Monday, April 27, 2009


Ok, confession time. I have to admit something to you all that I have gone a little extreme. I don't think I have said anything that is heresy, but I think I have pushed a little hard against the modern church. I don't really take back anything, but if I had to do over, I would perhaps soften it a little. There are many good things in the Church. That's not to say that every local expression of the church is doing good things or the right things, many of them are in shambles, but many are doing good things. I can't deny that people in America are getting saved. I realize that some of my stronger posts and language have been more reactionary and less simply speaking what I beleive is true. For those times when I used too strong of language or pushed too hard simply out of rebellion, I am sorry. God is still working on me. I need to wear an orange cone on my head I think.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I want to try to put down my thoughts systematically on what I believe about Evangelism. I know that there is some confusion by some of you about where I stand on outreach, and I want to try to put everything down. Many of you know I take the title Calvinist, and therefore don't think I believe in Evangelism. That is not the case, I do believe in Evangelism, and I believe all Biblical Calvinists believe in Evangelism. I think that if you really wrestle with what seems to be a paradox, you come to come conclusion. It's a paradox. The Bible is full of paradoxical statements. Christ is 100% man and 100% God. One person can't be 100% of two things, yet Christ is. God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are 3 people, yet one person. That can't work, yet it does, because it's God. I believe that man cannot come to God on his own, he must be drawn by God, yet is completely and 100% responsible for his actions, including what he does with Jesus.

There you go, it's a paradox. You cannot seek God on your own, yet you are required to place your faith in Christ. Your will, you placing your trust in Jesus is your responsibility, 100%, that is Biblical. Confess, repent, turn from your sins and embrace salvation. Confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord of your life and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead.

At the same time, you will not seek God on your own. The Bible is clear, no one seeks God, we are totally depraved and incapable of seeking God on our own. Our only hope is that God will have mercy on us and reach down and call us, bring us to Him and send His Holy Spirit to work in our heart. Somehow, our will and the sovereign glory of God work together, in a paradoxical relationship to bring man and God together as work of God and a duty of man.

Are you confused? It's confusing. I think part of the issue is that we put God in our time frame. We view time from past to present and future. God doesn't not exist inside our time frame, and He works out salvation throughout time at the same time. I believe that predestination works partially through foreknowledge. God knows you, know what you will do, what you won't do, and what you need. Some people have been created by God, and God understands that person will spend eternity in Hell, and that person is 100% responsible for their actions, their choice and their decisions. Man is 100% responsible for rejection of Christ. It would make logical sense that man is 100% responsible for accepting Christ, and I would agree . . . sort of.

I don't believe in free-will. Free will would mean that you can use your will to choose God or choose to reject God. The book of Romans is clear that you are slaves to sin, and you are incapable of choosing God, so your will is not free. Once you are saved, you are a slave to Christ, you are then again still not free, you are not your own, you are purchased by the blood of Christ. If this is the case, the will is first in bondage to sin, and then in submission to Christ. The scripture is clear, the will is not free.

When we accept Christ, it is not through a process of will. The acceptance of Christ is not an intellectual decision. When you hear the Gospel preached, then God comes into your heart and convicts you of sin and reveals Grace. This is the part it gets tricky. Can man reject this salvation, this act of God in your heart. I am torn, because I believe that you can, but you won't. God has all knowledge present and future, I don't believe that God calls someone who is going to reject the call. I totally believe that when God opens your eyes and your heart, you accept the gift of salvation with joy and excitement.

Now, what that being said, I believe Salvation is God's work. This works into some of my previous blogs about comments by others about pleading souls into the kingdom. I don't think that is Biblical, I think it's a man-centered approach. I believe we pray people to the kingdom, and we pray that God opens their hearts and then we preach the word. I believe that we are responsible to tell the truth, I believe that God works with us and through us. God moves through His people preaching and teaching the word, Romans 10:14. We partner with God for lack of a better term, and God moves and speaks through His word as it is preached.

I hope it doesn't seem as confusing and convoluted as it feels. I believe that Salvation is God's work alone, but as humans, we are responsible for our actions. My convictions as of late are two fold. First, we have taken God out of the equation too far and put man into the glory too much. I think we have minimized the role of God as Savior and maximized the role of man. I believe in the work of the preacher, but not without the power of God. Preaching and Divine convection brings salvation. Divine conviction can bring salvation. Preaching alone can not. We need to make sure we give God the glory for the work of Salvation. It is His moving, doing His work for His glory for our benefit. Make sense?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Struggle with self

I prayed a few months ago, and pray close to daily that God would change me and make me more life Him. To bring me in line with Him, my thoughts inline with His, my beliefs and theology more in line with His. I don't say that to convince you I am right theologically, because I, in all intellectually honest, have to admit that I am not now nor ever will be God. I do not possess divine intellect and the ability to think of the level of God. I tell you about this prayer because I'm changing.

Change stinks. It was much easier before. I'll admit it, I have struggled a lot with what God is doing. First and foremost is my recognition of the idol of self. I have it bad. The things I do for God, the way I am working, my life, my ministry, me me me, mine mine mine, I I I. It goes on and on. I have realized how much time I spend in my Christian life keeping God at arm's length. I think we all do in our American society. We celebrate the self-made man. There is no room for the God-made man. We work hard, work from sun up to sun down, and no one gives us anything, we work for it. Those are our values and they are all contrary to Christian doctrine.

I am having a hard time de-programing myself. I read and study and write and teach and work and achieve and I naturally want to take the credit. It's not mine, it's not about me. I work hard to find joy in Christ. I study to find joy in Christ. I bring glory to Christ. The only thing that matters in me is Christ. If I do something great, it's not me, it's Christ. Paul said "for I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I love by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself up for me". Galations 2:20. I am dead, and dead men do nothing. Christ lives in me, and He does all things.

So here I am, struggling with my own idol of self, my flesh rejoicing in itself, and Christ being paticent with me. He deserves all the credit, all the glory, all the praise and honor. " Oh wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!" Romans 7:24-25. Pray for me on this journey, as I pray for you upon yours!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Praying for Revival

I wanted to comment on a posting by Dr. Alvin Reid, but I am going to post it here.

I admire Dr. Reid greatly, but I have a foundational disagreement with the way we think about revival and even salvation. You see, Dr Reid stated that revival happens when we do something. Whitefield preached in fields and they reached out to miners and blue collar people and there was a revival. There is lots of talk about what they did and what we did and what we will need to go and what will happen. God is completely outside of all of this.

The problem is we can't control God. We have no authority, no responsibility and no control. God will do what God will do. That is why we don't like Calvinism. We lack control. We have no ability to shape it, influence and control it, outside of simply prayer and trust. Prayer we like. Trust (or faith) we need to work on. Makes me realize that Jesus meant when He said that if we had the faith of a mustard seed, we could move mountains. Instead of having faith the size of a seed in Jesus, we try to have faith that we have the faith to be able to do it ourselves. We don't trust Jesus to move the mountain, we in essence try to earn the mountain moving through our own efforts.

So you ask "what's wrong with doing good, what's wrong with putting your faith into action". Nothing, that's not the issue. The issue is not who does the work, the issue is who gets the glory. We, probably without thinking, begin to take the glory for God's work. Salvation is God's work, but we give honor to Whitefield, Spurgeon, Edwards, Luther, Graham, Warren and on and on. We say "I" or "we" or "our church" did this or that. We don't do it intentionally, but we end up as prideful and sinful as Satan when he said 'I will ascend above the Most High'. We are prideful and arrogant because we take credit and glory for God's work.

We don't do it on purpose. We have grown up in this American culture, the self made man, and we have learned this behavior. For hundreds of year, we have learned that we need to "do" this or that. The problem is, we still take God's glory for ourselves. We use our programs, our outlines, our strategies, and in the end, we take the credit. It's a subtle thing that has come into our Christian culture. We celebrate those who we see preaching and people coming to Christ. We slowly turn and begin to give them the glory, and God becomes and outsider.

Think about it, in many churches, we give an alter call. The pastor says "if you want to accept Jesus as your savior, come forward". A person comes forward, they say "I want to give my heart to Jesus" so the pastor has them recite a form prayer and then we celebrate the decision this person made, what they did, their decision, their faith. Does God even need to be present for this experience? Where is God? Where is His work? Where is His call?

Here is what I see in Acts. Someone preaches that Christ was crucified for sin. That is all they do. The people respond, asking what to do to be saved. The person preaching says "repent and be baptized". In Acts, chapter 10:44, is seems to be the people were saved without giving an alter call. Peter was preaching, the Holy Spirit fell on these Gentiles. They were saved, the Jews were amazed, they were Baptized. That is God at work. These people that we convince to come forward and say a form prayer, how many of them fall away? That is not true salvation. Those people I know who have been radically changed, it was God moving in their hearts and they were saved. These people were radically saved by God, not by Paul.

Think about it, the 3,000 were moved by God to salvation. The Ethiopian, the Gentiles, the Roman Guard. No one can take credit for any of it. God moved, God did the work. So, in response to Dr Reid, to see revival, we need to give up control and stop relying in ourselves. We need to fall on our face before God, realizing that nothing we can do will bring revival. Nothing. The prayer won't do it, the preaching won't do it, the alter call, the seminary classes, the books and charts and plans and outlines. We can schedule revival, we can will it into existence. We must be dependent and humble before God, and if it give Him glory, then, if He wills, He will bring revival.

Monday, April 6, 2009


So I am blogging to say that I should be blogging, but I am not writing much. Brain is over loaded and on critical info only mode. I don't want to write a bit about revival in response to a blog article by Dr Alvin Reid, but it's going to have to wait. Hope everyone is doing well and reading other interesting things while I recuperate.