Free Will Synergism vs. Free Grace Monergism

I originally posted this link back in February 2011.  In light of the recent debate about soteriology in the SBC I thought I would repost it today.

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Here is a link to a nice short summary of the difference between the synergistic view and the monergistic view of salvation.  Scripture references are included.  If you are unfamiliar with the difference between the two take five minutes and read this and you will have a better understanding when done.  It is my hope that it may even inspire you to do some more research into the subject.

Combating Theological Indifference

I remember one particular Sunday morning at a church I no longer attend.  I was asked to fill in as the teacher in a senior adult class whose teacher was not able to be there that day.  There was 12-15 people in the class and I knew them all.  Most had been faithful member of the church for many years (some as long as 30 or 40 years).  I don’t remember what the text was that day but I do remember that the subject of the passage was spiritual gifts.  About 1/2 through the lesson I noticed that the people seemed lost.  When that happens the cause is usually either that I have done a very poor job of teaching that day or it was a topic the people were not familiar with.  At one point I stopped the lesson and asked how many of them had heard of spiritual gifts or knew what they were.  The answer:  blank stares.  The response still stuns me.  I don’t say that to disparage or condemn anyone present in the class that day.  It is however an indictment of the church (in general).  Many churches are guilty of not teaching theology or worse, teaching that theology doesn’t matter.  My point here is not limited to the topic of spiritual gifts.  I think there are many theological topics which would have elicited the same response by a large portion of the church going population.  It was an indication of the theological indifference we see among believers today.

This theological indifference is a result of many complex issues all working together.  My purpose today is to offer one suggestion that will help to alleviate this problem.  My suggestion is not a quick fix or an immediate answer.  It is however very likely to work…given enough time.  So what is my suggestion?  I suggest that churches begin to teach systematic theology, in age appropriate ways, to children at the earliest possible opportunity.  There are curriculums available to help with this or the church can develop its own way of doing it.  How (method, material) it is done is less important than why it is done.  The purpose of teaching theology to kids is 1) to glorify God, 2) help them to develop a biblical worldview, and 3) help God be real to them as they learn more about Him.  A side benefit to this is that as the kids learn theology so will the adults.

So, basically I am saying that the children are our future (I could not resist that) and we should follow the biblical teaching to train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.  I have not suggested anything new or profound here.  I am only getting back to the biblical model.  Do you agree of disagree?  Have I left something out that you think should be added?  Leave a comment and we will discuss it.

 

 

Theological Indifference

The tragedy is that our eternal welfare depends upon our hearing and we have trained our ears not to hear. — A.W. Tozer

As I look at the Church (the universal church) these days I am struck by the fact that so many believers are indifferent when it comes to theology.  Theology in general is not considered to be important to living daily as believers.  There seem to be whole movements founded on the fact that doctrine is less important (or not important at all) than “living out the gospel”.  The seeker sensitive movement in particular is inundated with the “social gospel” and post-modern humanism which teaches people that anything that divides (doctrine & theology) is to be avoided for the sake of maintaining community unity.

As the Tozer quote alludes to, we have a whole generation of believers that have been trained not to hear certain things.  The consequence is that we have a whole generation of believers that don’t know what they believe and why they believe it.  They have been trained to think that this does not matter, that living out the gospel in community is what really matters.  Living out our faith does matter but it should be a result of our understanding of what our faith teaches us and not what we trust for our salvation.

So, what can we do to remedy this situation.  The answer is not difficult to identify but it might be difficult to implement.  Theology needs to be taught starting at the earliest age possible in our churches.  We need to add an apologetics component as well as a church history aspect.  Over time the problem will be beaten as people are taught and embrace the importance of theology in understanding and living out our faith.

Do you agree?  Are there other steps you would recommend?  Do you believe this is not really a problem?  Leave a comment and tell me, and others, what your thoughts are on this.

A Great Theological Primer

Cover of "Dug Down Deep: Unearthing What ...

Cover via Amazon

I really enjoyed reading Dug Down Deep by Joshua Harris.  Harris has written a serious theology book in a way that new or your Christians can understand.  He deals with doctrines such as God, Scripture, Jesus, the Cross, salvation, sanctification, the Holy Spirit, and the Church.

For each doctrine, Harris introduces the basics of it and then he gives examples from his life that illustrate the importance of the doctrine.  Harris does not shy away from the theological terms.  He defines them and them describes then in ways that are practical and memorable.  This method makes the teachings he gives more enjoyable to read.  Often, I think those reading the book would not realize they are being taught.

I think this book would be an excellent primer for a youth group or a new believers class.  The book includes a discussion guide for this very purpose.  I am considering having my daughters to read this book or to read it with them.  I can highly recommend this book to you.  Reading it will be time well spent.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Multnomah Publishers as part of their Blogging for Books review program. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Westminster Catechism Rap

I am not usually a fan of rap music but every now and then I find something that I like.  That is the case today.  I follow CJ Mahaney’s blog in my RSS reader and today’s  post contained the Westminster Catechism Rap.  I had to listen and it was not too bad.  Listen for yourself at the link below and see if you agree.

Click here

 

 

God’s Sovereignty Is The Basis Of Evangelism

Have you ever considered on what basis Christians can evangelize the lost?  Now think about it a moment before you blurt out something like “because God tells us to”.  That is a true, God does indeed command us to evangelize but that does not address the basis for the evangelism.  So, what is the basis?

Alan Kurschner answers this question in this post over at Alpha & Omega Ministries.  He starts this way

God’s sovereign election is the only basis by which any believer has confidence to evangelize the lost. We do not know who the elect are in this lifetime, but what we do know with certainty is that there are elect out there.

All Christians, if they believe the Bible, must agree with this.  Read the rest of Alan’s post to see how he further explains this.  Let me know what you think.

Ever Wonder Why Christians Have Hope In Christ?

Then listen to this sermon and find out.  This sermon clearly explains the condition of the sinner before salvation and then explains what Christ has done for His people.  Listen to it and let me know what you think.

Some Points to Consider When Examining Limited Atonement

I think I prefer the term Particular Redemption over Limited Atonement but the concept is the same.  In this article, Robertson lists several points in favor of limited atonement Roger Nicole made from chapter 5 of his book Our Sovereign Savior.  One of the best points is

The real issue is the design or intent of the Father when he sent his Son to die on the cross and purchase redemption for sinners.  Since all sinners do not get saved then there is either a limit in the effectiveness of the atonement or a limit in its intent.  Was God doing something to save all sinners and failed?  Or was God purchasing the salvation of the elect and succeeded?

I have heard this before.  I have used this myself.  I have yet to hear a reasonable response to this.  That does not mean that one does not exist but I have yet to encounter it.  Please read the list and leave a comment with your response to any one or all of them.

2 Peter 3:9 – Who does “all” refer to?

2 Peter 3:9   The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Does 2 Peter 3:9 mean that God wants everyone to be saved?  Does all mean all all the time?  Can all ever mean something else?  Does this verse disprove the Doctrine of Election?  Lets see……..

This brief article, written by John Samson, seeks to explain this verse in context.  His explanation of this verse is the way I understand it too.  His conclusion is:

Rather than denying election, the verse, understood in its biblical context, is one of the strongest verses in favor of it.

Please take a moment to read the article to see how he comes to this conclusion.  Let me know what you think.

Moore’s Response to Reformed Red Flags

Jared Moore has responded to the document that was recently being distributed among West Tennessee churches in order to help them determine if their pastor is a “dirty Calvinist”.  It contained 16 things that churches should look for.  Moore responds to each of the 16 things with some much needed sanity.

There does not have to be a division in the SBC over this issue.  It is my hope that at some point those who are so vocal about their opposition to Reformed Theology in the SBC will realize this.

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