Dedicated to the devotional, exegetical and philosophical study of theological paradox in Conservative, Thoroughly Biblical, Historically Orthodox, Essentially Reformed theology . . . to the glory of God alone!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Solving the Baptism Debate

Recently I've seen some heated debates over baptism. Should we sprinkle infants or immerse believers

Why not just immerse infants like the Eastern Orthodox Church does? 
(I'm only kidding, but they are totally serious about this solution)

Thursday, October 27, 2011


I'm married to the most awesome woman on the planet!

Just thought I'd mention that.

Marriage is not a sprint. It's a marathon (with high hurdles). We all get weary along the way. We grow tired of putting the interests of others ahead of our own, dying to self, preferring one another in love, considering others more important than ourselves, speaking the truth in love, and bearing one another's burdens. That's not easy stuff, no matter how beautiful, talented or fun your spouse may be.

But here's what I've noticed in 15 years of marriage: when I do love my wife in any measure with our Lord's kind of self-sacrificing, practical love, there comes to my heart an inexpressible joy. Although It's hard to die to self, it's a JOY to live as Christ would live. Marriage is the perfect opportunity for sacrifice, for servanthood, for discipleship, for cross-bearing, for pain, for heartbreak, for perseverance, for suffering . . . and for glorious JOY!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Ungracious Cows

From Charles Spurgeon:
"I will judge between cattle and cattle." (Ezekiel 34:22) 
Some are fat and flourishing, and therefore they are unkind to the feeble. This is a grievous sin and causes much sorrow. Those thrustings with side and with shoulder, those pushings of the diseased with the horn, are a sad means of offense in the assemblies of professing believers. The Lord takes note of these proud and unkind deeds, and He is greatly angered by them, for He loves the weak. 
Is the reader one of the despised? Is he a mourner in Zion and a marked man because of his tender conscience? Do his brethren judge him harshly? Let him not resent their conduct; above all let him not push and thrust in return. Let him leave the matter in the Lord's hands. He is the Judge. Why should we wish to intrude upon His office? He will decide much more righteously than we can. His time for judgment is the best, and we need not be in a hurry to hasten it on. Let the hard-hearted oppressor tremble. Even though he may ride roughshod over others with impunity for the present, all his proud speeches are noted, and for every one of them account must be given before the bar of the great Judge. 
Patience, my soul! Patience! The Lord knoweth thy grief. Thy Jesus hath pity upon thee!
(Charles Spurgeon, Faith's Checkbook - "He of Tender Conscience")
Here's an audio version for your listening pleasure: 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Slander and Defamation

Mike Abendroth's "No Compromise Radio" podcast is a place where one can often hear sharp critiques of false teaching. If you've listened to the show, you know he is not namby pamby or conflict-avoidant; he's a real pastor with a discerning Biblical mind and no hesitation about demolishing heresy. However, Abendroth knows the difference between valiantly standing for Biblical Truth and merely blasting an opponent by unfair and ungodly means. Last year he did a great show on Slander and Defamation. Be warned, it is convicting.

Click HERE to listen

Abendroth exposits James 4:11 and surveys other Scripture verses relevant to the topic, then gives several useful applications and illustrations.

He offers this helpful distinction between proper discernment ministry and ungodly attack: 
"I will gladly and often critique what people teach; but I don't think you've heard me say things about them personally to attack their character and attack their person."  
That is a helpful distinction to keep in mind.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

GOD'S FREE AND SINCERE OFFER: Calvin on Isaiah 65:1-6

2. I have stretched out my hands. He accuses the Jews, and complains of their ingratitude and rebellion; and in this manner he proves that there is no reason why they should say that the Lord does them wrong if he bestow his grace on others. The Jews conducted themselves proudly and insolently toward God, as if they had been elected through their own merit. On account of their ingratitude and insolence the Lord rejects them as unworthy, and complains that to no purpose did he "stretch out his hands" to draw and bring them back to him.
By "the stretching out of the hands" he means the daily invitation. There are various ways in which the Lord "stretches out his hands to us;" for he draws us to him, either effectually or by the word. In this passage it must relate chiefly to the word. The Lord never speaks to us without at the same time "stretching out his hand" to join us to himself, or without causing us to feel, on the other hand, that he is near to us. He even embraces us, and shews the anxiety of a father, so that, if we do not comply with his invitation, it must be owing entirely to our own fault. The heinousness of the guilt is greatly aggravated by long continuance, that, during a long succession of ages, God did not cease to send one Prophet after another, and even, as he says elsewhere, to rise early in the morning and continue the same care till the evening. (Jer 7:13, 11:7, 35:14).
To a rebellious people. First, he calls them "rebellious" or disobedient, but immediately afterwards he declares what is the nature of that rebellion, namely, that the people walk after their own thoughts. Nothing is more displeasing to God than for men to be αὐθάδης "self-willed," (2 Pe 2:10); that is, devoted to their own inclinations; for he commands us to surrender our own judgment, that we may be capable of receiving the true doctrine. The Lord therefore testifies that it was not owing to him that he did not retain and continue to exercise towards them his wonted favor, but that they alienated themselves through their own madness, because they chose to abide by their own natural inclinations rather than to follow God as their leader.
Having pointed out the cause of this rejection, we must come to the calling of the Gentiles, who succeeded in the room of the Jews; for that is undoubtedly the subject treated in the first verse. The Lord had long ago foretold it by Moses, so that they ought not to have thought that there was anything new in this prediction.
"They have provoked me by that which is not God; they have moved me to anger by their vanities; and I also will provoke them by that which is not a people, by a foolish nation I will enrage them." (De 32:21).
Finally, the Prophet now threatens the same thing which was afterwards foretold by Christ when that blinding was at hand.
"The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and shall be given to a nation which shall bring forth fruit." (Mt 21:43).
1. To them that asked not. {1} When he says that God manifested himself "to them that asked not," he shews that the Gentiles were anticipated by the grace of God, and that they brought no merit or excellence as an inducement to God to give it to them. This obviously agrees with that passage which we quoted, in which Moses calls them "a foolish nation." (De 32:21). Thus, under a universal type, he describes what is the nature of men before the Lord anticipates them by his mercy; for they neither call on the Lord, nor seek him, nor think about him. And this passage ought to be carefully observed, in order to establish the certainty of our calling, which may be said to be the key that opens to us the kingdom of heaven; for by means of it peace and repose are given to our consciences, which would always be in doubt and uncertainty if they did not rest on such testimonies. We see, therefore, that it did not happen accidentally or suddenly that we were called by God and reckoned to be his people; for it had been predicted long before in many passages. From this passage Paul earnestly contends for the calling of the Gentiles, and says that Isaiah boldly exclaims and affirms that the Gentiles have been called by God, because he spoke more clearly and loudly than the circumstances of his own time required. Here we see, therefore, that we were called by an eternal purpose of God long before the event happened.
Behold I, behold I. By repeating these words twice, he confirms still more the declaration that God hath manifested himself in so friendly a manner to foreign and heathen nations, that they do not doubt that he dwells in the midst of them. And, indeed, that sudden change needed to be confirmed, because it was difficult to be believed; although by that very novelty the Prophet intended to magnify the unexpected grace of God. The meaning may be thus summed up: "When the Lord shall have offered himself to the Gentiles, and they shall have been joined to the holy family of Abraham, there will be some Church in the world, after the Jews have been driven out." Now we see that all that is here predicted by the Prophet was fulfilled by the Gospel, by which the Lord actually offered and manifested himself to foreign nations. Whenever, therefore, this voice of the Gospel is sounded in our ears, or when we record the word of the Lord, let us know that the Lord is present, and offers himself, that we may know him familiarly, and may call on him boldly and with assured confidence.
[Underlining and bolding added]
Calvin incorporates Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, and the Effectual Call throughout these comments. He places affirmations of those doctrines alongside affirmations of the Gospel Offer, God's love for the reprobate, and His desire to save them. He does not view these truths as contradictory, but places them side by side. Why are so many of today's Calvinists unwilling to do the same?
Note how explicitly and emphatically Calvin speaks of God's sincere, desirous offer and invitation. Even when God's call is general and not effectual, Calvin says God's desire is "to join us to himself." Context shows the "us" here is fallen humanity, not just the elect. He even goes so far as to say God "embraces" the ones who reject Him. Calvin clearly believed that God calls the reprobate, loves the reprobate, and desires to save the reprobate (while at the same time not choosing to save them).
Calvin reasons that nothing on God's part prevents the reprobate from returning to Him. All the fault lies with the one who rejects God's call. The fact that God did not "decree" or foreordain their repentance in the secret counsel of His will is a separate issue. Calvin has no problem saying "they chose" to abandon God, while at the same time exhorting his readers not to follow their example.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

D.A. Carson on God's Love and Hate

"If the love of God refers exclusively to his love for the elect, it is easy to drift toward a simple and absolute  bifurcation: God loves the elect and hates the reprobate. Rightly positioned, there is truth in this assertion . . . Stripped of complementary Biblical truths, that same assertion has engendered hyper-Calvinism. I use the term advisedly, as it is used in Church History, referring to groups within the Reformed tradition that have forbidden the free offer of the Gospel. Spurgeon fought them in his day. Their number is not great in America today, but their echoes are found in young Reformed ministers who know it is right to offer the Gospel freely but who have no idea how to do it without contravening some element in their conception of Reformed theology.", emphasis added

Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday Morning Humor

Kevin DeYoung is in the habit of posting something funny on Mondays. So I decided to give it a try this week just for fun. But this one is a double header. 
First, we have an amazing song extolling the wonders of "free will" (actually, this is probably more sad than funny, but something about the song makes you want to laugh involuntarily). Please choose to watch this video.

I'm glad you chose to watch it.
Next, we have this great video entitled, "John Piper Preaches Against Calvinism." It really is a great video. The only thing funny about it is the title. It's funny that someone thinks this is preaching against Calvinism. I was really expecting something more or less un-Calvinistic, but instead there was just this . . .

There you have it! A clear contradiction of everything he's ever preached in the past!
Choose to have a great Monday, friends.

Friday, October 07, 2011


Command + Promise = PRO-MAND

Here's an example: "Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you." (James 4:8a)

Do you see how the command and the promise go together as a set? For a believing child of God, the promise provides motivation to obey the command.

Here's another way to find a PRO-MAND: someone has said that under the New Covenant the 10 Commandments become 10 Promises. "You shall have no other gods before me . . ." What wonderful news this is when taken as a promise. It's a marvelous PRO-MAND!

Please take a moment to share more encouraging "PRO-MANDS" in the comments.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

We're at Disney World!

Thanks be to our God for the common grace of amusement parks.
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Wednesday, October 05, 2011

The Night of Weeping - Horatius Bonar

The writings and hymns of Horatius Bonar are never short on encouragements for the weary saint. This brief word of exhortation to sufferers is no exception. May it strengthen your heart.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Calvin on the Sufficiency of Scripture

"But let us know, as faith can be grounded nowhere else than in the Word of the Lord, so we must only stand to the testimony thereof in all controversies."

-from Calvin's Commentary on Acts 17:2