Whomever He Wills

Whomever He Wills from the Founders Ministry attempts “to provide an expanded viewpoint…and corrective” to the book Whosoever Wills, which is a critique of Calvinism. The authors accomplish their goal very well.

The first chapter of Whomever He Wills is an exposition of Revelation 5:1-14 entitled “Our Sovereign Savior.” It is worth the price of the book. The rest of part one biblically expounds each of the 5 Points of Calvinism (Doctrines of Grace), explains how God’s sovereignty is compatible with human freedom, gives an answer to the problem of evil, and surveys history to demonstrate how Calvinism is foundational for evangelism and missions. Part two is a historical survey, which discusses Calvin’s view of the death of Christ, the evangelistic preaching of John Bunyan, how Calvinism has shaped the Southern Baptist Convention, and the impact of Calvinism on Baptist ecclesiology.

Personally, I appreciated the chapter on definite atonement because of its biblical thoroughness and because of its focus on a positive exposition of the work of Christ instead of the normal defensive posture. In this chapter, David Schrock argues, “Definite atonement ‘undergirds’ the preaching of God’s Word. How? By esteeming the undiluted success of what Christ accomplished on the cross.” Dr. Ware does a superb job of demonstrating the theological and philosophical weakness of libertine free will and defending a biblically faithful alternative. Tom Ascol’s historical survey of Calvinistic missionaries and Ben Rodger’s chapter on Bunyan’s evangelistic preaching were inspirational and contradict the stereotype of Calvinists being anti-missional.


Reformation Society Meeting

The SVRS will be meeting Saturday, September 29, 9:00am at Immanuel Bible Church in Saginaw, MI. Our speakers for our Bible study will be Pastor Pete Scribner, Pastor John Botkin, and Mr. Wes Reynolds. We will be studying Genesis 15:1-6 focusing on the doctrine of justification by faith.The Reformation Bible Study is intended to encourage the participation of all present so come prepared having read and studied the text. If you need further information, please, contact Pastor Jeremy Lee 989-867-4451 or jlee@avci.net.


New Song Concert

Image

New Song, a choral ensemble from Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania will be holding a free concert on Wednesday August 1st at the Grace A. Dow Library auditorium at 7:00 PM.  The group will sing a variety of contemporary songs, hymns, African American spirituals and psalms during this concert.  For 36 years Geneva College has sent out New Song as their ambassadors to proclaim the gospel through music and theatre.  New Song members are auditioned and selected by Geneva College for their musical ability and Christian commitment. The group’s directory, Louise Copeland, is a graduate of Geneva College and holds a Master of Music degree from the University of Cincinnati.

Geneva College is a comprehensive Christian college of the arts, sciences and professional studies.  Founded in the tradition of the Reformed Christian faith, Geneva prepares students to serve Christ is all areas of society: work, family and the church.

The concert is sponsored by Christ Covenant Church (PCA) of Midland.  Please call the church office (989) 839-6563 for more information.


The Obligation of Christians to Convert the Heathen

The following is next section from William Carey’s work “The Obligation of Christians to Convert the Heathen.” Again, Cary was a Reformed or Particular Baptist; thus, his zeal for missions destroys the caricature that Reformed Theology destroys evangelistic zeal.

FOURTHLY, As to the difficulty of procuring the necessaries of life, this would not be so great as may appear at first sight; for though we could not procure European food, yet we might procure such as the natives of those countries which we visit, subsist upon themselves. And this would only be passing through what we have virtually engaged in by entering on the ministerial office. A Christian minister is a person who in a peculiar sense is not his own; he is the servant of God, and therefore ought to be wholly devoted to him. By entering on that sacred office he solemnly undertakes to be always engaged, as much as possible, in the Lord’s work, and not to chuse his own pleasure, or employment, or pursue the ministry as a something that is to subserve his own ends, or interests, or as a kind of bye-work. He engages to go where God pleases, and to do, or endure what he sees fit to command, or call him to, in the exercise of his function. He virtually bids farewell to friends, pleasures, and comforts, and stands in readiness to endure the greatest sufferings in the work of his Lord, and Master. It is inconsistent for ministers to please themselves with thoughts of a numerous auditory, cordial friends, a civilized country, legal protection, affluence, splendour, or even a competency. The flights, and hatred of men, and even pretended friends, gloomy prisons, and tortures, the society of barbarians of uncouth speech, miserable accommodations in wretched wildernesses, hunger, and thirst, nakedness, weariness, and painfulness, hard work, and but little worldly encouragement, should rather be the objects of their expectation. Thus the apostles acted, in the primitive times, and endured hardness, as good soldiers of Jesus Christ; and though we living in a civilized country where Christianity is protected by law, are not called to suffer these things while we continue here, yet I question whether all are justified in staying here, while so many are perishing without means of grace in other lands. Sure I am that it is entirely contrary to the spirit of the gospel, for its ministers to enter upon it from interested motives, or with great worldly expectations. On the contrary the commission is a sufficient call to them to venture all, and, like the primitive Christians, go every where preaching the gospel. It might be necessary, however, for two, at least, to go together, and in general I should think it best that they should be married men, and to prevent their time from being employed in procuring necessaries, two, or more, other persons, with their wives and families, might also accompany them, who should be wholly employed in providing for them. In most countries it would be necessary for them to cultivate a little spot of ground just for their support, which would be a resource to them, whenever their supplies failed. Not to mention the advantages they would reap from each others company, it would take off the enormous expense which has always attended undertakings of this kind, the first expense being the whole; for though a large colony needs support for a considerable time, yet so small small a number would, upon receiving the first crop, maintain themselves. They would have the advantage of choosing their situation, their wants would be few; the women, and even the children, would be necessary for domestic purposes; and a few articles of stock, as a cow or two, and a bull, and a few other cattle of both sexes, a very few utensils of husbandry, and some corn to sow their land, would be sufficient. Those who attend the missionaries should understand husbandry, fishing, fowling, &C. and be provided with the necessary implements for these purposes. Indeed a variety of methods may be thought of, and when once the work is undertaken, many things will suggest themselves to us, of which we at present can form no idea.

FIFTHLY, As to learning their languages, the same means would be found necessary here as in trade between different nations. In some cases interpreters might be obtained, who might be employed for a time; and where these were not to be found, the missionaries must have patience, and mingle with the people, till they have learned so much of their language as to be able to communicate their ideas to them in it It is well known to require no very extraordinary talents to learn, in the space of a year, or two at most, the language of any people upon earth, so much of it at least, as to be able to convey any sentiments we wish to their understandings. The Missionaries must be of great piety, prudence, courage, and forbearance; of undoubted orthodoxy in their sentiments, and must enter with all their hearts into the spirit of their mission; they must be willing to leave all the comforts of life behind them, and to encounter all the hardships of a torrid, or a frigid climate, an uncomfortable manner of living, and every other inconvenience that can attend this undertaking. Clothing, a few knives, powder and shot, fishing-tackle, and the articles of husbandry above-mentioned, must be provided for them; and when arrived at the place of their destination, their first business must be to gain some acquaintance with the language of the natives, (for which purpose two would be better than one,) and by all lawful means to endeavour to cultivate a friendship with them, and as soon as possible let them know the errand for which they were sent. They must endeavour to convince them that it was their good alone, which induced them to forsake their friends, and all the comforts of their native country. They must be very careful not to resent injuries which may be offered to them, nor to think highly of themselves, so as to despise the poor heathens, and by those means lay a foundation for their resentment, or rejection of the gospel. They must take every opportunity of doing them good, and labouring, and travelling, night and day, they must instruct, exhort, and rebuke, with all long suffering, and anxious desire for them, and, above all, must be instant in prayer for the effusion of the Holy Spirit upon the people of their charge. Let but missionaries of the above description engage in the work, and we shall see that it is not impracticable. It might likewise be of importance, if God should bless their labours, for them to encourage any appearances of gifts amongst the people of their charge; if such should be raised up many advantages would be derived from their knowledge of the language, and customs of their countrymen; and their change of conduct would give great weight to their ministrations.


The Obligation of Christians to Convert the Heathen

The following is an excerpt from William Carey’s work “The Obligation of Christians to Convert the Heathen.” This section answers three objections concerning the practicallity of reaching the heathen with the gospel. The entire work is not lengthy and is worth taking the time to read. Although Cary lived in the 18th and 19th century, his work is still relevant. Cary was a Reformed or Particular Baptist; thus, his zeal for missions destroys the caricature that Reformed Theology destroys evangelistic zeal. 

THE impediments in the way of carrying the gospel among the heathen must arise, I think, from one or other of the following things;—either their distance from us, their barbarious and savage manner of living, the danger of being killed by them, the difficulty of procuring the necessaries of life, or the unintelligibleness of their languages. 

FIRST, As to their distance from us, whatever objections might have been made on that account before the invention of the mariner’s compass, nothing can be alleged for it, with any colour of plausibility in the present age. Men can now sail with as much certainty through the Great South Sea, as they can through the Mediterranean, or any lesser Sea. Yea, and providence seems in a manner to invite us to the trial, as there are to our knowledge trading companies, whose commerce lies in many of the places where these barbarians dwell.

At one time or other ships are sent to visit places of more recent discovery, and to explore parts the most unknown; and every fresh account of their ignorance, or cruelty, should call forth our pity, and excite us to concur with providence in seeking their eternal good. Scripture likewise seems to point out this method, Surely the Isles shall wait for me; the ships of Tarshish first, to bring my sons from far, their silver, and their gold with them, unto the name of the Lord, thy God. Isai. lx. 9. This seems to imply that in the time of the glorious increase of the church, in the latter days, (of which the whole chapter is undoubtedly a prophecy,) commerce shall subserve the spread of the gospel. The ships of Tarshish were trading vessels, which made voyages for traffic to various parts; thus much therefore must be meant by it, that navigation, especially that which is commercial, shall be one great mean of carrying on the work of God; and perhaps it may imply that there shall be a very considerable propriation of wealth to that purpose. 

SECONDLY, As to their uncivilized, and barbarous way of living, this can be no objection to any, except those whose love of ease renders them unwilling to expose themselves to inconveniences for the good of others. It was no objection to the apostles and their successors, who went among the barbarous Germans and Gauls, and still more barbarous Britons! They did not wait for the ancient inhabitants of these  countries, to be civilized, before they could be christianized, but went simply with the doctrine of the cross; and TERTULLIAN could boast that “those parts of Britain which were proof against the Roman armies, were conquered by the gospel of Christ”—It was no objection to an ELLIOT, or a BRAINERD, in later times. They went forth, and encountered every difficulty of the kind, and found that a cordial reception of the gospel produced those happy effects which the longest intercourse with Europeans, without it could never accomplish. It is no objection to commercial men. It only requires that we should have as much love to the souls of our fellow-creatures, and fellow sinners, as they have for the profits arising from a few otter-skins, and all these difficulties would be easily surmounted. After all, the uncivilized state of the heathen, instead of affording an objection against preaching the gospel to them, ought to furnish an argument for it. Can we as men, or as christians, hear that a great part of our fellow creatures, whose souls are as immortal as ours, and who are as capable as ourselves, of adorning the gospel, and contributing  by their preaching, writings, or practices to the glory of our Redeemer’s name, and the good of his church, are inveloped in ignorance and barbarism? Can we hear that they are without the gospel, without government, without laws, and without arts, and sciences; and not exert ourselves to introduce amongst them the sentiments of men, and of Christians? Would not the spread of the gospel be the most effectual mean of their civilization? Would not that make them useful members of society? We know that such effects did in a measure follow the afore-mentioned efforts of Elliot, Brainerd, and others amongst the American Indians; and if similar attempts were made in other parts of the world, and succeeded with a divine blessing (which we have every reason to think they would) might we not expect to see able Divines, or read well-conducted treatises in defence of the truth, even amongst those who at present seem to be scarcely human?

THIRDLY, In respect to the danger of being killed by them, it is true that whoever does go must put his life in his hand, and not consult with flesh and blood; but do not the goodness of the cause, the duties incumbent on us as the creatures of God, and Christians, and the perishing state of our fellow men, loudly call upon us to venture all and use every warrantable exertion for their benefit?  PAUL and BARNABAS, who hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, were not blamed as being rash, but commended for so doing, while JOHN MARK who through timidity of mind deserted them in their perilous undertaking, was branded with censure. After all, as has been already observed, I greatly question whether most of the barbarities practiced by the savages upon those who have visited them, have not originated in some real or supposed affront, and were therefore, more properly, acts of self-defence, than proofs of ferocious dispositions. No wonder if the imprudence of sailors should prompt them to offend the simple savage, and the offence be resented; but Elliot, Brainerd, and the Moravian missionaries, have been very seldom molested. Nay, in general the heathen have shewed a willingness to hear the word; and have principally expressed their hatred of Christianity on account of the vices of nominal Christians.


Preaching Christ: The Pastor as Herald of the Gospel

We love preaching. Not just human oration, but the God-appointed means for faith. “How are they to hear without someone preaching?” The greatest thing in all the world is to be saved. And faith for salvation comes by the preaching of the gospel (Romans 10:14-15). That’s why the feet of those who come heralding the good news of God’s sovereign grace are always beautiful to God’s people.

That’s why we’ve asked Pastor Stephen Um of CityLife Church in Boston and Pastor Kevin DeYoung of University Reformed Church in East Lansing, to come and speak to us about preaching the Word of God in all seasons. If you are a pastor like me, you may be ready for some rich refreshment in your calling to preach. We would be thrilled to have you join us at this year’s Preaching Christ conference on May 8th, 2012 at Five Points Community Church in Auburn Hills, MI. Come have your calling to preach reignited and your soul stirred with other brothers in the Greatest Cause: to proclaim the glory of God in His Son Jesus Christ.

Brent Nelson,
Pastor For Preaching and Theology, Five Points Community Church

For further information and to register, visit  the conference website.


King James Onlyism

The King James version of the Bible is a wonderful translation, which has been blessed and greatly used by God for over 400 years. It is doubtful that any other translation will ever come close to its impact, longevity, or poetic beauty. At our church, Twining Baptist, we celebrated the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible last year with Sunday School lessons on the history of the English Bible and the King James Bible specifically. In addition, I preached a sermon called 400 Years of the King James Bible to honor its legacy. I am not opposed at all to the King James Bible; however, I am opposed to King James Onlyism, which is addressed in the quote below from Bob Jones, Jr. (Cornbread and Caviar. 1985, Greenville: SC, Bob Jones University Press, pp. 179-181) and by James White on the link below.

Besides the terrible compromise and apostasy which we see around us, there are a number of movements which pose a threat to Bible believing Christianity in our day. They are tangents which will carry a man away from serving the Lord as he ought.

Religiously, I think perhaps the silliest idea abroad—and one which is calculated to divide the people of God—is the idea that there is some sort of special inspiration attached to the Authorized Version of Scripture commonly called in America “The King James Version.” Many of us, including this writer, believe that the King James Version is by far the loveliest translation of the Scripture in the English language. We believe it is a remarkable translation.

There are today many false translations and paraphrases of the Scripture which those who love the Bible must oppose, but to say that this one translation has about it inspiration which is not found anywhere else is just plain silly. Moreover, it is a heresy because it implies that God did not completely inspire the original manuscripts and therefore in 1611 He had to add inspiration.

When the revelation was given to an apostle, he wrote under the influence of the Spirit of God who declares that His Word is “forever settled in heaven.” It was settled in 1611, but it has been settled both before and since and shall be settled forever.

To embrace this “King James only” heresy is, in a very definite sense, a blasphemy. It makes God a respecter of persons. Luther’s translation of Scripture brought the Bible in the common tongue to the people of Germany. Yet it did more than that. It shaped and formed the modern German language itself—a language that had not existed except in the dialects of the various states which made up the Holy Roman Empire. As a matter of fact, the King James translation contains whole portions of earlier translations of the Bible in English. Much of the language comes from Tyndale and Wycliffe and was accepted by the good men who were gathered to undertake this 1611 translation because they felt they could not improve upon it. To be consistent the “King James Only” people must hold that the portions from earlier English translations became inspired only when they were incorporated into the 1611 version.

When I read the King James Version, the only version that I use either in my study or in my preaching, I do not hesitate to change a word to make it more understandable to a modern congregation. In 1611 the word “prevent” meant “to go before.” Today it means “to hinder and to keep something from being done”; therefore, when I read 1 Thessalonians 4:15, I do not say “prevent” but “precede”: “We which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not precede them which are asleep.”

I did that once down in Australia, and a man who was a relatively new convert rebuked me, saying, “You have no right to do that, because the Bible says ‘one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.’ ” I said to the man, “Well, tell me, was that a jot or a tittle I changed?” He had no idea what either a jot or a tittle was.

I went on to point out to this brother that the 1611 translators could not have made an English translation and preserved jots and tittles, because they are a part of the Hebrew language. You eliminate them when you translate the Hebrew into the English language. What the Scripture is saying here is that not the smallest part of God’s Word shall be unfulfilled.

I am sure good men have been taken in by this “King James only” heresy, but I do not believe they are logical men. I think that this heresy, like all heresies, will divide the saints, deceive men, and lead men astray.

We may disagree as to which of the Greek texts are the closest to the original and which should be used in translating the Bible from the Greek and Hebrew. We may not agree as to which is the most accurate and best English translation, but to impute special inspiration to some particular translation in any language is the height of folly and a denial of the complete inspiration of the original. To say, as one of the advocates of this heresy has declared, “I check the Hebrew and the Greek by the King James Version,” makes him look as ridiculous as he is mean, and no man has ever shown a meaner spirit in his dealings with his brethren! than the man who said this (reference to Peter S. Ruckman).

What’s the Big Deal with King James Onlyism Series – James White