The book reading group at our church is currently going through “A Case for Amillennialism” by Dr. Kim Riddlebarger. It is a book about Eschatology- a combination of two Greek words, ‘eschatos’ and ‘logos’ which mean last and the word, respectively- or the doctrine about the last things. The book begins with four major views of the Millennium, or a thousand-year period mentioned in the book of Revelation. Those four major views are Dispensationalism (both classic and Progressive), Historic Premillennialism, Postmillennialism, and Amillennialism.
While all agree on one blessed hope of the second advent of Christ, each has its own distinctive interpretation of the millennial kingdom. While Dispensationalism, popularized by Hal Lindsey’s “The Late Great Planet Earth” (I still keep a copy of it) in the 1970’s and lately by the Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, is quite possibly the most widely embraced view in the American Christianity, is quite possibly the most embraced view in American Christianity it is not the faithful interpretation of the Scriptures. Continue reading “A Case for Amillennialism”
Entering Good Friday tomorrow, here is another case of a bad bumper sticker that I spotted on my dentist’s parking lot a few months ago. REALLY Jesus died for the opportunity?! No, he didn’t die for the opportunity! He died for his people whom the Father has predestined in everlasting.
On his short article on Limited Atonment, Dr. R. C. Sproul wrote, “The redemption of specific sinners was an eternal plan of God…accomplished by the atoning work of Christ.” (emphasis mine)
The ultimate question is: Did the Father send his only begotten son Jesus Christ to die on the cross to make salvation possible for everyone, but with the possibility that he died for no one if no one gave him “no chance”, or did the Father send Jesus Christ to die on the cross to ensure salvation for specific people whom he has predestined?
On the distinction between Law and Gospel, Theodore Beza, John Calvin’s successor in Geneva once said, “Ignorance of the distinction between the Law and Gospel is one of the principle sources of all the abuses which corrupt and still corrupt Christianity.”
Martin Luther, the great Reformer, said, “Virtually the whole of the scriptures and the understanding of the whole of theology-the entire Christian life, even- depends upon the true understanding of the law and the gospel.”
On the Reformation Sunday last Sunday, Rev. Inks preached on Galatians 3:6-14, and he explained why it is crucial to maintain this distinction. Said he, “This distinction is apart from Roman Catholicism, Federal Vision, New Perspective on Paul, some Reformed camps, failed to make this distinction and should. And in many sectors of Evangelical world failed to make and maintain this distinction between the Law and the Gospel that’s found here in Galatians chapter three”
If you only have two sermons to listen to this year, you mustlisten to this one. It is truly edifying and refreshing! The other one is its precursor, a sermon on Habakkuk.
Here is Pastor Inks on “The Law-Gospel Distinction”
And you need to hear this great sermon on Habakkuk to gain greater understanding between this distinction of the Law and the Gospel.
On this year’s Reformation Day commemoration, I would like to share an article that I recently read in the November 2014’s issue of the Tabletalk magazine.
I’d like to share this article so that we can have a good understanding of the historical background of the phrase “Semper Reformanda” that has often been abused and misused by so many people, mostly the liberal Christians.
The article is titled Semper Reformanda in its Historical Context by Dr. W. Robert Godrey, president and professor of church history at Westminster Theological Seminary California. The article is available in its entirety online, so you can read the whole article yourself. Below are the first two paragraphs of the article. BOQ: (Beginning of Quote)
Semper Reformanda in its Historical Contexts
The phraseecclesia reformata, semper reformanda(the church reformed, always reforming) has been used so often as to make it a motto or slogan. People have used it to support a surprising array of theological and ecclesiastical programs and purposes. Scholars have traced its origins to a devotional book written by Jodocus van Lodenstein in 1674. Van Lodenstein, no doubt, had no intention of being a phrase-maker or sloganeer. What was his intention, and what did he mean by this phrase?
Van Lodenstein was a minister in the Reformed Church of the United Provinces in what we know today as the Netherlands. This church was born of decades of faithful preaching by ministers—many educated in Geneva—who risked their lives to carry the gospel, first into the French-speaking regions of the Low Countries, and later into the Dutch-speaking regions farther north. Some ministers were martyred for their faith, but they gathered a rich harvest of committed believers. Their message of the need for the reform of the church according to the Bible resonated with many who saw the corruptions of the old church.
I’ve been blessed by my recent reading of “John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, Doxology”. Praise be to God for raising men like Luther, Calvin, Tyndale, Guido de Brès, Ursinus, and countless others who stood for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. On this Reformation Day I’d like to share a tiny part of the book.
Calvin realized that through faith in Christ all the blessings of the gospel were his. Second, he saw that his life must be rooted and grounded in fellowship with Christ. Perhaps it was the personal realization of this that led him to wax lyrical at the climax of his exposition of the christological section of the Apostles’ Creed:
We see that our whole salvation and all its parts are comprehended in Christ (Acts 4:12). We should therefore take care not to derive the least portion of it from anywhere else. If we seek salvation, we are taught by the very name of Jesus that it is “of him” (1 Corinthians 1:30). If we seek any other gifts of the Spirit, they will be found in his anointing. If we seek strength, it lies in his dominion; if purity, in his conception; if gentleness, it appears in his birth…. If we seek redemption, it lies in his passion; if acquittal, in his condemnation; if remission of the curse, in his cross (Galatians 3:13); if satisfaction, in his sacrifice; if purification, in his blood; if reconciliation, in his descent into hell; if mortification of the flesh, in his tomb; if newness of life, in his resurrection; if immortality, in the same; if inheritance of the Heavenly Kingdom, in his entrance into heaven; if protection, if security, if abundant supply of all blessings, in his Kingdom; if untroubled expectation of judgment, in the power given to him to judge*.
*Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2.16.19
Various Contributors;Burk Parsons;Burk Parsons. John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, Doxology (Kindle Locations 588-597). Kindle Edition.
It is common to encounter grave distortions of the biblical concept of the atonement. For instance, according to one popular view, God the Father is enraged at man, but God the Son identifies so closely with our fallenness that, in essence, He sides with us in our need and acts as our Mediator to calm the Father’s anger. The Father is about to punish everybody and send them to hell, but the Son says: “Punish Me instead. Let Me stand in their place. Let Me not only mediate the discussion, but let Me absorb the anger. You can heap Your wrath on Me.” According to this view, there is a tension or a split within the Godhead itself, as if the Father has an agenda and the Son persuades Him to change His mind.
This may sound like a ridiculous scenario, but it is a serious objection raised at a technical level by sophisticated theologians. It’s also a widespread, prevalent belief among Christians, perhaps because the Son seems more loving, patient, and compassionate than the Father. In this sense, evangelical Christians tend to be Unitarians of the second person of the Trinity. There’s much warm affection for Jesus, but the Father is almost totally ignored in Christian study, devotion, and liturgy.
R C Sproul. The Truth of the Cross (Kindle Locations 278-286). Kindle Edition
(Originally posted in 2011, reposted in 2012)
Happy Reformation Day! What are you talking about? What is being reformed, and what do you mean by “Reformation Day”? Last year I wrote this post to answer all of these questions: http://gunawan.net/blogn/happy-reformation-day-2
The event that triggered the Christian Reformation movement happened almost 500 years ago, and many have changed since then. The question now is: “Is the Reformation Over?” Dr. R.C. Sproul of Ligonier Ministry answers this question here.
Many times I met people, even leaders in their churches, who didn’t have any idea what Reformed theology is. It appalls me to realize that most of the professing Christians do not have any knowledge of their root in the 16th century Reformation movement. Most of them live in the “here and now” self sufficiency attitude, disconnected from the past and the communal sense of the communion of saints that transcends over time.
A few years ago we had a trainer came to my office to train us on a new software program. I picked her up from the airport, and during our trip to Visalia we talked about church. She was a lay leader and a Sunday school teacher in her church- an Evangelical Free Church in Wyoming, but she had no idea what Reformed Christian was. Continue reading “What is Reformed Theology?”