Saturday, December 1, 2007


In a recent post on his blog, Wade Burleson quoted an article written in 1990 by Mike Huckabee (Southern Baptist minister, former pastor, former President of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, former Arkansas Governor, and current candidate for the President of the United States). I thought Huckbee's words were worth sharing here:

“The ‘L’ word that may characterize our greatest threat is not liberalism but legalism. If all the liberals in Arkansas Baptist churches held a meeting, they could meet in the corner booth of a Waffle House and still have room for guests.

Legalism is the reduction of the whole of the Bible to a rather limited system of ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ that the one espousing already lives. By carefully limiting ‘right and wrong’ to those beliefs or practices one already adheres to, the legalist is able to always be right and never wrong. Convenient system to be sure. It requires no struggle of conscience, no agonizing soul-searching, no brokenness. Others aren’t judged by the character of Christ, but by the behavior of the legalist.

Legalism is not limited to the theological camp of the conservatives, moderates or anyone in between or beyond. Like a worthless weed, it grows in whatever soil it is planted and is capable of choking out anything that gets in its way without ever producing fruit of value.

Biblical faith is sure about God, but never so sure about self. Legalistic faith is sure of self, and may or may not be as sure of God and His Word. A legalist questions everyone else’s motives and mission, but never sees a need to question his own. A strong Christian is not only interested in believing right, but living right. A strong Christian should want others to be more like Jesus, not more ‘like me.’

We do not live under ‘Lord Law,’ ‘Lord Tradition,’ ‘Lord Religion’ or even ‘Lord Belief.’ We are saved when we confess ‘Lord Jesus.’ When He is Lord, we learn a new ‘L’ word – love. Jesus said that the world would know we belonged to Him not because we worship the same, believe the same or even live the same, but because we love one another.”

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Perseverence & Sin

From the 1689 London Baptist Confession:

Chapter 17: Of The Perseverance of the Saints
1. Those whom God hath accepted in the beloved, effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit, and given the precious faith of his elect unto, can neither totally nor finally fall from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved, seeing the gifts and callings of God are without repentance, whence he still begets and nourisheth in them faith, repentance, love, joy, hope, and all the graces of the Spirit unto immortality; and though many storms and floods arise and beat against them, yet they shall never be able to take them off that foundation and rock which by faith they are fastened upon; notwithstanding, through unbelief and the temptations of Satan, the sensible sight of the light and love of God may for a time be clouded and obscured from them, yet he is still the same, and they shall be sure to be kept by the power of God unto salvation, where they shall enjoy their purchased possession, they being engraven upon the palm of his hands, and their names having been written in the book of life from all eternity.
(John 10:28, 29; Philippians 1:6; 2 Timothy 2:19; 1 John 2:19; Psalms 89:31, 32; 1 Corinthians 11:32; Malachi 3:6)

2. This perseverance of the saints depends not upon their own free will, but upon the immutability of the decree of election, flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father, upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ and union with him, the oath of God, the abiding of his Spirit, and the seed of God within them, and the nature of the covenant of grace; from all which ariseth also the certainty and infallibility thereof.
(Romans 8:30 Romans 9:11, 16; Romans 5:9, 10; John 14:19; Hebrews 6:17, 18; 1 John 3:9; Jeremiah 32:40)

3. And though they may, through the temptation of Satan and of the world, the prevalency of corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of means of their preservation, fall into grievous sins, and for a time continue therein, whereby they incur God's displeasure and grieve his Holy Spirit, come to have their graces and comforts impaired, have their hearts hardened, and their consciences wounded, hurt and scandalize others, and bring temporal judgments upon themselves, yet shall they renew their repentance and be preserved through faith in Christ Jesus to the end.
(Matthew 26:70, 72, 74; Isaiah 64:5, 9; Ephesians 4:30; Psalms 51:10, 12; Psalms 32:3, 4; 2 Samuel 12:14; Luke 22:32, 61, 62)

This is what I understand to be the classical Calvinist position on perseverance. The third item says that the elect can commit grievous sins but will eventually repent. This is also in keeping with the doctrine of depravity ... that every part of our nature has been corrupted by sin. Although God's grace in his effectual calling brings us to repentance and faith, which we could never have prior to regeneration, He does not remove sin's corruption from us in this world.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

ADHC -- Attention Deficit Hyper Calvinism

Sometimes I've seen the term "hyper-Calvinist" used to refer to someone who is strongly Calvinistic, or who holds to all 5 points of Calvinism, or who holds to traditional Calvinistic positions regarding election, free will, etc. But those are not technically correct uses of the term.

"Hyper-Calvinism" is a distinct theological position that states that only the elect are obligated to repent and believe, and thus unbelievers should not all be exhorted to believe in Christ or turn in repentance to God. The practical application of this for the true hyper-Calvinist is that gospel preaching to the lost or evangelistic witness are not needed.

More on what constitues true hyper-Calvinism and what distiguishes it from Calvinism is here.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Doctrines of Truth


is an excellent summary of the truth of God's Word regarding salvation. Pure biblical teaching ... simple, yet profound. The believer who comprehends and submits to these truths finds them heart warming, bringing a sense of awe and wonder and gratitude and humility and joy.

But for those who do not see that this is the true nature of salvation, these doctrines are a stumbling block, something they foolishly and ignorantly dismiss as "flawed, exclusive, eisegetical" and "imperfect and incomplete". Yet take heed -- these blessed doctrines of Scripture are the full counsel of God's salvation, and, those who do not embrace them, though they may not realize it, are only rejecting His Word and His sovereignty.

Though we may think our "words mean things", His Word truly means something! All glory to God for His gracious salvation!

Saturday, September 1, 2007


My birthday was yesterday. I turned 47.

Old fogey.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Repentance & Forgiveness

Repentance is God's work -- just as is faith, in the sense that God must grant them to us by His grace, since we do not inherently possess the capacity to repent or believe unto salvation apart from God's gracious work in us. But this does not mean that repentance is not something we ourselves do ... just as with faith, we ourselves must exercize it, put it into practice.

Repentance presupposes faith -- no one can repent toward someone they don't believe exists. Repentance involves turning away from an offense with the intent not to go on repeating it. Faith deals with our thinking, attitudes, and actions toward someone and what that person has done for us. Repentance deals with our thinking, attitudes, and actions towards ourselves in relation to someone else, and what we have done against that person. In faith, I trust in God for salvation through Christ from the penalty of my sins. In repentance, I turn from my sins and self-directed life and submit to God as the only rightful Director of my life.

In regards to our relationship with God, the connection between repentance and forgiveness is no different than the connection between faith and forgiveness. We cannot be forgiven by God without faith in Him, nor can we receive His forgiveness without faith in Him. Likewise we cannot be forgiven by God without repentance toward God, nor can we receive His forgiveness without repentance toward Him. This is not because God is unwilling to forgive us unless we believe and repent; it is simply that forgiveness is not real or complete until it is received by the offender, and the means of receiving it are faith and repentance.

In regards to our relationship with others, the same stands true. If you commit some offense against me, it would be quite impossible for me to forgive you if you did not believe I existed -- not because I would not want to forgive you, but simply because if you didn't believe I existed, you would never ask me for forgiveness. Few rational adults would be repentant and ask Santa to forgive them for not leaving our milk and cookies, because they don't believe in Santa. (Because Santa doesn't exist -- sorry to have to break it to you like that in a public forum, but it is time you knew anyway.)

So, is repentance required for forgiveness? Yes -- but this does not mean that we are to hold back on extending forgiveness until someone repents! The Father stands anxiously awaiting for the prodigal's return, looking for us while we are yet afar off. He holds out forgiveness, desiring to grant it, waiting for it to be accepted. But until it is accepted, there is no forgiveness. Must someone repent before we can forgive them their trespasses against us? Yes, for in order for forgiveness to be complete, it must be received. But if we are standing back, holding on to the offense, unwilling to extend forgiveness unless it is asked for, we have seriously missed the whole point of what forgiveness is all about. Are we anxiously longing to forgive those who have offended, if only they would ask? That, my friends, is a true sign of one who has some understanding of how much they have been forgiven by God.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Everybody's Got a Blog

Everyone has a blog. Except me. Well, until now. Now I have one, too. I can stop feeling left out. I can be one of those people who says, "Yeah, I wrote about that on my blog the other day," or "That will make a good post for my blog," or "My blog is all about hushpuppies," etc.

I can't wait for my first response! Will it be interesting? Exciting? Will unknown persons from foreign lands suddenly discover how fascinating, witty, interesting, and entertaining I am? Will I stop asking myself questions now?

So here it is, my first blog entry. I've heard you have to make the first one really good, so folks will want to keep coming back. How'd I do?