Declaring Heresy

The vitriolic response to the Nashville Statement has stirred up mud from the bottom of the proverbial pond, threatening to cloud the clear waters of truth with murky ideological propositions.

Once upon a time the issues of marriage, sexuality and gender were self-evident in both nature and scripture, but in these confused times no revelation – natural or divine – can be taken for granted.

Thus the Nashville Statement came to be: A declaration of truth about the nature of marriage, the limits of human sexual expression and the common sense understanding of a male/female gender binary. The fact any of this is necessary bears sad witness to the reality that so many people who profess to be Christian can love the darkness so much more than they love the light. Instead of walking into the light of the gospel they hide themselves behind high walls of false, man-made doctrines and arm themselves with self-righteous counter-declarations that promote all that is depraved; then they have the tenacity to bless it with a holy kiss.

Need proof? Continue reading

God For Us

The Holy Divine Trinity  has bestowed eternal blessings upon the elect. In what theologians call the Covenant of Redemption, the Trinity has purposed, secured and applied redemption for the church. Our salvation is no small feat, certainly not dependent on a mere human decision, flowing from the poisoned spring of our soul and the enslaved sinful will that, at best, can only offer a feeble faith that can never endure harsh realities or competing desires. No, our glorious bodily resurrection and entrance into the everlasting  kingdom takes an invested Trinitarian effort forged in love, for God’s own glory.

Let’s briefly examine each member of the Trinity’s involvement in the Covenant of Redemption: Continue reading

The Heart of the Gospel

But God commends His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. (Rom 5:8-10)

I believe the above text of Scripture captures the very essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ. All of human history finds its pinnacle in the death and resurrection of the Son of God. I’ll attempt to break down the heart of this glorious gospel verse by verse.

But God commends His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.

The Gospel always begins with God. God is the giver and sustainer of life and of all creation. I wouldn’t be sitting here telling this most wonderful tale if not for the God, who upholds all things by the word of his power. All men everywhere owe God a debt of gratitude for every single breath of life they have ever enjoyed. God is due all glory from his creation. If men will not cry out his praise then the rocks we stand upon surely will. God is glorified in his creation.

God’s glorious attribute of love lies at the golden gates of the gospel message. God is love. He so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him shall never perish but have everlasting life. God’s love is incomprehensible, its borders cannot be defined. His love is manifested in his grace to all men. God’s grace is about his mercy and compassion on lost sinners who cannot do anything to save themselves.

Sin is the reason the relationship between God and man has been severed. Sin is why we need a savior. Yet the inspired Apostle Paul says here that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Men do more than commit occasional sins, sins that are an affront to a Holy God. Men are sinners. We are depraved in every part of our being. We were born in this fallen, corrupt state. Every thought of our minds and desire of our souls is sinful. We are an affront to a holy God, a stench in his nostrils. Continue reading

The Cornerstone Commandment – Can We Keep It?

While driving back to work after lunch one recent afternoon I happened to hear a commercial on a Christian radio station that supposedly endorsed an evangelical gospel message.  However, the message fell woefully short of its purposed end and actually accomplished the opposite of what it intended.  This blurb clarified in my mind why the free will view of salvation is so damaging to the church.

The ad began like this: A cheerful lady’s voice rang out that people should love God as much as he loves us.  After all, God has done everything within his power to make possible a relationship with him.  Again, she encouraged listener’s to just love God because he loves us.

What?  That was it? I couldn’t believe my ears.  She did not bother to communicate the good news of the hope of salvation.  She did just the opposite.  She gave listeners an imperative that no person can possibly keep.  When she says to love God she is invoking the cornerstone commandment of the entire moral law; the commandment that Jesus called the first and greatest.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength‘ ( Mk 12:30). Continue reading

A Three Year Pilgrimmage

I can hardly believe it myself but A Peculiar Pilgrim has reached the ripe old age of three.  In blog years that probably makes it eligible for retirement.   Many blogs flame out after a year or two and while it certainly hasn’t been stoked into the roaring fire I’ve intended for it the last couple years, at least my flickering light hasn’t been snuffed out completely.  I only posted about 30 articles in 09.  That’s barely more than 1 post every two weeks.  I hope to improve on that in 2010.

In the flesh and blood realm I will be teaching a class on Redemption starting the first week of January.  I’ve been hard at work preparing the outlines for the course.  I’m thankful to God for this opportunity and I pray it will bless those that God brings into my classroom.  My plan is, if time avails, to post articles based on the outlines I’m preparing for the class.  I’ll likely post the corresponding articles a week  before I teach the lesson.  This will also help in articulating and unifying what I’ve written in my outlines.  I have about 17 lessons prepared (as of right now) so I would expect at least that many articles on the doctrine of redemption over the first quarter of the year.

As has been the tradition the last two anniversaries, I am posting links to my favorite articles of 2009.  In no particular order, they are:

The Justice of God and Are we Saved by Belief or by Actions? – These two articles are responses from the comment section of my post, Will Atheists Go to Hell? by (shockingly!) a couple of atheists.  The interaction was cordial and enlightening: A good read.

Grasping God – An article that explores the difficult to comprehend doctrine of God’s omnipresence and my personal struggle to grasp it.

AW Pink on Erroneous Evangelism – A quote from the esteemed theologian (with some personal thoughts added in) that pinpoints the deficiency of the modern church’s proclamation of the gospel.

Is Christianity a Crutch for the Weak? – An article based on a Sunday School discussion that posed this very question.

Four Views of Salvation Throughout Church History – A helpful chart that shows how Calvinism, Arminianism, Semi-Pelagianism and Pelagianism are contrasted in regard to the roles both God and man play in redemption.

A Brief Discourse on the Heart of the Gospel

lighthouse.jpgBut God commends His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. (Rom 5:8-10)

I have two student workers who help me out a couple of days during the week, doing various technology related tasks. They are generally enthusiastic and energetic workers. They are also neither one Christians. One is a sort of agnostic who is considering Judaism. (I don’t get it either.) The other is a practicing Hindu. I have spent the last year witnessing to these young gentlemen. I have sat down with them and taken them systematically through the full scope of the gospel message, from law to grace, from hell to heaven, from death to life, from the depravity of man to the glory of God. As of yet, neither has put their faith in Christ. One has hardened himself against the message and generally mocks God and his word. The other is more respectful and appears to have a general interest in what I have to say.

So I keep teaching. One tool I frequently utilize is the white board I have in my office. Every week I put up a few scripture verses. When they come in to work, I often take a moment to quickly expound the text for their edification. The student who actually pays attention to me has come to eagerly await a new nugget of wisdom from God’s word every week. He is quick to rebuke me whenever I fail to post a new scripture. I can sense that he is digesting the milk I am feeding him. Encouraged by his hunger for knowledge, I keep at it, praying that God will cause the seed I have planted to take root. My hope is that someday it shall sprout into a tree of life.

Last week as I searched for a scripture to display I came across the text from Romans posted above. As I read through it I realized the Apostle Paul here succinctly summarizes the core of the gospel message in these three short verses. I will attempt to expound these verses just as plainly as I explained them to my student workers a few days ago. Continue reading