Sunday, March 30, 2008

Announcing the "Romans 9:18 Conference"

Rhett Kelley Ministries Presents:

The Romans 9:18 Conference

Nov 6 and 7, 2008 at location T.B.A.

Did Jesus die on the cross for every person? Was I elected because I selected? Is God really sovereign? Did Calvin really murder Servetus? These and many other questions will be addressed.

This conference is not going to be a "Let's bash the Arminians" conference. This conference is going to be a biblical and theological assessment of and response to the inconsistencies of the "majoritarian" view of soteriology in the SBC and other Baptist movements. It will be helpful for lay people as well as preachers.

  • $95 for conference only.
  • $110 for the conference with two meals (dinner Nov. 6; breakfast Nov. 7)

Featuring: (exact schedule to be posted later)

Romans 9:18 -Rhett B. Kelley

Total Depravity - Dr. Tom Ascol

Unconditional Election - Dr. John Piper.

Limited Atonement - Dr. James R. White

Irresistible Grace - Dr. Thomas Nettles

Perseverance of the Saints - Dr. Wayne Grudem

Romans 9:18 and God's Purpose in Grace - Dr. Albert Mohler

- There will be a 60-minute Q & A session following the last speaker -

* There will be no live or archived audio or video of this conference via the Internet.
** If you are interested in being a vendor at this conference, please contact us via email. Space is limited so this will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

This conference is sponsored by: Rhett Kelley Ministries, The Reformed Mafia, and Calvinists everywhere.

If you'd like to be given ministry updates via email, please email us to join our ministry e-mail list.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

A. W. Pink on the Modern God

I recently obtained a copy of A. W. Pink's book The Attributes of God. Yesterday I was skimming through the chapters and I came to the Pink's chapter on the Supremacy of God. The following comes from the beginning of that chapter. It really struck a chord with me because this is the very thing I believe is wrong with the "majoritartian" view of God in the SBC and other movements in our day:

"In one of his letters to Erasmus, Luther said, "Your thoughts of God are too human." Probably that renowned scholar resented such a rebuke, the more so, since it proceeded from a miner’s son; nevertheless, it was thoroughly deserved. We too, though having no standing among the religious leaders of this degenerate age, prefer the same charge against the majority of the preachers of our day, and against those who, instead of searching the Scriptures for themselves, lazily accept the teaching of others. The most dishonoring and degrading conceptions of the rule and reign of the Almighty are now held almost everywhere. To countless thousands, even among those professing to be Christians, the God of the Scriptures is quite unknown.

Of old, God complained to an apostate Israel, Thou thoughtest that I was altogether as thyself. (Ps. 50:21). Such must now be His indictment against an apostate Christendom. Men imagine that the Most High is moved by sentiment, rather than actuated by principle. They suppose that His omnipotency is such an idle fiction that Satan is thwarting His designs on every side. They think that if He has formed any plan or purpose at all, then it must be like theirs, constantly subject to change.

They openly declare that whatever power He possesses must be restricted, lest He invade the citadel of man’s "free will" and reduce him to a "machine." They lower the all efficacious Atonement, which has actually redeemed everyone for whom it was made, to a mere "remedy," which sin-sick souls may use if they feel disposed to; and they enervate the invincible work of the Holy Spirit to an "offer" of the Gospel which sinners may accept or reject as they please.

The "god" of this twentieth century no more resembles the Supreme Sovereign of Holy Writ than does the dim flickering of a candle the glory of the midday sun. The "god" who is now talked about in the average pulpit, spoken of in the ordinary Sunday School, mentioned in much of the religious literature of the day, and preached in most of the so-called Bible Conferences is the figment of human imagination, an invention of maudlin sentimentality. The heathen outside of the pale of Christendom form "gods" out of wood and stone, while the millions of heathen inside Christendom manufacture a "god" out of their own carnal mind." (A. W. Pink: The Attributes of God. Chapter 5)

Photo Credit: Providence Baptist Ministries website

Friday, March 28, 2008

Armchair Synergism: Don't Try This at Home

Edit: Matt Shultz has given me permission to link back to the post in question below. He wanted me to remember that he is not the author of the list I'm looking at, but did post it because he agrees with it.

The synergist in question has arranged his Core Beliefs under the familiar TULIP acrostic. This is helpful in one sense (ease of evaluation and comparison) and very unhelpful in another. That is, one of the biggest problems with the whole Calvinistic Resurgence in the SBC is the fact that many on the non-Calvinist side seem to arrogate to themselves willy-nilly the right to re-define theological terms as they please, with no reference to the way those terms have historically been used. That happens here.

Here is his first statement:

"1.Total Depravity

Man is totally depraved. Every facet of man’s nature and faculties is corrupted by the sin nature. There is nothing in man that can enable him to earn or deserve eternal life. God, in grace, draws all men (John 12:32; Titus 2:11), Man is able to receive and respond to the grace of God (Mt 23:37;John 5:24-25; Eph. 2:8-9). Man is a free moral agent with responsibility to respond to God’s grace (John 1:1-9; 3:16-17). Man can respond to God’s grace and come to Christ and he is called to do so (Rev. 22: 17)!"

Calvinists would agree with much in the first three sentences. I would demur and say that it’s not the sin nature that corrupts man’s faculties: it is the judgment upon the Fall of Adam that both corrupts our faculties and gives us a sin nature. One could argue that the sum total of our corrupted faculties is, in fact, our sin nature.

I don’t want this to turn into a huge thing, but let me simply assert that not a single one of his referenced texts actually supports the ideas he has referenced them for. Just as an example, nothing in John 1:1-9 or 3:16-17 teaches that man is a “free moral agent,” especially if by that phrase something like Libertarian Free Will is meant. Those texts simply show some people having faith in Jesus and some rejecting Him. They do not speak at all to the issue of man’s ability to choose righteousness in his fallen condition, or where faith comes from, etc.

But there is in this short statement a very glaring contradiction, apart from the spoof-texting.

After affirming that “There is nothing in man that can enable him to earn or deserve eternal life,” our author then states (three times) that totally depraved man does in fact have the ability to do the one thing that is needful for him to receive eternal life.

He may want to quibble about words like “earn” and “deserve,” but the bottom line is that he has man in his natural state possessing the ability to procure salvation for himself, by making the right choice. This is neither Calvinism, nor Arminianism; it is semi-Pelagianism. Pelagius was a heretic, for those keeping score.

Somewhere, apparently, within this totally depraved man, there still resides the ability to weigh the claims of the Gospel and come to the righteous decision. This is, of course, in direct contradiction to the apostolic teaching.

At the end of his extended discussion of how the Gospel is viewed by the world, in 1 Corinthians 1-2, Paul brings it all to a sum with this statement:

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (2:14)

This is a pretty fundamental truth of Scripture: the natural, or fallen man is completely and utterly opposed to the righteousness of God, so the idea that a man in this state could give the glorious Gospel of Christ a fair hearing is frankly laughable.

I hope that is not what our erstwhile author is trying to teach, even though, if he did he’d merely be joining our denomination’s President: that wouldn’t make it right, though.

I am hopeful that I've merely misread some things.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

2009 Reformed Mafia National Conference!

The 2009 Ligonier National Conference will be on March 19-21 2009 in Orlando, Fl.

The Conference topic will be The Holiness of God and will feature the following speakers: Begg, Carson, Dever, Duncan, Ferguson, Godfrey, Anyabwile, Lawson, MacArthur, Mahaney, Mohler, Thomas, the Sprouls Jr. and Sr.

In addition to myself, I know of at least one Mafia reader and one Mafia Don who are planning on attending as well... This would be a great time for the Mafia and some of our comrades in arms to get together.

Thoughts anyone?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Book Giveaway: The Truth of the Cross

Happy Resurrection Day!

In celebration of our Lord's Resurrection, I will be giving away a brand new copy of Dr. Sproul's book, The Truth of the Cross.

Here's how to enter: Submit your entry in the combox (please leave contact info) or email me at rhettswhips at Yahoo dot com.

On Wednesday, March 26, I will draw a name out of a hat and if I pull your name, the book is yours! No strings attached. I'll pay the postage to any destination where USPS delivers.

Eligibility requirements:

This giveaway is open to anyone who is not already a member of the Reformed Mafia. (Sorry guys)

Theological Liberals, Pelagians, Semi-Pelagians, Arminians, Emergents, Osteenians, Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholics, and our esteemed leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention are really, really encouraged to enter!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Altar Calls: The New Sacrament

One of the great controversies about the Reformed resurgence within the SBC is that some Calvinists are questioning the practice of the "old fashioned altar call." In fact, some Calvinists are stopping the practice altogether! Of course, this is looked upon as a travesty by many non-Calvinists. Naturally, they use it to support their claim that "Calvinism kills evangelism."

What may surprise many people is that the "old fashioned altar call," isn't really all that old fashioned at all! As I've studied the Scriptures, I have yet to find this practice taught, yet hardly anyone questions it's validity or tries to correct abuses of the practice. In many churches, the practice has been elevated to such a degree that to question it's validity is nigh unto blasphemy.

I'm not totally against the practice of giving people the opportunity to come forward for prayer or to be saved at the end of a sermon. What I am against is how some men use the altar call to say anything and everything they can think of in order to goad people into walking down the isle. Because some preachers are so persuasive and seem to get great results, modern pragmatic minded churches and denominational leaders (like those that litter the SBC) don't like it when people begin to question the practice on Biblical and theological grounds.

It recently came to my attention that during certain mass evangelism crusades, many of the people we see respond to the altar call are not people needing to be saved, but councilors who are planted in the audience who are there to "prime the pump". They stand and proceed to the "altar" when the call is given. This is supposed to encourage others who are feeling shy to get up and come too..

I once had a pastor in the Church of God of Prophecy who taught that when a person responds to an altar call, that the act of coming forward is a suitable public confession of faith so that water baptism was not necessary! He actually said "the altar replaces water baptism". In another meeting, I heard a preacher confess that he once believed that the only place a person could be saved was during an altar call! I think these examples clearly illustrate how some people have made a sacrament out of this practice!

Some leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention condemn Calvinists for trying to examine the validity of this practice, but I do not. I believe we should be diligent to examine our practices and make reforms where there is a need. With fall-away rates as high as 90%, I think it's high time we take a hard look at our modern evangelistic methodology in light of Scripture and church history.

One interesting thing I want to note:

It's not just Calvinists who question (or do not practice) the invitational system. Many churches in the Restoration Movement (Churches of Christ) do not believe in giving an "altar call." Some ministers in that movement are almost Pelagian in their theology, so questioning (or abandoning) altar calls is not something only Calvinists are guilty of doing.

Here are some links to some articles that examine the topic of altar calls. Please examine their contents with a Berean spirit:

Semper Reformanda!

Blog Madness: Support The Mob!

Just to make sure everyone is aware: Your favorite Subversive Chess Club, the Reformed Mafia, has the distinct honor of being one of the blogs that has been selected to be in the Said At Southern Blog Madness Tournament. As I am writing this, we are in 5th place and up against some very tough competition. Please stop by Said At Southern and cast your vote today! The tournament will end Sunday night.

(Oh... And uh, by the way, if you don't vote for the Mafia, we'll be sending some tough guys over to pay you a little visit!)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Defeating Calvinistic blogs

The following is a reprint from my personal blog, a post that has become, by far, the most popular one I ever wrote. I have resisted the temptation to go back through and update it, or to add to it. No doubt, we'll soon see in the meta that an Arminian has done a version of this from the other side... And, I've also learned, to my surprise, that I need to actually say that what follows is supposed to be halfway humorous.


As a public service to all the anti-Calvinistic Christians out there in the blogosphere, I am publishing a selection of pre-written comments that you can leave in reply to Calvinist postings of whatever kind.

Save your brainpower for more important things and just copy this list and have it handy, so that you can cut-and-paste wherever it becomes needful. However, I must be clear that I have not come up with the substance of any of this myself, but have simply collated what I have found in the blog world as people try to argue with the Bible's teaching on the sovereignty of God in salvation.

And don't worry about actually fitting these into the flow or context of whatever debate happens to be going on: I've found them all over, and so must conclude that they are wonderful, powerful arguments wherever they may be a blast!

1. "Y'know, if you Calvinists spent as much time and energy on evangelism as you do on bashing your brothers in Christ who are really out there preaching the gospel, then we might really see revival!"

2. "When's the last time you actually witnessed to someone?"

3. "How many folks have you saved in the last six months?"

4. "Calvinism is one man's theology, one man's system. I prefer to listen to Jesus."

5. "The only JC I follow is not John Calvin, but Jesus Christ."

6. "You guys are so mean. Even if you're right, no one listens because you are snooty and arrogant. Always name-calling."

7. "I'm not Calvinist or Arminian. I'm Baptist."

8. "Calvinism splits churches and puts a screeching halt to evangelism wherever it becomes prominent."

9. "I don't know about all your complex theology. I just believe John 3:16."

10. "I just can't believe that someone will be kept out of heaven, even if they loved Jesus with all their heart, just because they weren't part of the chosen few."

11. "You guys are mean. You think you know everything. You just want everyone to think like you do. You just want to win arguments and have everyone admit you're right. You have no business judging someone's thoughts or motivations."

12. "Calvinism is a virus that kills good churches."

13. "Calvinists are worse than Moslems."

14. "You can bet that anyone who wastes time reading or writing at your blog is being disobedient to the Great Commission."

15. "Why can't you just put aside your differences with Arminians and work together for the greater spread of the Gospel? All this arguing about how a man is saved...let's stop arguing about it and just preach the Gospel. As long as we agree on the important things, like the pre-trib Rapture, why can't we just get along?"

16. "Calvinists hope dead babies go to hell."

17. "Calvinists hope innocent people in Africa who haven't heard of Jesus will go to hell."

18. "Calvinists hope all non-Calvinists go to hell."

19. "Calvinists don't want to preach the Gospel too much, for fear that some people who are destined to go to hell might actually believe and wind up in heaven."

20. "You guys are mean. You think only your interpretation of Scipture is correct. You refuse to submit to the Catholic Magisterium."

21. "You guys are mean. You think only your interpretation of Scripture is correct. Unlike me. I know I'm wrong. But still, you're mean."

22. "Mean people suck."

23. "I know a guy who became a Calvinist. Now, he is mean."

24. "I know a guy who became a Calvinist, and now he doesn't have altar calls at his church."

25. "I know a guy who became a Calvinist, and now he bakes babies into his communion bread."


Okay, I realize this is not a complete list, but it will certainly suffice for its intended purpose. You will now win every debate on Calvinism you get into. Just use one of the above, as all 25 of them are beyond argument and positively prove that Calvinism is unbiblical. However, if you run into a really smart Calvinist, of which there are a tiny handful, you can completely bamboozle them by combining several of these arguments into one comment. Try also using the same comment over and over again, but just change the wording a little.

No need to thank me. I do what I can.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Gettin' Set Up For The Kill!

Call me crazy, but I think perhaps SBC Calvinists are being set up for the kill.

Think this through with me:

A number of the elite SBC "non-Calvinists" have gone on the record saying that Calvinists need to make sure they put all of their theological cards on the tables for pulpit committees when being considered as a pastoral candidate.

Yet, even as they encourage "honesty" among Calvinists in this regard, we can see that they're working hard in the background to disseminate information against the Calvinist perspective so that when Calvinist ministerial candidates do "lay their cards on the table," the pulpit committee will recoil in horror and send the Calvinist packing.

This tactic reminds me of how deer hunters will use scents and lures to cause a buck to let down his guard long enough to expose himself to a 170 grain, supersonic dose of hot lead from the muzzle of a Winchester .30-30. The moment the buck lets his guard down thinking all is safe: BOOM! He's finished! The same fate will await us SBC Calvinists if we get lulled into thinking our esteemed leadership is really looking out for our best interests and interested in allowing our views to have a fair hearing before the masses.

I, for one, will no longer take them seriously until I see them stop misrepresenting our theological perspectives through books such as Trouble With The TULIP and scheduling conferences dedicated to an Arminian eisegesis of John 3:16...

Speaking of the John 3:16 Conference, yesterday I read that Steve Lemke has written that its "intended as a majoritarian Southern Baptist response to the 'Building Bridges' and 'Together for the Gospel' conferences."

I'm sure that apart from the few Calvinists who've fallen for the sweet smelling lure of Synergist double-speak, most of us aren't surprised to see this. In fact, that's what we've come to expect from our esteemed leadership!

While these SBC muckety-mucks give lip service to unity and cooperation between Calvinists and "non-Cavinists" in the SBC, I'm not about to let them fool me. It's plain to see that they're out to put a stop to the Reformed Resurgence by hook or by crook if they have to!

(Pic: me and an 8 point I harvested in Oct '03)

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Can't continue with the detailed review of Frank Page's Trouble With the Tulip.

It's too infuriating, and it feels like wasting a bunch of time answering objections that are too purile to deserve any time at all.

If there was any, and I mean any, meaningful interaction with the text of Scripture in this entire book, I'd feel differently.

But here's what I think is the most egregious example of Page's "closer examination" of the issues.

On page 56, he is trying to prove his assertion that God actively desires to save every single individual.

He writes, "Can these verses be any clearer?"

And then he simply quotes 2 Peter 3:9, 1 Timothy 2:3-4, and 4:9-10.

End of discussion. No exegesis at all. The verses must obviously mean what he thinks that they clearly mean.

The thing that winds up bugging me the most is the subtitle of the book:

A Closer Examination of the Five Points of Calvinism. That's what it claims to be. In actuality, as I have said, the Scripture is not interpreted, but merely quoted (infrequently) and more often simply referenced in the form of proof-text addresses.

This doesn't even rise to the level of a popular introduction to the issues.

A closer examination? I want to scream, closer than what?

I am left disappointed and mildly infuriated. Dr. Page has only proven that he is more Pelagian than the average, educated Arminian; and he's displayed huge lapses of scholarship, with regard to precision and argumentation. What's more, for one who is still lauded for his part in the SBC's "Conservative Resurgence," which is billed as the battle for the Bible, Dr. Page can't seem to trouble himself to actually use the Bible to make his case, or to show in any detail why the Calvinist's interpretations are wrong.

I've been reading a lot of blogging lately which laments the low state of Bible knowledge and doctrinal understanding among Southern Baptist laymen, and it occurs to me that maybe it's because the shepherds can't lead where they themselves refuse to go.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Minimising the Gospel

I am reading a book for class written by J.I. Packer entitled, The Quest for Godliness. The book is about the life and ministry of the puritans. Chapter 10 speaks to the view of the puritans on preaching the gospel. Today, people ask what the minimum amount of doctrine they can include in a gospel presentation. Packer mentions that one reason for this is the reluctance of those in our pews to learn. Most people are so entertainment driven, they don't want to be given lots of knowledge, they don't want to think, study, or pursue godly wisdom. Richard Baxter said this:

Were you but as willing to get the knowledge of God and heavenly things as you are to know how to work in your trade, you would have set yourself to it before this day and you would have spared no cost or pains till you had got it. Bit you account seven years little enough to learn your trade, and will not bestow one day in seven in diligent learning the matters of your salvation.

In the Puritan's time, people were no more willing to think about the important things as they are today. Whereas, ministers today are apt to accommodate to the apathy of learning to the human race, the Puritan's did not. They preached the full counsel of God. Notice what J.I. Packer says:

If we do not preach abou sin and God's judgement on it, we cannot prese Christ as Saviour from sin and the qeath of God. And if we are silent about these things, and preach a Christ who saves only from self and the sorrows of this world, we are not preaching the Christ of the Bible. We are in effect bearing false witness and preaching a false Christ. Out message is 'another gospel, which is not another'. Such preaching may soothe some, but it will help nobody; for a Christ who is not seen and sought as a Saviour from sin will not be found to save from self or from anything else. And imaginary Christ will not bring a real salvation; and a half-truth presented as the whole truth is complete untruth. Thus the minimising approach threatens to falsify the gospel by emptying it of doctrinal elements that are essential to it.
Friends, may we be faithful to the Scriptures and preach the full gospel. May we not do like so many and minimize and falsify the gospel, accommodating to the reluctant and itching ears of our culture.

Monday, March 3, 2008

2 Peter 3:9 and the Analogy of Scripture

Here is the challenge: even if all the verses in Scripture which speak of God's electing grace in predestination were missing, would we be able to turn to 2 Peter 3:9 and get from it the idea that God has an active desire that each individual on the planet should repent at all times? Will the rest of the Bible allow that to be the meaning of this text?

This is a long post, and frankly boring, but I think it answers the question.


2 Peter 3:9 - The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. (ESV)

1. Is the phrase “not wishing that any should perish” an accurate description of God’s desire for every single individual on the planet? That is, is that a blanket statement that accurately describes God’s thoughts toward all people at all times?

a) If it is, one must account for why any do, in fact, perish. This becomes rather sticky once you take it home, and (like a roll of new carpet) begin to push it into all the corners. The baby that is stillborn, or miscarried, or dies of something like SIDS in the crib…are you going to postulate that God at no time willed or desired or “allowed” their deaths? What about the multitudes, including entire people groups, who lived and died for centuries before the first Christian missionary even found his way to their location? Or what about those ethnicities for whom, to this day, not even a scrap of the Word of God exists in their language? These examples represent multitudes spread across millennia, who lived and died with no access to the Word of God. If God actively desired that none of these should perish, it is then at least odd that He has allowed, and continues to allow, them to perish.

b) If it is, one must account for instances in the Scripture in which God plainly decrees that some should perish. Take for instance, all the multitudes that were living in Canaan at the time of Joshua’s entrance into the area. God commanded Israel to annihilate them utterly, even down to the babies. He commanded them to have no mercy upon them, to show them no pity. This is a strange command to give, if your active desire is, at all times, that none should perish.

i. Specifically, we mention the story of Eli the priest and his two wicked sons. In 1 Samuel 2, Eli rebukes and warns them, and we find this telling commentary on the situation in v.25: “But they would not listen to the voice of their father, for it was the will of the Lord to put them to death.” Now, with reference back to the phrase we’re considering “not wishing that any should perish” we have here a specific statement that the Lord actively willed, or desired, the death of these two evil men. This story will also be useful when we begin to analyze the phrase from Peter that some take to mean that God always, actively desires that every individual on the planet should repent, and that this desire is so strong that it even causes Him to delay the Day of the Lord.

c) It is possible that some would, in consideration of a) and b), speculate that God has more than one will, or that He exists with competing and conflicting desires, such that the phrase “not wishing that any should perish” can indeed be accurate with regard to each individual on some level. It would exist in the realm of God wistfully dreaming that it sure would be nice, but not at the level of Him actually doing anything about it to make it happen that way.

But any maneuver of this sort immediately guts the verse of any force that it might have had against the Calvinistic concept of election and predestination. That is, if God’s active wish is that none should perish, but this wish does not reside on a level that actually causes anything to happen; and, in fact, the opposite does happen all the time, then this wish can hardly be said to nullify the idea that God has chosen from eternity to save some and not others, any more than it could be said that this wish keeps God from actively desiring and commanding the death of some.

CONCLUSION 1: “not wishing that any should perish” cannot be interpreted to mean that God always, actively desires that no individual on the planet should die, or perish in their sins.

2. If God actively, always desires that every individual on the planet should “reach repentance,” then why does God not give the gift of repentance to every individual?

a) Paul’s statement concerning repentance in 2 Timothy 2:25 is enlightening here. He tells the young preacher that he ought to patiently correct his opponents, gently, and then adds the reason why this is a good thing to do: “God may perhaps grant them repentance, leading to a knowledge of the truth.”

Two things to note from this:

i. Repentance is a gift. It is not a native, human ability. It is something that must be given to us, and not something we stir up from within ourselves. Other texts that show us that repentance is of God include Psalms 80: 3, 7, and 19; Acts 5:31, 11:18, and Romans 2:4.

ii. Paul did not consider that the gift of repentance is automatically, or universally, given to all men. He hopes that God “may” do it. It is a thing that resides in the realm of “perhaps.” Maybe God will, but maybe He won’t. This comports well with the astonishment that the converted Jews experienced when they realized that God had granted repentance to Gentiles in Acts 10-11: this is not the reaction of people who believe that God wants every individual, everywhere, at all times, to repent.

CONCLUSION 2: The fact that most individuals on the planet are not given the gift of Repentance is proof that God does not actively desire the repentance of every individual.

3. If Scripture itself shows God actively keeping persons from repentance, then it cannot be said that He actively and always desire that every individual on the planet should repent.

a) We reference again the inspired commentary on Eli’s sons from 1 Samuel 2:25. The text says that they did not heed their father’s voice (and thus, repent of their sins) specifically because the Lord desired to slay them. One must ask, then, which is it? Did the Lord actively desire that they repent? Or did He actively desire that they go on in their sins and be destroyed? The text will only allow one answer.

b) In Matthew 13, the disciples ask Jesus why He is teaching in parables. “And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.” (v.11) Jesus taught in parables in order to both reveal the truth to His own disciples, and, at the same time, to conceal the truth from others. Now, note that this concealing of the truth has certain consequences, which Jesus explains in the verses that follow, culminating with this quote from Isaiah, in Matthew 13:15:

“Lest they should see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their heart
and turn [or, repent], and I would heal them.”

This is a hard teaching for modern ears, accustomed to a light and breezy tickling. But what Jesus has just said is that He taught in parables in order to conceal the truth from some, with the end result being that they should fail to turn to Him and be saved.

Is this the action of a Messiah who actively and always desires that all individuals everywhere should repent?

c) Other instances could be adduced, which show God hardening a sinner’s heart (think Pharaoh) which would have the effect of making the sinner persist in his unrepentance. Did God desire Pharaoh’s repentance, or did He intend to display His awesome power by utterly destroying the most powerful man on the planet?

d) There is also Romans 11:8, but it’s almost unfair to reference that, since it is so clear. God Himself has sent a partial hardening upon the Jews, so that they will be blind and deaf with regard to the Gospel. This is not consistent with a desire that each individual everywhere, at all times, should come to repentance.

e) How about the Antichrist, or the Man of Sin, whichever terminology you prefer? Does God desire that this end-times Bad Guy repent, or hasn’t He already promised to slay him with His breath at the return of the Lord?

CONCLUSION 3: Since the Scripture shows God concealing the truth from some, and actively hardening others against the gospel, it cannot be true that God actively desires that every individual repent.

4. This is admittedly a logical, and not a strictly Scriptural objection, but that doesn’t automatically disqualify it:

If God is delaying the return of Christ because He wants to give every individual on the planet ample time to repent, then how is it that Christ will ever return, since there will always be new generations, new multitudes of people? At some point, if you believe this is why He is delaying, you must admit that His desire for every individual to repent will eventually end. God’s attitude toward sinners will eventually change, and abruptly so, when He says enough is enough.

CONCLUSION 4: God does not and will not delay the end of the world for everyone, or for every individual: at some point Jesus will return. Therefore it is wrong to think this verse means that God has the same concerns regarding every individual on the planet. Some get a long time to repent. Some don’t. Since the delay is not “across the board” then it is inconsistent to think the desire for repentance is either.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Those Pesky Roos!

Rumor has it, right after this clip ended, Paul Manata came on the scene and administered a real fonging to the ornery roo! ;)

H.T. Chadwick Ivester

Say What?

The following quote was found in this article in the Christian Index.

“If you are spiritual you can believe everything and nothing at the same time.”

-Ergun Caner, president, Liberty Theological Seminary
(Photo Credit: Caner's website)