January 2016 Issue of Christian Worker (The Messiah in the Flesh)

Here’s a link to the latest PDF issue of the Christian Worker.

Here are the topics that you will find:

  • The Word Became Flesh (B. J. Clarke)
  • The Suffering Saviour (Cody Westbrook)
  • The Effective Ministry of the Incarnate Son (Rick Brumback)
  • Jesus: The Master Teacher (Ken Hope)
  • Jesus: The Humble Servant (Ross Haffner)
  • Jesus: A Friend of Sinners (Michael Light)
  • He Hath Done All Things Well (Robert Stapleton)

Christian Worker is an edification effort of the Southwest church of Christ in Austin, Texas.

You can subscribe to the email version of the Christian Worker paper by clicking on the publications link on their website and then following the given instructions…or by clicking on the link provided here in The Fellowship Room under the “Friends” category to your right.

Copyright © 2016 Southwest church of Christ, All rights reserved.

#christian-worker, #death-of-christ, #incarnation, #jesus-and-him-crucified, #jesus-and-the-scriptures, #jesus-as-example, #jesus-as-friend, #jesus-birth, #messianic-prophecy, #nature-of-jesus, #perfection-of-jesus, #suffering-servant, #virgin-birth

The Absurdity of the Calvinistic Invitation to come to Christ

I just listened to a sermon by John MacArthur entitled, “The Doctrine of Actual Atonement, Part 1” in which he tried to ridicule “evangelicals” who believe that Jesus died and paid the price for sin for every single person by saying that they use the Gospel to try to “coerce” people into coming to Jesus; and once again, which is on par for Calvinists, his lesson became full of circular logic, inconsistent reasoning’s and error filled conclusions that were reached because the starting point was wrong to begin with.

On multiple occasions he referenced how a belief in universal atonement automatically requires a belief in universal salvation – which are two different things! And then he proceeded to “explain” how any atonement other than a “limited one” is actually an atonement that fails, thus requiring Jesus, due to his own logic (he actually talks about what makes sense to him which I didn’t think matters to Calvinists due to the whole irresistible aspect and perverted sovereignty of God), to only shed his sin atoning blood for people who were always going to be saved to begin with and not for people who believe of their own free will through the preaching of God’s grace and judgment of sin in the gospel.

But the kicker for me is how Mr. MacArthur ended the sermon. After all the berating of “evangelicals” who supposedly coerce others with emotion, and after all the talk about how a person has no free will in the matter, this is how he ended his sermon* on “Actual Atonement” (aka Limited Atonement):

All who will ever believe, will believe because the Father will draw them, and he will grant them repentance, and faith, and regeneration. Jesus’ death then is to be understood as a full satisfaction to God’s holy justice on behalf of all whom God will save. The atonement is an actual atonement, not simply a barrier removed. And it is in behalf of all who would ever believe, and since the sinner is unwilling and unable to believe apart from divine intervention and regeneration it comes then down to the power of God based upon the decree of God.

People say, “Well how do you know whether Christ died for you?” The answer is, “Whosoever will may come, and if you come and believe in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ then the death of Christ was for you.” Don’t hold back, come to Christ.” (John MacArthur – minute 18:00 – 19:15 of the audio from “The Doctrine of Actual Atonement, Part 1“)

Here are my big issues with such a conclusion based upon the content of what had already been said in the sermon:

  • Why in the world would someone invite someone to believe when that individual has no choice in the matter?
  • Why would you say that a sinner is unwilling to believe when they are unable to believe? One overrides the other making a “person’s will” in the matter non-influential, non-negotiable, non-consequential and non-existent.
  • Why would someone mention anything about “whosoever will” or even use the word “if” if a person’s salvation is supposedly unconditional?
  • Why would someone’s response to the invitation matter if a person’s response to the invitation doesn’t determine whether or not they’re actually saved – because you never know, Jesus may not have died for them, right?
  • Why in the world would you tell someone to not hold back and come to Christ if they can’t hold back because they’ve already been signed and sealed for Heaven? Or why in the world would you tell someone to not hold back and come to Christ if they can’t keep from holding back because they’ve already been signed and sealed for Hell?
  • Why would a person try to “coerce” an individual by using emotion and saying don’t hold back and come to Christ if in reality the response to the invitation has nothing to do with a person’s will at the end of the day?

An invitation given by a “true Calvinist” is nothing but an absurdity that does the very thing that they ridicule others for – encouraging people to make a decision about the death of Jesus upon the cross when he shed atoning blood for the entire world; but what they fail to understand is that whether or not a person accepts that free gift has nothing to do with overriding God’s sovereignty. That’s why it’s called free will by the will of God.

The doctrine of “Limited Atonement” is nothing but a doctrine invented by men that, in a twist of irony, does nothing good spiritually speaking, thus leaving it useful only as a rotten support beam to build the rest of the error filled elements of the house called Calvinism.

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, putting to death the prophets, and stoning those who are sent to her! Again and again would I have taken your children to myself as a bird takes her young ones under her wings, and you would not!” (Matthew 23:37 – BBE – emphasis mine)

* the given quote from the sermon was written down by author of this post as he listened to the recording and not copied from a supplied document or manuscript; therefore it may contain some grammatical errors, but the sermon snippet itself has been given word for word

#calvinism, #christianity, #death-of-christ, #false-doctrine, #limited-atonement, #religion, #theology

Now that’s encouraging!

Using a passage from our previous week’s Bible readings, 1Th 5.4-11, today’s sermon will deal with the resurrection still to come. We’ll focus on these points from verse 10:

  1. “Christ died for us.” His death had a purpose and brought purpose to us. Through him we escape wrath and come to salvation (v. 9). Seeing this purpose fulfilled in our lives requires alertness and sobriety (vv. 6-8).
  2. Whether we live or die, “alert or asleep,” that purpose will be fulfilled in those who are faithful. This touches on the problem the Thessalonians felt about those who were passing away. Paul guarantees that faithfulness to Christ is worth it. To die now is to pass to the head of the line.
  3. The purpose of Christ’s death is so that we can “come to life together with him”. To live with Christ, to have the life of God, to be in his presence forever, this is the precious gift of the Cross, restoring the reason for Creation and bringing man full circle back to the fellowship of Eden.

A death now in Christ does not miss this gift, but the Lord’s return will unite us all to him.

Now that’s encouraging! (v. 11).

When Paul preached righteousness, self-control, and the coming judgment to Felix, the governor became afraid and sent Paul away (Acts 24.25). That is a terrifying trio of topics for us who work contrary to God’s will, act by the impulse of our carnal desires, and face the wrath of God towards everything that destroys communion with him. Christ died to make us right before God, give us the Spirit’s power to produce spiritual fruit, and allow us pray “Maranatha, come, Lord” because our dread has been turned into hope.

#1thessalonians, #death-of-christ, #easter, #resurrection

#1-thessalonians

Someone killed God?

While attending a devotional at Hillbrook Christian Camp last night, the speaker made reference to Jesus being betrayed, arrested, hung, and ultimately dying on the cross. As he moved on from that point, he was interrupted by a little boy in the assembly. His sweet little voice had a worried tone to it as he asked the speaker, “Someone killed God?”

I liked the story and Steve Higginbotham’s application. Steve says the story will be posted online this afternoon, so check it out here when it comes up.

#crucifixion, #death-of-christ

Three announcements of Jesus’ death in Gospel of Mark

Earlier I had read about Jesus’ three announcements of his death in Mark 8-10. But this morning I noticed the events before and after each one:

Confession of his identity (8.27-30)
….. Announcement 1 (8.31-9.1)
Manifestation of his identity (9.2-13)

A child shows disciples’ failure at grandeur (9.14-32)
….. Announcement 2 (9.30-32)
A child exposes disciples’ ambition for grandeur (9.33-37)

A rich man refuses to give up riches (10.17-31)
….. Announcement 3 (9.32-34)
Two disciples reach for power (10.35-45)

The first, of course, highlights Jesus’ identity. The next two sets show man’s failure to follow Jesus example. And the whole series of three ends with, tadah! the theme verse of Mark, that Jesus came to serve and give his life as a ransom.

I’m still pondering the meaning of it all.

#death-of-christ, #gospel-of-mark, #structure-of-mark