Welcome to Our Common Salvation

***PLEASE BE PATIENT AS THIS SITE IS STILL UNDER CONSTRUCTION***
Feel free to read and share what is written and posted thus far, but there is more to come.

All of Christian life is founded upon the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Understanding that through a proper biblical framework will affect how we live, pray, read the Scriptures, fellowship with other believers and God, & preach the gospel. And if we are truly saved and strive to believe the essential truths of Scripture, we will walk worthy of our calling (Col 1:9-13; 2 Thess. 1:11-12) and be ready to give a proper defense of the faith (2 Tim. 2:25). But this salvation is not a salvation to be walked on our own. By God’s grace, He has blessed us with the means of grace by which we can edify one another and provoke each other to righteousness via the local church (Acts 2:42; Heb 10:24). I pray that this blog will do just that. And that by sharing this blog with your family, friends, and loved ones what is written here, that they will come to know the beauty of salvation by grace, being at peace with God, as well as grounded and edified in the Scriptures so that we can have assurance through Christ and fellowship with one another. Welcome to our common salvation.

 

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The Rooster and the Jewel (Aesop’s Fables w/ Christian Applications #4)

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A Rooster, while looking for food for himself and his hens, found a precious stone. He shouted, “Oh precious stone. If your owner had found you before I did, he would have joyously taken you, and set you in your rightful place. But indeed, I have found you for no reason. Because I would rather have one grain of corn than all the jewels in the world.”

Application 1: Truly this is the creed of the foolish at heart when he has found wisdom. His only concern is for his belly and to please those who are of his nature. If it were a righteous man to find wisdom, he would exalt it in its right place and use it to the glory of God. But since the foolish have no stomach for wisdom, they would forsake the grandest jewels that wisdom has to offer for one grain of sin (Prov 17:16).

Application 2: The sinful do not discern the value of the eternal gospel. Because their god is their belly, and their glory their shame (Phil 3:19), they are unable to perceive the immeasurable riches in Christ (Eph 2:7), who is our wisdom and righteousness (1 Cor. 1:30). Since their heart is not regenerated to spiritually discern the goodness of God, they treasure the pleasures of sin, over and beyond the treasures of heaven. And like this rooster, they may stumble upon The Precious Stone, but unless a miracle replaces the heart of flesh, they will reject His worth.

Annihilating Conditionalism

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I had the privilege to appear on the Bible Thumping Wingnut show to discuss conditionalism/annihilationism. We went over the common mistake people make when dialoguing with conditionalists, the heretical associations Rethinking Hell has with theologies like Open Theism, Unitarianism, and Universalism, and finally Jude 7 regarding the Greek language and how it affirms the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah currently suffering eternal conscious torment now, even as we speak, in final punishment. We also talked about Chris Date and Rethinking Hell still refusing to have a real conversation with me about this topic. Tune in and share with friends.

http://biblethumpingwingnut.com/2017/10/31/btwn-episode-277-rethinking-hell/

The Study of Language by George Yule (Book Recommendation #1)

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I know am way behind when it comes to writing articles regarding linguistics, but here is a good start. If you’re interested in an easy to read, understandable, and fun introduction into the world of linguistics, The Study of Language by George Yule is in my top 5. It’s already in it’s sixth edition, but you can download the fourth edition for free here.

I enjoyed Yule’s book because it breaks done prominent categories of linguistics simply for the average reader. Yes, there are some technical aspects (as there should be with higher learning), but nevertheless, he still reveals why linguistics is indeed an enjoyable science. From why human communication is unique among all of God’s creatures (he didn’t say that, I did) and how language in the brain functions, to my personal favorite, Discourse Analysis, you will gain a wealth of knowledge of how human language is fearfully and wonderfully crafted by the hand of our God and King, Jesus Christ. No, Yule is not a Christian. But there is much to glean from the scientific study of linguistics that will leave you in awe of God’s creativity and power and help you to appreciate the under appreciated the uniquely human ability of language.

-Until we go home

“The Mighty Weakness of John Knox”

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Last week at our church, we had a Reformation Conference and Douglas Bond was the teacher. The lectures were very informative and edifying, especially when he spoke about the French Reformers (like the Huguenots). I hope to have him (Lord willing) appear our podcast in the near future to discuss the French Reformers. Pray for that.

It was in the course of that evening that I came across The Mighty Weakness of John Knox written by Bond, edited by Steve Lawson. If there was ever a stack of small books that should encourage your soul concerning the common weakness we all face, and how God’s grace empowers us despite those weaknesses, this should be in the top 5! This book takes the overly divine view we tend to have about our heroes in the faith, specifically here John Knox, and humanizes him in order to highlight the God of John Knox. One of the statements made about John Knox was made by a fellow minister, Thomas Smeaton, who said: “I know not if God ever place a more godly and great spirit in a body so little and frail” (pg 24).  And even though some may portray Knox’s greatest moments in preaching against Roman Catholicism, the fact of the matter is, he was often scared, timid, and even left a room in tears when first called upon to preach. But yet, God inflamed such man to passionately love the glory of God, the salvation of souls, and hate idolatry more than seek to preserve his own life.

Although Knox was a zealous preacher and a thunderous figure, he had many struggles in his lifetime that squeezed the fruitful juices of God’s Spirit out of him. He was targeted by the Roman church, escaped several assassination attempts, lost his wife, was often without sleep, and constantly criticized for his zealous approach to name a few things. But yet, he was a loving shepherd to his people, a minister to the poor, humble prayer warrior, and a fearless preacher when the time came. In reading this book, it seemed obvious to me that many of us, who are often more ready to make excuses about why we can’t be faithful in the most common ways to God, who go on and on about our weakness, would resonate much with Knox. He was but a broken vessel in the hands of his Master.

I benefited tremendously reading about Knox’s weaknesses and how God loves to use men and women who are intimately familiar with their own failings. As Bond stated:

“Knox’s preaching ministry was a microcosm of the mysteries of God’s providence. God called a timid man who trembled in his boots at the thought of preaching and who ran from the room in tears when first called upon to do so. When a man feels in his own strength that he can do something, he tends to not cry out to God in prayer to enable him to do it. He believes he is already capable, so he sees no need to depend on God’s strength. but this was not Knox the preacher. Knox, who never completed seminary, knew that if he was to fulfill his calling as a preacher, he desperately needed God’s power. Weak in terms of physical strength, he turned from himself to find vigor that only comes from God” (pg 65-66) (italics mine)

This information should encourage every home-school mom, deacon, teacher, factory worker, professor, pastor, missionary, widow, single person, public school child, etc., to timidly but ferociously look to God for grace and strength when struggling against ourselves to be faithful witnesses in the world. And to fight our battles on our knees as Knox did, and to trust in the sovereign mercy of Christ to sustain and preserve us even when we are in the midst of what seems to be a losing battle. It is hard to feel in our own person the things that Knox personally faced since we are so far removed from that time frame in history. But the one thing that will always unite us all is that he, like us, needed God’s sustaining mercy in order to be faithful in his day. Who are we to think that God’s hand is too small to sustain such a weak man such as Knox, and yet not do the same for us?

Get your copy of The Mighty Weakness of John Knox and may God heartily encourage you, embolden you, and revive you as you celebrate the God of the Reformation.

-Until we go home

Rethinking Conditionalism (Part 8b) – Jude’s Eternal Fire & 2 Peter 2:6

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Almost a year ago, Chris Date and I had several conversations about his position and about coming on our radio podcast. He first emailed us and asked us to come on the show to talk about conditionalism. Being familiar with his ministry at that point for almost three years, I desired to converse with him about some of the details of what he believed. The conversations didn’t go well. Partly because Chris felt as though I was being mean-spirited and rude. Mostly because he doesn’t know how to be critically questioned about his belief in conversation (more specifically by me) and can’t answer my follow up questions. And Jude’s eternal fire is definitely a golden calf that he and other conditionalists vehemently defend. But recently, Chris blocked me from Facebook so that I cannot see his interactions and posts. It’s a good strategy. But just like many of his followers who send him my articles and social media posts (who also aggressively swarm my brethren’s blogs and podcasts in almost militant fashion), by God’s providence, I have been give the privilege to see Chris’ recent post about Jude 7’s eternal fire. His thoughts about Jude were off back then when he shared them with me. The ones I received recently were just as fallacious. Continue reading

Rethinking Conditionalism (Part 8a) – Jude’s Eternal Fire

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I’ve been waiting to write this article for a while. But I have been eager too. Jude 7 is a go-to verse for annihilationists who assert that since Jude 7 seemingly speaks of “eternal fire” that rained down upon Sodom and Gomorrah, and that fire was not (and is not still) burning, therefore, the eternal fire in Matthew 25, or anything other semantical reference about hell’s fires burning forever, is false. And since also the parallel passage in 2 Peter 2:6 mentions Sodom being reduced to ashes, that pretty much seals the deal and destroys eternal conscious torment (pun intended). Not so fast though. There is a key linguistic feature in Jude that I have yet to hear being addressed in any of the articles or podcasts being written (even though I directly challenged Chris Date with this, and his answer was appalling). But before I reveal what that is, this will be a two part article. This first one is the easier-to-read-just-get-the-gist, kind of article that will be for those of us who do not fully understand linguistic terms. I will attempt to break it down so that almost anyone can understand. The next article will be more technical.

So what is this key? First, here is Jude verse 3 – 7 Continue reading

Rethinking Conditionalism (Part 7a) – Rethinking Hell’s Proponents

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I keep saying over and over again that the annihilationism/conditionalism discussion would take on a different form if it wasn’t for all the heretics Rethinking Hell and others like them affirm, associate, and keep company with. As I pointed out in article 5a concerning the atonement, there are some very serious concerns that should be addressed, not just about the unsound biblical hermeneutics coming out of this camp, but also the corruptions these associations bring to the table. Saying this, have you ever taken a gander at Rethinking Hell’s list for “proponents” of conditionalism? I have. Seems overwhelming at first. It’s almost like so many orthodox scholars and preachers would adhere to this position. Well, I have watched videos and listened to podcasts where Chris Date touts some of these names when asked for scholars that believe in conditionalism. But are you aware of what some of these people believe about some of the essentials of the faith? Are you even aware of the names of the people that are being used in the Rethinking Hell articles, podcasts, books, and conferences? You should. Because some of these people stand out if you diligently seek to know those that labor among you (1 Thess 5:12). For some of these names, it didn’t take long before something damnably heretical turned up. For others, (some of which I was already aware of), I was surprised (but not really) that Rethinking Hell, which considers themselves within the bounds of orthodoxy, would list such heretics and not call them out as they are. But if you’ve read article 5a on the atonement and how Unitarians, Universalists, and those that deny penal substitution are on the approval list for even supposed gospel-centered Calvinist like Chris Date, then this article may not come as a shock to you. Let’s deal with a few of these men now.

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1) Jeff Cook is listed as a modern  and Professor at University of Northern Colorado. In an online debate with Preston Sprinkle (who also is a conditionalist), he writes some pretty disturbing things. To cut to the chase, he affirms monogamous same sex marriage as not  immoral. He says: Continue reading

The Father and His Sons (Aesop’s Fables w/ Christian Applications #3)

A father had a family of sons who were perpetually fighting among themselves. When he failed to resolve their disputes by his exhortations, he determined to give them a practical illustration of the evils of disunity. So one day told them to bring him a bundle of sticks. When they had done so, he placed a bundle into each of their hands, and ordered them to try and break it in pieces. They tried with all their strength, and were not able to do it. He then separated the bundle into individual sticks, one by one, and put them into his sons’ hands, upon which they broke them easily. So he addressed them in these words: “My sons, if you are of one mind, and unite to assist each other, you will be as this bundle when it’s together – uninjured by all the attempts of your enemies. But if you are divided among yourselves, you will be broken as easily as these sticks.”

Application: Who does not know the universal principle of strength in unity? Even the weakest strand ever created, when bound together as a rope, will serve as the best testament to this truth. It would be the best advice for all Christians everywhere to bind themselves together in gospel unity and Christ-centered theology so that we develop into one mind in Christ! (Phil 2:1-11) That way, when the world wishes to break us one by one, they would find it harder to break us because we are united in our love for one another (John 13:35; Eph 4:1-2 & 13-16).

 

The Charcoal Burner and The Fuller (Aesop’s Fables w/ Christian Applications #2)

A Charcoal Burner was working his trade in his home. One day he met a friend, a Fuller, and begged him to come and live with him, saying that they should be far better as neighbors so that their housekeeping expenses would be lessened. The Fuller replied, “This arrangement is impossible! Because as far as I am concerned, whatever I should whiten, you will immediately blacken again with your charcoal.”

Application: What impossibility is it for the wicked and the righteous to dwell together in unity? (2 Cor. 6:14) Though it may seem feasible for a season, most of the time will be spent in opposition because of contrary desires. For the Saint wishes to keep his manners, motives, and actions clean, while the wicked has not the slightest care concerning who or what they stain or even sense whether or not they must be clean themselves.


The Wolf and the Lamb (Aesop’s Fables w/ Christian Applications #1)

 

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A Wolf, meeting with a Lamb astray from the fold, resolved not to lay violent hands on him, but instead found some strange reason to justify to the Lamb the his right to eat him. He thus addressed him: “Sir, um, last year you grossly insulted me.” “How?,” bleated the Lamb in a mournful tone of voice, “I was not born yet.” Then said the Wolf, “Well, um, you fed in my pasture.” “No, good sir,” replied the Lamb, “I have not yet tasted grass.” Again said the Wolf, “Very well then. You drink of my well.” “No,” exclaimed the Lamb, “I have yet to drink water, for my mother’s milk is both food and drink to me.” Upon this last statement, the Wolf seized him and ate him up, saying, “Well! I won’t remain supperless, even though you refuted every one of my allegations.”

Application 1: This is a perfect picture for those who wish to commit sin, yet try to find a reason to justify their sin. With every correction and rebuke from their conscience or God’s people, the wicked will bounce from one reason to the next, only to find themselves without excuse. Then, when the river of pretense runs dry, there is no other excuse for their sinful appetite other than they love and choose to do it, because it is their nature to do so.

Application 2: The False Teacher’s appetite to consume the sheepfold of God will never be tempered by correction. Regardless of how much folly you reveal in them, their nature will be to not spare the flock. This will be made plain the most by their ferocious behavior when they are challenged about their false doctrine.