Why do Calvinists Evangelize?

Spurgeonevangelism

  1.  God commands it in His word. Mark 16:15 (NASB) 15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.
  2.  He ordains the ends and the means.
  3.  At that moment in time, it is not apparent to us who is among the elect.  If we share the gospel with a person who is among the elect, but it is not their due time to be regenerated, then they will reject the gospel.  If it is their time, they will respond with repentance and faith, that are also granted by God.  If we share the gospel with a person who is not among the elect, no matter when in their life they hear it, they will never respond with true repentance and faith.  Even a person who is not among the elect could affirm the gospel intellectually, but never be truly converted.

If people would look into the history of modern evangelism, they would see that many of the memorable evangelists have been Calvinists.

Calvinist Evangelists

  1.   The Apostle Paul 🙂
  2.   George Whitefield
  3.   David Brainerd
  4.   William Carey
  5.   Charles Spurgeon
  6.   C.T. Studd
  7.   Jonathan Edwards
  8.   Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones
  9.   Francis Schaeffer
  10.   Francis Chan

Just to name a few.  Oh, and before you get all persnickety and claim that some of the people on the list were Pastors, or theologians, remember they also evangelized.  Spurgeon said, “Every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter.”  While we are at it, we all are sinners.  We have broken God’s laws and are guilty.  Repent from your sins.  Turn from them and obey God’s word.  Believe on the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, where He atoned for your sin.  Don’t put your faith in your own efforts or works to save you.  You can never satisfy the requirements of God’s righteousness, but Jesus did.  His righteousness can be credited to you if you will repent and trust in Him.

The Deity of Christ from the Old Testament for our Jehovah’s Witness, Mormon, and Muslim friends, part 2.

Today we are going to pick up where we left off from the last article you can read it here.  Earlier we examined Genesis 15:1-2 to see that the Word of the Lord is God.  We also connected these verses with John 1:1-18 to see that the Word is Jesus.  Today we are going to look at Genesis 15:3-7 which will reinforce our previous assertion that the Word of the Lord is God, Jesus is the Word, and Jesus is God.  [The text in the brackets is mine.]  The blue text indicates who is doing the action and the red is what is being done.

Genesis 15:3-7 (NASB) 3 And Abram said, “Since You have given no offspring to me, one born in my house is my heir.” 4 Then behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying,

[If you notice, the person doing the talking is identified as “the word of the Lord.”  You can tell he is a person because he is, “saying.”  The word of the Lord is speaking to Abram.]

“This man will not be your heir; but one who will come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir.” 5 And He took him outside and said,

[Notice the Word is referred to as, “He.”  What did He do?  He, “took him outside and said…”  How can anyone look at these verses and not come to the conclusion that the Word of the Lord is God, and how can they, in light of John 1:1-18 not see that Jesus is the Word and He is God?]

“Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” 6  Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness. 7 And He said to him, “I am the Lord who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess it.

If this isn’t enough, I’ll post some more later on.  Study the word, to know the Word, and His intent.  Knowing Him is knowing God.  To know God, and be known by Him, to be His adopted child and heir, is to be saved by this Triune God’s grace according to His sovereign will, regenerating and indwelling by His Spirit, and the justifying work on the cross of His Son.

The Deity of Christ from the Old Testament for our Jehovah’s Witness, Mormon, and Muslim friends.

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I don’t know how many times I’ve heard the same accusation from Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons (LDS), and Muslims.  They claim that Jesus is not God, but a god, good man, prophet, teacher, and so on.  I think it is great that we can always go to the word of God to let it make the defense.  Charles Spurgeon was quoted as saying, “The Word of God is like a lion. You don’t have to defend a lion. All you have to do is let the lion loose, and the lion will defend itself.”  I agree with him.

With that being said let’s take a look at Genesis 15:1-2, and John 1:1-18.

In Genesis 15:1-2 we see that the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision. Now, you don’t hear a vision. You see it. Some people would insist that this is just Abram hearing God speak to him, but this is actually the preincarnate Christ appearing to Abram in a vision, and speaking to him. Abram said, “…O LORD God…” or אֲדֹנָי ’ăḏônây; an emphatic form of âḏôn; or (shortened) אָדֹן ’adon; from an unused root (meaning to rule); sovereign, i.e. controller (human or divine): — lord, master, owner. Compare also names beginning with “Adoni-”.; the Lord (used as a proper name of God only): — (my) Lord. In this section of God’s word ăḏônây is used in conjunction with יְהוָֹה yhwh; (the) self-Existent or Eternal; name of God: — the Lord. So essentially he is saying, Adonai YHWH or Sovereign eternal self-existent one and only true God.  It is obvious that Abram believed the word of the LORD to be the one true, eternal, and self-existent God.

We can look at John 1:1-18 and see who John said the Word of God is. Again, it is obvious that Jesus is the Word.

John 1:1-18 (NASB) 1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2  He was in the beginning with God. 3  All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4  In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 5  The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
The Witness John
6 There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7  He came  as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. 8   He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light.
9 There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13  who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
The Word Made Flesh
14 And the Word became flesh, and  dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 John *testified about Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’” 16 For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. 17 For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. 18  No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.

Jesus is not a god like the Mormons say.  He was not Michael the angel transfigured like the Jehovah’s Witnesses would tell you.  He was not just a prophet like Muslims claim.  If there is any doubt now that Jesus is the Word, and the Word is God, it is not due to lack of evidence.  It is due to disbelief.  May God grant you true and saving faith in the Savior, Jesus Christ our Lord and God.

 

Upon this rock I will build my Church? Matthew 16:18 and 1 Peter 2:4-8.

Jesus-is-the-rock

When Christ said in Matthew 16:13-20 ,

“ 13Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” 15He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18“I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. 19“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” 20Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ.”

He wasn’t talking about making Peter the first Pope, nor was He talking about the Roman Catholic’s claim to Apostolic succession.  He was saying, they may call you Peter the rock, but I’m the true rock, the chief cornerstone, or foundation stone, that I will build my Church on.  Then He tells all the Apostles, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” 20Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ.”

If you don’t believe me, look what Peter had to say about it in 1 Peter 2.

4And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, 5you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

6For this is contained in Scripture:
“BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHOICE STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNER stone,
AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”

7This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve,
“THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED,
THIS BECAME THE VERY CORNER stone,

8and,
“A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE”;
for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed.

I think from this it pretty obvious what He meant.

The Differences Between Sins, and Mistakes.


Recently, I had a conversation with a person on social media about sins, and mistakes. Their first assertion was that, sins are the willful transgression of the known will of God. The second assertion was that people are not culpable to God for mistakes that they make. Lastly, they failed to define what mistakes are, even when asked several times. I quickly identified this as a Nazarene Church member, because I had been a member for approximately 19 years give or take. I decided since they came to my page to discuss this issue that it was a proper opening to engage them. I typically don’t go to other people’s pages and comment on things I don’t agree with. I see it as bad etiquette, but if they come to me, so be it. Listed below is the section 5.3 Sin, Original and Personal from the Nazarene Church’s Preamble and Articles of Faith;

5.3. We believe that actual or personal sin is a voluntary violation of a known law of God by a morally responsible person. It is therefore not to be confused with involuntary and inescapable shortcomings, infirmities, faults, mistakes, failures, or other deviations from a standard of perfect conduct that are the residual effects of the Fall. However, such innocent effects do not include attitudes or responses contrary to the spirit of Christ, which may properly be called sins of the spirit. We believe that personal sin is primarily and essentially a violation of the law of love; and that in relation to Christ sin may be defined as unbelief.

(Original sin: Genesis 3; 6:5; Job 15:14; Psalm 51:5; Jeremiah 17:9-10; Mark 7:21-23; Romans 1:18-25; 5:12-14; 7:1-8:9; 1 Corinthians 3:1-4; Galatians 5:16-25; 1 John 1:7-8

Personal sin: Matthew 22:36-40 {with 1 John 3:4}; John 8:34-36; 16:8-9; Romans 3:23; 6:15-23; 8:18-24; 14:23; 1 John 1:9-2:4; 3:7-10)”

As you can see from their article, it is what has led some of them to their minimization of sin, thus diminishing the importance of the gospel, as well as creating a legalistic approach to righteousness. This last consequence is also a product of their doctrine of Entire Sanctification. Their doctrine of Entire Sanctification is also a product of their minimization of sin. This is what Article 10 says about Entire Sanctification;

X. Christian Holiness and Entire Sanctification


10. We believe that sanctification is the work of God which transforms believers into the likeness of Christ. It is wrought by God’s grace through the Holy Spirit in initial sanctification, or regeneration (simultaneous with justification), entire sanctification, and the continued perfecting work of the Holy Spirit culminating in glorification. In glorification we are fully conformed to the image of the Son.

We believe that entire sanctification is that act of God, subsequent to regeneration, by which believers are made free from original sin, or depravity, and brought into a state of entire devotement to God, and the holy obedience of love made perfect.

It is wrought by the baptism with or infilling of the Holy Spirit, and comprehends in one experience the cleansing of the heart from sin and the abiding, indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, empowering the believer for life and service. Entire sanctification is provided by the blood of Jesus, is wrought instantaneously by grace through faith, preceded by entire consecration; and to this work and state of grace the Holy Spirit bears witness.

This experience is also known by various terms representing its different phases, such as “Christian perfection,” “perfect love,” “heart purity,” “the baptism with or infilling of the Holy Spirit,” “the fullness of the blessing,” and “Christian holiness.””

Not that long ago the Nazarene Church made some changes to their Articles of Faith. What I linked to is their current one. They have clarified it to some degree, but you can’t lay all the blame on the average Church goer for their personal affirmation of false doctrines. After reading the Articles of Faith, I can see what they are trying to express, but it can confuse the layman. I think this is mostly due to their Ordo Salutis, and Semi-Pelagianism that is all part of the traditions of a portion of the people in the denomination. From what I understand they are slowly trying to move away from the errors of Semi-Pelagianism that were made in the past.

If you are old enough you’d remember a different looking CotN. The girls mostly wore dresses, and dancing was not allowed. They looked and acted like Pentecostal versions of the Mennonites almost. Some believed that a person could be entirely sinless in their life. That is what their personal understanding of their doctrine of Entire Sanctification looked like. If you read it now, you can see it is a bit more nuanced, but you can also see how it could lead someone to believe the other way. When you look at Wesley’s writings on the topic, if you have a good theological foundation, you can see where he is heading. The problem lies in the fact that so many people are very simple in their education and ability to reason, that they take his work to mean what it appears to mean at a superficial reading. I’m not saying I agree with his conclusions. I actually think he was poorly repaving a road that had been well paved, and traveled long before him, by men more learned and brilliant.

I see Wesley as more of an evangelist and less of a theologian.  I understand him to be attempting to make room for people who don’t know, or believe, everything rightly all the time to still be saved. All of us are wrong all the time about something whether we know it or not. That doesn’t ruin our justification. I used to think the Trinity was best expressed as the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit as all three parts of God. I had no idea that was the heresy of partialism. Once I was taught by more mature Christians from scripture that they are three persons, one God I was able to repent of my heresy. Was I not saved back then? I think I was, but I was a material heretic. I was not a formal heretic. If I’d persisted to death in a heresy, and rejected all correction, then I would have proven to be a false convert and formal heretic.

The person I was having the discussion with was of the old fashion persuasion. They didn’t read Wesley. They just took a superficial approach to their denomination’s doctrines and ran with it. So for them, sin was simply willfully transgressing a known law of God and it excludes mistakes, infirmities, failures, faults, emotions, (feelings) and thoughts. They also argued that a Christian will stop sinning completely, even though I showed them 1 John 1:8 and explained that John was addressing Christians. I was also told that if I sinned and then died immediately after, without repenting, that I would go to Hell. This is another one of their misguided beliefs. They believe that a genuine Christian can apostatize by willfully sinning. What I was dealing with was a Semi-Pelagian, not a Wesleyan. It is interesting because they make a categorical error by contrasting sins with mistakes. I don’t know if it ever occurred to them that a sin is always sinful, but a mistake can be sin or not sin. I mentioned this and got no answer. The same can be said for the other things listed that they say are not sin. We know that having a lustful thought pop into your head is a sin, and that we must take every thought captive so it doesn’t come to fruition in deed. We also know that to God we are guilty of that sin. It sure is a good thing that Christ justified me, and paid for all of my sin. I am exceedingly sinful, and exceedingly thankful for His righteousness that He imputed to me upon justification. I think this eludes the Semi-Pelagian. They are in a works righteousness faith where they must maintain their position of being righteous by works. This particular flavor of Semi-Pelagian makes this task less daunting by watering down sin and man’s responsibility. In so doing they rob God of the glory, as it were. So much the worse for them, as many of them are not truly saved, but still lost. Of course, I would not say that all of them are lost. Some may be material heretics, just waiting to be corrected and brought into repentance. Could you be the one to speak into their lives with the truth?

Black Israelite or Black Hebrew Movement and Dr. James White.


Hey kids, remember the Aryan Church? Remember how they were decried as a hate group and run out of Idaho? Well now there is a black group that is just like them. They are known as the black Israelite movement. They are a mixture of groups that have as their core beliefs that black people in America are the descendants of the Israelites, and that they are the only people who have a saving covenant with their god, and that the white people otherwise known as edomites by the movement, will be their slaves in heaven or in the millennial kingdom if they submit to their rule now.(its hard to say exactly because there is a wide variance from group to group some believe white people won’t be there at all) Some of them also believe that they will get to rape white women when the time comes. White people are the devil. They believe the KJV is the only true version of the Bible. Some only accept the Old Testament.  They made up their own form of Hebrew, which is basically idiotic. They reject the deity of Christ, and many more heresies. Well, Dr. James White, took a look at the movement to help out a brother who has been practicing apolgetics with these groups. Dr. White used his show, to dialogue with one of their leaders, and then later attempted a semi-formal debate. I say, “attempted” because the person on the other end was just like an unreasoning beast. I think that it would be worth your while to watch these videos so that you will know what we are going to be dealing with. The atmosphere of hatred that these groups grow in, mixed with their self-righteousness is a recipe for violence. Imagine street gangs mixed with radical muslim hatred. Got the picture? So here are the videos, and pray for them, pray for all those practicing apolgetics.  Since there are so many weird variations of these groups, please forgive me if I got something wrong.  

https://youtu.be/KYtTSNjky0c

Todd Friel’s, “Judge Not” is an Ambitious Book that Attempts to Assess the Maladies of the Modern Church in America.

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It is a daunting undertaking.  One I was apprehensive about.  I was doubtful that the problems could be covered in a book that is only 320 pages long.  Overall, Todd’s book accomplishes what it was intended to do.  In an effort to promote what I deem a necessary work, I would strongly encourage all Christians to purchase and read this book.  However, I don’t want to spoil any of the, “Ah-ha!” “Amen!” or “Ouch!” moments.  This means that I won’t reveal all of my favorite quotes.  The full title of the book is, “Judge Not, How A Lack Of Discernment Led To Drunken Pastors, Peanut Butter Armpits, & The Fall Of A Nation.”  The title is no misrepresentation to act as a hook.  It is a hook, don’t get me wrong.  It is just very true and disturbing.  The astonishing authenticity of it is the hook.

 For those tens and tens of loyal listeners, Todd needs no introduction, but for the rest of the world, Todd Friel is the host of the Christian radio program, “Wretched Radio.”  He is also the host of, “Wretched TV” on NRB network.  Todd and the guys over at Wretched, put out quality programs, Biblically addressing issues and trends, that concern us as Christians.  Todd’s previous book, “Jesus Unmasked” detailed, and highlighted Christ through the entire Bible.  I was curious about his latest book, because his previous one was so good.  Even though it was a hard act to follow, he can be happy with his latest book.  It was quite different from his previous one.

We look around and wonder how we got here.  As a kid, I was raised in a home without Church.  My parents were both former Roman Catholics.  Mom is Italian.  Her family was traditionally Roman Catholic.  My Dad’s family is German, and very Roman Catholic as well.  Both of my parents deserted the religion of their families for different reasons.  My Mom left because her family deserted her, and disowned her because she was a child of mixed blood.  Her Dad was Lithuanian, NOT Italian!  My Mother was also enjoying the freedom of the 60’s.  My Father left Roman Catholicism after reading the Bible for himself.  They decided to raise us without formal religion and to allow us to figure it out for ourselves.  I grew up thinking that all of the people who went to a Church were Christians.  I had now idea how wrong I was.  Whenever I was invited to a Church for Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, Mormon Talks, SDA, Jehovah’s Witnesses Kingdom Hall, or Mass, I thought they were all Christians.  I was so confused by the variances and disparities I witnessed.  From the 60’s on  to present day, Churches in America have done little to help people like me who were lost.

With chapter headings like, “Happy Clappy Church, Twisting Scripture, Messed-up Messianic Movements, and Gospel Off-centeredness” Todd takes aim at pretty much all of the problems with the modern Church in America.  Many of the things he brings forward have been concerns of mine for years.  Some of the things were new to me.  I had no idea some of those things were going on.  If you are like me and have been keenly aware that something is wrong, and perhaps you weren’t quite able to put your finger on it then this is the book for you.

Here is the Table of Contents,
contents1
contents2
contents3

We’ve probably all been to a, “Happy Clappy” Church.  They are the ones that solely focus on God’s love.  They are generally pretty seeker sensitive and rely on entertaining the masses.  Many of us have friends or family in the Messianic movement and have concerns.  Todd echoes these concerns and talks frankly about the problems within the movement.  Todd also shines light on the New Apostolic Movement.  Very troubling things are coming out of it.  It also is being accepted as orthodox by many well meaning Christians.

This book was a quick read.  It usually takes me quite a while to read a theology book, but with Todd’s sense of humor and direct approach, I was able to read it pretty quick.  If you have read some religious books and found them to be dry or slow, you won’t have this problem here.  Todd’s writing is engaging and intelligent.  Get this book and read it.  After you are done, you’ll be able to think of at least a few people you know who will need to read it as well.  I really enjoyed it and it helped me gain some needed perspective on the state of the Church, the gospel, evangelism, and what I can do to help.  You can purchase your copy from Wretched’s store, or Amazon

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