Friday, March 27, 2009

God's Sovereignty

Here's a great quote from EatBible:

“Sovereignty with the possibility of an action not becoming accomplished is not sovereignty at all. What kind of God is worth worship that can’t really accomplish anything, but hopes that we agree to work with Him? God is then subject to us. That is heresy.”

- in talking with a friend about God’s sovereignty in salvation and ministry.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Mark Driscoll on Nightline - "Does Satan Exist" debate. Looks great!

I just started watching online but last week, there was a debate done on Nightline between Christians and non-Christians about whether or not Satan exists. Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church started right out of the chute with the Gospel - clearly stated. There are 10 videos total that I want to watch later - and then I want to watch the first "Faceoff" that Nightline did with Kirk Cameron debating "The Existence of God". That's also at the Nightline site.

See the videos here.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Life without DH/daddy

I love my husband completely and would be lost without him. We're coming up on 24 years of wedded bliss and he's my best friend.

But life changes when he's not around. He's gone away for 2 nights and I find when he's not here, I relax a little. I have no one to please at home, just my kids and, hey - they're fine without me working hard to please them. They don't care if the dishes are still in the sink or if we eat "slops" for dinner. They really don't care if my hair isn't done or if I'm in my sweats. They're just happy to hang out as much as I am and it's a nice different. I'm so happy when DH comes home but I also enjoy when he goes away for a few days. Of course he's not far away between e-mail, texting, facebook, video conferencing and the phone, so I don't feel that he's "gone" and I know he's coming back pretty quickly.

So tonight I'm in my sweats, chicken pot pie will be for dinner, kids will go to bed early and I will relax in front of CSI with a quart of Baskin Robbins chocolate chip ice cream. Oh yeah - that's something else I won't do around him. It's a girl thing. ;)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Please pray for me over the next week or so.

My dad just got home from rehab after getting a total knee replacement and now the busyness starts. I'm homeschooling and working part time as well as have the hobby of riding my friend's horse and now I'm adding in driver for my dad who needs to see the cardiologist twice and the surgeon once over the next few days - and then start physical therapy 3X a week. I'm going to be doing a lot of running from here to there which will cut into our homeschooling quite a bit as well as just my time at home.

If you could pray that I can manage my time well, that the kids would step up and do their work quickly and without complaint and that I'd be able to still make sure the family is fed healthy meals without breaking the budget by doing a lot of take-out.


Oh - I'm NOT going to pay the computer to do it. ;)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Maybe since I'm too tired, I can pay someone else to pray for me - a COMPUTER!

This is definitely on the "You've absolutely got to be kidding me" list. I certainly hope it's a spoof but it looks real enough to me. How unbelievably sad that, when people are needing a Savior and a relationship with Him, they instead just pay something else to do it for them.

Gives new meaning to Jesus saying "I never knew you."

Information Age Prayer

Whew! I'm all cooked out!

My dad is coming home from rehab tomorrow (he had a knee replacement a month ago) and I've been doing some cooking so he has some food in the house. I made up a huge batch of Irish Beef Stew (5 portions for him, enough for a dinner for us and all this is in the freezer - then there's enough leftover for tonight's dinner too), 2 lasagnas (still need to cut up the cooked one and put it into storage containers for my dad), about 7 dozen meatballs, 20+ meatloaf muffins (DD ate a few so not sure how many I have left), and 2 quarts of chicken soup. There's still more I'd love to do but that is what I got finished before tomorrow. Not too bad. With his friends bringing dinner, what he can cook himself and all of this, it should get him through a good amount of time. I'll hit the grocery store tomorrow and get him frozen veggies, some potatoes, milk, 1/2 and 1/2 and some cold cuts too. I'll be seeing him every couple of days since he can't drive and needs to go to physical therapy 3X a week. It should prove to be an interesting next few weeks in our homeschooling!

But there's a sure satisfaction knowing that I've taken care of some food for my dad - and for us too. :)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Recipe - Five Cheese Macaroni and Cheese

I got this recipe from the February issue of Family Circle and it's quickly become a family favorite. Try it out!

1 box (16 oz) cellantani or macaroni
1/4 lb. bacon, diced
1 medium onion, diced
5 Tbsp. unsalted butter
6 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 1/2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups grated Fontina cheese
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
3/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese
3/4 cup grated white Cheddar cheese
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 Tbsp. chopped Italian parsley
1/4 cup bread crumbs

1) Heat oven to 450 degrees. Grease a 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish.
2) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.
3) In a large heavy pot, saute bacon until crisp, 7 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve. Add onion to bacon drippings; saute until soft, 4 minutes. Add butter to pot and melt, stirring.
4) Whisk in flour, stirring constantly until smooth and light brown in color. Whisk in mustard. Gradually add milk and cream, whisking.
5) Stir in thyme, bay leaf and salt. Bring to a simmer. Stir frequently, simmering for 15 minutes.
6) Strain hot milk mixture into a metal bowl, discard solids. Quickly mix in 1 cup of the Fontina, blue cheese, 1/2 cup of the Gruyere, 1/2 cup of the Cheddar, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, bacon and parsley. Continue to stir until all cheeses are melted.
7) Add pasta to cheese sauce; stir to coat. Pour into prepared dish. In a smal bowl, mix remaining 1/2 cup Fontina, 1/4 cup Gruyere, 1/4 cup Cheddar, 1/4 cup Parmesan and bread crumbs together. Sprinkle over pasta. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes or until bubbling and golden brown. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

David Cloud and Calvinism - God's sovereignty

I've now read through David Cloud's article on "Cavinism's Proof Texts Examined" and want to address some of what he said.

"Ephesians 1:11 -- “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.”

This is a marvelous verse and tells us how great God is, but it says nothing about whether God has given man a will and to what extent he can exercise that will. It says nothing about whether a sinner can believe on Christ savingly. To say that God worketh all things after the counsel of his own will is not contrary to the doctrine that God created man with a will and with the ability to respond to God or to reject God. It is the Calvinist that creates this alleged “problem” and then answers it by his own logic rather than by the plain teaching of Scripture."

Well, if we read the entire text in context, we read further that this absolutely speaks of salvation. It is not a Calvinist creating any problem at all. Let's see the entire passage:

1Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:

Paul is an apostle by the will of God - he doesn't say it was of his own will.

2Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
4According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

God has chosen us before the foundation of the world - not because of what He saw we'd do because then that's not His choosing us but us choosing him. He chose us to be blameless. That's most certainly speaking of salvation since no one can be blameless apart from the blood of the Lamb of God.

5Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

Who are His children but those who are believers - who have obtained salvation through Him. Why are predestined to be His children? For the good pleasure of His will. Not for anything that we've done but because it's His choice.

6To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
7In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
8Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;
9Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
10That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
11In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

Here again we see the word "predestinated" and it's attached to His own will - not based on any knowledge that we will choose Him in the future but after the counsel of His own will.

12That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
13In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
14Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

So back to what David Cloud said about this one verse inside this passage "This is a marvelous verse and tells us how great God is, but it says nothing about whether God has given man a will and to what extent he can exercise that will. It says nothing about whether a sinner can believe on Christ savingly. To say that God worketh all things after the counsel of his own will is not contrary to the doctrine that God created man with a will and with the ability to respond to God or to reject God. It is the Calvinist that creates this alleged “problem” and then answers it by his own logic rather than by the plain teaching of Scripture."

It is very correct that this passage says nothing about man's will because man's will does not come into play in this passage. Why? Because it has nothing to do with what this passage is saying apparently. It absolutely does speak of whether a sinner can believe on Christ savingly in verses 13 and 14. How can he say that God working all things according to His will is not contrary to the idea that man has full free will and can thwart God's will? This argument makes no sense when we see the verse in context.

Daniel 4:35 -- “And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?”

This statement was made by king Nebuchadnezzar after he was punished by God and his reason had returned to him and he had repented of his pride. This verse is stating simply that God is God and He rules ultimately over the affairs of men. The verse says nothing about whether or not man can accept or reject the gospel, about whether God’s grace is resistible. It says nothing about whether God sovereignly chooses some men to election and some to reprobation. For a sinner to refuse to repent is not to “stay God’s hand,” because God’s eternal program rolls right on regardless of what individual men do in these or any other matters.

Wow - Mr. Cloud is putting a lot of stuff on this verse. Note the important part of this verse - that Mr. Cloud cannot refute: "none can stay his hand or say unto him, What doest thou?" Can we say to God "No" when God has chosen to do something? No. Nebuchadnezzar realized that - and that is just what this verse is saying. No, it is not speaking about the gospel - because Jesus Christ hadn't come yet. It doesn't speak of election or reprobation but it does speak of God's character and law. Nothing we can do can stop God. Period.


Psalm 115:3 -- “But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.”

We definitely believe that God does whatsoever pleases, and we bless His name that what He pleases is always righteous and good. Further, God has revealed His pleasure in the Scriptures, and the Scriptures tell us that it was His pleasure to send Jesus to die so that “whosoever believeth in him should not perish.”

Was it God's "pleasure" to send Jesus to die - or was it pleasure to be able to give us the kingdom? It depends on your meaning of "pleasure". I don't think that God took pleasure in sending Jesus to the cross. Here are verses which speak of God's pleasure:

1 Chronicles 29:17 "I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness."
Psalm 35:27 "Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant."
Psalm 147:11 "The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy."
Psalm 149:4 "For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation."
Luke 12:32 "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom"
Philippians 2:13 "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."
Revelation 4:11 "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created"

God takes pleasure in our fearing Him, our uprightness, our well-being, in his people, to give us the kingdom, in working in us, and in his creation.


Isaiah 14:27 -- “For the LORD of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?”

The context of this verse is God’s determination to judge the nations. “This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth: and this is the hand that is stretched out upon all the nations” (verse 26). Indeed, when God purposes something His will cannot be thwarted. But this verse says nothing about Sovereign Election or Sovereign Reprobation or Irresistible Grace or any of the points of TULIP theology.

Yet it points to God's character and God's sovereign will. "Who shall turn it back?" is a very important point. If God stretches His hand to all men, who shall turn it back? No one. God's call is effective - John 6:37 says "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." Note that it is the Father who gives to the Son and the Son will not cast out those who the Father sends. So where does that leave those who say they come of their own will?

Acts 15:18 -- “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.”

This verse simply says that God knows all of His works and has always known them. It says nothing one way or the other about any of the points of TULIP. That God knows all of His works from the beginning of the world is not to say that men are sovereignly elected to salvation or reprobation. It is not to say that God preordains everything that happens.

When read in context, we see that there was dispute about the Gentiles and whether they should be circumcised or not. It is the end of a writing by a prophet speaking that God knows all of His works from the beginning of time - the He knew He would redeem the Gentiles too. Yes, it's not directly about election - other than the fact that God knows all that He will do in the future and the past.

Proverbs 16:9 -- “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.”

This verse does not support Calvinism, because it says that man’s heart deviseth his way. Thus it teaches that man has a will that he can exercise. The fact that God overrules man’s decisions and has the final say in all matters is not contrary to the doctrine that man has a will whereby he can accept or reject God’s dealings with him.

This verse absolutely speaks of God directing a man's steps despite what man decides in his heart. It does not teach that man has a will he can exercise.


Proverbs 19:21 -- “There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.”

Again, this verse does not support Calvinism, because it says man wills things in his heart. The fact that God’s counsel overrules man’s will is not a defense for Calvinism. Those that the Calvinist calls (usually falsely) “Arminians” believe this, as well.

This is a great verse telling us that even if a man plans and plots something, God's will is sovereign and it's His counsel that will stand. Praise God that we cannot thwart His plans!
Proverbs 21:1 -- “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.”

The fact that the Lord overrules the king’s heart does not prove Calvinism’s doctrine of the sovereign predestination of all things nor does it prove Calvinism’s doctrine that man cannot accept or reject God’s offer of salvation. These Proverbs teach the simple and important doctrine that though man has a will that he exercises within the sphere of freedom that God assigns to him, it is God who ultimately determines whether man is allowed to act out his will or not.

Exactly. Man has a will - but God can and will override that will when it's HIS will to do so.
Proverbs 21:30 -- “There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD.”

This verse means that there is no ultimate counsel against the Lord and that He always has the final say. We know from other Scriptures that the devil and sinners have made many counsels against the Lord, but that counsel cannot stand. It does not follow that man has no will that he can exercise either for or against the Lord. He can definitely exercise such a will and he does and by so doing he hangs himself with his own rope, because God always has the final say, and He has said that “he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16).

Mark 16:16 does not contradict the idea that God has the final say or that man has a free will. Man has a free will to do whatever he wants. Unfortunately in his sinful nature, that "want" is not Christ unless the Father calls him.
Psalm 33:11 -- “The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.”

That the counsel of the Lord stands forever, and we know that it does, does not mean that God could not have sovereignly determined to create man with a will that he can exercise and with the ability even to go so far as to believe in God or not to believe in God.

This is true. But with the whole counsel of Scripture, we see differently.
Isaiah 14:27 -- “For the LORD of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?”

Nothing that God purposes can be disannulled, but this does not mean that God foreordains everything that happens, even the decisions and actions of men and devils. God has purposed that “whosoever believeth” in Jesus Christ “should not perish, but have everlasting life.” That Almighty God has given sinners a choice in the matter does nothing to overthrow His sovereignty or power.

Correct, this verse does not say that God forordained everything that happens. It is absolutely true that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 16:37 tells us more about this: "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." Who comes to Jesus? Those the Father has given to Him. Will anyone come to Him that He will not allow to be saved? No. Scripture tells us that no one comes to the Son unless the Father draws him and we see in this verse that all that the Father gives to Jesus will come. Isn't that cool??

Isaiah 46:9-10 -- “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.”

That God’s counsel shall stand and He will do all of His pleasure is not to say that “no actions of men, no errands can come to pass otherwise than God has eternally purposed” (Pink). For God to allow something and ultimately to work that thing into His overall program for the ages is not the same as purposing it. God’s counsel is revealed in Scripture, and there we learn that God has given man a will that he can exercise against God. We see this in the Garden of Eden, and in the case of Adam and Eve’s firstborn Cain, and in the case of the world before the Flood, and in the case of the Tower of Babel, and in the case of Israel before the coming of Christ, and in the case of Israel during the earthly days of Christ, and in the case of sinners today, and throughout history.

Honestly, I have not seen much if any support that man has a free will that can override God's sovereignty. Yes, man has a free will but that free will will not allow him to choose God because he is dead in sin. Just as a lion will not climb a tree and eat fruit even though he has the full ability to do it and the free will to do it, he will not do it unless his nature is changed. In the same way we know from Scripture that no one is righteous and none will seek the Father of their own will. It MUST be the Father who draws them. And all that the Father gives the Son will be saved. It's not hard to see this all through Scripture.

I also once believed that man had a fully free will and God just stands there saying "Come on!! You can do it! I have this gift for you! Take it!" like a mother trying to coax her child to walk, but after reading Scripture, I've found more and more that God's sovereign will is greater than man's free will - and man's free will cannot save him. I do still believe that man's will has a place in the scheme of things but exactly how it works, I don't know. But I do know that God doesn't stand there waiting just hoping with clasped hands seeing if we'll choose Him or not. That's not supported in Scripture.

I'll work on more later - it's time for me to run out. :)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I became a mama 19 years ago today!

Happy birthday Lauren! I love you and am so proud of you!

19 years? Wow!!! How did my baby girl get so big????

Monday, March 9, 2009

"Prosperity Affirmation"

In looking through the different boards I visit, I saw this on one that is not a Christian board. They have a room focused on something called "EFT" or "Emotional Freedom Technique" which, from what I can see is the secular version of "Name it and Claim it" theology. I'm just so saddened by this "prayer" or whatever it is because these people know they're seeking (read the comments left on the link), but they haven't accepted Who they are seeking. What's even sadder is knowing that there's a "Christian" version of this prayer and there are those who fall for it hook, line and sinker. Their view of themselves is so large and their god is so small. Contrast this to the teaching of Louie Giglio and you'll see the giant gap that is there between truth and lies.

I am the source of all wealth. I am rich with creative ideas. My mind abounds with new, original, inspired thoughts.What I have to offer is unique, and the world desires it. My value is beyond reckoning. What the world needs and desires, I am ready to produce and give. What the world needs and desires, I recognize and fulfill. The bounty of my mind is without hindrance or limit. Nothing can stand in the way of my inspired creativeness. The overflowing power of God life energy overcomes every obstacle, & pours out into the world, blessing & prospering everyone, & everything through me. I radiate blessings, I radiate creativity, I radiate prosperity, I radiate loving service. I radiate Joy, Beauty, Peace, Wisdom & Power. Humanity seeks me and rewards me. I am beloved of the world. I am wanted wherever I go. I am appreciated. What I have to offer is greatly desired. What I have to offer brings a rich reward. Through my vision the world is blessed. Through my clear thinking & steadfast purpose, wonderful new values come into expression. My vision is as the vision of the mighty ones. My faith is as the faith of the undefeatable. My power to accomplish is unlimited. I, in my uttermost God Source, am all wealth, all power, all productivity. I hereby declare my financial freedom, NOW and henceforth forever!

from The Prosperity Prayer by Joe Vitale

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A time of refreshing - and realizing just how indescribable God is

So I got home a few hours ago from our ladies' retreat and it was a blessed time indeed. "Pause on Purpose" was the theme and did I ever need that "pause" in my life right now. It was such a blessed refreshing time and I even got to share it with my oldest baby girl!! Wow! How did she get to be almost 19??

For our teaching Saturday night, we let Louie Giglio do the teaching via DVD. Fortunately, the teaching is also on Youtube in a series of 5 videos and I'd highly recommend that you take the time to watch all of the videos right in a row to get the full scope of what it is telling us. Here they are - be blessed...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Some comments on Calvinism

As you all saw, I posted something in my last post about Charles H. Spurgeon and the idea of Calvinism - or as it's also known as, the doctrine of grace. In it's most basic thought, Calvinism believes that man cannot come to God on his own because he's by nature sinful and does not desire the things of God so in order to be saved, he must be called by God - or chosen by Him. The other side of the theological coin from Calvinism is Arminianism which believes that God cannot or does not override man's free will and while He calls all men to be saved, some choose not to and some chose to follow Him. It's an interesting dilemma because I've seen Biblical support for both sides in Scripture - but the vast majority of people choose one side and refute the other side as "unbiblical". But what if they're BOTH Biblical, as we see C.H. Spurgeon promoting? It's an interesting thought.

Michelle at My Life and Ponderings posted an entry against Calvinism and posted some links and this post will be a response to some of those - since this is really my only way to respond publicly to those arguments. :) So just bear with me. OK - I just started this post and realize that I think this may take a couple of posts to deal with - it's just going to be easier for me to do and easier for you to read the information. Just an FYI. LOL

In the first link, he states the following:

Therefore, when we say that someone is predestinated to heaven, it seems that their salvation has nothing to do with their choice. However, that is not the case at all. God chose or elected us to receive all the benefits of salvation, but He did so based on our faith in Jesus Christ--faith that was exercised according to our own free will. Let me try to explain.

1. In time, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Saviour by believing in Him. "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name" (John 1:12).
2. Before time and in eternity, God foresaw that I would in time receive Jesus as Saviour. This is called the foreknowledge of God.
3. Based on this foreknowledge, God foreordained that I would be His and would receive all the benefits and privileges of salvation. "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren" (Romans 8:29). Therefore we are, "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father" (1 Peter 1:2).

However, it is most important to understand that the reason for our predestination or election is the fact that God foresaw our faith. Therefore, in the end, it is our faith that causes us to be elected. Also, He did not predetermine that we must believe. Rather, He predetermined the blessings and benefits of salvation.

I seem to confuse people when I teach this. However, it is important to understand that I am not removing our ability to refuse God's salvation. God's choice of us is based on our faith in Him. He clearly states that He is "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9). Jesus said to the people of Jerusalem, "how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!" (Matthew 23:37).

It is true that we cannot come to the Lord unless the Father draws us. John 6:44 states, "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day." However, Jesus clearly stated, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me" (John 12:32). The error of many is to think that man cannot resist God's call to salvation. The verse most often used to teach this (Romans 9:19) is not dealing with personal salvation. The examples in Romans 9 (Pharaoh and Jacob and Esau) are not dealing with salvation, but with other issues. It is true that when God determines something absolutely, it will happen that way. But He often has a desired will which He will not force on man. This is the case with salvation.

1 Timothy 4:10 states, "For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe." Here, in one verse, we have the distinction. Jesus is the Saviour of all men. That is, He died potentionally to save all. However, He is specially (by true application) the Saviour of those who believe in Him. We accept Him by believing in Him. He chose us based on His knowledge of that acceptance. But we freely decided to receive His free gift of salvation. I know this is difficult, but it is also a great blessing to those who accept God's teaching on this subject by faith.

Since God predestinated those He foreknew and since He foreknows all things, I think it is safe to say that all who are saved were predestinated by Him.

The very large issue with this argument is that it is saying that God only predestines someone to salvation based on the knowledge that they saved in the future. That's kind of like standing at the airport seeing on the screen that flight 776 will be landing at gate 11B then deciding that the passengers of flight 776 will get off at gate 11B. What kind of predestination is that? It's not. Romans 8:29 says "For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son". Do you see that it says that God foreknew PEOPLE and it's not speaking of their actions? The text actually says nothing about God foreseeing people believing and then choosing to predestine them. Additionally, not once in Scripture does it say that God chooses us because of our faith. In Romans 9, we see that God chose Jacob over Esau - not because of anything that was done by them (vs. 11). What is the reason stated? "in order that God's purpose of election might continue". We see additionally in other verses that speak of God's election (Ephesians 1:5-6, 2 Timothy 1:9), it is God's sovereignty that is the ultimate goal whereas if election is wrong and it's man's choice only, then man's will is more important that God's sovereignty.

Now, does this mean that man has no say whatsoever about his salvation? No. Our choice in salvation is absolutely true - we choose Christ or we do not choose Him. I heard an interesting comparison to explain more fully the idea of man's free will in election and I think it makes a lot of sense. Let's take the example of a lion. A lion has a nature that is inherent to that lion. He hunts instinctively, he mates instinctively, he does all that he does instinctively. Can the lion go climb a tree and eat fruit? Certainly he can. He has the full ability to do that and nothing is stopping him from doing so. Nothing except his nature. A lion will not do that because it's not what he desires nor what his nature tells him to do. Does that mean he has no choice? Certainly not. A lion will only do what his nature tells him to do even though he has the freedom to do whatever he wishes. In the same way, man acts fully within his nature - and as a sinful man, that means that he will not choose Christ. In Ephesians 2:3, Paul says that before we were saved, "we were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind." We were children of wrath by nature. That is our nature - not to do good and not to be good - not to seek good. Romans 8:8 tells us that "those who are in the flesh cannot please God" and Hebrews 11:6 says "without faith, it is impossible to please Him". The things of God are folly to the unbeliever (1 Corinthians 2:14) and we cannot understand them. We also know that we cannot come to God on our own power because Jesus says in John 6:44 that "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him."

So, can one come to Christ without God? No. Does God look into the future and see "Oh, they're going to believe so I'll foreordain them to salvation!"? No. That makes no sense in the common sense or the Biblical sense. It is a way for those who cannot comprehend God's sovereignty to come up with a way to explain Romans 8:29. God foreknows us - no question. But He doesn't foreknow what we're going to do then make a decision to "predestinate" us to salvation if there is nothing to predestinate us to. Predestinate means to "determine beforehand". So does God just declare what is going to happen (when it's US that would be predestinating if it's only based on God's forekowledge of what we're doing) rather than deciding ahead of time what's going to happen? I think there is enough in Scripture to show us that God DOES predestinate events and people (think of even Esther) and the idea of predestination to salvation is fully supported by Scripture.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Just for my own reference - Spurgeon on election/man's free will

Charles Haddon Spurgeon was a great theologian and a man who I highly respect. This is a quote of his from his autobiography regarding his belief on God's sovereign election and man's free will in salvation. I have found Biblical support for both sides in Scripture so feel that I have to agree with Spurgeon and say that we will not be able to reconcile this argument this side of eternity.

I do not think I differ from any of my Hyper-Calvinistic brethren in what I do believe, but I differ from them in what they do not believe. I do not hold any less than they do, but I hold a little more, and, I think, a little more of the truth revealed in the Scriptures. Not only are there a few cardinal doctrines, by which we can steer our ship North, South, East, or West, but as we study the Word, we shall begin to learn something about the North-west and North-east, and all else that lies between the four cardinal points. The system of truth revealed in the Scriptures is not simply one straight line, but two; and no man will ever get a right view of the gospel until he knows how to look at the two lines at once. For instance, I read in one Book of the Bible, "The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." Yet I am taught, in another part of the same inspired Word, that "it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy." I see, in one place, God in providence presiding over all, and yet I see, and I cannot help seeing, that man acts as he pleases, and that God has left his actions, in a great measure, to his own free-will. Now, if I were to declare that man was so free to act that there was no control of God over his actions, I should be driven very near to atheism; and if, on the other hand, I should declare that God so over-rules all things that man is not free enough to be responsible, I should be driven at once into Antinomianism or fatalism. That God predestines, and yet that man is responsible, are two facts that few can see clearly. They are believed to be inconsistent and contradictory to each other. If, then, I find taught in one part of the Bible that everything is fore-ordained, that is true; and if I find, in another Scripture, that man is responsible for all his actions, that is true; and it is only my folly that leads me to imagine that these two truths can ever contradict each other.

I do not believe they can ever be welded into one upon any earthly anvil, but they certainly shall be one in eternity. They are two lines that are so nearly parallel, that the human mind which pursues them farthest will never discover that they converge, but they do converge, and they will meet somewhere in eternity, close to the throne of God, whence all truth doth spring.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Snow day!!

Well, we've gotten about a foot of snow so far and we're due to get a couple more inches before we're done. Here are some pictures outside our front door.

The cloud of snow is DH with the snow blower: