Think About IT: Quick to Judge While Intolerant of Reciprocity

We desire to be thought of as a good example of how people should think about other people. A quite noble desire; however, if we desire to be such an example, we must be slow to think the worst of others because eagerness to think unkindly of others is more often than not symptomatic of one’s  indifference to his own weaknesses.

Impatience with the frailty of others, or their inability to measure up, or leaping to attribute the unkindest of motives reflects a troubling sense of one’s imperceptiveness of his own failings. We are seldom as quick to welcome the eagerness of others to think ill of us, so why should we be so inclined when considering the actions of other people?

Adopting a humble attitude does not imply that we never approach someone about a problem, but rather it simply means that when we do so, it will be because of an undeniable reality rather than an unwise and ungracious perception.

“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12).

Why Some Non-Calvinists Identify as Calvinists

While many don the designation Calvinist because they have endeavored to learn all the aspects of Calvinism and are thereby convinced that it provides the most cogent, comprehensive, and consistent grid through which to understand Scripture, others readily adopt the appellation less nobly.

Of this latter variety, it seems to me that many assume the title “Calvinist” because they like certain components of Calvinism, which they are led to believe are unique to Calvinism. Such conclusions may arise from their exposure to the claims of some Calvinists to that effect, the inadequacy of explanations or responses of those who reject Calvinism, or even from their own subjective assumptions. Such beliefs are exampled by God’s sovereignty, the preeminence of God’s glory, or the total depravity of fallen man. Continue reading →

Pastors Beware of Being a Purveyor of Biblical Illiteracy

To think of pastors, some of the most biblically trained people in the world and by in large the most biblically trained people that the majority of Christians come in contact with on a regular basis, becoming merely the masters of quips, quotes, and clichés, which effectively only keeps people biblically illiterate, is unimaginable except for the stark reality that it is true of far too many. Some of them are the most recognized and esteemed in evangelicalism.

Sometimes under the pressure unleashed by the idea that “the pastor has to model everything or it will not happen” coupled with the idea that recognition and accolades for success are inextricably tied to growth, the pastor forsakes his time-consuming call to study and equip the saints (Ephesians 4: 12) and instead models everything else.

Pastors must remember that we cannot do everything nor be the best at everything, but we can support what God is doing in others in the church as well as model what it means to follow God’s call upon one’s life; the most biblical way to model this is by following God’s call upon our own life to shepherd the flock that God has granted us (1 Peter 5:2), which necessitates feeding them upon the deep riches of the Word of God.

 

God’s Temple, the Local Church

“If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are” (1 Corinthians 3:17).

In our day, when the local church is designed by cultural gurus who exalt tertiary aspects to primary status, and is often evaluated by whether she is relevant to the world rather than faithful to God, or is corrupted by carnal Christians under the banner of love, which is really narcissism or legalism called righteousness, this warning from 1 Corinthians deserves pondering.

It serves as a solemn word of warning to all unbelievers and believers alike. The local church building is not a temple, but the local church body is. As a temple she has priests – 1 Peter 2:9, a High Priest – Hebrews 3:1, an altar – Hebrews 13:11, and sacrifices – Romans 12:1, Hebrews 10:12, and 13:15.

The carnal are unmasked when they place promoting their desires, rights or opinions above God’s scriptural plan for the local church, by which they seek to replace her pastor’s leadership, fellowship, testimony and ministry of the gospel with a perspective that emanates from their carnal flesh (Rom 16:17-18); of course, always under an ersatz–imitation–veil of spirituality.

Such debased carnality is most glaring in free association churches like Baptist churches because all one has to do if he dislikes the way the church is structured or ministers, is to leave peaceably; as people regularly do throughout Christianity.  But the spiritual adulterator will even sacrifice the church in his Pharisaist arrogance, which is evident to all who walk in biblical humility (1 Cor. 11:18-19).

As believers who seek to faithfully love our Lord and His church, we must never be a part of corrupting, disrupting, or destroying a local church, nor sit idly by while others seek her destruction under a corrupted banner of truth. Risk everything to see that she continues to reflect the love, holiness, and fidelity of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Going to Heaven is NOT Enough

At times, someone will quip that he is only interested in going to heaven and not in rewards. However, it will be a tragically sad day for a Christian to stand before his Lord Jesus with no rewards for faithfully obeying Christ’s Word, using the gifts he has been given, or sacrificing in even the smallest of ways to help build the church for which Christ gave His life.

“According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” (1 Corinthians 3:10–15)

All Calvinist Believe in Double Predestination

John Calvin is unabashed in his defense of his views and says, “Many professing a desire to defend the Deity from an invidious charge admit the doctrine of election, but deny that any one is reprobated….This they do ignorantly, and childishly, since there could be no election without this opposite reprobation. God is said to set apart those whom he adopts for salvation. It were most absurd to say, that he admits others fortuitously, or that they by their industry acquire what election alone confers on a few. Those, therefore, whom God passes by he reprobates, and that for no other cause but because he is pleased to exclude them from the inheritance which he predestines to his children”[1] Continue reading →

Think About IT: Lead Others with Loyalty

Jesus was and is loyal beyond measure, and please don’t ever forget His promise to you and me, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

Remember, He knew the pain of disloyalty, for His loyalty had been repaid with disloyalty just as the Psalmist predicted, in reference to Judas. “Even my close friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me” (Psalm 41:9).

You can feel the pain in those words. How that must have hurt him because He is truly the loyal one. Although Jesus was hurt deeply by a close friend’s betrayal, as you may have been and all loyalists shall be, remember always my dear friend that we extol Jesus not Judas; we follow Jesus, and Judas is followed by none.

“Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him” (Matthew 10:4).

Think About IT: The Pain of Loyalty

Loyalty that runs deep in our soul, so that we are not just a friend to others but rather a treasured friend indeed, will be tried in the fires of disloyalty.

Disloyalty is suffered most often and most heartbreakingly by loyalists. Deep anguish is the sometimes lot of the loyal friend. To be sure, the path of a loyal friend is, at times, paved with wounds of the heart and disappointment; may God grant that we will bear whatever pain betrayals bring rather than abandon loyalty.

Only by loyalists’ willingness to bear the pain of disloyalty without succumbing to the same can there be grand role models for the rest to follow. Oh how we long for loyalty in this day of disloyalty; we need loyalists all the more. Without loyalty there would be no missionaries, no founding of America, no children who grow up secure, no enduring friendships, and no Bible.

“At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them” (2 Timothy 4:16).

Think About IT: Without Love, We Shall All Hang

Without love, our humanness evanesces.

Wrong is wrong and sin is sin. Neither love nor anything else can make a wrong right or a sin sinless, but love can hide sins. This Christian love is not blind to the sins and frailty of others, but neither does it require others to measure up before Christians are willing to accept them and sacrifice for their good.

Marriage can be a wonderful example of love’s ability to cover sins. There, we know our mate’s weaknesses better than anyone, yet we love them, sacrifice for them, enjoy their companionship and will quickly come to their defense if others attack their weaknesses.

Without the covering of love, relationships vanish and humans die of loneliness.

“Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).

Faith is the Condition of Salvation and Grace is the Work of Salvation

Calvinists take solace in the claim that they believe salvation is totally a work of God (unconditional election, man’s passiveness until selective regeneration, regeneration prompting faith, etc.,), while oftentimes either implying or explicitly accusing those who make salvation conditioned upon man exercising faith (exercising faith in response to hearing the gospel prior to regeneration or forgiveness) as being less than a total work of God or stealing some of God’s glory in the work of salvation. According to Calvinists, this conditional nature of salvation (as opposed to monergism and man’s total passiveness prior to regeneration) is supposed to emanate from, at best, a lesser view of salvation by grace and God’s sovereignty, which results in some sort of communal glory or credit between man and God for one’s salvation. Fortunately, Calvinism’s final conclusion is reasoned from Calvinism rather than Scripture. Continue reading →