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).
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.
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.
No doubt many have run into an atheist who is adamant about the non-existence of God (usually, in a more specific sense, the Judaeo-Christian God of the Bible). Whether it is all religions or just Christianity in general, they tend to reject what they believe is blind faith and fairy tales. Of course, they are entitled to their opinion. And there is no small shortage of satirical and philosophical rhetoric that some of them use to “refute” the existence of God. But, if you pay attention to the arguments they use to defame, blaspheme, and misalign God, there is one thing that Christians can agree with them on – the god they believe doesn’t exist really doesn’t.
I have confronted multiple conditionalists about why Irenaeus didn’t believe in conditionalist/annihilationist doctrine, but they continue to spread this lie even after being corrected. And conditionalists wonder why I say some of their content is deceptive. What’s even more discouraging, is that Chris Date, even after an online debate with Jerry Shepherd, continues to spread this. I am grateful, though, to have come across a gem a few months ago, and have been meaning to share it.
I never read this online debate before writing my first two Irenaeus articles, but yet I was still able to come to some the same conclusions. Jerry Shepherd did what I would encourage many of you to do, and that is simply read the rest of Irenaeus’ work. But just like anything dealing with annihilationist doctrine, proper literary linguistics and context will overturn much of the rhetoric that come from this camp.
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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.
Not everyone consciously affirms the doctrine of election. The reasons for this vary and are definitely outside the scope of this particular article. But whether you don’t like it, don’t agree with it, or are simply neutral about it for the time being, predestination and election are concepts in Scripture that every believer will be confronted with. Even if you choose not to deal with it, the unbelieving world still has heard about it, learned it when they were in church as a kid, and/or logically deduces it through the knowledge that God knew before hand that man would fall, and yet still created us. So even if we bury our head in the sand and ignore this, the world will not let us. And, if we have faithful pastors and brethren in Christ who challenge, edify, and provoke us in godliness through the word of God, they won’t let us ignore this topic either.
Although you may hold to a more unique position concerning predestination and election, you will probably sympathize with one of these two views:
One of the things I am passionate about is closing the gap between Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers within the body of Christ. We have become so segregated in our roles that it is almost as if they never overlap. The Pastor is in charge of the sheep, and the Evangelist is in charge of bringing the lost sheep into the fold. My dear readers, this is wrong! Just as equally wrong is the idea that the Evangelist is incapable of preaching on any other topic other than evangelism, that the burden of biblical counseling should only be left upon the head Pastor, or that Eldership belongs only to the pastors or teachers of the congregation. In accordance with Ephesians 4:11-15, I would encourage all of us to view the roles/gifts these kind of men bring to our local congregations and the universal body of Christ.
I remember an illustration a famous preacher gave one time about how the sheepdog is like the Evangelist that barks at the sheep and the sheep run into the sheepfold. Meanwhile, the sheep are Continue reading
I had the pleasure of being a guest on Echo Zoe Radio with Andy Olson to speak about the differing views of the atonement. This is a very important topic that I am seeing wedged into my conversations more and more. Whether I am counseling, evangelizing, or defending the faith among heretical teachings, the varying views of the atonement keep coming into play.
Can you tell the differance between substitutionary atonement theories and penal substitutionary atonement? As you listen to this podcast, take notes concerning the language used by those that ascribe to the more damnably heretical forms of atonement. The reason being is that they use words like substitution, sacrifice, atonement, punishment, and the like, but they mean them in entirely different ways. And they apply them differently depending on what other theologies they hold accomodate thier position. Grab a drink, a snack, sit back, and may God bless the edify the understanding of His atonement in your soul.
-Until we go home
I read someone asking a conditionalist in a Facebook thread concerning how they define death. Then one of them responded with, “It depends on how you define life.” I couldn’t agree more! Unfortunately, this is an area that Chris Date and some within Rethinking Hell sorely deviate from. In a debate with Len Pettis during a Striving for Eternity Conference in September of 2016, Chris Date stated that Jesus does not define eternal life as knowing the Father and the Son just as He taught in John 17:3. Chris then wrongly exegetes this Scripture by comparing the translation of the Greek word “is” with other Scriptures that contain the same word. He neglects to make a linguistic and contextual interpretation of John 17:3 by failing to see the other words which Jesus used that explicitly define eternal life. It is presented below in English and in Greek so that you can see why Jesus defines eternal life as knowing (having intimate fellowship with) God. And please don’t run. As I did in Part 2a, you don’t have to be a Greek scholar to understand what I’m about to show you.
- (English – ESV) And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
- (Greek – MGNT) αὕτη δέ ἐστιν ἡ αἰώνιος ζωή ἵνα γινώσκωσιν σὲ τὸν μόνον ἀληθινὸν θεὸν καὶ ὃν ἀπέστειλας Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν
Now, if you noticed, I highlighted the words that Chris used to make his case in blue. The Greek word ἐστιν is the conjugated form of the word “eimi” that he mentions in the video link above. It is this word that Chris wrongly interprets in this context. But since conditionalists tend to define death in hyper-literal terms, it is no wonder that they look at Scriptures like this and have to make it fit their own annihilationistic hermeneutic. Nevertheless, Chris explicitly states that “is” does not “equate” eternal life with knowing God the Father and the Son. But let’s look at the other words within this context to help us to understand the semantic function of “is” in this context.