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Archive for the ‘Denominational doctrines’ 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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Avoiding New Fads

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The worldly, fashion-mad nature of humankind has changed little through the centuries. Luke provides an interesting description of the philosophers whom Paul encountered at Mars Hill in ancient Athens: “Now all the Athenians and the strangers sojourning there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell or to hear something new” (Acts 17:21).[1] The word new  in this passage comes from the root word kainos, which means “that which is unaccustomed or unused, not new in time, but new as to form or quality, of different nature from what is contrasted as old.”[2] This definition tells us that those Athenians were always looking for something different, new-fangled, novel, modern—some new gadget or fresh gimmick. In short, they were fad-mad!

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The “Easter” Season—From God or Man?

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The “Easter” season, involves much more than “Easter Sunday.” It begins with…

  1. “Mardi Gras” (French for “Fat Tuesday,” also called “Shrove Tuesday”), referring to the day before the beginning of the traditional season of “Lent,” which is called…
  2. “Ash Wednesday” (observers are often marked by an ash “cross” on their foreheads), which continues for 40 days (46 including Sundays), ending at “Easter Sunday.” Six weeks later…
  3. “Maundy Thursday” arrives, which, in turn, precedes…
  4. “Good Friday,” the alleged day of Jesus’ crucifixion (an ironic name for the day of the Lord’s terrible suffering), and is followed by…
  5. “Holy Saturday,” which then leads to…
  6. “Easter Sunday,” the supposed anniversary of the Lord’s resurrection.

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The Word of God Is Able and Profitable

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From my earliest remembrance of the content of Gospel sermons, God-fearing men have exalted the inspired, written Word of God (the New Testament specifically) as the “road map” to Heaven. Mind you, faithful brethren have not set it forth as one among a few or many others, but as the only way by which sinners may reach eternal glory. Nor have any faithful men preached it as insufficient to save by itself, requiring any sort of additional force to be joined with it for its saving potential to be realized. The books and articles our brethren have written, when they touched on this subject, have almost unanimously taught the same message, and for good reason: This doctrine has its firm basis in what the Bible says about itself. Among many such passages, Acts 20:32 and 2 Timothy 3:16–17 serve as explicit cornerstones of this doctrine. These are worthy of our reconsideration and reemphasis.

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Judgment Day Surprises

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One of the recurring themes of the New Testament is that of the final accounting that all men must make before their Creator—The Day of Judgment. Jesus described it in some detail (Mat. 7:21–23; 25:31–46). The final New Testament book emphasizes The Judgment near its close (Rev. 20:11–15). Hardly a New Testament book fails to mention it. In spite of the emphasis on this theme, it will prove surprising in many ways:

  • It is real: All who deny the existence of the true and living God (i.e., atheists, humanists, pagans, et al.) will awaken—too late—to the fact that the Bible was true after all.
  • When it will occur: No one can know when Jesus will return in judgment (Mat. 24:36, 42). The time of its occurrence will be a surprise to everyone.
  • The purpose of it: It will not be a trial or a day of inquiry to determine guilt or innocence; the Lord will know who the saved and lost are beforehand (2 Tim. 2:19). It will be a day of sentencing—to eternal punishment or life (Mat. 25:46).
  • The standard of it: Judgment will not be according to Protestant or Catholic creed books, the religion of one’s parents, the decisions of church councils, or the words of the pope or Mohammed. God will judge all by the spiritual law under which they lived. Concerning all who have lived since Calvary, Jesus said, “The word that I spake, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48).
  • The basis of it: We will not be judged based on our: (1) profession of faith: “Not everyone who saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Mat. 7:21a), (2) good intentions: “When I have a convenient season, I will call thee unto me” (Acts 24:25b), (3) sincerity: Saul of Tarsus was sincere in his belief that he must oppose Jesus (25:9), (4) zeal: Paul said his Jewish brethren had “a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge” (Rom. 10:2), or upon any other bases (e.g., promises, wealth, social standing, parentage, et al.). We will also not be judged comparatively with others.

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