June 17, 2013

B003D0TAM8.01._SX490_SCLZZZZZZZ_V190274968_One of the more difficult things believers have to unpack is the sovereignty of God. I get questions about it all the time. How should we understand the interface between God’s sovereignty and human responsibility? Often people emphasize one or the other. They say that ultimately everything depends on the free will of man. Others stress God’s sovereignty. Both are true. (Actually, I mean that fallen men act freely, not that they have free will; fallen man is still spiritually dead and a slave to sin.) Here are three resources that help believers think about these truths. First, Justin Taylor, leaning on Don Carson, discusses compatibilism. His point is that as believers look at the cross, all believers in some sense become compatibilists. Second, this article addresses three mistakes people make when talking about the sovereignty of God. The discussion that follows the article is also insightful. Finally, John Piper’s book “Spectacular Sins and Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ” is available for free in PDF format. It is a very helpful treatment of this whole issue.

Indelible Grace’s album, “The Hymn sing: Live In Nashville” is a free download right now. I paid good money for this album a year or so ago. If you like hymns done in a more folk style, you’ll probably like album. Here is a video about the album:


July 18, 2012

Worship wars; we’ve are all veterans. Here is a very interesting piece about why we love the music we love. It helps explain why both young and old feel so strongly about the music they love. Turns out …

Hearing familiar, favorite music stimulates the release of dopamine, the neurotransmitter involved in pleasure and addiction, providing the same rush as eating chocolate or that winning does for a compulsive gambler.

Here are 40 things girls should know about guys. Most of them are pretty much right on.

Some of the best Christian literature was written in the more distant past. Here is a listing of a number of free ebooks. If you’ve never read any of the Puritans, I encourage you to read some of Thomas Watson’s stuff. It is amazingly easy to read and very helpful. Also, “The Constantine Codex” is free today for Kindle and Nook. Looks like another Christian “DaVinci Code” type book.

This post is about historical theology. Many of us loosely see ourselves as Reformed. My theology is Reformed in a baptistic sense. Some classically Reformed dudes would say that that is oxymoronic. There are two streams of Reformed Theology. One from Scotland and one from the Netherlands. Justin Holcomb tracks down the two streams discussing their similarities and differences.

Don’t miss this video by Voddie Baucham. I appreciate what he says about what the gospel is and what that means as to its delivery.

This post is the perfect complement to the sermon this past Sunday. John Piper grapples with the tension between God’s desire that all are saved and the reality that God doesn’t save everyone.

Put two texts together, and see what you see.

“God desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (eis epignōsin alētheias)” (1 Timothy 2:4).

“God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth (eis epignōsin alētheias)” (2 Timothy 2:25).

Here’s what I see:

1. Though God desires all people to be saved, he “may perhaps grant repentance.” Which I think means that God’s desire for all to be saved does not lead him to save all. God has desires that do not reach the level of volition. They are restrained by other considerations — like his wisdom, which guides him to display his glory in the fullest way. He has his reasons for why he “may perhaps grant repentance” to some sinners, and not to others.

2. The “knowledge of the truth” is a gift of God. God “grants [i.e., gives] repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth.” Without the gift of repentance, we would not know the truth. This is evidently what 1 Timothy 2:4 means also: We must be “saved and [in that way] come to a knowledge of the truth.” Saved from our blindness to the truth.

3. Therefore the truth Paul has in mind is not truth that the natural man can see. But the natural man can see a lot of truth. Tens of thousands of truths are open to the natural mind. What truth can the natural man not see? The natural man cannot see the glory of Christ in the gospel. “The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4).

4. This is why God must “grant” what it takes to see the truth of the gospel. We are blind to it. And Satan keeps us that way. Until God “grants” repentance (metanoia) — the change of mind that can see and receive the truth of the gospel.

5. Therefore, our prayers for the unbelievers we love, and our evangelism, should be driven by this one and only hope for their salvation: “God may perhaps grant them repentance.” Since he alone has the power to overcome spiritual deadness and Satanic blindness, we lay hold in prayer and witness on the truth: “God may grant repentance.” That is our only hope.

So let us follow Paul: “Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved” (Romans 10:1). And: “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).

(HT: Desiring God)

Calvin On Election

June 8, 2012

The gospel is preached indiscriminately to the elect and the reprobate; but the elect alone come to Christ, because they have been “taught by God.”