A Need for a New Identity:
Conversionism, Transformed Theology, and a New Tulip
Part 2: An Argument for Unconditional Love
If there’s anything that’s unconditional where God is concerned, it would have to be His love for man. “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” (John 3:16). “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32). Here is the real story. God did not spare His own Son but allowed Him to be sacrificed on the cross to pay the penalty for an unholy and ungodly world. In analyzing this, the apostle Paul makes the following statement:
7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life (Romans 5:7-10).
The Apostle John makes the following declaration in 1 John 4,
9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins (1 John 4:9-10).
In 1 John 2 he writes,
1 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world (1 John 2:1-2).
A Need for a New Identity:
Conversionism, Transformed Theology, and a New Tulip
Part 1: Total Lostness
This article is the first in a series that offer an alternative to the classical Reformed T.U.L.I.P. The entire series is available at www.transformedtheology.com. This article addresses “Total Lostness.”
Calvinism and Arminianism have been a major part of the theological landscape for centuries and the debate today is no closer to being resolved than it was in the days of Calvin and Arminius, themselves. A number of attempts have been made to strike a balance between the two. Conversionism and Transformed Theology is an attempt to begin that process. There are a number of ways that one might establish a new identity associated with a change in terminology from Calvinism to Conversionism and from Reformed Theology to Transformed Theology. One way involves modifying the framework that Reformed Theology has built itself around, namely the TULIP which is an acronym representing the five points of Calvinism. By using the same five letters, this section will focus on a new identity that will find its significance in a New Tulip. Consider the following acrostic:
In evaluating this new proposed position, it is important to remember that each plank must rest on its own merit based on what the Bible has to say as opposed to interpreting each through the lens of some preconceived premise. For example it can be argued that each of the points of Calvinism have been so developed to support the underlying premise that Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross could not have been for all men because it is obvious that not all men are saved and headed for heaven. While the latter part of this statement is absolutely true, that does not validate the former part of the statement. To be fair, there is always a tendency no matter how well intended, to frame one’s theology around certain preconceived theological foundations and frameworks. Just as every man is a product of his own environment, so is his theology a product of his overall evaluation of the Scripture itself. However, when questions concerning theology are presented, it behooves those on both sides of the issue to consider certain arguments on their own merit in light of a standard, which must be the Word of God. Please consider the following points with an open Bible and an objective mind.
Theological Terminology Thursday:
The Study of Specialized Words Relating to Theology
By Ron F. Hale,
Minister of Missions,
West Jackson Baptist Church,
My fingers eagerly tore into a package that resulted in a “free” book. The book came to me as I pastored in the Kansas City area in 1989. The title of the book was: Southern Baptists and the Doctrine of Election by Robert B. Selph. Later I learned that Pastor Selph had sent this book to every pastor in the SBC. This was no small endeavor for the pastor of a small church in Prescott, Arizona.
Selph had been inspired by Founders Ministries and their early work called the Boyce Project. Ernest C. Reisinger (the founder of the Founders Ministries) had the goal of republishing the Abstract of Systematic Theology by James Petigru Boyce, the primary founder and first theology teacher of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The second phase of the strategy was to get Boyce’s Abstract to every student graduating from the six official Southern Baptist seminaries and a few more.
In his book, Selph shares the following concerning Election and Evangelism: “If you really want to be invigorated in your faith and renewed in your courage to the task of evangelism, reflect upon how God has used the preaching of the historic doctrines of grace (election, predestination, etc.) to bring many to Himself in salvation!”
History reveals that Selph’s view of election and evangelism caused meager results in reaching his community with the Gospel. Over the last twenty-four years (since the printing of his book), his church has reported only forty people being baptized, that is less than two people per year. The membership has gone from 118 members in 1988 (the year he wrote the book) down to 60 members in 2011.
By Bob Williford, former director of the Hope Migrant Mission Center at the Migrant Farm Labor Center near Hope, Arkansas, a ministry of the Arkansas Baptist Convention.
For many years I have studied what seems to be an obvious abuse of terminology within the Evangelical Community. Backsliding is often used to describe the sin of Christians who have had an ‘experience‘ with the Lord have returned to their old sinful ways. I was guilty of preaching from this platform until observing those who were rededicating their lives to once again follow God. However, what I hear from repentant sinners is, “I had an experience with God and……” This often repeated statement enabled me to take a journey into God’s Word that has demonstrated an error that has almost become a doctrine for many. And what I discovered is quite revealing.
I will address this in another blog, but repeating the so-called ‘ sinner’s prayer’ somehow allows eternal salvation to be claimed but without an understanding what Jesus meant when he said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” Matthew 16:24.
There are at least two problems with utilizing ‘backsliding’ as a reference to Believers in Jesus Christ:
Monday Exposition Idea:
The Centerpiece of Christianity
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.
The Centerpiece of Christianity is the cross of Jesus Christ.
Eric Metaxas, shares the following in Everything You Always Wanted To Know About God (but were afraid to ask):
Q: But how is it that Christians have a monopoly on grace?
A: Christians don’t have a monopoly on grace by any stretch of the imagination. God has a monopoly on grace. But despite Christians’ often graceless behavior, Christian theology is the only theology that puts God’s grace at the center of everything.
Q: How is Christianity unique in that regard?
A: By means of the central event of the Christian faith: Jesus’ death on the cross. The idea is that Jesus’ death is the only thing that makes it possible for us to enter heaven. He paid the price for our sins. It’s his grace toward us, demonstrated in that act, that allows us to be close to God, to have a relationship with God, and to go to heaven. It’s based on what Jesus did for us out of love for us, not on anything we do. So it’s all about his grace, not about our moral performance. Of course human beings are so prone to pride that, ironically, Christians will sometimes be prideful about the idea that grace is at the center of Christianity, as if to say, ‘We have the best religion!’
But if you can see past the problem of religious pride, you’ll see that grace in an extraordinary and infinitely wonderful thing. And it’s available to everyone, certainly not just Christians. What makes it available is Jesus and his voluntary death on the cross. But because grace is at the core of Christian theology, Christians sometimes act as if they invented it, which they didn’t. God did.