Sunday, April 30, 2006

Just a short note about this Blog.

Our Blog may seem a bit unusual and yet .. not so. All contributors to this blog hold to the five points of Calvinism. Two of us are Reformed Baptists and two are Reformed Presbyterians. We do not allow Baptism to divide us. We have received a lot criticism from Baptists. We do not hold to 'baptismal regeneration'. We don't believe Baptism is essential for salvation.

Charles Spurgeon said he refused to make an idol out of baptism. We agree.

5/31/06 News Letter Along With A Suggested Outline For Your Reading and Learning Pleasure On This BlogSite

5/31/06 News Letter Along With A Suggested Outline For Your Reading and Learning Pleasure On This BlogSite

I. Our Purpose:

The purpose of this blogsite is for basic Christian practical and biblical theological practical Christian living. We believe the Bible is sufficient and has practical answers on living a progressively sanctified life. Even in this we fine many times Christians find themselves confused or not clear in understanding how to think or respond biblically in many difficult real life situations. Since, therefore, we believe the Bible is sufficient in all matters pertaing to doctrine, life and godliness we desire to bring to the Christian community a look at the Scriptures to dispel the confusion and help all that find they need God’s answers to life situations and difficulties.


II. The Month Of May:

May has been a difficult yat a blessed month in many ways. Now we are not crying but we are learning to give thanks to God for and in all things.

The first of the month we received word that Steve has new tumors in the liver area it see that other tumors are starting to grow again. God is teaching us patience and teamwork through this. Most all of the blog articles ahave been moved over from .

We are seeing an increase in people coming to Doctrines of Grace blogsite at since the merge has been happening. The site has 367 articles for the Christian community to read and learn in a pleasant and instructive format.

Here is just one of the many responses by folks that read the entries on the blogsite:
“hello , just wanted to say what a good job you did on the blog i am finding it extremely beneficial , God Bless you sir.”

Some of you are aware that 2 months ago a blog on depression was writen and the computer program it was written on died. It could not be captured, This month this has been redone (not as good as the first one). But it is our prayer that if you have problems with depression or know someone that does this information may help in your particular situation. We have heard many fine comments regarding this blog entry and how helpful many are finding itto be in their life. Praise God for his unsearchable wisdom. Praise God for his sufficient Word!

The title to the blog entry is “Learning The Basics On Identifying, Handling, Overcoming And Eliminating Depression” at: .

We also were able to meet the needs of many that responded to some questions and discussion regarding how to handle a disturbed past. The title blog entry is “Understanding And Handling The Past Properly” which can be located at .

III. Other blog entries of interest this month include:

a. “The Lord’s Supper, Why Not Weekly?”

b. “This Is What We Must Believe Concerning The Trinity”

d. “Discipline With A Purpose – God’s Way In Any Circumstance”

e. “PMS Control is Biblical …. Any Questions?”

We also hope you enjoy the writings of Pastor John T. Sneed of North Hill Baptist Church, Minot, North Dakota take a particular look at his work “Loving Christ’s Sheep Reflections of a Failed Shepherd” Stay tuned for more of his messages on this blog.

IV. Suggested Reading Outline (Updated Monthly With New Entries) :

While appreciating the medium of blogs we feel it would be better if we could move our blogs into more systematic and orderly headings. While not being able to do that here is good outline of the blogs and their headings so that you may be able to read by topic or ina systematic manner. We will update this at the end of each month. Finally with over 367 different blog entries and subjects (and growing) of study in Practical Christian Living theology we present the following suggested outline in reading this blog site so that it does not become confusing to you. Here is a suggested outline:

I. God’s Gift of Grace Applied

1. Grace, Grace, God’s Grace

2. The Covenant of Grace - Hodge

3. The New Birth and Conversion: The True Biblical Salvation

4. God’s Orderly Work of Salvation

5.Foreknowledged Defined

6. Christ The Lord

7. The Providence of God Brings Comfort To Believers

8. Perseverance of the Saints

9. Calvinism

10. Jesus Had The Power To Sin But Did Not Have The Character To Sin

11. A Follow-up Explaination off “Jesus Had The Power To Sin But Did Not Have The Character To Sin”

12. A Critical Look At the Emerging Church Movement w/ Catechism Editing A Critical Look At the Emerging Church Movement by: Phil Johnson (Catechism Editing By Steve Horne)

13. Infants In The Celestial City!

14. Salvation

15. Christian Tracts

16. Why Did the Son of God Come?

17. Why All Things Work For Good

18. Justification- Salvation By Grace Through Faith

19. Decisional Regeneration

20. Salvation- God Rescues His People

21. All Of Grace

22. Perseverance Of The Saints

23. A Critical Look At the Emerging Church Movement by Phil Johnson 2006 -----Catechism EditingBy Steve Horne

24. Dualism is Heresey

25. Five Points of Calvinism

II. The Doctrine of Sola Scriptura

1. Sola Scriptura in Doctrine and Practice (Part 1)

2. Sola Scriptura And Orthopraxy (Part 2)

3. Sola Scriptura and Orthopraxy: Establishes "Philosophy of Ministry" (Part 3)

4. Sola Scriptura and Orthopraxy: In Doctrine, Church Polity, Worship, and More (Part 4)

5. Sola Scriptura and Orthopraxy: In Our Worship and Christian Living (Part 5)

III. The Church, Communion and Day Of Worship, Etc.

1. Identifying the Church

2. The Importance Of Church Membership

3. The Holy Spirit and the Church

4. Leadership and Unity in the Kingdom of God

5. Bible Instruction Must Be Under The Authority of the Church

6. The Keys, Who Has Them?

7. The Baptism Of Our Sinless Saviour

8. Baptismal Exhortation

9. Infant Baptism Does the Bible Teach It

10. The Sins of Rebaptism and Of Leaving One's Baby Unbaptized

11. Confusion, Not God's Way So IT Can BE Cleared Up – Baptismal Confusion

12. True Communion

13. Glorifying God

14. The Lord’s Wonderful Day

15. Thinking Deacon

16. What Type Of Church Did The Apostles Attend

17. Are We Catholics?

18. What Think Ye Of Mary

19. God’s Word Filtered!

20. Visible and Invisible Church

21. Oil in the Vessel

22. The true Church

23. The “true Church” Syndrome

24. How Did John Bunyan View Baptism?

25. Where Did Baptists Originate?

26. Gifts! …. From God? (Part 1)

27. Gifts! …. From God? (Part 2)

28. Baptismal Regeneration

29. Did You Know? Are You Shocked?

30. The Keys Who Has Them?

31. The Lord’s Supper ….. Why Not Weekly?

IV. Christian Witnessing

1. Called To Confess Christ In Word And As A Living Letter

2. Listening for Gospel Opportunities

3. Let's Evangelize

4. Creationism.

5. Merry Christiman

6. Why Do We Witnes To Muslims?

7. What is Pelagianism?

8. If Any

9. Why Did The Son Of God Come?

10. The Myth of Freewill

11. Abomination – Often Used And Misunderstood

12. God’s Mighty Promises

13. Aggressive Christianity? God’s Plan For You? …. You Betcha!

14. Renewing Your Mind .. With R.C. Sproul

15. The Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion – Written for a Wonderful Purpose

V. God’s Guidance and the Tools of Faith

1. Guided … by God?

2. Tools of the Faith

3. Canon - God’s Word Filtered!

4. Favorite Hymns

5. More Favorite Hymns

6. The Bible God’s Word To Us

7. Progressive Sanctification – Growing in Grace, Cooperation With God

8. Can We Use Eastern Language In Our Prayer And Devotional Life

9. We Must Be Holy

10. Much Study Is Wearisome

VI Practical Christian Living to Glorify God

A. About Biblical Counseling:

1. What is Nouthetic Counseling – Jay Adams

2. Christ And Your Problems

3. Counseling and Special Revelation

4. The Sovereignity of God in Counseling

5. Is There Any Difference In Biblical Counseling?

6. Christian Counseling Change vs. Change

7. Godliness through Discipline – Jay Adams

8. Guided! … By God?

9. From Uselessness To Usefulness

10. One Anothering

11. Not Controling But Loving and

12. Guidance When You are Just Not Sure What To Do

13. Biblical View of Self Esteem

14. What Do You Do When Anger Gets The Upper Hand?

15. God Has A Plan

16. God is Always in Control

7. Counseling Encourages Talebearing

18. The Power of Relationships

19. You Can Help One Another

20. TULIPGIRL. Com for the Ladies

B. Work:

1. Biblical Principals of Work and the Biblical Work Ethic (A Seven Part Series)

2. What Christians May Do

3. Everybody Works for God

4. From Uselessness To Usefulness

5. Discontentment

6. Occupational Search – A Biblical View

C. Forgivness:

1. Our Basic Duty – Forgive the Repentant

2. A Look At Commitment

3. The Need To Forgive

4. What is Forgivness?

From Unpardonable to Pardonable

6. From Uselessness To Usefulness

7. Being Angry for the Purpose Of Problem Resolution

8. One Anothering

9. The Purpose of Forgiveness

10. Aggressive Christianity? God’s Plan For You? …. You Betcha!

D. Worry, Guilt And Depression:

1. Worry: A Serious Life Issue Which Must Be Broken

2. How Is Your Conscience?

3. What To Do With Guilt

4. Godliness Through Discipline

5. Calvin and Anxiety

6. From Unpardonable to Pardonable

7. What If I Find Hypocricy in Me?

8. What Do You Do When You Become Depressed?

9. God Has A Plan

10. Anger (# 1)

11. Anger (# 2)

12. Impatience and Idolatry

13. Keeping the Heart

14. Learning The Basics On Identifying, Handling, Overcoming And Eliminating Depression

E. What To Do With Evil:

1. Overcoming Evil – Jay Adams

2. The Evil of Backbiting and Evil Speaking

3. Gossips

4. Aggressive Christianity? God’s Plan For You? …. You Betcha!

F. Sex Issues:

1. Thoughts on Biblical Sexuality and in Overcoming Sexual Difficulty

2. The Power of Relationships ( The Bible on personal Influences)

3. The Purpose of Forgiveness

4. Resolcing Suxual Difficulties in the 21st Century

5. The Power OF Relationships

6. Can You Answer These Questions? (For Husbands)

G. Addictions:

1. AA Doctrines Compared with the Scriptures

2. Thoughts on Biblical Sexuality and in Overcoming Sexual Difficulty

3. The Power OF

H. Death and Dying & Health:

1. Proper Thinking At the Time of A Death and / Or At A Funeral

2. A Saint Looks At Death

3. Being Thankful For Pain

4. To Oil or Not To Oil

5. Infants In The Celestial City? .. Yo Betcha!

I. Communication:

1. Handling Doctrinal Disagreement

2. The Evil of Backbiting and Evil Speaking

3. Is IT Right To Judge

4. The Purpose of Forgiveness

5. Can You Answer These Questions? (For Husbands)

VII. My Most Precious Faith (10 Parts)

Written for my Children and Place Here To Encourage You As You Disciple Your Children in the Most Holy Faith

1. My Most Prescious Faith -

2. My Most Precious Faith -

3. My Most Precious Faith – Belief of A Christian

4. My Most Precious Faith – Concerning the Sacraments

5. My Most Precious Faith – Living in Grace and Gratitude

6. My Most Precious Faith – Our Duty to God

7. My Most Precious Faith – Our Duty to Men

8. My Most Precious Faith – Prayer Our Duty and

9. My Most Precious Faith – The Lord’s Coming Again

10. My Most Precious Faith - Conclusion


IX. Miscellaneous.

1. A Request Humble Honored

2. Judy Rogers Music – Giving The Best To Your Children

3. Proverbs Themes:

a. Patience

b. Discipline

c. Self Image

d. Wisdome

e. Accountability

f. Honesty

g. Instant Living and Its Down Fall

h. Friendship

i. Family (Father, Mother, Children)

j. The Simple

k The Tongue

l. Laziness

m. Abomination

4. Spurgeon:

a. Are You Sure You Like Spurgeon?

b. Two Dozen Facts about Spurgeon

c. Twelve Proofs Spurgeon Believed in Uncoditional Election

d. Life

e. The Christian

f. Feeding Sheep or Amusing Goats

g. The Riches of Spurgeon

h. A Sin For Which There Is No Excuse

The Keys! Who Has Them?

The Keys ! Who Has Them?

I was on line in a chat room two nights ago with about 40 people and was shocked that very few of the people seemed to know very much about the Keys of the kingdom and the work of them amongst ordained men. I was surprised when many commented in text that" a pastor is just another man". I submit to you that we all need to hold pastors worthy of double honor. Also i want to say that you and I that are not ordained do not nor can we do the job of using the keys of the kingdom. Please read what I have put together and if we need to talk let's discuss this more on line. God bless you ..... Steve

I find it unfortunate that there have been two extremes errors regarding the keys of the kingdom. The first error, not necessarily the greatest error, is the extreme is that Peter and Church leaders after him received absolute unquestioned authority. The second equally extreme error is that the Peter and Church leaders (elders) receives little or no authority at all. The first view is taken by the Roman Catholic Church and implies that Peter and all his successors have all the authority in the Church. This has lead to more errors than we could even dare to mention here since volumes have been written on those errors. The second does not really see ministers nor the Church with any real authority in ones life. It opens the door to going to church “if I feel like it”, the sin of not giving honor to the elders, nor seeing and understanding the call of God and ordination to a man as hardly anything at all. There is little to no acknowledgement (usually none) that one is to “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls”.

Mat 16:18-19 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (19) I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

Neither of the extremes are correct for the men that lead the Church are called of God, working under His authority, and in their call and ministry “whatever (they) bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever (they) loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" is their ministry.

In this writing I am more concerned with the second extreme. That extreme creates many a problem. One is that without ecclesiastical authority and proper biblical processes of discipline Christians go around stating that others are not Christians for many different reasons. Each person seeks to take unto themselves the keys of the kingdom. This should not be so. It leads to vigilante, independent Christianity since there is no authority but “my own” as I privately read and interpret the Bible for and by myself. The problems taken own are making judgments by oneself without question or accountability from anyone with true ecclesiastical authority. Many times it causes people to bear false witness against one another and leads to fights and disputes. And so on this goes.

Now opposed to the concerned extremes I mentioned above the scripture is clear that Jesus is head of the church. The government of the Church is upon His shoulders as Isaiah stated: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isa. 9:6)

The confession of Peter in Matt 16:16-19 is the one Christian confession which is the very foundation of the Church. After stating his confession and Jesus commenting upon it Jesus conferred upon Peter official church authority, obligations; and responsibilities regarding administrating the keys of the kingdom.

Mat 16:16-19 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

The authority conferred upon Peter in the administering the keys of the kingdom as a man called of God is also to be exercised by all the officials of the Church since they too are called of God and ordained to this duty. Christ has appointed a Church that is presbyterial in form. The administration of the constitution of the Church, the Bible, is carried through ordained officers called elders, presbyters, or bishops. (Acts 15; 1 Tim 5:17; Acts 20:17,28) The elders of the Church have been given power and authority which resides in the keys of the kingdom. Neither Peter nor any elder or group of elders have unquestioned power and authority. But they do have official Church authority, divinely called obligations and responsibilities to the Lord and to the Church in the office of administration of the keys of the kingdom. The administration of the keys by the elders throughout history in the past and in the future have the same results Peter is described to have had. (compare Matt. 16:18-19;18:17-18; Jn. 20:21) Remember is the Lord that calls and ordains men to administrate His authority in the Church. (Eph.2:20; 1 Cor. 14:37; 2 PT. 3:17; Heb. 1:1,2)

1Co 12:28-29 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. (29) Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles?

Eph 4:11-13 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, (12) to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, (13) until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,

Mat 18:17 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.

Joh 20:21-23 Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you." And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of anyone, they are forgiven; if you withhold forgiveness from anyone, it is withheld."

Heb 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.

The keys are not their keys but the keys are owned by the Head of the Church who is Christ Jesus Her Lord who alone has the power to open or to close the kingdom of heaven since He has “the keys of Death and Hades” Rev. 1:18. The elders are called to administer Christ’s keys in the Church. They are the administrators of the power to open or close the kingdom of heaven to other men for a Christ said to them “whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven”. The keys are the preaching of the word of God and Church discipline. Both of which the elders of the Church are to administer.

The constitution of the Church is the Bible which is the inspired Scriptures which includes the sixty six books of the Old and New Testament: Genesis – Revelation. It is the only and supreme authority within the Church.

a. The Preaching of the Word of God

The preaching of the word is the power of God unto salvation to all that believe ( Rom 1:16; 1 Cor 1:18). When preached in truth and purity God opens the kingdom to believing sinners (John 3:16). Why does the preaching bring life? Because it is one of the keys of the kingdom given to the Church for this very reason!

The key of faithful preaching does not only open the kingdom. The key of faithful preaching also closes the kingdom to those that reject, are neglectful or are indifferent to the gospel message. In the pronouncement of the gospel the kingdom is either opened to a person or closed to a person. When the gospel is preached the keys to the “door of the kingdom turn” either in opening or closing the door of the kingdom to men.

b. Church Discipline

The second key is that of Church discipline. With this key “ a man that is a heretic after the first and second admonition reject” and when one will not hear the Church “let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector”. This is the actual administration by the power of Christ by which heaven is closed to a person unless they repent.

The key of Church discipline does not only close the kingdom. When faithfully administered it also opens the kingdom to the repentant sinner. (2 Cor. 2:6-8)

Finally lets note that the Scriptures do not lend themselves to individual aggression against thehereticks outside of Church authority.

It is important that we note that the letters in the New Testament by the apostle Paul and others are written to the Churches and therefore the church leadership was involved in all the divisive and heretical issues. Individuals did not make judgments out side of the ordained church leadership. Therefore the ordained men use the keys of the kingdom and instructing its “members” how to act and react. And they used the keys to perform regarding Church discipline. There are no independent “para church” vigilante Christians in the New Testament Scripture, the Christians took the instruction of the apostles and elders! We are to tak the instruction of the elders today as well, We are not to make judgmental calls ourselves. We cannot find people doing that in the scripture. Those that had the administration of the keys of the kingdom di make the judgments and then gave Christians instructions concerning the heresies in the first century church. These principles we do and can apply today in cases of heresy but the leadership still needs to ensure they have instructed us in what groups are non-christian since they have properly administered the keys of the kingdom.

Paul was clear in the Pastoral Epistles, as well as at Ephesians that the elders of the Church were to teach, instruct and warn watching out for the souls of the people of God (Acts 20; Heb. 13:17; etc.) Timothy, a called man of God was instructed by Paul to do the work of the ministry (using the keys) instructing the church, disciplining the deficient and negligent, being instant in and out of season, regarding error and apostasy doing the work of the ministry (using the keys). Paul told Titus that the mouths of the insubordinate and deceivers had to be stopped. (Titus1:11) How? By the use of the keys of the kingdom.. The church leaders are the ones that are to take the lead in these things as they watch for our souls. It is interesting that there is not one person that came forward with a doctrinal heresy but those called and ordained of God. I do believe that all hereseys are to be worked through te church and its ecclesiastical authority and never attacked and “pounced upon” by individual people of faith. It is just the job that the authorities have in their administration of the keys of the kingdom.

The Church at Rome was to avoid divisive persons. Again this is a Church discipline (key issue). Paul told the Church that Satan would be crushed under their feet shortly. Note the letter is to the church.

John instructed the lady in his second letter to beware of those that would come to her home that had the message of antichrist, She was not to show hospitality nor greet them at all.

Peter, wrote warning believers about those peddling false and damaging doctrine. He asked them to make their calling and election sure and to beware lest they too fall from their steadfastness. He called for them to grow in grace and knowledge. He did not call for them by themselves, in an independent fashion to take on those bringing false doctrine.

Titus, a minister of the keys of the kingdom, wrote instructing the Church concerning certain heretics. He used the keys exposing them (1:5.19) and ask the Christians to contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints to against them and the finally in watching for their souls instructed them in the necessity of “building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.”

May God give us the wisdom to have discernment to know our position in Christ’s kingdom and may we pray for those that watch for our souls, Also may we not sin in judging anyone prematurely and in the case of possible heresy get the info to our church leaders quickly so that the keys of the kingdom can do their work for the glory of God and the purity of His Bride!

Appendix A

Chapter 30: Of Church Censures

30:1 The Lord Jesus, as King and Head of His Church, hath therein appointed a government, in the hand of Church officers, distinct from the civil magistrate (Isa_9:6, Isa_9:7; Mat_28:18-20; Act_20:17, Act_20:28; 1Co_12:28; 1Th_5:12; 1Ti_5:17; Heb_13:7, Heb_13:17, Heb_13:24).

30:2 To these officers, the keys of the kingdom of heaven are committed: by virtue whereof, they have power respectively to retain, and remit sins; to shut that kingdom against the impenitent, both by the Word and censures; and to open it unto penitent sinners, by the ministry of the Gospel, and by absolution from censures, as occasion shall require (Mat_16:19; Mat_18:17, Mat_18:18; Joh_20:21-23; 2Co_2:6-8).

30:3 Church censures are necessary, for the reclaiming and gaining of offending brethren, for deterring of others from the like offences, for purging out of that leaven which might infect the whole lump, for vindicating the honour of Christ, and the holy profession of the Gospel, and for preventing the wrath of God, which might justly fall upon the Church, if they should suffer His covenant and the seals thereof to be profaned by notorious and obstinate offenders (Mat_7:6; 1Co_5:1-13; 1Co_11:27-34 with Jud_1:23; 1Ti_1:20; 1Ti_5:20).

30:4 For the better attaining of these ends, the officers of the Church are to proceed by admonition; suspension from the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper for a season; and by excommunication from the Church; according to the nature of the crime, and demerit of the person (Mat_18:17; 1Co_5:4, 1Co_5:5, 1Co_5:13; 1Th_5:12; 2Th_3:6, 2Th_3:14, 2Th_3:15; Tit_3:10).

Friday, April 28, 2006

Can you answer these questions?

50 Questions To Ask Your Wife In Helping EstablishingSolid Communication To You In Fulfilling
Your Covenant Of Companionship

MEN, yes MEN your marriage is a covenant of companionship. You muse be a companion to your wife. The ride on the fourwheeler, boating and fishing at the lake, going to a baseball game every week with her not being your companion is a sin. Oh I know you can’t find much in common now and that you don’t know what to talk about now. But here this is what you need so that you can talk to her and learn and honor God and please her by doing the companionship thing. Therefore you can now a.) read it, b.) find loving ways to ask the questions and get answers. Now if you spend time doing these things you will see your marriage enhanced, sexual activity increased, God glorified, and God only knows what else may happen! Here ye go brothers!!!!
NOTE: Print these out, plave them in a folder and once you get answers refer to them often. Beleive me it cuts down on the guesswork on the what to do with and for your companion (wife).
If you spend time doing these things
you will see your marriage enhanced,
sexual activity increased,
God glorified, and
God only knows what else may happen!
Women, At times on internet chat you have toldme your wish for a better relationship with your hubbies. This will help. I call you to be patient as he learns to have you become his companion in the covenent of companionship which marriage is biblically called.
Expect to have exciting fun and a solid growth spiritually in your marriage guys and gals!
(DR. Steve)

Wives, be patient with your husbands
as they learn to have you become the biblical companion
and not his fishing, boating or work buddies, etc.

1. What Are Your 5 Favorite Foods With The Most Favorite First?


2. Are You 5 Favorite Kinds Of Meals With Most Favorite As First?


3. What Are Your 5 Favorite Desserts With The Most Favorite First?


4. What Are Your 5 Favorite Restaurants With The Most Favorite First?


5. What Is Your Favorite Color?

6. What Are Your 5 Favorite Hobbies With The Most Favorite As First?


7. What Are Your 5 Favorite Recreations With The Most Favorite As First?


8. What Are Your 5 Favorite Sources Of Reading With The Most Favorite As First?


9. What Gifts Do You Like?


10. What Is Your Favorite Book(S) Of The Bible? Why?


11 .What Is Your Favorite Verse(S) Of the Bible? Why?

12.What Is Your Favorite Song?

13.What Makes You The Most Fulfilled Or Happiest As A Woman?

14.What Makes You The Most Fulfilled Or Happiest As A Wife?

15.What Makes You The Most Fulfilled Or Happiest As A Mother?

16.What Makes You Saddest As A Woman?

17.What Makes You Saddest As A Wife?

18.What Makes You Saddest As A Mother?

19.What Do You Fear The Most?

20. What Other Fears Do You Have?

21 What Do You Look Forward To The Most?

22 How Much Sleep Do You Need?

23 What Are Your Skills?

24 What Is Your Spiritual Gift (s)?

25. What Are Your Weaknesses?

26. What Things (Personal, Home, Car, Etc.) Need Repairing?

27. With What Chores And Responsibilities Do You Like My Help?

28. What Caresses Do You Enjoy The Most?

29. What Caresses Do You Enjoy The Least?

30. What Action Of Mine Provides You The Greatest Sexual Pleasure?

31. What Other Things Stimulate You Sexually?

32. At What Times Do You Need Assurance Of My Love The Most?

33. How Can That Love Be Shown?

34. What Can I Do That Will Make It Easier To Discuss And Work On Areas Or Problems That Are Uncomfortable To You?

35. What Concerns Do You Have That I Do Not Seem Interested In?

36. What Things Do I Do That Irritate You?

37. What Desires Do You Have That We Haven't Discussed?

38. What Do You Enjoy Doing The Most Enjoyable First?Next?

39 What Things Can I Do To Show My Appreciation Of You?

40. What Varying Desires (Spiritual, Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, Social, Worth, Recreational, Etc.) Would You Like Me To Provide?

41. In What Ways Would You Like Me To Protect You (Physically, Spiritually, Socially, And Emotionally)?

42. In What Ways Would You Like Me To Sacrifice For You?

43. What Things Are First In My Life? As You Look At Me What Do You See, Not What I Am.

44. What Implied Or Unspoken Desires And Wishes Of Yours Would You Like For Me To Fulfill?

45. What Concerns And Interests Of Yours Would You Like Me To Support?

46. How Much Time Would Be Good For Us To Spend Together Each Day?

47. In Helping Family Members To Use Their Skills And Develop Their Abilities, What Motivating Factors Would Be Helpful For Me To Use?

48. What Can I Do That Provides The Greatest Comfort And Encouragement For You When You Are Hurt, Fearful, Anxious Or Worried?

49. What Personal Habits Do I Have That You Would Like Changed?

50. What Ways Demonstrate To You That You Are A Very Important Person? Who Is As Important Or More Important Than I Am?

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Baptismal Regeneration

"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."--- Mark 16:15-16.

IN the preceding verse our Lord Jesus Christ gives us some little insight into the natural character of the apostles whom he selected to be the first ministers of the Word. They were evidently men of like passions with us, and needed to be rebuked even as we do. On the occasion when our Lord sent forth the eleven to preach the gospel to every creature, he "appeared unto them as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen;" from which we may surely gather that to preach the Word, the Lord was pleased to choose imperfect men; men, too, who of themselves were very weak in the grace of faith in which it was most important that they should excel. Faith is the conquering grace, and is of all things the main requisite in the preacher of the Word; and yet the honoured men who were chosen to be the leaders of the divine crusade needed a rebuke concerning their unbelief. Why was this? Why, my brethren, because the Lord has ordained evermore that we should have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us. If you should find a perfect minister, then might the praise and honour of his usefulness accrue to man; but God is frequently pleased to select for eminent usefulness men evidently honest and sincere, but who have some manifest infirmity by which all the glory is cast off from them and laid upon Himself, and upon Himself alone. Let it never be supposed that we who are God's ministers either excuse our faults or pretend to perfection. We labour to walk in holiness, but we cannot claim to be all that we wish to be. We do not base the claims of God's truth upon the spotlessness of our characters, but upon the fact that it comes from him. You have believed in spite of our infirmities, and not because of our virtues; if, indeed, you had believed our word because of our supposed perfection, your faith would stand in the excellency of man and not in the power of God. We come unto you often with much trembling, sorrowing over our follies and weaknesses, but we deliver to you God's Word as God's Word, and we beseech you to receive it not as coming from us poor, sinful mortals, but as proceeding from the Eternal and Thrice Holy God; and if you so receive it, and by its own vital force are moved and stirred up towards God and his ways, then is the work of the Word sure work, which it could not and would not be if it rested in any way upon man.

Our Lord having thus given us an insight into the character of the persons whom he has chosen to proclaim his truth, then goes on to deliver to the chosen champions, their commission for the Holy War. I pray you mark the words with solemn care. He sums up in a few words the whole of their work, and at the same time foretells the result of it, telling them that some would doubtless believe and so be saved, and some on the other hand would not believe and would most certainly, therefore, be damned, that is, condemned for ever to the penalties of God's wrath. The lines containing the commission of our ascended Lord are certainly of the utmost importance, and demand devout attention and implicit obedience, not only from all who aspire to the work of the ministry, but also from all who hear the message of mercy. A clear understanding of these words is absolutely necessary to our success in our Master's work, for if we do not understand the commission it is not at all likely that we shall discharge it aright. To alter these words were more than impertinence, it would involve the crime of treason against the authority of Christ and the best interests of the souls of men. O for grace to be very jealous here.

Continued Here

5 Points of Calvinism

Tulip - Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, Perseverance of the Saints

(1) Sinners are utterly helpless to redeem themselves or to contribute anything meritorious toward their own salvation (Rom 8:7-8). (2) God is sovereign in the exercise of His saving Will (Eph 1:4-5). (3) Christ died as a substitute who bore the full weight of God's wrath on behalf of His people, and his atoning work is efficacious for their salvation (Isa. 53:5). (4) God's saving purpose cannot be thwarted (John 6:37), meaning none of Christ's true sheep will ever be lost (John 10:27-29). That is because (5) God assures the perseverance of His elect (Jude 24; Phil 1:6; 1 Peter 1:5).

Renewing Your Mind with Dr. R.C. Sproul launches on DirecTV ®

Orlando, Fla., April 22, 2006 -- Renewing Your Mind (RYM) is embarking on a new era of outreach by broadcasting on the NRB Network, channel 378 on DirecTV , with a potential audience of more than sixteen million subscribers. This new broadcast will contribute quality programs that provide a platform to expand the kingdom of God by increasing the reach of biblical truth. RYM will feature teaching by Dr. R.C. Sproul, airing for thirty minutes at both 7:30 EST in the morning and evening.

Since Americans are watching television now more than ever, the need for solid Christian programming with content that rivals secular channels has increased. John Duncan, executive producer for RYM, said, "The opportunity on the NRB Network brings the ministry to its knees in prayer, because we are at the threshold of something that has the potential to be as effective as the radio outreach. As we did not realize the profound impact that the radio ministry would have in the world, so the new television ministry opportunity has also opened up endless possibilities." For the first time, Dr. Sproul will be invited into viewers homes, while they come face-to-face with his deep theological knowledge and characteristic, practical teaching style.

The NRB Network "exists to represent the Christian broadcasters' right to communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world." Senior vice president and chief operating officer of the NRB network, Troy Miller, said, "As of yet, there is not a Christian network seeking to compete with the secular broadcasters such as the Hallmark Channel, the Discovery Channel, Bravo, Fox News, PBS, PBS Kids, and so on. The NRB Network enters the market to answer the challenge -- bringing a solid biblical world and life view, coupled with a modern and more mainstream programming approach."

Dr. R. C. Sproul is featured on RYM, an international radio broadcast that has aired for more than ten years with an estimated two million people tuning in every week. Dr. Sproul is a respected teacher, theologian, and pastor. He is currently serving as the director of Serve International, and senior minister of preaching at Saint Andrew's Chapel in Sanford, Florida. He has had a distinguished academic teaching career, written scores of articles for national publications, is general editor of The Reformation Study Bible, executive editor of Tabletalk magazine, and he has written more than 60 books, produced more than 300 lecture series, and recorded more than 80 video series -- which will be prepared to air on the RYM television program. For more information please visit

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

An Invitation to Christ Recovering an Understanding of the Biblical Gospel

An Invitation to Christ
Recovering an Understanding of the Biblical Gospel

John T. Sneed
North Hill Baptist Church
Minot , ND
"......the gospel of Jesus Christ is good news about a powerful God
who brings a miraculous change in His people by pursuing them and speaking
directly by His Spirit to the spirit of the person,
calling them out of the world to Himself."

Bad Terminology and Fuzzy Thinking

There was a time when ministers were meticulous in their gospel presentations. That is, they would say what the Bible said and would avoid unbiblical terms in their messages. Within the last hundred years however, there has been a rise in programs and an accompanying decrease of interest in theological precision.[1] A new emphasis on God’s love for mankind and the idea that salvation in Christ is a personal decision led to new ways to present that gospel invitation that had not been seen in Baptist circles before.[2] These new ways have resulted in fuzzy thinking and bad theology about what salvation is and how it is accomplished. Indeed, such fuzziness has been so much a part of the warp and woof of modern evangelical terminology that it is hard to challenge it without being accused of apostasy.

The focus of this article will be to examine the idea of “inviting Jesus into your heart” for salvation. I believe the idea is unbiblical and leads to a misunderstanding of the nature of salvation, the work of Christ in the atonement and what it means to believe the gospel. If this is true, it is long past time for a critical re-examination of these ideas.
Bad Thinking about the Gospel
One of the worst examples of the kind of theology I am talking about is summed up in this statement I have personally heard used in many sermons. “In the matter of your salvation, God voted for you, Satan has voted against you, and now it is time for you to cast the deciding vote.” An example can be found in the following sermon excerpt. “Some people are unusually gifted in actually ‘closing the deal,’ so to speak. They know how to lead people to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.”[3] Other examples can be found in popular Southern Baptist evangelism programs. The common element of many of these programs is the decision, usually sealed by prayer in which Christ’s atoning work is offered to the sinner, if he wants to accept it. Consider these words, “Yet we would be remiss if we did not give people a choice, the choice to receive life or death.”[4] In these and other programs like them, the death of Jesus on the cross is presented as being effective only of the sinner (considering being saved) chooses to let Christ atone for him or her.

Central to this bad idea of how salvation works is Revelation 3:20. The verse says, “Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him and have dinner with him, and he with me.” Christ is presented as one standing outside the door of the sinner’s heart pleading with the sinner to open their heart to his saving work. Otherwise, Christ is powerless to do anything. In this context, the key to salvation is the sinner’s decision to open the door of his heart, thus giving Christ permission to impute his atoning work to the sinner’s account. This thinking ignores the fact that the verse in question was written to a church that had become important in its own eyes and had pushed Christ out. The pleading of Jesus in the verse is to be let back into his rightful place in the congregation. This is a bad use of the Bible and has led to bad thinking in terms of Christ’s work in our salvation.

We have seen several examples of unbiblical thinking come from this type of thinking. Among them is the idea that to be saved, you have to “invite Jesus into your heart.” Another is that it is your decision that makes you a Christian. This is implied in the so called “sinner’s prayer.” It is the thinking behind signing a gospel tract as a sign of your decision to allow Jesus to be your savior. Still another example of bad theology is that Jesus’ death has no effect on you unless you give God permission to let it have an effect. Finally, there are those teaching that when Jesus died on the cross he didn’t actually die for anyone but only died to make salvation potential (rather than actual). Again, it is the decision of the sinner that gives life, so to speak, to the atoning work of Jesus. Thus, the only people Jesus died for are people who let him die for them.
All these ideas are bad thinking about the gospel. They are examples of bad thinking because they move the locus of salvation off God and onto men. Everything becomes a matter of choice and this has had a cascade effect on the practical applications of this theology to the lives of Christians. However, that is the topic of another article. The fifth sola of the Reformation is Soli Deo Gloria, which means “To the Glory of God Alone.” But the ideas I have mentioned do not give glory to God except that they admit that it was God’s plan, and that Jesus died to make salvation possible. Otherwise, everything that counts is done by men.[5] In so doing, they leave Christians thinking they caused their own salvation and detract from the glory of God and the worship of God for His mighty work on our behalf.

The Wrong Question
I remember my own conversion. It was at an old fashioned revival meeting held at my original home church, Parkview Baptist Church in Landover , Maryland . I learned in the sermon that being eight years old was no defense against hell and an automatic pardon for sin. The evangelist told us we needed Jesus and he could show us how to receive Him. I went forward that night. The evangelist sat down beside me and told me about John 3:16. He put it like this “Timmy (my nickname growing up), God so loved Timmy, that He gave His only begotten Son, so that if Timmy would believe on Him, Timmy would never die but would have everlasting life.” Then he asked me what I consider to be, the right question. He said, “Timmy, do you believe?” I could not have articulated it then but I know now that his question made me look inside to see if I believed Jesus had died for me personally. That is the right question.

The wrong question, which is most commonly used today, is “Do you want to believe?” In this question, Christ is standing by powerless to move until I decide if I want to believe or not. Then and only then will it be possible for Christ to move in my life. The first question asks, am I aware of what Jesus actually did for me personally? The second question asks, do I want what Jesus did for me potentially to count for me personally? The first puts the locus of salvation in God’s work for us. The second question puts the locus on our being willing to allow God to work for us. In this, I believe it is the wrong question.

God’s Mighty Work in Salvation
If the ideas cited above are examples of bad thinking about salvation, then the question arises, “What did God do on our behalf and how do we come to believe it?” This is an important question because it goes to the heart of the gospel and how a person is saved.

There is a saying in reformed circles that salvation is a gift given, not a gift offered. How then is the gift given and how do we come to realize it?
The answer is found in the doctrine of the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ. This doctrine states that Jesus died on the cross as a substitute. The question is “a substitute for whom? In the wrong question, Jesus dies as a substitute for no one at the time of his death. He died for those who would to allow him to let his death count for them. Put another way, when Jesus died on the cross he did not actually die for anyone. He died so that people could choose whether or not to allow Jesus to die for them. But that is not the statement made by the doctrine of the substitutionary atonement. The Baptist Faith and Message[6] says “[Jesus] by his own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer.”[7] In this doctrinal statement, Jesus actually obtains redemption for a group of people. In this case, it is for believers. That is to say, it is obtained for all those people who would ever believe that Jesus had died for them personally. But note, it is obtained. The apostle John says “The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11). This agrees with the angel’s pronouncement to Mary in Matthew 1:21, “You shall call his Name Jesus for he shall save his people from their sins.” Clearly, the idea of an actual substitution for an actual group of people is set forth. James P. Boyce, an early Southern Baptist theologian states “In so offering himself, Christ actually bore the penalty of the transgressions of those for whom he was substituted.”[8] So, we join with others in agreeing with the apostles that Christ actually substituted his life for somebody. These people are called, in various spots, his people, his sheep, or believers. But how do they come to know that Christ died for them personally?

The Baptist Faith and Message says “Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God’s grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance towards God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace.”[9] It is by the new birth that we are able to respond to God’s work of grace in us and come to Christ for eternal life. Jesus himself said “unless a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God .” (John 3:3). The new birth is a requisite to believing. But how do we come to believe?

The answer is by the word and the Spirit. The Bible, the written word of God testifies to Christ. It shows us the majesty of God revealed in the Person and work of Jesus Christ. The sinner who comes into contact with the word of God, either in written form or in the faithful witness of preachers, evangelists, or lay witnesses, is confronted with the Person of Christ and his claims. Paul the apostle says “how can they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without a preacher?” ( Rom. 10:14).

But the sinner is blind and deaf to the majesty of God revealed in the word of God without the operations of the Holy Spirit. The Bible describes this in various ways. For example, it is said that the heart of stone is replaced with a heart of flesh. Blind eyes are opened. Deaf ears are unstopped. This is the work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration. So the effect is the immediate knowledge of the application of the atonement of Christ to the sinner which the sinner becomes aware of by the inward testimony of the word and the Spirit. It is a miraculous impartation of divine knowledge from God to the sinner, to which the sinner responds in repentance and faith, confessing Jesus as Lord and Savior. J.I. Packer notes “The internal witness of the Spirit in John Calvin is a work of enlightenment whereby, through the medium of verbal testimony, the blind eyes of the spirit are opened, and divine realities come to be recognized and embraced for what they are.”[10]

Does this agree with scripture? Yes. Consider Jeremiah 31:33, “I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (NKJV). Jesus said “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give them eternal life…” (John 10:27-28a). Consider also the apostle John “And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God (i.e. the witness of the Spirit) is greater; for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son. He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself. And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.” (1 John 5:6-11, NKJV). Paul the apostle said “The Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.” (Romans 8:16). So, does God speak to us personally and testify to us the truth of His Son and that we are His? Yes, He does.

The Testimony of Scripture
When the apostles were put to the question, did they ask if people wanted to believe or did they command people to believe? On Pentecost Day, Peter concluded his sermon with “Repent and be baptized…” (Acts 2:38a). In other words, believe what you have heard and act on it. After the lame man was healed Peter told the gathering crowd “Repent and turn therefore…” (Acts 4:19). As Philip spoke with the Ethiopian eunuch, they passed by some water and the eunuch asked “what is stopping me from being baptized?” Philip’s answer was “If you believe, you may.” (Acts 8: 36-37). While Peter preached the gospel in the house of the Gentile, Cornelius, the Holy Spirit fell on the assembled listeners and they believed. (Acts 10:44). Acts 13:48 says that “as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.” When Paul was speaking to the woman Lydia , scripture records “The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.” (Acts 16:14). When the jailer in Philippi asked “What must I do to be saved?” Paul answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved…” (Acts 16:31).

Never throughout the scriptures is a person asked if they want to believe. The command to believe was imperative and immediate. And never is the invitation given to “invite or ask Jesus into your heart” as a condition or method of salvation. The command is “believe!”
The Sinner’s Prayer
I hear the question coming “but what about the sinner’s prayer?” One of the innovations of Charles Finney was the need to get an immediate action from the sinner. Thus the sinner’s prayer was created. This was later popularized by evangelists like Dwight Moody, Billy Sunday and Billy Graham. Today, it is such apart of evangelism, no one questions it. In the sinner’s prayer, it is said that the sinner asks Christ to come into them and save them. One writer says “You can receive Jesus through prayer.”[11] The prayer presupposes Jesus is standing by, hovering on the outside of the sinner, waiting to be asked inside. Oftentimes, this prayer is spoken even if the sinner has already confessed they believe that Jesus died for them personally. The evangelist hears the person say “I believe Jesus died for me.” Then the evangelist will say, “Now you need to pray and ask Jesus to be your savior.” But the idea is a contradiction in itself. The person has already confessed that Jesus saved them. The sinner’s prayer becomes a redundancy.

But is it wrong then to pray after acknowledging Christ as your personal savior? No. Paul in Romans tells us that belief is a heart matter and our confession then displays what is in our hearts. He says “For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” (Acts 10:10). Therefore, when we lead new believers (because that is what the sinner is when they have confessed “I believe.”) in prayer, we are leading them to thank God for saving them and to confess Jesus as their Lord and God. By such a confession they acknowledge His claims over them as they confess themselves to be one of His people. The invitation to “accept Jesus” is given to one who has professed Jesus as their savior. They accept Jesus as Lord of their lives. We remember the words of Paul who said “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved…” (Acts 16:31).

On a side note, let me remind my readers that the only sinner’s prayer recorded in scripture is found in Luke 18:13. The publican, refusing to even look up towards the sky, beats his breast and says “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” Nowhere do we find people being led in prayer to “accept Christ”. Instead, they are commanded to believe. As proof of their belief, they immediately act on the belief of their hearts. This was usually done in baptism. But the sinner’s prayer is conspicuously absent from scripture.

Putting It All Together
Evangelicalism is suffering in the 21st century from the disease of worldliness. While the causes are probably many, one cause is the poor job of evangelism being done by the Church. Our evangelism methods today are turning out people who profess Jesus as savior without wanting Jesus as Lord. As evangelism has become more man centered than God centered, everything in the Christian life becomes a desire or a want of the Christian. We foster this type of thinking with bad theology and fuzzy terminology.

But the gospel of Jesus Christ is good news about a powerful God who brings a miraculous change in His people by pursuing them and speaking directly by His Spirit to the spirit of the person, calling them out of the world to Himself. Instead of a gospel where a person wants to be saved and them accomplishes their salvation by praying the prayer of salvation, the saving gospel is God causing a miraculous change (the new birth) that results in people living for the God who saved them. We need to move the locus of salvation from man back to God. Salvation is not something we choose to let God do to us. It is something God did for us at the cross and then reveals to us that He saved us by the witness of His Spirit. God saved sinners. The truth is not that sinners save themselves by a method God has provided.

By asking the right question instead of the wrong question, we can help move our evangelism back to God centeredness. By seeing God as the active agent in our salvation we can help regain converts who confess Jesus as both savior and Lord.

In the popular evangelism tool “Share Jesus Without Fear” the author starts well and ends poorly. He closes the evangelistic appeal with these questions, do you believe Jesus Christ died on the cross for you and rose again? Are you willing to surrender your life to Jesus Christ? Are you ready to invite Jesus into your heart and into your life?[12] The first two questions are good; however the last one could be worded better. The person has confessed Jesus as their savior in the first question. Therefore, the logical final question would be “would you like to pray and thank Jesus for saving you and confess Him as Lord of your life?” The very popular F.A.I.T.H. evangelism strategy echoes Fay in how they close the gospel presentation.[13] The closing question could be better put “understanding what we have shared, do you believe you have forgiveness of sins because Jesus Christ is your savior and Lord?”

Our God has done a mighty work in salvation. Yet, we do not proclaim it as a mighty work of God. It is often portrayed as a potential work that is left up to the sinner to complete. Whether by a sinner’s prayer, or signing a tract, or being baptized, or joining a church, if the sinner does anything that causes God to save them then salvation is not by Christ alone.

Preacher, go forth preaching the mighty work of God to the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. Preach him as a savior who saves and who saves to the uttermost! Preach and call sinners to believe. Salvation is a gift that is given to us by God. Offer people a Christ who saves. Make it a biblical presentation but present Christ as powerful and effective in bringing sinners to life. Preach it and trust God for your results.

Friend, do you believe? Do you believe that Jesus Christ, the God-man, died on the cross for your sins personally? Did He save you by His death? If you do believe, then confess Him. Confess Him as your Lord and Savior. Then, since you are one of His people, live for Him. He died for you, go and live for Him. (2 Corinthians 5:15).

Boyce, J. (1887). Abstract of Systematic Theology. Dulk Foundation: Escondito.
Dockery, D. The Rebirth of Baptist Orthodoxy. Baptist Identity: Is There a Future? Lecture given at Union University , April 5, 2004.

Fay, W. (1999). Share Jesus Without Fear. Broadman and Holman: Nashville .

Piper, J. (2000). The Legacy of Sovereign Joy. Crossway: Wheaton .

Robinson, D. (1995). People Sharing Jesus. Thomas Nelson: Nashville .

Vines, J. ed. (2004). Preaching with Passion. Broadman and Holman: Nashville .

Welch, B. and Williams, D. (1998). A Journey in Faith. Lifeway: Nashville .

[1] Dockery, Rebirth.
[2] The focus of my attention in this article in on the gospel as presented in Baptist life, especially, but not limited to, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).
[3] Vines, The Church’s Main Business, Preaching with Passion, 490.
[4] Fay, “Share Jesus Without Fear,” 59.
[5] It is understood here that when I say ‘men’ I am using the term generically for humans or humankind.
[6] The Baptist Faith and Message is the doctrinal statement of the Southern Baptist Convention. It was most recently updated in 2000.
[7] BF&M, IV, 11.
[8] Boyce, “Abstract of Systematic Theology,” 325.
[9] BF&M, IV, 11.
[10] Packer, “Calvin the Theologian,” 166.
[11] Robinson, “People Sharing Jesus,” 168.
[12] Fay, “Share Jesus Without Fear,” 69.
[13] Welch, “A Journey in Faith,” 164-168.

Infants in the Celestial City? ... You Betch Ya!

Infants in the Celestial City? ……….. You Betch Ya!

I continue to stand amazed at the reality that many dear Christians continue to fail to understand that God gives all things sufficient for life and godliness.. This includes answers concerning the death of our children that die in infancy. Salvation is by God’s good covenant pleasure and grace. Therefore since it is not by innocence, freewill decisions, baptism, good works, etc. then we have a hope and base for the salvation of our children that die in infancy.

Statements from Christians as stated below cause me sadness. I do pray that the truths of Scripture in the blog “Infants In The Celestial City” will help to clear up confusion and grant God’s living hope, grace and peace to the people of God’s Kingdom!

Note the lack of answer and potential despair in the following recent quote by a dear Christian:

"Now let me say a clearly as I can, I have no idea where babies (who pass) are. I don't believe the Scriptures are as clear on this as we'd like them to be. I'd like to believe they are all in heaven, but the bottom line is I simply trust that the Lord has dealt with them with righteousness and mercy." Reflections of the Times

Infants In The Celestial City!

By Steve

Dear Christian parent one can’t begin to express the sorrow felt for the loss of yours or of any infant in death. Many have come to visit over the years to talk about whether the infant is in the presence of God or not. Some were quite assured that their child was in the presence of the Lord Jesus but others were just not sure. Then there were some Christian parents that just were not sure, had never been sure and lived in fear that they may never see their infant again. There is not a window that we can look into heaven to see where infants are after they die, but there is a book called the Bible that clearly gives the answer concerning where the infants of Christians parents are after they pass from this world. If you’re assured of your infant being with the Lord continue to read this article and be renewed in your assurance. If you have doubts or have never understood where the infant is then this is for you. When you read this and understand the teaching of God concerning infants of Christians then your heart should be troubled no more.

Christian Parent your heart
should be troubled no more!

“Why the death of my small innocent boy or girl baby?” you may be continuing to ask yourself. “How can it be that my “innocent” baby died?” “Why Did God take him or her from me?” Some of these questions cannot be answered.

But why death happens can be answered. .Some may respond that their infant was “innocent and never sinned” and therefore not guilty until they commit an actual act of sin. God lets us know that this is not so. God lets parents know that all men are guilty of sin from conception. In this life all of the reasons for God calling the child home will never be known. What is known though is that we live in a world wherein there is sin and it has consequences. The Bible teaches that all persons since our first parents Adam and Eve are born and conceived in this state of sin. In the beginning the first parent Adam brought sin into the world and with it came death and misery such as you have experienced in the death of your infant. “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned-- for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.” (Rom 5:12-14) Death will come to all of us as it has come to your infant for the simple reason that the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23). The infant, like all of us still living were conceived in iniquity, and in sin their mother and father conceived them (Ps. 51:5). Death came upon them due to the fact of the guilt of sin upon them. It will come upon us due to our guilt as well.
The child that died in infancy, being of the covenant is with the Lord!

Even though death came to your child because of sin that is in this world that does not mean that your child is not with the Lord. For the Christian parent there is not one reason you should doubt that the infant child which died is saved and with the Lord Jesus. The believing parent has as their spiritual father Abraham. Therefore you are entered into a covenant relationship with God and therefore you have the promises of the covenant placed upon you and your family. Gen 17:7 “… I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.” Therefore your child that died in infancy is with the Lord since your children are included in the covenant of grace. This blessing is shown in the Bible in several ways:

By God’s statements to Abraham that includes the rite of circumcision which proves that the children of believers are included in the covenant. Circumcision was the rite that signified the covenant relationship. God says in Gen 17:7 “… I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.”The child that died in infancy, being of the covenant is with the Lord!

By Peter’s statement in his sermon at Pentecost clearly placed the children of believers in the covenant of grace. Act 2:39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself."

By the purpose of God in marriage between believers is to produce a godly offspring. Mal 2:15 Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth.

By the purpose of God in marriage between
believers is to produce a godly offspring!

By the Apostle Paul in 1 Cor 7:14-16 affirms that the children of unbelieving parents are “unclean”. But if even one parent believes the children are included in the covenant and even called “holy”.

There are Bible examples of this hope and certainty of reunion which the covenant brings. Here are a couple.

A. First is the account of King David wherein he was unburdened and comforted by the knowledge that his child was not lost forever but he would be with the Lord and they would be reunited. Note what he said, “I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me” (2 Sam. 12:23).

B. Secondly we have the account where Jeremiah prophesied (31:15-17) and gave evidence that the infants which were murdered in Bethlehem by the orders of King Herod (Matt. 2:16-18) were not forever lost but were in the presence of God and they and their parents would be reunited. Jeremiah stated the Lord’s declaration in his prophesy, “there is hope for your future, declares the Lord, and your children shall come back to their own country”.

Thus says the LORD: "A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more." Thus says the LORD: "Keep your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears, for there is a reward for your work, declares the LORD, and they shall come back from the land of the enemy. There is hope for your future, declares the LORD, and your children shall come back to their own country. (Jer 31:15-17)

Therefore do not doubt the salvation of any of your children that died in infancy. Take comfort in the promise of God, in the examples contained within scripture and in the peace which comes from knowing the Lord Jesus personally. Rest assured that since you are a member of the covenant your and your children are a part of God’s decree of election, saved by the finished work of the shed blood of Christ. Therefore, beloved brethren rest that your dear infant is now in heaven “with Christ, which is far better” (Phil 1:23). He or she is a true “heavenly infants”! Oh parent, look for the day of Christ’s return. Await oh, blessed ones. There is coming a day of reunions. On that glorious day of the return of Our Lord you will be before your Savior and be restored unto your beloved child. Oh, what joys inexpressible and gull of glory. !

Some Applicable Scriptural References:

1. In comparing these Scripture together one understands that children of believing parents that die in infancy are regenerated by the Holy Spirit and saved by Christ.

Luk 18:15-16 Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. (16) But Jesus called them to him, saying, "Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.

Act 2:38-39 And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (39) For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself."

Joh 3:3 Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." …….. Joh 3:5 Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

1Jo 5:12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Rom 8:9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.

2. The work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration is not something that is seen by human watching.

Joh 3:8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."

3. Any person in the covenant who is incapable of being called by the normal means through the visible church by the preaching of the word is saved by Christ, through a special work of the Holy Spirit.

1Jo 5:12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Act 4:12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."

4. Children of believers are called holy.

1Co 7:14 For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.

Mal 2:15 Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth.

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Preseverance of the Saints

The Perseverance of the Saints

Yesterday I had the great pleasure of speaking with several Christians concerning the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. In order to help God's people understand this doctrine and since I could never explain the doctrine as well as the excellent Bible theologian Loraine Boettner I thought I would post his work on this great subject so we could all read and learn together. God bless you as you read this explaination of this great and comforting instruction from the word of God.

Jer. 32:40, God has promised to preserve believers from their own backslidings: "And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, and I will not turn away from following them, to do them good; and I will put my fear in their hearts, that they may not depart from me."

The Perseverance of the Saints

Loraine Boettner

1· Statement of the Doctrine. 2. Perseverance Does Not Depend Upon the Person's Good Works But Upon God's Grace. 3. Though Truly Saved the Christian May Temporarily Backslide and Commit Sin. 4. An Outward Profession of Righteousness Not a Guarantee That the Person Is a True Christian. 5. Arminian Sense of Insecurity. 6. Purpose of the Scripture Warnings Against Apostasy. 7.Scripture Proof.


The doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints is stated in the Westminster Confession in the following words: "They whom God hath accepted in His Beloved, effectually called and sanctified by His Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace; but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved."1 Or in other words we believe that those who once become true Christians cannot totally fall away and be lost, --- that while they may fall into sin temporarily, they will eventually return and be saved.

This doctrine does not stand alone but is a necessary part of the Calvinistic system of theology. The doctrines of Election and Efficacious Grace logically imply the certain salvation of those who receive these blessings. If God has chosen men absolutely and unconditionally to eternal life, and if His Spirit effectively applies to them the benefits of redemption, the inescapable conclusion is that these persons shall be saved. And, historically, this doctrine has been held by all Calvinists, and denied by practically all Arminians.

Those who have fled to Jesus for refuge have a firm foundation upon which to build. Though floods of error deluge the land, though Satan raise all the powers of earth and all the iniquities of their own hearts against them, they shall never fail; but, persevering to the end, they shall inherit those mansions which have been prepared for them from the foundation of the world. The saints in heaven are happier but no more secure than are true believers here in this world. Since faith and repentance are gifts of God, the bestowing of these gifts is a revelation of God's purpose to save those to whom they are given. It is an evidence that God has predestinated the recipients of these gifts to be conformed to the image of His Son, i. e., to be like Him in character, destiny, and glory, and that He will infallibly carry out His purpose. No one can pluck them out of His hands. Those who once become true Christians have within themselves the principle of eternal life, which principle is the Holy Spirit; and since the Holy Spirit dwells within them they are already potentially holy. True, they are still exercised by many trials, and they do not yet see what they shall be, but they should know that that which is begun in them shall be completed to the end, and that the very presence of strife within them is the sign of life and the promise of victory.

In regard to those who become true Christians, but who, as the Arminians allege, fall away, why does God not take them out of the world while they are in the saved state? Surely no one will say that it is because He can not, or that it is because He does not foresee their future apostasy. Why, then, does He leave these objects of His affection here to fall back into sin and perish? His gift of continued life to these Christians amounts to an infinite curse placed upon them. But who can really believe that the heavenly Father takes no better care of His children than that? This mistaken doctrine of the Arminians teaches that a person may be a son of God today and a son of the Devil tomorrow, that he may change from one state to another as rapidly as he changes his mind. It teaches that he may be born of the Spirit, justified, sanctified, all but glorified, and that even then he may become reprobate and perish eternally, his own will and course of conduct being the determining factor. Certainly a sovereign loving God would not permit His ransomed children to thus fall away and perish.

In addition to this, if God knows that a certain Christian is going to rebel and perish, can He love him with any deep affection even before his apostasy? If we knew that some one who is our friend today would be led to become our enemy and betray us tomorrow, we could not receive him with the intimacy and trust which otherwise would be natural. Our knowledge of his future acts would in large measure destroy our present love for him.No one denies that the redeemed in heaven will be preserved in holiness. Yet if God is able to preserve His saints in heaven without violating their free agency, may He not also preserve His saints on earth without violating their free agency?

The nature of the change which occurs in regeneration is a sufficient guarantee that the life imparted shall be permanent. Regeneration is a radical and supernatural change of the inner nature, through which the soul is made spiritually alive, and the new life which is implanted is immortal. And since it is a change in the inner nature, it is in a sphere in which man does not have control. No creature is at liberty to change the fundamental principles of its nature, for that is the prerogative of God as Creator. Hence nothing short of another supernatural act of God could reverse this change and cause the new life to be lost. The born-again Christian can no more lose his sonship to the heavenly Father than an earthly son can lose his sonship to an earthly father. The idea that a Christian may fall away and perish arises from a wrong conception of the principle of spiritual life which is imparted to the soul in regeneration.


Paul teaches that believers are not under law, but under grace, and that since they are not under the law they cannot be condemned for having violated the law. "Ye are not under law but under grace," Rom. 6:14. Further sin cannot possibly cause their downfall, for they are under a system of grace and are not treated according to their deserts. "If it is by grace, it is no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace," Rom. 11:6. "The law worketh wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there transgression," Rom. 4:15. "Apart from the law sin is dead" (that is, where the law is abolished sin can no longer subject the person to punishment), Rom. 7:8. "Ye were made dead to the law through the body of Christ," Rom. 7:4. The one who attempts to earn even the smallest part of his salvation by works becomes "a debtor to do the whole law" (that is, to render perfect obedience in his own strength and thus earn his salvation), Gal. 6:3. We are here dealing with two radically different systems of salvation, two systems which, in fact, are diametrically opposed to each other.

The infinite, mysterious, eternal love of God for His people is a guarantee that they can never be lost. This love is not subject to fluctuations but is as unchangeable as His being. It is also gratuitous, and keeps faster hold of us than we of it. It is not founded on the attractiveness of its objects. "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins," I John 4:10. "God commendeth His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, shall we be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by His life," Rom. 5:8-10. Here the very point stressed in that our standing with God is not based on our deserts. It was "while we were enemies" that we were brought into spiritual life through sovereign grace; and if He has done the greater, will He not do the lesser? The writer of the book of Hebrews also teaches that it is impossible for one of God's chosen to be lost when he says that Christ is both "the Author and Perfecter of our faith." We are there taught that the whole course of our salvation is divinely, planned and divinely guided. Neither the grace of God nor its continuance is given according to our merits. Hence if any Christian fell away, it would be because God had withdrawn His grace and changed His method of procedure ---or, in other words, because He had put the person back under a system of law.

Robert L. Dabney has expressed this truth very ably In the following paragraph: "The sovereign and unmerited love is the cause of the believer's effectual calling. Jer. 31:3; Rom. 8:30. Now, as the cause is unchangeable, the effect is unchangeable. That effect is, the constant communication of grace to the believer in whom God hath begun a good work. God was not induced to bestow His renewing grace in the first instance, by anything which He saw, meritorious or attractive, in the repenting sinner; and therefore the subsequent absence of everything good in him would be no new motive to God for withdrawing His grace. When He first bestowed that grace, He knew that the sinner on whom He bestowed it was totally depraved, and wholly and only hateful in himself to the divine holiness; and therefore no new instance of ingratitude or unfaithfulness, of which the sinner may become guilty after his conversion, can be any provocation to God, to change His mind, and wholly withdraw His sustaining grace. God knew all this ingratitude before. He will chastise it, by temporarily withdrawing His Holy Spirit, or His providential mercies; but if He had not intended from the first to bear with it, and to forgive it in Christ, He would not have called the sinner by His grace at first. In a word, the causes for which God determined to bestow His electing love on the sinner are wholly in God, and not at all in the believer; and hence, nothing in the believer's heart or conduct can finally change that purpose of love. Is. 54:10; Rom. 11:29. Compare carefully Rom. 5:8-10; 8:32, with the whole scope of Rom. 8:28-end. This illustrious passage is but an argument for our proposition; 'What shall separate us from the love of Christ?"2

"God's love in this respect," says Dr. Charles Hodge "is compared to parental love. A mother does not love her child because it is lovely. Her love leads her to do all she can to render it attractive and to keep it so. So the love of God, being in like manner mysterious, unaccountable by anything in its objects, secures His adorning His children with the graces of His Spirit, and arraying them in all the beauty of holiness. It is only the lamentable mistake that God loves us for our goodness, that can lead any one to suppose that His love is dependent on our self-sustained attractiveness."3

Concerning the salvation of the elect, Luther says, "God's decree of predestination is firm and certain; and the necessity resulting from it is, in like manner, immovable, and cannot but take place. For we ourselves are so feeble.' that if the matter were left in our hands, very few, or rather none, would be saved; but Satan would overcome us all."

The more we think of these matters, the more thankful we are that our perseverance in holiness and assurance of salvation is not dependent on our own weak nature, but upon God's constant sustaining power. We can say with Isaiah, "Except Jehovah of hosts had left us a very small remnant, we should have become as Sodom, we should have been like unto Gomorrah." Arminianism denies this doctrine of Perseverance, because it is a system, not of pure grace, but of grace and works; and in any such system the person must prove himself at least partially worthy.


This doctrine of Perseverance does not mean that Christians do not temporarily fall the victims of sin, for alas, this is all too common. Even the best of men backslide temporarily. But they are never completely defeated; for God, by the exercise of His grace on their hearts infallibly prevents even the weakest saint from final apostasy. As yet we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the exceeding greatness of the power (or the glory) may be of God, and not from ourselves (II Cor. 4:7).

Concerning his own personal experience even the great apostle Paul could write: "The good which I would I do not; but the evil which I would not, that I practice. But if what I would not, that I do, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me .... I find then the law, that, to me who would do good, evil is present. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man; but I see a different law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity under the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am I who shall deliver me out of the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then I of myself with the mind, indeed, serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin." Rom. 7:19-25. In these lines every true Christian reads his own experience.

It is, of course, inconsistent for the Christian to commit sin, and the writer of the book of Hebrews says that those who do sin "crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh and put Him to an open shame" (6:6). After David had committed sin and had repented he was told by the prophet Nathan that his sin would be forgiven, but that nevertheless through it he had "given great occasion to the enemies of Israel to blaspheme," II Sam. 12:14. David and Peter fell away temporarily, but the basic principles of their natures called them back. Judas fell away permanently because he lacked those basic principles.

As long as the believer remains in this world his state is one of warfare. He suffers temporary reverses and may for a time appear to have lost all faith; yet if he has been once truly saved, he cannot fall away completely from grace. If once he has experienced the inner change which comes through regeneration he will sooner or later return to the fold and be saved. When he comes to himself he confesses his sins and asks forgiveness, never doubting that he is saved. His lapse into sin may have injured him severely and may have brought destruction to others; but so far as he is personally concerned it is only temporary. Paul taught that the life work of many people should be burned since it is constructed of wrong materials, though they themselves shall be saved "so as by fire," I Cor. 3:12-15; and it was this teaching which Jesus brought out in the parable of the lost sheep which the shepherd sought and brought back to the fold.

If true believers fell away, then their bodies, which are called "temples of the Holy Spirit," would become the habitations of the Devil, which of course would make the Devil rejoice and insult over God (I Cor. 6:19). "The Christian is like a man making his way up hill, who occasionally slips back, yet always has his face set toward the summit. The unregenerate man has his face turned downwards, and he is slipping all the way," - A. H. Strong. "The believer, like a man on shipboard, may fall again and again on the deck, but he will never fall overboard."' -C. H. Spurgeon.

Each one of the elect is like the prodigal son in this, that for a time he is deluded by the world and is led astray by his own carnal appetite. He tries to feed on the husks, but they do not satisfy. And sooner or later he is obliged to say, "I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight." And he meets with the same reception, tokens of unchanging love; and a father's welcome voice echoes through the soul, and melts the heart of the poor returning backslider, ---"This my son was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found." Let it be noticed that this is a thoroughly Calvinistic parable in that the prodigal was a son, and could not lose that relationship. Those who are not sons never have the desire to arise and go to the Father.

Our judgments may at times be wrong, as was that of the bewitched Galatians (3:1); and our affections may cool, as in the Ephesian Church (Rev. 2:4). The Church may become drowsy, yet her heart awakes (Song 5:2). Grace may at times seem to be lost to a child of God when it is indeed not so. The sun is eclipsed, but regains its former splendor. The trees lose all their leaves and fruit in winter, but has fresh buddings with the spring. Israel flees once, or even twice, before her enemies, and yet they conquer the land of promise. The Christian, too, falls many times, but is finally saved. It is unthinkable that God's elect should fail of salvation. "There is no possibility of their escaping the omnipotent power of God. so that, like Jonah, who fled from the will of God, which was to carry the message to Nineveh, yet was pursued even into the belly of the fish by the power of God until he willingly obeyed God's command, so they will eventually return to the Saviour, and after confession receive pardon for their sins and be saved."4


We have no great difficulty in disposing of those cases where apparently true believers have gone into final apostasy. Both Scripture and experience teach us that we are often mistaken in our judgment of our fellow men, that sometimes it is practically impossible for us to know for certain that they are true Christians. The tares were never wheat, and the bad fish were never good, in spite of the fact that their true nature was not at first recognized. Since Satan can so alter his appearance that he is mistaken for an angel of light (II Cor. 11:14), it is no marvel that sometimes his ministers also fashion themselves as doers of righteousness, with the most deceptive appearances of holiness, devotion, piety and zeal. Certainly an outward profession is not always a guarantee that the soul is saved. Like the Pharisees of old, they may only desire to "make a fair show in the flesh," and deceive many. Jesus warned His disciples, "there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect," Matt. 24:24; and He quoted the prophet Isaiah to the effect that, "This people honoreth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain do they worship me, Teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men," Mark 7:6, 7. Paul warned against those who were "false apostles, deceitful workers, fashioning themselves into apostles of Christ," II Cor. 11:13. And to the Romans he wrote, "They are not all Israel, that are of Israel: neither, because they are Abraham's seed are they all children," Rom. 9:6, 7. John mentions those who "call themselves apostles, and they are not," Rev. 2:2; and a little later he adds, "I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and thou art dead," Rev. 3:1.

But however effectively these may deceive men, God all the time knows "the blasphemy of them that say they are Jews, and they are not, but are a synagogue of Satan," Rev. 2:9. We live in a day when multitudes claim the name of "Christian," who are destitute of Christian knowledge, experience, and character, - in a day when, in many quarters, the distinction between the Church and the world has been wiped out. Like Samuel, we are often deceived by the outward appearance, and say, "Surely the Lord's anointed is before us," when if we really knew the motives behind their works we would conclude otherwise. We are often mistaken in our judgment of others, in spite of the best precautions that we can take. John gave the true solution for these cases when he wrote: "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they all are not of us," I John 2:19. All of those who fall away permanently come under this class.

Some persons make a great profession of religion although they know nothing of the Lord Jesus in sincerity and in truth. These persons may outstrip many a humble follower in head-knowledge, and for a season they may quite deceive the very elect; yet all the time their hearts have never been touched. In the judgment day many of those who at some time in their lives have been externally associated with the Church will say, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by thy name, and by thy name cast out demons, and by thy name do many mighty works?" And then He will reply to them, "I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity," Matt. 7:22,23; which, of course, would not be true if at some time He had known them as real Christians. When every man shall appear in his own colors, when the secrets of all hearts shall be manifest, many who at times appeared to be true Christians will be seen never to have been among God's people. Some fall away from a profession of faith, but none fall away from the saving grace of God. Those who do fall have never known the latter. They are the stony-ground hearers, who have no root in themselves, but who endure for a while; and when tribulation or persecution arises, straightway they stumble. They are then said to have given up or to have made shipwreck of that faith which they never possessed except in appearance. Some of these become sufficiently enlightened in the scheme of the doctrines of the Gospel that they are able to preach or to teach them to others, and yet are themselves entirely destitute of real saving grace. When such fall away they are no proofs nor instances of the final apostasy of real saints.

Mere church membership, of course, is no guarantee that the persons are real Christians. Not every member of the Church militant will be a member of the Church triumphant. To answer certain purposes, they make an outward profession of the Gospel, which obliges them for a time to be outwardly moral and to associate themselves with the people of God. They appear to have true faith and continue thus for a while. Then either their sheep's clothing is stripped off, or they throw it off themselves, and return again to the world. If we could see the real motives of their hearts, we would discover that at no time were they ever actuated by a true love of God. They were all this while goats, and not sheep, ravening wolves, and not gentle lambs. Hence Peter says of them, "It has happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog turning to his own vomit again, and the sow that had been washed to wallowing in the mire," II Peter 2:22. They thereby show that they never belonged to the number of the elect.

Many of the unconverted listen to the preaching of the Gospel as Herod listened to John the Baptist. We are told that "Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept him safe. And when he heard him he was much perplexed; and he heard him gladly," Mark 6:20. Yet no one who knows of Herod's decree to put John the Baptist to death, and of his life in general, will say that be was ever a Christian.

In addition to what has been said it is to be admitted that often times the common operations of the Spirit on the enlightened conscience lead to reformation and to an externally religious life. Those so influenced are often very strict in their conduct and diligent in their religious duties. To the awakened sinner the promises of the Gospel and the exhibition of the plan of salvation contained in the Scriptures appear not only as true but as suited to his condition. He receives them with joy, and believes with a faith founded on the moral force of truth. This faith continues as long as the state of mind by which it is produced continues. When that changes, he relapses into his usual state of insensibility, and his faith disappears. It is to this class of persons that Christ referred when He spoke of those who receive the Word in stony places or among thorns. Numerous examples of this temporary faith are found in the Scriptures and are often seen in every day life. These experiences often precede or accompany genuine conversion; but in many cases they are not followed by a real change of heart. They may occur repeatedly, and yet those who experience them return to their normal state of unconcern and worldliness. Often times it is impossible for an observer or even the person himself to distinguish these experiences from those of the truly regenerated. "By their fruits ye shall know them," is the test given by our Lord. Only when these experiences issue in a consistently holy life can their distinctive character be known.


A consistent Arminian, with his doctrines of free will and of falling from grace, can never in this life be certain of his eternal salvation. He may, indeed, have the assurance of his present salvation, but he can have only a hope of his final salvation. He may regard his final salvation as highly probable, but he cannot know it as a certainty. He has seen many of his fellow Christians backslide and perish after making a good start. Why may not he do the same thing? So long as men remain in this world they have the remnants of the old sinful nature clinging to them; they are surrounded by the most alluring and deceptive pleasures of the world and the most subtle temptations of the Devil. In many of the supposedly Christian churches they hear the false teaching of modernistic, and therefore unchristian, ministers. If Arminianism were true, Christians would still be in very dangerous positions, with their eternal destiny suspended upon the probability that their weak, creaturely wills would continue to choose right. Furthermore, Arminianism would logically hold that no confirmation in holiness is possible, not even in heaven; for even there the person would still retain his free will and might commit sin any time he chose.

By comparison the Arminian is like the person who has inherited a fortune of, say, $100,000. He knows that many others who have inherited such fortunes have lost them through poor judgment, fraud, calamity, etc., but he has enough confidence in his own ability to handle money wisely that he does not doubt but that he will keep his. His assurance is based largely on self-confidence. Others have failed, but he is confident that he will not fail. But what a delusion is this when applied to the spiritual realm! What a pity that any one who is at all acquainted with his own tendency to sin should base his assurance of salvation upon such grounds! His system places the cause of his perseverance, not in the hands of an all-powerful, never-changing God, but in the hands of weak sinful man.

And does not the logic of the Arminian system tell us that the wise thing for the Christian to do is to die as soon as possible and thus confirm the inheritance which to him is of infinite value? In view of the fact that so many have fallen away, is it worth while for him to remain here and risk his eternal salvation for the sake of a little more life in this world? What would be thought of a business man who, in order to gain a few more dollars, would risk his entire fortune in some admittedly questionable venture? In fact, does it not at least suggest that the Lord has made many mistakes in not removing these people while they were true Christians? The writer, at least, is convinced that if he held the Arminian view and knew himself to be a saved Christian he would want to die as soon as possible and thus place his salvation beyond all possible doubt.

In regard to spiritual matters, a state of doubt is a state of misery. The assurance that Christians can never be separated from the love of God is one of the greatest comforts of the Christian life. To deny this doctrine is to destroy the grounds for any rejoicing among the saints on earth; for what kind of rejoicing can those have who believe that they may at any time be deceived and led astray? If our sense of security is based only on our changeable and wavering natures, we can never know the inward calm and peace which, should characterize the Christian. Says McFetridge, in his very illuminating little book, Calvinism In History, "I can well conceive of the terror to a sensitive soul of dark uncertainty as to salvation, and of that ever-abiding consciousness of the awful possibility of falling away from grace after a long and painful Christian life, which is taught by Arminianism. To me such a doctrine has terrors which would cause me to shrink away from it for ever, and which would fill me with constant and unspeakable perplexities. To feel that I were crossing the troubled and dangerous sea of life dependent for my final security upon the actings of my own treacherous nature were enough to fill me with a perpetual alarm. If it is possible, I want to know that the vessel to which I commit my life is seaworthy, and that, having once embarked, I shall arrive in safety at my destination." (P. 112.)It is not until we duly appreciate this wonderful truth, that our salvation is not suspended on our weak and wavering love to God, but rather upon His eternal and unchangeable love to us, that we can have peace and certainty in the Christian life. And only the Calvinist, who knows himself to be absolutely safe in the hands of God, can have that inward sense of peace and security, knowing that in the eternal counsels of God he has been chosen to be cleansed and glorified and that nothing can thwart that purpose. He knows himself to be held to righteousness by a spiritual power which is as exhaustless and unvarying as the force of gravitation, and as necessary to the development of the spirit as sunshine and vitamins are to the body.


Arminians sometimes bring forth from the Scriptures the warnings against apostasy or falling away, which are addressed to believers, and which, it is argued, imply a possibility of their failing away. There is, of course, a sense in which it is possible for believers to fail away,---when they are viewed simply in themselves, with reference to their own powers and capacities, and apart from God's purpose or design with respect to them. And it is admitted by all that believers can fall into sin temporarily. The primary purpose of these passages, however, is to induce men to co-operate willingly with God for the accomplishment of His purposes. They are inducements which produce constant humility, watchfulness, and diligence. In the same way a parent, in order to get the willing co-operation of a child, may tell it to stay out of the way of an approaching automobile, when all the time the parent has no intention of ever letting the child get into a position where it would be injured. When God plies a soul with fears of falling it is by no means a proof that God in His secret purpose intends to permit him to fall. These fears may be the very means which God has designed to keep him from falling. Secondly, God's exhortations to duty are perfectly consistent with His purpose to give sufficient grace for the performance of these duties. In one place we are commanded to love the Lord our God with all our heart; in another, God says, "I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes." Now either these must be consistent with each other, or the Holy Spirit must contradict Himself. Plainly it is not the latter. Thirdly, these warnings are, even for believers, incitements to greater faith and prayer. Fourthly, they are designed to show man his duty rather than his ability, and his weakness rather than his strength. Fifthly, they convince men of their want of holiness and of their dependence upon God. And, sixthly, they serve as restraints on unbelievers, and leave them without excuse.

Nor is any more proven by the passages, "Destroy not with thy meat him for whom Christ died," Rom. 14:15; and, "For through thy knowledge he that is weak perisheth, the brother for whose sake Christ died," I Cor. 8:11. In the same manner the influence of a particular person, when looked at merely in itself, might be said to be destroying our American civilization; yet America goes ahead and prospers, because other influences more than offset that one. In these passages the principle asserted is simply this: Whatever their divine security, the responsibility of the one who casts a stumbling block in the path of his brother is not decreased; and that anyone who does cast a stumbling block in the way of his brother is doing all he can towards his brother's destruction.


The Scripture proof for this doctrine is abundant and clear.

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or anguish, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness or peril, or sword? Nay, In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord," Rom. 8:35-39.

"Sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under law, but under grace," Rom. 6:14.

"He that believeth hath eternal life," John 6:47. "He that heareth my word, and believeth Him that sent me, hath eternal life, and cometh not into judgment, but hath passed out of death into life," John 5:24. The moment one believes, eternal life becomes a reality, a present possession, and not merely a conditional gift of the future. "I am the living bread which came down out of heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever," John 6:51. He does not say that we have to eat many times, but that if we eat at all, we shall live for ever. "Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up unto eternal life," John 4:14.

"Being confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the
day of Jesus Christ," Phil. 1:6.

"Jehovah will perfect that which concerneth me," Ps. 138:8.

"The gifts and calling of God are not repented of:' Rom. 11:29.

"The witness is this, that God gave unto us eternal life," I John 5:11.

"These things have I written unto you that ye may know that ye have eternal life," I John 5:13.

"For by one offering He bath perfected for ever them that are sanctified," Heb. 10:14.

"The Lord will deliver me from every evil work, and will save me unto His heavenly kingdom," II Tim. 4:18.

"For whom He foreknew, He also foreordained .... and whom He foreordained, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified:' Rom. 8:29.

"Having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will," Eph. 1:5.

Jesus declared, "I give unto them (the true followers, or 'sheep') eternal life; and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who hath given them unto me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand," John 10:28.

Here we find that our security and God's omnipotence are equal; for the former is founded on the latter. God is mightier than the whole world, and neither men nor Devil can rob Him of one of His precious jewels. It would be as easy to pluck a star out of the heavens as to pluck a saint out of the Father's hand. Their salvation stands in His invincible might and they are placed beyond the peril of destruction. We have Christ's promise that the gates of hell shall not prevail against His Church; yet if the Devil could snatch one here and another there and large numbers in some congregations, the gates of hell would to a great extent prevail against it. In principle, if one could be lost, all might be lost, and thus Christ's assurance would be reduced to idle words.

When we are told that "There shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, who shall show great signs and wonders; so as to lead astray, IF POSSIBLE, even the elect," Matt. 24:24, the unprejudiced believing mind readily understands that it is IMPOSSIBLE to lead astray the elect.

The mystic union which exists between Christ and believers is a guarantee that they shall continue steadfast. "Because I live, ye shall live also," John 14:19. The effect of this union is that believers participate in His life. Christ is in us, Romans 8:10. It is not we that live, but Christ that liveth in us, Gal. 2:20. Christ and the believers have a common life such as that which exists in the vine and the branches. The Holy Spirit so dwells in the redeemed that every Christian is supplied with an inexhaustible reservoir of strength.

Paul warned the Ephesians, "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, in whom ye were sealed unto the day of redemption," Eph. 4:30. He had no fear of apostasy for he could confidently say, "Thanks be to God who always leadeth us in triumph in Christ," II Cor. 2:14. The Lord, speaking through the prophet Jeremiah said, "I have loved thee with an everlasting love," 31:3, --- one of the best proofs that God's love shall have no end is that it has no beginning, but is eternal. In the parable of the two houses, the very point stressed was that the house which was founded on the rock (Christ) did not fall when the storms of life came. Arminianism sets up another system in which some of those who are founded on the rock do fall. In the twenty-third Psalm we read, "And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever." The true Christian is no temporary visitor, but a permanent dweller in the house of the Lord. How those rob this psalm of its deeper and richer meaning who teach that the grace of God is a temporary thing!

Christ makes intercession for His people (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25), and we are told that the Father hears Him always (John 11:42). Hence the Arminian, holding that Christians may fall away, must deny either the passages which declare that Christ does make intercession for His people, or he must deny those which declare that His prayers are always heard. Let us consider here how well protected we are: Christ is at the right hand of God pleading for us, and in addition to that, the Holy Spirit makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered, Rom. 8:26.

In the wonderful promise of Jer. 32:40, God has promised to preserve believers from their own backslidings: "And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, and I will not turn away from following them, to do them good; and I will put my fear in their hearts, that they may not depart from me." And in Ezek. 11:19, 20, He promises to take from them the "stony heart," and to give them a "heart of flesh," so that they shall walk in his statutes and keep his ordinances, and so that they shall be His people and He their God. Peter tells us that Christians cannot fall away, for they "by the power of God are guarded through faith unto a salvation ready to be revealed at the last time," I Peter 1:5. Paul says, "God is able to make all grace to abound unto you; that ye, having always all sufficiency in everything, may abound unto every good work," II Cor. 9:8. He declares that the Lord's servant "shall be made to stand; for the Lord hath power to make him stand," Rom. 14:4.

And Christians have the further promise, "There hath no temptation taken you but such as man can bear: but God is faithful, and will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation make also the way of escape, that ye may be able to endure it," I Cor. 10:13. Their removal from certain temptations which would be too strong for them is an absolute and free gift from God, since it is entirely an arrangement of His providence as to what temptations they encounter in the course of their lives, and what ones they escape. "The Lord is faithful and will establish you and guard you from the evil one," II Thess. 3:3. And again, "The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him and delivereth them," Ps. 34:7. Amid all his trials and hardships Paul could say, "We are pressed on every side, yet not straightened; perplexed, yet not unto despair; pursued, yet not forsaken; smitten down, yet not destroyed; .... knowing that He that raised up the Lord Jesus Christ shall raise us also with Jesus," II Cor. 4:8, 9, 14.

The saints, even in this world, are compared to a tree that does not wither, Ps. 1:3; to the cedars which flourish on Mount Lebanon, Ps. 92:12; to Mount Zion which cannot be moved, but which abideth forever, Ps. 125:1; and to a house built on a rock, Matt. 7:24. The Lord is with them in their old age, Is. 46:4, and is their guide even unto death, Ps 48:14, so that they cannot be totally and finally lost.

Another strong argument is to be noticed concerning the Lamb's book of life. The disciples were told to rejoice, not so much over the fact that the demons were subject to them, but that their names were written in the Lamb's book of life. This book is a catalogue of the elect, determined by the unalterable counsel of God, and can neither be increased nor diminished. The names of the righteous are found there; but the names of those who perish have never been written there from the foundation of the world. God does not make the mistake of writing in the book of life a name which He will later have to blot out. Hence none of the Lord's own ever perish. Jesus told His disciples to find their chief joy in the fact that their names were written in heaven, Luke 10:20; yet there would have been small grounds for joy in this respect if their names written in heaven one day could have been blotted out the next. Paul wrote to the Philippians, "Our citizenship is in heaven," 3:20; and to Timothy he wrote, "The Lord knoweth them that are His," II Tim. 2:19. For the Scripture teaching concerning the book of life, see Luke 10:20; Phil 4:3; Rev. 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12-15; 21:27.

Here, then, are very simple and plain statements that the Christian shall continue in grace, the reason being that the Lord takes it upon Himself to preserve him in that state. In these promises the elect are secured on both sides. Not only will God not depart from them, but He will so put His fear into their hearts that they shall not depart from him. Surely no Spirit-taught Christian can doubt that this doctrine is taught in the Bible. It seems that man, poor, wretched and impotent as he is, would welcome a doctrine which secures for him the possessions of eternal happiness despite all attacks from without and all evil tendencies from within. But it is not so. He refuses it, and argues against it. And the causes are not far to seek. In the first place he has more confidence in himself than be has any right to have. Secondly, the scheme is so contrary to what he is used to in the natural world that he persuades himself that it cannot be true. Thirdly, he perceives that if this doctrine be admitted, the other doctrines of free grace will logically follow. Hence he twists and explains away the Scripture passages which teach it, and clings to some which appear on the surface to favor his preconceived views. In fact, a system of salvation by grace is so utterly at variance with his every-day experience, in which be sees every thing and person treated according to works and merits, that he has great difficulty in bringing himself to believe that it can be true. He wishes to earn his own salvation, though certainly he expects very high wages for very sorry work.