Tuesday, June 21, 2011

God Predestines. Man is Responsible. Can both be true?

My answer is, ABSOLUTELY!  The Bible consistently teaches both.   Do you have trouble reconciling how these two statements can both be true?  Well, Charles H. Spurgeon believed every Word he read in Scripture, even if it "appeared" to contradict what he read elsewhere in Scripture.  Consider the following from Spurgeon:
"That God predestines, and that man is responsible, are two things that few can see. They are believed to be inconsistent and contradictory; but they are not. It is just the fault of our weak judgment. Two truths cannot be contradictory to each other. If, then, I find taught in one place that everything is fore-ordained, that is true; and if I find in another place that man is responsible for all his actions, that is true; and it is my folly that leads me to imagine that two truths can ever contradict each other. These two truths, I do not believe, can ever be welded into one upon any human anvil, but one they shall be in eternity: they are two lines that are so nearly parallel, that the mind that shall pursue 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." (Charles H. Spurgeon, New Park Street Pulpit, 4:337)
Well spoken, Pastor Spurgeon!

And as Randy Alcorn (who currently holds to 4 points of Calvinism) stated:
"...our theology should be a reflection of Scripture itself, and wherever Scripture teaches apparently contradictory ideas, our theology should embrace those same ideas, rather than resort to a consistency which rejects part of God’s revealed Word."
Alcorn goes on to state:
"My Greek professor liked to say, “I would rather be comfortable with my Bible and uncomfortable with my theology, than comfortable with my theology and uncomfortable with the Bible.”
For Alcorn's excellent webpage where these quotes were taken from, click below.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

..."we’ve learned to deny our bodies where the welfare of our souls is at stake.” -40 Martyrs of Sebaste

My Pastor, while preaching expositionally through 1 Peter on Sunday mornings, gave the "40 Martyrs of Sebaste" illustration during his sermon this week.  He read a lot of it, and I was truly moved by it.  He said he first heard it while listening to a John MacArthur sermon, which prompted him to research it further.  I'm not sure what sources his illustration was from, but it was an excellent illustration of how one mark of Christian Martyrs throughout the ages has been that they "die well"...These 40 Martyrs were part of the 12th Legion of Roman soldiers who refused to offer the sacrifice ordered by Emperor Licinius.  They were reportedly flogged, put in a dungeon, then eventually made to stand naked and cold on a frozen lake till they died, or deserted their fellow 40 to warm themselves in either hot baths, or by a fire (some stories I read said hot bath, or fire).  Here's a sample of their response when offered a way out of persecution for Christ:
Nothing you can offer us would replace what we would lose in the next world. As for your threats, we’ve learned to deny our bodies where the welfare of our souls is at stake.
Here's a link to a site I read about the 40 Martyrs, but am not necessarily endorsing the website, because I haven't had time to look at any other material on their website:

Maybe those more familiar can point me to better web articles about this story.

I also read somewhere recently, I think it was in "The Voice of the Martyrs", that there are about 150,000 Christian Martyrs per year in our modern day.  That's about 400 Christians per day  (TODAY) being killed for the cause of Jesus Christ, and refusing to deny His Lordship in their lives.  Here's part of my Pastor's text from Sunday morning
1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed. 
May we learn from those who have gone before us, to "die well" for Christ if we're ever put in that position.  And may we say today, as Joshua said to the Children of Israel,
Joshua 24:14 “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness...15 ...choose this day whom you will serve...But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Please leave comments, links to website articles, etc. that would point us to more thorough or better historical accounts, or anything else relevant to the topic at hand.   Thanks!     

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