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Archive for the ‘Calvinism’ Category

Disinherited Children

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Joan Crawford, the famous movie star of several decades back, left some of her children out of her will. She was not the first to do so, nor is she likely to be the last. It is the right of parents to disinherit a child or children if they choose to do so. Let it be observed, however, that such disinherited children do not cease to be the children or offspring of the withholding parents; they simply are left out of the will, cut off from receiving any of the estate.

Can—and will—God ever disinherit His children? One of the major tenets of Calvinism is “Perseverance of the saints,” which avers that if one chances to be among the elect of God he can never do anything sinful or evil enough to fall from God’s grace and lose his eternal inheritance. However, those who will read the New Testament with glasses that are clear, rather than with those colored by Calvinistic dogma, will discover a plethora of passages that teach otherwise, for example.:

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Strong and Fully Armed

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Introduction

A recurring metaphor in the New Testament likens the church to a spiritual army and its members to soldiers (Phi. 2:25; 1 The. 5:8; 1 Tim. 6:12; 2 Tim. 2:3–4; 4:7; et al.). God’s people are engaged in spiritual combat (2 Cor. 10:4; 1 Tim. 1:18). Paul gives us the most concentrated description of the soldier-army-battle figure in Ephesians 6:10–18. His opening exhortation is so powerful that it takes on the character of a command: “Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his might” (v. 10). This context is so familiar to so many that some may have overlooked and neglected the great practical force of it. It is surely worth revisiting.

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Love—A Fruit of the Spirit

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Introduction

Undiscerning and unscrupulous men have “wordnapped,” redefined, misused, and abused several rich and beautiful Biblical words. Among them are grace, faith, miracle, elect, and predestined. Love, which Paul names a “fruit of the Spirit,” is another of these words (Gal. 5:22).1 Unspiritual men have dragged this word through their secular and sensual gutters, effectively stripping it in the minds of the masses of its pure and altruistic meaning. If order of appearance in listing implies relative significance, we infer that love is the premier quality of all lovely character traits, for Paul placed love first in this list of spiritual fruit. One might also consider the implication that love, because of its principal position in the list, is in some sense the root and basis of all the other traits. The apostle Peter also emphasized the primacy of love, but he did so by making it the final and crowning grace of the eight “Christian graces” (2 Pet. 1:5–7).

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Church Renovation

[Note: This MS is available in larger font on our Brief Articles page.]

“Church Undergoes Renovation,” the newspaper headline read. The words were positioned above a photo of a church building surrounded by scaffolding, with workmen on its roof. The article described the modernization of a church building, which the article referred to in common—albeit mistaken—parlance as a “church.” A church, however, is a group of people drawn together by distinct doctrines and practices that meets in a building.

From reading the New Testament and even a smattering of post-Biblical church history, it is clear that “the church” most people know today is not the church as Jesus built it (Mat. 16:16–19). His church underwent—and continues to undergo—major “renovations.” The simple beauty of the original church has been lost in endless complex, corrupt, and unauthorized changes.

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Denominationalism—Its Causes, Contradictions, Consequences, and Cures

[Note: This MS is available in larger font on our Manuscripts page.]

Introduction

The Apple Online Dictionary defines the religious connotation of denomination as “a recognized autonomous branch of the Christian Church.” The honest and perceptive student of Scripture realizes that Christianity in the days of the apostles was vastly different from the maze of today’s conflicting, confused, and convoluted denominational structure commonly called “denominationalism.” An unknown (but appreciated) author has given us the following incisive description of denominationalism:

A denomination is a religious body with extra-Biblical peculiarities distinguishing it from the church revealed in the Bible. It is utterly impossible for any denomination to exist without men believing something, doing something, being something, saying something, or having something that is not in the Word of God. All denominations teach more or less of what is in the Bible. However, the things they teach that are in the Bible do not make them denominations, but the things they teach that are not in the Bible.

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