Monthly Archives: November 2009

  • TULIP III – Unconditional Election

    As we meditate upon the implications of Total Depravity, we inevitably come to the place where we throw up our hands and with the disciples say, “Then who can be saved?” (Lk. 18:26). When that question is raised, you know someone understands this doctrine. The answer is simple: God overcomes our fallenness and depravity by his grace and power according to his meticulous and sovereign plan. To take the words of Jesus on our lips, “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God” (Lk. 18:27).

    God overcomes our depravity in two ways, one historical (that is, before creation), and one that unfolds in time. In time, our depravity is overcome when he subdues us, makes us alive, and grants to us faith that we might believe the promises of the gospel. We call … Read More »

  • TULIP II – Total Depravity

    Years ago Loraine Boettner suggested that the five points of Calvinism are “not isolated and independent doctrines but are so inter-related that they form a simple, harmonious, self-consistent system.” Therefore, “Prove any one of them false and the whole system must be abandoned” (Reformed Doctrine of Predestination, 59). This is why there is no such thing as a “three-point Calvinist” or a “four-point Calvinist.” Really, even the description “five-point Calvinist” is a misnomer. There are those who embrace the five-points, Calvinists, and those who do not, non-Calvinist (Amyraldians and Arminians). I like how Arminian Roger Olson puts it, “Calvinism can be seen as the middle ground between fatalism and synergism; Arminianism can be seen as the middle ground between semi-Pelagianism and Calvinism. But between Calvinism and Arminianism there is no mutual compatibility” (Arminian Theology, … Read More »

  • Tulip part I

    After about eight months we finished our WWDWWD concerning our worship practice. For more information or to review any of the articles please visit our website and specifically my blog to the archived articles. Since these articles have been received so well I will continue to write on topics that I think will be helpful to you. Today I will start a short series on TULIP and in the near future hope to do a series on Covenant Theology and one on preaching. If you have any suggestions please don’t hesitate to let me know.

    James Arminius (1560-1610) (his Dutch name is Jacob van Hermanns or Hermanson, Hermensen), from whom the theological system of Arminianism derives its name, was originally a strict Calvinist and became professor of theology at Leyden (1603). Ironically it was while he … Read More »

  • The Benediction

    All of our worship services end the same way: The minister lifts his hands and pronounces abenediction upon the people. Benediction is simply a word that means, “blessing.” While the benediction may seem foreign and uncomfortably sacerdotal to those from low church traditions, it is nevertheless Biblical. For example, we find God calling Aaron and his sons to bless the people (Num. 6:24-26; Lev. 9:22), we hear of our resurrected Lord blessing the disciples with uplifted hands (Lk. 24:50) and we find nearly every NT epistle ending with God’s blessing made to rest upon his people (cf. Rom. 16:20-21; 1 Cor. 16:23; 2 Cor. 13:14; Gal. 6:18 to name a few).

    The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.2 Cor. 13:14

    But what exactly … Read More »

  • Reformation Service

    This week we raise and hopefully answer the question: Why do we pause to remember the protestant reformation each year? Let me suggest three reasons why.

    First, we do so to emphasize our catholicity. To answer the question like that is somewhat ironic because historically the reformation was the watershed event that severed the Protestants from the Roman Catholics. By catholicity I don’t mean “Roman Catholic.” Rather, I mean, in the most rudimentary definition of the word, unity. That is what “catholic” means. When I became the pastor of New Life four years ago the reformation service was one of the first things that I organized. At first it was just that: an evening worship service in which like-minded churches joined together to celebrate their unity centered around the truths of the reformation as … Read More »