Biologos, Theistic evolution, and the Pelagian heresy – creation.com

Biologos pelagian heresy – creation.com.

“The Aquila Report” carried this powerful article as one of its “top 10″ this past week (April 1, 2014), but I also went to the original source, which is Creation.com (cf. the link above).

creationvsevolutionThere you will find the complete article, “BioLogos, Theistic Evolution, and the Pelagian Heresy”, written by Richard Fangrad, CEO of Creation Ministries International-Canada. Fangrad makes a significant connection between the old heresy of Pelagianism and the “new” one of theistic evolution, especially that part of “TE” that now wants to deny the historical reality of our first parents, Adam and Eve.

I give you a portion of his article here; read the rest at this link.

May Fangrad’s thoughts show us even more clearly why we must reject all forms of evolutionism, root and branch. Not to do so leads one to forfeit the gospel of Jesus Christ. Yes, it IS that serious.

Today we Christians find ourselves at an interesting place in Church history. Although Scripture has been with us for 2,000 years (and is sufficient for determining how and when God created), we now have decades of research that supports what the Bible has always said. Today we are blessed with mountains of scientific evidence supporting the biblical record of a recent creation followed by a global flood and all humans originating with Adam and Eve. Despite all of this, aspects of an old heresy relating to the creation account are increasingly infiltrating the Church. This is the falsehood known as Pelagianism.

No Adam: no original sin, no need for the cross

The heresy of Pelagianism (see the box below for details) asserted that Adam’s sin had no effect on the human race, that we have not inherited a sin nature from Adam, and that all humans are born with the ability to live a sin-free life. This renders the work of Christ on the cross superfluous. If we can achieve Heaven without any work of God whatsoever (that is, if we have no sin) then there is no need (it is even nonsensical) for God to bear the penalty for our sin. The reality is that at the cross Christ died for us as a substitute. He paid the penalty that we incurred, in our place and simultaneously transferred His righteousness to us. 2 Corinthians 5:21 describes this double transfer. The sinless Christ pays for our sins in our place (so that we don’t have to!), and His righteousness is transferred to us. That single verse is Paul’s simple one-sentence summary of the Gospel. The whole Gospel message is contained in outline in those words and is, of course, detailed throughout the rest of Scripture.

Bible scholars at the time of Pelagius recognized the contradiction between his teachings and Scripture. As a result, Pelagianism was condemned as heretical at many church councils including the Councils of Carthage (in 412, 416 and 418), the Council of Ephesus (431) and the Council of Orange (529). The intervening 1600 years have merely strengthened and further refined the biblical truth confirming that Pelagianism is heretical. This rich history of the battle for truth is a great advantage for us today. When Pelagianizing tendencies infiltrate the church today we should simply look back at that history, remember the error of the past, and avoid repeating the same error. Unfortunately, Pelagianism is alive and well today. One of its modern forms, mutated and renamed, is called ‘theistic evolution’.

C.Trueman on Political Correctness – in the Church!

trueman-fools.inddThe final chapter in Dr.Carl Trueman’s collection of essays titled Fools Rush In Where Monkeys Fear to Tread: Taking Aim at Everyone (P&R, 2012) is also about the use of language and words (see my post of last week). With the heading “Is the Thickness of Two Short Planks a Forgotten Divine Attribute?”, this essay exposes the deceitful and worldly way in which modern Evangelicalism uses language to cover up sin. The two examples he references are sins against the 9th and 7th commandments – lying and adultery – and his treatment of what the church has done with the Biblical language for and definition of these sins will hit you right between the eyes.

There are many good quotes I could pull from this chapter, for Trueman pulls no punches! But I leave you with the last two paragraphs, because they will also help you understand why he chose the title for this essay that he did. Ponder the weight of these words – but especially the weight of God’s Word when He speaks to us about our sin.

Worse still, of course, are the theological implications: to think that I am an idiot is one thing. Many have done that; it’s not unusual and, sadly, I am sure there is plenty of evidence to suggest that I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer. But these people seem to think they can fool God with their slick talk and sound bites. Yes, believe it or not, they apparently regard themselves as cleverer than their maker. Like Adam and Eve sewing fig leaves together in the Garden, they believe that, if they use the right words, he just won’t notice the reality that lies behind their thin veil of semantic scamology.

In fact, they have squeezed God into a box that is so small he barely has the divine equivalent of two brain cells to rub together. Their a priori theological system has led them to assume God is as thick as two short planks, and that a bit of obfuscatory language and the odd specious euphemism will prevent him from holding them accountable for their lies and the filth of their personal lives.

To consider other human beings to be so stupid as not to see through the flannel about ‘theological leverage’ and ‘sins of relational mobility” (the two terms used in the recent past to refer to sins of lying and adultery respectively -cjt) is patronizing and offensive; but to assume God is a moron, as think as a brick, is frankly, dangerous. Make no mistake: unlike the evangelical and Emergent dupes out there, God is not mocked (pp.220-21).

Calvinistic Cartoons: Give Kids 26 letters, not 2!

Calvinistic Cartoons: 26.

This is a great “cartoon” to start our weekend! When this “fell” in my email box this morning, it simply had to be our “Friday Fun” post for today. But I hope you catch its serious message.

Have a great Friday – and let your children be entertained (and educated!) by good books this weekend!

Kids&reading-CalvCartoons

Defining Marriage – Joe Carter

Defining Marriage by Joe Carter | Reformed Theology Articles at Ligonier.org.

marriagepic-2Just last night I finally finished reading all the way through my March issue of Tabletalk. The last article in that issue is the above-linked one by Joe Carter, an editor for “The Gospel Coalition”. And it is an excellent article with a clear message on the matter of how we Christians ought to respond to those who are trying to redefine marriage in our current culture.

I believe this is a great followup to my previous post. I quote a part of what Carter wrote here, but encourage you to read the rest the Ligonier link above.

Some Christians may even concede that while the state doesn’t truly have the authority to redefine marriage, we should go along with the legal fiction for the sake of the gospel witness. Although such Christians may have the best of intentions, they are actually subverting the very gospel they want to protect.

In acceding to laws that redefine marriage, they are doing the very opposite of what Jesus calls us to do: they are hating their neighbors, including their gay and lesbian neighbors. You do not love your neighbor by encouraging them to engage in actions that invoke God’s wrath (Ps. 5:4–5; Rom. 1:18). As Christians, we may be required to tolerate ungodly behavior, but the moment we begin to endorse it, we too become suppressors of the truth. You cannot love your neighbor and want to see them excluded from the kingdom of Christ (Eph. 5:5).

What is needed is for the church to have the courage to speak the truth of the gospel: we cannot love our neighbor and tolerate unrepentant rebellion against God. We cannot continue with the “go along to get along” mentality that is leading those we love to destruction. We must speak the Word of God with boldness (Acts 4:31) and accept the fact that those who have fallen away may not ever return. We must choose this day whom we will serve. Will we stand with the only wise God or with the foolish idol-makers of same-sex marriage?

Wheaton Students Protest ‘Train Wreck Conversion’ Speaker’s Ex-Gay Testimony – ChristianityToday.com

Wheaton Students Protest ‘Train Wreck Conversion’ Speaker’s Ex-Gay Testimony | Gleanings | ChristianityToday.com.

marriagepic-1One of the hottest and most serious debates that continues in force in Evangelical circles at present is that relating to homosexuality. We are well-aware of (or should be!) what the unbelieving world world is pressing the church and the Christian community to do on this issue. And we also know how so many Christians and churches have caved in to this pressure and abandoned the clear testimony of Scripture on this sin. And the debate keeps getting closer and closer to us.

A week ago I pointed you to a powerful piece that Rosario C. Butterfield wrote as a followup to a chapel speech she recently gave at Wheaton College. She was responding to protesters who showed up to object to her views following her conversion from the homosexual lifestyle.

Christianity Today also reported on this protest and on the current debate among Evangelicals at present. It is worth your while to hear and see what is going on on Christian campuses today, because our own students are being exposed to these opposing views. And while homosexual supporters remain a minority, they are a very vocal minority, as you know.

Here is part of CT’s report; find all of it at the link above.

A recent student demonstration over a Wheaton College chapel speaker’s testimony on her religious and sexual conversion is the latest marker in the long-running debate over the way evangelical colleges approach sexual identity.

The protest focused on the personal testimony [listen/watch here] of a former leftist lesbian professor whose train-wreck conversion [CT's No. 2 most-read article of 2013] led her to become a pastor’s wife and Christian author.

Students Justin Massey and Jordan-Ashley Barney organized “More Than a Single Story,” the January 31 demonstration where Wheaton students sat on the steps of Edman Chapel and held signs that said “We’re all loved by God,” “This is not a protest,” and “I’m gay and a beloved child of God,” reports The Wheaton Record.

You Are What—and How—You Read: Rosaria Butterfield

You Are What—and How—You Read – The Gospel Coalition Blog.

SecretThoughtsButterfieldConverted lesbian Rosaria Butterfield, whose story and new book I featured here before, penned this amazing and significant article back on Valentine’s Day (Feb.14, 2014) for the Gospel Coalition website. It is a powerful testimony to the grace of God in her heart and life, and a powerful witness to the fruits of reading the right things.

Here is a portion of what she wrote. But please, read all of her article. And may it convict all of us of the truth of what she writes about the powerful effect of reading on our souls and lives. Indeed, you are what – and how – you read!

I just returned from a well-known (and well-heeled) Christian college, where roughly 100 demonstrators gathered on the chapel steps to protest my address on the grounds that my testimony was dangerous. Later that day, I sat down with these beloved students, to listen, to learn, and to grieve. Homosexuality is a sin, but so is homophobia; the snarled composition of our own sin and the sin of others weighs heavily on us all. I came away from that meeting realizing—again—how decisively our reading practices shape our worldview. This may seem a quirky observation, but I know too well the world these students inhabit. I recall its contours and crevices, risks and perils, reading lists and hermeneutical allegiances. You see, I’m culpable. The blood is on my hands. The world of LGBTQ activism on college campuses is the world that I helped create. I was unfaltering in fidelity: the umbrella of equality stretching to embrace my lesbian identity, and the world that emerged from it held salvific potential. I bet my life on it, and I lost.

…Worldview matters. And if we don’t reach back before the 19th century, back to the Bible itself, the Westminster divines, and the Puritans, we will limp along, defeated. Yes, the Holy Spirit gives you a heart of flesh and the mind to understand and love the Lord and his Word. But without good reading practices even this redeemed heart grows flabby, weak, shaky, and ill. You cannot lose your salvation, but you can lose everything else.

…In short, we honor God with our reading diligence. We honor God with our reading sacrifice. If you watch two hours of TV and surf the internet for three, what would happen if you abandoned these habits for reading the Bible and the Puritans? For real. Could the best solution to the sin that enslaves us be just that simple and difficult all at the same time?

Are Evangelicals Bad for Marriage? | Christianity Today

Are Evangelicals Bad for Marriage? | Christianity Today.

marriagepic-1Published on Valentine’s Day, the above-linked article highlights yet another study on divorce among professing Christians in this country, especially in the South. Though this study too is quite limited, the results of these studies continue to be disturbing and shameful, though not altogether surprising, given the attacks of Satan, the pressures of the world, and our own fallen natures.

Yet, there is encouraging news here too, in terms of a rebuttal and in terms of reports that show the value of practicing a consistent, Christian faith. Of course, being grounded in the solid Reformed doctrine of the covenant and being constantly reminded of God’s standard for marriage in His Word is the best antidote (for resources on these subjects, visit the PRC website and look under resources.).

May we continue to listen and learn, repent of our own sins and return to the Lord’s ways in our own homes and marriages.

Here is the first part of this report from CT; read the rest at the link above.

Evangelicals are more likely to be divorced than the average American—even Americans who claim no religion.

This unexpected claim comes from an unexpected source: three researchers at Baylor University.

Jerry Park, Joshua Tom, and Brita Andercheck report that about 17 percent of white conservative Protestants and 16 percent of black Protestants are divorced, compared to 14 percent of all Americans.

They point to the research of demographers Jennifer Glass and Philip Levchak, who argue that the evangelical encouragement to marry young and have more babies, along with discouragement to obtain higher education, is to blame. A strong evangelical presence increases divorce rates across the board, Glassreported.

“The common conservative argument that strong religion leads to strong families does not hold up,” stated Park, Tom, and Andercheck in their February 4 report for the Council of Contemporary Families.

However, Bradford Wilcox, sociology professor at the University of Virginia and director of the National Marriage Project, disagrees.

“The claim … that religion doesn’t help marriage is bunk,” he said. “In terms of people being integrated into a religious community—be it Protestant, Catholic, or Jewish—there is a strong correlation between the couple’s integration and marital quality.”

The key distinction in the data: identity versus practice.

Research has consistently shown that religious self-identification is much less important than actual religious practice, said Wilcox. People who regularly attend church are 35 percent less likely to divorce, he said.

“Lukewarm Christianity is a disaster for family life,” said Wilcox. “Nominal conservative Protestants and evangelicals do worse in their marriages than other Americans.… Being a lukewarm Baptist in Arkansas or Kentucky or other Southern states is a big risk factor for family dysfunction.”

Encouraging the Next Generation to Read (4) – Rev.B.Huizinga

RFPA2013Annual-AdPic

For the fourth time we reference the series of articles on reading found in The Standard Bearer (Dec.2013-Jan. 2014) and penned by Rev.Brian Huizinga, pastor of Hope PRC in Redlands, CA (For the previous installment, go here.). These articles are the text of an inspiring speech Rev.Huizinga gave at the annual RFPA meeting in September of 2013.

HuizingaBrianIn the Jan.1, 2014 issue of the “SB” Rev.Huizinga gets into the practical points he presented in his speech. He lists ten “P’s” to encourage the younger generation to read. Today in this post we will start to go through these, giving you two at a time. I hope that these points will help all of us – but especially the “next generation” – to read!

What Can We Do?  The Ten “P’s”

Now what can we do to encourage and promote the reading of sound, spiritually-edifying literature, particularly among the next generation?

1. Support the Preaching

Deliberately we begin here.  Were I not a preacher but a cobbler, I would still begin with preaching, as every Reformed man should.

Pray for the seminary, support the seminary, pray for the minister, see to it that the young people attend the preaching, see to it that young people have a regard for preaching in their own congregations and elsewhere.

What does preaching have to do with reading?  Romans 1:16 authoritatively states that the preaching of the gospel is “the power of God unto salvation.”  The power of God unto salvation!  The salvation of which Paul speaks is to be understood in the broadest sense.  It includes the work of the Holy Spirit, who takes that word of Christ and plunges it deep into the hearts of young people to transform them, renew their minds, and give them a hunger and thirst for the living God and therefore for growth in doctrine.  God-glorifying, cross-magnifying, soul-edifying, life-giving, biblically-faithful, Spirit-energized preaching is not a power, but the power of God unto salvation.  It kindles in hearts love for God that wants to know more of Him, and that through reading.  The best thing you can do to support and encourage reading among the new generation is to support and encourage preaching, because it is God’s power unto salvation.

When that preaching sets forth the wonder of God’s covenant and His faithfulness to it in Christ, God is pleased to use that word to make an eighteen-year-old man go home and pull from his shelf The Battle for Sovereign Grace in the Covenant to behold what God has done through controversy.  When the preaching sets forth the wonder of grace in Jesus Christ crucified, as that comes to expression in so many ways in so many different kinds of texts, God uses that preaching to strike a chord in the heart of a sixteen-year-old girl, so that she goes home and she wants to read that book of meditations by her bedside, which she has left untouched for two months.  When one in the preaching cries unto the cities of Judah, “Behold your God,” God uses that to work in the heart of a young person to say, “Show me more of my God!  Show me Christ!”  He goes home, picks up a book, and reads, and reads.  Poor or no preaching is reading’s enemy.  Support God’s power unto salvation:  Preaching.

2. Plant Seeds

Planting seeds refers to the activity of all those parents, family members, unmarried persons, teachers, and officebearers who have an impact upon the life of young people.  Let the whole environment in which we live include attitudes, behaviors, and words that are as so many seeds.  The heart of the young person is the field.  The plant that sprouts up is the reading of a book.  The seeds that go into the heart and produce reading are our attitudes, behaviors, and words.

If we who have an influence in the lives of the young people do not read, do not read good books, do not even get the Standard Bearer or other RFPA publications as a bare minimum, or if we dismiss them; if we do not love the truth and have an appreciation for the heritage God has given to us as churches and convey that in attitude and behavior and words; if we do not go to Bible study, or if we do go to Bible study but talk about how bad it is; if we spend more time fidgeting with our gadgets and socializing online than we do openly communicating with our young people in any serious way; if we never talk to our children about spiritual things and are not open to their concerns; if we do not have time for family devotions that include reading, discussion, singing, and prayer, then we are walking around the young people with a big tank of toxic, plant-killing spray hosing down the fields of their hearts, and it would take something just short of a miracle to get them to read solid literature for their spiritual growth.

However, when we who have an influence upon young people plant seeds through attitudes, behaviors, and words that are God-glorifying and covenantally-directed, God will bring plants.  We do!  He does!  When we love and openly speak of our love for God, the church, and our precious heritage as churches; when we read, and the children get used to seeing us reading, or at least having open books and magazines on the table; when we bring books into the home, and reflect on books; when we read to our children, even as they get older; when we are in the van on a long trip and start talking about what we read in a biography of some godly mid-west farm girl in the world-war years, or when the teacher takes a few minutes before class and talks about an article he was reading on a father of the Afscheiding and all of the sacrifices made for the truth at that time, we are planting seeds.  Plant seeds!  May God bring plants—young people reading.

My Top 10 Theology Stories of 2013 – C.Hansen, The Gospel Coalition Blog

My Top 10 Theology Stories of 2013 – The Gospel Coalition Blog.

Though my own list in this category would be different – reflecting my own Reformed (and Dutch!) lineage -, yet I find Collin Hansen’s year-end summary of the top theology stories from a broader Evangelical perspective always interesting and revealing.

It is healthy for us to take spiritual stock of what has happened around us in the church world theologically and in the world culturally, so that we may also learn to respond Biblically and confessionally. As you read over this list, make a mental note – and maybe some literal ones on paper – on how you would evaluate these stories as a Reformed Christian.

Here are Hansen’s top two stories (he has them in reverse order on his post). Visit the Gospel Coalition link above to view the rest.

2. Strange Fire book, conference force evangelicals to pick sides.

We’re living in perhaps the most dramatic global expansion of Christianity in history. Yet many evangelicals often have little idea about what Pentecostals and charismatics believe. Longtime charismatic critic John MacArthur’s new book Strange Fire forces evangelicals off the fence and demands they pick a side: you either see this growth as the work of God or Satan. He contends that if you’re cautiously open to the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit, then you implicitly endorse common Pentecostal malpractices, such as the prosperity gospel. Already MacArthur has emboldened cessationist allies even as critics pick apart his biblical arguments. When self-described “charismatic with a seat belt” Mark Driscoll showed up uninvited at MacArthur’s Strange Fire conference, social media documented this heavyweight clash in real time. That odd encounter produced more heat than light, but MacArthur’s influence will ensure that none of us can remain agnostic to the purpose and practice of the charismatic gifts.

1. Pope Francis makes fast friends.

With Billy Graham nearing the end of his life, only one church leader can compel the world’s attention. Pope Francis assumed leadership of the Roman Catholic Church under peculiar circumstances, and he has captivated attention ever since. It may not be surprising that Pope Francis was named Time magazine’s person of the year when you consider that his competition included the aforementioned Bashar Assad and Miley Cyrus. But when you learn The Advocate, a gay magazine, also awarded him the same recognition, you start to wonder what the world sees in him. When he says “I am a sinner,”do they see humble confession or tolerant surrender? When he says “proselytism is solemn nonsense,” do they see careful differentiation between forced conversions and the gospel call to repentance and faith, or do they see an ally in the effort to privatize religion? When Time first congratulated Pope Francis as person of the year, the editors credited him for his “rejection of church dogma.” But they failed to point to one church teaching he had rejected. Wishful thinking, perhaps?

J.Calvin on Psalm 120: “…Slanderous tongues did not spare even the Son of God.”

As we continue to reflect on the first “song of ascent” today, we also post these comments of the great Reformer and Bible expositor John Calvin. Here he gives us his understanding of v.2. May his thoughts also encourage us in the midst of our own present distress in this wicked world.

JCalvinPic2. O Jehovah! deliver my soul from the lip of falsehood.

David now points out the kind of his affliction, declaring that he was loaded with false accusations. In charging his enemies with lying and falsehood, he asserts his own innocence of the crimes which they slanderously imputed to him. His complaint therefore amounts to this, that as he was conscious of having committed no fault, he was assaulted by the wicked contrary to all law, human and divine, and that they brought him into hatred without his having given them any occasion for such injurious treatment. Deceitful tongues assault good and simple people in two ways’ they either circumvent them by wiles and snares, or wound their reputation by calumnies. It is of the second way that the Prophet here complains.

Now if David, who was endued with such eminent virtue, and free from every mark of disgrace, and far removed from every wicked action, was yet assailed with contumely, is it to be wondered at if the children of God in the present day labor under false accusations, and that when they have endeavored to conduct themselves uprightly they are yet in reported of? As they have the devil for their enemy, it is indeed impossible for them to escape being loaded with his lies. Yea, we see that slanderous tongues did not spare even the Son of God — a consideration which should induce us to bear the more patiently our condition, when the wicked traduce us undeservedly; since it is certain that we have here described the common lot of the whole Church.

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