Saturday, April 16, 2011

From the Sermon Hall of Fame – Steve Lawson – Galatians 1:6-10

Dr. Steve Lawson expounded the noted “let him be accursed” passage from the Epistle to the Galatians (Galatians 1:6-10) at the 2009 Shepherds’ Conference (Session 8).
Dr. Lawson relates the battle over the Gospel throughout church history to Paul’s opposition to the Judaizers. From Athanasius vs. Arius, to Nettleton vs. Finney, up to the present day. In the passion of his message, Lawson gives us some of the flavor of the Apostle’s emotion (“…amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him…”). In their desertion of the Gospel, they are deserting God Himself.
At about the 24 minute mark, Dr. Lawson makes this quite personal (as the gravity of the Gospel dictates) in a critique of Joel Osteen (without naming him) and one of his appearances on Larry King Live. You might have heard sound clips of “give us some men who know the truth!” This message is where that call to arms comes from.

To add some context, here’s an excerpt from the King interview (by way of Wretched):

Here’s a brief excerpt from Lawson’s message (with some excerpts from King):

The entire sermon can be downloaded here

On a humorous personal note, one evening my wife had asked me a number of questions (on various subjects) for which I had no answers. We had listened to Dr. Lawson’s message and have also heard (many times) a montage of it interspersed with excerpts from the King-Osteen interview that sometimes is the intro to Wretched Radio. After my last "I don't know" of the evening, she turned to me and in a matter-of-fact manner said, “give us some men who know the truth.”

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Quotes O' The Week

"The only difference between an atheist and an agnostic is the tune they whistle past the graveyard"

"I wear the pants in our family; my wife tells me which pants to wear"
R.C. Sproul

Graphic by Chrishankhahused by (ex post facto) permission.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Jim McClarty on Election

Pastor Jim McClarty gives an effective and practical way to illustrate and define the doctrine of Election:

The easiest way to comprehend the basic premise of election is with a few simple questions and answers. Whenever I am discussing the issue with anyone, I start with this conversation:
Do you believe you are saved?
Okay, then who saved you?
Very good. And did God save you on purpose or by accident?
Well, on purpose!
That’s election. God saves some people and He does it on purpose.
By Grace Alone, Jim McClarty, Page 37. PDF; Book.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Quotes O' The Week

"One of the favorite slogans of our age is, 'Let's just agree to disagree'—and then virtually every point of truth is blithely set aside as trivial and unnecessary. That mentality—a refusal to fight for the truth—has done horrific damage to our churches and to the evangelical movement. It is not loving at all.
'Let's just agree to disagree.'
Well, no. How about we just argue until one of us actually refutes the other and we come to a common understanding of God's Word? How is that 'unloving'?"
Phil Johnson

A man who does not acknowledge or recognize his tradition is a slave to that tradition.
James White (paraphrased)

"When the Arminian has thus, as he thinks, established and defended human responsibility against the Calvinist he turns about to defend the Christian position against the natural man. But then he soon finds himself at the mercy of the natural man. The natural man is mercilessly consistent. He simply tells the Arminian that a little autonomy involves absolute autonomy, and a little reality set free from the plan of God involves all reality set free from the plan of God. After that the reduction process is simply a matter of time." 
Cornelius Van Til

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Scripture Cookie O' the Week - John 12:32

John 12:32 (ESV)
32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

This week’s Scripture Cookie is used by a wide spectrum of Cookiers: from Universalists to Arminians (or other critics of Reformed theology). It has made an appearance in Rob Bell’s Velvet Hell tour in the past month and it is a perennial favorite of those looking for an escape hatch from John 6:44

The verse is from a section of John 12 (John 12:20-36) where a group of Greeks approach Philip (the apostle) and request an audience with Jesus. (This is the source of the saying “Sir, we would see Jesus” [KJV], which is frequently cited by those appealing for a more Gospel-centered preaching ethic.) These were not necessarily ethnic Greeks, but could be some other variety of Gentile (probably what were known as “God-fearers”). Philip went to Andrew with the request, perhaps because Andrew was part of the “inner-four” of the apostles. We aren’t really told if the Greeks were eventually allowed to speak with Jesus.

When Philip and Andrew went to Jesus, He began a short discourse on the necessity of His death and resurrection, and about what it means to follow Him. Jesus reflects on the gravity of what He must soon do. He prays to God the Father, that He (the Father) be glorified and God affirms audibly. Jesus pronounces the impending judgment on the world and Satan and He makes the remark that when He is lifted-up (that is, on the Cross), He would “draw all people to myself.”

The word “people” (men – NASB, KJV) in this context means “all kinds of people”, not every single person that ever lived (or will live). In the original language, the noun people (or men) is actually assumed and the word all depends on context to determine the noun that it describes. This is quite common. One famous passage with an assumed noun to the adjective where the KJV is not quite as clear in its translation is 1 Timothy 6:10 where it states “…the love of money is the root of all evil…” The modern translations will have “…all kinds of evils”, making the self-evident point that the love of money could not be the root of all evils, as there are many evils not related to the love of money.

The Universalist’s (ab)use of this text is obvious: he (the universalist) would want to have Biblical support for the dangerous doctrine that everyone will be saved.

The opponent of Reformed (or Calvinistic) theology frequently appeals to this passage when trying to explain:

John 6:44 (ESV)
44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.

The Arminian (or some other flavor of opponent of Calvinism) here would need to drop back deep into the pocket and heave an 85-yard bomb way over to John 12:32 and say “See, He draws all people…and it’s up to the free will of the person to accept or reject the drawing.” But, the context of this verse is clearly related to the appearance of the Greeks (or Gentiles) wanting to see Jesus, not the drawing of every single person who ever lived. The person using John 12:32 in this way would also have to explain how Jesus' original audience in John 6:44 would have been expected to refer to John 12:32 when it did not yet exist.