The Church Series: Entering Into Covenant

The idea of entering into covenant with a church and being held under its authority is an almost foreign concept in modern-day Evangelicalism. A covenant—theologically speaking—can be described as a commitment between God and His people vertically, or a commitment between His people horizontally. The vertical covenants are seen in the narratives of Abraham, Moses, David, and finally Christ and His Church. Horizontal covenants—which are being presently discussed—are depicted in marriage and church membership.

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Why Do We Celebrate Reformation Day?

“I am more afraid of my own heart than of the pope and all his cardinals. I have within me the great pope, Self.”

— Martin Luther

Almost five hundred years ago to the day, the life of the church was dramatically altered. On October 31, 1517, a Catholic monk and scholar named Martin Luther aired his grievances of the Roman Catholic Church’s practices by nailing The Ninety-Five Theses on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences on the doors of a church in Wittenburg, Germany.

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Reverent or Relaxed: How Do We Approach the Throne of God in Corporate Worship?

In every issue, big or small, remember the centrality of the Gospel.

For all the wrong reasons, the modern evangelical church places fashion and style on the same doctrinal level as regulative v. normative principle of worship, strict v. soft complementarianism, and Presbyterian v. Congregational ecclesiology. Obviously, it is important to work out in Scripture what is prohibited or allowed in worship, whether the role of women transfers from the church and home to all realms of society or not, and the way an elder-led church is held accountable. Continue reading “Reverent or Relaxed: How Do We Approach the Throne of God in Corporate Worship?”

A Letter To The New Calvinist

As a high school student, college student, seminary student, or career learner, you find about the Doctrines of Grace. At first glance, they seem awful. “God forced me to be redeemed before He even created? He didn’t die for everybody? He forces the Spirit on to me? Doesn’t sound like a good God to me.” Then it all starts to make sense. Now that it doesn’t seem moronic to you, and you love the Doctrines of Grace, here are a few things to consider. Don’t take these admonishments harshly, we’ve all been through it.
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Soli Deo Gloria

With the Pope’s coming to America this last week, I decided that I would write a short five part series on the Five Solas of the Reformation. These five points are stated below:

John Piper, founder of Desiring God ministries
  1. Sola Gratia – By Grace Alone
  2. Sola Fide – By Faith Alone
  3. Solus Christus – In Christ Alone
  4. Sola Scriptura – By Scripture Alone
  5. Soli Deo Gloria – To the Glory of God Alone

This final post is on Soli Deo Gloria, or To the Glory of God Alone. This, in my opinion, is by far the most important. This question sums up both positions: Does God get all of the glory, or do we get some as well? Rome still teaches that the glory goes to the Papacy, the church, and God. It makes sense in their system however. In a synergistic system where we participate in our salvation, God cannot get all of the glory. However, in a monergistic system where salvation is all of grace, then only God can receive the glory for what he has done. We will look at three main passages concerning this subject of who the glory of God goes to:
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Sola Scriptura

With the Pope’s coming to America this last week, I decided that I would write a short five part series on the Five Solas of the Reformation. These five points are stated below:

John Owen, English nonconformist and Puritan theologian
  1. Sola Gratia – By Grace Alone
  2. Sola Fide – By Faith Alone
  3. Solus Christus – In Christ Alone
  4. Sola Scriptura – By Scripture Alone
  5. Soli Deo Gloria – To the Glory of God Alone

This fourth post is on Sola Scriptura, or Scripture alone. Rome teaches that we have two sources of revelation for the church that are equally valid: Scripture and tradition. Scripture is good but it isn’t sufficient. We also need tradition. The reformers however stated otherwise. They said that Scripture is sufficient and that the Bible is all we need to make men wise unto salvation. There are three primary Scriptures that deal with the sufficiency of Scripture:
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Solus Christus

With the Pope’s coming to America this last week, I decided that I would write a short five part series on the Five Solas of the Reformation. These five points are stated below:

Charles Spurgeon, a Calvinistic Baptist preacher.
  1. Sola Gratia – By Grace Alone
  2. Sola Fide – By Faith Alone
  3. Solus Christus – In Christ Alone
  4. Sola Scriptura – By Scripture Alone
  5. Soli Deo Gloria – To the Glory of God Alone

This third post is on Solus Christus, or salvation in Christ alone. The Roman Catholic church still teaches today that you must be in Christ, and the church, and Mary, and the Saints, to be saved. There is no salvation apart from the church or Mary or the saints. However the Reformers protested and declared that only in Christ alone would anyone find salvation. The Scripture supports the teaching of the reformation with three primary verses:
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Sola Fide

With the Pope’s coming to America this last week, I decided that I would write a short five part series on the Five Solas of the Reformation. These five points are stated below:

John Calvin, who held strongly to what is today called the doctrines of grace, or Calvinism.
  1. Sola Gratia – By Grace Alone
  2. Sola Fide – By Faith Alone
  3. Solus Christus – In Christ Alone
  4. Sola Scriptura – By Scripture Alone
  5. Soli Deo Gloria – To the Glory of God Alone

This second post is on Sola Fide, or justification by Faith Alone. The Roman Catholic Church still teaches that we are saved by faith and works:

“If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema.” — Canons of Trent
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Sola Gratia

With the Pope coming to America this last week, I decided that I would write a short five part series on the Five Solas of the Reformation. These five points are stated below:

Martin Luther, the Father of the Protestant Reformation
  1. Sola Gratia – By Grace Alone
  2. Sola Fide – By Faith Alone
  3. Solus Christus – In Christ Alone
  4. Sola Scriptura – By Scripture Alone
  5. Soli Deo Gloria – To the Glory of God Alone

This first post is in the first sola known as Sola Gratia, or by grace alone. Rome has taught and still indeed teaches that man is saved by grace and merit. Now Rome does not believe that we are saved by merit.
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What Calvinists Believe, and What We Do Not

In no way is this a full-fledged defense of the Doctrines of Grace, but a rather a look into what Reformed Theology is about, and what it is not.

Our ultimate allegiance is not to Calvin, but to the Bible

Protestant Reformer John Calvin had some pretty awesome things to say. He had a brilliant mind, loved the things of God, and desired to be true to the Scriptures. However, even the most devout Presbyterians will point out the faults of both Calvin’s life and minor parts of his theological statements. After all, he was a sinner saved by the grace of God, too.

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Thoughts on Worship, The Chief End of Man

One Sabbath he was going through the grainfields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. And the Pharisees were saying to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him:  how he entered the house of God, in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?”  And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.  So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”

— Mark 2:23:28 (ESV)

And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation… The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.

— Genesis 2:2-3,15 (ESV)

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Testimony — Elizabeth Walsh / Newsie

“Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes; I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way.  She will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them. Then she will say,  ‘I will go back to my husband as at first, for then I was better off than now.’”

— Hosea 2:6-7

Hi! I’m Elizabeth (or Liz or Lizzy or yes even Newsie) and I have been told that I write really conversationally. My teachers usually hate it, but I think it works well for this type of thing. So this, this is my story.

I grew up in a Christian home. I grew up knowing who Jesus was, knowing that church was a Sunday thing, and knowing that I was a sinner. I don’t remember having a major recollection in my life where I remembered I had messed up.
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Testimony — Joshua Del Rio / Hobbes

“A man who has friends must himself be friendly. But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

— Proverbs 18:24

My name is Josh Del Rio, and I may have one of the most boring testimonies ever.

I’m not saying that testimonies can be boring, because the fact that God sent the Holy Spirit into my heart and soul to be the propitiation for my sins alone is a miracle. Every day that I’m alive and get to experience the blessings of the Lord is a mind blowing experience.
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Testimony — Natalie Webb / Primrose

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

— 2 Corinthians 4:18

I grew up in church and my grandparents are Assemblies of God pastors, so we always went to church every Sunday and Wednesday. One night my dad came home late, and all I remember is him being intoxicated. My mom was screaming at him because he had a hickey on his neck. I was in 5th grade I had no idea what that was!
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Russell Moore at The Village Church

This past weekend, President of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention (ERLC of the SBC) Dr. Russell Moore came to speak at The Village Church. Saturday morning, he led a forum entitled “Is Christianity Dying” Forum and Saturday night, preached a message entitled “God and Country Crucified Sermon at The Village Church”.

Dr. Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.

In August 1st’s forum, Dr. Moore’s own words answered the very question the forum was trying to answer: “We are not in a post-Christian America. We are at best a pre-Christian America.” With all that is going on politically in America, it seems as though the overwhelming response from Christians is being overwhelmed.

Christians feel out of place, rejected by society, and no longer in the majority of controlling ethics. For the first time in history. But not really. Russell Moore argues that this is familiar ground for Christians, and it’s time to embrace our roles.
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Case for Credobaptism: 10 Reasons Why I Reject Infant Baptism

Lately, I have been studying the issue of baptism in the church. Do we baptize believers only, or do we baptize believers and their children? I’ve actually been raised in both circumstances. I was baptized as an infant in the Presbyterian Church and actually raised in that denomination. However when I was ten, my family started going to a Baptist church and I was baptized by immersion two years ago.

I never took the time to actually study the issue of baptism in the Bible. As I was studying, I came extremely close to accepting infant baptism if it were not for what I see as inconsistencies in the Scriptures. I have compiled a list of ten reason why I reject infant baptism and support believers only baptism.
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Review of “Absolutely Free: A Biblical Reply to Lordship Salvation” by Zane C. Hodges

Zane Hodges' Absolutely Free: A Biblical Reply to Lordship Salvation
Zane Hodges’ Absolutely Free: A Biblical Reply to Lordship Salvation

I was recently asked by a friend of mine to read Absolutely Free, discussing Lordship controversy from a Free Grace position. This will be a quick look at the key points Hodges makes in each chapter. I will demonstrate why I believe Hodges is incorrect with interpreting Scripture and defend from the Reformed position. I hope you are edified while reading this so that you can further understand the controversy.
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Count It All Joy

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

— James 1:2-4 (ESV)

The absolute most terrifying part of life is summarized here in James — when you meet trials of various kinds. The last thing I naturally would like to do is count it all joy when life throws its ridiculous curve-balls at me. Perhaps what made this verse personal to me is inserting myself into the passage:

Count in all joy, when I (and I will) meet trials of various kinds, for I know that the testing of my faith produces steadfastness. And I must let steadfastness have its full effect, that may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
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Sam Allberry at The Village Church

Sam Allbery, pastor and contributor to livingout.org, a resource for Christians that struggle with same-sex attraction

Quite possibly the most controversial topics in America distancing the Church and culture today are racism (namely the oppression of minorities), the sanctity of human life, and the issue of same-sex marriage and attraction. This weekend, pastor Sam Allberry from England will be teaching at The Village Church campuses in the DFW area. Sam Allberry is best known for his book, Is God anti-gay? In this work, Sam Allberry discusses the questions pertaining to homosexuality, the Bible, and same-sex attraction.
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7 Encouraging Trends in the Millennial Church

If you have spent anytime in Christian community, stepped foot into a local congregation, or listened to any sermon recently, you will have noticed at least some of these trends. Many good, and many extremely non-beneficial. However, these seven trends are ones that I, being a millennial, have noticed alongside peers and those above myself in the generational bracket.

The obvious trend we see is the rise of New Calvinism in denominations and ‘non-denominations’ that were once not affiliated as such. However, that is another article for another time, as it itself can fill up its own 30 to 40 trends. Since the trend of New Calvinism is so influential, there will be crossover.
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We Stopped Listening to Rob Bell A Long Time Ago

Rob Bell, author of “Love Wins” and “Sex God” and former pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, MI.

On an episode of Oprah Winfrey’s “Super Soul Sunday”, former ‘evangelical’ pastor Rob Bell basically called the Bible and its orthodox adherents irrelevant. Gasp.

Rob Bell has left Orthodox Christianity a long time ago, so it should not be a surprise that he determines that any church that rejects the legitimacy of gay marriage “will become irrelevant if it rejects gay marriage.” That really shouldn’t throw any of us for a curve, seeing as in his book Love Wins, he basically rejected any orthodox notion of hell.
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The Cast Down Soul

As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?”

These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival. Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember you from the land of Jordan and of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.

Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me. By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life. I say to God, my rock: “Why have you forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”

As with a deadly wound in my bones, my adversaries taunt me, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?” Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

— Psalm 42 (ESV)

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The Gospel: A Call to Follow and Obey

I am absolutely amazed today at the millions of invitations that are offered by evangelicals when there is no genuine response to the gospel that we see. I mean come on, we have all done it. We have used the clichés: say this prayer, ask Jesus into your heart, invite Christ to your life, make Jesus your personal Lord and savior, make a decision for Christ, make a confession of faith.

These terms are extremely popular in evangelical circles today. But it isn’t the full gospel.

I am amazed at the easy-believism message going around today, denying the Lordship of Christ in salvation, and denying that repentance is an essential in salvation.
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Politics, Church, and the Christian

In every issue we discuss, every topic we debate, and every politician we vote for, it is important to remember that Christ’s mission was not a political mission, nor a social one. His mission was to redeem a people for the expansion of His kingdom and the glory of His name.

This neither invalidates the importance of social change, nor does it dismiss the Christian from responsible citizenship. Rather, this should make us turn our eyes to Christ and His pursuit, and submit our political agendas to that end.

A number distinctions and discernments should be made to align ourselves with Gospel-centered social reform and political agendas.
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LifeWay, Heaven is For Real, and Revelation

Recently co-author of The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven Alan Malarky recanted his story of his “trip to heaven”, and in doing so called-out LifeWay (along with other Christian bookstores) for selling this book and other books like it. His recantation is a wake-up call and reminder of a big problem in a big denomination.
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An Introduction to Philosophy

“Small amounts of philosophy lead to atheism, but larger amounts bring us back to God.” – Francis Bacon

In order to understand the importance of philosophy we must first understand what it is. The word philosophy comes from the Greek and is translated to “love of wisdom”. Within philosophy there are many paradigms, which is basically a set way of thinking. In my opinion, the best paradigm was created by Edmund Husserl (1901) who coined the term “phenomenology”.
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