Things New & Old

Ancient truths revealed in the Scriptures are often forgotten, disbelieved or distorted, and therefore lost in the passage of time. Such ancient truths when rediscovered and relearned are 'new' additions to the treasury of ancient truths. Christ showed many new things to the disciples, things prophesied by the prophets of old but hijacked and perverted by the elders and their traditions, but which Christ reclaimed and returned to His people.

There are things both new and old here. "Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things"
2Ti 2:7.


Thursday, June 2, 2016

Foreknowledge, not the same as Omniscience

Taken from a slow train meandering along this gorgeous gorge.
A train was bulleting across the bridge in the background.

Foreknowledge is not the same as Omniscience.
Let sound bytes bite the dust.

Biblical distinction is the essence of sound theology.

Can you distinguish the two? Do you know the vast difference? Let's learn it, it will make us wise unto salvation, instructing us in the truth of our salvation by God's free grace in Jesus Christ.

"And Adam knew his wife..."
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by Elder Matt Jordan

FOREKNOWLEDGE, NOT SAME AS OMNISCIENCE

"You only have I known of all the families of the earth..." Amos 3:2a

"For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate..." Romans 8:29a

"Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father..." 1 Pet. 1:2a

"And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." Mt. 7:23

Theologians like to talk about the fact that God is both omniscient (omni=all; science=knowledge) and prescient (pre=before; science=knowledge). He knows everything about everything, and he knows it in advance. Nothing ever surprises the Lord or catches him off guard. He doesn't have to take continuing education classes in order to remain current on the latest findings or trends.

It always troubles me, however, when people confuse the verb "to foreknow" with the prescience of God. Prescience is an attribute, i.e. something God "is," but foreknowledge is an action, i.e. something God "does." Prescience speaks of his prior knowledge of facts and events, but foreknowledge concerns people: "For whom He did foreknow, them He also did predestinate..."

I suspect the confusion arises from the tendency to define the root "to know" in cognitive, or intellectual, terms. Indeed, "knowledge" generally refers to the idea of "intelligent thought" or "mental awareness." But in the Bible the verb "to know" may also (and, in fact, it frequently does) refer to what we might call "relational knowledge." When Adam "knew" his wife and she conceived (Gen. 5:2), it is obvious to any thinking person that such knowledge involved more than something purely academic or cognitive.

It is in that sense that God could say to Israel, "You only have I known of all the families of the earth" (Am. 3:2). Does he mean that he was unaware the Babylonians, Egyptians and Assyrians existed? No, God knows all things, for he is omniscient. He means, however, that Israel had been marked out as his special covenant people in relational terms. Likewise, Christ's sentence to the wicked in the last day will highlight the fact that they had never been brought into covenant relationship with him: "Depart from me...for I never knew you" (Mt. 7:23). Of course, He knows about them--everything there is to know about them--but He never loved them as His own, covenant children.

"Foreknowledge" then means "fore-loved." Because God loved a people before time began, He chose them to be His own: "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father..." (1 Pet. 1:2), and He predestinated them to finally be made like His only begotten Son: "For whom He did foreknow, them He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son" (Rom. 8:29).

Why is it so important to distinguish between God's covenant act of foreknowing a people and God's incommunicable attribute of knowing all events and circumstances in advance? It is important because it negates the popular interpretation in religious circles that interprets "foreknowledge" to mean that God looked down through time and saw those who would choose Him, so He chose them. The individual who takes this position of "foreseen faith" fails to understand the difference between foreknowledge and omniscience.

Bethel Primitive Baptist Church



Sunday, May 29, 2016

Yes, stick to the Scriptures, BUT rightly divide the Scriptures too.

Beware, the water-wheel goes in one direction only... 

A facebook friend, Scott Price, on his post pointed out the errors of  A.W. Tozer in his theology by giving a list of quotes from his writings. 
The post is found here: https://www.facebook.com/scott.price3/posts/10206519158485501

Many comments have been made in response to that post. I feel that many are as clueless and confused as Mr. Tozer himself in his quotes. 

===== begins quotes ======

AW Tozer quotes.... Does this sound like a Bible believing Christian?

Redemption is an objective fact. It is a work potentially saving, wrought for man, but done independent of and exterior to the individual. Christ’s work on Calvary made atonement for every man, but it did not save any man.”
(Paths to power – A. W. Tozer – Chapter 2 – God’s Part and Man’s)

“Universal atonement makes salvation universally available, but it does not make it universally effective toward the individual.”
(Paths to power – A. W. Tozer – Chapter 2 – God’s Part and Man’s)

“If atonement was made for all men, why are not all saved? The answer is that before redemption becomes effective toward the individual man there is an act which that man must do. That act is not one of merit, but of condition.” “This act of appropriating salvation is one which only man can do.”
(Paths to power – A. W. Tozer – Chapter 2 – God’s Part and Man’s)

God cannot do our repenting for us. In our efforts to magnify grace we have so preached the truth as to convey the impression that repentance is a work of God. This is a grave mistake, and one which is taking a frightful toll among Christians everywhere. God has commanded all men to repent. It is a work which only they can do.”
(Paths to power – A. W. Tozer – Chapter 2 – God’s Part and Man’s)

“before we can be saved we must of our own free will repent toward God and believe in Jesus Christ. This the Bible plainly teaches; this experience abundantly supports. Repentance involves moral reformation. The wrong practices are on man’s part, and only man can correct them. Lying, for instance, is an act of man and one for which he must accept full responsibility. When he repents he will quit lying. God will not quit for him; he will quit for himself.”
(Paths to power – A. W. Tozer – Chapter 2 – God’s Part and Man’s)

“The remedy is to see clearly that men are not lost because of what someone did thousands of years ago; they are lost because they sin individually and in person. We will never be judged for Adam’s sin, but for our own. For our own sins we are and must remain fully responsible.”
(Paths to power – A. W. Tozer – Chapter 2 – God’s Part and Man’s)

“Faith is a gift of God, to be sure, but whether or not we shall act upon that faith lies altogether within our own power. We may or we may not, as we choose.”
(Paths to power – A. W. Tozer – Chapter 2 – God’s Part and Man’s)

===== end quotes =====

Suffice to say that there are confusion and contradictions in every quote above. What explains for such a situation. Mr. Tozer is doubtless a man of God and many have been helped by his ministry. Still that does not diminish the errors and confusion in any sense. We are dealing with doctrines.

I left this comment in his post:
=======
Biblical distinction is the essence of sound theology.

All the confusion and contradictions inherent in Mr. Tozer's quotes lie in the simple fact that he, like a multitude calvinistic folks, fails to distinguish the eternal salvation that is monergistic, and the temporal salvation that is synergistic.

The former deals with God's free and sovereign acts to effectually call an elect OUT OF his native state of sin and death and condemnation UNTO that of grace and salvation in Christ Jesus. This is done completely independent of any act of man.

God purposed eternal salvation for the elect, Christ accomplished that same salvation for the same people, and the Holy Spirit applies that same salvation to each individual elect personally at God's own appointed and approved time, when they are still in their native state sin and death.

That's divine sovereignty in salvation. Those whom God has freely bestowed eternal salvation ARE HELD RESPONSIBLE to work out their own salvation through the means ordained by God Himself. In eternal salvation, God does it all Himself, without any means; He alone is responsible. 

Human responsibility in the context of theology applies strictly to God's children alone, i.e. those whom God freely bestowed eternal salvation. They arr called to repent and believe in their Saviour Jesus Christ, and to observe all things Christ has commanded them.

Whatever requires man's doing something relates to the temporal salvation of God's children only, they are held responsible by God to act in obedience to the Father's will for their spiritual wellbeing. They were NOT required to do anything to be freely bestowed with the eternal salvation. There is NO possibility of them doing anything before eternal salvation has been freely bestowed upon them.

Do I make sense?

=======

p/s
One friend dismisses the distinction between eternal salvation and temporal salvation as making no sense, and said, "stick to Scriptures." 

So I gave him a Scripture and a few leading questions, and an observation.

1Ti 4:16
Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

What is the salvation that Timothy is VITALLY instrumental of, both for himself, and those under his care? How does it differ from the salvation accomplished by Christ for His people?

If you don't make the distinction, you necessarily end up making Timothy as CO-redemptive with Jesus Christ.

Yes, stick to the Scriptures, BUT rightly divide the Scriptures too.
Don't stick to the sound of Scriptures, BUT seek for the sense of Scriptures.

Instead of dealing with the Scripture and the questions raised, he conveniently denounces it as a relic of hypercalvinism. This reminds me of A.W. Pink's words, "Denunciation is the last resort of a defeated foe," when enemies attacked and denounced his book "The Sovereignty of God" as hypercalvinistic.


And then he gave a few links leading to some reformed stuff. Monumental failure - he can't stick to Scriptures when given the Scriptures. It is like a dog returning to its own vomit.
=================

There are some interesting exchangs here when I post this article on Facebook.
https://www.facebook.com/sing.f.lau/posts/10206496039135227?pnref=story.

Apostle Paul pointed out one of the characteristics of the perilous times of the last days, "ever learning, and
 never able to come to the knowledge of the truth."  


Sunday, May 8, 2016

Jerusalem is a shameless slut; cause her to know it!

"Thou hast opened thy feet to every one that passed by,
and multiplied thy whoredoms."

Jerusalem is a shameless slut; cause her to know it! Are many churches behaving just like Jerusalem of old, a slut selling herself, seeking the friendship and love of the world? 

"Cause Jerusalem to know her abominations," saith the LORD God to Ezekiel.

Read Ezekiel 16 to see the necessary bluntness, graphicness and blushing details of the message in order to get Jerusalem to see her detestable abominations, i.e. to own, to confess, and to repent of them.

Maybe such plain speaking to the churches of Christ is needed in this age.

Eze 16:1-2
Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations...

v3-5: A vivid description of her helpless and contemptible origin; abandoned and left to perish. "Thou wast naked and bare, and wast polluted in thy blood."

v6-14: how the LORD God took pity on her, and commanded her to live, and flourish. "Live... yea, live." The LORD lavished upon her the very best, in abundance. As a result, she became exceedingly gorgeous! "And thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it was perfect through my comeliness, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord GOD."

v15-30: She trusted in her own beauty, and squandered all the abundant blessings of the LORD God on her harlotries and whoredom. See the horrid details. A great queen has turned herself into a cheap shameless slut, peddling herself to one and all.

"Thou hast opened thy feet to every one that passed by, and multiplied thy whoredoms... the work of an imperious whorish woman." 

v31-34: She is a contrary whore. They give gifts to all whores: but thou givest thy gifts to all thy lovers, and hirest them. She pays others to commit whoredom with her.

v35-43: She shall be judged, and be destroyed by her many hired lovers.

v44-59: She is far worse than the sisters she despised, i.e. Sodom and Samaria. They could boast, "we weren't so bad. She is far worse!" She was far worse than them, "thou wast corrupted more than they in all thy ways...But thou hast multiplied thine abominations more than they, and hast justified thy sisters in all thine abominations which thou hast done." Also, she is not unlike the godless heathens. "Your mother was an Hittite, and your father an Amorite."

But behold! The amazing and incredible "nevertheless" conclusion:

60 Nevertheless I will remember my covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant.
61 Then thou shalt remember thy ways, and be ashamed, when thou shalt receive thy sisters, thine elder and thy younger: and I will give them unto thee for daughters, but not by thy covenant.
62 And I will establish my covenant with thee; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD:
63 That thou mayest remember, and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more because of thy shame, when I am pacified toward thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord GOD.

O the depth, and the height, and the breadth of the grace and mercy of God.