Tell the Truth about monergism.com ;)

September 24, 2008

It was wonderful to get our ‘monergism’ from the postman today. We were amazed that it was so quick, maybe less than a week from USA to Australia. What a great ministry! We ordered some brilliant books, including 2 evangelism manuals, The Gospel and Personal Evangelism, by Mark Dever and Tell the Truth by Will Metzger.

Had a quick flick through both and I’m excited to have these amazing practical evangelism books in my hot little hands. One diagram from Metzger’s weighty book jumped out at me as I flicked through it. There is, of course, a detailed explanation of the diagram in the book but its something interesting to think about:


The Salvation of All Men, by John Calvin

September 9, 2008


For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior: Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.
1 Timothy 2:3-5

When read out of its context, 1 Timothy 2:2-5 is an Arminian manifesto. But here Calvin clearly puts it into some context for us – its all types of men – not just the one chosen people (the jews) that the then Church was familiar with. It puts a smile on my face when I read about the great hope we have in reaching out to all sorts of people – even elderly people that might be as tough as an old boot; yes even this sort of person can, with God’s regenerating work, respond to the gospel. There is hope that all sorts of people will respond to the gospel. 

When we despise those whom God would have honored, it is as much as if we should despise Him: so it is, if we make no account of the salvation of those whom God calleth to Himself. For it seemeth thereby that we would stay Him from showing His mercy to poor sinners, who are in the way to ruin. The reason why St. Paul useth this argument, that God will have all the world to be saved, is that we may, as much as lieth in us, also seek the salvation of those who seem to be banished from the kingdom of God; especially while they are unbelievers.

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Tell the truth

September 9, 2008

In thinking of witnessing, we have to walk between a narrow and a broad definition. Narrowly defined, witnessing is confined to a rehearsal of a few gospel facts in the hearing of a nonbeliever. Broadly defined, it is whatever we do as Christians before the watching world. Neither of these definitions is satisfactory. The first narrows witness to only our lips; the second broadens it to just being nice. Both our words and our ways are inextricably bound together in witness. It is easy to excuse ourselves by saying either “Well, I told her the gospel!” or “I just live my life before others.” These two extremes
seem to have developed more in reaction to each other than on any biblical basis. What might be a more balanced view?

The main design for each man and woman is not “to be a super soul-winner night and day.” As the Westminster Catechism says, it is “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” This means that we, as whole people, are to enjoy God, starting now, and keep his honor in focus in all that we do.
Clearly the way we live is a primary aspect of our witness. Yet our life is to be coupled with telling God’s truth. People need to be told who makes our lives different. Our lives, then, will illuminate the truth we express to nonbelievers. The airplane of Christian witness has two wings: our lives (conduct) and our lips (conversation).

To remain silent and let others interpret our actions is wrong; God himself did not do this. The pivotal points of God’s redemptive action in history are accompanied with verbal revelation. God wants us to understand the meaning of his actions. Likewise, we must speak—and speak of Christ— even if we sense our own inconsistency of life. We must speak even when
we do not know much about the Bible. We must speak even when it is inconvenient.
God is bigger than our sins, our ignorance, our pride. He will honor his word in our mouths. Read the rest of this entry »


Idolatry

September 8, 2008

I ordinarily begin speaking about sin to a young, urban, non-Christian like this:

Sin isn’t only doing bad things, it is more fundamentally making good things into ultimate things. Sin is building your life and meaning on anything, even a very good thing, more than on God. Whatever we build our life on will drive us and enslave us. Sin is primarily idolatry.

Why is this a good path to take?

First, this definition of sin includes a group of people that postmodern people are acutely aware of. Postmodern people rightly believe that much harm has been done by self-righteous religious people. If we say “sin is breaking God’s law” without a great deal of further explanation, it appears that the Pharisaical people they have known are ‘in’ and most other people are ‘out.’ Pharisees, of course, are quite fastidious in their keeping of the moral law, and therefore (to the hearer) they seem to be the very essence of what a Christian should be. An emphasis on idolatry avoids this problem. As Luther points out, Pharisees, while not bowing to literal idols, were looking to themselves and their moral goodness for their justification, and therefore they were actually breaking the first commandment. Their morality was self-justifying motivation and therefore spiritually pathological. At the bottom of all their law-keeping they were actually breaking the most fundamental law of all. When we give definitions and descriptions of sin to postmodern people, we must do so in a way that not only challenges prostitutes to change but also Pharisees. Read the rest of this entry »


Another “Unpopular” Promise of Sin’s Consequences

August 18, 2008

Just sharing a short devotional thought from Hoekstra. Being reminded about the ultimate reality of eternal life is very needy in our material western lives.  

So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. (Mat_13:49-50)

Here are some more “unpopularpromises from Jesus. This series of promises intensifies the warning He gave in our previous meditation concerning the consequences of sin. “If you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (Joh_8:24). Our present verses reveal by promise the absolute certainty of, and dreadful extent of, sin’s consequences. In a world that wants to ignore eternity and deny accountability, these are unpopular promises.

All who die in the guilt of sin will definitely be judged some day. It is an absolute certainty. A day of accountability is coming. “So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just.” Those who die before this day will also face judgment. “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Heb_9:27). The place of final judgment for the unsaved will be the great white throne. “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it… And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God… And the dead (the unredeemed dead) were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books… And they were judged, each one according to his works… And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev 20:11-15).

This absolutely certain judgment also has a dreadful extent. It is eternal. Sin is a spiritual crime against God. The true and living God is eternal. He is the great “I AM” (Exo_3:14 and Joh_8:58). Therefore, the consequences of sin are also eternal. Thus, all unbelievers will be “cast into the lake of fire and brimstone… And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Rev_20:10). The ultimate torment of hell will be separation from God’s presence for eternity. “These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord” (2Th_1:9).

The absolute certainty of, and the dreadful extent of, the consequences of sin make earlier promises we have examined all the more critical. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord… And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish” (Rom_6:23 and Joh_10:28).

 


Evolution and Playschool

April 17, 2008

I am starting a campaign here in Australia to get the ABC (our public broadcaster) to stop playing their week of Playschool episodes themed around dinsoaurs. It presents evolution as fact to preschool children, when they are at their must vulnerable and will believe ANYTHING that a Playschool presenter tells them is true, particularly when it is presented in an easy-to-remember song form.

These episodes seem to be broadcast far more frequently than other episodes. I believe that this should stop. They are not presenting any other religious material, and if they think that evolution is not a religious view they are mistaken. It takes a great deal of faith to believe in the dodgy pseudo-science of evolution.

If you agree with me, please email a complaint to the ABC at www.abc.net.au/contact

The specific episodes in question are the dinosaur episodes. Have at them people! This should not be allowed to go on unchallenged, it is teaching misinformation to tiny tots ARG!!!!!!

Read on for a copy of the text I emailed to the complaints department…

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Witnesses of the Resurrection

March 24, 2008

OK – still looking for more of Easter? I don’t think u can get a much finer Easter Sunday message than this one on Luke 23:50 – 24:12.

  • Why is it so hard for people to believe Jesus is risen from the dead?
  • Why were the first witnesses a group of women?
  • Why did Jesus have to die and be risen again?
  • Are we foolishly seeking the living among the dead?    
     

These questions an more are answered in Fred Van Hulst’s Easter Sunday message.