Is Our Unbelief > God at Work in Us? – The Final Chapter


In this final post on the false teachings of Prosperity Pete I’m scrutinizing his outrageous claims about both man and God.

Quote: “Unbelief is more powerful than God in you.”

“some of you looked at me funny when I said ‘unbelief is more powerful than God in you’ – but I just read it to you.  God was present but he was limited because of unbelief.”

Scripture proof given: “How oft did they provoke him in the wilderness, and grieve him in the desert! Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel” (Psalm 78: 40-41).

Refutation:

Let’s zoom out for second and take a look at this Psalm of Asaph as a whole.  He sets out to show God’s faithfulness to unbelieving Israel throughout her inglorious history.  Despite continual unbelief and unfaithfulness God preserves his people by his sovereign hand.  At times he brings strong rebuke and chastens his people with judgment and wrath.  God then shows his love and compassion by bestowing upon Israel abundant blessings that are totally undeserved. Rather than teaching that man can trump God with his unbelief and thwart his will this Psalm does just the opposite.  It teaches the absolute sovereignty of God, that his providence extends over all human works and endeavors.  On top of that, the Hebrew word for ‘limit’ can be interpreted various ways.  Here are how some modern translations render it: Continue reading

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Is Our Unbelief > God at Work in Us? – Part 4


Here is the next post in this series exposing the false doctrines of a Word-Faith teacher who stopped by a local church just long enough to drop a full load of heresy on its unsuspecting congregants.  I’m astounded that it’s been necessary for me to write five long articles debunking a handful of Prosperity Pete’s teachings from one single sermon – and I’m only dealing with a few selected quotes.  If I determined to critique the entirety of the message my response would be novel-length. This is ludicrous! The doctrines I’ve defended should all be obvious to the discerning reader of God’s word.  This is common sense, foundational level stuff, folks!  But somebody has to do it. These teachers have ministries because they have followers, else they would have long since abandoned the occupation.  So onward I press.

Quote:  “Unbelief is more powerful than God in you.”

Truth:

What truth?  I don’t see any truth here, just one great damnable lie.

Falsehood:

Man’s disposition of failing to trust upon the Lord who created him somehow overrides God’s ability to govern him.  When put like this it sounds even more ludicrous.  This idea stems from a typical Word-Faith teaching on the essence of faith itself.   They have hijacked the term and completely redefined it. Faith isn’t an unshakable trust and tenacious clinging to God and all his promises.  No, faith is a force, an internal power inherent in all humanity that can make things that are not as though they are.  In other words, faith has creative power when spoken, just as creation came into existence when God spoke.  Continue reading

Crook in the Lot


Title: Crook in the Lot

Author: Thomas Boston

Publisher: Christian Heritage

Page Count: 195

Readability: Moderate

Genre: Christian Living

Synopsis: Boston sets out to demonstrate that all of life’s pain and suffering experienced by Christians is ultimately ordained for our good by an absolutely sovereign and loving God.  The term ‘crook in the lot’ is a biblical reference Boston uses as the main text for his work.  The scripture is taken from the book of Ecclesiastes chapter 17, verse 13: Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked. Continue reading

Year End Book Review – Part 1


I love to read.  However, I am not a speedy reader.  Christian bloggers such as Tim Challies can knock down a hundred or so books a year – and manage to to review them all, but I’m lucky if I read a dozen.  Accordingly, I can lump all my reviews for the past year’s reading into a couple of manageable posts.  Let me first begin with all the books I have my hooks into but have not yet finished.

Books in Progress

  • Lectures to My Students by Charles Haddon Spurgeon – I put this one down last Christmas because of the influx of new books I received and was eager to tear into.  Spurgeon gives some timeless wisdom for all prospective preachers and pastors in this wonderful volume. Though I’m not likely to get into full-time ministry, I found his knowledge insightful and useful, even for a simple Christian layman.  I definitely will pick this one back up.
  • The Death of Death in the Death of Christ by John Owen – Maybe the most difficult volume I’ve ever attempted to read.  I grew exhausted about halfway through, though I actually did learn much from his treatise on Christ’s Particular Redemption of the elect.  I have since read other works by Owen, carried along by a little helpful editing and modernization of the text that I found very readable.  Is there a version of Death of Death similar to Justin Taylor’s and Kelly M. Kapic’s wonderful Overcoming Sin and Temptation?
  • The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism by Timothy Keller – Keller is the pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan.  He boasts nearly six thousand attendees in the very heart of Vanity Fair. This book is an Apologetic treatise answering seven of the most difficult questions non-believers pose about God and the Christian faith.  It then delves into the reasons for faith in the one true God.  I’m only a quarter the way through but so far this is one outstanding read.

On to the Reviews: Continue reading

My Conversion to the Doctrines of Grace – Part 3


A great mystery once surrounded the circumstances of my salvation experience that for a decade confounded all my attempts to unveil its secrets.

Let me start at the beginning. In the summer of 1993 I found a job at the recycling center of a local non-profit agency. They provided a training environment for people with developmental disabilities. The job humbled me, but I did enjoy working with the people. My supervisor lived his Christian faith openly, and stood boldly for his convictions. To make a long story short, he preached the gospel to me for a solid year-and-a-half, slowly chipping away at my granite hard heart. One day he quoted a scripture that flew like a steel-tipped arrow, breaching my great wall of enmity.

Put on the whole armor of God so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the world’s rulers, of the darkness of this age, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Eph 6:11-12) Continue reading

My Conversion to the Doctrines of Grace – Part 2


Surprisingly, my conversion from free-will, Arminian theology to Calvinism came rather swiftly. It’s shocking really, if you only understood the depths of hatred I once held toward those doctrines. (See Part 1 of this series for proof).

I resisted initially, desperately hopeful that some sensible compromise existed between these diametrically opposed belief systems. I figured Arminianism fell into one ditch while Calvinism veered clear over to the other side of the road. I searched in vain for the imaginary highway that ran through the middle of both views, but of course I never found any signs to point the way. After wrangling with Calvinism for about 4 months, I finally beheld its beauty with a clarity only the Holy Spirit could grant.

The ditch I had plowed into, turns out, is really an off-ramp exiting the pothole plagued ‘Free Will’ service road. It flows into a smoothly paved four-lane interstate winding a clear path to the Celestial City. The road first runs through the firmly established townships of Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Solus Christus, Sola Scriptura and finally Soli Deo Gloria, which lies at the very gates of the streets of gold. Continue reading

My Conversion to the Doctrines of Grace – Part 1


Almost exactly two years ago I was involved in a titanic spiritual battle between two opposing theological views. I could feel the once rock solid doctrines of Free Will slipping through my fingers like fine sand. I begged and beseeched the Lord to deliver me from the relentless reasonings and scriptural bombshells ripping the house I had built on the shifting dunes of man-centered doctrines. My pride and self-respect were on the line.

See, for the first decade of my born-again life I embraced Arminianism. In other words, I believed that man’s free will is the deciding factor in salvation. Calvinism, which is the belief that God is sovereign over all things, including man’s salvation, had recently started making sense to me and I was drawn to it. (While at the same time being repulsed by it).

Calvinism was a dirty word in my church. I considered it to be akin to the beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons and liberal mainliners: Rank apostasy!!

I used to say things as:

“Calvinism is a doctrine of the devil!”

Or worse yet:

“If God is like how the Calvinists describe him, I would never serve such a cruel, heartless dictator who arbitrarily chooses who will and will not be saved!”

In my blindness I scoffed at the idea of a completely sovereign Lord who had the power over his clay to mold vessels of honor and of dishonor. From my limited exposure to Reformed soteriology I instead envisioned God towering over a huge golden lottery bin, filled with the names of every living person. I could see the holy angels rotating the bin by hand, mixing up the names so all participants in the game of life get at least a million-to-one chance to win the ultimate prize: everlasting life. I imagined the Lord reaching his hand inside, looking the other way (as to not show preference) and drawing out the lucky names at random. In my vision He then decrees these souls saved for all eternity. The angels rejoice and the Holy Spirit hurries down to earth to let those lucky few know they had hit the jackpot.
Yes, I was sarcastic and unrelenting in my disdain against the slandering, blasphemous Calvinist view of the loving and kind God that I knew: or at least the God I thought I knew…

The truth is, I only recall meeting one person in those first years who called herself a Calvinist. Unfortunately, I wasn’t very gracious toward her. In my college days, a girl sat next to me in speech class. We got to know each other a bit and I discovered she proclaimed faith in Christ. We got along great – for a time. One day after class we were walking together and out of the blue she said:

“I’m a Calvinist, you know.”

I was aghast. I did not know real people actually bought into that nonsense. I looked at her incredulously, shook my head and said something like:

“Why on earth would you believe that garbage!”

I could tell I had offended her. She offered the vague but often used ‘trump card’ defense of ‘It’s what the bible teaches.’ I replied:

“Then why does the bible say that God wills for none to perish? If it’s in His complete power to save all, then why does he only choose a few in the end when it’s his will for all to be saved?”

Disappointingly, she offered no rebuttal, choosing instead to walk away quietly. Not surprisingly, she never spoke to me again. In retrospect, if she had vigorously defended her position with scriptures I may have come down this road much sooner than I did. Oh well. It wasn’t time, right? God is sovereign and he revealed this truth to me in his own time, in his own way. I am not complaining!

I have related the story of how my journey to the Reformed faith began here and here so I will not tread old ground. All I want to get across in this series is the why I crossed over to the dark side.

God revealed the Doctrines of Grace to me and it has been a mighty humbling experience. I tremble at my presumption for saying I never would serve a God that was completely sovereign over his creation. I now truly understand his Lordship and I am eternally grateful that He has chosen me, not arbitrarily, but also not according to anything I have done. He chose me for his good pleasure and purpose. I am grateful beyond words that He has provided me with an advocate, Jesus Christ, who cleanses me of all sin; even blasphemy spoke in ignorance. Only by his grace and mercy am I now a new creation in Christ, called to do His good works which he has prepared for me in advance to accomplish. I cherish his sovereignty over me and am thankful that all things are done for His glory alone.

In the next several posts I will reveal the main reasons I swallowed my pride and embraced the Doctrines of God’s Sovereign Grace.

Read Part Two