Archive for September, 2012

Sometimes the Bible’s use of “all” and “world”
does not literally mean all people in the world.

A Review and Critique of Whomever He Wills – Part 2H

David L. Allen

Matthew Barrett and Thomas Nettles, eds. Whomever He Wills: a Surprising Display of Sovereign Mercy (Cape Coral, FL: Founders Press, 2012), 401 pgs.


Schrock next addresses the issue of universal language in Scripture. This is a difficult hill to climb for Schrock and all proponents of particular redemption due to the fact that there are so many New Testament passages which on a straightforward reading affirm unlimited atonement. He fosters two arguments to help explain how the universal language of the New Testament supports definite atonement: the linguistic argument and the historical context of the apostles. Schrock begins by noting what all affirm: sometimes the Bible’s use of “all” and “world” does not literally mean all people in the world. He rightly reminds us that context is the key. He praises John Owen for his “attention to the text” in determining the author’s meaning. This is curious because Schrock seems oblivious to the many Calvinists, not to mention others, who have critiqued Owen for his failure in this very area. For example, as Neil Chambers demonstrated, in circular fashion Owen reads his conclusion back into the reasons for his conclusion (“A Critical Examination, 122). His procedure constantly begs the question. Furthermore, Schrock appears to miss the point that sometimes this universal language is stylized and hyperbolic in nature. His appeal to Matthew 3:5 is a case in point. The idea of limitation here is not “some of all kinds” of people, but rather that large groups are intended.

Read more ...

“For egalitarians there is no place in the mind or heart of God for distinctive loves.”

A Review and Critique of Whomever He Wills – Part 2G

David L. Allen

Matthew Barrett and Thomas Nettles, eds. Whomever He Wills: a Surprising Display of Sovereign Mercy (Cape Coral, FL: Founders Press, 2012), 401 pgs.

 

3. The Universal Impact of Definite Atonement.

Schrock’s final section addresses three vital subjects in the discussion: 1) the universal love of God, 2) the universal language of Scripture, and 3) the universal offer of the gospel (105-18).

Unfortunately, problems abound in this section as well. Schrock states that I equate God’s love with his universal will to save all people. I do indeed. In fact, so does Reformed orthodoxy. Though I disagree with the notion of God’s two wills (decretal and revealed), this concept is well known in Reformed orthodoxy. In God’s so called “revealed will,” God’s love is indeed a universal saving love (John 3:16; 2 Peter 3:9, et. al.). Schrock makes another error when he states, “for egalitarians there is no place in the mind or heart of God for distinctive loves.” Since he has already lumped all who reject limited atonement into the egalitarian basket, Schrock’s statement is untrue and misrepresents the beliefs of many of his fellow moderate Calvinists since they do indeed distinguish degrees in God’s love. His statement is even untrue for many non-Calvinists who do the same.

What Schrock writes on pages 108-09 is especially troubling to my spirit. Christians are not saved “because of some insipid universal love; it is because in His grace, God set His love on you before the foundation of the world.” (108). It is the first part of this statement that is so troubling to me. “Insipid universal love”? My heart sinks just reading it. Place that comment alongside John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Schrock then continues, Christ “does not throw the pearls of His sacrificial love at those from whom He does not expect, yes even engender, a return of love” (109). Pause and reflect on that statement. With echoes from Jesus’ statement “Do not cast your pearls before swine” Schrock applies the analogy to the non-elect. From these non-elect, Jesus neither “expects” a love response nor, in good Calvinist fashion, does He “engender” such a response within them. Schrock notes that Christ pursues His bride so that she “can experience the fullness of His love” (Ibid.). He then states: “This is far different from saying that God loves all, unconditionally, without exception” (Ibid.). Sadly, it certainly is. To top it all off, Schrock makes a direct statement to anyone who is an unbeliever: “Maybe today, you are reading this but don’t know Christ: let all the kindnesses that God has given you – your gifts, joys, family, children, your very own life – and the promise of everlasting love lead you to repentance (Romans 2:4); trust in His Son and then you can experience the personal love of which Paul speaks” (Ibid.).

For all the hue and cry made over the use and misuse of altar calls by some Calvinists, may I be permitted to reciprocate here and express my deepest concern about this statement in the sharpest of language. Such a message to the unsaved is bereft of the love of God and is virtually bankrupt. Look at it. Is it only the “kindness” of God that is designed to lead us to repentance? Is it only the “promise” of some vague everlasting love offered to the unsaved? This is not only bad theology, it is bad Reformed theology. It borders on, if it is not outright, hyper-Calvinism.

It reduces the gospel message to bare statements about facts and conditional statements, in which God’s own compassion and willingness that the unsaved be converted is entirely absent from the appeal. Can Schrock not even find it within himself to say to the unsaved “Jesus loves you!” or desires them all to be saved? The love of Christ for the unsaved has been shorn of its passion, and in its place comes an insipid, even embarrassing appeal to the unsaved. God may love you; you will only know for sure if you believe. I’ll bet Schrock was not converted under the preaching and teaching of such a limp expression of God’s love for him. This portion of Schrock’s chapter is disappointing beyond words, and illustrates why the discussion of this issue in the Southern Baptist Convention is so vital at this time. I hope this is not the direction we are headed. This is one of the reasons why I concluded my chapter in Whosoever with the statement: “Should the Southern Baptist Convention move toward ‘five-point’ Calvinism, such a move would be away from and not toward the gospel” (107). Limited atonement brings with it other errors into the church, both theological and practical. I believe Schrock’s brand of Calvinism is seriously problematic on the question of the love of God and the extent of the atonement.

 

Busy Bodies or Busybodies?

By Franklin L. Kirksey, Pastor, First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort, Alabama, and author of Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice.

These expositions by Dr. Kirksey are offered to suggest sermon or Bible study ideas for pastors and other church leaders, both from the exposition and from the illustrative material, or simply for personal devotion.


2 Thessalonians 3:6-15

Introduction

Besse Cooper of Monroe, Georgia, celebrated her 116th birthday Sunday, August 26, 2012.  She recaptured her position as the world’s oldest living person; bestowed upon her in January 2011.  She relinquished the title after someone found that Maria Gomes Valentim was 48 days older.  She regained her title in June 2011 after Valentim died.  She received a plaque from Robert Young, senior consultant of gerontology for Guinness World Records marking this milestone.  She reported, “The secret to her longevity was not eating junk food, and [she confessed] ‘I mind my own business.’”[1]

Someone said, “2000 years ago the Jews were looking for a Lion and got a Lamb.  2000 years later, Christians are looking for a Lamb and will get a Lion.  When Christ returns He’s no longer on a throne of mercy. . .  He is on a throne of justice!”

Read more ...

“THE MAKING, MEANING, AND MISSION OF THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION”

SBC PRESIDENT’S ADDRESS

“THE MAKING, MEANING, AND MISSION OF

THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION”

J. W. Storer

1954

====================

Dr. James Wilson (J. W.) Storer was born December 1, 1884 in Burlington, Kansas, and spent his childhood in Washington and Oklahoma. He attended Kansas University, and graduated from William Jewell College in 1912 with his Bachelor of Science. Storer was President of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1953-1955, and President of the Convention’s Executive Committee from 1952-1953.

Following his tenure as pastor of First Baptist Church, Tulsa, Okla., from 1931 to 1956, Storer was the Executive Secretary for the Southern Baptist Foundation until his retirement in 1967.

While pastor of First Baptist in Tulsa, Storer conducted a radio ministry as Sunday services were broadcasted on station KOME. In addition to the Tulsa pastorate, Rev. Storer held pastorates in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Virginia. He also worked with other denominational agencies as a member of the Relief and Annuity Board and Foreign Mission Board.

Storer served on the Board of Trustees for several institutions including Oklahoma Baptist University, Tennessee Women’s College, and Fork Union Military Academy. Storer died in Nashville, Tenn., April 12, 1970.

Read more ...

The Nudge

By Walker Moore

Awe Star Ministries, headed by Walker Moore, will celebrate its 20th birthday next year. In those two decades, ASM has ministered on every continent but Antarctica, and has planted more than 40 churches. Many of ASM’s alums serve in significant ministries around the world. Visit www.awestar.org for more info.

====================


My grandfather, Walker Winfield Scott, was a tall, lanky Irishman. I always thought there was something special about hanging out with a man who shared my first name. He and my grandmother lived on a small farm outside of Miami, Mo. I often spent the weekend at their home. In the summertime, I stayed for weeks at a time. For a small child, there’s no place like a farm with a hundred-plus acres–especially if that child has a vivid imagination.

Some of my fondest childhood memories come from time spent on that farm. For some reason, it seemed that whenever I was around, Granddad needed my help. We all have a need to be needed—even little boys. Everywhere he went, I went. When I rode with him into town to load his truck with cattle feed, we never seemed to get back home without making a side trip. My grandfather never ate much candy, but when he did, it was Spangler Circus Peanuts. As a child, I found these treats mysterious and delicious all at once. In case you’re never had one, they’re a marshmallow treat made in the shape of a large peanut, banana-flavored but orange in color. To this day, I wonder what circumstances or events caused someone to dream up this candy. I guess it’s just another of life’s mysteries that will remain unsolved for years to come. I remember silently chewing the candy peanuts as we drove back to the farm. I didn’t think life could get any better.

Read more ...