Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me.

Police were called to a day care where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.

To write with a broken pencil is pointless.

The short fortune teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.

A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months.

When the smog lifts in Los Angeles , U.C.L.A.

The dead batteries were given out free of charge.

If you take a laptop computer for a run you could jog your memory.

A bicycle can't stand alone; it is two tired.

A will is a dead giveaway.

With her marriage she got a new name and a dress.

Show me a piano falling down a mine shaft and I'll show you A-flat miner.

A grenade fell onto a kitchen floor in France , resulting in linoleum blownapart.

He broke into song because he couldn't find the key.

He had a photographic memory which was never developed.

When she saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she'd dye.

Acupuncture: a jab well done.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

More on Predestination and Election from Me

“Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.” Acts 2:22-24

“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” Ephesians 1:4-6

“And Moses called unto all Israel, and said unto them, Ye have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt unto Pharaoh, and unto all his servants, and unto all his land; the great temptations which thine eyes have seen, the signs, and those great miracles: yet the LORD hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.” Deuteronomy 29:2-4

“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:44

“Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: as thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.” John 17:1-2

“And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” Acts 2:47

“Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God…” 1 Corinthians 1:1

“But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14

Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.” James 1:18

In this post, I am not going to specifically answer questions, because they have hopefully already been answered. However, I am still going to write more on predestination. I hope what has already been written has answered your questions and that this post will make sense in light of the answers given to your questions.

If man is actually able to choose God, then he’s obviously not totally depraved, as the Bible says. As Martin Luther said, "It is not in your power to turn to God. If you think that it is in your power to turn to God you have missed the whole Reformation and don't understand total depravity. It is not in your power to turn to God. You are a sinner, you're dead, you're eaten up with corruption. Every free choice of yours is evil and not good. So how can we turn to Him who is light, righteousness, holy and good?" Also consider Romans 3:10-11, “There is none righteous, no, not one: there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.” How can one who is “dead in their trespasses and sins” choose God? Therefore, the doctrine of human ultimate free will rejects that man is totally depraved. When Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the garden, they died spiritually. If they were only sick, they could choose salvation or not, but God said that they would “surely die”. Without God choosing us, we would all be damned.

Comments are welcome (as always). I wish I could write more, but a lot has already been written here on this subject.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Response to Josh from Bret McAtee

This is unfortunately not my writing, but my pastor's. It was too long to publish in the comments section, so I'm posting it here. My own defense of predestination and election will be coming soon.

Josh asked,

First, what glory does God gain by forcing us to choose Him? (or not to choose Him)


1.) We are not forced to choose God. We choose God freely in light of the Holy Spirit’s work of releasing us from the thralldom of our sinful nature. Once one is released from the bondage of sin they freely choose Christ every time. So, until we are born again we cannot close with Christ but once we have been born again by the Spirit through the Word we choose Christ freely every time. This is not an opinion but rather a truth that is clearly taught many places in Scripture – one prominent place being Ephesians 2:1-10.

2.) Second, God gains glory by being the sole author of our salvation. Were we to be necessary and instrumental to our salvation then God would have to share the glory, but Scripture clearly teaches that God does not share His glory with another. Salvation, from beginning to end is all God’s work and it being all God’s work this brings Him glory. What great glory accrues to God that He would provide complete reconciliation to repentance given sinners who deserved nothing but His opposition and wrath.

3.) The idea of irresistible grace (God choosing us) is everywhere taught in Scripture. One of the most prominent places being John 1:10-13. Even were we, for some strange reason not like the idea of God’s sovereign choosing, we are hardly in a position to argue with God’s word.

Josh asked,

Second, what is the reason for the Great Commission, and what hope can we show the world, if no one has any choice?


The reasons for the great commission are

1.) Obedience – God commands us to be witnesses. The command does not require my understanding as to how God’s ends comport to His means.

2.) The necessity to have someone who proclaims the Gospel (Romans 10:9). God has not only predestined ends but He has also predestined means to ends. The means to the end of people being gathered to Christ is the proclamation of Christ crucified.

3.) The hope that we can have is that God chooses. Since sinners are dead in their trespasses and sins (totally depraved) they are totally unable to convert themselves or contribute to their conversion. But the great hope that we have is that God will send forth the Spirit of the living Christ to cause His elect to hear our stammering Gospel presentation. Part of the Gospel is that God, because of the work of Christ on the Cross that accomplished salvation, has given sinners such as us hope. He has not left us where we deserved.

Josh writes,

Third, If free will is not what we think it is, and God predestines all of our actions, like an author writing a story, how is it possible for God's people to sin? And why would He punish them for an action over which they had no control?


If free will is what you appear to think it is then God is not free to do what God wants. What God is limited by is the freedoms of humans choosing contrary to what God would have them choose were God really sovereign. Fortunately passages like Romans 9 and Ephesians 1 clearly teach the understanding of predestination that Rachel has begun to hint at in her post.

Secondly, predestination does not negate human responsibility. It is possible for God’s people to sin because we still contend with the sinful nature.

Let’s take David for example. David was one of God’s people and yet we know all about his sin against God in the affair w/ Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah. Now, certainly God predestined this but David, Scripture teaches, sinned because He gave into His own desires (James 1:13f). Further Scripture teaches in Acts 2:23 (Also Acts 3:18, 4:28) that God predestined the crucifixion of the Son and yet in that same passage Peter is holding them responsible for the death of Christ.

As to your question as to why God punishes them when they have no control, we must first examine Romans 9:19-21 where we find the same objection you’ve raised here raised there and the answer is given that the creature is in no place to find fault with God. But were we to examine this a bit closer we would say that people have a natural ability to control themselves even if they do not have a moral ability and it is for the natural ability refusal to obey God that God punishes them.

But let’s reverse engineer this a moment. If God is not absolutely sovereign to the degree that the Scriptures clearly teach then why do you bother praying to Him? After all, a non-sovereign God can’t be trusted to have the control necessary to answer prayer. And if God is not absolutely sovereign then why bother worshiping Him? After all, is a non-sovereign God that is limited by the Free will of humans really worth worshiping? And if God is not absolutely sovereign then how do we know that whatever is said in Scripture will come to pass? After all, a God limited by the free will of humans may end up getting his promises and purposes thwarted in the end. These are issues you must really come to terms with before you jettison the absolute sovereignty of God.

Josh asks,

I have no problem with the idea that whatever actions we take, God is able to bring good (and with that good, glory to Himself) from the results of those actions. Thus predestining us for His glory. (none of what I have said is meant to suggest that God is not sovereign, and I don't think that God's sovereignty and humanity's free will are at odds).


Now, let’s be honest. Your seeming embrace of libertarian free will does indeed mean that God is not sovereign. For every bit of absolute free will you give to humans you take that much away from God.

Second, I quite agree that God’s sovereignty and humanity’s free will are not at odds. Humanity’s free will is what is called a contingent secondary freedom. Our free will is secondary to and contingent upon God’s free will. Were we to give humans libertarian free will we would invest them with the freedom of God’s will and of course Scripture doesn’t teach that and so it will never do.


I also believe that God is humble, not proud, it seems to me to be the course of a proud and unjust tyrant to force a people to worship him against their will.


That is a very unfortunate way of phrasing things Josh. To suggest that the God of the Bible is a unjust tyrant makes my eyes hurt just to read it. I trust you’ve learned by now from what I’ve written that people never worship God against their will. It is only when the Benevolent God releases people from Satan’s tyranny that for the first time they willingly and gladly desire to worship God.


God is not willing that any should persish,


You’ve taken this snippet of scripture out of context. In context the verse is teaching that God is not willing that any of His people should perish.


but if someone truly wants nothing to do with Him, He will, eventually, give that person what they desire. This is what C.S. Lewis believed really sent people to hell, their desire to seperated from God.


This is not what Scripture teaches, despite what C. S. Lewis taught. Scripture teaches that we should fear only Him who can cast body and soul into Hell. God is the one who casts people into Hell, though certainly they are cast there because they do desire to be separated from God. Indeed, so deep is their hatred of God that if they were to be in heaven it would probably be as Hell to them. (Consider Lewis’ “Great Divorce.”)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

I am starting to write this blog post and wondering how it will turn out. I have an idea to start with, but I’ll probably end up straying far off topic into new topics. So I have no clue whether this will be a really long post or a pretty short one.
First of all, I want to say that I hope what I have to say does not offend any of my readership. I don’t want to give any wrong impressions here—I am not out to criticize or condemn any one who reads here. Having said that, I will continue without holding back.
The only word I can think of to begin my rant with is sorry; or maybe distressed or saddened. Sorry for the decisions that my friends are making. Not all are friends, some are merely acquaintances, and some are people who I’ve never really liked. But it’s all the same; poor decisions, bad decisions.
The first thing in specific that saddens me is good relatively-strong Christians (or at least to all appearances) who go to churches that teach mostly fluff and half-truths. Churches that do not teach a person to defend their faith against attacks. Churches that teach that we have to do something to get salvation. [Side note: This includes churches that teach that it is up to Us to reject or accept Christ and His Grace. This doctrine does not give God all his proper power, instead, it give Us power over God to reject or accept Him if we want.] Churches that do not take firm stands on issues in the culture such as evolution, abortion, homosexuality, politics, economics, education, etc. [Side note: Religion includes all of these issues and more; religion creates culture.] Churches whose worship looks more like a “youth group” than a time to worship and learn of God. It is so sad to see good friends and well-meaning Christians going to these kinds of churches. Sometimes I wonder why they can’t see why these people, people who you would think are rational enough to think through things, just going along with whatever everybody else believes, or just believing what they are told. What is the solution to this? Well, of course I would say everybody should come to my church. But then, everybody else could say this too. Of course I’m biased. But I have to say, my family and I are truly blessed to be in such a wonderful church body with such a wonderful pastor. [Side note: Wonderful is not a sufficient adjective to describe how wonderful our pastor actually is. Shameless plug here for his blog – www.ironink.org ] I was talking to one of my best friends the other day whom I haven’t seen in quite a while and she told me that they were going to a new church. She said that she was going through a time of “making her faith her own” and that the church that they had been going to was not “relevant” enough for them. She said this new church was just so wonderful, all their friends went there, and there was a huge emphasis on prayer. Now I have no problem with a huge emphasis on prayer, but the way she put it, they were looking for something that met Their needs. Church shouldn’t be about meeting Our needs. Church isn’t supposed to make us feel all spiritual and good. And this new church sounds non-denominational too; which basically means to me that they can pick and choose which doctrines they wish to believe instead of having to affirm all the doctrines their denomination approves. But anyhow, back to more or less on topic, I wish everybody could go to our church. I know that’s very subjective, but I truly wish it. When we moved to Michigan, we were “converted” from Baptist to Calvinist; a huge change. It is amazing to look back on it all and see God’s hand guiding us. We could have so easily became one of those families who went to a huge mega-church with a youth group and fluffy doctrine. [Side note: I will not elaborate here on why I don’t like youth groups—another blog post, another day.] I am so thankful to God for what He’s done to us in these past 6 years or so.
The second thing which saddens me is people who go to fairly strong churches (not ours, unfortunately) and make huge mistakes. One example that weighs heavy on my mind is an acquaintance of mine who I just found out is courting someone. The problem is that she’s 15-16 and has been “courting” for about 9 months now. Wait a minute! Isn’t courtship supposed to not happen until you’re ready for marriage? Who of us is ready to get married at 14-15? Clearly, this relationship is recreational only and therefore should be classified as dating and not courtship. [Side note: I will not here go into all the “evils of dating.” Suffice it to say that dating is preparation for divorce.] I also have two other sets of friends/acquaintances who are “courting” and although they are older, they are obviously not ready for marriage. It is so sad to see dating under the guise of courtship enter and become the norm for Christians. One has to be strong to go against the flow and have Biblical relationships. [Side note: I love these side notes! Ok, that was all......]
That’s all I have on my mind at this moment. My post has ended up longer than expected by myself, so I’m happy. I hope my writings have not offended or insulted anyone who has read this. If they have, please feel free to comment and complain. If they haven’t, please feel free to comment, ask questions, point something out you think I have missed, or compliment. I absolutely love getting responses from people. Adieu until next blog post.

Yours truly.