Pharaoh and Sovereign Election

One of the challenged points of Calvinism is that of Sovereign (unconditional) election. This states that God has chosen some to be saved and passed over others. People challenge this as unfair, unjust, or just plain unbiblical. So do we see any examples of Sovereign Election in Scripture? Of course we do.

In the Exodus story we see the tenth plague, the plague of death. Exodus 11 says the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart against Israel and he did not let them go. Then, in chapter 12, he gives Moses, and by extension Israel, the instructions on how to be passed over by death. These instructions were not given to the Egyptians. They were not chosen to be saved.

The result of this was that the firstborn children of Egypt died that night. Paul even addresses this in Romans 9. Was God unfair? Was God unjust?

What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

Romans 9:14-18 ESV

God will have mercy on whom he will have mercy. God chose not to have mercy on Egypt. The same way, God chooses not to have mercy on some people today but others he calls by his Sovereign choice to come to a saving faith in Him.

What Is Total Depravity?

What is meant by the phrase Total Depravity? This is a question that has been discussed for centuries and the answer from Scripture is clear. Man in his fallen state has no ability to respond to God and His will for salvation.

At first glance, people think this diminishes free will but it does not. It is not a question of the will, it is a question of ability. In our depraved and sinful state, we do not have the ability to seek after God. Paul makes this quite clear:

as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”

Romans 3:10-12 ESV

Nobody does good. Nobody is righteous. Nobody seeks after God. That is a pretty clear statement. It is an absolute statement. And notice something, the text says as it is written. Why does it say this? Because this is not just the words of Paul. This is an Old Testament quote from Psalm 14 and Psalm 53.

So the idea of Total, or Radical, depravity is not a new one. It is clearly shown in Scripture. In fact, there are many more verses that speak to the depravity of man that we will not go into here.

But this should help us understand the plight of the unsaved. This should give us compassion and patience with them. We need to preach the Gospel with passion. But we should not get discouraged if there is not a response. We should not get frustrated if there is no response. We should continue to preach and to pray that the Holy Spirit will ignite the fire of the effectual call within that individual.

Discrimination vs. Exclusion

The debate over LGBTQ and their position in the United Methodist Church is heating up as we are only two days away from GC2019. And what we are hearing is goes along these lines… “We need to eliminate the discriminatory language from church policy.” But is it really discriminatory to say that LGBTQ lifestyles are not compatible with Christianity? Of course not.

First, what does discriminatory even mean? What is the actual definition? Here is the definition according to Dictionary.com

Making or showing an unfair or prejudicial distinction between different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex.

Dictionary.com

I want to highlight one word, unfair. It is not just making a distinction. It is an unfair distinction. It has the connotation of being unjust. This is different than exclusion.

The Bible does not discriminate. It excludes. Immediately when I say this, people will start to complain and say that God loves everyone. That is true in one sense, and in another, it is not true at all. God loves everyone in a general sense. But he does not love everyone as his own child. How do we know this? Paul makes this clear in Romans 9:13.

As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

Romans 9:13 ESV

God loves his elect. Those who will believe on the name of Christ. He does not love everyone equally. His Word makes clear that we are to turn from our sin once we are saved. Does that mean we will no longer sin? No. But does it mean it is ok to keep living in sin because we are forgiven and under grace? Paul addresses this as well.

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?

Romans 6:1-2 ESV

We are to put sin away and follow Christ. So what does this mean for LGBTQ? Paul addresses this as well. He addresses that LGBTQ is not who anyone is, it is sin.

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.

Romans 1:26-28 ESV

To do what ought not to be done. It is wrong. It is dishonorable and unnatural. It is debased.

Now, I want to take a moment to be fair here to the LGBTQ community. Romans does not stop there and so often we focus only on LGBTQ. But Paul lists a whole lot of sins in that passage in the following verses.

They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Romans 1:29-32 ESV

There is a whole host of sins that need to be dealt with. And any of these sins that are in a person’s life without repentance disqualifies them from ministry. And allowing those, in this case, LGBTQ, to serve in positions of ordained ministry is not grace, it is equally sin.

So the Bible is exclusionary, not discriminatory. It is God’s justice. Who are we to question the justice of God?

Sin Exposed By The Light

An article was posted today as part of the marketing blitz by the powers that be in the United Methodist Church trying to make LGBTQ people who have left the church victims. The premise of the article is that the teachings of the church, more specifically the teaching of Scripture, is hurtful to LGBTQ members and it is causing them to leave the church.

The Bible has a different perspective on why people who are LGBTQ are leaving the church:


And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.

John 3:19-20 ESV

People who live in active sin do not want to be around the truth of Scripture. It exposes them for what they are, sinners. This, of course, is true of everyone. We are all sinners. The difference between those called by God and those who are not is this, those called want to be in the light and to be rid of their sin.

Unfortunately, and sadly, the LGBTQ community does not want to be rid of their sin. Instead, they want us to be forced to accept it as normal. They want it to be seen as a good thing. However, Romans 1:26-28 tells us that it is not a good thing. It is unnatural, debase, evil.

We need to pray for these people that they will want to come to the light, but we should not dim the light for sin to abound.

One Passion Ministries: The Men’s Bible Study

Dr. Lawson leads the Romans Study

Over the last couple of years, I have had the privilege to be a part of the Men’s Bible Study led by Dr. Steven J. Lawson. We have been going through a verse by verse study of the book of Romans. While we may not be moving through Romans fast, I assure you that this has been one of the most profitable Bible Studies I have ever participated in.

Dr. Lawson brings clarity to the Word like few others are able to do. He has focus and drive and his passion for the Word of God shines through with each session. You will find yourself immersed in the book of Romans and gaining insights on how this great masterpiece fits in with the whole of Scripture.

The Men’s Bible Study meets regularly. The physical group meets at Herb’s House in Dallas, TX but you can enjoy the study online via Livestream. All of the studies are recorded so you can go back and watch them again and again.

I encourage everyone to watch videos of this study. You will be challenged in your faith and grow in your knowledge of Scripture.

A Way Forward: The Traditional Plan

Out of the three possible plans for a way forward, there is one that the Council of Bishops do not want to see pass, The Traditional Plan. The Traditional plan would almost guarantee a split in the United Methodist Church. Namely, churches that want to support the sin of the LGBTQ lifestyle will leave.  Of course, some, myself included, would see this as a purification process for the church.

Simply put, the Traditional Plan (TP) would keep the current position of the United Methodist Church stating that homosexuality is not compatible with Christianity and that there is to be no LGBTQ clergy or weddings within the church. The TP would go further to add strict enforcement to the doctrine as well. Every annual conference will have to certify that they will uphold the doctrine or else they will be removed from the United Methodist Church. This includes clergy and bishops as well.

The TP upholds biblical standards with regard to homosexuality and LGBTQ positions. They are sinful and, as such, are not compatible with the Christian life or the Church. Romans 1 makes very clear how God views the LGBTQ lifestyle:


For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.


Romans 1:26-27 ESV

The passions of the LGBTQ movement are dishonorable. They are unnatural. They are against God’s created order and they are sin.

Because of this truth, the Traditional Plan is the only biblical plan that is on the table for the 2019 Special General Conference and is the plan that I endorse.

Should Christians Be Involved In Politics?

The United States is currently in a shutdown over border security. The topic of the wall and methods of border security are not what we are interested for this article. The question is this, should Christians be involved in politics?

I believe that the confusion comes in when we read passages such as Romans 13.


Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.

Romans 13:1-2 ESV

Yes, we are to be subject to the governing authorities. Yes, those authorities have been placed in a position of power by God. However, in the American system of government who has the real authority? The people. Therefore, God has placed each of us in the United States in a position of what I like to call simple authority. We are not rulers, but we determine who our rulers are and we influence the shaping of the laws that rule over us.

With this understanding in mind, I believe that it is not only proper for Christians in the United States to be involved in politics, I believe it is our duty. It is our duty to vote. It is our duty to speak out about issues, especially issues that are directly spoken about in Scripture.

Now, back to the issue of Romans 13, we are not to disobey government laws in the United States that do not violate Scripture. There is still an order of rule in this country. We must obey the government unless they would have us violate the ultimate ruler, Jesus Christ.

So I encourage all Christians to get involved. Know the issues. Know what is going on in your country and the world around you. Write your representatives about the issues of the day. Vote people into office who will lead this country in a way that will be faithful to the Scriptures. Do not just sit on the sidelines and do nothing.

LGBT And the United Methodist Church

Next month, the United Methodist Church will join several other mainline denominations in America to take up the task on what to do with the LGBTQ movement. Specifically, they will vote on whether or not to allow LGBT persons in the clergy. The problem is that this should not even be up for debate.

Scripture makes abundantly clear that the LGBT lifestyle is a sin. Romans 1:26-28 clearly tells us that this lifestyle is dishonorable, contrary to nature, and debased. It is not a lifestyle that is to be celebrated or elevated and it certainly has no place in the church.

Immediately this stance will raise accusations of bigotry and hatred but nothing could be further from the truth. While the church cannot and should not embrace the LGBT lifestyle, it should reach out to people who identify with that lifestyle with the love of Christ. The phrase love the sinner and hate the sin is more than appropriate in this instance. The church should reach out to the LGBT community with the truth of the Gospel.

What is that truth? We are all sinners, condemned to Hell. However, Christ came and died for our sins that we can be saved out of our sin and turn towards Christ to pursue a life of holiness. For the person who identifies as LGBT that means they can turn away from their sin just as any other person and the sin that they struggle with.

In other words, speaking out against the LGBT community lifestyle with the message of Christ is not a message of hate. It is a message of hope. The United Methodist Church needs to turn back to that message of hope without sacrificing the hatred of sin that we are called to have.

Banning the Bible

In the State of California, a bill has passed the General Assembly banning the sale of any goods or service that would seek to correct the behaviors related to homosexuality or transgenderism. This is the latest attack from the LGBTQ lobby against anyone who would dare to stand in their way. Remember, “tolerance” is the word of the day as long as you hold to their worldview and their worldview alone. But as Bible-believing Christians we cannot hold to that worldview. It goes directly in the face of Scripture.

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