More Than a Carpenter

August 6, 2012

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.


Mark 6:1-6

Introduction

Dr. Josh McDowell wrote a book several years ago titled More Than a Carpenter.  This best-selling book presents a strong case for the deity and purpose of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Jill Heatherly shares the following in an editorial review, “Since its release, More Than a Carpenter has been challenging readers to ask the question, ‘Who is Jesus?’  Author and renowned speaker Josh McDowell acknowledges that while the topic of God is widely accepted, the name of Jesus often causes irritation.  ‘Why don’t the names of Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius offend people?  The reason is that these others didn’t claim to be God, but Jesus did.’  By addressing questions about scientific and historical evidence, the validity of the Bible, and proofs of the resurrection, McDowell helps the reader come to an informed and intelligent decision about whether Jesus was a liar, a lunatic, or the Lord.”[1]

Dr. Luke records Jesus’ first visit to His hometown of Nazareth.  From Luke 4:16-30, we read, “So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up.  And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.  And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah.  And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:  ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, / Because He has anointed Me / To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, / To proclaim liberty to the captives / And recovery of sight to the blind, / To set at liberty those who are oppressed;   To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.’  Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down.  And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him.  And He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’  So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth.  And they said, ‘Is this not Joseph’s son?’  He said to them, ‘You will surely say this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal yourself!  Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in Your country.’  Then He said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country.  But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land; but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.  And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.’  So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff.  Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way.”

The focus of our attention relates to the passage in Mark 6:1-6, where we read about Jesus’ return to Nazareth for the second time.  From our passage we read, “Then He went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him.  And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue.  And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, ‘Where did this Man get these things?  And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands!  Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon?  And are not His sisters here with us?’  So they were offended at Him.  But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.’  Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them.  And He marveled because of their unbelief.  Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching.”

Please note three truths from our text.

 

I. First, there is a startled reaction to Jesus’ Sonship.

They were astonished over Jesus’ ministry. His message and miracles attested to the fact that He was and is the Son of God.  Obviously, His words and works were not things He learned in Nazareth.  Regrettably, in essence they said, “We are familiar with Him.  We know Jesus is just a common man.”  After reading several commentaries, we find the maxim, “Familiarity breeds contempt” applied to this passage.  Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe explains, “‘Familiarity breeds contempt’ is a well-known maxim that goes all the way back to Publius the Syrian, who lived in 2 B.C. Aesop wrote a fable to illustrate it.  In Aesop’s fable, a fox had never before seen a lion, and when he first met the king of the beasts, the fox was nearly frightened to death.  At their second meeting, the fox was not frightened quite as much; and the third time he met the lion, the fox went up and chatted with him!  ‘And so it is,’ Aesop concluded, ‘that familiarity makes even the most frightening things seem quite harmless.’

The maxim, however, must be taken with a grain of salt.  For example, can you imagine a loving husband and wife thinking less of each other because they know each other so well?  Or two dear friends starting to despise each other because their friendship has deepened over the years?  [Dr.]  Phillips Brooks [1835-1893] said it best: ‘Familiarity breeds contempt, only with contemptible things or among contemptible people.’  The contempt shown by the Nazarenes said nothing about Jesus Christ, but it said a great deal about them!”[2]

In Luke 2:41-50, Dr. Luke also records the following about Jesus’ visit to the temple at age 12, “His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover.  And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast.  When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem.  And Joseph and His mother did not know it; but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances.  So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him.  Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.  And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.  So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, ‘Son, why have You done this to us?  Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.’  And He said to them, ‘Why did you seek Me?  Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?’  But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.”

We read in Luke 4:31-32, “Then He went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and was teaching them on the Sabbaths.  And they were astonished at His teaching, for His word was with authority.”  In a parallel passage recorded in Mark 1:21-22, we read, “Then they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught.  And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.”

We read about yet another situation in Matthew 22:23-33, “The same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him and asked Him, saying: ‘Teacher, Moses said that if a man dies, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife and raise up offspring for his brother.  Now there were with us seven brothers.  The first died after he had married, and having no offspring, left his wife to his brother.  Likewise the second also, and the third, even to the seventh.  Last of all the woman died also.  Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife of the seven will she be?  For they all had her.’  Jesus answered and said to them, ‘You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.  For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven.  But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying,  ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?  God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.’  And when the multitudes heard this, they were astonished at His teaching.”

 

II. Second, there is a stumbling repulsion about Jesus’ Messiahship.

They were offended at Jesus’ humility. They presented evidence to contradict the divinity of Jesus Christ.  In essence they said, “We know His family.”  If He came as a “hometown hero” they would have likely welcomed Him.  According to Bible prophecy, they expected the Messiah to come.  Sadly, they did not understand Isaiah 52:13-53:12 which presents the mystery of the Messiah, as a suffering servant.  The Rock of Ages is also a stone of stumbling.  Isaiah prophesies of Jesus Christ in Isaiah 8:14a, “He will be as a sanctuary, / But a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense / To both the houses of Israel. . .”  Paul writes in Romans 9:30-33, “What shall we say then?  That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness.  Why?  Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law.  For they stumbled at that stumbling stone.  As it is written:  ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, / And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.’”

We read the following beatitude in Matthew 11:6, “And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”  Jesus’ earthly ministry was a mixture of meekness and majesty.  According to Galatians 4:4-5, “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,  to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”

Paul shares the following commentary on the life and ministry of Jesus in Philippians 2:5-11.  Here, we read, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.  Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  Beware, many of those who “confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” at that time will not go to heaven.  It will be too late for them.  However, at this time, “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.’  For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For ‘whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved’” (Romans 10:9-13).

We read in 1 Peter 2:4-8, “Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious,  you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.  Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, / ‘Behold, I lay in Zion / A chief cornerstone, elect, precious, / And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.’  Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, / ‘The stone which the builders rejected / Has become the chief cornerstone,’ and / ‘A stone of stumbling / And a rock of offense.’  They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.”

Dr. Kenneth Samuel Wuest (1893-1962) shares the following comment on the situation recorded in Mark 6:1-6, “They could not explain Him, so they rejected Him.”[3]

 

III. Third, there is a stiff-necked rejection of Jesus’ Lordship.

They were closed to Jesus’ sovereignty. On several occasions Jesus demonstrated His authority in word and deed as the sovereign Lord of all.  For example, we read in Mark 1:21-28, “Then they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught.  And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.  Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit.  And he cried out, saying, ‘Let us alone!  What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth?  Did You come to destroy us?  I know who You are—the Holy One of God!’  But Jesus rebuked him, saying, ‘Be quiet, and come out of him!’  And when the unclean spirit had convulsed him and cried out with a loud voice, he came out of him.  Then they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, ‘What is this?  What new doctrine is this?  For with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.’  And immediately His fame spread throughout all the region around Galilee.”

Dr. Kenneth S. Wuest shares this comment on Mark 1:28, “The report concerning the new Teacher spread with lightning speed by word of mouth.”[4] Those of Nazareth rejected Jesus in spite of His fame.  He marveled at the unbelief of the Jews in Nazareth and He marveled at the faith of the Centurion, a Gentile (Luke 7:9).  Jesus shares in His Parable of the Minas, “But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We will not have this man to reign over us’” (Luke 19:41).  This was the attitude of those in Nazareth.

We read about Jesus in John 1:10-13, “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.  He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.  But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:  who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

 

Conclusion

Jesus never returned to Nazareth after the event recorded in Mark 6:1-6.  From Matthew 4:12-16 we learn that Jesus set up His base of operation in Capernaum.  Here we read, “Now when Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, He departed to Galilee.  And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali,  that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:  ‘The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, / By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, / Galilee of the Gentiles:  The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, / And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death / Light has dawned.’”

It is my prayer that you will come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and that you will know without question that Jesus Christ is more than a carpenter.

 


[1]Jill Heatherly, editorial review of More Than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell, Available from: http://www.amazon.com/More-Than-Carpenter-Josh-McDowell/dp/0842345523 Accessed: 03/29/12

[2]Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary – New Testament, Volume 1, (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 2001) p. 129, Database © 2007 WORDsearch Corp.

 

[3]Kenneth Samuel Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament for the English Reader , Mark in the Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, Co., 1950, 1998), p. 121

 

[4]Kenneth Samuel Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament for the English Reader , Mark in the Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, Co., 1950, 1998), p. 36

 

By Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey, pastor First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort 30775 Jay Drive Spanish Fort, Alabama 36527

Author of Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice Available on Amazon.com and WORDsearchbible.com

http://www.amazon.com/Sound-Biblical-Preaching-Giving-Bible/dp/1594577684

http://www.wordsearchbible.com/products/Sound_Biblical_Preaching_1476.html

http://www.webspawner.com/users/franklinlkirksey / fkirksey@bellsouth.net / (251) 626-6210

© June 10, 2012 All Rights Reserved

 

 

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Jeremy Crowder

Aman! He is more than a carpenter he’s a savior who died on a cross for my sins even if it had only been my sins yet it covered the whole world if people would only accept that payment.

Steve Martin

That death was “for the whole world” whether people accept it or not.

He is a real God. Acting for us. Not waiting for us to complete the deal by anything that we do, say, feel, or think.

He died for us and forgives us. Period. If some people hear that Word and come to faith, great. If others don’t it is not for us to figure out why not or to say Christ did not die for them.

This is biblical.

    Norm Miller

    1 John 2:2, “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.”

    “The ‘whole world’ refers to the children of God scattered throughout the whole world.”

    That’s Piper’s take on the passage as published at monergism.com, article title: “For Whom Did Christ Die? & What Did Christ Actually Achieve on the Cross for Those for Whom He Died?”

    I’m curious as to why God the Holy Spirit did not inspire John to write this verse in the manner that Piper interprets it. I’m even more curious to know how Piper knows what John meant to say. — Norm

      Luther

      Norm: Actually, the Holy Spirit DID inspire John to write a passage just like Piper describes: “he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad.” (John 11:51-52)

      If Jesus were really the “propitiation” for each and every human being, rather than him being the propitiation for “the scattered children of God throughout the world” then God would be unjust to judge anyone. What does it mean to “propitiate” God?? It means that God is no longer angry with our sin. It means that He has been fully satisfied. He must not be propitiated for everyone or He would punish no one in Hell.

      Another question: If Jesus died for every human being, does that include those who were already suffering in Hell, those who had no hope whatsoever of salvation?

        Don Johnson

        Luther,

        Are we to understand Christ died only for the nation of Israel and the Jews who were scattered abroad at the time of Christ?

          Luther

          Don: By saying that Jesus died “not for that nation only” means that the scattered children of God throughout that world that Jesus died for were Gentiles. “Not that nation [of Israel] only” means just that: Jesus died for Gentiles too.

          Blessings

            Luther

            I’m inclined to think that Jesus died in one sense for the whole world (and thus is the Savior of all men, especially those who believe) and that He died for the elect in a saving sense. …though Calvinists and Traditionalist would probably join together and have at me for thinking this…

            Don Johnson

            Luther,

            Since He died for the Jews and the Gentiles, are we to assume you are a 4 pointer?

            Yes, I would like to know what “in one sense” means?

            Luther

            Don:
            I guess I am a 4 1/2 pointer. I deny without reservation that Jesus died merely to make salvation possible. Without reservation I wholly believe that Jesus completely accomplished salvation for His people on the cross. I believe in “definite redemption” (which is a more accurate way of speaking of limited atonement).

            IMPORTANT: *If you or anyone can come up with a universal atonement that does not limit the efficacy of Christ’s atonement, I would happily accept it.*

            Until then, I am stuck with Calvinism’s definite redemption as the best alternative.

            Don Johnson

            Luther,

            Maybe I’m dense, but now it sounds like you’re a 4 pointer. I’m not understanding where the half point comes from.

            Luther

            A 4 pointer would be someone who believes Jesus died for everyone, and when they believe, His death is appropriated to them. I don’t believe that. I believe that His death accomplished everything for my salvation, meaning I will come to faith because He died for me. I thow out the other 1/2 point for my nonsensical thought that Jesus may have somehow died for people who don’t come to Him at all.

            In other words, I full embrace Limited atonement, believing that Jesus accomlished the salvation of the elect on the cross and they all shall come to faith. But I am a little leaky (the 1/2 point) because of the various verses that do indeed sound like Jesus died for every person. I am not willing however, to accept universal atonement as it is explained by those who adhere to it, however, because I believe that it limits the efficacy of Christ’s atonement.

            Don Johnson

            Luther,

            Assuming you do not believe that all Jews will be saved. Caiaphas a lost man prophesied “die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.” John explains it as “Jesus should die for that nation.”

            Is there anything in those statements or the context which would lead someone to think that Christ did not die for all Jews?

            Luther

            Don,
            I guess I see that text differently. You wrote: “Caiaphas a lost man prophesied “die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.”…Is there anything in those statements or the context which would lead someone to think that Christ did not die for all Jews?” YES! There is! The statement “that the whole nation perish not.”

            If you are going to take Caiaphas’ statement to mean that Jesus died for each and every Jew, then be consistent and take his same statement to mean that the WHOLE nation will not perish!!! No Jew will go to Hell because Jesus died for them! Be consistent.

            Luther

            Our choices are that Christ has died for:

            1: Some of the sins of all men
            2: All of the sins of some men
            3: All of the sins of all men

            1 equals: We are cursed
            2 equals: elect are saved
            3 equals: ineffectual grace (or the sin of unbelief not paid for)

            Don Johnson

            Luther,

            You only mentioned the first half of the texts I mentioned. I went on to say John explained the meaning stating “Jesus should die for that nation.” What NATION did Christ for? Or did He die for a part of the Nation?

        Norm Miller

        Piper cites that passage in the essay I noted. But that still offers no explanation to the points I raised. – Norm

          Luther

          Norm, I would assume that Piper’s remarks are based on the biblical meaning of the word “propitiation”. If God is truly propitiated for each and every human being, that should drive us to universalism. Either redefine the term “propitiate” or redefine “whole world” to mean people throughout the whole world.

          If God is propitiated, then He has no wrath left. If He is propitiated for every human being, then there is no wrath left for any human being. Otherwise propitiate does not mean propitiate.

            Norm Miller

            John the Baptist: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the elect.”

            John the Apostle: “For God so loved the world that whosoever He wills … eternal life.”

            A couple of sticky wickets for the Calvinist. — Norm

    Steve Martin

    Yes, if we are to believe Holy Scripture, Christ died for and forgives the whole world.

    But that death and forgiveness must be accessed through faith. Not all who hear of that death and forgiveness will really hear it and come to faith.

    That is the mystery that we are stuck with.

    We can’t resolve every matter when it comes to the things of God. There are still some things that God has chosen not to reveal to us.

      Luther

      I’ve enjoyed your movies very much, sir.

Jordan Hall

Although someone somewhere falsely attributed the title “Prince of Preachers” to Fuller (who was Reformed, by the way) and it’s been subsequently repeated in places like the Baptist Convention of Maryland’s website, the term is more aptly and commonly applied to Charles Spurgeon – another one of those dirty Calvinists. One really has to wonder who the “traditional” Baptists really are.

    Norm Miller

    if you knew more history of Fuller’s preaching, you’d understand the accuracy in the title noted — Prince of Preachers. Also, please refrain from the sarcasm in remarks like ‘dirty Calvinists.’ Such things are not fruitful, but are unnecessarily derogatory. — Norm

Daniel Wilcox

We can have respect for Baptists of the past such as Richard Fuller without necessarily agreeing with their theological conclusions. Not only was he reformed, he also strongly defended slavery. “I do deny slavery is a moral evil… from Domestic Slavery Considered As a Scriptural Institution by Richard Fuller and Francis Wayland.

I’ve actually run across at least two modern Calvinist writers who still claim slavery isn’t inherently evil! (I wish I had the references handy. Maybe someone else does).

My point: Don’t hold up past Baptists, even great leaders, with too much admiration or think their past Reformed views somehow then show that the doctrines of Calvinism are true.

Daniel Wilcox

    Jeremy Crowder

    Daniel Wilcox. I’ve heard that calvinist Douglas Wilson has written some controversial things about the Civil War or Slavery. That may be one of the people you were thinking about.

      Daniel Wilcox

      Jeremy Crowder,

      Yes, Douglas Wilson is one Calvinist who has. And there are many other Calvinists (mostly past) who claim slavery isn’t inherently evil but even morally justified.

      The famous Calvinist R.L. Dabney even wrote a book AFTER the Civil War in which he argued, based on the Bible, that slavery is morally justified! I’ve read a large portion of the book.

      Being for slavery doesn’t prove or disprove TULIP itself. My point was this: Don’t hold up past Baptists, even great leaders, with too much admiration or think their past Reformed views somehow then show that the doctrines of Calvinism are true because they were Founders.

      Many non-Calvinists, also, have held that slavery is justified, though I don’t know any in the last 100 years which have.

      And it’s so tragic that originally Georgia didn’t have slavery, but then the Calvinist George Whitfield petitioned the King of England so that he and others could have slavery in Georgia.

      I wonder how Calvinists can be so sure most of us are reprobated (foreordained to Hell) before the universe was created but they can’t know that “owning” another person is
      inherently evil.

      Theological determinists seem to have a difficulty explaining why God brings “dead” people to life, redeems them, but then leads them to support evil ethics.

      Non-determinists have different problems.

      And, by the way, for those interested, I am a Confederate abolitionist:-) though I’ve not lived in the Deep South.

      Thanks for the dialog,
      Daniel Wilcox

Shawn

Dear Daniel,

You make a good point, brother. But it goes both ways. None of us will have a perfect theology until we are in glory. Some on both sides like to imply that a person has to be totally perfect in their life and doctrine for us to appreciate even one point of their theology. Others on both sides dig and dig to bring up moral and theological failings of persons in order to disqualify them in areas where they might actually be offering us very solid Scriptural interpretation. We shouldn’t resort to such unjustified tactics. We should judge any man’s interpretation using the text of Scripture; where they agree with the Word, they are right, where they deviate from the Word, they are wrong. Where they offer biblical arguments to help us understand and even reconcile differing interpretations, they have done us a service. Have a good week, brother!

    Daniel Wilcox

    Hi Shawn,

    Thanks for the comment. I agree with part of it:-)

    You, however, say, “None of us will have a perfect theology until we are in glory.”

    I can understand why non-theological determinists have ‘inperfect theology’ and evil ethics. But not Calvinists.

    Why do Calvinists claim God is behind everything even foreordaining slavery? They say God irresistibly changes “dead people” to spiritual, born again, life. How can then such redeemed people use their TULIP theology to argue and fight for slavery?

    In my past life, before retirement, I was an American literature teacher and have read extensively on the Civil War and the relationship between slavery and Christianity.

    But I still don’t understand the contradiction.

    Thanks,

    Daniel

      Shawn

      Hey Daniel,

      I hate cliche’s, but one applies here: The best of men are men at best. There were many men on both sides of the theological spectrum that supported slavery, but looking back, we know it ultimately had nothing to do with Calvinism or Arminianism, just sin. As someone very familiar with history, you also know it was devout Christians who led the abolitionist movement here in the US. We can be thankful these other Calvinists and Arminians saw the truth and fought for it.

        Daniel Wilcox

        Shawn,

        You say,
        “but looking back, we know it ultimately had nothing to do with Calvinism or Arminianism, just sin.”

        I strongly disagree with your statement. I just finished a biography on Stonewall Jackson and other books on the Civil War.

        The Civil War had everything to do with “theological determinism.”

        As for sin, it’s plainly clear non-Calvinists sinned by their libertarian free will, whether saved or not.

        But what is confusing to me (seriously) is why so many Calvinists sinned in supporting slavery when Calvinism teaches that God brought them irresistibly to spiritual life. Why would they then use their “best” theological understanding to support inherent evil?

        And, as I said before, how can they possibly know the nature of God (TULIP) before time began, if they don’t even know that the human next to them (who happens to have a darker skin isn’t an object to be owned and used?

        Thanks for the dialog,
        Daniel

Ron Hale

Dr. Kirksey,

As always, I enjoyed your message very much. This one brought back fond memories, for this was the passage of scripture from which I preached my first sermon … almost 35 years ago. I like your intro and points much better! My title was: Nazareth’s Second Chance.

It is indeed very sad to see the great unbelief and rejection on the part of his people. Yet … without faith it is impossible to please God.

Thank you!

    Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey

    Thank you for your response. May the Lord continue to bless your ministry!

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