Monday, September 27, 2010

Child-Like Faith

Last night I was driving home from church with my 10 year old daughter beside me in the truck (my older 2 teenagers and my wife were staying late for youth activities). My whole family has been saved by His Grace, and all love Jesus, but she's the one of my three children who, after our family Bible Study/Prayer time at night, often asks me to come to her room where she can ask more questions about the passage, or just to talk about Biblical things in general. She longs for more! She wants to know more about Heaven, more about God, more about Jesus, she just can't get enough! We frequently have long conversations and prayer time with just the two of us.

She has an understanding well beyond her years, and never ceases to amaze me with her insight into spiritual things.

She asked if I had any of our Church's Praise Band's CD's in the truck, which I did, and put one in. One of the songs was "Lay 'Em Down", the first line of which is "Come down to the River". She asked me to turn it off after we listened to it so we could talk, and told me singing about the River reminds her of this summer when we were at the beach. The following are her words:
Dad, this song about coming down to the River reminds me of this summer when we were at the beach. Remember when we would go out into the ocean, and stand there while the waves came crashing in on us? Remember when they would pull us back out? They would be over my head, and I was kind of scared, but when you held me, I felt safe. That's why I would jump up in your arms when a big wave came. Even if I couldn't hold on to you, you were holding onto me so the waves couldn't pull me back out. Dad, I think that's how it is with God, us, and Satan. I think when he tries to pull us away, and when bad things happen, God is holding on to us. Don't you think so?

I am amazed at my precious little girl using metaphors and allegories like this at her age. I know God has great things in store for her! I am reminded of something Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew.
Matthew 18:3 (ESV) ...“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."
I also came across John Wesley's Notes on this verse:
"the first step toward entering into the kingdom of grace, is to become as little children: lowly in heart, knowing yourselves utterly ignorant and helpless, and hanging wholly on your Father who is in heaven, for a supply of all your wants. "

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"The Fire Stirred Gives More Heat"

Are you connected to a local congregation under Biblical, Godly Preaching where you get your fire stirred on a regular basis? Consider the words of the Puritan Preacher below:

"Preaching is vitally necessary above merely reading the Bible, because as the fire stirred gives more heat, so 'the Word', as it were, blown by Preaching, flameth the more in the hearers than when it is read."
Thomas Cartwright-Puritan Preacher (1535-1603).

Again, I ask, are you connected to a local congregation under a Godly Preacher(s) where you get your fire stirred? My family and I sure are. We can't wait to go to church with our family every Sunday, Wednesday, & any other night we're able!What a blessing it is to have our 2 teenage and 1 grade-school age kids upset at even the very possibility of missing a church service. Thanks be to the LORD!

I encourage you, my friends, to get involved in a Christ-Honoring, Christ-Preaching Church if not already active!

2 Timothy 1:6 (ESV) For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you...

Hebrews 10:24 (ESV) And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Is Open Theism "Beyond the Bounds of Orthodox Christianity"?

While reading through the book of Isaiah and being in awe of God's Sovereignty, Might, Glory, Omniscience, and all of His other attributes, I was wondering,
what do the "Open Theists" like Clark Pinnock, Greg Boyd, & John Sanders do with the myriad of passages throughout scripture like this?

Isaiah 46:9-11 (ESV)
...for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying 'My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose'...I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it.

In case you are wondering what I'm talking about, historically, Calvinists, Arminians, and
"mixtures of both" have at least all agreed that God definitely does know the future.
They have just disagreed on "how"...whether He decreed or ordained it, or whether He just "looked ahead and saw it"...but either way, both agree God is Omniscient
...and Calvinists & Arminians differ on the definition of words like predestination, foreknowledge, election, chose, chosen, etc., but they all remained within the bounds of "Orthodox Christianity".

But Open Theism goes "beyond the bounds" and says God doesn't and can't know the future because the future is not settled, because it can't be known until we as humans make our daily choices and decisions.

If this is the case, then the God they espouse must quite often have to wring His hands after reading the morning newspaper, and say "Oops, what do I do now?, or uh-oh, I didn't expect that!, or how am I going to fix that?, or well, I guess I'll have to move on to plan-b, plan-c, etc... and just hope it all works out in the end, and doesn't get too far out of control."

The Open Theists like to camp out heavily on isolated passages and use them as proof-texts like the Genesis flood where God said He was sorry He had made man, the one in Exodus where it says God relented, or in Jonah when God relented from destroying Ninevah, and a few other passages, but they fail to use scripture to interpret scripture, and they totally ignore the passages that proclaim God's Sovereignty and his Immutability. They don't seek the "whole counsel of God", but cherry-pick the passages they want to believe. The LORD, through the prophet Jeremiah, clarified some of these issues quite well as follows:
(ESV) Jeremiah 18:7 If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, 8 and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it. 9 And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, 10 and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will relent of the good that I had intended to do to it.
There's no way for us as humans to fully comprehend or understand the LORD, as His ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55). So by using anthropomorphisms, words like repent and relent and changed were used by the Biblical writers through the guidance of the Holy Spirit to express what God's actions appeared like from the vantage point or perspective of fallen man. The same is true as when Scripture talks about God's arm, hand, heart, wings, etc., but in other passages we are told the Father is Spirit.

So this passage in Jeremiah tells us that God has already decreed what He will and will not do. He's not changing at all, His Character remains the same, it's the people that change. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever!

Here's a small list of just a few other men of God who oppose Open Theism, and see it as un-Biblical, according to

Click below for links to some excellent books on the subject

John MacArthur goes so far as to say Open Theists may very well be worshiping "another god" than the God of Scripture.

What do you think, and why?