Sunday, July 30, 2006


Well it’s been awhile since I have had an opportunity to recommend some books or things to listen to and so I thought I would take his time to put forth a few recommendations of things we have read or listened to in the past couple of months. I will have my second post on Matthew 24 up in just a couple of days.

The first recommendation is a book called Ten P’s in a Pod A Million-mile Journal of the Arnold Pent Family written by Arnold Pent III. This book is right at 200 pages and our family enjoyed it over a couple of weeks each night before we read the scriptures together before bed. It was wonderful to read how the family work together played together and minister together. Clearly it seems the mother and father sought to train their children in the nurturer and admonition of the lord. It doesn’t seem that the children were rebellious towards them or their training in any way. This book is taken from the diary of our hope and the third, one of eight children. Though his father may not have been reformed, he definitely lived a life that appeared to be one of trusting god for even the smallest things of life. You’ll be amazed encouraged and even convicted at the tremendous amount of love for the word of a lot that the Pent family had. They were constantly reading the Scriptures in memorizing the Scriptures and quoting the Scriptures from memory. They have determined that by the time each child turned eighteen that they had spent over 20,000 hours reading and memorizing Scripture. In fact, one of the boys could quote the entire New Testament from memory while several of the children could finish any verse in the Bible when others began the quote of a certain passage. Our family enjoyed this book and I am sure yours will too. I wholeheartedly recommend this book for you and your family. P.S. this sounds like the manifestation of the kind of persons who hold Psalm 119 dear to their heart(

Second I would recommend to new books from doctor Richard Belcher. Both books are what we would call theological novels. They are A Journey in Faith and A Journey in God’s Sovereignty. My children love these stories of adventure and the study of God’s Word with the fictional characters Ira Fife Pointer and Dink. I would highly recommend any of the books in the “Journey” series by Dr. Belcher. He came and spoke to us back in January of this year and I found him to be a true delight and faithful man of God. Though he is 70, he is as full of life, passion and a love for God and His Word as any young man today. I’m sure young and old alike will enjoy and benefit from these books.

We also finished up the Crown and Covenant books by Douglas Bond. Again, these were wonderful God honoring stories based in a real historical setting around the famous Scottish Covenanters. Real historical events and real historical people are mixed in with fictional characters from a student and teacher of Scottish Covenant history. You will simply fall in love with Duncan, Angus, and their father Sandy M’Kethe and they seek to survive amidst the king’s dragoons and the struggle against the temptations of the flesh and the false religious system of the papacy. There are three in the series: Duncan’s War, King’s Arrow, & Rebel’s Keep. I must confess that near the end of the third volume I was so choked up that it took several minutes for me to gain my composure. Denise was also very moved. Your children will love these, especially your boys.

We also finished up Through Gates of Splendor by Elizabeth Elliot. We read this in preparation for viewing the film End of the Spear. Personally, I found both to be very edifying, though the book was much more detailed and inspiring. It was good to see how God brought all of the missionaries together with different talents and abilities that complimented one another and helped them attain their goal of seeking to bring the gospel to the Aucas. I enjoyed the film, though I thought they made Jim Elliot look pretty silly, which I would never have viewed him as. Also, though the film does not contain a complete gospel and I don’t think that was its intention, as I recall I don’t know that a complete gospel was presented in Elliot’s book either. Elliot’s book presents the story from the missionaries and their wives perspective, while the film presents the perspective of the Aucas. The book we read was the 40th anniversary edition which had a great appendix added for the 40th anniversary of the story. I thought in that reflection Elizabeth Elliot was honest and forthright about the missionaries and the sovereignty of God. This is really a blessing to read.

On a personal level of late, I have read Ken Gentry’s Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating the Book of Revelation. Also, I have begun David Chilton’s work, Days of Vengeance, which is a commentary on the Book of Revelation and am looking forward to reading a gift from my friend Hank titled, Kingdom Prologue by Meredith Kline. Earlier this year I also finished John Sarfati’s work Refuting Compromise in which he demonstrated the problems that arise with the old earth theory, in particular refuting Hugh Ross’ comments concerning the issue and Three Views of the Millenium and Beyond. There are several books in my library that have not been read yet. However, one that I am eager to sit down with an read is The Marketing of Evil by David Kupellan. I heard it was a good book, so if you have read it and feel it is not, please save me from wasting my time( I was recommended a book titled Romanced to Death by Paul deParrie last year and found it to be an excellent expose against the raging sexual craze of our western culture. Though it is out of print you can obtain it through some resources such as, or possibly (shameless plug:), via an email.

Recently, I caught a great sermon by Pastor Roy Hargrave titled An Idol Called Evangelism. This sermon is a wonderful complement to another recommended book from the past, Evangelicalism Divided. Pastor Hargrave’s citations of Charles Finney are right on and in my opinion, downright frightening. Today’s Finney follower, most of which can be found in the SBC, should seriously consider Finney’s legacy and what it led to and the biblical concerns that Pastor Hargrave presents.

Finally: Software stuff. I found a great PDF creator for free without advertising through is a great site that brings together people from all walks of life to develop a variety of software for free, where everyone contributes and everyone benefits. This PDF Creator can be obtained here.

By the way, they finally got the Homewardbooks site up, but I will probably not go with the new setup. The company who sold the store is now trying to dip their hands into my pockets further through extra transaction fees, which in my opinion, they simply are not entitled to after taking me for over $300 and not offering a refund when after many months they were down and could not provide service paid for. WARNING: Stay away from SPREADTHEWORD.COM.

Finally, I wanted to let some of you know about the Apologetics Group’s conference on Reformed theology in Draper, VA in October. Last year’s was great on the subject of Amazing Grace. This year’s conference is on The Family: God’s Weapon for Victory. If you can attend, I’m sure it will be a great blessing and instruction from God’s Word.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

A Concise Illustration Regarding the Alcohol Issue

Josh Buice has wrapped up this month's posting regarding alcohol. After coming to the end One gentleman replied with these words:

David I have seen the destruction of what alcohol does and how it will work as an evil in peoples lives ! It starts with that one little drink and before you know its 2 - 3 -4 - or more before you know it ? I COMPARE IT SORT OF SPEAK WITH A GOOD OLD SOUTH GA PEACH COBBLER YOU CAN;T EAT JUST ONE BOWL ? Reading through all the comments that was posted I can;t really tell if you and Josh came to an agreement of what the scripture says . In my opinion it should have been accepted as it is because it is the word of GOD and JESUS is the only perfect being that walked on earth. whether it be fermented or juice of the vine history tells us that the water was unsafe to drink and that is to be accepted as one of GODS blessings that he supplied to the people of the land ? The question about whether JESUS gave drunk men wine I would think that JESUS would not have tolerated doing that !

Now I want to point out that there was respectful conversation going on at the site, which I really appreciate among brethren and this brother was no exception. However, to help make the point clear I tried to give a clear and concise illustration regarding the line between gifts from God and the sinnner turning those gifts into sin. I think this is a way we might help others to understand exactly the position that many of us would take. Here's my response:

Let me see if we can be a little clearer. You stated that you have seen the destruction alcohol brings. Let me correct you. You have seen the destruction that drunkards bring by sinning in their drunkenness. Alcohol does nothing in itself. That's like the argument that guns kill people. No. People kill other people with guns. However, guns can be of great use for protection. The problem is with the sinner.

Other instances we could site:

God gives food, but commands us not to be gluttons.

God made women, but commands men not to lust after them, nor fornicate, nor commit adultery

God has graciously provided, possessions, but commands not to steal.

God gives us times of rest, yet commands us not to be lazy.

God gives us work, yet commands that there be times of rest.

You see there is a clear line between a gift from God and our evil intentions turning that gift into sin.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

SBC resolution on Alcohol

Ok, I know I’m a bit late on this, but recent conversations have sparked some thought output concerning the following SBC resolution. I must say that in light of the resolution that Dr. Ascol submitted, I am not surprised that his did not find its way into the “popularity” of resolutions offered. Resolutions

WHEREAS, Years of research confirm biblical warnings that alcohol use leads to physical, mental, and emotional damage (e.g., Proverbs 23:29-35); andWHEREAS, Alcohol use has led to countless injuries and deaths on our nation's highways; andWHEREAS, The breakup of families and homes can be directly and indirectly attributed to alcohol use by one or more members of a family; andWHEREAS, The use of alcohol as a recreational beverage has been shown to lead individuals down a path of addiction to alcohol and toward the use of other kinds of drugs, both legal and illegal; andWHEREAS, There are some religious leaders who are now advocating the consumption of alcoholic beverages based on a misinterpretation of the doctrine of "our freedom in Christ"; now, therefore, be itRESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Greensboro, North Carolina, June 13-14, 2006, express our total opposition to the manufacturing, advertising, distributing, and consuming of alcoholic beverages; and be it furtherRESOLVED, That we urge that no one be elected to serve as a trustee or member of any entity or committee of the Southern Baptist Convention that is a user of alcoholic beverages. RESOLVED, That we urge Southern Baptists to take an active role in supporting legislation that is intended to curb alcohol use in our communities and nation; and be it furtherRESOLVED, That we urge Southern Baptists to be actively involved in educating students and adults concerning the destructive nature of alcoholic beverages; and be it finallyRESOLVED, That we commend organizations and ministries that treat alcohol-related problems from a biblical perspective and promote abstinence and encourage local churches to begin and/or support such biblically-based ministries.

Now, I must confess that much of the resolution I agree with. Alcohol, in the main, is destructive when abused. There is no question. There is also no question that the Bible warns of the sins that may come from alcoholic beverages.

Proverbs 20:1 Wine is a mocker, Strong drink is a brawler, And whoever is led astray by it is not wise.

Proverbs 23:30 Those who linger long at the wine, Those who go in search of mixed wine.
31 Do not look on the wine when it is red, When it sparkles in the cup, When it swirls around smoothly;
32 At the last it bites like a serpent, And stings like a viper.
33 Your eyes will see strange things, And your heart will utter perverse things.
34 Yes, you will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, Or like one who lies at the top of the mast, saying:
35 "They have struck me, but I was not hurt; They have beaten me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake, that I may seek another drink?"

The Old Testament is filled with instruction for kings and priests concerning the use of strong wine and drink. They are warned about its abuse and the priests are specifically instructed not to partake of it when they are entering into the tabernacle to perform their duties.

Le 10:9 "Do not drink wine or intoxicating drink, you, nor your sons with you, when you go into the tabernacle of meeting, lest you die. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations,

Proverbs 31:4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, It is not for kings to drink wine, Nor for princes intoxicating drink; 5Lest they drink and forget the law, And pervert the justice of all the afflicted.

There are numerous passages that those who have dealt with the subject have pointed out. Almost all Hebrew and Greek dictionaries along with subsequent lexicons will point to the fact that teetotalerism (sic) is pressed, no pun intended, upon the text. For an honest examination of the subject matter would point to the fact that wine was clearly not forbidden to men. Rather, men were to be on guard against its abuse.

Vwryt is the Hebrew word used to express wine or freshly pressed grapes, such as fresh squeezed grape juice.

Nyy is the Hebrew word used to speak of wine. It appears that this is in reference to grape juice with alcoholic content for its use is often alongside strong drink. Its Greek equivalent is oinov, which is often used in the New Testament and translated as wine.

Several interesting contrasts happen in Scripture to show forth that alcoholic wine was in use by the Hebrews by the term Nyy. I will note that many of the exegetical gymnastics to make the terms of the Scripture alcohol in one sense and then non-alcoholic in another simply strike me as an attempt to read into the text something that isn’t there.

Two instances I will point to will make the point.

1 Samuel 1:9 ¶ So Hannah arose after they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the tabernacle of the LORD.
10 And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the LORD and wept in anguish.
11 Then she made a vow and said, "O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head."
12 And it happened, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli watched her mouth.
13 Now Hannah spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli thought she was drunk.
14 So Eli said to her, "How long will you be drunk? Put your wine away from you!"
15 And Hannah answered and said, "No, my lord, I am a woman of sorrowful spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor intoxicating drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD.
16 "Do not consider your maidservant a wicked woman, for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief I have spoken until now."

The word Nyy is used here and is clearly alcoholic since Eli believes her to be drunk, yet she speaks of the fact that she has not partaken of wine or strong drink. It is not a stretch to assume that she refers to beverages with alcoholic properties. However, we will note that in 1Samuel 1:24 we see that she brings an offering to the Lord which contains the very thing that she referred to as not partaking of when accused of being drunk.

Now when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bulls, one ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the LORD in Shiloh. And the child was young.

A question that arises in my mind is this for those who are the “teetotalers”, why is a fermented drink acceptable to God? True we do not see Hannah partaking, but we find her, in fact, offering it to God.

The second illustration I would offer clearly points to fermented grape juice in the Nazarite vow found in Numbers 6

2 "Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When either a man or woman consecrates an offering to take the vow of a Nazirite, to separate himself to the LORD,
3 ‘he shall separate himself from wine and similar drink; he shall drink neither vinegar made from wine nor vinegar made from similar drink; neither shall he drink any grape juice, nor eat fresh grapes or raisins.
4 ‘All the days of his separation he shall eat nothing that is produced by the grapevine, from seed to skin.

Now notice that there is a clear distinction between what is alcoholic (wine) and sour wine (vinegar) and grape juice and even the fruit. The glaring question in this vow is what is special concerning abstinence from the fruit of the vine as an indication of separation unto the Lord? Is this to be completely different from the rest of the congregation of the Lord? This would seem consistent in the context of the passage.

There is a very serious dealing with the use of the terms and the dividing line between partaking of alcohol and the sin of drunkenness in a recommended book God Gave Wine by Ken Gentry.
All in all, I personally support much of the resolution, but think it goes beyond what Scripture actually says and lumps those who might partake in a manner that does not intoxicate as though they are in fact committing sin. With that said, I want to stress what the apostle Paul said.

Romans 14:16 Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil;
17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
18 For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.

In stating this, for those of my brothers who do choose to partake of alcoholic beverages, remember that in your liberty, you are to consider the weaker brother. The same apostle that wrote the words above also concluded with,

19 Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.
20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense.
21 It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.
22 Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.
23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.

Let not our liberty be judged by another (1 Cor. 10:29-33), but may our sin be evident to everyone. Let us love our brothers and take measures wherein the same apostle told us that all things are lawful, but all things are not profitable. This is wise counsel from the Scriptures. Let us not boast and flaunt our liberty, but consider those who are weaker in the faith, for the former puffs up, but the latter shows forth love.

In conclusion, drunkenness is clearly condemned in Scripture and we find that drunkards are found outside the kingdom of Heaven (Matt 24:49; 1 Cor. 6:10; Gal 5:21). Drunkenness is something many believers find as part of their past life and something that the Scriptures call us away from (Rom. 13:13). When drunkenness occurs among believers, then there is clear warrant in Scripture for calling them to repentance no matter how loud they cry “liberty”. May God give His people wisdom rather than simply following the rally cries of those within the SBC, no matter how well meaning they are.

If I might add one last thing to the mix. Over at Josh Buice's PTD it seems this has flared up as well. I like Josh and appreciate his insights, but I find that he is attempting to justify teetotalerism (sic) in John 2 against the cries of those, who are just as wrong, who seek to justify wine consumption from John 2. If you exegete John 2, the point of the passage is not "to drink or not to drink", the point is the power of Christ in the miracle He performs. Attempting to argue this issue from John 2 is like those who attempt to argue the atonement from 2 Peter 2:1 and it just doesn't seem to make sense to me:)

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Matthew 24 Part 1

Matthew 24
1 ¶ Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple.
2 And Jesus said to them, "Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down."
3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?"

So, I was interrupted by a few odds and ends, but I felt they were worth posting. In any case, I had just concluded a small exegesis of Matthew 23, which I believe is often left out of the context by those who claim that Matthew 24 is in regards to our future. I will also warn you that I see similar parallels to the Book of Revelation here as well. I’ll point them out as we go and I will try and post some written comments on my study of Revelation, which I have begun in our assembly.

First things first: We find Jesus leaving the temple. He has just laid out 8 woes against the Pharisees and scribes and told them that their house would now be desolate. To catch up on Matthew 23 start here. This sets the context for what we are about to read from Matthew. Unlike John MacArthur, I proceed under the assumption that the context sets the stage for understanding the passage, not what the Jews presumed upon. MacArthur in his commentary on Matthew 24 starts out:

“The teaching of the Olivet discourse is much debated and frequently misunderstood, largely because it is viewed through the lens of a particular theological system or interpretive scheme that makes the message appear complex and enigmatic. But the disciples were not learned men, and Jesus’ purpose was to give them clarity and encouragement, not complexity and anxiety. The intricate interpretations that are sometimes proposed for this passage would have left the disciples utterly dumbfounded. It is preferable to take Jesus’ words as simply and as strait forwardly as possible.”

Notice the problem here. MacArthur is stating that others misunderstand this passage because they view it through “the lens of a particular theological system”. When someone makes that statement we need to make sure they are not doing the same thing. In fact, he does do the same thing. However, his “lens”, if you will, is the lens of dispensationalism. There is not question that the disciples were unlearned men and that Jesus was giving them clarity, but let’s recall that Jesus often was misunderstood by the disciples many times when he was as simple and clear as could be. The interpretation I offer is not intricate, nor should it leave one dumbfounded. I would propose that the interpretation of dispensationalism and futuristic interpretations fall short of what is really in mind here and fail to make things clear.

Herod’s temple must have been a beautiful sight. Notice, the disciples come to Jesus show (epideiknumi) Him the buildings of the temple. Buildings here can refer to the many structures of the temple or most likely it can refer to the building that was actually taking place at the time. The temple was not fully complete until just prior to its destruction in 70 AD. Therefore what we have is an uncompleted temple at this point in time, though the main edifice was there. The disciples come up to Jesus to point him to these things and notice what Christ says:

"Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down."

Christ speaks directly concerning this temple. He is not referencing a future temple. If as MacArthur says, Jesus was trying to be clear shouldn’t He have made it clear that this was a future time and temple that he had in mind? I think Jesus is abundantly clear. There would come a time, when by the hand of God through the means of the Roman armies God would come and literally make “their house” desolate, even to the point of one stone not being left one upon another.

Just to note this did occur when the Romans overran the city in 70 AD. The temple and its walls were built with massive stones. Josephus describes these stones used for its building in Antiquities:

Now the temple was built of stones that were white and strong, and each of their length was twenty-five cubits, their height was eight, and their breadth about twelve.

We know from ancient measurements that the cubit is about the space from the elbow to the fingertips (appox. 18 inches). To help us understand not only the incredible building techniques that must have been used, but also the strength of the Romans in coming in and tearing this down, let’s get a handle on the size of each of these stones, which are referred to as “Herodian” stones.

20 cubits long = 30 ft. long
8 cubits high = 12 ft. high
Twelve cubits wide = 18 ft. wide

One writer commented on the fact that some of the stones of the “wailing wall”, which is a foundation wall below the temple and consequently the only structure truly left visible after the temple’s destruction, weighed as much as 400 tons!

While there were many contemporaries who saw the building of the temple and the placing of this stones, it would have never entered their minds that the words that Christ just uttered would have any bearing upon this temple. They would simply reason that this would never happen in a million years, and yet it did, just as Christ had spoken it. Josephus gives us an incredible description of how great the city was fortified and the temple mount erected, along with the surrounding mountains that it was one of the most “naturally” protected cities of the ancient world.

Though Josephus tells us that Titus in the beginning desired to keep the temple and simply bring the Roman fury upon the men of Jerusalem, he later made a declaration that it be totally destroyed after his men had providentially set it on fire. Josephus gives this account in chapters 5 and 6 of The Wars of the Jews. Later the soldiers cleaned out the gold that had melted between the stones, thus breaking them apart in their plunder. Josephus later gives the account that the sight was melancholy to all who beheld it as Jerusalem was turned into a desert and flattened to the ground.

Clearly Jesus is about to prophesy in accordance with what the Scriptures had foretold all throughout the Old Testament the judgment that was to come upon Jerusalem. This is prophecy is an answer to questions that the disciples ask, which we will note in a moment, but it is also a word of instruction to those that heard it. It was because Christ cared for His own that He gave this message. It was not so much for the unbelievers, as for the believers. It was a means of giving them a “heads up” if you will of what would come to pass “in this generation”.

The disciples pick up on this prophecy of Jesus from verse 2 and ask the questions found in verse 3. In order that we narrow the question(s) down to understand what they are asking let’s point to the parallel passages in Luke and Mark.

Matthew 24:3 - Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?"

Mark 13:3-4 - Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked Him privately, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?"

Luke 21:7 - So they asked Him, saying, "Teacher, but when will these things be? And what sign will there be when these things are about to take place?"

First, remember that Matthew’s gospel has a primarily Jewish audience; therefore there are many things that are tied to a Jewish understanding of things. An example of this would be the “exception clause” in Matthew 5 and 19 and yet not found in the other gospels. Notice that when we look at the parallel passages they really get at the heart of the question. The simple question the disciples are asking seems to center on this: “When are these things going to take place?”

They then ask concerning a sign. Matthew specifically uses the Old Testament language of coming and of the end of the age. This references judgment which the disciples would have understood. This would not have brought to their minds in any way, shape, or form a Second Advent. They still did not grasp the fact that in a few short days their Lord would be nailed to a cross. They were still in the mindset of a “visible” kingdom with a “visible” King, One who would conquer Rome and set them up as His right hand men. Jesus was to do away with that concept.

Coming is usually seen in the Old Testament as judgment language. It is often accompanied by clouds and God is spoken as One who is in the midst of them (cf. (Gen. 15:17; Ex. 13:21-22; 14:19-20; 19:9, 16-19; Deut. 4:11; Job 22:14; Psa. 18:8ff.; 97:2; 104:3; Isa. 19: 1; Eze. 32:7-8;Psa. 18:7-15; 104:3; Isa.19:1; Joel 2:1, 2; Nab. l:2ff.; Zeph. 1:14, 15). Jesus also is referred to in this manner (cf. Matt. 24:30; 26:60; Rev. 1:7; Acts 1:11; 1 Thess. 4: 13ff.).

The phrase “end of the age” has often been taken as the Authorized Version renders it “end of the world”. However, the word here is not kosmov, but aiwn. In other words Matthew’s account is not about the end of the world, but the consummation of the age or the Old Covenant Age. Thus we see the setting for what is about to be revealed in the words of Christ on the Mount of Olives.

I trust that this discourse will aid in our understanding, but also serve as a warning for those who might follow in the church today as the Pharisees and scribes and the Jews did in the days of the Messiah and suffered judgment for their evil hearts of unbelief.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Caner's First Post - A brief comment

Well, Dr. Caner has his first post up. Click the title here to read it. I must say that I am much more impressed with his ability to size himself up (though you will see that he still thinks he has done something to earn the mercy of Christ) than I am to hear his diatribe against Calvinism. With that said, I appreciated many of the comments he made in his opening blog. I appreciated his insistence that it was God and His grace that worked in his life and the appreciation for other brothers in Christ. I appreciated his openness about his own shortcomings and in some cases sin, though he did not refer to them as that.

However, right at the end he did take a little jab at the truth and it is for this reason that I post the new "confused" logo above. Here is his quote:

I repented of my sin, and was liberated by Christ's mercy (in that order, by the way).

In that order??? When I became a believer I thought the same thing, UNTIL I read the Scritpures for myself. I knew something had taken place in my life before God and I knew that it didn't come from me, but from outside of me. This man claims to have been a believer for over 20 years and yet claims God's grace while still promoting the fact that in order to get the mercy of Christ he had to repent. Ladies and gentlemen, that is not grace that is works.

Grace is both unmeritted favor and enabling power. Grace grants the new birth. Grace grants faith. Grace grants repentance. Your works grant debt. Your works grant sin. Your works grant death. This is the difference between the monergists and the synergists. If I must do something to receive the mercy and grace of God, then it is no longer grace. The apostle Paul said:

Romans 11:5 Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
6 And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.

Paul speaks here of the fact that there still remains a people among the Jews who are God's elect and they are that by grace, not by heritage or works. Repentance is works. It involves works. I am all for repentance. I am all for works, but let's be clear: Repentance is the fruit of those who HAVE RECEIVED THE MERCY OF CHRIST, not step one in receiving God's mercy. Works naturally follow the believer. I will note the order of all of these things from the words of the apostle under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit from Ephesians.

(1) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
4 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:
5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

God chose us from before the foundation of the world and did this out of love to be to the praise of the glory of His grace, according to the good pleasuer of His will, not ours.

(2)7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;
9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

God's purposes were fulfilled in the cross of Christ, in order that He would redeem us and place us into the body of the Savior and that in time we might trust in Christ. Notice all through this text what the reasoning is: the praise of God's glory! If we wonder why we are saved, it is not primarily Heaven. We have been saved for the glory of God. Heaven, in all honesty appeals to the flesh of man because it is a glorious place with no "bad things", compared to Hell, which is the eternal judgment of God spewing forth His wrath against the ungodly and unbelieving...and yes, that too is in the presence of God.

Then the apostle states, in chapter 2 of Ephesians, how these things take place and what their proper order is, in contrast to Dr. Caner.

(3)1 ¶ And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
4 ¶ But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

We were dead in sin. He uses the metaphor of death to show forth the reality of a spiritual resurrection. This runs all throughout the Old and New Testament. We conducted ourselves as those who live in death. We choose death and not life. We showed forth our spiritual heritage as sons of the devil. Ah! But God intervened! God is rich in mecy and love (vs. 4)

When we were dead (vs. 5), God quickened us or made us alive or raised us up. He resurrected us. Notice there is nothing in here about us doing anything, except conducting ourselves as children of wrath. Does that sound like repentance to you? It is by grace that we are saved, not the works of the flesh, no matter how spiritual they sound.

(4)6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

He exalted us and placed us into Christ. He made us kings and priests. And for emphasis, Paul makes it clear in verses 7-9 that all of this is to show forth His work, not ours and that none of it comes from us, but from the grace of God (vs. 8). CAUTION: Vs. 9. Don't boast: Neither in your faith, your repentance, your works of righteousness or any other thing. Our boast should be exclusively, soley and wholey in God.

Notice where works come in and BTW these are obviously works of repentance.

(5)10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Works are the product of the workmanship of God. We are new creations. We did not create ourselves, but were recreated in Christ Jesus and from the new creation there flows good works, which God has ordained that we might walk in them.

The Holy Spirit is so clear that it continues to amaze me that so many cannot see the obvious flow of the text and what God has done in the salvation of men. I truly pray the Dr. Caner will repent of his heretical leanings in this matter. They are against the Scriptures and they are against the God that he claims has been so gracious to him. May he drop his "short fuse" and quick temper and as Paul stated, "(have) the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come."

Sunday, July 02, 2006

And in this corner........Ergun Caner

So I have discovered that Dr. Caner has put on his "blogging" gloves. He has officially started a blog on his web site and it is simply amazing that he has chosen to have several "areas" of posting. Notably he is going to have a special section on Calvinism, but it will not appear up under apologetics. I wonder if maybe now he considers reformed believers as brother? Probably not. It is also of note that since he is a supposed convert from Islam that he would have specific blog posts on Islam, but that is not a special category. However, I would assume that might just fall under the apologetics section. In any case, we can at least know that the statements he makes there will clearly be public and will simply add to the already made public emails between Dr. White and him. I'm sure that his postings will be no different than his rantings from the pulpit and from the keyboard. Therefore, more than ever, his errors will be clearly documented.

I am sure that STRANGEBAPTISTFIRE.COM will be thrilled to take on some of his posts:)

Also, I would love to take this opportunity to point you to a culture blog from Indonesia, a predominantly Muslim nation. This blog is from some wonderful friends of mine who are seeking to take the gospel to Muslims. By the way, they are the very types of people, in their theology, that Dr. Caner said killed missions and evangelism. Well here are those who are actually willing to lay down their lives for their enemies, as well as, their friends, in order to carry the gospel to those who do not yet know Christ. Please be sensitive if you visit the sight to the fact that they are there for learning in order to accomplish a long term goal. Their goal is to go to the Jungles of West Papua and they are in training for 1 year. Therefore, it is vital that they not be recognized as missionaries. Please keep this in mind as you visit the site.