Killing Calvinism — How To Destroy a Perfectly Good Theology

•July 25, 2015 • 1 Comment

Killing Calvinism – How to Destroy a Perfectly Good Theology From the Inside

By Greg Dutcher

Cruiciform Press, June 2012

104 pages

This short book was convicting in many ways and multiple times. Each chapter focused on some in the Reformed tradition have allowed our Calvinism to be an idol, and Dutcher attempts to take his axe and “chop down” those idols one by one. There are eight chapters and they all shine a convicting light on several blind spots that Calvinists tend to have. Sometimes reading good theological books can replace the time a Christian should spend in discipleship. Dutcher says, when the goal is to become a theologian instead of a disciple of Christ Jesus, we have missed our way. It is like getting on the wrong train and heading in the opposite direction. By losing the urge to evangelize was a good chapter; the most convicting of all was chapter 5 – “By Learning Only From Other Calvinist.” In this chapter he thanked and highlighted people who had a major impact on his life who were not Reformed. I was so inspired by this chapter I wrote my own tribute to Ezra Nehemiah Williams.

It is a great book and I recommend it to all my Reformed brethren. It is a quick read, but worth every bit of your time.

Brian L. Spivey D.O.C.

What Do You Expect to See on a Beach?

•July 10, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Series: “ Divine Duo”

For the next couple of blog post I want to explore a very small book in the New Testament – The Book of Titus.

Recently our family took a trip and spent time on a beach. There are things that just naturally go together. Sand is a natural thing to see on a beach. A paved street, a freshly cut lawn, or high-risers do not belong on a beach. There is sand, sand, and more sand. An ocean and sand naturally go together. In the Book of Titus, we learn that some things just naturally go together.

The book of Titus is an epistle written by Paul to his companion Titus. Paul left Titus on the Island of Crete to establish local churches. Paul provides him, and by implication us, with a divine blueprint of how to establish a New Testament church. In each chapter of this short book, Paul mentions at least three major Christian doctrines. But before he writes about these doctrines, he describes himself and his mission.

(1) Paul was a servant. This is a foreign word in our society, but the writer of 14 New Testament books described himself as a servant. This opening is a reminder of Jesus words: “But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave.” (Matt 20:27). This is essence of Christianity.

(2) Paul was an Apostle. Paul was sent. Jesus Christ sent him.

What should we expect to see from a Christian leader? Servanthood.

Servanthood and Christian leadership go hand-in-hand. It naturally goes together. A Christian leader who is not striving for greater servanthood is like a beach with high-risers. You wouldn’t go to that beach would you? You would stay far away. Then let us stay far away from leaders who are not first of all servants.

Brian Spivey – D.O.C.

Reflections About Resurrection Sunday

•April 8, 2015 • 1 Comment

It started with a question, “If an outsider were to observe our family for four years, which holiday would she likely say is the most important to us? Based on our actions and our joy, which holiday requires more of our time, creativity and effort, the INCARNATION or the RESURRECTION? Christmas or Easter? I waited…

Two of the six loudly responded, “Christmas!” The other four nodded their heads in agreement. After family devotion was over it was time for some serious REFLECTION.

Matthew dedicates just seven verses to the Birth of Jesus, Matthew 1:18-25. Luke dedicates thirty-two verses, Luke 1:26-38, and 2:1-21, which includes the birth announcement. That’s about forty verses. The miracles surrounding the birth of Christ are: (1) an angel appearing to Joseph (2), an angel appeared to Mary (3), an angel appeared to the shepherds and (4), a multitude of heavenly host praising God. Matthew dedicates thirty-one verses to the death, burial and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. There are thirty-six verses in Mark, and forty-two in John. Luke dedicates seven-nine (79) verses for the death, burial and Resurrection of Christ. When we just contrast the numbers, 188-40, there is no comparison, there are more verses dedicated to the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. The miracles that accompanied the death and Resurrection: (1) Darkness over the land from 12pm-3pm (2), the curtain of the temple was torn from top to bottom (3), the earth shook (4) the rocks split (5), the tombs were opened (6) the saints was raised and went into the holy city and appeared to many (7), another great earthquake happened (8) an angel rolled back the stone (9) the linen clothes were lying there AND (10) Jesus appeared to His disciples.

Just a simple reading the New Testament reveals that there are more miracles and more scripture verses that accompany the RESURRECTION than the INCARNATION.

Our devotion started with a question, but ended with REPENTANCE. I repented and apologized. The New Testament emphasizes the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ more than the incarnation and I should also.

The incarnation is important, but the Christian hope is enveloped in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Do you place more effort in celebrating Christmas and neglect Holy Week? We are starting to plan for Holy Week 2016; will you join us?

Brian L. Spivey

The Lost World of John H. Walton

•March 29, 2015 • 2 Comments

John H. WaltonLydia McGrew from What’s Wrong with the World (an excellent blog, by the way) has done a three part review of John H. Walton’s The Lost World of Adam and Eve and a review of The Lost World of Genesis One.  They are well worth your time, clear, helpful, faithful to Scripture, well reasoned.  Let me know what you think.

The Lost World of Genesis One

The Lost World of Adam and Eve, part 1

The Lost World of Adam and Eve, part 2

The Lost World of Adam and Eve, part 3

C.M. Granger

Beware the Grid: Some Thoughts on Intellectual Blind Spots

•March 9, 2015 • 4 Comments

Wow, it’s been over two months since my last post. Just the other day I was thinking it had only been a few weeks…

I’d like to comment on a post by a pastor and apologist I highly respect named James R. White of Alpha and Omega ministries. I don’t always agree with him, but I appreciate his ministry and apologetic work, particularly in the area of theological debate.

On the Reformed Baptist Fellowship website he published a post entitledWhy I Am So Thankful to be a Reformed Baptist” .  Now, there’s nothing wrong with being thankful to be a part of your church, association, or denomination.  I have no problem with that on the surface of it.  In the post he mentions the following reasons for being so thankful:

1.  He gets to meet and minister with some of the best preachers and teachers he knows of.

2.  He has the honor and privilege of ministering in sister churches all across the landscape, and is encouraged by the spirit of unity and faith.

3.  But the main reason he cites as being thankful for being a Reformed Baptist is the work the Lord has called him to in apologetics, that is, in providing a reasoned defense of the faith to those who are skeptical of it or who outright oppose it.

He then goes on to list several false religions and cults, such as Islam, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Oneness Pentacostalism, etc. and how he has defended Christian orthodoxy with regard to the Trinity, the inspiration and authority of the Bible, the Crucifixion, the person and work of Christ, all because of the consistency of “our faith”.  All well and good, except….such Christian orthodoxy is not the product of a small sliver of Baptist churches who designate themselves to be “reformed”.  In fact, I daresay all of these doctrinal truths were ironed out long before independent Particular or Reformed Baptist churches came to the fore, or the 1689 2nd London Baptist COF was written.

Therefore, shouldn’t the title of the post simply be “Why I Am So Thankful to be a Christian”?  I don’t see what being a Reformed Baptist has to do with this, do you?

But then Dr. White brings his post to a conclusion by stating the following:

“So the next time you eye the big fancy church down the road on your way to your Reformed Baptist church, consider this:  the value of the consistency of divine truth, the treasure of having a firm foundation upon which to live a God-honoring life, is truly priceless.”

Did you note how he went from cults and false religions to the “big fancy church” down the street?  How are these connected?  Isn’t the big fancy church down the street a Christian congregation of blood-bought sinners redeemed by grace, just like the small Reformed Baptist church?  Does such a church not have the body of truth Dr. White has been so thankful to defend against its opponents?  This kind of statement is indicative of a certain mindset among some RB churches and brethren that needs to be repented of.  A cloak of suspicion need not be cast upon other churches or ministries, nor does the Reformed Baptist need to be held up as the one with a corner on the truth.

I don’t mean to malign Dr. White’s motives, I’m sure he was attempting to encourage his brothers and sisters in Christ who serve the Lord in RB churches.  I simply want to point out how an unhealthy mindset can take advantage of intellectual blind spots.  Keep defending the faith, Dr. White, only do so as a thankful Christian!

C.M. Granger

Total Depravity and Conditional Immortality

•January 5, 2015 • 4 Comments

Conditional immortality (or annihilationism) is a heterodox belief which states that obtaining immortality is based upon a condition, namely believing the gospel.  Therefore, unbelievers don’t suffer eternally in hell for their sin but rather (after a time of punishment) cease to exist.  Atheists generally believe that at death consciousness dissolves and individual persons cease to exist as well.  Conditional immortality basically affirms this atheistic belief.

I’m not going to make an extended argument here for what has been called the traditional view of hell.  My only purpose is to state that before I believed the gospel, I was told by someone that if I didn’t believe it I would die and be eternally extinguished.  My very first thought was, “Who cares?  I won’t exist.  I can have my sin and (someday in the future) die and go to sleep forever.”

In other words, the doctrine of conditional immortality doesn’t properly take into account man’s total depravity.  Fear of death is a weak motivation for repentance.  Fear of hell, that’s quite another motivation.

 

C.M. Granger

 

Resolution # 1

•January 4, 2015 • Leave a Comment

The fourth book of the Torah (first five books of the Bible) is Numbers. The Hebrew title for Numbers is, “And He said.” It is the first two words of the Hebrew text. It gives us a better key to unlock the treasures in this Old Testament book. The children of Israel will go through the wilderness, but they would not be alone – God promised that his real and visible presence would be right there in the middle of the people. The Israelites could not depend on the food and water that was so readily available in Egypt; they had to rely on God and His Word. The book of Numbers is all about God’s Instructions in the wilderness. God tested His people and reminded them that His people will live by faith and they must live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. Lesson for then; Lesson for now! Here is a “spiritual” New Year’s Resolution: Let’s resolve to live our lives by the teachings found in the Bible.
What do you think some of the roadblocks will be in 2015?

Brian (Disciple of Christ)

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 517 other followers