Mike Leake – Why Denying Future Judgement Undercuts the Call of Lady Wisdom

In college, I had an English Literature professor who posited a hypothetical question to get us thinking. “What would God do if the devil in hell repented?” he asked. That question would then extend a bit further out—surely we cannot doubt God’s ability or desire to forgive repenting souls after life. I heard something similar a few years later in the writings of Rob Bell:

And so space is created in this “who would doubt God’s ability to do that?” perspective for all kinds of people—fifteen-year-old atheists, people from other religions, and people who rejected Jesus because the only Jesus they ever saw was an oppressive figure who did anything but show God’s love. (Bell, Love Wins)

The problem, though, with Bell’s hypothesis and my English professors question is that it misunderstands the reason for folks being in hell in the first place. It creates an imaginary scenario where somebody would have gladly repented on earth if given the proper circumstances. What it inevitably ends up doing is putting the blame at the feet of God.

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Dr. Nathaniel T. Jeanson and Jeffrey P. Tomkins – Did Humanity Arise from a Large Population or a Pair of Individuals?

II. How Many: A Population or a Pair?

For many years, the discussion of the number of individuals that spawned the modern human race was not accessible to science. Fossils don’t record population sizes, and the antiquity and geography of our ancestors offer little in the way of direct data on the number of individuals alive on the planet at the dawn of Homo sapiens. Only with the advent of modern genetics have scientists been able to more directly explore this question.

However, the raw genetic data say nothing about ancestral population sizes. The evolutionary conclusion that humanity arose from a large population1 rather than a pair of individuals is a consequence of the arbitrary constraints that evolutionists bring to bear on the question. Implicit in the evolutionary claims is the assumption that DNA differences can arise only via the process of copying errors (mutations) that we discussed in the previous section. In other words, under the evolutionary model, the immediate reason why you are genetically different from your parents is that you inherited DNA from each parent. However, according to evolutionary reasoning, the ultimate reason why genetic differences exist at all in the human population is mutations in the distant past.

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Nick Batzig – Old Man, New Man; Dead Man, True Man

The question concerning the relationship between the believer and indwelling sin is one of the most theologically difficult to navigate. On one end of the spectrum, there are those who insist that the believer is a new creature with a new nature and ought not talk about the reality of indwelling sin in his or her heart. Such teaching results in either doctrinal or functional perfectionism. On the other end of the spectrum are those who stress the prevailing presence of sin in the believer’s life in such a way that they give the sense that the regenerate are still totally depraved. This idea results in either doctrinal or functional antinomianism (i.e. lawlessness). In order to avoid falling into the snare of either of these two extremes, we must reject both errors and seek out a robustly biblical perspective on the teaching about regenerate and indwelling sin.

In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul gives us the doctrinal categories by which we may come to understand the relationship between the believer and the sin nature. He does so by speaking of “the old man” and “the new man,” “the flesh” and “the Spirit” and of being “under the law” and “under grace.” What has happened to believers by virtue of our union with Christ is best explained by understanding our former relation to Adam and our present relation to Christ. Scripture does this, first by way of explaining redemptive history and then by way of giving experiential implications.

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Simon Turpin – “In Adam’s Fall We Sinned All”: Does Genesis 3 Teach the Fall of Man?

Introduction

Critical scholars have long rejected Genesis 3 as an accurate account of actual events, such as the Creation and Fall of man. However, in the recent debate over the historical Adam, many professing evangelicals, and once-professing evangelicals, who have adopted the methods and conclusions of critical secular scholarship, have pointedly argued that the doctrine of the Fall, which teaches original sin, is not original to the text of Genesis 3. These scholars see the doctrine of the Fall and original sin as an invention the church Father Augustine of Hippo (354-430) read into the text. In the recent book Adam and the Genome, which rejects a historical Adam, theologian Scot McKnight argues:

What we call the “fall” story of Genesis 3 borrows a later Christian term and, more importantly, in borrowing a later category, reads the text in ways that miss what the text meant in the ancient Near East. . . . In fact, the whole of Genesis 1–3 barely — if ever — makes another appearance in the entire Old Testament; so while many would say Genesis 1–11 is the foundation for reading the whole Bible, that is certainly at least an exaggeration if not a serious error.

It has also been pointed out that because Genesis 3 contains none of the language associated with disobedience, such as sin, evil, rebellion, transgression, and guilt, it therefore cannot be a passage that teaches the doctrine of the Fall.

Are these objections valid? Does Genesis 3 say anything about the concept of a Fall? Have Christians read something into Genesis 3 that is simply not there? I will argue that the doctrine of the Fall is a biblical concept and can be derived from the biblical text. It is important to defend the biblical concept of the Fall and original sin because “no doctrine is more crucial to our anthropology and soteriology.”

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Josh Buice – Parenting is Discipleship

The work of parenting is tough. The labor is long and the discouragement is constant, but the joys of parenting outweigh all of it. I’m certain that all parents experience joys in their relationship with their children, but as a Christian parent we approach the work of parenting through a different lens. Being a parent is far more than building relationships with our children. It is the duty of Christian parents to go beyond building your child’s athletic resume or teaching your child a trade. We have a much larger task and responsibility. Parenting is the work of discipleship.

Parenting is the Task of Making Disciples

Jesus’ Great Commission to His followers involved going and making disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:18-20). Before going to the nations, they were to begin that work in Jerusalem. We see them engaging unbelievers with the gospel at Pentecost in Acts 2. From there, they would then go beyond the borders of Jerusalem eventually spreading the gospel to the entire world.

Before we go beyond the borders of our own homes to share the gospel with neighbors, co-workers, extended family, friends, and even short term mission trips overseas—we must begin the work of making disciples in our own home with our own children. Making disciples is the commission, but how is that accomplished? It’s certainly more than getting decisions. It’s far more than having someone repeat a prayer. It’s much more involved than walking through a gospel tract one time and calling for a child to follow Christ by faith. Making a disciple is a hard task because it’s an impossible task.

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Charles Spurgeon – Divine Forgiveness Admired and Imitated

“Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” Colossians 3:13

O whom is this exhortation addressed? The apostle speaketh thus in the twelfth verse: “Elect of God, holy and beloved.” Here are three particulars. They are, first of all, “elect of God,” that is to say, chosen according to His eternal purpose. They are made choice ones by being thus chosen. Next, they are sanctified by the Spirit of God, and are therefore called “holy”: this holiness appertaining to their persons and their pursuits, their calling and their conversation. When the Spirit of God has fully done his work, He sheds abroad in their hearts the love of God, so that experimentally they feel themselves to be “beloved.” To abide in the love of God is the fruit of election, and the result of holiness. If any of you can with humble confidence claim these three titles, “elect of God, holy and beloved,” you are among the most favored of all mankind: of you the Father hath made a special choice, in you His Holy Spirit has wrought a special work, and you possess within your souls the special joy of living in the love of God. “Elect of God, holy and beloved”: it is as you enjoy these three things that you will find it easy to carry out the precept which is now set before you, “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”

You see your example…COPY IT FOR YOURSELVES. If the Holy Spirit enables you to write according to this copy, you will have the approval of the Lord resting upon you. See how large and clear the letters! It will be no small success if you can reproduce them. “Even as Christ forgave you”; the imitation should be as exact as possible. Mark the “even,” and the “so,” and endeavor to keep touch with your gracious Lord.

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Brandon Smith – I Took a Week Off from Social Media (and Survived)

I joined Facebook in 2005, Twitter in 2009, and Instagram in 2013. I enjoy each of these social media platforms for different reasons, but one theme has stuck out to me recently: I’m least like Christ when I’m on social media. I’m more selfish, defensive, narcissistic, and proud when I’m reading or interacting with others online. Social media doesn’t make me sin in those ways, but it does provide plenty of provision for the flesh (Rom. 13:14).

At the turn of the year, I made a promise to myself—I would spend less time on social media, and I would stop engaging in or starting long debates. I wrote about it first in September last year, and then tweeted a thread about it again in January of this year. Here’s the third installment, I suppose.

Ever see those 20-tweet back-and-forths or the 80-comment Facebook posts? Yeah, that was me. I’ve kept the above promises to myself by-and-large this year, but I’ve still struggled to find the balance of using social media sparingly and most importantly, wisely.

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A. W. Pink – Sanctification: Its Progress and Practice

Normal Christian experience is a progress in practical holiness. Where there is life there is growth, and even when growth ceases there is a development and maturing of what is grown, unto increasing fruitfulness or usefulness. We say “normal,” for even in the natural (which ever adumbrates the spiritual) there is such a thing as stunted growth and arrested development-alas that we so often see examples of this among the Lord’s people. Yet those very failures only emphasize the fact–testified to by every Christian conscience–that we ought to go on “from strength to strength” (Psa. 84:7), that we should be “changed into” the image of the Lord “from glory to glory” (2 Cor. 3:18), that is, from one degree of it to another. That such progress is our duty is clear from many passages: “Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more” (1 Thess. 4:1).

It seems strange that there are those who not only repudiate in toto any such thing as “progressive sanctification,” but who are bitterly opposed to those who contend for the same, even though our contention be scripturally and soberly conducted; stranger still that those very men belong to the same denomination as John Gill. They know quite well that those whom they condemn do not advocate any refining of the old nature or spiritualizing of the old man, nor have the slightest leanings to the evil dogma of fleshly perfection. Nevertheless, they continue to misrepresent and denounce them. It is quite true that the believer possesses a sanctification which is absolute and perfect, admitting of no degrees or improvements. Yet that does not alter the fact that there is another sense in which the believer’s sanctification is a relative and imperfect one, and that the pursuit of holiness is to be his chief quest. Why confuse two totally different aspects of the subject, and refuse to recognize they both exist?!

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Michael Boling – Do Not Stretch the Truth

“You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; you shall not lie to one another.” (Lev. 19:11)

Nestled within commands to not steal or bear false witness is a three word prohibition. It is stated in a matter of fact manner and simply – do not lie. There is no leeway provided for those so-called little white lies or an option for stretching the truth from time to time if needed. God states unequivocally that we are not to lie.

I address this issue because recently I have been the recipient of an individual stretching the truth (a.k.a. lying) in a matter that involved my actions, or in the mind of this person, my supposed inaction. Thankfully, the full truth is widely known and the falsehood that is attempting to be spread will gain no traction. Even still, it is a stark and personal reminder of the impact lying has on relationships, in this case a work relationship.

As believers, we are to have the life goal of being more and more like Jesus. After all, we do sing about such a pursuit at church and we at least make this claim when around other believers. When the rubber hits the road and the opportunity to stretch the truth (those little white lies) comes calling, we tend to give in to that temptation, thinking it has no long term impact. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Speaking the truth at all times is necessary because truth is the only option in any situation. Now mind you there are certainly ways in which we can share the truth so as to not hurt someone. A situation that comes to mind is when your spouse asks whether they look good in a certain outfit. All you husbands out there have been asked this question untold times. You know your wife wants an honest answer, but you also know saying, “Heck no honey. You look horrible” is probably not the best response. Truth can be told in a loving, positive manner. Truth can be balanced with building one another up.

With that said, there is never allowance provided in Scripture for lying. Some attempt to look at the story of Rahab, the story of the Hebrew midwives, or other instances where lying took place as evidence that lying can be conducted as long as the end justifies the means. This is quite frankly theologically incorrect and gives credence to an activity God repeatedly states as being an abomination to Him (Prov. 6:16-19; 19:9; 12:22; Rev 21:8).

Telling lies to include those aforementioned little white lies do nothing but destroy relationships both with our fellow man and with God. God makes is quite clear in Revelation 21:8 the eternal lot of those who engage in a lifestyle of lying. He states, “But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” Notice the activities lying is include with? Murders, sexual immorality, sorcery, idolatry. It is evident lying is never a little white anything in the eyes of God.

Always tell the truth. It really is that simple. If you are tempted to lie, it must just be best to not say anything at all lest you fall into the trap of stretching the truth to fit what ultimately are carnal desires. Lying is a character trait of the enemy. He is after all the father of lies and that fatherhood is evident in the events of the Garden of Eden. Let us be people who pursue truth and who speak truth at all times. There is no other alternative for the people of God but to eschew lies.

Lying destroys. Truth builds up. What will you choose? I trust it is truth.

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John MacArthur – Watching Your Spiritual Diet

Most of us have known people whose bodies have not grown or matured properly. It’s sad to encounter people with cognitive handicaps, brain damage, or other developmental obstacles that have hindered their growth. Many of them remain locked in a child-like state—others tragically don’t progress even that far.

In a similar way, some Christians remain locked in a perpetual state of spiritual infancy. However, unlike those suffering with mental handicaps, Christians struggling with arrested spiritual development have no one to blame but themselves.

All Christians are supposed to be growing in Christlikeness: “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29). But there is often a disconnect between Romans 8:29 and what we see happening in the church. Some Christians simply don’t grow. Spiritually they remain stunted, never becoming what God has called them to be.

Worse still, if you challenge these believers, they may deny culpability for their stunted growth and indignantly argue that they are growing—albeit at their own pace! Everybody wants to grow; it’s just that some people want to grow with no effort, and that’s where the problem lies.

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