Category: Salvation

I Never Ate the Apple
A Defense of Inherited Sinful Nature Without Inherited Guilt

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I Never Ate the Apple
A Defense of Inherited Sinful Nature Without Inherited Guilt


By Dr. Rick Patrick
Senior Pastor
Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church
Hueytown, Alabama


I must confess at the outset I have always been rather sympathetic toward Adam, for although he is not the only man in history to do whatever a naked woman told him, he does have the distinction of being the first. I do not presume for a moment that if it had been me in the garden things would have turned out any differently. I am a sinner who is guilty of my own sin–and no one else’s. To my shame, my sins have brought plenty of guilt upon myself without borrowing any of the guilt Adam’s sins brought upon him.

In a previous article, I dealt extensively with the subject of inherited guilt, responding to a fellow Southern Baptist who rejects the current confessional position of The Baptist Faith and Message on this issue. My treatment was limited to arguments rooted in the various versions of our confession, along with a discussion of the positions espoused by certain theologians and other religious groups. A few of the reactions to my response indicated a desire for a more thorough biblical and theological treatment, which is the purpose for this article, no longer shackled by the chains of a polemical response to the aforementioned brother, but now able to provide a more freestanding exegetical essay.

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, in this way death spread to all men, because all sinned. (Romans 5:12)

 

Let me disclaim any suggestion that my view on the effects of the fall diminishes the existence of original sin. Because of the fall, we all inherit from Adam a sin nature and the inclination to transgress. Fallen, we will all sin. The issue I am addressing is not sinful transgression, but guilty condemnation. Adam’s sin spread to me and inclined me to transgress, but I am only guilty of sin “because all sinned,” including, of course, me.

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A Biblical Critique of Calvinism
Part 1b: The Inclusivity of the Gospel Invitation

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A Biblical Critique of Calvinism
Part 1b: The Inclusivity of the Gospel Invitation



by Dr. Michael A. Cox, Pastor, First Baptist Church, Pryor, OK
and author of Not One Little Child: A Biblical Critique of Calvinism


This is the second of a series of articles by Dr. Cox, with a Biblical critique of Calvinism drawn in part from his book Not One Little Child. Read part 1a here.


I admit that the book of Romans is very challenging to understand. I have preached and translated through it word-by-word twice now and am somewhat tempted to write a commentary on it. But, for now, let me review several key passages which harmonize well with all the previous verses I have examined and dispel any notion that Paul taught the redemptive exclusion of any, except for those who exclude themselves through refusing to believe. He stated that the gospel is the power of God for salvation to all who believe (Rom. 1:16). This means that the gospel uniquely demonstrates God’s power. The gospel of Jesus Christ is something of which to be proud, not ashamed. True Christians are those who are neither ashamed of the gospel nor a shame to it.[1] Are you ashamed of the gospel? Are you ashamed for others to know your hero and Savior is a Jewish carpenter who was executed as a criminal? Are you ashamed to follow Him in baptism? Are you ashamed to say you believe the Bible? Are you ashamed that doing so might damage your popularity? Paul shouted that nothing could turn him against the gospel!

Conversely, I am ashamed of unchristian beliefs dressed up as Christian beliefs: infant baptism as washing away the taint of original sin; transubstantiation; the Mormon doctrine of becoming a god and populating one’s own planet; and many of the claims of Calvinism. The gospel is the good news, and good news necessarily implies that “bad news” exists. The gospel is good news to receive, not a code to keep.[2] It is God’s dynamic power and divine energy. Christians see God’s power at work in lives and understand that one test of anything is to examine the results which are produced. The transforming power of the gospel is more than a theory; the gospel gets results. Christians are not powerless to change the evil in the world because the gospel is God’s power to change lives, granting salvation to all who believe. The goal of the gospel is salvation. Salvation means deliverance from sin and its penalty and includes rescue from the wrath of God. In fact, the term “salvation” presupposes peril or danger from which humans need to be rescued.[3]

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John Calvin: In His Own Words


By Ron F. Hale.
He has served as Pastor, Church Planter, Strategist (NAMB), Director of Missions, Associate Executive Director of Evangelism and Church Planting for a State Convention, and now in the 4th quarter of ministry as Minister of Missions.


Did John Calvin teach a double predestination, that is, an election to salvation for some and reprobation to eternal punishment for many others?  In his own words, Calvin shares the following:

“By predestination we mean the eternal decree of God by which he determined with himself whatever he wished to happen with regard to every man.  All are not created on equal terms, but some are preordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation; and, accordingly, as each has been created for one or other of these ends, we say that he has been predestined to life or death.” (John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 3:21:5)

 

John Calvin believed that in eternity God decreed a plight and path for every man. He believed that “all are not created on equal terms.” Some (the Elect) are chosen to eternal life, while the rest of humanity to eternal damnation.

Some would teach a positive-positive schema in God’s activity; meaning that God actively works to bring about regeneration and faith for the Elect and actively works sin and unbelief in the lives of the non-Elect.  The classic position would be more of a positive-negative schema of viewing the monergistic work of God’s grace for the Elect, while passing by the non-Elect leaving them to themselves and the results of their sin.

Calvin believed the destiny of each person is determined. Predestination to life (heaven) or death (hell) is the decision of God.  If double predestination is true, then the biblical phrase “whosoever will may come” may only be a sad sentiment for those created and preordained to eternal damnation.

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A Biblical Critique of Calvinism
Part 1a: The Inclusivity of the Gospel Invitation

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A Biblical Critique of Calvinism
Part 1a: The Inclusivity of the Gospel Invitation



by Dr. Michael A. Cox, Pastor, First Baptist Church, Pryor, OK
and author of Not One Little Child: A Biblical Critique of Calvinism


This is the beginning of a series of articles by Dr. Cox, with a Biblical critique of Calvinism drawn in part from his book Not One Little Child.


The Bible teaches that whosoever will may come to Christ in repentance and faith. As we will see, Scriptures related to this doctrine are numerous through all the genres of the Biblical text. This article will address the references from the Old Testament through the book of Acts.

A Psalm of David teaches that the Lord responds to all who call upon Him in truth (Ps. 145:18) and that the Lord hears the cry of those who fear Him and promises to save them (Ps. 145:19). Jeremiah recorded God’s words when He said that even heathen nations who repent and turn to Him can become His people (Jer. 12:16). Joel registered God’s words when He said that whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be delivered (Joel 2:32). These Scriptures accurately summarize the testimony of the Old Testament regarding “whosoever will.”

Then, the New Testament champions this doctrine unmistakably, providing a plethora of scriptural testimony which harmonizes perfectly with the Old Testament witness. The words of Jesus declared that God says to no person “seek in vain,” but “seek and you shall find” (Matt. 7:7). He promised that all who ask receive (Matt. 7:8). Notice that asking precedes reception. Man clearly has a role in the salvation event, and it is requesting the Lordship of Jesus Christ by faith coupled with repentance. Jesus guaranteed that He would confess before His Father in heaven everyone who confesses that He is the Christ (Matt. 10:32). Jesus also averred that all humans are more valuable than any animal (Matt. 12:12). He asserted that whoever humbles himself or herself in childlike faith to Himself is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 18:4). Jesus also taught that everyone who abandons all for Him, making Him his or her top priority, shall inherit eternal life (Matt. 19:29). Further, we read that the invitation to join the bridal feast is issued to all (Matt. 22:9). And, finally, in the Gospel of Matthew, we learn that whoever humbles himself will be exalted (Matt. 23:12).

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A Commentary on Article 10 of “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation”



By Robin Foster, Pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Perkins, Oklahoma


Article Ten: The Great Commission

We affirm that the Lord Jesus Christ commissioned His church to preach the good news of salvation to all people to the ends of the earth. We affirm that the proclamation of the Gospel is God’s means of bringing any person to salvation.

We deny that salvation is possible outside of a faith response to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Psalm 51:13; Proverbs 11:30; Isaiah 52:7; Matthew 28:19-20; John 14:6; Acts 1:8; 4:12; 10:42-43; Romans 1:16, 10:13-15; 1 Corinthians 1:17-21; Ephesians 3:7-9; 6:19-20; Philippians 1:12-14; 1 Thessalonians 1:8; 1 Timothy 2:5; 2 Timothy 4:1-5


While many things can be written about the Great Commission (GC), Article Ten of “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation” relates the GC specifically to salvation and the gospel.  What does the good news of salvation (gospel) have to do with the Great Commission?  This article intends to show three areas in which the GC should impact the “church to preach the good news of salvation to all people to the ends of the earth.”

First, the gospel is for every person and every person is responsible to respond to it (John 3:16, Acts 17:30, 1 John 2:2), but not all will.  Never the less, Jesus is the only name “given among men by which we must be saved.” The gospel is open to all who would call on the Name of Jesus for salvation (Rom 10:13). An example of this is Paul preaching on Mars Hill (Acts 17:22-34).  Paul preached to an open crowd for everyone to respond to the message.  He even declared that it was every man’s responsibility before God to repent of his sin (Acts 17:30).  This part of Paul’s ministry is a perfect illustration that the gospel is for every person and while many did not respond at the preaching of God’s Word, some men did join Paul and believed (Acts 17:32-34).

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