The Systematic Theology Study Bible from Crossway, in E.S.V. Black Genuine Leather, and the Hardcover Edition.

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I am giving away a hardcover edition of this Bible.

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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.

Contributors:

  • Gregg Allison
  • Bruce Ashford
  • Gerald Bray
  • Bryan Chapell
  • Graham Cole
  • David Dockery
  • John Frame
  • Michael Horton
  • Kelly Kapic
  • Michael Kruger
  • Robert Letham
  • Donald Macleod
  • Chris Morgan
  • Stephen Nichols
  • J. I. Packer
  • Michael Reeves
  • Fred Sanders
  • Sam Storms
  • Scott Swain
  • Stephen Wellum
  • David Wells

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

  • Footnotes
  • Book intros
  • Topical index of sidebars
  • Cross-references
  • 400+ doctrinal summaries explaining core doctrines and connecting them to specific Bible passages
  • 25+ longer articles on key theological topics
  • Lifetime guarantee on leather and TruTone editions
  • Smyth-sewn binding
  • Packaging: J-Card (Hardcover); Box (Genuine Leather and TruTone)”

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.

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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.
DSCN6639 The cover is black genuine leather with a perimeter groove.  DSCN6641

DSCN6644 The spine is decorated with the ESV logo at the top, then, “Systematic Theology Study Bible.”  English Standard Version at the bottom, with Crossway’s logo hot stamped in gold colored foil.  DSCN6642

The page edges are also gold gilt.  There are yellow and black, head and tail bands, and one black ribbon marker.
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The cover is joined to the text block via case binding.  The spine is sewn for superior flexibility, and durability.

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In the front of the Bible there is a presentation page, and some family records pages.
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If you look at the copyright page, you’ll be pleased to see this edition was printed and bound in the United States.

DSCN6655 The book introductions are well done. I found them to be informative, and concise, but not to a fault. DSCN6662

DSCN6663 Cross references and footnotes, along with the systematic theology articles are found at the bottom of the page to save space. The text is laid out in a double column, paragraph format. DSCN6664

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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.

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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.
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ISBN-13: 9781433553394

A Short Article on Christology.

 

  1. The Son always was.  His being never, not existed as the eternal Son, the second personage of the one triune God. The Son is not a created being.  He did not come into existence.  He has always been. (Eternality of the Son)
  2. Everything that exists, exists because it was brought into existence by the preincarnate Christ Jesus.  He was not diminished by creating.  He created everything out of nothing. (Ex nihilo)
  3. The Son needs nothing that He doesn’t already poses in the Godhead.  His being is not predicated on any other external sources, or origins. (Aseity of God)
  4. The incarnation was the joining of the nature of God with the nature of man, except the fallen nature that is a slave to sin.  This was accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit, forming a body inside Mary, for Christ Jesus.  The two natures were perfectly joined without mingling their essences in what is called by theologians the, “hypostatic union.”  This was necessary for Christ to be our stand in, substitute for the punishment of sin, and so that it could be accomplished.  A mere man would have died after tasting the slightest moment of the wrath of God, which he so justly deserves.  This is why Jesus had to be God.  Colossians 2:9, “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,”  He had to be a man because God is eternal and immutable.  God does not die, nor does He change.  If Christ were solely God, He could not have died for our sins, nor could He have experienced the wrath of God. (Incarnation, Kenosis, Hypostatic Union, Penal Substitutionary Atonement, & Immutablity)
  5. Jesus never sinned.  He obeyed all of God’s will, because He is God.  He was, and is righteous. (Righteousness of Christ, God incarnate)
  6. Jesus not only took our place, and punishment, He was punished as if He had committed all of the sins that we are guilty of.
  7. Jesus is our righteousness.  If a person will repent from their sins, and believe in the work of Christ to atone for their sins on the cross, then His righteousness is imputed to them.  They are seen by God to possess the righteousness of the Son. (Imputed Righteousness)
  8. Jesus fulfills the prophecies of scripture in regards to Himself, the Messiah.
  9. The Bible is called the word of God.  In the Old and New Testaments we read that Word of God is also referred to as the second person of the Trinity, the eternal Son, the Christ Jesus. We also read that the Word was made flesh.  Jesus quotes His words from the Old Testament, in His rebukes and arguments, recorded in the New Testament.  All of the Bible is theopneustos, (θεόπνευστος) or God breathed.  It is the mind of Christ that we may know Him, by the illumining of the Spirit, according to the Father’s will.
  10. The Son condescended from the majesty of Heaven, to Earth and a joining of Himself in the man Jesus, at the incarnation.  He demonstrated humility by humbly uniting Himself at the incarnation in the form of man and becoming a servant. (Kenosis)
  11. Jesus, as the God/Man was truly tempted.  He was also assailed by Satan.  Satan through every temptation he could at Jesus to entice Him to sin.  Jesus did not sin.  Under all of that stress, He remained sinless. (Impeccability of Christ)
  12. Christ ultimately died, after He completely paid for all of the sin of those who would be saved.  He experienced death, and was buried. He is man.
  13. Christ was resurrected back to life.  He laid it down voluntarily, and picked it up again by His own power.  He is God.
  14. Christ ascended and was exalted.  He makes intercession for us now with the Father.  He functions as our one and only Priest.  That is why we have no human Priests. He is our one and only Prophet, who gave us the scriptures.  He is our King, who rules us.  We must submit to Him.
  15. Jesus will return to conquer the forces of satan once and for all.  He is a conquering warrior King who returns in glory.

This is just a short articl

The Reformation 500 Conference in Meridian, Idaho.

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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.
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Here is the crowd at the book tables.

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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.

False Teacher Andrew Wommack (Whoa Mac!) Really, Stop! Stop Teaching Heresy!

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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?

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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.

The Will of Man, Transcendent God, and Unfolding Time.

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I know many people have a difficult time understanding how God could have already made everything in our futures a reality without violating our will, or making Himself ultimately guilty for what we do. Just like many of the theological problems we have, I think this also comes from our finite nature as well as being under the noetic effect of sin. I would like to explain how it could be that God has ordained or determined everything in eternity, and we remain culpable for our sin. Remember, this is just one way I think it could be. I am not certain, but it does seem reasonable to me.

We live in space-time. We experience life instance to instance, moment to moment like a line drawn through and connecting many drops of water on a surface. The drops are moments in our lives. The drops ahead are truly there. They are actual, but not yet realized by us. As such, there is truly only one path, not many. There are not infinite numbers of alternate realities, only one actual one not yet realized by us as creatures moving through space and time.

As we pass from one instance to the next, the two are connected. We have lived and are living in a seemingly linear progression to the grave. Once we die we stop experiencing time in this fashion. We move from these many instances to one infinite instance, an age without time, eternity with God. God is the Creator of time. He transcends time, and is not bound by it the way we are as creatures. For us time is an unfolding progressive revelation of what is already actual. For God I think that in eternity He has already done everything. The future, our futures are determined. We don’t experience life that way here in the material world, but in eternity it is fixed.

Think about God’s word and prophecy. When an Old Testament prophet spoke, he said, “Thus sayeth the Lord.” Then, the prophecy came. Some of us might think that when that was happening the prophet was merely telling the future. In a sense he was telling the future, but more accurately he was telling us what God had already determined in eternity about our linear experience of life bound by space and time. Since the Bible is completely revealed to us, and Christ is the word incarnate, we no longer have prophets that speak new things to us. A modern prophet quotes the Bible out loud to people.

Our experience is one where we make choices in keeping with our natures connected to each instance in space-time. When we are fearful of the future, we are saying that we don’t trust God to get it the way we want it. We should be thinking about how we can glorify God in each moment that He has already made actual when we experience it. We experience thinking about what choices to make, what the consequences could be, what the rewards of our choice could bring, and we make decisions, as well as experience the consequences of those decisions.

God is not surprised at all by our decisions or the results. He has every person who has ever lived, all their instances, all of yours and mine, from past, present, and future, all woven together in His sovereign will to work out for good. If we trust that God is truly good, and truly sovereign, and realize how sinful we are contrasted to His holiness, then we can start to see that His will is the best.

The fuller truth about our volitions is that transcendentally they are working according to God’s sovereign decrees and ordinances. The creaturely experience of an unfolding space-time is limiting and useful for God’s purposes. In it, He gives us one moment to the next to learn about ourselves, the world, Him, His gospel, and His elect will respond to the gospel. In the limits He has set for us, we grow and are sanctified. It is a process He determined to use, and is good.

So trust the one true good and sovereign God with your future. Make your decisions, and experience the results, but don’t unhinge your culpability to blame God for your experiences. It is not a paradox to use your will, but ultimately have your will predetermined in eternity. It is only paradoxical if you have a lower view of God, and your own sin.

Let’s face it, our wills are the problem. Our goal is to become more like Christ. I’ve sorrowed over my sins, and truly asked God to replace my wicked will with His so that I no longer desire sin. In eternity when we have our glorified bodies, we won’t sin. Does that mean our wills will be replaced with a Godly one? What would that look like? You can find out. If you haven’t already, repent of your sins. Trust the work of Jesus who while on the cross made atonement for the sins of the elect. He finished the work there and justified those He was saving to God. Repent and believe.

Ever Wanted to Ask a Lutheran Some Questions? Now’s Your Chance.

Daniel Landin

Hello everyone, I’d like to introduce you all to Daniel Landin. He is a Pastor of a Lutheran Church. I’ve asked him to participate in some question and answer format interactions for the purpose of learning more about each other’s respective Churches, and theological positions, as well as for his insight into some particularly Lutheran things. Feel free to send me your questions.  I will select a some to ask Daniel in a future article.  Before we get started, Daniel could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Q. Where did you grow up?

A. I was born in Pittsburgh, PA and grew up on a small family farm in the awesome little town of Sugar Grove, PA, right on the NY-PA border.

Q. Were you raised in a Christian home?

A. Yes. God has blessed me beyond belief to have been born into a family with a rich Christian heritage. My family on my father’s side immigrated from Sweden in the 1870s and brought with them their huge family Bible which resides in my parents’ dining room to this day. Faith in Jesus Christ has played a huge role in my family’s life and continues to do so.

Q. Could you share your testimony with us?

A. I truly cannot remember a time when I did not have faith in and a love for Jesus Christ. As I stated in the previous answer, I was born into a Christian home and was blessed to be raised by two loving Christian parents. I did pray many various “prayers of salvation” during my childhood and adolescent years, so I won’t pinpoint a specific day of conversion on any of those. I believe that I have had faith in Christ from before the time that I have any memories of something different.

I’ve always had a strong interest in the Bible and learning more and more about who God is and how God has interacted with people from the very beginning. My grandfather and great uncle were both the same way and loved discussing various doctrines, theologies, and passages from scripture and I would try my best to interject and converse with them, even when I was around eight or nine years old. I’ve also always had a strong interest in history, so that interest coupled with a love for Christ and the Bible drew me into many times of deep study. My love for Christ and his Word led me to get my college degree in biblical studies and I was blessed to also be able to go through seminary as well.

I did go through a rough time during high school meeting many crises of faith including the death of my grandmother from lung cancer and my own fall into sexual sin with my girlfriend at the time. I dealt with some serious depression because of all the negatives from that year and because I bought into Satan’s lie that, since I had fallen into that specific sin, I had ruined all chances of ever being married to a Godly Christian woman. Due to my depression, which I hid from everyone I knew, I contemplated suicide many times until the day I held a revolver in my hand. By the grace of God, I felt a rush of God’s love at that moment and, whether it was audible or only in my spirit, I heard God saying, “Stop! I love you. You have so much more to live for. Trust in me!” From that point on, I thank God for not only saving me from death and hell, but also saving my life at that point.

There have been many people who have been influential in my life and in my walk of faith. Most important over the past thirteen years has been my wife Stephanie. Her own faith and her love and encouragement have had a large impact on me. A large part of that was experienced the day I confessed my past transgressions and she immediately said, “I forgive you, because Jesus has already forgiven you!” That was an amazing moment for the two of us, but especially for me to experience the love of Christ through her selfless forgiveness. It has been a special thing to live this life of faith with her.

Q. How did you meet your Wife?

A. We met in high school choir of all places! I was a senior and she was a sophomore. We started dating that year and maintained a long-distance relationship during the next three years while she finished high school and did a year of community college before joining me at Roberts Wesleyan College.

Q. How long have you been married?

A. We got married the summer after I graduated from Roberts Wesleyan College in 2009 and we just celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary this week on August 1st. We have been blessed with three boys aged 4, 2, and 1 and we have a fourth waiting for us in heaven.

Q. What changes have you undergone in your faith since your conversion?

A. Quite a few I would say! I grew up in the Evangelical Covenant Church, the denomination my family has been a part of for over a hundred years. One of the main emphases of that denomination is on the supremacy of scripture. We were taught that the Bible is the only perfect rule for faith, doctrine, and conduct and to ask the question, “Where is it written?” while working through various issues in life and faith. I went to a Free Methodist college and met people from many different faith traditions and that opened up my view of the church quite a bit. There were many issues I saw as closed issues, but as I read and studied throughout my college and seminary years, I have shifted on some theological issues which now separate me from the church of my childhood and youth. Some of the issues, without delving into the changes at the moment, were on creation, the sacraments, and eschatology. One thing that has never changed, though, is my dependence on Jesus Christ in all things. I’ve clung to Proverbs 3:5-6 from that depressing phase of life in high school even up to this day. My hope is in Jesus Christ!

Q. How long have you been a Pastor?

A. I have been a pastor now for over five years. My first call into pastoral ministry was in the United Methodist Church. I served there for just a few days short of three and a half years and now serve in a Lutheran Church. Looking back on my life and my journey of becoming a pastor, I can say that I would have never chosen the path that God has led me on. I knew that God was calling me to be a pastor from a very young age and had plans to be a pastor in the denomination that I grew up in, but that was not what God had planned for me. I am thankful to be where I am and to know that it is right where the Holy Spirit desires for me to be!

Q. How long have you been a Lutheran Pastor?

A. I have been a Lutheran Pastor for a year and seven months so far!