Guest Post by: The East Side Monergist
Recently, I read a piece by Carl Trueman titled Yes I am a Christian, just like those over there that really hit home in terms of the mindset among evangelical/protestant circles. So much of what I’m reading and seeing happening these days in Christendom is just reinforcing and incentivizing a need to be more gracious with each other as Protestants. We need to really look at different traditions with more focus upon unity rather than distinctives simply for the sake of solidarity and unity and strength based on first order issues. Over and over again, we’ve been spoiled or sinful or graceless enough to splinter ourselves and have become foolishly divided by secondary and tertiary order issues that we can’t even truly claim to be a part of or include others in the same faith. We spend so much time treating our brothers in the faith as though they are heretics and maybe even unworthy of the title Christian altogether all the while we see agnostics, atheists, wiccans and satanists grow in unity and solidarity. We are fighting our way into being arguably the smallest and most divided faith system in the world.
Continue reading “Putting Your Pistols Back in Your Holsters” →
Through my many years of church membership, I’ve taken the bait to address internal hot topics with my brothers and sisters in Christ which at times have created a few fires that almost consumed my precious soul. While I never intended it to, it often blew up in my face! This is often the case because people are either a little too edgy when confronted with a different view or they see you as an intellectual windbag who they’re not going to let you get away with pushing your views. Of course, it could also be that I rub people the wrong way, but I’ll leave it with the Lord and pray that perhaps I’ve matured. The essence of these theological conversations was significant and, in my mind, worthy of address. We need to be concerned about what we believe and discuss amongst ourselves especially those items that have ecclesiastical significance.
Continue reading “An Intro to Discipleship” →
The work of tracing a family tree can be a daunting one especially if you care to do it right. Scouring records of genealogical data from multiple sources for hours on end is no laughing matter especially if someone in the past wasn’t a very good bookie. We all come from a long ancestorial lineage and few of us are privileged enough to have met but only a few of our familial forebearers and hence, an investigation in necessary. One thing for certain, while conducting our inquiry, we discover quickly that we may know very little about their past. Baptismal records may reveal some affiliation to a religion, work documents to their occupation, land surveys to determine where they lived, and, of course, court records may divulge their badness but ultimately, we know only sparse few details about our distant past relatives.
Continue reading “A Stroll in a Cemetary & The Future” →
The identity of the Son is truly the most important part of identifying ourselves in Him. We know that this was a significant title applied to our Lord Jesus and communicated His special relationship to God the Father. Keeping this in mind, this title, however, is not unique and applied to others in the scriptures (Genesis 6:2). This is especially the case when appropriated to Israel. In His command to let the people go, the Lord refers to Israel as His son (Deuteronomy 14:1) and even His firstborn son (Exodus 4:22). The importance of identifying the Sonship of Israel with Jesus is crucial to understanding the fulfilment of this Sonship and its expansion in the New Testament in Christ and in His people.
Continue reading “Identifying as Sons” →
In my previous post on Edwardian prayer, I stressed the point that if the church is to have an impact in invigorating our troubled nation, it requires us to understand the significance of unity. In case someone hasn’t tuned in, we have little of it in both our society and even in our local ecclesiastical gatherings. I know I sound like a broken record, but I’ll drop the needle anyway, we love to focus upon what divides us rather than what unites us! Union between God’s people is crucial to the success of any work especially any external facing ministry. Brethren, linking arm in arm with faithful gatherings of believers has a greater impact upon the Great Commission than beating each other up over something like sprinkles and dips. The Psalmist saw the beauty of this unification: Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brothers to dwell together in unity! (Psalm 133:1) and I hope you do too. Now, let’s consider that the enemies of the church are doing just that, they’re uniting. They’re gathering around the campfire largely based upon identity politics. These distinct identifiers are creating a unison based upon distinctiveness from their enemy, which, if you’re not aware, is basically you and your church. They are making strides because they created a unified assault, and the morale is on the rise. While I believe that this unity won’t last, simply because there is no logical foundation to keep it together, we still must take this movement seriously. Movements that have no brakes lead to their own demise, but they tend to take everyone else with them. But our fate doesn’t need to be like theirs.
Continue reading “More on Unity” →
Evangelical churches have for the most part jumped on the bandwagon to modernize their marketing strategy by including web content. Yes, they’ve gotten with the times and delved into utilizing this “new fangled” promotional approach. While these websites do a pretty good job at laying out the history of the church, giving you directions to their building with a Google map and informing you when not to call the pastor, some have actually included their statement of faith. Generally, if a statement of faith is not included, well, it often means that they don’t want to bore their readers with theology or to them, it really doesn’t matter what anyone believes. Some have even gone as far as to openly declare their mission statement and these ecclesiastical pursuits are often written in a pretty hip way, well, at least they think so.
Continue reading “A Divine Mission Statement” →
There’s a certain satisfaction that comes with completing a challenging task. Seeing the result of your efforts brings a certain joy to the soul. For the evangelist, this bliss takes on a whole new meaning. It’s certainly not something that a person can say that they can experience in any other area of their lives. This isn’t just any work like a paramedic saving a life in an emergency (which I appreciate by the way), but a life that is saved through the gospel has effects in both this world and in the next. The grace that the believer embraces is an efficacious one that will bring about a true salvation from sin forever. It’s the feeling of having witnessed the salvation of a soul through the work of God and His using the gospel preacher as a means to accomplish this. You’ve witnessed the power of the gospel and the Holy Spirit work through you!
Continue reading “Fishing like a Calvinist (6) -Finale” →
While it’s a little cliché (but certainly true), no revival can happen without an intervention from the Holy Spirit. Spiritual revivals in history happen because of an outpouring of the power of the Spirit. This was the case during the spread of the gospel in the 1st century or the Great Awakening. But when we’re talking about that mighty work in a revival, we’re focusing upon the scope and hence the quantity on conversions. What I would like to focus upon in the outburst of God’s salvation is the quality. What role does the Spirit play in salvation? To some, the Holy Spirit is nudging people towards Christ in an attempt to work gently in their hearts to believe (Prevenient Grace). To others, such as yours truly, the Spirit doing something much more radical in changing the person’s disposition and giving a new heart so that they can believe (Effectual Grace). On which side you fall in your definition will determine the quality of grace that is empowering your evangelism and, let’s face it, will largely affect your evangelism as well.
Continue reading “Fishing Like a Calvinist (5)” →
While we experience the call of the gospel in history, we should recognize that something happened long ago to influence this calling unto salvation. We need to develop a prehistoric mindset when thinking about the path of salvation. You see, prior to heralding away, it’s good to come to a realization that there are things that happened prior to that moment, prior to the individual’s birth, prior to the fall of Adam and even prior to the founding of this world. Before all these things, God had a plan! We call this plan the decree of God and sharing the gospel is much easier if we remember this!
Continue reading “Fishing Like a Calvinist (4)” →
Our intentions in sharing the gospel should have the same aim as our Lord Jesus. There should be no deviation from this purpose of God. Sharing the gospel has as its end to see sinners saved and freed from their sin. Of course, the fish, who don’t want to get caught in what they perceive as smooth talking’, will ask the logical question; saved from what? And the sharp evangelist will respond that they need to be saved from the penalty of sin, from the power of sin, and from the judgment for sin. Presenting the seriousness of sin is crucial to communicating the gospel but we must also demonstrate the means by which God deals with them as glorious. God has chosen to throw them a proverbial life preserver in the proclamation of the gospel. That gospel finds its meaning in what God determined in Christ. This means that the rescue mission will succeed! If Christ is the essence behind the gospel, then it must be proclaimed that He accomplishes the works of the Father perfectly. The salvation of a sinner is perfected in Him. The Father’s purpose in this salvific work is clearly identified in sending His Son. That principle is that laid out in Luke’s gospel: The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10) and indeed He did. The apostle Paul shared this truth in his epistle to Timothy It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). This was the intention of God for Him. He didn’t come to try to save anyone, but to actualize salvation in them. The goal wasn’t just wishful thinking but was assured in the words He will save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:20). Christ does actually save his people and He does so perfectly.
Continue reading “Fishing Like a Calvinist (3)” →