Thursday, February 25, 2010

grounding election: the doctrine (an addendum)

Well, I haven't had much time to write out the rest of part 2 because the store has been especially busy. However, last Sunday at church one of the pastors, while teaching on the doctrines of our church in Sunday school, handed out these notes.

I think they summarize my views on the doctrine of election quite well and they came along quite providentially.

So, if you have the time, I'd encourage you to work your way through the notes. If you have questions on them, feel free to ask me.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Free book from DashHouse

Martin Luther laying it down

Wal-Mart good for farmers?

McDonald's has a chef?

Pray for the Costa's adoption process

If you have not yet watched the videos I posted yesterday, please do so here

I think I want to see this movie:
(HT: Z)


raising purity

I've not read a lot of dating books, but I have a pretty intense theology of dating (just ask any of the kids in my youth group.) I am convinced that modern dating is unhealthy and in most cases unbiblical. So, when I picked up Gerald Hiestand's book Raising Purity for review I was a little surprised that he agreed.

As always, the biggest idea to keep in mind when trying to figure out how to keep relationships pure is how they reflect Christ. Hiestand nails this in a number of aspects. On page one of the intro is this line, "...we will be searching for the heart of God, expressed fully in the person of Christ. We will be searching for a Son-exalting purity that is not defined by what it isn't but by what it is. Ultimately--though perhaps you didn't realize it--we will be searching for the gospel."

Hiestand delivers on his promise. This book is all about exalting the name of Jesus in our relationships.

One of the main cornerstones of the book is defining relationships biblically, leading to two choices: married or unmarried, neighbors or spouses. If you aren't married to the person, then you should treat them as a neighbor. He gets this from a variety of texts and expounds on what that means for "dating." If you wouldn't do it with a family member or your next door neighbor, you shouldn't be doing it while dating. That makes things pretty clear doesn't it?

Where does he get this exalted view of marriage and this low view of dating? He gets it from this idea that "in a very real sense, we Christians are currently engaged to Christ." Only with engagement does real commitment occur. Dating offers no promise of a future, therefore, dating (in the modern sense) is dangerous because it offers a false sense of security.

Beyond the practical advice on how to seek relationships biblically is some sobering wisdom on lust and sin. Based on several passages of Scripture he makes this statement: "Spontaneous emotional responses are not morally neutral; they reveal the conditions of our hearts. When we spontaneously respond in rage to the rude driver, in condemnation to the fallen saint, or in lust to thee attractive woman, we reveal the agendas of our hearts are not as aligned with God as they should be."

Wow. That's powerfully convicting.

I'd recommend the book to anyone with children and anyone who deals with youth. There is a lot of wisdom packed into a short 150 pages that will help you think clearly about relationships and helping kids wade through the minefield of modern dating.


Monday, February 22, 2010


I had another post ready to go today...and then I saw this.

Go over and watch the videos and pray for believers in India (and other persecuted countries.)

It really does make you question everything.


Friday, February 19, 2010


Challies is freebie-ing some things.

Al Mohler's thoughts on preaching

Fish and Chips every week

The white guy bias

These are pretty cool (just trust me and click on it)

Mark Driscoll talking about demons

(HT: JB)


it's my nephew's 2nd birthday!

And here's a short clip from a couple weeks ago. He tried to put his sweater on and it ended up backwards and stuck. You wish you had a nephew this awesome.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

grounding election: immediate grief (pt 1)

(If you're just tuning in, here's the intro and part 1)

I'll admit it right up front. I did not feel grief when I learned of election. I felt two things that were not anywhere near grief.

The first was anger. Not anger at God, but anger at the church. I was really, really, unbelievably, seethingly angry at the church. I say it like that because I don't recall any pastors ever trying to hide the doctrine (if I'd have flipped open my Bible for myself I would have found it) but it did seem as though no one had EVER talked about this idea with me. Ever. And that sent me over the edge.

But, underlying my hope that no pastor had ever intentionally avoided the topic is that I found the doctrine of predestination so prevalent in Scripture that one would actually, in my opinion, have to to work at NOT talking about it. I've heard sermons in recent years that were on Ephesians 1, Romans 9, John 6 and several other passages and this was the kind of thing said about election "it's not like the Calvinists say, but we don't have time to get into it here." What a bunch of bologna (or baloney)!

But the real reason I was so upset was that this doctrine, for me, brought an immense sense of Joy. Real Joy. I had "re-committed" my life to Christ so many stinkin' times, promising that I'd do better and that God would have something to be proud of someday that the idea that I was absolutely chosen before the world for the glory of God blew me out of the water!

It was as if someone had been holding out on the most refreshing drink of Christ that could ever be offered that when I drank of it I despised those who had worked to hide it.

And because I was so rapturously in love with the idea of election for myself and other believers and so angry at the church for avoiding it, I didn't have time to really sit back and let my heart do some pondering.

For most people though, those are not the first emotions you feel when you learn of election. Some of you were probably upset just reading my post from a few days ago (or today's post), highlighting the prominence of the doctrine in Scripture (if you're really wondering how immense the topic is, I suggest getting ahold of R.C. Sproul's series on Predestination.)

I think most people's reaction is along these lines:

"That's not Biblical. I've never even heard of this kind of thing before. My pastor has never said anything like this. Oh, you're a 'Calvinist', that explains it. Show me in the Bible where this is true. What about the 'doctrine' of free-will?"

There is almost always a reaction against predestination because it's rarely taught in American churches. So, when someone actually says "we're elect" people get squirmy because, if they've grown up in the church, it sounds foreign. And since they're supposed to test all things, they test it. Since it's never been taught, they have a false sense of wrongness. It's a vicious cycle that can only be broken by diligently and patiently studying the doctrine, whether on your own or with someone who is willing to work through it with you.

The second emotion, sometimes sitting arms-linked with the above, is one of terrible and horrible grief over the 'non-elect.' This can lead to many problems, lack of evangelistic zeal, abandonment of the faith, the ruination of friendships and terrible words evoked toward our great Savior, Jesus Christ.

It's this grief that I'll try and hash out in part two in a few days.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Well, due to some business up in Chicago I won't have time to edit my post for today. You'll have to make do with these nuggets. Below are some of my grandpa's favorite sayings.

that'd stink a hound off a gut wagon
I been workin' like a borr'wd mule
I could sell a ketchup popsicle to a woman in white gloves
that'd gag a maggot

There are more. I just can't think of them.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010


My advice? Stop the Buzz.

The bounds of Christian liberty

Pain before greatness

Some really cool pictures of massive snow

John Piper almost quit Bethlehem?

Beware "new" Christianities

And a little sweet gospel song action:
(HT: Thinklings)



I don't know if "discover" is the right word, but this verse from Luke 22 has been ingrained in my memory for several years. It has provided immense comfort and, along with a few Psalms, was the sustaining voice that kept me from abandoning everything two years ago.

"Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers."

I encourage you all to put this verse into your hearts, because you won't have much strength to look for hope when those times come. You'll need to have his Word implanted within you.

Take a few minutes and say it out loud about 20 times, write it down a few times, and come back to it every day and do the same for the next few days. When Satan demands to have you and Christ seems absent, pray that he would be merciful and intercede on  your behalf just as he did for Peter.


Monday, February 15, 2010

grounding election: the existence of the doctrine

It wouldn't do us much good to have a conversation on what we should ground God's sovereign election in if we don't agree that the doctrine of election exists and is Biblical. A blog really isn't the place to have an all-out defense of the doctrine, but a few things can be said about it in a short matter of time.

The words elect, predestined, foreknown, chosen, etc. exist throughout Scripture. Just a quick look through a concordance will assure you of this. Below I've got some statistics gathered from a simple word search using Biblegateway. I've combined word references in the Gospels (that is, if the same situation is being talked about in Matt. 24 and Mark 13, I'll simply count them as one instance) and tried to ween out those verses that do not use them in a context that has to do with election (for instance, if "Lot chose" is in a verse, I've left that out of the count.) I've also included all variations on the word, elect, elected, election, etc.

Elect: 11 instances
Chose: 48 instances
Foreknew: 5 instances
Predestined (destined): 8 instances

Those are just where the exact words appears. The idea of election, though, is often implied in a text. "My people" is a common phrase (but I wasn't about to sift through all those instances), the idea of God doing as He pleases with people by making kings and rulers and destroying kingdoms (that is the point of the fall of Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel), the idea that nothing happens outside God's will, and the prophecies found in Scripture (especially those that foretell of Jesus life, death and resurrection) all point to God's sovereign election.

Some have argued that God election is of a people, not individually but corporately. This idea, however nice it may sound, does not hold up logically. You can't choose a group without choosing individuals. You might not want everyone that is in the group, but by virtue of your choice, you have chosen them anyway. Election must ultimately become individual if it is to make any sense.

And finally, for me, the greatest Scriptural evidence of election is found in this glorious statement from Ephesians 1:

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory."

I've marked up the text so that you can see a few things more clearly:
Red phrases are blessings or goodness given to us...notice how prominent they are
Blue phrases are those about our election
Green phrases are those that have to due with God's action in election
Purple is the ultimate purpose of election

I hope that makes sense.

Again, all I'm trying to show in this opening post that the doctrine of election is true and found throughout the Scriptures in a myriad of ways. We need to be agreed on this basic idea that it exists before a discussion can be made for us to rejoice in it.

Here is a basic outline of the remaining posts (coming every day or so for the next couple weeks)
Election should cause grief
God is not happy that anyone should perish
God is forever about his fame
Election should make us rejoice

There may be a few posts thrown in to help clarify points.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

in unrelated news...on a sunday, no less

I've turned Google Buzz off in Gmail. I finally decided it was time to close the thing down when I saw conversations of people that I've never actually met, but that I've corresponded with via email...and then I saw folks talking to them whom I've never even heard of...and it was a bit too stalker-like for me.

Maybe once they get the mess cleaned up I'll turn it back on, but for now I'm done with Google Buzz.


Friday, February 12, 2010


Challies has some free kids stuff today.

And, for the Twitter among us: win a free car from CarMax or an iPad from Logos.

Taking the Gospel to (HT: Noel)

What it is like to go to a D. Webb concert if you don't know his music

The dangers of Christian radio

Take a Sabbath

Derek Joseph's posts from 1 Timothy are excellent

And some Michael Jackson covers:
(HT: BL)


grounding election

I had a conversation with a friend last night that ended with a discussion on God's electing some unto salvation and some unto damnation. It is a difficult topic, especially if you have close friends or family who are not yet saved. It is heart-wrenching to think of them never knowing Christ.

Years ago I was very cool and collected about the idea of election. I loved it unabashedly. I spoke of it freely, with passion and many times with absolutely no forethought. I'm sure there have been many who were adversely affected by my ranting.

You see, although I knew it to be true and good, the secondary election of reprobates never really weighed on my mind. Whenever folks would talk about how they disliked my insistence on the doctrine of predestination I would write them off as too sentimental and not enough into Biblical truth.

Over the years though, I started to feel the ache of seeing those whom I love as brothers refuse the faith. It was something I couldn't put a handle on and I quickly wrote it off as an emotional response against the glorious truth of Scripture. But it kept coming back, stronger than before.

It is this ache, this anguish, that I will be discussing for the next few posts. It is a good thing. It grounds election and keeps Christians humble. It exposes our hearts for the lost and it helps us see Christ more clearly. And it makes election more glorious, not less.

I probably wouldn't have written these posts if I hadn't had that discussion last night. After the phone call I realized just how much damage can be done by insisting on election without grounding it in heartache.

(My friend, by the way, wasn't calling me up to yell at me about my insistence on election. I just realized through the conversation that I had probably hurt many and that some of you may have, as well.)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

the absurdity of my prayers

I've noticed something strange lately in my prayer life. It has been going on for, most likely, my entire life as a Christian but I just realized how weird it is.

It goes something like this:

Yesterday I received an email letting me know about a situation in Haiti involving several folks that attend Christ's Covenant, whom I've never met personally. It gave some details about specific needs in the area, needs of the folks serving and some info on return flights.

Immediately I thought "I should really spend some time in prayer about this." Then I went right back to reading the rest of my email.

Minutes later I realize that I just thought of praying about someone, but I never actually did it. It wasn't because I was dealing with an urgent matter, or was interrupted, or had something else to pray about. I simply didn't take time to actually pray about the situation.

This happens much more often than I'd like to admit. I wonder if I'm alone with this problem or if you, too, suffer from an absurd prayer life?

Incidentally, if you think of it, please pray for the folks from my church down in Haiti and for the folks they'll be ministering to. (That means stop reading and pray, you really don't have anything better to do. I promise.)



Try and say that date real fast "two, ten, ten."

Logos is giving away an IPad...seriously. Even though I don't like the looks of them and they don't really appeal to me, who doesn't want a free new electronic gadget?

Win a free DA Carson book from Z

A review of McLaren's new book

Lloyd-Jones says what the greatest danger is

Bigfoot is real, I tell ya. I seen him.

And the big red tractor from Francis Chan:

The Big Red Tractor from Jacob Lewis on Vimeo.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

writing takes time

A day only has so many hours and, as of lately, they've mostly been filled with work. Ordinarily this wouldn't affect my blogging, but for some unknown reason we've been quite busy at the store. Today, for instance, I started the tractor to plow the drive and didn't get done until 3:30. That's good for business and bad for blogging.

I could, of course, simply stay after work or go in early to blog but that just doesn't sound appealing to me. That leaves me with phone blogging, which I've finally decided to give in to. I hope you're happy.

I'll be getting some posts written up and should be back to my regular schedule in the next few days. I've also got my daily links posts ready to go, though they may be a day later than many of the posts I link to.

My current obsession: Koine Greek. I'm busting out Mounce's textbooks and loving it. I can't wait for seminary, hopefully I'll be able to go in the next couple years.

Till tomorrow,