherlands New Guinea. As believers we must be constantly challenged by the words of Christ to take the gospel to all people- and to do so at the greatest cost. Chapter 6, 'Genesis of a Mission' tells the story of how God used the bold call of Ebenezer G. Vine in a sermon delivered to the student body of the Prairie Bible Institute in 1955 to stir up a generation of missionaries to reach the people of Netherlands New Guinea. I was fired up again to plead with God to send his people into the harvest!

At the same time, I was piecing through Machen's classic work on the constant 'domestic threat' of liberalism within our churches. The challenges he face, along with all those enmeshed in the modernist/fundamentalist struggle, remain today in many guises as much as they existed in 1923 when he wrote this work. Here is a great quote:

"In the sphere of religion, in particular, the present time is a time of conflict; the great redemptive religion which has always been known as Christianity is battling against a totally diverse type of religious belief, which is only the more destructive of the Christian faith because it makes use of traditional Christian terminology."

For Machen, this 'diverse type of religious belief' was a rationalistic naturalism that had crept into the church. For us, it is a pluralistic relativism that creeps into our postmodern evangelical borders. This postmodern liberalism that parades itself as a sort of wise, patient, peaceful and gentle evangelicalism is perhaps deadlier- at least enlightenmnet rationalism made some sort of logical sense! Its postmodern counterpart is mostly therapeutic gobbledy gook!

As ever, here are the two fronts we face as Christian soldiers: the call to push forward into the darkest lands with the gospel of Christ; and the call to fight on our own turf against the threat of doctrinal decay and unbelief.


Monday, June 05, 2006

What Do You Call A Four Point Calvinist?


Well, I am going to be on vacation this week. So I thought I would provide some provocation for while I am away. I've already directed you to a sermon regarding infant salvation and here I will direct you to a series of great articles posted over at on that most controversial of letters- the dreaded 'L' of our beloved Dutch flower. That's 'Limited Atonement' - the third of the so called 'five points of Calvinism'.

All joking aside, our view of the atonement- its nature and its intent- is crucial. And searching through the Scriptures on this wonderful doctrine is edifying and heartening (whether you are a Calvinist or an Arminian).

In one sentence, the doctrine of limited atonement (better known as 'definite atonement' or 'particular redemption') states that the death of of Christ on the cross accomplished the redemption of only the elect.

Here are nine arguments concisely presented (without prooftexts) for limited atonement, taken from one of my classmates at RTS (with whom I vigorously debated infant baptism) who now works with you can download his 21 part series on Biblical Soteriology (doctrine of the salvation) Ra McLaughlin, at the page listed further down:

1. It has always been God’s plan to redeem creation through mankind, and to redeem
mankind through a remnant. This remnant is the believing portion of the larger visible
group of God’s covenant or chosen people (identified as Israel in the Old Testament,
and the church in the New Testament). In keeping with this plan, God designed the
atonement to save those people he had determined beforehand to save: the remnant.
Christ’s atonement was acceptable to God, paid for the sins of the remnant, and
secured the salvation of the remnant.

2. God is sovereign. Whatever he sovereignly wills and decrees necessarily happens.
Since some people are not saved, God did not ordain all to salvation. Rather, God has
elected some to salvation, and others he has destined for reprobation. God’s will in
election is not contrary to God’s will for the atonement. Therefore, God did not
decree that the reprobate bear their own guilt, and also decree that Christ should bear
that same guilt needlessly.

3. God is sovereign. Whatever he sovereignly wills and decrees necessarily happens.
God decreed that the atonement offered by Christ would actually save sinners, not
just make their salvation possible. Therefore, the atonement offered by Christ actually
secured the salvation of those for whom it was offered. Not all are saved, therefore
atonement was not made for all.

4. The atonement actually secured the reconciliation of sinners to God. If sinners are
reconciled to God, it is impossible that they might perish. If any perish, then not all
were reconciled. Some sinners perish, therefore not all were reconciled. Since not all
were reconciled to God, the atonement was not offered for all.

5. Christ mediates and intercedes for all for whom the atonement was offered. Christ
only intercedes for the elect. Therefore, the atonement was only offered for the elect.

6. God’s justice demands that no one for whom an adequate atonement has been offered
may go to eternal damnation. Some go to eternal damnation. Therefore, an adequate
atonement has not been offered for those who are ultimately damned.

7. Many scriptural references directly state that God’s intention regarding the atonement,
and the atonement’s actual result, are limited to the salvation of the elect. No
scripture, taken in its proper context, directly supports a view contrary to the doctrine
of limited atonement.

8. Christ is the High Priest of the Church. According to the Old Testament, it is the high
priest’s job to intercede on behalf of those people over whom he is priest. This
intercession includes offering sacrifices on behalf of the people and making
intercession in the Holy Place with the sprinkled blood of sacrificial animals. The
New Testament picture of Christ as high priest is that he offered the atonement (an
act of intercession), and that he continues to intercede. As high priest, he must have
performed the atonement and be interceding on behalf of only those people over
whom he is high priest. Christ is high priest over only the Church/believers.

9. In Romans 5, Paul contrasts being “in Christ” with being “in Adam.” These
identifications are parallel in structure. That is, Christ’s imputation of righteousness
to believers takes place in a fashion paralleling Adam’s prior imputation of guilt to
these same people. Adam’s disobedience directly, necessarily resulted in guilt and
condemnation. In the same way, Christ’s obedience directly, necessarily results in
justification. According to Romans 5:1-11, those who have been justified have peace
and reconciliation with God. It is impossible to be justified, at peace with God, and
reconciled to God, while at the same time also being condemned. Some are
condemned, therefore justification is not universal. Since all for whom Christ atoned
are justified, he only atoned for those who are not condemned.

Here are some important passages on the atonement to consider:

2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Titus 2:14 Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

Ephesians 5:25,27 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish.

Hebrews 13:12 Therefore, Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate.

Matthew 20:28 Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.

John 10: 14,18 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd. Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.

John 10:25-30 Jesus answered them, 'I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father's name, they bear witness of Me. But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone 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 My Father's hand. I and My Father are one.'

John 17:1.11 Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: 'Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.
And now, 0 Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.
Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.
I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them.
Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are.'

Matthew 26:28 For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned....

Romans 5:17 (For if by the one man's offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many will be made righteous.

John 11:49,52 And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, 'You know nothing at all, nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish.'
Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad.

Hebrews 9:15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

Hebrews 9:27-28 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear asecond time, apart from sin, for salvation.

Revelation 5:9 And they sang a new song, saying:'You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.'

Here is a quote from that Prince of Preachers, and notorious Calvinist, C.H. Spurgeon:

"The Arminians say, 'Christ died for all men.' Ask them what they mean by it. Did Christ die so as to secure the salvation of all men? They say, 'No, certainly not.' We ask them the next question: Did Christ die so as to secure the salvation of any man in particular? They answer 'No.' They are obliged to admit this, if they are consistent. They say, 'No; Christ has died that any man may be saved if ?' and then follow certain conditions of salvation. Now, who is it that limits the death of Christ? Why, you. You say that Christ did not die so as infallibly to secure the salvation of anybody. We beg your pardon, when you say we limit Christ's death; we say, 'No, my dear sir, it is you that do it.' We say Christ so died that he infallibly secured the salvation of a multitude that no man can number, who through Christ's death not only may be saved, but are saved, must be saved and cannot by any possibility run the hazard of being anything but saved. You are welcome to your atonement; you may keep it. We will never renounce ours for the sake of it."

For a wonderful introduction to the Reformed faith, also known as 'Calvinism', check out J.I. Packer's introduction to the classic work on Limited Atonement given to us by the Puritan John Owen, The Death of Death in the Death of Christ:

For a concise defense of limited atonement, or particular redemption, read this article by one of my old RTS profs (and a living giant in the Reformed faith), Roger Nicole:

Also, Doug Wilson has put forth the argument in a fictional dialogue between an old Calvinist pastor and his young student (adapted from Easy Chairs and Hard Words):

The Wilson link is the fastest, most concise read. But do check out the list of articles at monergism:

So, make your case.

Ask questions.

Read the Scriptures.

Meditate on the glories of Calvary!


Infant Salvation

Head over to Phil Johnson's sermon page and hear a very thorough and helpful sermon on the question of infant salvation.

Phil is a noted blogger...if that means anything...conference speaker, author, and Reformed web dude...and an elder at Grace Community Church (where good ole John MacArthur is Pastor Teacher). He is a great communicator. He handles this delicate and difficult issue with biblical integrity and theological precision.

I, with most of the giants of the Reformed faith- Calvin, Luther, Spurgeon, Warfield - believe that all who die in infancy (or before the 'age of accountability') will go to heaven by God's grace.

Listen to the sermon and tell me what you think.

Click on the link and scroll down thru Phil's sermons looking for 'What about infants who die?'


David Wells on 'Emergent Spirituality'

I encourage you to download the Page Lectures delivered by David Wells (Andrew Mutch Distinguished Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary) at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary last November.

Here it is:

These lectures are a wonderful condensed analysis of the landscape of American 'spirituality' and its relationship to the new 'emerging/emergent' models of ministry within evangelicalism.

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