The Capranica

Comments on theology and life

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Location: Hemet, California, United States

Co-Pastor of First Baptist Church of San Jacinto, California

Friday, February 17, 2006

Liberal Catholics and the Homosexual Debate

Homosexuality and Theological Method -- A Pattern of Argument to Watch Here's Mohler's comments today about the liberal approach to Catholicism that sounds much like Protestant liberalism, except for one major theological difference - Church vs Bible.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Challies on Submission

Challies Dot Com: Submission - Does It Precede The Fall? Tim Challies summarizes Wayne Grudem's biblical proofs for submission within the context of marriage.

Don’t Waste Your Cancer

Don’t Waste Your Cancer Read the above link - John Piper on the eve of his cancer surgery. Justin Taylor reports that all seems to have gone well with Dr. Piper's surgery.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Willie Goes Gay

Country icon Willie Nelson sings gay cowboy song - Yahoo! News He's sung about virtually every other sin, why not this one too?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Domino Effect of Rejecting Scripture

Gay Bishop Enters Treatment for Alcoholism - Yahoo! News No one is above temptation and falling into grievous habitual ministry-ending sin could happen to anyone. Here's another display of how we are so dependent on God's grace each moment of each day. However, when there is an open violation of God's Word in one major and public avenue of ministry (i.e., the homosexual issue), you can be sure that there have been many previous and more covert violations that will one day surface. Even though this Bishop is a part of a denomination that rejects the inerrancy of Scripture, and has embraced a host of aberrant theological viewpoints, the fall of a public ministry figure is another reason we should pray for God's mercy and men's integrity for those in public positions of church leadership.

The Frightening Reality of Islam

The Real Challenge We Face From Radical Islam See Dr. Mohler's notes.

Evangelicals (?) Are Now Green! What's Missing Here?

Evangelical Leaders Join Global Warming Initiative - New York Times Big names of prominent evangelical Christian leaders (and some who I'm not sure would link themselves otherwise with evangelicals), say we need national legislation to deal with global warming. I watched Rick Warren this past weekend on Fox News defend his participation in this endeavor. He linked it to our responsibility to be good stewards of the planet, as God commanded in Genesis one. He began by saying he never promotes any specific legislation, but he is definitely against the Kyoto treaty and he is definitely for new congressional legislation. Is this what happens when evangelicals have become too prominent in their respective communities. They then need to turn to more global causes that will gain them a larger audience and a bigger cause? Has the Great Commission become too boring to pursue any longer? Or perhaps this global initiative business is the very key that Jesus needs to usher in the fulfilment of the Great Commission. Where will the leading evangelical voices in our country go next? What will be the next great secular situation we will fix through our influence? Stay tuned. See Dennis Swanson on this subject: Part 1 and Part 2

What Colleges Are Missing in Education

City Journal Winter 2006 | What Colleges Forget to Teach by Robert P. George Very intriguing article. Well worth the read.

Creating Tolerance Through Cartoons and Violence

Amazing isn't it. The pesident of France issues an interesting edict: "Anything that can hurt the convictions of another, particularly religious convictions, must be avoided. Freedom of expression must be exercised in a spirit of responsibility," Chirac told his cabinet." How do you create sympathy and tolerance in our global community today? Violence over the slightest offense can gain presidential proclamations of guilt on the practitioners of free speech. It will be facinating to see if this condemnation of religious cartoons will be evenly applied. I bet not. Here again is another sign that in our pluralistic culture, even the intolerant receive sympathy, as long as they are not conservative Christians. But then again, we certainly don't expect the world to honor Christ or those who follow Him. They didn't honor Him while He was physically here on earth. The world violently crucified Him. The Muslim outrage and the passive response of many toward the Islamic cartoon violence, while chiding secularists for making fun, is another sign that we cannot expect to create a culture that will honor Christ outside of the gospel. A moral culture is not our answer. The embracing of a violently persecuted, but victorious Savior - Jesus Christ is the means to truly peaceful culture. See also John Piper's excellent commentary on the difference between the Muslim Mohammed and the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ.

If Only They Could Marry

The BBC reports that homosexual relationship create incredible stress and leads to severe health problems. Homosexual men are more likely to get HIV (really - I didn't think HIV was a gay disease?). Homosexual women are more prone to breast cancer, heart disease and obesity. There is a greater risk for depression, drug abuse and suicidal tendencies among the homosexual community than the heterosexual community. What would begin to turn the tide? Some researchers are suggesting that if only they could marry or enter legal civil partnerships, their health issues would begin to subside. So in all reality, the health of the homosexual community is the fault of the heterosexual community who won't let them marry. Another interesting twist in the saga of criminalizing the natural family in order to legalize the unnatural.

Monday, February 13, 2006

From Dallas to Jacksonville

FBC Jacksonville to vote on Dallas' Mac Brunson as new pastor - (BP) First Baptist Church, Dallas will soon be without a pastor. . . again. Mac Brunson, who followed O.S. Hawkins, who followed Joel Gregory who followed W. A. Criswell (who followed the founding pastor, George Truett), will preach 'in view of a call' next Sunday at First Baptist Church of Jacksonville. I can't help but believe that this is another sign of the times - and the times don't seem to be that stable. Many of the significant voices that were used of God to bring change to the Southern Baptist Convention are now leaving the scene. Adrian Rodgers and W. A. Criswell gone to glory. Draper and Vines to retirement. Morris Chapman is not getting any younger. There is a change in the air. It is an interesting thought to consider what kind of leadership these mega ministries will now have and what sort of leadership will now begin to replace the passing generation of the conservative resergeance. Adrian Rodgers held a Q & A with students from The Master's Seminary back in the late 90s. I asked Dr. Rodgers, after all he had been through and seen and from his present vantage point, what he thought was the Convention's greatest challenge ahead. He did not hesitate. He said leadership. Without details, he intimated that he was concerned about the next generation of leaders, that they had more of a corporate, not ministry mindset. He reminisced about the days of prayer and fellowship with past conservative leaders. I am certainly at no vantage point to reflect on the current state of leadership in our convention. But with the passing of the old guard, my mind does wonder.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Calvinism: Particular Redemption or Limited Atonement

O.K., continuing from last week, here's the most debated petal in TULIP. Particular Redemption or Limited Atonement. In order secure their redemption, Jesus Christ came into the world and took upon Himself human nature so that He might identify Himself with His people and act as their legal representative or substitute. Historical or mainline Clavinism has consistently maintained that Christ's redeeming work was definite in design and accomplishment - that it was intended to render complete satisfaction for certain specified sinners, and that it actually secured salvation for these individuals and for no one else. Christ did not die simply tomake it possible for God to pardon sinners. Neither does God leave it up to sinners to decide whether or not Christ's work will be effective. On the contrary, all for whom Christ sacrificed Himself will be saved infallibly. Redeption, therefore, was designed to bring to pass God's purpose of election. All Calvinists agree that Christ's obedience and suffering were of infinite value, and that if God had so willed, the satisfaction rendered by Christ would have saved every member of the human race. The Arminians also place a limitation on the atoning work of Christ, but one of a much different nature. They hold that Christ's saving work was designed to make possible the salvation of all men on the condition that they believe, but that Christ's death in itself did not actually secure or guarantee salvation for anyone. Since not all men will be saved as the result of Christ's redeeming work, a limitation must be admitted. Either the atonement was limited in that it was designed to secure salvation for ceterain sinners, but not for others, or it was limited in that it was not intended to secure salvation for any, but was designed only to make it possible for God to pardon sinners on the condition that they believe. In other words, one must limit its design either in extent (it was not intended for all) or in effectiveness (it did not secure salvation for any). Jesus Actually Saves 1. The Scriptures state that Christ came, not to enable men to save themselves, but to save sinners. Matt 1:21; Lk 19:10; 2 Cor 5:21; Gal 1:3-4; 1 Tim 1:15; Tit 2:14; 1 Pe 3:18 2. The Scriptures declare that, as the result of what Christ did and suffered, His people are reconciled to God, justified, and given the Holy Spirit, who regenerates and sanctifies them. All these blessings were secured by Christ Himself for His people. a. Christ, by His redeeming work, secured reconciliation for His people. Rom 5:10; 2 Cor 5:18-19; Eph 2:15-16; Col 1:21-22 b. Christ secured the righteousness and pardon needed by His peopel for their justification. Rom 3:24-25; Rom 5:8-9; 1 Cor 1:30; Gal 3:13; Col 1:13-14; Heb 9:12; 1 Pe 2:24 c. Christ secured the gift of the Spirit, which includes regeneration and sanctification and all that is involved in them. Eph 1:3-4; Phil 1:29; Acts 5:31; Titus 2:14; 3:5-6; Eph 5:25-26; 1 Cor 1:30; Heb 9:14; Heb 13:12; 1 John 1:7. Jesus Fulfills the Eternal Covenant 1. Jesus was sent into the world by the Father to save the people whom the Father had given to Him. Those given to Him by the Father come to Him (see and believe in Him), and none of them shall be lost. John 6:35-40. 2. Jesus, as the good shepherd, lays down His life for His sheep. All who are 'His sheep' are brought by Him into the fold and are made to hear His voice and follow Him. Notice that the Father had given the sheep to Christ! John 10:11, 14-18; 10:24-29. 3. Jesus, in His High Priestly Prayer,prays not for the world, but for those given to Him by the Father. John 17:1-11, 20, 24-26. 4. Paul delcares that all of the spiritual blessings which the saints inherit, such as sonship, redemption, the forgiveness of sin, etc., reslt from their being 'in Christ,' and he traces these blessings back to their ultimate source in the eternal counsel of God - to that great blessing of their having been chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world and estined to be God's sons through Him. eph 1:3-12. 5. The parallel which Paul draws between the condemning work of Adam and the saving work of Jesus Christ, the 'second man' and the 'last Adam,' can best be explained on the principle that both stood in covenant relation to 'their people.' Rom 5:12, 17-19. How Jesus Died for 'All' and Yet for a Particular People 1. There are two classes of texts that speak of Christ's saving work in general terms: (a) those containing the word "world" - John 1:9, 29; 3:16-17; 4:42; 2 Cor 5:19; 1 John 2:1-2; 4:14 and (b) those containing the word "all" - e.g., Rom 5:18; 2 Cor 5:14-15; 1 Tim 2:4-6; Heb 2:9; 2 Pe 3:9. 2. There are other passages which speak of His saving work in definite terms and show that it was intended to infallibly save a particular people, namely, those given to Him by the Father. Matt 1:21; 20:28; 26:28; John 10:11; 11:50-53; Ac 20:28; Eph 5:25-27; Rom 8:32-34; Heb 2:17; 3:1; 9:15, 28; Rev 5:9. Again, this is a summary and quotation from the book, The Five Points of Calvinism. See: Total Depravity and Unconditional Election

Internet Explorer 7.0

2-9-06 UPDATED: Tim Challies points us to the new IE 7.0 in beta version - with tabbed browsing (of which I am very addicted). I downloaded it this morning and will be trying it out through the day. I'll let you know how it goes. Well, actually, I encountered my first frustration with it. I went to post this blog about IE 7 througth my freshly installed IE browser - yet - when I type in the posting window, the text is white - I CAN'T SEE IT. So, I fired up my trusty Firefox and all is well. Thus - I'm posting about IE 7 from my Firefox browser. Is this a glimpse of frustrations to come? UPDATE (THURSDAY 12:19 p.m.): So far: Positive:

  • Colors and graphics are clearer than Firefox
  • So far it works with my Fingerprint Reader (Christmas gift - Firefox doesn't work) - THIS IS BECOMING A REAL POSITIVE FEATURE
  • It starts up faster than Firefox (not a huge issue)
  • The QuickTab feater is excellent: I can view all open tabs in Thumbnail size and go to any of them quickly.
  • It has its own feedreader capability. It checks a page for an RSS or Atom feed. You can then subscribe to it and it will automatically check for updates to the feed. I'm playing with this one.
  • Tabbed browsing
  • Include certain folders on the links toolbar


  • Loads pages slower than firefox
  • Firefox is easier to use in organizing links
  • Still have some problems posting with Blogger
  • Does not have near the toolbar or add-ons available as Firefox (i.e., no blogger toolbar that I've seen)
  • The right click options are not as extensive as Firefox (i.e., In Firefox I can right click on an item in my favorites drop down list and choose to open it in another tab).
  • Firefox has more search engine options to choose from for the Search Engine Tool Bar

The Peaceful Religion (Only Inside America)

Afghan police kill four in cartoon bloodshed - Yahoo! News One does have to wonder just exactly how the Islamic community in America is going to respond to all of the current mayhem over the dirty pictures of Mohammed published in Danish political cartoons. It seems that in America, Islam is much like Roman Catholicism. Each officially teaches an exclusivity within itself as to salvation and an acceptable approach to God - that is, outside America. The pressure of American pluralism seems to tame the theology of these two groups and flatten them into just another way to be religious. As a matter of fact, watch the next Larry King Live when the Catholic priest, muslicm theologian, Deepak Chopra and John MacArthur are on. The Catholic, the Muslim and the new ager will pluralistically parrot one another. But this tamed sort of Islam (or Catholicism) is not to be found in those countries whose governments are dominated by these religions. They tend toward violence as a means to silence their critics - just ask any protestant missionaries living in these countries. I think we are seeing a more pure expression of Islam in this current controversy - not the leashed type found within our own open (religiously speaking) borders.

Monday, February 06, 2006

The Blogosphere Ate My Post

I tried to post some really good links this past Saturday - I had an exception list drafted, but between the time I started and just after breakfast with my wife, the post was gone. That's right - my blog ate it. Well, I don't know what else to say, except here are a few links to interesting stuff from last week that I wanted to post but . . . A 9 Marks article on "What Makes a Sermon Non-expositional." Well, that's my title for it - their's is: Expostional Imposters. Professor Jim Hamilton posts some good resources for listening to biblical Hebrew and Greek using tools available over the internet: Reading and Hearing Biblical Hebrew Another Hebrew Listening Site Listening to Greek for Free Insights from a TMS professor in Israel on the current state of affairs between the Palestinians and Israelis. A republican voter tries to pose as God while registering to vote. Mohler's interesting quotes from a prize winning novel about a preacher's retrospect on his ministry, especially his life of study and preaching. Mohler also notes how Oxford University is now requiring students to sign a contract stating that they will attend class and do their homework. Why? So the students won't come back and sue the University for providing a bad education. Wow! Expository Thoughts blog takes up the T4G idea of commenting on reading. Helpful stuff here. I'm going to have to try out the new Firefox extention - the Book Buro - helps to find books on the web. An era comes to an end. Jerry Vines preaches his last sermon as pastor of First Baptist Jacksonville, FL. And finally - "Let Michael In!" - they haven't yet.

Piper on Tyndale

“Always Singing One Note”—A Vernacular Bible: Why William Tyndale Lived and Died I posted this Saturday, but Blogger was bugging out and it disappeared into blogospace. Also, Piper's new "Swan's Are Not Silent" book is out: Contending for Our All. I absolutely love this series.

Jacksonville Pastors' Conference

First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, FL - That Jacksonville May Know Christ. The Pastors' Conference at First Baptist Jacksonville, FL began last Friday and continues through this week. If you have the time, they are live streaming the video fromt he conference. 3 hours difference for us on the left coast. Mac Brunson, David Jeremiah, Al Mohler and many others are speaking. Looks good. Maybe I can get in a few minutes in our Pastors' Council meeting without the other guys knowing. HT: Pastor Steave Weaver

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Some Ecclesiological Reading This Lord's Day

Here's a few interesting ecclesiological notes from the past week around the blogosphere: In light of Barna's recent book on the lack of necessity of the local church: Mark Dever's great article on the centrality of the local church. Justin Taylor reports on some professors and why they are discouraging their students from Barna's book. Centurion's two part series on Barna's book: part 1 and part 2 Don't forget about Dever's rountable on cooperation - a must listen interview with Mohler, Duncan and Mahaney. Great material.

My Super Bowl Picks

Seahawks, Steelers Head to Motown Showdown - Yahoo! News Who really cares . . . (well, except Justin who finally has a team to root for in the game). O.K. - Because I can't stand the Steelers - I pick the Seahawks. Not from any intelligent review of the stats - just simply because I can't stand the Steelers. I watched my only portion of the Super Bowl that I will likely see - the pre-game show. The highlight for me was seeing the past MVPs strut onto the field. Just guessing, but it really seemed as if the Cowboys dominated.

More Mohler on Reading - Must Read

Together for the Gospel Al Mohler gives more advice and practical suggestions regarding reading. This is excelent material.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

As It Should Be

Troy Aikman Leads Big Hall of Fame Class - Yahoo! News

She Knows Better Now

Feminist Author Betty Friedan Dies at 85 - Yahoo! News The feminist activist Friedan has discovered the truth regarding her manifesto.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Church Discipline Interview

9 Marks Interviews I just finished listening to this excellent discussion on the history and discipline of the local church, via 9 Marks. Stacy and James, if you are reading, I my site meter tells me you do indeed read, you need to listen to this interview. It really goes well with a number of issues we have been discussing and implementing as a church. As a matter of fact, this little occasion would be a good opportunity for you both to sign in to blogger and provide a little feedback. For the other two who frequent this little villa, listen to this interview for a good discussion of historic Baptist practices in light of modern evangelical approach to church life.

A Frivolous Friday Has Returned: The Capranica Villa Almost Finished

Well, it has been a very looong nine months since my wife, Kelly, and I began the process of putting a new home together. We settled on a nice little triple-wide mobile (probably my Texas roots yearning for the old trailer days) home. Since December 26, we have officially occupied the new home: The Capranica Villa. Here's a brief historical look at the process. The home is no longer mobile. It is an official tied-to-the-land house on a permanent foundation. Until our next major earthquake, she ain't goin nowhere. We are still not finished with the work. We continue with the unpacking and arranging of the house. None of the exterior landscaping has been done. We'll wait 'till it gets over 100 degrees around here before we begin that part. Right now it is WAY too comfortable. So here are a few pics of the house thus far: The Front of the Villa The Front Door and Dining Room French Doors of the Villa. The Villa's Entry The Villa Living Room Mrs. C's study. The Villa Bedchamber. Mr. C's study. I'm sure most everyone who reads this blog (all two of you), do not care about the progress fo the Villa, but, the two times a year my family reads this blog, the'll want to see it. I can't show you some of the other rooms, because they are not even close to being finished and I'm afraid that there would be murder in the Villa if I posted them. So, until next time.

John Piper's Surgery Scheduled

John Piper's Surgery Scheduled Desiring God announced today John Piper's scheduled surgery for prostate cancer. We will be praying.

Coming to Calvinism: A Personal Testimony - Part 2

Becoming a pastor is what eventually helped me to come to Calvinism. How? Because I was committed to biblical exposition, I began preaching through books of the Bible. But, there were a few books that scared me. Why? Because of a number of tough theological issues I couldn't resolve, like predestination and election vs. the free agency of man (ever heard of that one?). I ignored the "P" and "E" words and those books in the Bible that tended to use them. That’s why I came to Calvinism rather early in my pastorate. There aren’t many books that do not use those intriguing words. But I was very fearful of a few books that seemed to camp on them. Romans terrified me. Ephesians was smaller, so it merely made me nervous. But, I thought that I should deal with the issues and settle it in my mind, so I began an exposition of Ephesians. But that was not all. I was also exposed to the results of “decisional” conversions. I can remember preaching one evening of a revival service (no comments please) and when it came to the invitation (again, no comments), I was able to get seventeen people to come forward. As they came, I asked them why they were coming. Few could communicate a clear answer. To my knowledge, none profess Christ to this day. I was shaken. My approach to ministry was shaken. I returned to my study the next week with different questions in my mind. Thank God for the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit through His word.

I still remember the day that my mind was captivated with the doctrine of depravity from Ephesians 2. It all came together there. Election finally made sense when I saw how desperate my condition was. If God had not elected, I would never have come to faith. I was dead in sin. If God did not preserve me, I could not remain in faith, my flesh is too deceptive. I began to weep in thanksgiving and increased confidence in God for how gracious He was in bringing me to faith. My joy in God had never been greater.

I had some friends who patiently helped me along. Men like James Boice and his commentary on Ephesians, John MacArthur on Ephesians, J. I. Packer’s Knowing God, and the book that seemed to clinch it for me was Packer’s Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God. I was drawn to men whose writings made more of the greatness of God than they did the autonomy of sinful men. Richard Belcher’s little theological novel A Journey in Grace was helpful. Packer’s A Quest for Godliness became a powerful book in my life. Men like Tom Ascol and the Founders Ministries showed me that my growing convictions regarding God’s sovereignty and grace in salvation was a large part of my Baptist heritage. The greatest friend I had whose Personal Narrative liberated me, was Jonathan Edwards. His comments about his own struggles with sovereignty and his eventual reception of the doctrine sent my soul heavenward. In other words, while I wasn’t saved under the ministry of a Calvinist and I would definitely not have called myself a Calvinist for several years after my conversion, I am more convinced now than ever that I was still a calvinist, even without knowing it.

My salvation is a work of God, determined before time began because I was one dead in sin and without the desire or the ability to find or know God on my own. Every day I am more aware of how important it is that God preserve me each and every moment. Without Him, I would more than surely fail. God, not man (primarily myself) has become the center of my life. I was convinced by a steady study of the Bible and a few outside friends of God’s sovereignty. So, I’m probably not too excited to use the big “C” word to describe myself or to attempt to convince others of the doctrines of grace. I would rather them see the grace of God and the more “reformed” view of salvation from a steady study of the Scriptures. I am sure there are many more like myself out there. I pray for them. I pray that God opens them to the wonders of His word and an understanding of His marvelous grace. I wonder, does that make me a Calvinist or a calvinist? Having said all of this, later today, I want to pose an interesting question about Calvinism and conversion. Look for it this afternoon.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Coming to Calvinism: A Personal Testimony - Part 1

I, like others, have not always been a Calvinist. That is, with a capital “C.” But then again, the more I look back on my conversion, I must have been a calvinist (I get a squiggly red line under that word without the capital “C”) when I was converted.

When a child, I embraced the kind of gospel call to be saved where you bow your head and very sincerely pray to receive Jesus into your heart so that you won’t go to hell. I was very sincere, and I wasn’t interested in merely being religious. I was raised in a liberal Methodist church. I saw the hypocrisy of a “gospelless” approach to God. My parents embraced it and were on the verge of divorce. Everyone I knew in church embraced it and demonstrated the fruit of the flesh in ways that helped me grow to hate the church. So, when I was at a Southern Baptist VBS and was first confronted with the gospel message, it resonated. I sincerely prayed and yet I still remained in my sin. How do I know? My life, my attitude, and the consequent hardening of my heart toward most things Christian confirmed my lack of conversion. I had repented of nothing. I merely plastered over my diseased heart with the paste of emotional religion. And the emotions faded. Whatever I did at that VBS, it didn’t save.

Then I saw my father converted. I witnessed the one-eighty in his entire approach to living. My mom was next. We changed churches to one given to expository preaching (I didn’t know what that was at the time), passionate singing, and some very loving and patient people – especially toward a church-hater like me. My caricature of Christianity was being shaken. I was deeply convicted of my sinfulness before God. I would pray every week for God to save me. But I didn’t seem to change. I was miserable. I secretly, so no one would think I was interested, began reading my Bible and praying for God to save me. The fun thing about this year-long internal battle is that the church I attended was not a Calvinistic church. I don’t remember hearing rants against Calvinism, but from what I know now of the pastor and the church, they certainly had no real affinity (possibly much knowledge) about the doctrines of grace. No matter. God converted me anyway. I eventually came to the place where I saw the goodness of God, was convinced of my sinful and rebellious heart and yearned to be a disciple of Jesus. My entire heart toward the church, the Bible, salvation, Christ – all things Christian, changed. I was liberated.

But, alas, I still was not a Calvinist. No, even in those days I wouldn’t claim that it was my faith apart from God’s direct intervention in my life that brought me to conversion. I knew that God changed me. My change became quite evident to everyone around me, especially when I publicly declared that I believed God wanted me to serve him in the pastorate. At age 19, I became an associate pastor of a small Baptist church. At age 21, I became the Senior Pastor. And becoming a pastor is what eventually convinced me of Calvinism. I'll explain in part 2.

Adrian's Blog: Adrian interviews Tim Challies

Adrian does it again - lands a great interview with a great blogger.

C.J. Reads a Ton Too

C.J. Mahaney answers a few good questions on his own reading habits.

9 Marks-T4G on Cooperation

9 Marks ministries discusses cooperation with C.J. Mahaney, Ligon Duncon, Al Mohler and Mark Dever. They tackle issues related to what they can and what they will not join together in cooperation as pastors and churches. Good interview.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Calvinsim: Unconditional Election

The doctrine of election declares that God, before the foundation of the world, chose certain individuals from among the fallen members of Adam's race to be the objects of His undeserved favor. These, and these only, he purposed to save. God could have chosen to save all men (for He had the power and authority to do so) or He could have chosen to save none (for He was under no obligation to show mercy to any) - but He did neither. Instead, He chose to save some and to exclude others. His eternal choice of particular sinners for salvation was not based upon any forseen act or response on the part of those selected, but was based solely on His own good pleasure and sovereign will. Thus, election was not determined by, or conditioned upon, anything that men would do, but resulted entirely from God's self-determined purpose. Those who were not chosen for salvation were passed by and left to their own evil devices and choices. It is not within the creatures jurisdictio to call into question the justice of the Creator for not choosing everyone for salvation. It is enough to know that the Judge of the earth has done right. It should, however, be kept in mind that if God had not graciously cosen a people for Himself and sovereignly determined to provide salvation for them and apply it to them, none would be saved. Election, therefore, is but one aspect (thoughan important aspect) of the saving purpose of the triune God, and thus must not be viewed as salvation. For the act of election itself saved no one; what it did was to mark out certain individuals for salvation. A Chosen People Deut 10:14-15; Ps 33:12; ps 65:4; 106:5; Haggai 2:23; Matt 11:27; 22:14; 24:22, 24, 31; Luke 18:7; Rom 8:28-30, 33; 11:28; Col 3:12; 1 Thess 5:9; Tit 1:1; 1 Pe 1:1-2; 2:8-9; Rev 17:14 Election Not Based on Forseen Responses. Faith and good works are the result, not the cause, of God's choice. 1. God did the choosing. Mark 13:20; 1 Thess 1:4; 2 Thess 2:13 2. God's choice was made before the foundation of the world. Eph 1:4; 2 Thess 2:13; 2 Tim 1:9, Rev 13:8; Rev 17:8. 3 God chose particular individuals for salvation - their names were written in the book of life before the foundation of the world. Rev 13:8; 17:8. 4. God's choice was not based upon any forseen merit residing in those whom He chose, nor was it based on any forseen good work performed by them. Rom 9:11-13, 16; 10:20; 1 Cor 1:27-29; 2 Tim 1:9. 5. Good works are the result, not the ground, or predestination. Eph 2:10; John 15:16. 6. God' choice was not based upon forseen faith. Faith is the result ad therefore the evidence of God's election, not the cause or ground of His choice. Ac 13:48; 18:27; Phil 1:29; 2:12-13; 1 Thess 1:4-5; 2 Thess 2:13-14; James 2:5. 7. It is by faith and good works that one confirms his calling and electon. 2 Pe 1:5-11 Election Precedes Salvation Rom 11:7; 2 Tim 2:10 Sovereign Mercy Exod 33:19; Deut 7:6-7; Matt 20:15; Rom 9:10-24; 11:4-6, 33-36; Eph 1:5 Sovereignty Over All Things 1 Chron 29:10-12; Job 42:1-2; Ps 115:3; 135:6; Isa 14;24, 27; Isa 46:9-11; 55:11; Jer 32:17; Dan 4:35; Matt 19:26. For the basis of this post, see: A Summar of the Five Points of Calvinism

More About Reading from Dever

Mark Dever continues to answer C.J. Mahaney's questions about reading, especially about Dever's Canon of Theologians.