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The Apostle Paul’s Simple Response to Brannon Howse

There is a lot of fearmongering going on over at Brannon Howse’s “Worldview Weekend” ministry in recent times.

Mr. Howse has been consumed by an unchristian fear, including his guilty-by-association conspiracy mind-set. The Gospel has been neglected and tarnished by Howse’s misguided, personal attack against James White and Alpha & Omega ministries. His thin-skinned, protracted assaults are only hurting Howse and his ministry—and of course the Gospel. Sadly, he does not see this. It is unbecoming of a Christian ministry.

As Christians we should not be so consumed by the intentions of the unregenerate (e.g. “Does this Muslim really intend to hurt me?”). Instead, our duty is to faithfully proclaim the Gospel of Christ. We proclaim and pray that God’s glory will be revealed.

Fear will paralyze us, but faith will express the sorts of things that Paul did not fear:

“Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will trouble, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we encounter death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us! For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor heavenly rulers, nor things that are present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 8:35–39)

Christian, there is a day coming in this country when we will have no legal recourse.

As a Christian do you really want to go out of this world fearfully exclaiming, “My rights have been violated!”?

Or do you want to confidently in faith take that one, and last, opportunity to stand firm and give God glory in your persecution or even martyrdom?

“If anyone is meant for captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed by the sword, then by the sword he must be killed. This requires steadfast endurance and faith from the saints.” (Rev 13:10)

 

Does God Forgive the Unrepentant? – The Dubious Textual Variant, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing’

A few years back I posted an article explaining the weak textual evidence of Luke 23:34a, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

This week is Good Friday and many sermons will be using this verse, so I think it is appropriate to bring awareness of its textual nature.

Whether you agree with me or not, pastors and Christians should still be aware of this textual issue and its larger theological implications, especially the important question of whether forgiveness is conditional or unconditional.

Here is the article:

 

From the Lips of Jesus or a Scribal Hand? “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing”

 

2017 Bible Reading Plan — Read the Gospels Every Day

It is about that time of the year when we are introduced to creative ways to read our Bible for the next calendar year. Did you do it this year?

This is my ninth year encouraging others to take each day of the year to read and reflect on a single unit in the Gospels. Did you know there are about 365 units in the Gospels?

In the past, I cited five good reasons to own a Gospel Synopsis. The fifth reason is:

Read a synopsis in one year by reading one pericope [a gospel unit] every day. By coincidence, the synopsis contains 367 pericopes. That is, all four Gospels combined contain 367 units.

Get the following edition soon before the first of year so you are ready to go: Synopsis of the Four Gospels

What You NEED to Know about the Calvinism and Arminianism Debate

The Calvinism-Arminianism debate is substantially a debate between what is called “synergism” and “monergism.” For those who are new to this debate, the following is a primer on the two perennial branches of theological systems within Christianity. Or to put it another way, there are two very different ways for believers to understand their salvation.

The first type is the Arminian-Synergist. They affirm synergism. It teaches that two forces in the universe are necessary to bring about regeneration in the life of the sinner. Specifically, the two forces at work (cooperation) that are necessary to bring about regeneration, or spiritual life, is the human will and the Holy Spirit (grace).

To put it another way, the work of the Holy Spirit is dependent on the creature’s will; hence, “synergism” (working together). These individuals will sincerely say, “I believe in grace alone.” But the truth is they believe that grace is not alone (sufficient); rather, the human will is necessary for regeneration to be effective.

Many people do not like being labeled “Arminian” (e.g. “I am neither Calvinist or Arminian!) The reality, however, is their theology functions synergistically. Thus, how they identify themselves is inconsistent with what they teach and believe. At the end of the day, they are Arminian, whether they like it or not.

The second group is Calvinist-Monergist. They affirm monergism. They (including myself) believe that there is only one force in the universe (grace alone) that brings about regeneration in the life of the sinner. In specifics, because of the deadness of the spiritual human will (i.e. moral inability), the Holy Spirit performs the miracle of spiritual resurrection (regeneration) in that person. Thus it is monergism (one work). Grace is sufficient to be effective, and does not depend on some action of the human will.

In other words, the Holy Spirit does not merely “whisper” in the hardened sinner’s ear and hopes that the rebel sinner will “cooperate.” Instead, while the sinner is in a state of hardness and rebellion, the Holy Spirit penetrates into the human will and performs the miracle of spiritual life (regeneration). That is grace alone. That is what the Bible teaches. Faith does not precede regeneration, regeneration precedes faith.

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions– it is by grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 2:4-5

“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” John 1:12-13

“He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” John 8:47

Arminians cannot affirm grace alone. They must always have the creature’s will as the final determiner of their destiny, not God.

One final note.

Arminians pray inconsistently. They pray unknowingly as a Calvinist:

“God, change the unbeliever’s heart.”

I have never heard an Arminian pray:

“God, only whisper in the unbeliever’s ear, but don’t change their heart unless you’ve been given permission by the unbeliever.”

The Calvinist prays and affirms biblical truth consistently.