We tend to compare human volition with that of God’s. I believe this is what causes so much confusion when it comes to understanding sovereign election, and man’s culpability. We hear comments like, “If God decides who gets saved, and who doesn’t, then it doesn’t matter what I do. We are just a bunch of mindless robots.” Now we know that we are not mindless robots, and our choices have consequences. We also know from scripture that God says we are culpable for our sins. We also should know, that we as finite, cursed, creatures, can’t know perfectly the attributes of God. We can only know them as much as we are made able to know them. That isn’t to say that our knowledge is insufficient for our spiritual needs, it is simply something we must acknowledge before moving on.
I’m not going to go into great detail in this article, as I do think the subject needs deeper, and more thorough treatment. I plan on writing a larger paper, or book on the topic later. I’m only going to use a few attributes in this example. Also, please keep in mind that even though there are attributes that were communicated to us in our creation by God, making us in His image, those attributes cannot be directly compared to them as found in God, as He is incomparable, having no analogous being.
God’s will is informed by His sovereignty, omniscience, and beneficence, to only name a few of His attributes. How do you think those qualities affect His determining compared to the enslaved, ignorant, malevolently informed wills of human beings? You see, the will of man cannot be rightly compared to that of God’s. In eternity past, when God created everything out of nothing, and determined all things, He did so with perfect rights, as owner/Creator. He did so with perfect knowledge of everything in all times and places, and even of all things not constrained by space-time. Finally, He did so with perfect goodness, love, and justice, these all being informed by all of His other perfections/attributes.
When man makes a decision it is informed by his enslaved nature. He is a slave to sin unless he has been born again. Then he is a slave to Christ Jesus. Those two facts make an eternity of differences. His will is also informed by his ignorance. Man can only consider what he reasons that he knows, when making a decision. If we consider this honestly, we would admit that compared to God’s omniscience our knowledge is incomparable. They belong in different categories. Our wills cannot operate independently apart from our sinful flesh, even when we are born again, due to our residence in the unredeemed flesh.
Since these two wills operate in different conditions, one being eternal/timeless, and the other being confined to finite, unfolding time, and space, the experience of these wills is very different. I can experience the situation that requires a response, the reasoning through the known options, make a decision, and experience the consequences of my decision as they unfold in my temporal, material, experience of life as a creature. This doesn’t in any way negate the reality of God’s volition in eternity past. I, as a result of God’s will in eternity past experience my life as He has determined it.
I know this seems impossible to people. We are stuck many times trying to compare things that are not in the same categories. By looking briefly at how different the two wills are, we should be able to accept that there is an aspect of ignorance in our reasoning due to our nature as creatures, that can’t justify fully how we can have a personal volition, and that God can determine all things, without there being a conflict. Our experiences as creatures are real. We are culpable for our sins. We do make choices in the construct in which we reside. Outside of that small, finite, dark, construct exists the full, luminescent, glorious truth of God. He is sovereign, omniscient, and good. We can trust those attributes as we experience the temporal, and eternal consummation of His will.
Romans 9:6-33 (NASB Strong’s) But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants, but: “ through Isaac your descendants will be named.” That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants. For this is the word of promise: “AT this time I will come, and Sarah shall have A son.” And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac; for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, “The older will serve the younger.” Just as it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate MY power in you, and that MY name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth.” So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.
You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles. As He says also in Hosea,
“I will call those who were not MY people, ‘MY people,’
And her who was not beloved, ‘beloved.’”
“And it shall be that in the place where it was said to them, ‘you are not MY people,’
There they shall be called sons of the living God.”
Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, “Though the number of the sons of Israel be like the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that will be saved; for the Lord will execute His word on the earth, thoroughly and quickly.” And just as Isaiah foretold,
“Unless the Lord of Sabaoth had left to us A posterity,
WE would have become like Sodom, and would have resembled Gomorrah.”
What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone, just as it is written,
“Behold, I lay in Zion A stone of stumbling and A rock of offense,
And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.”
I am giving away a hardcover edition of this Bible.
The Systematic Theology Study Bible from Crossway, is a different kind of Study Bible. It isn’t really accurate to call it a reference Bible, or a Study Bible. It is technically a study Bible in the sense that it has study aids in it, but it looks more like a reference Bible with a systematic theology book blended in with it.
For my conservative paedobaptist friends, you’ll notice the notes seem to be in favor of credobaptism. For my friends who don’t believe in God’s sovereign election, you’ll notice the notes don’t agree with you.
Some people would like it if a broad range of theologians worked on this Bible, but they didn’t 🙂 It was mostly Reformed Baptists, and conservative Presbyterians, from what I gathered reading the list of men involved with writing the theology articles.
The systematic theology seems to lean towards a general Reformed position, which is good, because… well, I think it is the right position lol. 🙂 I think any person who affirms the reformed position on soteriology will be appreciative of this Bible and the articles in it. It is broad in appeal to people who are reformed. It might not get all of your more nuanced secondary, or tertiary doctrines just the way you want them, but we will all be in accord over the treatment of the primary ones. I can definitely see the Reformed Baptist position reflected in the work.
There is basically a mini systematic theology book in the back of the Bible along with some other very useful features. Here is a list of features you’ll find;
“Double-column, paragraph format
When we look at most study Bibles they either are one man’s theology, like the Ryrie, Scofield, and MacArthur, or they are a compilation of a wide range of theologies like the massive ESV, NIV, Thomas Nelson NKJV study Bibles. The last three are humongous study Bibles with a little bit of everything. The Systematic Theology Study Bible is a neat hybrid. It isn’t one man’s theology, or a broad, neither here nor there conglomeration of positions. (Excluding the ESV which does a great job.) It is from the reformed position. The theology is systematic, which means that it is harmonized. Verses are not put against verses. They are all contextually harmonious.
You’ll find book introductions and outlines before each book. You’ll also notice that the Bible looks a lot like a Cross Reference Bible. It seems to me that Crossway integrated their systematic theology features into the Bible very well. The articles are relevant to the scriptures they appear with, and are indexed in the back along with several theological articles.
This Crossway Bible was packaged well and delivered in a cardboard box. The Bible was in a two piece retail box. You should always keep the retail boxes for storing your Bibles in if you are swapping it out with another one to read for a while.
The cover is black genuine leather with a perimeter groove.
The cover is joined to the text block via case binding. The spine is sewn for superior flexibility, and durability.
If you look at the copyright page, you’ll be pleased to see this edition was printed and bound in the United States.
The main font is an easy to read 9 pt. Lexicon, and the features are an 8 pt. Gotham, printed crisply on 30 g.s.m. Apple Thin Opaque paper. The paper is smooth, and offers a decent contrast, and due to its color reduces eyestrain.
If you don’t already own one of these, you should get one. It is a times saver if you are intending to read a systematic theology book. You can kill two birds with one stone. It is available from Crossway, Amazon, or Christianbook for a very fair price.
Since you stuck around for the entire review, if you comment on this review, and ask to be in the running for the hardback copy of this Bible I will select a winner out of those who commented. Be sure to check back so I can get your mailing address. I will only mail this to an address in the U.S.
This is just a short articl
I don’t know if you are aware of this, but little ol’ Meridian Idaho had a conference November 3rd, and 4th in celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. We were blessed with presentations from Dr. Joel Beeke, President of Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary and accomplished Christian author, and Dr. Stephen Myers, Associate Professor of Historical Theology for the PhD program at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary.
The Well Church in Boise did a wonderful job of organizing and putting it on. The Valley Shepard Church of the Nazarene hosted the event in their facility. I’ve never seen so many Reformed Theology people in one place. It was very encouraging. I thought there were only like five of us in the whole state. From what I understand over 600 people registered for the conference. It looked to me like most of them showed up. Here is a picture of Dr. Beeke at the book table.
Here is the crowd at the book tables.
I met some folks, made some connections, and had a great time learning. One of the people I met was Casey Ralls. He attends the Well Church, and was recording the conference. He also sent me a link to the Youtube playlist so all of you folks who couldn’t attend, could watch the conference on Youtube. Isn’t that great? Here is the link.
Please Stop Listening To The False Teachings Of Andrew Wommack! Here is a link to the video of Andrew Wommack teaching so that you know I’m not making this stuff up. https://youtu.be/i4BARuTQ-nc
He relies on his subjective feelings which he believes are being directed by the Holy Spirit to make decisions about where in the Bible he is going to study. This removes the ability to utilize proper hermeneutics. When he does this, he can’t have the broader context needed to harmonize scripture with scripture. This mystical decision making process is abiblical.
After picking the book of Numbers to study from, he skips the importance of the genealogies because he believes them to be tedious and boring. I wonder if he knows what theopneustos means?
At about 8 minutes and 16 seconds in he claims he makes it a habit to not teach things that are new for about a year, and that he sits on them, but of course he is going to break his own rule and teach a new teaching. What does the completely revealed finished word of God have to say about new teachings?
At about the 15 minute mark Andrew starts doing what many other false teachers do, he gets a concordance out and makes a hash out of Hebrew to invent a false teaching that is not in scripture and then impose it on his listeners. He uses it to claim that God does not afflict people. I wonder if he ever heard of Pharaoh, Jonah, Job, or for that matter the curse God inflicts all of Adam’s progeny with? Just, wow!… We all know from reading the same scriptures that Andrew is twisting, that Moses is disgusted with the people, and their selfish greed, and entitled feelings. Leading them was a great burden.
20 minute mark he starts on again about getting impressions from God and just knowing things in our hearts. This is no substitute for what God actually says in His word. How does one know if the idea that popped into their thoughts was not just of their own imagining, or even worse some demon speaking to them? I know, let’s ask Muhammad, Joseph Smith, or Ellen G. White… NOT!
He keeps abusing 1 Corinthians 10:11-13. I wonder what he would tell the martyrs? Don’t worry, the lions won’t eat you, the flames won’t be that hot… Come on… The intent of God in His word where He says, “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability” in context means that you can make it through any circumstance by God’s grace. He provides a way out of sin, so that you won’t have to sin while being beheaded burned alive, cut off in traffic, being left behind by an adulterous spouse, the death of a child. You can go through these things, and by His grace, choose to not sin. It doesn’t mean bad things will never happen to you. This is insane.
This idea that the men appointed to help Moses was not from God is just more nonsense. Did not Christ have Apostles? Are the Churches to not have more than one Elder? Come on Andrew… Stop making such a hash out of scripture. You twist it like it is free. One day you’ll have to answer for all your twisting.
@ 26:50 he starts in again about suffering not being God’s will, and he is placing a tremendous works righteousness burden on the people listening to him, that he himself doesn’t even believe or perform. He preaches a, “life enhancement Christianity” that is just not true. We don’t have less suffering in our lives when we come to faith, matter of fact, we suffer for our faith, unless you don’t believe what God incarnate said in His own word. I can’t even begin to tell you how much it ticks me off to hear him talking about, “God’s best.” How does he know what is God’s best for you? We need to suffer. It is part of growing in faith. It is part of being sanctified. Again, what would this clown tell Polycarp while he was being martyred? “Oh Polycarp, you just don’t lay your burdens down on the Lord enough. You just aren’t using the faith God gave you. You need to try harder to be more spiritual like me because I don’t have any problems…” Yeah, right! Pack it in and go home Andrew before you hurt anyone else!!!
@ 30:10 Andy say, “God doesn’t put any negative things on us.” Well, God says in Isaiah 45:6,7
” 6 That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun
That there is no one besides Me.
I am the LORD, and there is no other,
7 The One forming light and creating darkness,
Causing well-being and creating calamity;
I am the LORD who does all these.”
or how about Deuteronomy 32:39,
“‘See now that I, I am He,
And there is no god besides Me;
It is I who put to death and give life.
I have wounded and it is I who heal,
And there is no one who can deliver from My hand.”
Oh and say, let’s not forget the flood, or Sodom and Gomorrah, or plagues and famines sent as discipline upon the people. Andrew’s theology is so anthropocentric it is no wonder his doctrines are so focused on life enhancement through the faith he invented. In Romans 1 we can see God’s punishment in the form of people worshiping created things. This includes anthropocentric religion as well. Romans 1:21-25 “21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.
24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” If your theology centers around man, you are an idolater.
@30:43 Wommack’s god doesn’t control any of the negative things that happen to us. His god isn’t sovereign.
So if 1 Corinthians 10 isn’t about not suffering, what is it really about? I’m glad you asked. It is about being tempted to sin against the Lord in several different ways. It is focused on the glory of God, and obedience to Him as worship. If you look at the verses in context you’ll see that, not only did God allow suffering, He caused it as punishment and discipline on His people for giving in to sin. Let’s take a look at the scripture in context. 1 Corinthians 10:1-13
” 1 For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 and all ate the same spiritual food; 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness.
6 Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved. 7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, “THE PEOPLE SAT DOWN TO EAT AND DRINK, AND STOOD UP TO PLAY.” 8 Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day. 9 Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents. 10 Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. 12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”
In verses 1-5 we see that the ones, who persevered in faith in Christ, were the ones whom God was well pleased with. The rest God was putting under discipline. Verse 6 is pretty self-explanatory. Don’t go after the sin that they went after, duh! The first group of sinners mentioned was the idolaters, then the immoral out of which God killed 23,000. Next were the ones who doubted and tried the Lord, He sent serpents to kill some of them. Then there were the grumblers, the ones who complained about God’s providence. God destroyed them with the destroyer, an angel sent to kill them in the desert. After reading all of this in addition to the verse that so often gets twisted, we can see that God is talking about sin here. In Christ, He has provided a way out for His elect. We can choose to not sin, in any given temptation because we are no longer slaves to sin, but to Christ. The Holy Spirit is in us, we are born again, made dead to sin and alive to Christ. When temptation comes, fight against it with the promise of the gospel, and a view of Christ’s sufferings on the cross on behalf of you, because of your sins. If you do that, you won’t want to add suffering to Christ so to speak, not that you could, but figuratively because as we know all of your sin, past, present, and future, was paid for over 2000 years ago by Jesus.
I watched the rest of the video and there was more and more about God telling you what to do in some mysterious way, via a word, or prompting. It was getting tedious and sickening to hear him keep burdening people with uncertainty, when the Bible is so clear. People, IF YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT GOD WANTS YOU TO DO, READ THE BIBLE!!!
@ 38:20 He talks about his skin cancer, and how he is committed to healing, so he won’t go to the doctor over it. Now you know as well as I do, even though he told other people to do what they wanted in that regard, he made it sound like he was superior and the example, because he is committed to healing. Obviously if they decided to go to the doctor, they must not be. This is spiritual malpractice. He could be costing people their health with this pernicious nonsense.
He then goes on to tell people they have created their financial burdens themselves. I agree that some people have, but what about medical hardships that cause financial hardships, oh wait… That’s your fault to for not being committed to healing. Silly me…
If this one lesson didn’t offer enough health and prosperity false gospel for you, don’t worry… He has many more available on youtube for me and others like me to correct. Please take care, and read your Bible. I agree with Andrew on that. Read your Bible apart from his teachings. Systematically study it from beginning to end. If you do that, and still agree with Wommack, I pray the Holy Spirit will correct you. Here is some more on Wommack.
Who is surprised over the lost world’s response to the Nashville Statement? I’m not. I don’t believe any of the signers are surprised either. The liberal, “Christians” are shocked and surprised by the Nashville Statement. I don’t know why they are so shocked. It isn’t like we changed our tune. We’ve been affirming scripture over culture all along. As is often the case with liberals, it boils down to the redefinition of words.
It is almost like they have a different religion than we do… They call themselves, “Christians” yet they deny the authority of scripture. (Think God’s Word is wrong.) They say silly things like, “The table is a little bigger than that.” “The path is broader than you think.” “God’s love trumps theology.” “Love is love.” You get the idea. None of it is biblical. When you remind them that, (Matt 7:13, 14) “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” they insist that their feelings about God’s love trump what the scripture actually says. They say, “My God isn’t as small and black and white as the way you understand her/him/x to be.”
I talked with one who claims the Bible says nothing about homosexuality being a sin. When confronted with scripture from the Old Testament, he denies it and claims we are under a new Covenant. We are in a New Covenant, but the scripture from the Old Testament is pertinent. It demonstrates what God says about homosexuality. God is immutable. He doesn’t change. What was sin years ago is still sin.
So with that argument dismissed by the liberal, I moved to the New Testament. I cited scripture where homosexuality is listed along with other sins making it evident that it is included as sin. The liberal dismissed this as an interpretation problem on my behalf. He insisted that this is only about homosexual sex outside of marriage and that homosexuals at that time were being married in the Church and that their union was not sinful. When I asked him how he got there from what the scripture says, his response was less about scripture and more about how his view is from our modern context, and love. He also presumed to imagine how he though Jesus would respond now.
It is evident that liberal Christianity is just a redefining of the word, “Christian.” It isn’t Christian at all. They may claim Jesus as their savior, but they don’t really trust or believe Him. They deny His word, and they deny Him the ability and authority to define what sin is. They reserve for themselves the ability to define what sin is and is not. If you don’t know what sin is, how can you truly repent? If you don’t see yourself as a sinner, why would you want a Savior?
At the end of the day, don’t be alarmed by your liberal family, or friend’s response to the Nashville Statement. Understand that they are more than likely still in the dark and lost. Try to correct them from scripture. Pray for them. Don’t be swayed from the truth by their strange arguments. Even if their arguments manipulate your emotions remember, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Trust God’s word, not your feelings.