Archive for July, 2011

The Foreknowledge of God

In taking a closer look at the concept of God’s omniscience and His foreknowledge, it must be understood that man is at a serious disadvantage in being able to understand these two concepts. Calvinists have focused a lot on God’s foreknowledge and its effect on the decisions that men make concerning their salvation. The focus of God’s foreknowledge is on the present decisions that men make. However, God’s perfect knowledge not only effects time as it exists today, but it also reaches into tomorrow as well. It can be argued that God in His omniscience is just as aware of what will take place ions from now as He is aware of what is happening today.

Man’s present situation is certainly in line with God’s perfect knowledge because God sees and knows the future along with the present in the lives of individuals. One has to accept the fact that the “Past, present and future are all present to God.” (G.W. Bromiley, The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, Grand Rapids, Baker Book House, 1984 p.320.) With this in mind, it is certainly plausible to suggest that God’s foreknowledge relative to who will and who will not be saved has absolutely nothing to do with the tenet of unconditional election. While it certainly does nothing to negate the validity of the tenet, it does not necessarily demand its acceptance either.

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The Role of Revelation in Regeneration

The Bible is an amazing Book! The Bible is based on God’s self- revelation of Himself to the world that He created. The Bible was written by the hands of men with words from the heart of God. God is self- revealing in His Word. Man’s view of God and the world that He has created as well as His nature and the nature of mankind itself should be shaped by the revelation that God has given in His Word. Men do not have the ability on their own to understand who God is and what it is that God wants to do with man apart from this self-revelation that is recorded in the Bible. “The word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) In his book Pierced By The Word, John Piper makes the following comment about the Bible: “So the word of God in Hebrews 4:12 probably refers to the truth of God revealed in Scripture that humans speak to each other with reliance on God’s help to understand and apply it… The word of God is not a dead word or ineffective word. It has life in it. And because it has life in it, it produces effects. There is something about the truth, as God has revealed, that connects it to God as the source of all life and power. God loves His word. He honors His work with His presence and power.” (Page 22.) God’s revelation of who He is and what it is that He wants to do has great power to change lives and breathe new life into dead souls.

The Bible is divine in its origin. Paul said, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 He then admonished young Timothy to “continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 3:14-15. The Scriptures, which are God’s self-revelation, are “able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” This is a very important statement. For once again, revelation and not regeneration leads to saving faith. This is why Paul is able to say that he is “not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith’.” Romans 1:16-17. Simply put, when this revelation is revealed by God, there is a response required from man. This is the essence of salvation.

Revelation MUST precede regeneration. “How does revelation speak to fallen man?” It has to be understood that if God created mankind, then He would naturally want man to know who He is and what it is that He wants both for man and from man. God knew that Adam and Eve would sin and that sin would affect mankind, making it necessary to send His Son into the world to pay the penalty for that sin so that men might be saved and set free from the power and the penalty of their sin. Can God speak to sinful men? The answer obviously is “yes He can.” To try to assert that He cannot smacks at His omnipotence and His Sovereign ability to do anything that He chooses to do. In Colossians 1:19-20 Paul writes, “For it pleased the Father that in Him (Jesus) all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.”

Through revelation God is seeking to reconcile a lost world unto Himself. When revelation is presented, response is required. When God speaks, a response is expected. Again, it makes no sense for God to speak if regeneration is required before an individual can respond positively to revelation. There is no need for God to seek to reconcile a lost and separated world unto Himself if regeneration is required on His part first. This idea of regeneration preceding saving faith simply is not consistent given the backdrop of revelation and reconciliation. God in His Word in the Bible has chosen to reveal Himself and His purposes and promises and in the incarnation, has chosen to reconcile the world unto Himself. This is the process that leads the lost soul to regeneration or new birth!

Grateful to be in His Grip

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Calvinism or Conversionism; Reformed or Transformed Theology

Welcome to Transformed Theology and the home of Conversionism.

Southern Baptist’s have a big problem today. Although Calvinism has been a part of the SBC since its inception and even before, it’s influence and popularity today is greater than it has ever been. That is and of itself, is not the real problem. The problem is where that influence is positioned today and how that influence may well change the face of the SBC in the “not so distant” years to come. One of the problems that makes this issue so interesting is the fact that Calvinists come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. There are 5 point Calvinists, 4-point Calvinists, 3-point Calvinists and possibly even 2 and 1-point Calvinists. This is cause for concern for me; it appears that the umbrella of Calvinism has been broadened to make it wide enough to hold almost anyone who has been born again and believes in the sovereignty of God or His amazing grace. This “Calvinist friendly” position is not helping the cause of Christ and it is not going to be good for the health and well-being of the future SBC.

Calvinism is not limited to the SBC. There may be individuals of other denominations who are struggling for a new identity as well and this new terminology may find fertile ground for you but from an influence standpoint, my focus is with respect to the SBC and its entities and especially its seminaries. The overwhelming majority of members in the pew have absolutely no idea what the Doctrines of Grace are; most cannot even spell Calvinism correctly much less explain its most basic tenets. I do not want money being sent to the SBC to be used to promote these doctrinal differences that will eventually change the face of the convention as it exists today. Now to be fair, I KNOW that Calvinism has been a part of the SBC since its inception. I understand that Calvinists would like to have a majority voice in the convention. However, the facts are overwhelmingly clear; you do not have a majority voice and there are those who want it to stay that way. I am in that group.

Anyone who does not believe that God regenerates an individual before he can exercise saving faith or repentance is not a Calvinist. A person who claims to be a 4-point Calvinist who does not believe in Limited Atonement, is not a Calvinist. The same is true for that person who does not believe in any of the other four points. Period. What we need today is some new terminology that will adequately represent some of the things that Calvinism has right, and then reflect on the things that Calvinism completely misses the mark on and in the process give people some solid ground upon which to stand. Welcome to the home of Conversionism and Transformed Theology.

Calvinists have been relatively successful in painting a picture of theological extremes by placing hyper-Calvinism on one side and universalism on the other and painting Calvinism as a middle ground. I would like to offer an an alternative middle ground if you will, that moves Calvinism and Reformed Theology to one side and universalism to the other. Calvinists covers a number of issues and they are very deliberate in their presentation. I like what one person said, “We all use the same vocabulary; we do not all use the same dictionary.” This statement contains a mountain of truth!

Conversion is the key to Christianity. The Calvinist will agree with this statement. The difference between Conversionism and Calvinism is how this conversion takes place. For the Calvinist a totally depraved man must be regenerated by God for him to respond to God in faith and repentance in order for that person to be converted. This process of regeneration is both central and critical to the salvific process. Because “Conversion is the key to Christianity,” it is equally true that “the process of regeneration is both central and critical to the salvific process” for both the Conversionist as well as the Calvinist.

The issue of course is when does regeneration take place and how are faith and repentance and regeneration related? For the Reformed, regeneration precedes faith and repentance and in fact lead to them and they are impossible without regeneration. In Conversionism revelation and reconciliation, which are both at God’s sole initiative precede faith and repentance that brings about regeneration.

What is Conversionism or Transformed Theology? Conversionism and Transformed Theology is a new identity that offers what I believe is a much needed change in terminology for the child of God who is neither Arminian or Calvinist.

Reformed Theology has built itself around, namely the TULIP which is an acronym representing the five points of Calvinism. By using the same five letters, here is a new twist on an old identity that can find significance as a New Tulip. Consider the following acrostic:

An Argument for Total Lostness
An Argument for Unconditional Love
An Argument for Limitless Atonement
An Argument for Irreplaceable Grace
An Argument for Perseverance of the Savior

Thankful for a new identity! More to come.


Grateful to be in His Grip,

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No Choice

Calvinism is correct; we have no choice when it comes to choosing Christ. God has decreed that to be true. There is a problem with HOW Calvinism frames that statement.

Read Isaiah Chapter 1. God has called Israel into the courtroom of confrontation to get them to see the foolishness of their sinful ways the utter futility of their continuing down that same path. Listen to His discription of their choices:

Hear God’s indictment:

2 Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth! For the Lord has spoken: “I have nourished and brought up children, And they have rebelled against Me; 3 The ox knows its owner and the donkey its master’s crib; But Israel does not know, My people do not consider.” Hear God’s complaint: My people do NOT acknowledge Me!
4 They have forsaken the Lord, They have provoked to anger The Holy One of Israel, They have turned away backward… 6 From the sole of the foot even to the head, There is no soundness in it, But wounds and bruises and putrefying sores; They have not been closed or bound up, Or soothed with ointment. 7 Your country is desolate, Your cities are burned with fire; Strangers devour your land in your presence; And it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers.

Hear God’s indignation:

10 Hear the word of the Lord, You rulers of Sodom; Give ear to the law of our God, You people of Gomorrah: 11 “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?” Says the Lord. “I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams And the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, Or of lambs or goats. 12 “When you come to appear before Me, Who has required this from your hand, To trample My courts? 13 Bring no more futile sacrifices; Incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies — I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting. 14 Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; They are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them. 15 When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood.

Hear His instruction…

16 “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, 17 Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.

Finally hear His invitation:

18 “Come now, and let us reason together,”Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. 19 If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land; 20 But if you refuse and rebel, You shall be devoured by the sword”; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

Court adjurned.

God’s decree is simple… you MUST choose. God has chosen for you… the consequences of YOUR choices! You get to choose; you do not get to choose the consequences of your choices. God has done that too.

God has spoken. You and I need to hear what He has said and we MUST make the right choice. We must come and “reason together” says, who? Says the Lord! Our obedience to His Word will bring His blessings and our continued disobedience will bring His judgment.

God has spoken. Court is adjourned. He will take His seat again and the next time we will all hear His verdict. “Obedient” or “Disobedient” are the only two indictments He will hand out; “Well done” or “Depart from Me”. God’s choice has been made. “Not Guilty” or “Guilty”.

It is NOW your choice to choose.

Grateful to be in His Grip!

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The More I look… the Less I Like!

Anyone heard about the church planting group, B21?

Here are a couple interesting articles on their website at http://www.baptisttwentyone.com/

B21 is very excited about the direction of the North American Mission Board under the leadership of President Kevin Ezell (who will also be joining the B21 lunch panel on Tuesday of the Convention, Register for that HERE). Ezell has introduced the strategy entitled “Send North America” that will be a major church planting push from NAMB. NAMB is putting on a lunch panel to discuss this strategy and how churches can get involved. If you are going to be in Phoenix for the SBC, please make every effort to attend this meeting.

“As we continue to prepare for the B21 Panel at the SBC next Tuesday, we would like to hear from you! What kinds of questions would you like John Piper, David Platt, Kevin Ezell, Albert Mohler, and Danny Akin to answer? You can submit the questions you have by leaving them in the comment field below. Please tell us which panelist the question is for and your question.”

Add to this group Acts 29 and PLNTD… all “theologically sound” church planting groups… no wonder Dr. Ezell is so excited about being at NAMB and working so hard for Southern Baptists in the area of church planting.

Grateful to be in His Grip

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Who is a Calvinist?




There are two things that are interesting in the ongoing saga of who is and what is a Calvinist. In an effort to try to determine for myself an answer to this very important question, I have concluded that a Calvinist is an individual that places regeneration before saving faith and repentance. It does not matter if the 3 all are simultaneous or one follows the other; the point is faith and repentance are impossible without regeneration, which is of God’s sole doing. Man does not have the ability nor the capability in and of himself to respond to God in any way apart from and independent of this process of regeneration.

In my study I am convinced that revelation and reconciliation are God’s means of bringing about saving faith in an  individual and NOT regeneration. (See Ro. 1:16; 2 Cor. 2:18-20) In His sovereignty, God is most certainly capable of revealing Himself to those that need to be reconciled to Him. An individual’s response to His revelation is what determines that person’s eternal destiny; God’s will is set; His revelation is given. Our eternity depends on what we do with that revelation.

This is the key difference between Conversionism and Calvinism; Transformed as opposed to Reformed Theology.

Grateful to be in His Grip,

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