Posts Tagged ‘baptist’

image_pdfimage_print

The Westboro “Baptist” Church Lie – Calvinism’s True Face: Pt. 5

Friday, November 28th, 2008

By the very nature of what must be done, the following will be somewhat tedious. However, it is utterly necessary to establish certain facts concerning the Calvinist idea of “election” and whether that idea and concept is Scripturally correct.

Here now, we are called to the word “election” and its usage in verse 11 of Romans, chapter 9. The word “election” is a frequently misused and misunderstood word that is a favorite of those holding Calvinist/Reformed doctrine. This word is used as supposed “proof” that the LORD God predetermined who would be saved, and who would be passed by and thus consigned to an eternity in Hell. However, for it to be proof, it must be proved by Scripture. In sum, this means that we must find other Scriptures that solidly support the contention that “election,” as it is used in verse 11 does indeed mean, or lends support to meaning, that a predetermination was made as to who would be saved, and who would not. Hence, a criterion, a standard for the LORD God choosing who would, and would not be saved.

The word “election” does not get much usage in Scripture. There are only about six instances of the word, and the underlying Greek word is found seven times as it is translated as “chosen” once. Thus, to be certain of the meaning of “election” as used in Romans, chapter 9, verse 11, we will have to examine the usage of the word “chosen.”

The word “election” appears in the following verses:

(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) (Romans 9:11)

Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. (Romans 11:5)

What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded (Romans 11:7)

As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. (Romans 11:28)

Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God. (I Thessalonians 1:4)

Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: (II Peter 1:10)

And, where the underlying Greek word is translated “chosen” is in Acts:

But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: (Acts 9:15)

Since Romans 9:11, I Thessalonians 1:4, and II Peter 1:10 plainly do not provide any sort of criteria or explanation of “election” and why certain persons were “elected” to salvation, we must concentrate on Romans, chapter 11 as verse five plainly states that the election is “of grace” and then proceeds to explain in verse six that grace and works are mutually exclusive, and cannot be mixed in any way, shape, form or fashion. We then arrive at verse seven with the question:

“What then?”

This plainly indicates that a conclusion is drawn concerning Israel and who in Israel was saved, and who was not. To get an actual understanding of the conclusion drawn, it is essential to quote verse eight as well:

What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day. (Romans 11:7-8)

Now we must ascertain why certain ones were given to be blinded, and others not, and how this fits with the election of grace. To go forward we must resolve how it is that some found grace in the eyes of the LORD, and others did not. For that we must go to Isaiah, chapter 29 to the passage that states:

For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered. (Isaiah 29:10)

and again in Isaiah, chapter 6:

And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. (Isaiah 6:9-10)

However, in neither of these cases does the specific quoted verses tell us anything about why this was done. We must look at the passage in Isaiah, chapter 29 to see a reason as the rest of Isaiah, chapter 6 only tells us the extent of the LORD’s judgement on Israel.

Stay yourselves, and wonder; cry ye out, and cry: they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink. For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered. And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed: And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned. Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us? Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding? (Isaiah 29:9-16)

In the above passage many things are declared, but among the things stated, the following is given as the reason all these things have come upon Israel:

Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: (Isaiah 29:13)

And again in the same passage:

Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us? (Isaiah 29:15)

By the above two verses, we now have a reason for the LORD God withholding grace from the Israelites. Clearly they chose to be dishonest with the LORD and attempted to hide their wickedness from Him. This is something that the LORD God does not tolerate at all, and has made it plain in His word from the very beginning.

The fact that grace was withheld from certain Israelites due to their deceitfulness gives us the express criteria for the “election of grace” described in Romans, chapter 11, verse five. This is a far cry from the Calvinist contention that God chose some in eternity past without any express standard or criteria, and without regard to what any particular individual does. Plainly and clearly, if one is deceitful and dishonest with the LORD, grace cannot be expected to be bestowed. One must be honest about who and what they are, both to themselves and to the LORD God. This does lead to the question of whether man is capable of being honest with himself and with the LORD, but that will be dealt with later. For now, we must return to Romans, chapter 11 and examine the last verse that uses the word “election” and see what it states:

As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. (Romans 11:28)

Again, we can see that this passage states nothing about why some are elected and others are not. Thus, we pass it by and examine the word “chosen” as used in Acts, chapter 9:

Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. (Acts 9:13-18)

Now, before some go and proclaim that receiving the Holy Ghost constituted the salvation of Saul, it is necessary to examine what happens immediately upon Ananias’ statement to Saul. It is expressly stated that he “received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.” which is consistent with the empowerment of the Holy Ghost to perform a work for the LORD. Hence, Saul’s receiving the Holy Ghost has everything to do with his baptism, and little to nothing to do with his salvation. One can be saved, and yet not be “filled with the Holy Ghost” (ref. Acts 2:1-4, Acts 4:5-10, Acts 4:31, Acts 13:6-12).

In returning to the examination of the usage of the word “chosen” in the passage, we find the context here to be one of chosen for a specific work. The statement is made:

Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. (Acts 9:15b-16)

Again, we find that this has nothing to do with being chosen, or elected to salvation, rather it is about being elected for a specific work, with no criteria being given as pertaining to Saul’s salvation. In other words, we are not told that Saul was preselected, or predetermined for salvation. What we are told is that Saul was chosen for a specific work after salvation. Please note, it does not necessarily follow that someone who is chosen for a specific work after salvation, was predestined to be saved in the first place. There is a vast difference between foreknowledge, and predestination. The LORD God can and does predestinate certain individuals to perform a certain work after salvation, because He knew beforehand that they would repent and believe the gospel. This does not mean He predestined that individual, or any other individual for salvation.

To be continued . . .

Share

The Westboro “Baptist” Church Lie – Calvinism’s True Face: Pt. 3

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

If we will remember, Acts 13:48, which is used by Westboro Baptist Church and most every other Calvinist out there to prove their contention of the “elect” being preselected, states:

And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. (Acts 13:48)

However, as has been firmly established in Scripture, a single verse is not sufficient to establish doctrine. Especially when it sits next to verses that state:

Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. (Acts 13:46)

And:

For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. (Acts 13:47)

Of course, here the Calvinist inserts “for the elect” at the end of the sentence of verse 47. How do we know this? Because of what was done in the extended quote from Westboro:

“It seems that if you’re going to base an entire lying theology on one part of a verse, you would at least know what the verse means. But so-called Christians today are far too simple-minded and lazy to look into the matter. So we’ll do it for you: the word translated “world” in John 3:16 is the Greek word “kosmos.” The word never means “every individual of mankind who ever lived.” In fact, the word has at least seven different meanings in the scripture, depending on the context in which it’s used. It can mean Gentiles (as opposed to Jews); it can mean the world of believers; it can mean the world of unbelievers; it can mean the physical creation; etc. If you would actually read what the verse says, and read the context around the verse, you would find that the answer is right before your lying eyes – you just don’t want to see it, because it conflicts with how your evil, dark hearts think God ought to be! The context is “the world of believers” (whether they are Jews or Gentiles). Those are the people God loves. Those are the people for whom Jesus died. Jesus didn’t come to condemn those people – He came to save them. But everyone else is already condemned, because they don’t believe.”1

The problem with their explanation is two-fold:

First, if we read the passage in question, which consists of John 3:1-21, and more specifically verses 14 through 21, we find that the context Westboro claims to exist, does not exist at all:

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. (John 3:14-21)

No, the context they claim to be established, would have to be established by verses 18 through 21. But, those verse do not establish that Christ died only for the “world of believers.” Rather, all those verses do is establish that all men are already condemned, and that to avoid destruction, one must be born again. Hence, the Calvinists at Westboro (and they are not the only ones) inserted the phrase “world of believers” into the passage to establish a context that did not, and does not exist. We can know this by the fact that the doctrine that all men are already condemned is strongly supported in Genesis 8:21, Psalms 14:2-3, Psalms 53:2-3 and Romans 3:9-19 and Isaiah 59:1-16. Thus, all that the Lord Jesus Christ is stating here is no more than has already been stated in His word: that all men are condemned and must be born again. It states nothing about Christ dying “only” for the “elect,” or that God loves “only” the “elect,” or any other such thing.

But, in the eyes of men, this is not the thing that indicts Westboro and the Calvinists who misuse and misconstrue this passage (although it should be). Rather, that is left up to the plain evidence of the meaning of the word “kosmos.” According to the folks at Westboro, when referring to the underlying Greek word kosmos:

“The word never means “every individual of mankind who ever lived.”

Which is all well and fine, except I have included the definitions given to the word “kosmos” below. Kindly notice sense 5, and what it states. When you are done, take note of sense 8a:

2889 kosmos { kos’-mos}
probably from the base of 2865; TDNT – 3:868,459; n m
AV – world 186, adorning 1; 187
GK – 3180 {κóσμος}
1) an apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution, order, government
2) ornament, decoration, adornment, i.e. the arrangement of the stars, ‘the heavenly hosts’, as the ornament of the heavens. 1 Pet. 3:3
3) the world, the universe
4) the circle of the earth, the earth
5) the inhabitants of the earth, men, the human race
6) the ungodly multitude; the whole mass of men alienated from God, and therefore hostile to the cause of Christ
7) world affairs, the aggregate of things earthly
7a) the whole circle of earthly goods, endowments riches, advantages, pleasures, etc, which although hollow and frail and fleeting, stir desire, seduce from God and are obstacles to the cause of Christ
8) any aggregate or general collection of particulars of any sort
8a) the Gentiles as contrasted to the Jews (Rom. 11:12 etc)
8a) of believers only, John 1:29; 3:16; 3:17; 6:33; 12:47 1 Cor. 4:9; 2 Cor. 5:1923

Now, when determining the meaning of words used in a passage, context is quite important for those words that have multiple senses. To determine meaning, it is common practice to attempt to use the most common sense first, and then the lesser known and utilized senses if the most common sense does not fit the context or creates a contradiction in the passage (unless the writer clearly intended a contradiction). Clearly, editors of dictionaries always list senses of a word in order from the most, to the least common sense. Hence, sense 5 of the Greek word “kosmos” is of more common usage than sense 8a (the last, least used sense of the word).

The problem here is not that Westboro argued for sense 8a over sense 5. It is that they claimed that sense 5 doesn’t exist at all. You know, they would have been better off if they had tried to argue it on a contextual basis alone. But they didn’t and chose to deliberately state something that they knew, or had to know, was not true. The reason I can state this is the pastor, Fred Phelps, is a Southern Baptist seminary graduate and has access to all the resources that I have (and probably more).4 In short, he studied New Testament Greek in seminary (a required course) and would have had this word clearly defined while taking that course. Moreover, it is plainly claimed that they “looked it up” for us so they could let everyone know that the word “kosmos” “never means “every individual of mankind who ever lived.”“

What a bald-faced lie. Well, not “actually” a lie. You see, the words in sense 5 do not state “every individual of mankind who ever lived.” What is “actually” stated is “the inhabitants of the earth, men, the human race” which is not “exactly” the same as “every individual of mankind who ever lived.” Never mind the two phrases mean virtually the same thing, and are almost completely interchangeable. The only difference is that sense 5 is more inclusive (including past, present, future) than “every individual of mankind who ever lived” which is past tense only5.

Since we now know that outright distortion of the meaning of passages and verses is not beyond them, it gives cause to more diligently examine the other claims they make concerning predestination, foreknowledge, election, and such like. This is not so much to prove them wrong, as it is to understand what the correct doctrine really is, and how Scripture establishes it. Hence, it is a learning experience that we ought to engage in, knowing that the LORD God will prove His word. With that, let us continue.

In Acts, chapter 13, we found contradiction between the Calvinist explanation of verse 38 as compared to verse 37. To rectify the two, we can either go other places in Scripture to begin to determine what is meant by verse 38, or we can (as many do) read into verse 37 the Calvinist interpretation, which would make it read in this way:

For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth for the elect.

Which plainly they mean ‘for the elect only’ and none other.

Since we are clearly told not to add to Scripture, adding any phrase to the verse really isn’t the brightest thing we could do. Hence, we must go looking. Therefore we will, as a favor to the Calvinist, begin in another passage they love to use to support their doctrine, Romans 9, verses 11-18, which states:

(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. (Romans 9:11-18)

Now, does appear to state what the Calvinists say it states? The question must be answered by determining whether or not proper context is established by the passage quoted. It is obvious that it cannot be as the passage given (Romans 9:11-18) begins in the middle of a sentence. Now, I did not select the passage, but was directed to it in an e-mail from a Calvinist who used it to justify his view of foreknowledge/predestination in which he stated:

“Esau was cut off because that was God’s will, not anything Esau did. (Romans 9:11-18).”

Thus, it is not mine to lift the passage, and begin in the middle of the sentence, but the decision of the person arguing for the Calvinistic interpretation of the passage, which is a standard Calvinist verse reference.6 Thus, no context is established by the lifted verses for the simple fact that it begins in the middle of the sentence. To establish context, we must, due to the construct of the chapter, look at how the chapter begins and ends.

Plainly Romans, chapter 9 is about Israel, as it begins in the following manner:

I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen. (Romans 9:1-5)

And ends in this manner:

What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. (Romans 9:30-33)

Here now we have a context established, and that context is Israel and their rejection of salvation. We find quite clearly in verses 30 through 33 that the vast majority of Israel sought to justify themselves before God by the works of the law, and not by faith, and were thus condemned. Hence, the context is that faith, and faith alone justifies, apart from the works of the law. Additionally, throughout the chapter it is expressly admonished that our willing something to be (i.e. salvation by whatever means we desire, be it works or other some such thing) is not sufficient to bring it to pass as we did not establish the criteria by which one is justified. That prerogative belongs to the LORD God only, and it is His working, regardless of what man does, or does not do that establishes what salvation consists of.

To be continued . . .


  1. The John 3:16 Arminian Lie Laid Bare
  2. Strong, James. The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible : Showing Every Word of the Test of the Common English Version of the Canonical Books, and Every Occurence of Each Word in Regular Order. Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship.
  3. We should note here that James Strong’s doctrine was not correct either. Despite his cataloging of every word in the King James Bible, he thought it was not entirely correct and contained “errors,” particularly in the translation of words, and the selection of source texts. Hence, his verse references in support of definitions are to be taken with a grain of salt. It is the Scripture itself that will define what it means in using words that have multiple senses.
  4. Brief Bio of Pastor Fred Phelps
  5. Construct of the statement demands it is past tense only, despite the use of the word “ever,” which is inclusive of all time.
  6. About Park Church | Doctrine | Article 5: The Plan of God, verse references
Share

The Westboro “Baptist” Church Lie – Calvinism’s True Face: Pt. 2

Monday, November 10th, 2008

One of the things we should note about the Westboro articles, is the use of “pet” verses to “prove” their point without bothering to consult the entirety of Scripture. This is not a new tactic, and I have observed to many times. The supporters of false doctrines do this because of one of two reasons:

A. They are truly ignorant of what the rest of Scripture does declare, and consequently do not include verses that set aside the doctrine they are attempting to support.

B. They actually do know that verses contradicting their doctrine exist, and they refuse to include them and explain them as they know the explanation cannot stand the light of scrutiny.

Hence, we observe their use of the verse from Acts 13:48, where the Gentiles believed the gospel when the apostle Paul preached it at Antioch in Pisidia:

Furthermore, the only people who can believe are the ones whom God has ordained to eternal life. “And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.” Acts 13:48.1

However, that verse sits in a passage that states the following:

And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath. Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God. But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming. Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. (Acts 13:42-48)

If we note, just prior to the statement about Gentiles being ordained to eternal life, another statement is made by Paul and Barnabas, to wit:

Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. (Acts 13:46)

Now, it must be asked (because surely the Atheist will ask it): Isn’t it contradictory to say that the Jews judged themselves unworthy of eternal life, but God ordained the Gentiles to eternal life, particularly when II Peter 3:9 states that the LORD would have all men come to repentance? Moreover, that I Timothy 2:4 seems to agree with II Peter 3:9, but disagrees with Acts 13:48, and appears to be entirely contradictory in that regard — why then should we believe the Bible?

They have a point, and it must be answered. However, answering it cannot be with the trite phrase “It’s a mystery.” and let it go at that. Nor can it be answered by inserting words into the passages of I Timothy 2:4 and II Peter 3:9 and ignoring Acts 13:46 as if it will go away of its own accord. No, the instant you state the long rigamarole that the general epistles of Peter were to believers, and the epistle to Timothy was to a preacher, and thus the context is believers only . . . it is revealed that the true answer is being obscured and the Atheist will cease to listen. Why? Because that answer ignores the fact that a letter to anyone can contain several contexts, some or all of which would be familiar to the reader.

For instance, if I have a friend who is a believer (and I have several) and he happens to own a piece of property in which I desire legal permission to access, and my letter addresses that issue, then irrespective of the fact that my friend is a believer, the context of the letter is the property and my desire for legal access to it. For someone to come along 200 hundred years later and examine the letter, and then declare that the request for legal access was predicated upon the fact that my friend was a believer and thus that is the frame of the letter, is to read into the letter a context that is not there. Irrespective of the fact that my friend happens to be a believer, I desire legal access to a piece of property that he happens to own — and that is all. I could write the very same letter to a different friend who happened to be agnostic, asking the very same favor of legal access to property he happens to own. Hence, the context is defined by the subject(s) addressed in the letter, not by the beliefs of the person to whom I send it.

What I have described above (determining the context of an epistle by looking at the addressee) is one of the most misused methods of “interpretation” of Scripture by those who routinely distort Scripture to support their own perverse doctrines that cannot be reconciled to the rest of Scripture. Now, to be certain, the addressee of a letter does have bearing on the contents of the letter. However, the contents of the letter have a context all their own, irrespective of the addressee, and are only affected by the level of knowledge and understanding of the addressee. Thus, we must look to the various subjects addressed in the Epistles, the knowledge and understanding of the recipients of the Epistles, and how the writers of those several letters approached the various subjects broached to determine the true context of any passage we wish to study and use for doctrinal support. In short, we have to be careful and rightly divide the word of God, ever understanding that no passage in and of itself creates or establishes a doctrine. Rather, in Scripture all doctrines that are proper and correct are supported multiple times throughout Scripture, in both the Old and New Testaments.

Now, there is also one additional point to consider when comparing Scripture with Scripture to determine whether a doctrine is actually correct. That is: the context of the passages compared must be the same. This would seem to be a common sense rule, but it is frequently ignored and/or misused. If the context of one passage is spiritual, and another passage physical, even if they say the very same thing, one cannot be used to support the other. If we violate this rule, we will, sooner rather than later, come up with a doctrine that is in no way Scriptural, and runs contrary to the whole tone and thrust of the Scripture itself. This is not to say that we will not find that there exists a certain continuity between the physical and the spiritual, it is only to make expressly clear the principle contained in what the Lord Jesus Christ told Nicodemus:

That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (John 3:6)

Hence, that which applies to the spiritual, does not apply to the physical, and vice-versa. We must understand that the physical, which came out of the spiritual, is only a limited type and shadow of the real world, which is the spiritual.

All that being stated, let us go back now and begin to address the passage of Acts 13:48 in which it is recorded:

And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. (Acts 13:48)

Now, on its face, this seems to support the contention of the folks at Westboro Baptist Church and is commonly used by Calvinists also in supporting their argument of predestination. However, we are expressly told that no scripture is of any private interpretation in II Peter 1:20, and that is a hard and fast rule. After all, as an aside (but still germane to the discussion) I could quote Daniel 12:2 which states:

And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12:2)

and turn around and claim that the Scripture supports the doctrine of “soul sleep” which is a Seventh Day Adventist doctrine. Of course, they do use this very passage to support their contention, all the while ignoring numerous other passages in Scripture that flatly contradict the idea of “soul sleep.”

What am I saying here? Simply this: If we are going to lean upon “pet” passages and private interpretations of Scripture to support doctrine, then we have to allow that everyone else who does so must be correct as well in their doctrines — even if it flatly contradicts ours. Why? To be succinct: what’s good for the goose — is good for the gander. Otherwise, we are nothing more than elitist hypocrites.

Now then, let us go back and begin to examine the passage of Acts 13:48, but we will do so by including Romans 9:11-13, which seems to contain the same idea.

To be continued . . .


  1. The John 3:16 Arminian Lie Laid Bare
Share

The Westboro “Baptist” Church Lie – Calvinism’s True Face: Pt. 1

Friday, November 7th, 2008

As a fundamentalist, I encounter quite a lot of rolled eyes, sideways looks and the general attitude of disdain from folks. A lot of this is due to the misconceptions about fundamentalism that are promoted by the opponents of fundamentalism in their attempt to discredit holding fast the Scripture. The reason they do this is to justify their departure from the word of God. However, some of the attitudes people hold toward fundamentalism are due to those who, for whatever reason, decide to attach that label to themselves, and then engage in the most hateful and ungodly attitudes and actions one might imagine — all the while claiming they are “serving God.”

One of those individuals is Fred Phelps, along with him is the church he pastors, Westboro Baptist Church.1 This gentleman and his congregation are well-known for their pickets and websites that preach that God hates this and that other thing (I would list them all, but it is wearying). Their message is supposed to be summed up in their 92-page publication “God Loves Everyone — The Greatest Lie Ever Told.”2 They also back this up with a much shorter document titled “The John 3:16 Arminian Lie Laid Bare.”3

In both these documents, they lay out the “Biblical” basis and logic for their belief that God hates everyone. The logic for this belief is not as evident in the longer document, even though it is predominately scripture and should be there. Strangely enough, the logic and basis for their belief is more plainly and clearly brought forth in the shorter of the two documents “The John 3:16 Arminian Lie Laid Bare.” What we find in the longer document is simply a listing of verses with a very brief synopsis of what the verses are supposed to say. Due to the fact that demonstrating the misconstruction of 701 verses would be a very long document indeed, and since the logic of it all is contained in the shorter document, the focus here will be on “The John 3:16 Arminian Lie Laid Bare.”4

In the article, they state the following:

“John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” That says God loves everyone, right? Wrong. Every so-called Christian in the world will cite John 3:16 as proof that God loves everyone. They don’t have a clue what the verse means, and, under the guidance of the lying false prophets who make up the “Christian” landscape, twist it to mean what they want it to mean.”

It seems that if you’re going to base an entire lying theology on one part of a verse, you would at least know what the verse means. But so-called Christians today are far too simple-minded and lazy to look into the matter. So we’ll do it for you: the word translated “world” in John 3:16 is the Greek word “kosmos.” The word never means “every individual of mankind who ever lived.” In fact, the word has at least seven different meanings in the scripture, depending on the context in which it’s used. It can mean Gentiles (as opposed to Jews); it can mean the world of believers; it can mean the world of unbelievers; it can mean the physical creation; etc. If you would actually read what the verse says, and read the context around the verse, you would find that the answer is right before your lying eyes – you just don’t want to see it, because it conflicts with how your evil, dark hearts think God ought to be! The context is “the world of believers” (whether they are Jews or Gentiles). Those are the people God loves. Those are the people for whom Jesus died. Jesus didn’t come to condemn those people – He came to save them. But everyone else is already condemned, because they don’t believe.

You’ll say “but doesn’t ‘whosoever believes’ mean that everybody has the chance to believe?” Nope. Turn a few pages to John 10 (you may be surprised to find that there is actually more to the Bible than John 3:16, but believe me, there is). You will find in John 10:11 that Jesus says “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” Later on in verse 26, Jesus says to some unbelievers: “But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.” Uh oh – you John 3:16 heretics have a few problems on your hands. Jesus says He came to die for the sheep, and then proceeds to say that only His sheep can believe. In other words, only the people for whom Jesus died will believe. Note that the reason that unbelievers don’t believe is BECAUSE they are not His sheep. This passage explains who the world is in John 3:16, and it’s clearly not everyone. Furthermore, the only people who can believe are the ones whom God has ordained to eternal life. “And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.” Acts 13:48. So, if you have been ordained to eternal life, that means that you will believe, you are one of God’s sheep, God loves you, and He sent His Son to die for you so you wouldn’t be condemned. If you have not been ordained to eternal life, that means you are not one of His sheep, you NEVER will believe and are already condemned.

Now, despite the fact that the quotes are long, it is essential for the understanding of what Calvinism is, and why the logical conclusion of it is exactly what Fred Phelps and his congregation do.

To begin with, their argument is that John 3:16 is mistranslated, or misconstrued by those holding Arminian doctrine5 to say that God loves all the people of the world, when he doesn’t. However, Phelps argument doesn’t stand on firm ground here because John 3:16 is not the only passage that states that the LORD God desires the salvation of all. It is notable that they chose to focus on this verse and the supposed meanings of the word “world” and then “explain” their interpretation with a couple of convenient passages that are open to interpretation. This flies in the face of many passages throughout the Scripture that declare plainly that the LORD God wants everyone to be reconciled to Him through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. We can begin anywhere, but we will begin in I Timothy:

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. (I Timothy 2:1-6)

If we consider the underlined passages in the above Scripture and take particular note of what they plainly state, we see that, despite Calvinist claims, there is no restrictive context here that would limit the application. What those who hold Calvinist doctrine do here is exactly what I have found of many who hold Arminian doctrine — they insert a restrictive context to make it apply to only those who are chosen to be saved — the “elect.” However, like I have previously stated, this is only one of many passages of Scripture that declare that Christ died for all men everywhere, at any time in earth’s history.

Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save. Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. (Isaiah 45:20-22)

Now, it should be plain what the scope and meaning of the LORD’s statement “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth:” is. There should be no doubt that the LORD God is calling to, not only Israel, but to all men everywhere — just like the preaching of the apostle Paul stated:

God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: . . . (Acts 17:24-30)

Strange. God hath commanded all men everywhere to repent, but He doesn’t want to save all men everywhere, and hates all but the elect? Excuse me, but that would border on insanity wouldn’t it?

This is, unfortunately for those holding Calvinist (aka. Sovereign Grace, Primitive Baptist, Wisconsin Synod Lutheran, Presbyterian, etc.) doctrine, a clear implication of their doctrine. The sad part of this, is their failure to examine all the Scripture and really consider all the LORD God has stated on a subject that is precious to His heart and soul. Like many, they obviously never hear the open invitation of the Scripture. Thus, if you’ve never heard the open invitation, hear it now:

Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people. Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the LORD thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee.
Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. (Isaiah 55:1-7)

And again:

And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. (Revelation 22:17)

Here it is necessary to understand that “everyone” and “whosoever” are plural, and that “every one that thirsteth,” “let him that is athirst come,” and “whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” make the decision for salvation utterly dependent on the individual. Therefore I ask: To whom does this apply? The invitation is open-ended and without qualification — it applies to everyone that is living today, applied to everyone who has ever lived, and will apply to all to come — until the end of the world. The above passages speak plainly to the fact that salvation has always been the same, and that salvation is open and available to all men everywhere, without regard to color of skin, place of birth, financial or social status. The only barrier to salvation for any individual is a barrier they themselves erect.

There is yet something else in the passages quoted immediately above that ought to be touched on before going on. It bears heavily upon what the Lord Jesus Christ told Nicodemus, and provides the explanation of what the Lord said when he stated:

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (John 3:5)

And again, what did the Lord tell the woman at the well in Sychar?

Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. (John 4:10)

The water spoken of is strictly spiritual,6 and whether someone can get it, depends upon whether that person will avail themselves of it. As the old saying goes:

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.

In like manner, it’s there, but the LORD God is not going to make anyone drink — that is strictly up to the individual.

Now we’ve only scratched the surface. . .

To be continued . . .


  1. About Westboro Baptist Church
  2. God Loves Everyone — The Greatest Lie Ever Told
  3. The John 3:16 Arminian Lie Laid Bare
  4. I want to make clear here that both Calvinist doctrine and belief (whether it is know as Calvinism, “Sovereign Grace,” or “Primitive Baptist,” Wisconsin Synod Lutheran, Presbyterian, etc.) and Arminian doctrine and belief, are both egregiously wrong, and lies of the Devil to cause people to stumble at the Word and not come to salvation because of believing the wrong thing.
  5. it is ever the method of the devil to set up two opposing camps, both of which are wrong, and accuse anyone who doesn’t agree with one, of being part and parcel of the other — nevermind that the truth doesn’t reside in either place. In this way, the devil can fool people into taking sides instead of actually studying the Scripture for themselves. The truth of salvation lies between the extremes of Calvinism and Arminism, and has always been maligned by both sides.
  6. This ought to lay bare the lie of ‘water baptism for salvation’ that is promoted by some.
Share

Suppression

Sunday, May 18th, 2008

Ah yes, back to the “good ole days” where there exists no such thing as liberty of the conscience. Yes, you would never know this is America, nor would you know that the U.S. Army defends the United States of America. No, this is not the home of the likes of Patrick Henry, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, et al. Rather, “America” has chosen the road of persecutors and the thought suppression police.

The offense?

Preaching the gospel in church services!

Now, if the gospel cannot be preached in church services, just where can it be preached?

Worse yet, the offended party is a Brigade Chaplain at Forward Operating Base Loyalty in Iraq, who told the Unit Chaplain, Stuart Kazarovich, a fundamental Baptist, that the term “born again” was unacceptable and not compatible with the Army.1

Gee, I wonder who told the Brigade Chaplain that he set Army policy? The problem with the Army and its response is typical Army (which is why I joined the Air Force 28 years ago, and retired 8 years ago) — they are dragging their feet on dealing with an uppity Brigade Chaplain.

Am I surprised by this?

No, not really. Fundamental Baptists have never been liked by hierarchal, pompous, “organized” denominations that call themselves “Christian.” Moreover, fundamental Baptists are less liked by Muslims and other pagan religions.

The following then, is directed at the Brigade Chaplain of FOB Loyalty and his enablers in Iraq and Washington. They should recognize it. After all, spiritually, the folks doing the persecuting described below could well be their ancestors:

In Virginia, religious persecution, directed at Baptists and, to a lesser degree, at Presbyterians, continued after the Declaration of Independence. The perpetrators were members of the Church of England, sometimes acting as vigilantes but often operating in tandem with local authorities. Physical violence was usually reserved for Baptists, against whom there was social as well as theological animosity. A notorious instance of abuse in 1771 of a well-known Baptist preacher, “Swearin Jack” Waller, was described by the victim: “The Parson of the Parish [accompanied by the local sheriff] would keep running the end of his horsewhip in [Waller’s] mouth, laying his whip across the hymn book, etc. When done singing [Waller] proceeded to prayer. In it he was violently jerked off the stage; they caught him by the back part of his neck, beat his head against the ground, sometimes up and sometimes down, they carried him through the gate . . . where a gentleman [the sheriff] gave him . . . twenty lashes with his horsewhip.”

The persecution of Baptists made a strong, negative impression on many patriot leaders, whose loyalty to principles of civil liberty exceeded their loyalty to the Church of England in which they were raised. James Madison was not the only patriot to despair, as he did in 1774, that the “diabolical Hell conceived principle of persecution rages” in his native colony. Accordingly, civil libertarians like James Madison and Thomas Jefferson joined Baptists and Presbyterians to defeat the campaign for state financial involvement in religion in Virginia.2

Obviously you don’t care what the Scripture states about what you are doing, so I will let you know what former President James Madison thought of you and your ilk:

Letter from James Madison to William Bradford
James Madison
January 24, 1774
I want again to breathe your free Air. I expect it will mend my Constitution & confirm my principles. I have indeed as good an Atmosphere at home as the Climate will allow: but have nothing to brag of as to the State and Liberty of my Country. Poverty and Luxury prevail among all sorts: Pride ignorance and Knavery among the Priesthood and Vice and Wickedness among the Laity. This is bad enough But It is not the worst I have to tell you. That diabolical Hell conceived principle of persecution rages among some and to their eternal Infamy the Clergy can furnish their Quota of Imps for such business. This vexes me the most of any thing whatever. There are at this time in the adjacent County not less than 5 or 6 well meaning men in close Gaol for publishing their religious Sentiments which in the main are very orthodox. I have neither patience to hear talk or think of any thing relative to this matter, for I have squabbled and scolded abused and ridiculed so long about it, to so little purpose that I am without common patience. So I leave you to pity me and pray for Liberty of Conscience to revive among us.3

No Brigade Chaplain, you’ve not thrown Stuart Kazarovich in jail yet, but given time and opportunity I’m certain you would.

You child of Hell.


  1. Military honchos ‘suppress’ chaplain’s Baptist services
  2. V. Religion and the State Governments
  3. Letter from James Madison to William Bradford
Share

Preaching

Friday, January 18th, 2008

I have added a new section to the website: Preaching. The Introduction begins with this:

For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. (1 Corinthians 1:21)

It is interesting that the LORD God chose a method of delivering His message to man that the world considers foolishness. After all, aren’t there more effective ways of getting the message across? Surely dramas, movies, and songs all are more effective at influencing people to believe in something?

Well, that depends upon what you are trying to achieve. More importantly, it depends upon what you can perceive about a person, versus what LORD God actually knows about man, and particularly about a specific person. Fundamentally, the method used to reach and influence people does depend upon what you can perceive about them, and their true motivations. In this regard, man is at a significant disadvantage, versus the LORD. The LORD made this very plain to the prophet Samuel, when Samuel went to anoint a king to replace Saul. . . more

Share
Translate »