Are Some Really Prepared For Destruction?

A go-to verse for Calvinists, and a problem verse for non-Calvinists, is Romans 9:22. The verse clearly exemplifies the premises of Sovereign Election and Definite Atonement in the plain reading of the verse.

  “What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,

Romans 9:22, ESV

Vessels of wrath prepared for destruction. It is plain and simple. Not everyone is elect to salvation. Some, in fact, many, will be left behind in their own rebellion against God.

Non-Calvinists try many ways to explain away this verse but none of them are adequate. Of course, there is also burden on the Calvinist to provide evidence in the rest of Scripture for their position on the passage as well. Does this evidence exist? The answer is yes, it does.

First, the passage itself gives its own citations for this position. Malachi 1:2-3, Exodus 9:16 and Exodus 33:19. The pictures of Esau vs. Jacob and Moses vs. Pharaoh are vivid with relation to election. God has made the choices of those whom He will use for His purposes and those, in the case of Pharaoh, who will be used for His purposes and destroyed in the process.

But the second thing that should be pointed out is that we also see this principle in the conquest of Canaan. The Old Testament makes very clear that Israel was chosen, others were not and that they were meant for destruction. Consider Deuteronomy 7:2:

  “and when the Lord your God gives them over to you, and you defeat them, then you must devote them to complete destruction. You shall make no covenant with them and show no mercy to them.

Deuteronomy 7:2, ESV

Israel was to devote these people, without discrimination, to destruction. These people were not given a chance to hear about Yahweh. Now, the argument will be made that they would have known about the God of Israel but that is not within the text. They were to be destroyed. That was their purpose. Men, women, children, animals, possessions. They were all to be destroyed. But it goes deeper than that.

To make the point, we see this idea of being devoted to destruction in many Old Testament Passages (Ex. 22:20, Lev 27:29, Num 21:2-3, Deut 2:34; 3:6; 7:2, 26; 13:15; 20:17; Josh 2:10; 6:17-18, 21; 7:12; 10:1 to name a few). The word used is ḥā·rǎm and it is used to say destroyed, utterly destroyed, as an offering to the Lord.

That is exactly what we see in Romans 9:22, vessels of wrath prepared for destruction and then verse 23 says that this destruction is to make known the riches of his glory.

It is understandable that this is a hard pill to swallow but it is truth. Some people were never going to be saved. That does not mean they are not at fault. They are still sinners. But God was never going to save them. He has a specific people that He has chosen to save for his glory.

Roe v. Wade Overturned

In a historic ruling today Roe v. Wade has been overturned. The right to decide abortion has been returned to the states. Abortion has not been outlawed.

So what does this mean for us as Christians? First, this is a win. Abortion is murder pure and simple. However, this is not the end. Abortion will still exist in liberal states in the country. We must continue to spread the truth of the Gospel and the realities of human life and abortion. There is much work to be done.

Book Review: The Qur’an and the Christian

Matthew Aaron Bennet’s new book, The Qur’an and the Christian is a must have for any Christian’s library living in today’s culture.

Islam is taking most of the world by storm growing at alarming rates. But what do they really believe? How does that impact us as Christians? What do we need to know? That is exactly what this book seeks to answer and accomplishes that in an easy and accessible fashion.

The title is a little misleading. The book is definitely about the Qur’an but it is also about so much more than that. Bennett does an excellent job of laying out the history of Islam, including a short biography of Muhammad, as well as talking about cultural differences between the Islamic and Christian worlds.

What was surprising about the book was to find out exactly what Muslims believe about Christians, the Bible, and where we have commonalities. However, while there are some commonalities, Bennett details where our distinct differences lie as well.

Finally, he finishes the book up with whether or not Christians should read, study, and use the Qur’an in our ministry to Muslims.

Overall, the book is an excellent and accessible read. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning more about Islam and what Muslims believe and why. I happily give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

I was given a free copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The SBC Report And Matthew 18

The Southern Baptist Convention has been in turmoil the last week or so after the release of the Guide Stone report about sexual misconduct among pastors and leaders in the SBC. This has fueled secular media outlets and has harmed the church, not just the SBC, but the church in general. And, in my belief, the SBC has been unbiblical in this process.

Now, I want to make some disclaimers and some observations.

First, I am not part of the Southern Baptist Convention. I do not know the inner-workings of the SBC overall other than just a cursory knowledge of how it works. Second, I have not done a deep dive in this case for further investigation. This is just from what I understand based on news reports.

But, from what I understand, the SBC has released a list of individuals that are being accused whether proven guilty or not. This is wrong. This should never happen. This is unbiblical.

The Bible tells us how we are to handle sin in the church.

15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Mt 18:15–20.

Has this been followed in all of the cases of allegations in the SBC? Based on reports, I do not believe so. As a result, at least one pastor has been harmed, probably irreversibly so, by being named by a media outlet by mistake.

This is what happens when we do not follow the guidelines God has laid out in Scripture.

Now, I want to make something clear, I am not discrediting the reports as I am sure many of them are legitimate. But this is not the way to handle this. This is unbiblical. People need to be held accountable. That means the accused as well as the accusers. God wrote Matthew 18 for a reason. We don’t just go shouting accusations from the rooftops. We go to that person, in private, and escalate if need be. Not escalate and watch the chips fall.

Calvinists Do Not Rely On Calvin

Often an attack on Calvinism is related to John Calvin or Augustine as flawed individuals. But there is a problem with this argument, it’s not reality that the doctrines of grace come from John Calvin or Augustine. They come directly from Scripture.

When people attack Calvinism based on men that also held these doctrines it means they do not really have an argument at all. They don’t know that the doctrines come from Scripture and were not invented hundreds of years later.

Calvinism (with respect to soteriology) is just another word for Biblical Christianity. Plain and simple.

The doctrines of grace are found all throughout the Scriptures. But just read the book of Romans, or the Gospel of John. If you cannot see them it is because you are actively denying them.

In John we see the depravity of man. Nobody can come unless it is granted by the Father. The Father draws them (literally drags) to the Savior. Nobody can pluck them out of His hands. Do these concepts sound familiar? Of course they do. They are the doctrines of grace and they are all in John’s Gospel.

God will have mercy on whom he chooses based on nothing but his good pleasure and his glory. We are predestined for justification and adoption. Does this sound familiar? Of course they do. They are the doctrines of grace and they are all in the Letter to the Romans.

The idea that these beliefs did not show up until centuries after the New Testament was completed is simply not true. They come straight from the pages of Scripture and not from the minds of men.

Is Mormonism Christian?

I recently completed a series for a group of teen boys on world religions. I included Mormonism in the list of false religions (along with Islam, Roman Catholicism, and Secular Humanism) and explained some of the falsehoods of the religion.

Let me make something very clear, Mormonism is a cult. That must be understood. They put all of their allegiance into one man, Joseph Smith,

Smith was a fanatic who was looking for relevance in the mid-1800s. He was able to trick enough people into believing his lies that, now, Mormonism has millions of adherents.

So what are some problems with Mormonism? Well there are a few large ones that stand out.

First, Joseph Smith translated plates containing “Reformed Egyptian Hieroglyphics,” to write the Book of Mormon. Here is the problem. There is no such thing as Reformed Egyptian Hieroglyphics and even if they did exist they would not have been used in the Americas.

Second, the Book of Mormon contains vast direct quotations from the King James Bible. Now why is that a major problem? The plates supposedly disappeared in 420AD before being found by Joseph Smith again centuries later. The King James Bible was written over 1200 years after this date and has been well documented on how they translated the KJV. There is no reasonable explanation as to why there would be direct quotes 1200 years later from plates that had been lost to the known world.

This is because the plates never existed, Joseph Smith was a fraud and millions have been deceived by his lies.

It is hard to get Mormons to see the truth. They have been so deceived and brainwashed that they just spit back the answers of their “church” without thinking for themselves or actually studying Scripture on their own.

No, Mormonism is not Christian. It is a cult. We must be sure to pray for everyone who has been deceived by this false religion that they may find Christ and that God will turn their hearts toward him.

I Can Do All Things

One of the most quoted verses in all of Scripture is Philippians 4:13. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” The verse is often used to assume that anything we purpose to do, anything that we set out for we can accomplish through Christ. But is that really what the verse is talking about? The answer to that question is ‘no’ that is not what this verse is talking about.

When we look at Scripture we must always look to the context of the passage and this verse is no different. So what is the context of Philippians 4:13?

I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:10-13 English Standard Version

The immediate context shows that Paul is referring to being able to do all things through Christ no matter what the circumstances are that he has been put into. It is a verse that gives hope in suffering and trials. It is not a verse to say that we can accomplish anything we set our minds on.

So whenever someone uses this verse we need to ask ourselves, “How are they using this verse?” Is the verse being used properly based on its context or is it being, as it often is, taken out of context?

40 Questions About Arminianism: Revisited

I believe that there are times in all of our lives when we lash out without thought or care. Especially in the world of digital media, putting something in print quickly and never revisiting the issue can be an easy thing to fall into. But it can also be a dangerous and, sometimes, painful thing to do for those who have to read what we write. Especially if what we write is about them or their work.

When I wrote my original review of 40 Questions About Arminianism this is exactly what happened. I read the book as a Calvinist reading about Calvinism and the “enemy” on the other side of the Soteriological fence. I was not reading it as someone who truly wanted to learn more about my Arminian friends. And, with that mindset, I wrote a scathing review of the book.

It was not long after the original review was published that two individuals reached out to me questioning my review. They were not attacking me, though, admittedly, that was how I read their comments at first. They were genuinely wondering how I came to the conclusions about Dr. Pinson’s book that I had.

Shortly thereafter, I decided to reach out to Dr. Pinson. I wrote to him about my thoughts on the book and some of the concerns that I had. His response was kind and gracious and I prayed about what to do next. I decided that maybe there was something I had missed. The next day I informed Dr. Pinson I would re-read the book.

Continue reading

There Are No True Atheists

In the world around us we see many claims that there is no God. Atheism is supposedly on the rise. But does Atheism actually exists? Do people really believe that there is no God? I would contend that the answer to that question is absolutely not. There are no true Atheists.

Now the Atheist will kick and scream saying that I am wrong. But that is just a ruse. It’s a kneejerk reaction to the thing they so desperately want to avoid, God. But deep down, all Atheists know that God is real and that he exists.

19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools,

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Ro 1:18–22.

It is plainly known to them. And although they knew God. Paul doesn’t leave this as a possibility, it is a definite. They know God exists. They know he is real. They try to claim wisdom and superiority in intellect, but they are foolish.

They have been so deceived by their own lies that they truly want to believe that there is no God. But they are wrong. They know this deep inside.

One only has to look around to know that there is a creator. We did not just happen. We did not just pop into being. We did not just evolve. We are fearfully and wonderfully made.

The World’s Agenda

I have mentioned that I have been teaching a course on world religions to a youth group and tonight we finish up with a session on Secular Humanism. Now, I know at first you may not think that Secular Humanism is a religion, but it most definitely is without any doubt. After all, it is a system of belief that tries to make sense of the world around us and our purpose in it. That, by very definition, is a religion.

As I was preparing for the class tonight it amazes me to think about just how far the Secular Humanist worldview has penetrated our culture and society. It is in everything. It is in the television programs that we watch. It is in our politics. It is in our schools, especially in our schools. It is in our courts.

We see Secular Humanism rear its head each day this week as we watch the protests demanding the right to kill and murder unborn babies. We saw it a few weeks ago as a football coach has to fight for his right to pray. Secular Humanism is a real and present danger.

And this is the agenda of the world. Secular Humanism puts forth propaganda. It lies about creation. It lies about science. It lies about history. It lies about Christianity. Why? Because they want to destroy God and anything that has to do with God. They cannot and will not rest until God has been completely eradicated from society. That is what their belief necessitates.

And isn’t this exactly what the power of this world wants? Isn’t that his goal?

But praise be to God we know that he does not win. It may look like he is winning, but we know he suffers ultimate loss. We need to keep preaching the truth, keep our heads on the Savior, and know that this too will pass.