Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Why is the atonement necessary? Because God is holy and we are not. Follow the outline below which leads us through scriptures that demonstrate the reason, the problem, and the solution for our sin problem.
- God - is the standard of righteousness
- Is holy (1 Sam. 2:2; Isaiah 43:3,14,15; Rev. 4:8)
- Just (Deut. 32:4; Psalm 89:14; 97:2; 145:17)
- Righteous (Psalm 145:17)
- Judge (Psalm 50:6; 96:10,13; Isaiah 33:3-4)
- Visits wrath on the ungodly (Rom. 1:18)
- Too pure to look upon evil (Hab. 1:13)
- The Law - is a reflection of His character
- Comes from God (Exodus 20:1-26; Isaiah 33:22; James 4:12)
- Is holy (Rom. 7:12)
- Is covenantal (Deut. 4:13,23)
- Inaugurated with blood (Heb. 9:18-23)
- Brings the knowledge of sin (Rom. 3:20)
- Is perfect (Psalm 19:7)
- Cannot make man perfect (Heb. 7:19; 10:1)
- Man - is the Sinner or Law Breaker
- Sin is breaking the Law of God (1 John 3:4)
- Man is a law breaker (Rom. 3:23)
- Original Sin - Our inherited sinful nature from Adam (Gen. 3:1-6; Rom. 5:12)
- Human nature - We are by nature children of wrath because we are sinners (Eph. 2:3)
- Judgment - is God's lawful action upon the sinner
- God punishes evil (Exodus 20:5; Isaiah 11:4)
- According to the Law (Deut. 29:21; Joshua 8:34; Rev. 21:8)
- Eternal punishment (Matt. 3:12; Rev. 14:11)
- Separation from God (Isaiah 59:2)
- Reconciliation - Man's Need before God
- Reconciliation is the means God has ordained to make peace between Him and ourselves.
- We need our sin removed.
- We need to regain fellowship with God.
- We need to find God's favor.
- We need to escape God's lawful judgment.
- Atonement - The Means of Reconciliation
- The Nature of the Atonement is in the shedding of blood (Lev. 17:11)
- Law requirements of the atonement
- The sacrifice must be unblemished (Lev. 22:19)
- By appointed priests (1 Sam. 2:28)
- The High Priest had to be lawfully clean (Exodus 29:1-9;19-35)
- Jesus as the Atonement, the Sacrifice
- Unblemished (1 Pet. 1:19)
- According to the Law (Heb. 9:22; Lev. 17:11 )
- As the High Priest (Heb. 4:14; 6:20)
- Substitutionary (1 Pet. 2:24; Isaiah 53; Eph. 5:2)
- Our propitiation - He removed God's wrathful judgment (1 John 2:2; 4:10)
- Jesus as God and Man (Col. 2:9; Phil. 2:5-8)
- Man - to atone for men (Heb. 2:14; 5:1)
- God - to offer an infinite and satisfactory sacrifice to God (Eph. 5:2,10)
- Justification - Result of the Atonement
- We are lawfully righteous before God (Rom. 3:24-26)
- We are clothed in righteousness (Isaiah 61:10)
- We have Imputed righteousness (Rom. 4:6)
- We escape the judgment of God (Rom. 8:1)
- We are restored to fellowship (1 Thess. 5:9-10)
- We are at peace with God (Rom. 5:1)
- We are reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:19)
- We are righteous before God (2 Cor. 5:21)
- We have access to God (Eph. 2:18)
- We have an advocate with the Father (1 John 2:1)
Friday, December 08, 2006
Below is my assessment assignment for my Residency Class: Communicating the Gospel with Covenant Theological Seminary.
Communicating the Gospel
Communicating for Life
Author: Quentin J. Schultze
The initial concept of Co-creation is that we are emulating or mirroring our creator by co-creating our culture with our communication, which is a gift from God. I also found the idea of being symbolic stewards of creation that echo God’s reality. It describes the impact of our communication that defines how we see others and ourselves as well. Second, is the concept of shalom. Peace and love should be the banner in which we as sharers of this great gift called the Gospel should never forget where we were when we had not received such amazing Grace packaged with the Gospel. Thirdly, the author presents the ideas of transmission theory and cultural theory in communication. These distinguish between communication (transmission)to the masses in a generic broad sense without regard to specific cultures and just wanting to be effective. Compared to (cultural) which focuses on being interpretive and creative. Lastly, there is a challenge in the use of symbols and the possibility of those symbols to mean different things to different people. Many Christians will align themselves in groups that agree on the same symbols when interpreting scripture or establishing doctrines and confessions.
The four relationships that the author mentioned reminded me of the Ten Commandments and the greatest commands that Jesus talked about in Matthew 22:34-40
The Greatest Commandment
34Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question:
36"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" 37Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'[b] 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'[c] 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
I really like this as it reminds me how God gave us these Ten Commandments as expressions of love. Love for God and love for our neighbor. Communication is also a gift from God so that we can communicate this love and the Holy Spirit helps us with communicating with God and Communicating the Gospel to our neighbors. Even when we don’t communicate perfectly we have one that somehow gets the message across. So, I don’t have to worry if I’m going to mess it up. We can “co-create” together.
One area that made me think to myself, “What did he say?” It was in Chapter 2 when the author wrote.
“Every time we identify with someone else we practice what God perfected in Christ. God took the form of a human being in order to identify with humankind.”
Now I know this may be a small part or a by-product of why God took human form. But, I think more can be said about how before the foundations of the world, that God pre-ordained Jesus to come not only to “identify” with us but mainly to be a Lord, Savior, Redeemer, Master, Teacher, Servant and our High Priest. He brought us Peace. Not Peace to make a better world in “time” but peace for us in eternity with Him.
36You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.
Peace and Joy
1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a]have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b] rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
Shalom! Peace, be with you. This theme of peace throughout these four chapters reminds me how we are to be always ready to give an answer for the hope that is within us, with gentleness and respect. (1 Peter 3:15). The idea of God graciously giving us the gift of communication is really a great idea. I have always thought that we wouldn’t understand the love of God and the relationship between Jesus and the church unless God instituted marriage. And now I would like to add communication to that. We can see that throughout scripture there are occasions when the Father and the Son are communicating and displaying the love that they have for each other and also for the humanity that God has created for the Son. Lets create man in our image (Gen 1:26). It is a challenge for us in our culture to remember to be gracious in our communication. Especially, with those that are unbelievers. We have to remember that they are the mission field and we are to be reconciling them to Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:17-19 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Ok, I thought I would do something just for fun. And my kids are going to design a Reform-Shire logo for me, and then we'll add it to the blog and the store. So, for now all I have to offer is a picture of the Stained Glass my wife designed for last years Christmas Musical.
Monday, December 04, 2006
Monday, November 27, 2006
by John Piper, with Justin Taylor
© 2003, Modern Reformation Magazine, (Sept / Oct 2003 Issue, Vol. 12.5). All Rights Reserved. Subscription Rate: $29 Per Year. Click here to subscribe or call 1-800-890-7556.
If justification were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose. (Gal. 2:21) "For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, 'Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them'...Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us." (Gal. 3:10, 13)
Historically, Protestants have believed that the Bible teaches that our salvation depends on what Christ has accomplished for our pardon and our perfection. We accept by faith his substitution for us in two senses: in his final suffering and death, he was condemned and cursed so that we may be pardoned (see Gal. 3:13; Rom. 8:3); and in his whole life of righteousness culminating in his death, he learned obedience so that we may be saved (see Heb. 5:8-9). His death crowns his atoning sufferings that propitiate God's wrath against us (see Rom. 3:24-25; 5:6-9), but it also crowns his life of perfect righteousness -- God's righteousness -- that is then imputed to us who believe (see 2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 3:21-22; 4:6, 11; 5:18-19).
God provided in Christ what God demanded from us in the law. But today this good news that Christ is not only our pardon but also our perfection is under serious attack. Here I hope to show not only that the doctrine of the imputation of Christ's righteousness is biblical but why we should defend it.
The Problem of the Law
Three times in Galatians 2:16, Paul tells us that no one can be justified -- no one can be made right with God -- by "works of the law." In context, this phrase refers most naturally to deeds done to obey Moses' law. (Note the parallels between "the Book of the Law" and "works of the law" in Gal. 3:10, and between "the law" in Rom. 3:19, 20 and "works of the law" in Rom. 3:20. In both Gal. 3:10 and Rom. 3:19-20, the term "law" refers to the Mosaic law; so the phrase "works of the law" naturally picks up that meaning.)
In its narrow, short-term design, the law that God gave to the Israelites through Moses demanded perfect obedience of the Pentateuch's more than 600 commandments in order for the Israelites to receive eternal life (see Lev. 18:5; Deut. 32:45-47; Rom. 10:5; Gal. 3:10, 12). In this way, it upheld an absolute standard of childlike, humble, God-reliant, God-exalting perfect obedience that is in fact due from all of us -- and thus provided the moral backdrop without which the Pentateuch's sin-atoning provisions (and ultimately Christ's sacrifice) would be unintelligible.
Yet the Israelites were uniformly sinful and hostile to God (see Exod. 33:1-3; Acts 7:51). They did not -- and indeed could not (see Rom. 8:7) -- submit to him. Consequently, the law's effect on sinful Israel, when she was confronted with its hundreds of commandments, was awareness of latent sin (see Rom. 7:7), increased sin through deliberate violation of God's holy, righteous, and good commandment (see Rom. 7:12-13), and the multiplication of transgressions (see Rom. 5:20; 4:15). All of this was part of God's design for the law: "[The law] was added for the sake of transgressions" (Gal. 3:19); "The law came in so that the transgression would increase" (Rom. 5:20). The law cannot give life (see Gal. 3:21); rather it kills by multiplying sin (see Rom. 7:5, 8-13).
The law's deadly design and effects are sufficient to warrant Paul's statement in Galatians 3:12 -- "The law is not of faith" -- especially in view of what he says eleven verses later: "Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law . . . . But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian" (vv. 23, 25). This does not mean that there was no faith before Christ (see Rom. 4) but, rather, that there was no faith explicitly in Christ before Christ came. The law's function, in the long view, is to prepare God's people for Christ's work, even as its short-term function is to imprison its recipients in sin (see Gal. 3:22-23). The narrow, short-term aim of the law is to kill those who come in contact with it because it is primarily "commandments" (see Rom. 13:8-9; Eph. 2:15) that require perfect obedience but that cannot themselves produce this obedience independently of the Spirit who "gives life" (2 Cor. 3:6).
What God Requires, Christ Provides
Justification cannot come through the law (see Gal. 2:21; Acts 13:38-39). Each of us-every single human being (see Rom. 3:10-12, 19-20)-has failed to do what God's law requires of us (Gal. 3:10; 6:13; cf. James 2:10). But to understand what God requires, we must see what Christ provides. In his mercy, God has provided his Son as a twofold substitute for us. Both facets of Christ's substitution are crucial for our becoming right with God. These facets are grounded in the twin facts that (1) we have failed to keep God's law perfectly, and so we should die; but (2) Jesus did not fail -- he alone has kept God's law perfectly (see Heb. 4:15) -- and so he should not have died. Yet in his mercy God has provided in Christ a great substitution -- a "blessed exchange" -- according to which Jesus can stand in for us with God, offering his perfect righteousness in place of our failure and his own life's blood in place of ours. When we receive the mercy God offers us in Christ by faith (see Acts 16:31; 1 Tim. 1:15-16; 1 Pet. 1:8-9), his perfection is imputed -- or credited or reckoned -- to us and our sinful failure is imputed -- or credited or reckoned -- to him. And thus Jesus' undeserved death pays for our sin (see Mark 10:45; 1 Tim. 2:5-6; Rev. 5:9); and God's demand for us to be perfectly righteous is satisfied by the imputation or crediting of Christ's perfect righteousness to us. "If justification were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose" (Gal. 2:21). But "God has done what the law ... could not do" (Rom. 8:3).
2 Corinthians 5:21 is one of Scripture's most powerful affirmations of the imputation of Christ's righteousness to the account of those who believe in him: "For our sake [God] made [Christ] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." There is a great deal that can be said about this verse but, when all is said and done, perhaps Charles Hodge has summed up its import best:
There is probably no passage in the Scriptures in which the doctrine of justification is more concisely or clearly stated than [this]. Our sins were imputed to Christ, and his righteousness is imputed to us. He bore our sins; we are clothed in his righteousness... Christ bearing our sins did not make him morally a sinner... nor does Christ's righteousness become subjectively ours, it is not the moral quality of our souls... Our sins were the judicial ground of the sufferings of Christ, so that they were a satisfaction of justice; and his righteousness is the judicial ground of our acceptance with God.
All of this then means, as Hodge goes on to say, that "our pardon is an act of justice" -- an act based on Jesus having borne our sins (see 1 Pet. 2:24) -- and yet it "is not mere pardon, but justification alone" -- that is, our forevermore standing as righteous before God because we are clothed with Christ's perfection -- "that gives us peace with God."
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Lately I have been feeling kind of low, and it made we want to listen to this song. So, if you get a chance, click on the link above to go to Sovereign Grace Ministries or click the link below and listen to a sample of a beautiful song.
Look at the words below.
"And though my humbling wouldn't be my decision"...
Grace and Peace my friends!!!
Based on The Valley of Vision prayer “The Valley of Vision”
Words and Music by
I can see You in the heights
And though my humbling wouldn’t be my decision
It’s here Your glory shines so bright
So let me learn that the cross precedes the crown
To be low is to be high
That the valley’s where You make me more like Christ
Chorus Let me find Your grace in the valley
Let me find Your life in my death
Let me find Your joy in my sorrow
Your wealth in my need
That You’re near with every breath
In the valley
But they only shine at night
And the deeper that I go into darkness
The more I see their radiant light
So let me learn that my losses are my gain
To be broken is to heal
That the valley’s where Your power is revealed
© 2006 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI). Sovereign Grace Music, a division of Sovereign Grace Ministries.
From Valley of Vision. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.
North American administration by Integrity Music. International administration by CopyCare International.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
© 1992, Modern Reformation Magazine, "God Justifies the Wicked" (November / December 1992 Issue, Vol. 1.6). All Rights Reserved. Subscription Rate: $29 Per Year. Click here to subscribe or call 1-800-890-7556.
The following are highlights from a two-hour interview with Dr. Robert Schuller which aired on The White Horse Inn radio program in November of 1992.
HORTON: Would you be willing to address your congregation as a group as sinners?
SCHULLER: No I don't think I need to do that. First of all, my congregation is a very mixed audience.
HORTON: But our Lord's audiences were mixed with disciples and unbelievers both.
SCHULLER: Oh yes, but I'll tell you, the audience is quite different that I talk to than what the Lord spoke to. I speak every week to millions--not a million, but millions of people in Russia on Channel One. And I speaking to a couple of million people every Sunday.
HORTON: Are you saying that it is the size of the audience that matters?
SCHULLER: No, it's not the size of the audience; it's where are they at at this time. My only concern is: I don't want to drive them farther away than they are! And I listen to so many preachers on religious radio stations...and by golly, if I wasn't a Christian, they'd drive me farther away. I am so afraid that I am going to drive them farther; I want to attract them, and so I use the strategy that Jesus used. I preach the way Jesus preached. I don't preach, probably, the way Paul preached....
SCHULLER: If we want to win people to Jesus we have to understand where they are at.
HORTON: I agree absolutely. And they are in sin, that is where they are at.
SCHULLER: They are in the state of condition called sin which means they don't trust. They are lacking faith.
HORTON: I guess the difference would be our definition of sin, because what I see in Scripture is that we're dead in sin and cannot respond to God even if we were trusting.
SCHULLER: Oh no, you're wrong, you're wrong. And very seldom do I use this language. People who know me say, "Schuller never comes across as if he knows the answers and others don't. It is not my style. But I intuitively say to you, you're wrong! The ultimate, deepest, most sinful problem that you can imagine is lack of trust. Hebrews 11:6, "For without faith it is impossible to please God." I can show you people, they believe the Bible is the Word of God from cover to cover, they believe that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary...but, they really don't have a relationship with Jesus. They have that head knowledge, that head information and unless you have a wonderful warm relationship, which means you are mutually friends, then you really don't have the faith. And there are people who live wonderful lives today. They don't commit adultery and they don't steal and they don't kill...if you go by what is sinful behavior they seem to be leading very fine lives. But they don't have faith....
HORTON: But isn't it because faith is the instrument through which we're justified before a God who otherwise would take account of us for our sins, not just our "not trusting..."
SCHULLER: We are not justified by faith.
HORTON: No, it is by grace through faith.
SCHULLER: By grace through faith, that's right.
HORTON: But what I'm asking is this. Justified from what? The wrath of God?
SCHULLER: Oh! I'll never use that language.
HORTON: But the Bible does.
SCHULLER: Yes, the Bible does, but the Bible is God's book to believers primarily. Listen, and then call me a heretic if you want to, but I'm interested in attracting people, and not driving them farther away. There is language I can and will use and there are times, if we are wise, there is language we will not use....If God is a God of love, how do we handle this concept of wrath? At the outset, on the surface, it appears to be a contradiction; maybe it is. I tell you this, I have come to the conclusion that I haven't stepped into the center of truth until I've dared to step into contradiction. The Bible is a contradiction: Old Testament--Law, New Testament--Grace. Jesus is a contradiction; totally human and totally God.
HORTON: Of course we would say that that the dual nature of Christ is a mystery but not a contradiction.
SCHULLER: It is a contradiction, but you know what? Contradictions are ultimate points of creativity...
HORTON: Dr. Schuller, "The real problem," you have written, "is that deep down we feel we're not good enough to approach a holy God." But isn't that the truth about us? Isn't that precisely why we need the cross because we cannot approach a holy God in our own righteousness? In other words, isn't that fear legitimate; the distance between a holy God and a sinful people, isn't that meant to drive us to despair of our own righteousness and flee to Christ?
SCHULLER: Maybe so, I wouldn't quarrel with that. I have no argument with that.
HORTON: Well on what texts would you base your definition of sin as "any act or thought that robs myself or another human being of his or her self-esteem?"
SCHULLER: Try some other questions because I think your question isn't, uh, isn't...I don't understand it.
HORTON: Okay. If the definition of sin is "any act or thought that robs myself or another human being of his or her self-esteem," then, first of all....
SCHULLER: Okay, okay, I can handle that. That's a little piece. Any sinful act that arises out of the sinful condition, and I have to repeat, sin is a condition before it is an action.
HORTON: Absolutely. We would agree a hundred percent on that. But what is that condition?SCHULLER: That condition is, you are separated from God, totally and completely. And therefore you don't have the emotional and spiritual affirmation that only comes out of a relationship. And when you have a hostility between two persons instead of a trusting relationship, the normal inclination naturally is to become rebellious or "defensive"; we speak of this defensive behavior (I come from a psychological background so I use probably different terminology, but there's no problem). So any behavior that is "sinful behavior" is obviously going to space you farther from the possibility of a closeness with the God that alone could affirm you through grace of your value as persons. And I keep saying, the single most important thing for people to know is what God thinks of them. And I'll tell you what God thinks of you: if you were the only person that didn't have this wonderful relationship with him, why, he would take his son and crucify him as your saviour.
HORTON: But why would He have to do that, Dr. Schuller, if in fact the only problem that I have with God is that I am non-trusting and lack self-confidence?
SCHULLER: Wait, wait, wait, wait! The "only thing!" That's everything! That's hell!...To be non-trusting is the ultimate sinful condition....
HORTON: Dr. Schuller, how could the cross, as you write, "sanctify the ego trip," and make us proud, in the light of passages that say, "I hate pride and arrogance" (Prov. 8:13), "Pride goes before destruction" (Prov. 16:18), "The Lord detests all the proud" (Prov. 16:5), "Do not be proud"(Rom. 12:16), "Love does not boast it is not proud" (1 Cor 13:4). In fact Paul warns Timothy that in the last days men "will be lovers of themselves" (2 Tim 3:2). Why should we as Christian ministers, myself included, why should we do anything to encourage people to become "lovers of themselves" if Paul in fact warned others that that would be the state of godlessness in the last days?
SCHULLER: I hope you don't preach this, I hope you don't preach this!
HORTON: What, the texts?
SCHULLER: No, what you just spoke into the microphone right now. I hope you don't because you could do a lot of damage to a lot of beautiful people. But maybe if you preach it, maybe you will demonstrate your knowledge of human relationships and maybe you'll demonstrate a sensitivity of caring about these pathetic, pathetic people that are so lost in pain and suffering because of their sinful condition, and I think you'd want to save them. I think you'd want to bring them to Jesus. And so if you preach that text, oh man, I sure hope you give it the kind of interpretation that I do or, I'll tell you, you'll drive them farther away and they'll be madder than hell at you and they'll turn the Bible off, and they'll switch you off, and they'll turn on the rock music and Madonna. Just because it's in the Bible doesn't mean you should preach it. And if you do, you have to say, "Who's listening to me? Will they understand? And will the love of Jesus come through my words and through my message; through my personality? Will it come through my spirit? Will I come across as a humble person or will I come across as a person who's kind of mean and know-it-all: I've got the answers and when people like Schuller come along, they're heretics! Be careful, it is so difficult to preach some of those texts and not come across as lacking humility...
HORTON: You write that "the essence of sin is not thinking you're good enough" and that the reason unsaved people reject the gospel is that they "believe they're an unworthy sinner." Again, you state that "the unsaved person cannot perceive himself as worthy of divine grace and hence rejects it." But how can a person deserve "undeserved favor"?
SCHULLER: No, I never said that....I didn't say that the essence of sin is not thinking you're good enough. I never said that. I know my words. Someone read what I said, re-wrote it, put these words together very carelessly. One adjective placed or misplaced tips the meaning....
HORTON: How about the next phrase...
SCHULLER: I never said that see....so I really don't think the rest of the paragraph deserves the time and attention. Thank you.(The program goes to a break and returns with Mike's promise to check his citation with the original text, which was found in Schuller's book, Self Esteem, The New Reformation -- then Mike asks the following):
HORTON: But Dr. Schuller, did you write "The unsaved person cannot perceive himself as worthy of divine grace and hence rejects it"?
SCHULLER: I may have said that because I am inclined to believe very definitely that the person who is lost and unsaved is afraid of the light. The person who is only used to darkness is afraid of the light and I think unsaved people do not consider themselves worthy enough; I think that's absolutely true, "While we were yet sinners Christ died for us."
HORTON: But not while we were worthy Christ died for us?
SCHULLER: Listen, if Christ had died for somebody who wasn't worth anything, that would have been a lousy deal. God is a good steward and he teaches us to be good stewards. God knows the worst sinner is worth saving so that he would die on a cross for us.
HORTON: But how can we deserve undeserved favor?
SCHULLER: You tell me! I don't have to answer that question. You're asking me how we can be saved by grace. It's because of the love of God, and we are saved by grace.
HORTON: But if we are worth it, then it is not grace; it's merit.
SCHULLER: No, no. It means that we are still creatures of God, we are still sons of God. We have value. We still have value.
HORTON: I agree with you to the extent that we are created in the image of God...
SCHULLER: And even the value of a human being who is not a Christian is worth dying for on the cross. That's what God said. Don't ask me why, that's his evaluation of who we are.
HORTON: But isn't it really the goodness of God that moved him to put Christ on the cross, seeing our misery, rather than God seeing something in us worth redeeming?
SCHULLER: Well... I think.... yes and yes. Yes and yes to that one....
SCHULLER: I do let people know how great their sins and miseries are. How do I do that? I don't do that by standing in a pulpit and telling them they're sinners. I don't do it that way. The way I do it is ask questions. Are you happy? Do you have problems? What are they? So then I come across as somebody who cares about them because every single human problem, if you look at it deeply enough, is rooted in the sinful condition. We agree on that. So the way I preach sin is by calling to attention what it does to them here and now, and their need for divine grace!HORTON: But what about what it does for them in eternity?
SCHULLER: Listen, I believe in heaven. I believe in hell. But I don't know what happens there. I don't take it literally that it's a fire that never stops burning.
HORTON: As Jesus said it was?
SCHULLER: Jesus was not literal. See, now this is where you have differences of interpretation. I went to a different theological school than you did. And there are different denominations, like about four hundred in the United States of America, and we don't belong to the same denomination. In my denomination, Jesus stood outside Gahenna, the city dump, and said outside the walls, that's hell. And in the dump there were always worms, and there were fires....Various Questions from the "Call-in" Segment
CALLER: Could you explain your concept of Original Sin with regard to infants?
SCHULLER:...I had a doctor tell me once, "The stuff these Christians teach is ridiculous! Some of these churches teach that every baby is a born sinner. That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard! Look at a little baby. They don't lie, they don't kill, they don't commit adultery, their perfect." I said, "Just because the child hasn't done anything doesn't mean he's perfect, though; that child is born with a sinful condition." He said, "Explain it to me." And at that point in my life, even though I had a very good theological education, I couldn't explain it to him. I did a lot of praying and studying, until I concluded of course, that it is first expressed in the ego with all its damnable sins. But the ego is the destructive force in human personality that rises when a person is not deeply inwardly secure enough to be relaxed without egotistic activity, and that comes through salvation. And so the human condition is that the child is born non-trusting.
HORTON: Although you say it's not charged to his children...
SCHULLER: What did I say?
HORTON: The direct quote is, "His rebellion should not be charged to his children and his children's children. Adam chose to rebel."
SCHULLER: That's out of context and without seeing it in the whole chapter...I don't think it's a fair question.
CALLER: Dr. Schuller, Paul called the gospel an offense. You seem to have a gospel that is a "kinder, gentler" kind of thing.
SCHULLER: Thank you. I try to make it that way.
CALLER: How do you reconcile that?
SCHULLER: Because I think it honors the name of Jesus.
CALLER: Dr. Schuller, what do we tell someone who says, "I'm already happy and fulfilled, so why do I need the gospel?"
SCHULLER: I don't know...I can't relate to that.
CALLER: Dr. Schuller, as a Calvinist with your belief in eternal election...how can anything we say drive a person away from being saved?
SCHULLER: That's a good question. I don't have the answer.
CALLER: My question is directed to Kim Riddlebarger there on the panel. I'd like Kim, and then Dr. Schuller to both explain for me what Question 2 of The Heidelberg Catechism means when it talks about "the greatness of my sins and wretchedness" (this is a paraphrase of the caller's question).
RIDDLEBARGER: Well I would go, as Dr. Schuller knows, to Question 7: "Where does this corrupt nature come from?" And the answer, "From the fall and disobedience of our first parents Adam and Eve in paradise.
This fall has so poisoned our nature that we are born sinners corrupt from conception on." Question 8: "But are we so corrupt that we are totally unable to do any good and incline toward all evil?" Answer: "Yes, unless we are born again by the spirit of God." I would go right along with the catechism on this, that we are poisoned in our nature and we are corrupt from birth on...
SCHULLER: I have no problem with that except the part that states, "are we so corrupt that we are totally unable to do any good and incline toward all evil." The answer in the catechism is yes, but I don't think I would accept that answer. And I'll tell you why I wouldn't; I know people that are not Christians, who are not born-again, but they are very kind people. And in today's culture, if we take these words and use these words the way they are used in contemporary culture--I have to say [there are people] who do a lot of good. So I don't think I would accept Question and Answer 8, but the rest of it I have no problem with...
RIDDLEBARGER: And you would want to argue then, against somebody like me who says those answers come right out of the biblical text, that I was misinterpreting the texts upon which those answers to the catechism were based?
SCHULLER: Well, I'd have to go look at all those Bible references. Would you say that unless a person is born again he absolutely does not do any good at all in his whole life? That's what that question seems to say!
RIDDLEBARGER: Yes, I would agree with that, but I would say yes and no. A non-Christian can do a lot of good things [humanly speaking] but if that good is done apart from faith, it is not meritorious, and does not count before God.
HORTON: It's the distinction the reformers made between civil and moral righteousness.
SCHULLER: Okay, but the question and answer here, taken in context, doesn't make the fine distinction that you now read into it.HORTON: Would you agree that unbelievers can do good that men can accept, but that they cannot do good that God can accept?
RIDDLEBARGER: That's what the catechism is referring to: the good that God can accept.
SCHULLER: Well, you're elaborating with your interpretation, and I'm not going to argue the point...
HORTON: Well the Apostle Paul says, "There is no one who does good, no, not even one."
SCHULLER: Well, I'm not going to say that because I just think that leads ultimately to "holier-than-thou-isms," self-righteousness, etc., and that comes out of the personality of the preacher and does an untold damage...
Background to the DiscussionDr. Schuller was invited to appear on The White Horse Inn by a mutual friend. Later he was sent a formal invitation which explained the program. The evening of the show, he was invited to Michael Horton's house for dinner, during which the format of the show was again explained to him, especially its emphasis on classical Reformation issues in contrast to a lot of the popular expressions of Christianity. Dr. Schuller responded by saying, "I have no problem with shows like that, as long as I have an opportunity to respond." Because Dr. Schuller has redefined sin and grace in psychological terms, Mike had to ask some tough questions.
© Modern Reformation
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Happy Birthday Reform-Shire!!! It has been a great year and thanks to everyone that has visited.
I hope to continue to share the Gospel and to lift up the Word of God.
Please Leave a comment and let me know you stopped by.....just say hello..
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Classic Essays on Justification- Imputation of Christ's Righteousness - James Vs. Paul - WCF(Westminster Confession of Faith) Ch 11
Roman Catholic Teaching on Justification - Sermons - New Perspective on Paul - Books -
Federal Theology - Covenant Theology - Faith and its Relation to Justification
"Those whom, God effectually calls he also freely justifies, not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous; not for anything wrought in them or done by them, but for Christ’s sake alone; not by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them as their righteousness, but by imputing the obedience and satisfaction of Christ unto them, they receiving and resting on him and his righteousness by faith, which faith they have not of themselves, it is the gift of God"
WCF(Westminster Confession of Faith) Ch 11
“Justification is a judicial act of God, in which He declares, on the basis of the righteousness of Jesus Christ, that all the claims of the law are satisfied with respect to the sinner”
(L. Berkhof, Systematic Theology, p. 513).
"The phrase in ipso (in him) I have preferred to retain, rather than render it per ipsum (by him,) because it has in my opinion more expressiveness and force. For we are enriched in Christ, inasmuch as we are members of his body, and are engrafted into him: nay more, being made one with him, he makes us share with him in every thing that he has received from the Father."
(John Calvin Commentary on 1 Cor 1:5)
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
In honor of Election Day in the United States: Here is an article from the Canons of Dort (1619)
Union between Christ and his people was planned already in eternity, in the sovereign pretemporal decision whereby God the Father selected us as his own. Christ himself was chosen to be our Savior before the creation of the world (1 Pet. 1:20); Ephesians 1:4 teaches us that when the Father chose Christ, he also chose us. - - by Anthony Hoekema
- Canons of Dort (1619). First Head: Article 7
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
In light of a Holy and Sovereign God, have mercy on me for I am a man of unclean lips, I am undone, I am ruined...
Thank you Lord for Grace and saving me from this despair. Sola Deo Gloria!!!
The Doctrines of Grace #2
2. Unconditional Election(God is no respecter of man nor influenced by man.) God has shown us in his Word that from eternity past he has elected some sinners to be saved from the condemnation that is justly deserved by all, purely on account of his gracious mercy and love, not because of any foreseen merits in those sinners. Because of the fact of total depravity, salvation must originate with God, and we read in the Bible that it is God's sovereign will alone that has determined the recipients of that salvation. This doctrine does not render God unjust, for all are guilty and all deserve to suffer God's judgement. Rather, it emphasizes the grace of God by the fact that he has chosen some for salvation.
Scripture references: Psalm 65:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Romans 9:11; Ephesians 1:4,5,9,11; Romans 11:5; Romans 9:15,23; Psalm 103:11; 1 Peter 1:2-3; 1 Thessalonians 5:9; Jonah 2:9.Romans 9 (click to listen)God's Sovereign Choice 1I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit— 2I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, 4the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. 5Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised![a] Amen.http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/audio/play.php?aid=3&book=52&chapter=9
Doctrines of Grace #3
3. Limited Atonement (or Particular Redemption) Put simply, Christ died only to save the elect, securing with absolute certainty their salvation. This is not to teach that there is anything lacking in the power of God, perhaps suggesting that he is not able to save all men. Rather, God's Word indicates that it was the Father's intention that his Son was to suffer and die only for his chosen people, atoning for their sins alone. Christ's atonement was limited only in extent, not in power, according to the sovereign will of God. In the Bible we read that the Lord's servant (Jesus) would see the results of his work (his atoning sacrifice) and "be satisfied" (Isaiah 53:11). But also, Jesus stated plainly that there are many who are heading for eternal destruction (Matthew 7:13). We can only reconcile these two statements if we understand that Christ died only for a limited number of people - for God's elect.
Scripture references: Acts 20:28; John 3:14+15; Galatians 1:4+5; Revelation 13:8; John 6:38+39; John 17:9,10+24; John 10:11; 1 Peter 2:21; Romans 5:8-10; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; Romans 8:33+34; Luke 1:68; Revelation 5:9; Isaiah 53:11.
Romans 8:5-108But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! 10For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
Romans 8:33-3433Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
Doctrines of Grace #4
4. Irresistible Grace (All whom the Father draws, will come to Christ) When the gospel is preached, an invitation is issued by the Lord to all people to come to him for salvation. However, as the first article clearly states, the natural state of all people renders them incapable of responding to this invitation, except to reject it. So when God calls an elect sinner to repentance and faith in Christ Jesus, he does so by sending his Holy Spirit to work a great change in that sinner's heart, enabling them to see their sin and their need of a Saviour and leading them to put their faith in Christ alone for salvation. The Lord, by his Spirit, irresistibly draws his elect to himself, raising them to spiritual life and making them willing to trust in Jesus.
Scripture references: Matthew 11:28-30; John 6:37; Matthew 23:37; John 5:40; Ephesians 1:12,19; Ezekiel 11:19+20; Psalm 110:3; 2 Thessalonians 1:11.John 6:3737All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.Romans 8:28-30 The Golden Chain; The Order of Salvation 28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,[a] who[b] have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
Doctrines of Grace #5
5. Perseverance of the Saints (or Preserved in Christ for Eternity) Once God has saved elect sinners, he continues to keep and preserve them by his power and grace and will never let them go. Thus, they persevere to the end and can never be lost. If God did not do this, we would inevitably turn back again to the world, because of the sin that is around us and within us. Thus God enables his children to continue in faith and obedience throughout their earthly lives, then to pass into God's presence forever. This doctrine is not to be taken as a license to go on sinning, as if the believer is free to act in any way he chooses now that he is eternally secure in Christ Jesus. The true believer will show signs of a growing desire for holiness and an increasing loathing of sin. The one who attempts to use the grace of God as an excuse for sinful living is in all probability not a true believer, for where there is spiritual life, the fruit of the Spirit will become evident.
Scripture references: 1 Peter 1:5; James 4:6; Philippians 1:6+19; John 6:39; John 10:28+29; Romans 8:38+39; Romans 8:8; Galatians 5:13-26. John 10:28-2928I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 29My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all[a]; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand.Romans 8:3030And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.Romans 8:38-3938For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.John 17Jesus Prays for Himself "Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.Jesus Prays for His Disciples9I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one. Jesus Prays for All Believers22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 24"Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Aren't TULIPs just amazing? :-)
Grace and Peace,
Doctrines of Grace #1
1. Total Depravity (or “Inability” – Man cannot save himself) The Scriptures clearly teach that the effects of sin have extended to all parts of our being, rendering us incapable of spiritual understanding and love towards God. Despite the heading of this first article, it does not indicate that all people are as wicked as they could possibly be in all areas of belief and practice. However, sin has so fully and deeply affected our lives that, spiritually speaking, we are in a totally hopeless condition, unable to do anything to get ourselves out of this fallen state. Our natural spiritual incapacity prevents us from being able to respond by our own strength to the call of the gospel message, yet this does not remove our guilt. We choose to follow the natural inclinations of our depraved hearts because when left to ourselves that is all we want to do.
Scripture references: Ephesians 4:18; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Romans 1:30; John 15:25; Luke 19:14; John 5:40; Isaiah 5:20; Titus 1:15; Deuteronomy 32:18; Hebrews 2:1; John 12:39; John 6:44+65; John 3:18.
Romans Revolution:God’s Wrath on UnrighteousnessRomans 1:18 - 2518 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen
Monday, October 23, 2006
This Sunday October 29th is Reformation Sunday!
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Grace and Peace,
Geneva Bible (1599 edition)
Author: Tolle Lege Press
When the Pilgrims arrived in the New World in 1620, they brought along supplies, a consuming passion to advance the Kingdom of Christ, and the Word of God. Clearly, their most precious cargo was the Bible—specifically, the 1599 Geneva Bible.
All but forgotten in our day, this version of the Bible was the most widely read and influential English Bible of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. A superb translation, it was the product of the best Protestant scholars of the day and became the Bible of choice for many of the greatest writers and thinkers of that time. Men such as William Shakespeare, John Bunyan, and John Milton used the Geneva Bible in their writings. William Bradford also cited the Geneva Bible in his famous book Of Plymouth Plantation.
The Geneva Bible is unique among all other Bibles. It was the first Bible to use chapters and numbered verses and became the most popular version of its time because of the extensive marginal notes. These notes, written by Reformation leaders such as John Calvin, John Knox, Miles Coverdale, William Whittingham, Anthony Gilby, and others, were included to explain and interpret the scriptures for the common people.
PAUL TO THE
1 1 He first showeth on what authority his Apostleship
standeth. 15 !en he commendeth the Gospel,
16 by which God setteth out his power to those that are
saved, 17 by faith, 21 but were guilty of wicked unthankfulness
to God: 26 For which his wrath was worthily powered on
them, 29 so that they ran headlong to all kinds of sin.
1 PAUL 1a 2,3servant of JESUS Christ called to
be an 4Apostle, a,5put apart to preach the Gospel of
2 (Which he had promised afore by his Prophets
in the holy Scriptures)
3 1Concerning his 2Son Jesus Christ our Lord
(which was 3made of the seed of David 4according
to the flesh,
4 And 1declared 2mightily to be the Son of God,
touching the Spirit of sanctification by the resurrection
from the dead)
5 1By whom we have received 2grace and Apostleship
(that 3obedience might be given unto the faith)
for his name 4among all the Gentiles,
6 Among whom ye be also the 1called of Jesus
7 To all you that be at Rome beloved of God,
called to be Saints: 1Grace be with you, and peace from
God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
8 1First I thank my God through Jesus Christ for
you all, because your faith is 2published throughout
the 3whole world.
9 For God is my witness (whom I serve in my
1spirit in the 2Gospel of his Son) that without ceasing
I make mention of you.
10 Always in my prayers, beseeching that by some
means, one time or other I might have a prosperous
journey by the will of God, to come unto you.
11 For I long to see you, that I might bestow
among you some spiritual gift, that you might be
12 !at is, that 1I might be comforted together with
you, through our mutual faith, both yours and mine.
13 Now my brethren, I would that ye should not
be ignorant, how that I have oftentimes purposed
to come unto you (but have been let hitherto) that
I might have some fruit also among you, as I have
among the other Gentiles.
14 I am debtor both to the Grecians, and to the Barbarians,
both to the wise men and to the unwise.
1:1 1 The first part of the Epistle containing a most profitable preface
unto verse 16.
2 He moving the Romans to give diligent ear unto him in that he
showeth that he cometh not in his own name, but as God’s messenger
unto the Gentiles, entreateth with them of the weightiest matter,
that is promised long since by God, by many fit witnesses, and now
at length performed indeed.
3 A Minister, for this word servant, is not taken in this place, as set
against this word, Freeman, but declareth his ministry and office.
4 Whereas he said before in a general term, that he was a minister,
now he cometh to a more special name, and saith that he is
an Apostle, and that he took not upon him this office of his own
lead, but being called of God, and therefore in this his writing to the
Romans, doeth nothing but his duty.
5 Appointed of God to preach the Gospel.
1:3 1 By declaring the sum of the doctrine of the Gospel, he stirreth
up the Romans to good consideration of the matter whereof
he entreateth: So then he showeth that Christ (who is the very substance
and sum of the Gospel) is the only son of God the Father, who
as touching his humanity, is made of the seed of David, but touching
his divine and spiritual nature, whereby he sanctified himself, is
begotten of the Father from everlasting, as by his mighty resurrection
2 This is a plain testimony of the person of Christ, that he is but one,
and of his two natures, and their properties.
3 Which took flesh of the virgin, David’s daughter.
4 As he is man: for this word Flesh, by the figure Synecdoche, is
taken for man.
1:4 1 Showed and made manifest.
2 The divine and mighty power is set against the weakness of the
flesh, for that overcame death.
1:5 1 Of whom.
2 This marvelous liberal and gracious gift, which is given me, the
least of all the Saints, to preach, etc., Eph. 3:8.
3 That men through faith might obey God.
4 For his Name’s sake.
1:6 1 Which through God’s goodness, are Christ’s.
1:7 1 God’s free good will: by peace, the Hebrews mean a prosperous
success in all things.
1:8 1 He procureth their favorable patience, in that he reckoneth up
their true commendation, and his true Apostolic good will toward
them, confirmed by taking God himself to witness.
2 Because your faith is such, that it is commended in all Churches.
3 In all Churches.
1:9 1 Very willingly and with all my heart.
2 In preaching his Son.
1:12 1 Though Paul were never so excellent, yet by teaching the
Church, he might be instructed by it.