PMT 2017-078 by Larry E. Ball (Aquila Report)
As we prepare to celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, we celebrate the rediscovery of the foundational doctrine of justification by faith alone. It is the very breath that gives life to every Christian. It is one evidence of our new birth in Christ. However, my personal celebration will be mixed with sadness. Let me be plain about the reason for my dejection.
The Reformation was a movement of the Holy Spirit that changed western culture, but modern Reformed churches have created a pietism that is absorbed with individualism and the heart. Continue reading
PMW 2017-076 by Richard Phillips (Reformation 21)
[Gentry note: Postmillennialism is a rigorously Bible-based eschatological outlook. It has to be since it runs counter to current cultural decline (though we understand that decline only to be temporary). Too many evangelicals are not as rigorous regarding biblical foundations. They slide away from the biblical worldview, slowly but surely. This article is not written by a postmillennialist, but his sentiments are certainly valid.]
Over twenty years ago, while in seminary, I was present during a hallway conversation with a professor who then seemed to be moving toward liberal theology. A student asked how this man’s higher critical methods would enable him to remain a Christian. The professor gave quite the revealing answer: “I have a Jesus Box that I never touch.” By this, he meant that he had drawn a line of piety around his faith in Jesus to keep out the implications of his liberal scholarship. I remember thinking at the time how vain was this hope. Method always gobbles up message, and no pietistic zeal will ever protect us from our actual lack of faith. That professor has long since moved on, and from his seat in a liberal college he has not surprisingly revised his former evangelical faith in Jesus. Continue reading
PMW -2017-061 by Gary Bates (Creation Ministries, Intl.)
(Originally featured in a CMI newsletter, July 2010)
[Gentry note: Postmillennialism expects and promotes a biblically-based worldview. A biblical worldview requires a biblical understanding of creation and morality. This article by Gary Bates is helpful for understanding the impact of biblical creation on moral standards.]
Unfortunately, many within the church unwittingly fall for an oft used tactic by atheists, because they are scared that the God of a Christian faith would be caricatured as an unloving, judgmental Creator. To portray God as irrelevant and out of touch in a politically correct world we hear statements like “If God is a God of love why doesn’t he love homosexuals?” Or pro-abortionists might say “If God is all-knowing He would understand why some need to have abortions.” Continue reading
PMT 2017-036 by Stephen Altrogge (The Blazing Center)
What comes to your mind when you hear the word “Calvinist”? A grumpy, cold-hearted person who only wants a select few people to get into heaven? An annoying guy who won’t stop rambling on about Romans 9? That awful, sterile, passionless church you used to go to?
I get it.
Calvinism doesn’t have a fantastic reputation, at least in some circles. Some people feel like it focuses more on theology than on loving people. Others have had really bad experiences with Calvinists. And some people think it runs counter to the beautiful free offer of grace found in the Bible. Continue reading
By Mark Oppenheimer (New York Times)
For those who are sad that the year-end news quizzes are past, here’s one to start 2014: If you have joined a church that preaches a Tulip theology, does that mean a) the pastor bakes flowers into the communion wafers, b) the pastor believes that flowers that rise again every spring symbolize the resurrection, or c) the pastor is a Calvinist?
As an increasing number of Christians know, the answer is “c.” The acronym summarizes John Calvin’s so-called doctrines of grace, with their emphasis on sinfulness and predestination. The T is for man’s Total Depravity. The U is for Unconditional Election, which means that God has already decided who will be saved, without regard to any condition in them, or anything they can do to earn their salvation. Continue reading
PMT 2017-009 by Frank A. James III (published by Christianity Today)
For many, predestination is a struggle to accept; for Paul, it’s a doctrine of love.
What is it that takes Paul’s breath away? It is the incomprehensible vastness of God’s love that encompasses eternity past, present, and future. Paul pulls back the veil of the Godhead and grants a glimpse into the triune mystery of the Father’s eternal plan (vv. 3-6), the Son’s implementation of the plan (vv. 7-12), and the Spirit’s guarantee that the plan will reach completion (vv. 13-14). The redemptive panorama is so stunning that it leaves Paul breathless.
At the center of this expansive vista is predestination. Paul writes about divine predestination with an enthusiasm that might strike some contemporary Christians as peculiar at the very least. Continue reading
PMT 2016-069 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
On Facebook I recently posted a cartoon exposing the error of Arminianism. Ever since posting that cartoon which contained a (cartoon) representation of Christ, I have been inundated with FB Comments and email challenges.
Some FB friends get frustrated because I don’t engage in FB debates. I don’t do so because they are unending and my day isn’t. I am quite busy. My time on FB looks more ample than it is: I see or think of something that I think is interesting, then quickly go on FB and toss it on my FB page, then leave. Though every now and then I will occasionally reply once or twice.
But for those interested in this particular issue, I will be providing a lengthy article combining my thoughts on defending pictorial representations of Christ. This will be useful in the future when I need to point someone to one source.
My interest in this matter is not because I like pictures of Christ. In fact, I don’t have any hanging in my house, I prefer hanging my wife’s cross-stitched, framed Bible verses in my house. Nor do I think some artist knows what he really looked like. No one does, but neither do they know what Abraham and Paul looked like, though folks accept pictures of them in educational contexts. Nor do I think pictures of Christ are helpful to one’s devotion to him. In fact, I believe quite the opposite: if someone is spiritually encouraged by a picture of Jesus, they are looking in the wrong direction for encouragement. It should come from reading God’s word, not looking at pictures men have painted. Continue reading