Saturday, August 29, 2009

Boettner's Reformed Doctrine of Predestination


Much of what I know about the doctrines of grace (i.e. Calvinism) I learned from a guy with a girl's name. Loraine Boettner is a gem, and has written a very helpful book on Calvinism called the Reformed Doctrine of Predestination. You can read it for free here.

Here are a few quotes to whet your whistle:
The purpose of this book is not to set forth a new system of theological thought, but to give a re-statement to that great system which is known as the Reformed Faith or Calvinism, and to show that this is beyond all doubt the teaching of the Bible and of reason. ...

The tremendous influence which this doctrine has exerted in the history of Europe and America should at least entitle it to a respectful hearing. Furthermore, we submit that according to all the laws of reason and logic a person has no right to deny the truth of a doctrine without first having studied in an unprejudiced manner the evidence on both sides. This is a doctrine which deals with some of the most profound truths revealed in Scripture and it will abundantly repay careful study on the part of Christian people. If any are disposed to reject it without first making a careful study of its claims, let them not forget that it has commanded the firm belief of multitudes of the wisest and best men that have ever lived, and that there must, therefore, be strong reasons in favor of its truth. ...

The book is sent forth with the hope that those who profess to hold the Reformed Faith may have a better understanding of the great truths which are here treated and may value their heritage more highly; and that those who have not known this system, or who have opposed it, may be convinced of its truth and come to love it. ...

The question which faces us then, is, Has God from all eternity foreordained all things which come to pass? If so, what evidence do we have to that effect. and how is the fact consistent with the free agency of rational creatures and with His own perfections?
As a side note, Boettner includes a quote about Sir Isaac Newton, which helps to explain why this doctrine bears Calvin's name:

We call this system of doctrine "Calvinism," and accept the term "Calvinist" as our badge of honor; yet names are mere conveniences. "We might," says Warburton, "quite as appropriately, and with equally as much reason, call gravitation 'Newtonism,' because the principles of gravitation were first dearly demonstrated by the great philosopher Newton. Men had been fully conversant with the facts of gravitation for long ages before Newton was born. These facts had indeed been visible from the first days of creation, inasmuch as gravitation was one of the laws which God ordained for the governing of the universe. But the principles of gravitation were not fully known, and the far-reaching effects of its power and influence were not understood until they were discovered by Sir Isaac Newton. So, too, was it with what men call Calvinism. The inherent principles of it had been in existence for long ages before Calvin was born. They had indeed been visible as patent factors in the world's history from the time of man's creation. But inasmuch as it was Calvin who first formulated these principles into a more or less complete system, that system, or creed, if you will, and likewise those principles which are embodied in it, came to bear his name."
This is a great resource to tackle if you are truly interested in examining the validity of Calvinism.

**UPDATE: Since posting this, a friend shared this other work by Beottner, The Reformed Faith. It is quite a bit shorter but also very helpful in coming to grips with God's sovereignty in salvation**

Friday, August 28, 2009

Religous but lost, to saved by God's Grace at 71

After living a self-righteousness religious life Richard was saved by God's Grace at 71 years old.


HT:Thanks Ryan!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Call for Prayer for Jared and Sudan

I felt led to share this letter. Jared Chasteen has ties to my church (Countryside) as his parents and siblings go there. The Lord has increasingly used this young man in the last couple of years. He is passionate about sharing the Gospel and has been faithful with opportunities to teach evangeslism in the youth group and Singles Ministry at LBC. He also serves in the book store there, where he has played a major role in stocking the shelves with quality Christian books. Jared has written many articles to help people discern between the good books and the junk.

I'm excited to see what the Lord has in mind for Jared and his family in the years to come. Please prayerfully consider supporting him on this trip, in your prayers-or even financially-as the Lord leads. Be praying also for the nation of Sudan (read more here).

Dear Friends and Family,

I pray that you all are well. This has been an exciting year for me. It has been a joy to watch my baby girl (Emma) grow into a little toddler as she celebrated her first birthday in June. She is also going to be a big sister as April and I are expecting our second child in January, if you hadn't already heard. On top of that, God has provided several opportunities for me to get involved in different ministries in our church, the most exciting of which is why I am writing:

God has opened the door for me to go on a short-term mission trip to southern Sudan with Lenexa Baptist Church, November 10-21. While in Sudan we will be working alongside e3 Partners Ministry as we seek to equip believers to evangelize the lost to establish reproducing churches (check out their website at www.e3sudan.com – God is using them to do some incredible things in Sudan). This area is four years removed from a two decade long civil war, during which time an estimated four million people were left homeless, another two million killed and starvation and malnutrition became commonplace. The lack of investment during this time meant a whole generation lost access to basic health services, education, and jobs. The United Nations has just recently declared southern Sudan one of the most underdeveloped regions in the world. In terms of people groups, it is also considered to be the third most unreached country in the world. A Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed in 2005, but it is set to end in 2011, so there is a short window of opportunity to reach the people of southern Sudan with the Gospel. What an incredible opportunity!

Will you prayerfully consider being an integral part of what God is doing in southern Sudan? First and most importantly, we need your prayers. Pray that God would work in the lives and hearts of the Sudanese people. Also, pray that God would use our team to help plant Biblically based churches in the region. Second, your help is also needed to help cover part of my cost for this trip. The total cost is $3,750 per person. This is almost entirely travel costs as it is very difficult to get into this part of Sudan. Half of this amount is due September 1st and the rest is due October 1st, so time is short, but I know God will provide. In order for a trip like this to occur it requires a full church body effort not only of those who are willing to go, but of those who God enables to sacrificially give. Will you please pray about partnering together with me and through God’s grace in the Gospel make a lasting impact in an area that has long been neglected?

If God leads you to financially contribute, you have a couple of options. If you want to pay by check, please make your check payable to “e3 Partners Ministry” and return it to the following address:

e3 Partners Ministry c/o Finance

600 Development Dr., Ste. 120

Plano, TX 75074

In the note field of the check write my name as well as the five character code “SD09G.”

If you prefer, you can also give online:

https://www.e3partners.org/pages/page.asp?page_id=30189

In the Donation Information Section at the bottom of the screen, you need to choose “I’d like to give to a Team Member,” then type in my name and the five character code “SD09G.”

e3 Partners will then send you a tax receipt.

Thank you so much for praying about being part of our team. If you have any questions about what exactly we will be doing and where we will be going, I would love to tell you what I can. Please don’t hesitate to ask. Feel free to email me (jared.chasteen@att.net) or call me (913-390-6292). Again, thank you for partnering with me for the advancement of the Gospel in whatever way you God enables you (Philippians 1:2-6). I will be praying for you.

Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God alone!),

Jared Chasteen

1 Peter 4:11

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Free GTY book offer - safe in the arms of God


My wife and I were comforted immensely by 'Safe in the Arms of God - Truth from Heaven about the Death of a Child', after we lost a baby to miscarriage. GTY is offering Safe in the Arms of God free to anyone who would like a copy. Click here to get your free copy.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Recommended Reading

At work I get to enjoy the fellowship of believers through a Bible Study employee network group. Someone recently suggested we make a 'recommended reading' list available on our intranet sight. Below are the books we recommend, most of which are available to borrow.

Please get your hand on these and be blessed by these godly teachers. Some of the books are also available for free online. The complete list is in a spreadsheet here, along with hyperlinks to many online resources.

Between myself and a friend in the BSG, we own most of these books. We are making them available to those in our group who might want to borrow them. Please let me know if you would like to check out a book from this informal library as well, and we'll try to get that to you.

Adoption
Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families & Churches, Moore, Russel D.

Apologetics
Always Ready: Directions for Defending the Faith, Greg Bahnsen
Darwin on Trial, Johnson, Philip E.

Bible Study
Knowing Scripture, Sproul, R.C.
One True God, 3rd ed, Washer, Paul

Christian Living
Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God's Will, DeYoung, Kevin
Stop Dating the Church: Fall in Love with the Family of God, Harris, Joshua
Keys to Spiritual Growth, MacArthur, John
Think Biblically!: Recovering a Christian Worldview, MacArthur, John
What Jesus Demands of the World, Piper, John
Five Things to Help you Grow, Sproul, R.C.
Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, Whitney, Donald S

Classics
Confessions, Augustine
Pilgrim's Progress, Bunyan, John
Freedom of the Will, Edwards, Jonathan
Religious Affections, Edwards, Jonathan
Mere Christianity, Lewis, C.S.
Bondage of the Will, Luther, Martin

Devotionals
Morning and Evening, Spurgeon, Charles
Valley of Vision, Puritan writers

Election
The Potter's Freedom, White, James

Evangelism
The Gospel and Personal Evangelism, Dever, Mark
Share Jesus Without Fear, Fay, Bill
Evangelism & The Sovereignty of God, Packer, J.I.

Finance
The Treasure Principle, Alcorn, Randy
A Brief Account of the Life and Labors of George Muller/George Muller on Money and Possessions, Mrs. Muller

Theology
Heaven, Alcorn, Randy
Going Under: Discussions on Baptism, Elliff, Jim
Systematic Theology, Grudem, Wayne
Foundations of the Christian Faith, James Boice
Dangerous Duty of Delight, The, MacArthur, John
Knowing God, Packer, J.I.
Desiring God, Piper, John
Don't Waste Your Life, Piper, John
Pleasures of God, The, Piper, John
Holiness of God, Sproul, R.C.
The Cross of Christ, Stott, John R.W.

The Gospel
Today's Gospel: Authentic or Synthetic, Chantry, Walter J.
Pursuing God, Elliff, Jim
Justification and Regeneration, Leiter, Charles
Ashamed of the Gospel, MacArthur, John
The Gospel According to Jesus, MacArthur, John
Living the Cross-Centered Life, Mahaney, C.J.
God is the Gospel, Piper, John
All of Grace, Spurgeon, Charles

Missions
For the Sake of His Name, David M. Doran
Let the Nations Be Glad!, Piper, John

Parenting
Shepherding a Child's Heart, Tripp, Ted

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

JC is not PC - John MacArthur article in the Washington Post

John MacArthur addresses the public square with powerful truth from God's Word:

Let's be brutally honest: most of Jesus' teaching is completely out of sync with the mores that dominate our culture.

I'm talking, of course, about the Jesus we encounter in Scripture, not the always-gentle, never-stern, ├╝ber-lenient coloring-book character who exists only in the popular imagination. The real Jesus was no domesticated clergyman with a starched collar and genteel manners; he was a bold, uncompromising Prophet who regularly challenged the canons of political correctness.

Read the article here.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Free Grace or Free Will - John Hendryx

John Hendryx Responds to Visitor Struggling with Free Will Vs. Free Grace

visitor: I am struggling with the Calvinism vs. Free Will debate. Why, when one "flees to Christ" as you say is there not the possibility of NOT fleeing to Christ. Is there not a choice involved here? Fleeing to Christ is not a work is it? Turning to Christ is not a work is it? Why is choosing to believe in Christ considered a work by so many Calvinists? When I believed in Christ I gave Him ALL the glory as I then understood that NOTHING I can do would satisfy God. ONLY what Christ did saves me! But I must choose to believe, trust, follow, Flee to Him! Where am I going wrong?

response: Thanks for writing with your excellent question. This hits directly at the crux of the matter. Salvation by grace alone in Christ alone was the very issue of the Reformation that Martin Luther battled the most with Erasmus and the Roman Catholic Church in the Sixteenth Century.

What is this issue of the bondage of the will all about? It points to what the Bible says is the real condition of the natural man. If we set aside church traditions for a moment go through what the Bible asserts about fallen man it may be surprising to you. First we need to establish whether or not man has a free will, according to Scripture. But how do we do this?

The Text not only says that the natural man is a sinner, but that he does not have the Spirit of God. He is not born of the Spirit. Agreed? Jesus says, Flesh gives birth to flesh and the Spirit gives birth to spirit (John 3:3,6) and "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is of no avail.”" (John 6:63) & Paul says that “the natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Cor 2:14). We do not receive things we think are foolish and that we do not understand. The natural man does not have the mind of Christ so even if someone preaches to him until he is blue in the face, he will not respond to the gospel unless God grants belief and repentance (see John 6:65 & 2 Tim 2:25, Eph 2:8). The Bible indeed declares that no one can believe without a preacher but this is not enough by itself …. the seed of the gospel that is cast forth from the preacher must be germinated, so to speak, by the Holy Spirit, if a person is to come to Christ. Paul explains how he knows some were chosen of God. He says, “For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.” (1 Thess 1:4, 5) This is clear evidence the Spirit is necessary, not optional for a person to be made alive so he may come to Christ..without which man would remain naturally dead to the things of Christ.

The Holy Spirit is critical for salvation, so critical that without Him, no one would ever willingly submit to the humbling terms of the gospel, not one would come to Jesus Christ. Agreed? Or do you believe the Scripture teaches that a man can come to faith apart from the Holy Spirit? All true Christians affirm the necessity of the Holy Spirit. So from this very fact, we have established that man has no free will. Again, what is meant when we say no free will? We are not speaking of someone coercing us from the outside. No. It means that we are in bondage to a corruption of nature, out of which we cannot free ourselves BECAUSE WE DO NOT HAVE THE SPIRIT and hate God by nature (John 3:19). We cannot draw from our own resources to even lift a finger toward our own salvation. Jesus says in the Gospel of John to the Jews that only the Son can set them free, but they are now children of the Devil the father of lies, who lies because it is in his nature. In Romans 6 it reads that natural men are slaves to sin, and elsewhere that that Satan has taken men captive to do his will. If Christ is to set us free then it means we were not free and in bondage.

So it is important to ask, can a person, without the intervention of the Holy Spirit, believe the gospel? Does the natural person have the capacity to understand spiritual things? According to the above passages the answer is clearly no. 'No one says “Jesus is Lord” apart from the Holy Spirit.' So the unbeliever is void of the Spirit which is another way of saying that he has no free will. He may make voluntary choices but they are choices of necessity. In other words, he necessarily chooses sin, apart from grace. Nothing he does springs from a heart that loves God. His condition, if left to himself, is hopeless. God must intervene to illumine his mind, open blind eyes, unplug deaf ears, disarm his natural hostility, change our disposition and turn our heart of stone to a heart of flesh.

So if we can agree that a man will not come to Christ apart from the Holy Spirit, then we also agree and have established that the natural man has no free will. God must act if we are to do anything toward our redemption (See John 1:13).

Read the entire article here

Finding Jesus on the Streets


I am not a regular listener to Focus on the Family, but this interview with Mike Yankowski is definitely one to catch! It is stunning to hear the story of these two men who walked the shoes of the homeless for months. Really gives insight into the plight of the poor.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Now on a higher plane I dwell


The following is from a daily devotional at the Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones Recording Trust. I encourage you to check out this website and be taught about life from the late MLJ.

August 13 Now on a higher plane I dwell

Do I always place everything in my life, and everything that happens to
me, in the context of my Christian faith, and then look at it in the
light of that context? The heathen cannot do that ... He does not
believe in God, or know anything about Him; he has not this revelation
of God as his Father and himself as His child ... But what really proves
that we are Christians is that, when these things come to us, or happen
to us, we do not see them just as they are; as Christians we take them
and put them immediately into the context of the whole of our faith and
then look at them again ...

Our Lord asked His disciples, 'Where is your faith? Why are you not
applying it?' ... Something happens to us that tends to upset us. The
heathen in the natural man makes him lose his temper, or become hurt and
sensitive. But the Christian stops and says, 'Wait a minute. I am going
to take this thing and put it into the context of everything I know and
believe about God and my relationship to Him'. Then he looks at it
again. Then he begins to understand what the author of the Epistle to
the Hebrews means when he says, 'whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth'.
Because the Christian knows that, he is able to enjoy it, in a sense,
even while it is happening, because he puts it into the context of his
faith ... Is my conduct and my behaviour in life such that it shows I am
a Christian? Do I show plainly and clearly that I belong to a higher
realm, and that I can raise everything about me to that realm? ...
Realize what you are; remember who you are and live accordingly. Rise to
the level of your faith; be worthy of your high calling in Christ Jesus.
Christian people, watch your lips, watch your tongues. We betray
ourselves in our conversation ... in the things that come out in our
unguarded moments ... the Christian exercises discipline and control
because he sees everything in the context of God and of eternity.

Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, ii, pp. 140-1

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Banner of Truth Sale!


I invite you to check out this sale and purchase lots of books for me so that they arrive before my birthday in October! I will meet you halfway by providing my own transportation to your house to pick up the books when they arrive!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What is so great about a simple Saturday?

I thought I'd devote a blog to the great day the Lord gave last Saturday (8/8/09).

Morning Ride
Got up early and rode my bike to church to set up hymns/Scripture slides (it's my month to put these up on the screen during the worship service). This was my first major bike ride (>1 mi) and while I didn't know how far it was, thought it would be fun to give it a try. The hills were more than I expected but it a cool morning and the wind was on my back.

I laughed to myself when a 'serious' cycler passed me like I was a statue. He had a sweet ride and sported the bright spandex w/built-in seat cushion. I kidded myself that I could have hung with him ... if I was in shape ... or if I hadn't eaten a half pound of chocolate donut gems.


Encouraging Friends
Halfway into the ride my buddy Amol called my cell, giving a nice excuse to pull off the road and chat while I caught my breath. I often marvel how God gave me this friendship with a Christian brother from India who now lives in New Jersey. I met Amol through the Bible Study group at work, and have been so blessed to watch God's hand work in this brother in his experiences, and the people God sends to him. Plus, his voice sounds like Ravi Zacharias (being from India), especially when he quotes C.S. Lewis.


When I got to the church I found it locked. I figured as much, but didn't care. I had brought some reading and finished off my donuts while I waited for the worship team to arrive for their practice.

Within minutes, though, Mike and Rita Sanders showed up. They were there to work on the grounds. So Mike and I chatted while I set up the slides for the Sunday service. Didn't take long before I had to stop and give Mike my full attention. We chopped it up about ministry opportunities, evangelism, and Paul Washer (one sermon in particular). Mike's passion for Christ is contagious and it left me full of joy!

Soon I was back on the bike and headed back. I live in Spring Hill, KS and never noticed it before, but it aint called Spring HILL because it's in a valley! Seems like I was constantly laboring up hills against the wind. The sun was hot and as I stood to pedal I could see ants on the street passing with ease. Later we measured the distance: 8.7 miles. Real bikers do this in their sleep, but I was struggling!

Running Errands
After a shower, the Bonhams ventured out of the A/C for some errands. We enjoy shopping at Sams on Saturdays for the samples and their hot dog combo for buck-fifty is tough to beat! This is the only shopping I enjoy, and I honestly do enjoy it!

We hit several other places along the way but the kids were well behaved and we enjoyed checking off our 'to-do's'.

At 4 pm we rewarded the kids with some pool time in town. The cheap admission (Spring Hill) was great and there were few people there at an hour before closing time.

Grandma and Granddad came over for dinner and the ladies prepared a delicious shrimp pasta with amazing rolls and salad!

The worn-out kids happily went to sleep without a fight and Aimee and I got to enjoy some quiet time and a movie before calling it a day.

I can't say this was a perfect day, or one that will make any difference in history. But I thank God for this Saturday, and for days like this. Every breath we're given is a gift from God. We deserve death, but are blessed like this! Thinking about the Gospel makes simple Saturdays like this even sweeter!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Paul Washer: 10 Indictments Against the Modern Church in America


This is a great sermon a brother in Christ shared with me. Every American who professes Christ out to listen to Washer's powerful message calling us back to a Biblical view of His church.

Paul Washer
- 10 Indictments Against the Modern Church in America

Read the transcript here, or play/download video or audio here.

Check out this unbelievable quote from the transcript:
Here in America because of the last several years, several decades of evangelism the idea of 'born again' is totally lost. It only means that at one time in a crusade you made a decision and you think you were sincere. But there is no evidence of a supernatural recreated work of the Holy Spirit in your life. If any man, not if some men, if any man be in Christ he is a new creature. (2 Cor 5:17)
And now it is the same today. What do we face? I will tell you what we face. ... What we face is the sinners’ prayer. And I am here to tell you, if there is anything I have declared war on it is that.
You say. “Brother Paul...” Yes, in the same way that infant baptism, in my opinion, was the golden calf of the Reformation, for the Baptists and the Evangelicals and everyone else who has followed them today, I will tell you, that sinners’ prayer has sent more people to ell than anything on the face of the earth.
You say, “How can you say such a thing?”
Go with me to Scripture and show me, please. I would love you to stand up and tell me where anyone evangelized that way. The Scripture does not say that Jesus Christ came to the nation of Israel and said that “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand, now who would like to ask me into their hearts? I see that hand.”
That is not what it says. He said, “Repent and believe the gospel. (Mark 1:15)”
Now men today are trusting in the fact that at least one time in their life they prayed a prayer and someone told them they were saved because they were sincere enough. And so in their salvation if you ask them, “Are you saved?” they do not say, “Yes, I am because I am looking unto Jesus and there is mighty evidence giving me assurance of being born again.”
No. They say, “One time in my life I prayed a prayer.” And they live like devils. But they prayed a prayer. And some of them... I heard of one evangelist who was coaxing a man to do that thing. Finally the man felt so uncomfortable the evangelist said, “Well, I’ll tell you what. I will pray to God for you and if it is what you want to say to God, squeeze my hands." Behold the power of God.
Decisionism, the idolatry of decisionism. Men think they are going to heaven because
they have judged the sincerity of their own decision.
When Paul came to the Church in Corinth he did not say to them, “Look, you are not living like Christians so let’s go back to that one moment in your life when you prayed
that prayer and let’s see if you were sincere.”
No, he said this, “Test yourselves, examine yourselves to see if you are in the faith. (2 Cor 13:5)”
Because I want you to know, my friends, salvation is by faith alone. It is a work of God.
It is a grace upon grace upon grace. But the evidence of conversion is not just your examination of your sincerity at the moment of your conversion. It is the on going fruit in your life. It is the ongoing fruit in your life.
Oh, my dear friends, look what we have done. Isn’t a tree known by its fruit? What 60%, 70% of America thinks it is converted, born again. We kill how many thousands of babies a day? We are hated around the world for our immorality. Yet we are Christian.
And I lay this squarely, the blame, at the feet of the preacher.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

What is the Gospel?

Here is a summary of the Gospel (the good news) from a resource called Grace Evangelism:

I. God is holy
  • He is Creator (Gen 1:1) and Owner (1 Corinthians 10:26) of everything
  • He is perfectly holy (1 Peter 1:16; 1 Sam 2:2)
  • He requires perfect obedience to His law (Matt. 5:48)
II. Man is guilty
  • Everyone has broken God’s law (Rom. 3:10, 23; Mt. 5:21-22, 27-28; James 2:10)
  • The penalty for sin is eternal death (Rom. 6:23; Ps 5:5)
  • Good works or intentions will not save anyone (Titus 3:5; Isa. 64:6, Eph. 2:8-9)
III. Christ is the Savior
  • He is God (John 1:1,14; John 10:30; Col 2:9) yet became a sinless man (Heb 4:15)
  • He died on the cross to provide salvation (2 Cor 5:21; John 3:16; 1 Pet 2:24; Col 2:13)
  • He rose from the grave and is alive today (1 Cor 15:4)
IV. Sinners must repent
  • Turn from all that dishonors God (Isa 55:6-7, Luke 9:23)
  • Turn to Christ, believe in Him as Lord and Savior (Rom 10:9-10)
  • Will you repent and believe in Christ or will you remain under His wrath? (Acts 17:30-31, John 3:36)

About Me

Here is my testimony: mike