I can still recall the conversation although it took place more than three decades ago. A shocked friend asked, “Have you heard that Sarah is no longer a Christian?” What was so alarming to my friend was that Sarah had been one of the most influential, and apparently fruitful, members of her Inter-Varsity group. What would those who had been influenced by her witness to Christ say, or do? Would they be shaken to the core and now doubt their own Christian faith? After all, the person who had pointed them to Christ no longer trusted Him.
On occasion, we wonder if an individual really has been converted. And sometimes we have an inexplicable, ill-defined sense that something is missing. But we cannot read the heart. Even so, we hear of friends—whose faith we never doubted—turning away from Christ.
Apostasy is the old, vigorous word to describe this abandonment of Christ.
“I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy” (Ex. 33:19b).
– Exodus 33:19B
Arminians (semi-Pelagians) know the Lord is all-powerful (Job 42:1–2) and can stop or start any event if He so desires. Arminians also affirm the Creator’s complete knowledge of the future (Isa. 46:8–10) even if they do not attribute causation to God in the same sense that Augustinians (Calvinists) do. Therefore, Arminians, no less than Calvinists, believe the Lord foreordains all things. For example, if God knows He will stop me from wearing every shirt I own today except my green one, then the Arminian has to admit that I must wear my green shirt. The event is established; it is foreordained.
As Dr. R.C. Sproul has said, “There is no maverick molecule if God is sovereign.” If He cannot control the tiniest bits of the universe, then we cannot trust Him to keep His word. The Lord vowed to bring Abraham’s sons out of Egypt (Gen. 15:12–16), but if Joseph was not the object of his father’s favoritism, his brothers would not have envied him. If they had not envied him, they would not have sold him to the Ishmaelites, Israel would not have gone into Egypt, and God could not have kept His promise to the patriarch (37–50). Continue reading God’s Sovereignty | Ligonier Ministries
from Ligonier Ministries
The God-ordained means of evangelism is His own Word. It is through the proclamation of God’s Word that the Holy Spirit effectually works faith in men’s hearts. The specific message of evangelism is the gospel. Paul summarizes this message in 1 Corinthians 15:3–5: “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.” When those who hear the gospel ask what they must do to be saved, Scripture tells us that the answer is: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household” (Acts 16:31).
In the final chapters of his book, Kuiper surveys issues such as zeal for evangelism, the biblical method of evangelism, cooperation in evangelism, resistance to evangelism, and the triumph of evangelism. He reminds us that we can proclaim the gospel with great hope, looking forward to seeing the fruits of our evangelism, a time when “a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages” will stand before the throne of the Lamb, clothed in white and crying out, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Rev. 7:9–10).
For too long, the church has attempted to achieve a worthy goal through worldly means. Let us heed Kuiper’s plea and leave man-centered Madison Avenue methods behind. May we fulfill the Great Commission in a God-glorifying manner.
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What is our theological temperature? To answer this question, we recently partnered with Lifeway Research to conduct a poll of 43 questions relating to the doctrines of God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, sin, salvation, the Bible, the church, and ethics. You can read all about the survey and see all the results at TheStateOfTheology.com. So, what’s our temperature?
Let me offer some broad stroke reporting of the findings. I’ll report. You decide.
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from the Ligonier blog article Generous Gospel Obedience by Buck Parsons
We are often only concerned about our own little kingdoms rather than the kingdom of God, monuments to our own names rather than glory to the name of our God, glory from men rather than glory to God. When we give, let’s never ask: What will this do for me? What returns will it bring me? Will I get a pat on the back? Will I be adoringly recognized? How little can I give to make a good impression? How much should I give in order to get the necessary deductions? Rather, let us pray that God would help us ask those questions that serve to advance His kingdom, not our own. Authentic generosity becomes the man whose heart is established in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who generously sacrificially came and lived and died and lives and prays and reigns and will come again and give us all things.