Book Review: The Septuagint

The Greek Old Testament, often referred to as the Septuagint, is a useful tool in Bible Study. But do we really understand the Greek Old Testament, where it came from, and how it should be used? Gregory Lanier and William Ross seek to answer these questions in their book, The Septuagint: What It Is and Why It Matters.

As a Theology major, I always have had some familiarity with the Septuagint. However, what I have found by reading this book is that I really knew very little about it. What Lanier and Ross have put together is an amazing history of the Greek Old Testament and explaining some myths and misconceptions about the document. For example, it is not a single document, rather, it is a collection of documents.

The book carefully lays out what the Septuagint is, and what it is not. It explains the texts behind the collection of works and why they matter. It also goes into great detail as to where these works came from and how the work, overall, was developed.

The book also examines whether or not the Septuagint should be an authority for Christians today. The conclusion is that the Septuagint is useful for study, but the Hebrew texts should be preferred.

For those who are wanting a primer on what the Greek Old Testament is, this is the book for you. It is informative, easy, and enjoyable to read. If you do not want to read the entire book but would like a quick overview of the Septuagint and the areas explored within the book you can simply read the Appendix, “Ten Key Questions About the Septuagint.”

This book is an excellent resource for any serious student of the Old Testament, and I give it four out of five stars.

I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Who Seeks God?

One of the classic arguments against election and predestination is the argument that we have free will and we all have the opportunity to come to God. But is that really true? This depends. It depends on what you mean by free will. Let’s look at what the Bible says about who will seek God.

First, let’s talk about free will. What is it? If by free will you mean every man is free to choose what he desires then, yes, I agree, there is free will. But if you mean that we have an equal choice with no influence or determiners then no, we do not have free will.

Does this align with Scripture? Yes. The proponents of free will, the humanistic definition of free will, suggest that people come to Christ on their own free will. They make this choice all by themselves. The problem is, Scripture says otherwise. Romans 3 clearly tells us that nobody seeks God.

as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.

Romans 3:10-11 English Standard Version

Nobody comes to Christ on their own. They, that is we humans, in our natural state do not want God. We want to be left in our sin in our own ways. That is the reality of the human condition.

Jesus told us that nobody comes to him without the Father (John 6:65). The Father has to grant someone to come to the Son. It is the Father who has decided who will be saved, not us. We don’t want it. Jesus also said that the Father must draw the individual to him (John 6:44). The word for draw, literally means to haul or drag. It’s not a simple, “come to me” and we follow suit. It is something God has to change within us.

So is there free will? Again, that depends on how you define free will, but nobody comes to God without God.

Book Review: Reprobation and God’s Sovereignty

Reprobation is a term often misunderstood and misused. It is a term that is full of emotions being the other side of predestination. The damnation of real people who are not of the elect of God. It is a tough doctrine but one that must be carefully studied and understood. When properly understood, it gives glory to God as we see his majesty in his holiness and justice. But what about the human objections? What about the hardness of this doctrine? Peter Sammons has the answers in his new book Reprobation and God’s Sovereignty: Rediscovering a Biblical Doctrine.

Sammons does an excellent job of explaining the doctrine of reprobation in great detail. He goes to great lengths to not only provide scriptural support, but also, painstakingly demonstrates through the history of the church exactly what this doctrine means and how it is to be used and understood. But he does not stop there.

The doctrine of Reprobation has many emotions bundled with it that lead to objections of fatalism, or an unloving God, or a God who is actually the author of evil. Sammons takes these objections one by one and meticulously details the proper responses to these objections that are largely unfounded and purely emotional pleas.

The book is full of excellent footnotes that provide readers many sources to further explore the doctrine and objections. Sammons also includes appendixes that show the detail of what is contained within the covers of the book with scriptural support and arguments. Also included are topics and areas for further study as you go deeper into this doctrine and the doctrines that connect to Reprobation.

The book is an easy read and enjoyable, not overly technical. I give this book five out of five stars for excellent research, great sources, wonderful exposition, and easy readability. This book is a must have for anyone studying the topic of salvation.

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

Not Willing That Any Should Perish?

I often hear the argument from non-Calvinists that God is not willing that any should perish and therefore Reformed Doctrine is 100% wrong. But is it truly the case that God is not willing that any individual perish? Is it really his will that all would go to heaven and be saved? No, it is not. There are many problems with this suggestion, and we shall examine a few now.

First, let’s deal with the major elephant in the room. If God desired and, in fact, willed, that every person, individual, be saved, then all would be saved. But we know that is not the case at all. There are too many verses to name that talk about the damned being forever separated from God in Hell. So, if people are going to Hell, and they are, then either God does not will that everyone be saved, or he is too weak to accomplish his will. I choose the former.

Now, let’s deal with the not willing that any should perish idea. Where does this come from? The verse used to prop up this false idea is 2 Peter 3:9.

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

2 Pet. 3:9 (ESV)

If you take this verse out of context, as the non-Calvinist tends to do, and quickly read the verse without careful examination, then yes, you will probably come to the conclusion that God wants all to be saved and have nobody perish. But that is not what this verse states.

The verse states that the Lord is patient towards you. Who are the you? Who are these any that God does not want to perish? Context gives us the answer. If you look at chapter 3 in verses 1, 8, 14, 15, and 17, you see this is written to the beloved. That is, people who are already saved, the elect. That is who the you in verse 9 refers to. The you are the elect.

God is not willing that any of the elect, not all individuals, should perish. This is consistent with the rest of Scripture. God is the one who chooses who will be saved, not man (Romans 9:16, John 1:12-13).

That’s What Christmas is All About!

As we are in the height of the Christmas season, I think back each year about the true meaning of Christmas. Yes, we have the lights, the gifts, the toys, the FOOD, the wonderful Christmas music. We have parades and parties. We have candlelight services and Christmas plays. But what is Christmas all about? What is the real significance?

It may surprise you that I am not going to say it is not about Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus in a manger. That is certainly the main focus of what we remember, but that is not the real meaning and significance of Christmas. That scene is only a small part.

In fact, I do not even focus on Luke 2 at all for the underlying meaning of Christmas. I actually focus on John 1:14.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:14 ESV

The focus of Christmas is that God the Son took on flesh and became a man. He came into this sinful world to dwell among the wicked human race. He came to live a life that would end in tremendous suffering, pain, and death.

Christ came into this world to die for those who would believe in Him. To save them. To give them eternal life. To keep them from depths of Hell.

That is what we celebrate at Christmas. So, while we have all of our fun with our parties, movies, food, lights, presents, and everything else that goes with Christmas, let’s not forget what the real celebration is all about. After all, in the words of Linus Van Pelt, “That’s what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown.”

Will Roe v. Wade Be Overturned?

Yesterday the country was in a stir over a case being heard by the Supreme Court, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health. Pro-Life conservatives see this as a legitimate chance to finally undo the damage caused by Roe v. Wade back in the ’70s.

But for Christians, this should not even be a debate. All people are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27). We are unique among creation. We are the crown jewel of creation in the eyes of the Lord. That does not mean we are perfect, no, we have perverted God’s creation with sin. But there is something to be said about the sanctity of life. Psalm 139 says that God crafted us in our mother’s womb. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. That is not just something a mother gets to destroy because of convenience.

The idea that abortion is about women’s health is shameful, sinful, and wrong. Abortion is about the murder of innocent life. People can try and justify it all they want. But at the end of the day, it is murder. It is a premeditated, intentional, often violent, killing of a human being. It is the most heinous of acts. The situation does not matter. It does not matter if the mother made bad choices or if she was the victim of equally heinous circumstances, she does not have the God-given right to kill an innocent child. Period.

These truths are reality no matter what a court or a legislative body decides.

Christians are hopeful that abortion in this country is stamped out. But even if it is not outlawed legally, we must continue to call abortion what it is, murder. We must continue to support the women who feel like that is their only option by giving them alternatives. We need to be willing to support financially, to adopt, to foster, and to help in any way we can so the unborn can live their lives, a true God-given right.

Does John 3:16 Prove Jesus Died For All?

One of the most controversial subjects in all of theology is the subject of the atonement. For whom did Christ die? Did Jesus die for every person who ever lived or did He only die for those who would place their trust in Him?

One verse that those against the doctrine of limited atonement point to is John 3:16.

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Jn 3:16.

The argument is that because of the use of the word world we see that Christ died for every individual who ever lived.

But there is a problem with this assertion. John 3:16 does not say that Jesus died for the entire world. What does the verse actually say? It says God loved the world. But what does world mean?

The Greek word, κόσμον (kosmos) does mean world. And in the context of John 3:16 it is referring to creation. The argument can be made, legitimately, that it is also referring specifically to people of the world. I agree with this assessment. However, that still does not say that Jesus died for every individual.

The next part of the verse says that God gave His only Son. God loved the world and, as a result, He gave his Son up. But for what purpose did He give Christ? It was not to pay for the sins of every individual. At the end of the day, if you argue for Christ dying for all individuals that is your logical conclusion, that He paid for the sins of everyone. No, it says that whoever believes.

Now, I will say that I do not believe that this verse actually deals with the question people try to make it answer. I do not believe it deals with who Christ died for. But we know from other passages, which will not be dealt with in this article, that He laid His life down for the sheep (John 10:15). The only thing John 3:16 tells us is that Christ, at minimum, died for those who would believe in Him.

Breaking Free: 2021

It has been a while since I have written about the United Methodist Church, life has been crazy. But in June of this year our church finally broke free from the church. This was a long time coming as the UMC has lost hold of biblical truths and have decided to follow the world.

The church is going strong. We have a solid statement of faith and a great group of members who love the Lord and love biblical truth. It was not an easy process but one that we decided to go through as we took a stand for truth. God has blessed our efforts!

Book Review: Sanctification

In Sanctification, Pastor John MacArthur reminds pastors of the need to care for the sanctification of those who are under their care. Sanctification, he argues, is an area that is often forgotten in the American church today. He focuses on the calling of pastors to be actual shepherds of their local flocks.

But MacArthur does not only focus on pastors. He calls on individual believers to also work on their sanctification stating that we should be striving to be more Christlike each day.

After making the initial case for sanctification, MacArthur spends the rest of the book discussing what true sanctification looks like in the life of the believer. First, sanctification looks like Christ. Christ was the ultimate embodiment of sanctification as shown in chapter four of the book titled, “Christ, the Embodiment of True Sanctification.”

But MacArthur does not hold punches either. He attacks the thought of many churches and Christians today that we are saved, following Jesus and that is it. He attacks the idea that we don’t really need to pursue total sanctification or that we cannot attain it (noting of course that total sanctification does not happen on this side of Heaven). He attacks the lawlessness of many new Christian movements and attacks the seeker-sensitive ideals that court the ways of the world just to put bodies in the pews. MacArthur makes a plea for the church today to return to a true biblical worldview.

The book finishes by taking a look at what grace really is and what grace really entails. It’s not just a “get out of Hell free card.” Grace means we get a chance to live our lives holy and acceptable and pleasing to God. It is a chance to strive to be like Christ. It is a chance to live set apart from the world.

Overall, Sanctification is a quick an easy read and a refreshing call to the church and believer’s today to live better lives for their king. I give the book four out of five stars.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair review.