Why I Must Address the Current Direction of the SBC

On February 2, I will start a Sunday morning sermon series entitled In Defense of God’s Order and the Gospel. I am an expositor in both heart and practice. For the past three years, I have been preaching through Matthew, and we are starting chapter 17. But I believe the current direction of the SBC presents a clear and present danger to God’s divine order and the purity of the gospel; therefore, as a shepherd charged by the Great Shepherd with protecting the flock, I must speak (Acts 20:28–30; 1 Tim 1:18–20). Continue reading →

Calvinism’s Determinism Is Not Biblically or Practically Viable

Calvinism rejects libertarian free will and believes in compatible moral freedom, which means everything and everyone is micro-determined. The following are the definitions of the two perspectives.[1]

Compatibilism
Determinism and moral responsibility are compatible; hence, the name. This compatibility is not achieved by compatibilism being less deterministic than hard determinism. Rather, it is achieved by defining free choice to mean as long as a person chooses according to his greatest desire, he can be considered to have made a free choice for which he is morally responsible; even though given the same past, he cannot choose differently in the moral moment of decision.

Consequently, the difference between compatibilism (soft determinism) and hard determinism is not to be found in the levels of the deterministic nature of each because they are the same. Rather, the difference is compatibilism contends people are morally responsible for their choices if they are made according to their greatest desire, and hard determinism says they are not. Continue reading →

The Paradox of Christmas

On Christmas, we give thanks and celebrate Christ humbling himself and being born a baby boy in order to die for the sins of the world (John 1:29). That is the greatest gift and message of Christmas; may Christ’s humility, which made the Christmas message possible, be seen in us.

“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who . . . humbled Himself” (Phil 2:5, 8).

He who had no beginning was born.
He was born of a woman he created.
The served became the servant.
The sovereign became the sacrifice.
He came from the halls of heaven to the hell of Golgotha.
He became a part of his creation.
He was taught to eat, although he created the digestive system of humanity.
He was taught the ABCs, although he created all the languages.
He was taught to start and finish things, although he is the Alpha and Omega
He was taught to make animal harnesses out of trees he created.
He was taught how to make a wheel, although he created the earth a sphere.
He is the Lord of creation, yet he was called the Lord of Flies.
He is Truth, yet he was called a liar.
He is the King of Kings, yet he was denied the throne of Israel.
He exchanged the crown of glory for a crown of thorns.
He existed in eternity and was killed in time.
He who knew no sin became sin for us.
He was God but appeared as an ordinary man.
He who is life died.
He delivered man from God’s Judgement but not himself.
He is the light of the world, but he was buried in the darkness of God’s wrath.
He gave up the infinite and took on the average.
He endured the unthinkable.
He helped the ungrateful.
He delivered the unholy.
He sacrificed his sovereignty.
He sought true servanthood.
He sacrificed his self.

“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:5–11).

“For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:3).

The Christ of Christmas!

The Gay Christian? Some Thoughts

I Believe:

God loves every sinner and desires to save every person (Titus 2:11). A person who has been involved in homosexual acts or currently struggles with homosexual lust is salvifically loved by God, and can, therefore, be saved in exactly the same way as someone who struggles with heterosexual lust or the same way any other person is saved (John 3:16; Titus 2:11; 2 Pet 3:9).

I Reject the idea of: Continue reading →

I am Troubled About an ERLC Article on Abortion

Phoebe Cates wrote an article that is posted on the ERLC website entitled, “Why our hearts matter when talking about Abortion.”

I agree with the title of the article. We should have a broken heart over the tragedy of every abortion and a tender heart toward every person who needs Christ. We should approach the woman who is contemplating abortion or has had one with love, truth, and gentleness (Eph 4:15; 1 Pet 3:15). I appreciate Phoebe reminding us of the importance of our heart when we engage women who struggle with or have had an abortion. Continue reading →

Why Calvinism’s View of Free Will and Scripture are Irreconcilable

Calvinism rejects libertarian free will and believes in compatible moral freedom, which means everything and everyone is micro-determined. For that to be the biblically reflective approach to understanding Scripture (what the Bible actually portrays and teaches), Calvinists would have to explain why the Bible, from Genesis two through Revelation twenty-two, is absolutely permeated with verses, events, challenges, commands, offers, and judgments that clearly reflect that people have libertarian free will. That is to say; they can choose to act one way or differently in a myriad of passages.

Continue reading →

Answering Calvinism’s Claim That We Are All Determinists

Some Calvinists argue that Extensivists’ (non-Calvinists) belief in libertarian freedom, and God’s foreknowledge of what such beings will choose still results in determinism, and therefore, we are all determinists;[1] thus, we have the same deterministic problem as Calvinists.[2] Calvinists believe this argument assuages the significant problems that are unique to Calvinism because of its commitment to decretal theology and compatible moral freedom, a commitment that results in Calvinism’s micro-determinism of everything; there are no exceptions.

Calvinism’s view of free choice and moral responsibility is called compatibilism.[3] Compatibilism contends that determinism and moral responsibility are compatible; hence, the name. This compatibility is achieved by defining a free moral choice to exist so long as one chooses according to his greatest desire. But compatibilism entails that the desire from which one freely chooses is determined; thus, humans can only make micro-predetermined free choices. Therefore, given the same past, no one can choose differently in the moral moment of decision. So, is the argument legitimate that Extensivists are all ultimately determinists? Well No! Continue reading →

Why Some Theological Non-Calvinists Identify as Calvinists

While many don the designation Calvinist because they have endeavored to learn all aspects of Calvinism and are thereby convinced that it provides the most cogent, comprehensive, and consistent grid through which to understand Scripture, others adopt the label less nobly. Of this latter kind, it seems to me many assume the title Calvinist because they like certain components of Calvinism, which they are led to believe are unique to Calvinism. Such conclusions may arise from their exposure to the claims of some Calvinists, the inadequate explanations or responses of those they are familiar with who reject Calvinism, or even from their own subjective assumptions. Such aspects are exampled by God’s sovereignty, the preeminence of God’s glory, or the total depravity of fallen man. Continue reading →

God’s Essential Omniscience Does Not Require Calvinism’s Determinism

In both Calvinism and Extensivism, God knows all that could happen, and all that will happen.[1] The difference is in how he knows. According to Calvinism, his knowledge of what could and will happen is based upon his micro-determination.[2] Another way of saying God knows what could happen is God knows what he could determine to happen. Similarly, another way of saying God knows what will happen is God knows, out of the possibilities of what he could determine to happen, what he will determine to happen. This determinism is not merely God determining to create the universe because we all believe that if God did not determine to create, creation would not exist. Continue reading →