Tag Archives: Doctrine

There Is a Robust Response to Calvinism (IF You’ll Listen)

Many of you are Calvinists. I’m not.

Unfortunately, many think that there are no good arguments supporting a traditionalist view. Honestly, even many in my own denomination (SBC) have belittled and mocked the intelligence of those like myself for having not yet been enlightened by the “doctrines of grace.”

Let me put it this way, I know pastors who are more Calvinistic than John Calvin’s signature. These guys can get borderline contentious if you even suggest that Romans 9 and Ephesians 1 might not mean what they think it means (“inconceivable!”). To disagree with their interpretations is akin to attacking their tulip garden with a weed eater – they don’t like it.

However, I have attached video which offers a robust and biblical argument against the doctrine of reprobation as argued from Romans 9.  I am not posting this to start a debate or argument. My purpose is to offer you another perspective of which you may not have heard.

Believe it or not, there are intelligent Bible scholars out there whose names don’t end with Piper, Keller, or Dever 😉 The only thing is that you must be willing to listen.

Just food for thought.

For further reading, below is a link to the article by Dr. Eric Hankins that is the subject of this video. It was originally published in the Journal of Baptist Theology & Ministry

https://soteriology101.com/2018/04/09/romans-9-and-the-calvinist-doctrine-of-reprobation/

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Filed under Preaching, salvation, Theology

I Agree With “Clint Eastwood”

Sure, I don’t mind tackling controversial topics every now and then.

And when it comes to worship music, I’m a little more willing than normal to dive into the controversial pond.

Why?

Because Paul wrote to Timothy and Titus:

“Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them … For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine…” (2 Timothy 4:3a; 1 Timothy 4:16a)
“[Hold] fast the faithful word as [you] hath been taught, that [you] may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.” (Titus 1:9)
“[Speak] thou the things which become sound doctrine:” (Titus 2:1)

And Jude wrote:

“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort [you] that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”  (Jude 1:3)

Therefore, I couldn’t help but laugh and say “AMEN!” when I watched the video below.

Folks, I love music of all kinds, but when it comes to worship music – the kind we sing in the “congregation” – the words should be weighty with meaning and do more than make us feel good; they should contain sound doctrine and be able to exhort and convince.

So, I think I can say that I agree with “Clint Eastwood” on this, but I especially like the way he says it.

Yet, I’ll try to avoid telling our Music Director, “Go ahead, punk, play Oceans.”

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Distinctions Worth Noting

This morning I came across a quote I posted to Facebook several years ago. Being Sunday morning, and being that I am a Baptist pastor, this is a great quote from a theologian with Chattanooga roots, Dr. Timothy George. And to think, we actually attended the same school 🙂

“The Baptist tradition finds a place within this narrative as a distinctive reform movement within the wider evangelical renewal, a reform within the reform, so to say. Baptists are indeed heirs of the Reformation, but they are not, nor have they ever been, mere clones of Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, the Anabaptists, or anyone else. For Baptists, the great doctrines of the Reformation were refracted through the prism of persecution and dissent which informed their intense advocacy of religious freedom and, especially in the American setting, the separation of church and state (which does not equal the divorce of religion from public life). With all true Christians, Baptists profess loyalty to Jesus Christ the Lord, the eternal Son of the heavenly Father who “for us and our salvation” became man. He died for our sins on a cross, rose triumphantly over death, ascended to the Father, and one day will come again in power and glory. In the meantime, he still reigns, rules, and redeems through the Holy Spirit.” – Timothy George

The Body of Christ (the Church) has many members, each distinct in its own way. I just felt these distinctions were worth noting.

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Guest-Post Gamble

As most of you know, I have been making use of guest posts for the last several weeks in order to free up some time during preparation for a move. For the most part, all of the posts submitted by guest authors have been well-written pieces with acceptable content (content that doesn’t conflict with my personal beliefs).

However, just the other day I received a guest post from a blogger friend who has a different take on a particular teaching. His view is that the gift of speaking in tongues (languages unknown to the speaker), as mentioned in the books of Acts and 1 Corinthians, is still applicable and important for verifying the validity of one’s personal faith.

But here’s the thing: I don’t believe that. Shocker?

So, I had a discussion with the contributor of the post and stated that if I published his work without any clarification, there might be some confusion and unwanted repercussions.  Essentially, to publish his post without a caveat would be a big gamble on my part.

Therefore, I have decided to try something… a guest post open discussion on the topic of speaking in tongues.

Loose Your Tongues

Let us have a discussion on the topic of glossalalia (i.e., “speaking in tongues”) within the church. If you have a particular view, why not share it? The only thing I will not permit is attacking each other.

The first post on the topic is going to be the one submitted by David Fuller: “Tongues and the Church Today.” David is not a cessasionist (cessationist = one who believes the gift of tongues has ceased), consequently he will be arguing that the gift of tongues is still alive and well, even under-used.

The next post will come from me, and that post will be a treatment of 1 Corinthians 14:4, the verse where Paul talks about self-edification. That post will be argued from the perspective of a near cessasionist (nearly 100%, but not quite…more like 98%). I’ve yet to write it, but it will be done soon.

After that, I would love to publish more posts from other bloggers willing to enter the discussion. All I ask is that you focus on good scholarship to support your understanding, not attacks on those with different beliefs. The posts will publish as regularly as you submit them.

How This Fits My Blog

You might be wondering, “Why do this?” I mean, why bring up a topic with so much potential for hurting feelings or exposing differences and inconsistencies within the Church? Well, the answer is pretty simple.

  • We don’t all have to agree on secondary issues to be family
  • Open and honest dialogue helps to clear up confusion, not create it.
  • Atheists use our differences to bolster their argument against Christianity; therefore, it benefits the Church and the Gospel to demonstrate how followers of Christ can differ on certain non-essential doctrines and still remain connected by the fundamental and primary doctrines of the faith.
  • An open discussion of this topic will help to combat the legalistic tendencies we all have to lessen the spirituality of others as we judge them through the lenses of our own particular beliefs.

A Challenging Challenge

So, before I publish the first post in this open-ended series, let me issue a challenge to you all (or y’all, if you’re here in the South). When you submit your views on the subject/doctrine of speaking in tongues, remember to exhibit grace.

For example, if you don’t believe the gift of tongues is still in effect, that’s fine, but try to find a way to say something positive about those with whom you disagree. The goal of this series of posts is not to offend, but to build up and encourage each other as we seek to better understand Scripture.

If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. – Philippians 2:1-2

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Filed under Bible Study, blogging, Christian Unity, Guest Posts, legalism, Theology

Scriptural Unity Isn’t Based On Doctrine?

While going through the list of blog posts I never published, I came across this timely piece from all the way back in March of 2012. So, with some minor modifications, I will now bring it to life after five long years in the the “Draft” folder 🙂


Did he really say that? 

In today’s edition of his online devotional (3/23/2012), Kenneth Copeland said the following:

“What they don’t realize is this: scriptural unity isn’t based on doctrine…Winds of doctrine, according to Ephesians 4:14, are childish. Winds of doctrine don’t unify. They divide and blow people in every direction. The Word doesn’t say anything about us coming into the unity of our doctrines. It says we’ll come into the unity of the faith.” – Kenneth Copeland

In a Facebook post, a friend of mine referenced the above devotional. The part that encouraged him was the suggestion that Christians should unify around our faith and not be separated by insignificant differences. However, doctrine is NOT insignificant! Rather, it’s absolutely crucial to true unity.

Sadly, Copeland portrayed “doctrine” as what divides the Church. Referencing Ephesians 4:14, he equated doctrinal differences with childish man-made doctrines. He took the verse out of context to say (paraphrasing), “Hey, don’t worry about doctrine, our unity is not based on doctrine; only worry about the unity of the faith.” For some reason, however, the Apostle Paul seems to disagree with Copland…

Romans 16:17 – Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

1 Timothy 4:6, 13, and 16 – If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. (13) Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. (16) Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

If doctrine is not important, does that mean that we can unify with anyone? What if their doctrine says that we are all gods; that we can command God to answer our prayers; or that our very own words can literally create what we will, just as long as we have faith in our own words? …um, in case you didn’t know, that’s what Kenneth Copeland teaches.

Believe me, I’m all for genuine, biblical unity that crosses denominational boundaries and man-made, legalistic standards. Non-essentials have for too long kept the family of God separated and at odds with each other. But what about the essential doctrines of the faith?

Do we throw all doctrine out the window for the sake of unity?

No! Absolutely not.

Besides, even if I did become unified with the teachings of Kenneth Copeland, I doubt he’d let me ride in his jet.

Click here to view previous post on The Doctrine of Separation.

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“Why in the Church?”

As I Promised

This past Sunday afternoon (March 5, 2017) I promised those watching me on Facebook Live (“Sunday Morning Recap”) that I would post the outline/handout I used and shared Sunday morning in the church service at South Soddy Baptist.

Because I am new at South Soddy Baptist Church, and because we are essentially starting from the ground level, I thought it beneficial to do a Vince Lombardi-like sermon, something like “Gentleman, this is a football.”

The idea was to assume no one knew, or at least they had not recently thought about, some very basic features of the local church. Sort of like asking “What in the world?” I called this message “Why in the Church?”

I might take the points of this little handout and develop them further as individual posts here on the blog. Would that be beneficial or interesting to any of you?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

The Outline

“Why in the Church?”

Church

  • Body of Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23 and 4:15-16; Rom. 8:9) See also Jesus’ conversation with Paul (Acts 9:4)
  • Ecclesia: defined as “an assembly” or “called-out ones.”
  • The Universal Church (1 Corinthians 12:13)
  • The Local Church (Galatians 1:1-2)

Building

  • We should not neglect gathering together (Hebrew 10:25).
  • Why not just a house, or “home church”?
    • See: Acts 2:46 and 20:20.
    • Accountable leadership (Titus 1:5-9; 1 Timothy 3).
  • What is to take place, wherever one meets: Acts 2:42; 1 Corinthians 16:2; 1 Timothy 4:13; 2 Timothy 4:2.

Singing

  • Enter into His presence with thanksgiving and praise (Psalm 100:4).
  • Songs should teach, admonish, and ultimately be directed to the Lord (Colossians 3:16-17)

Prayer

  • House of Prayer (See: Luke 19:46 and Isaiah 56:7. Also, Acts 2:42)

Pulpit

  • Bema – possible influence
  • “Pulpit of Ezra” (Nehemiah 8:4-5)
    • מִגְדָּל migdal (Strong’s H4026): a tower, or castle
      • Migdal-eder (mig·dal’·ā’·der) = “tower of the flock”
        • a shepherd’s watchtower near Bethlehem (Micah 4:8)

Altar

  • “Mourner’s bench,” 19th-20th century crusades
  • Place of Sacrifice – pride
  • Place of Commitment; when people ask (Joshua 4:6,21)

Invitation

  • Urgency – Today is the day (2 Corinthians 6:2 and Isaiah 49:8)
  • If you will confess me before men, I will confess you before my Father (Matthew 10:32)

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Divine Irreconcilabilty

The doctrine of divine irreconcilability is the point where the sovereignty of God and the free will of man meet in the light of the glory of the Gospel.  – A. Baker

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Filed under Christian Unity, God, Theology