Round Up

Understanding The Times – For many who live in high alpine terrain, mountain sports like skiing are a way of life. As with any such sport, carnage comes with the territory.

When Evil Dug It’s Own Grave – When you’re in the middle of intense suffering, it’s easy to lose your bearings. Questions arise reflexively: Is God really in control? How can a good God allow so much pain? Is God good?

What’s Wrong With Producing A “Worship Experience?” – Is the Church becoming a consumer driven commodity?

Predestination:  Don’t Say A Word About It Until… – There’s no more surefire way to create awkward silence among family and friends than to say, “Hey everyone, let’s talk about predestination.”


“What a wonder is it, that two natures infinitely distant, should be more intimately united than anything in the world; and yet without any confusion! That the same person should have both a glory and a grief; an infinite joy in the Deity, and an inexpressible sorrow in the humanity! That a God upon a throne should be an infant in a cradle; the thundering Creator be a weeping babe and a suffering man, are such expressions of mighty power, as well as condescending love, that they astonish men upon earth, and angels in heaven.” – Thomas Goodwin


Round Up

Have You Ever Had A Pastoral Visit? – It’s not books, but “boots on the ground,” that tell you what really matters when it comes to the shepherding care that Christ provides for his sheep.

A Practical Understanding Of The Sufficiency of Scripture, Part 3 – Check out Part 1, and Part 2.

The Folly Of What Noah Preached – Paul wrote, “the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18).

All Things – The gospel guarantees that we will be brought home to glory. It is by grace that we are saved from the consequences of our sin; the same grace of God in the gospel brings us home. Better, Jesus brings us home.


Since God is the creator, he cannot be unjust.  He creates whatever objects, things, or persons he pleases.  If he had wanted elephants with two legs and robins with four legs, he would have created them so.  Created as they are, they have no ground for complaint.  To understand the Bible, one must realize that God is the sovereign creator.  There is no law superior to him that commands, “Thou shalt not create elephants with two legs”, or “Thou shalt not hate Esau.”  There are many details in the doctrine of predestination, and each should be given its due weight; but the basic, the final, the ultimate answer to all objections is the relative position of Creator to creature.  All objections presuppose that man is in some way or other independent of God and has obtained from somewhere or achieved by his own efforts some rights over against Him.  Obviously such a view is totally destructive to Christianity. – Gordon H. Clark

It’s not books, but “boots on the ground,” that tell you what really matters when it comes to the shepherding care that Christ
It’s not books, but “boots on the ground,” that tell you what really matters when it comes to the shepherding care that Christ provides for his sheep. – See more at:
It’s not books, but “boots on the ground,” that tell you what really matters when it comes to the shepherding care that Christ provides for his sheep. – See more at:

1 Peter – Foreknowledge of God Part I (1 Peter 1:2a)

Servants' Journal

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Scripture Text

1 Peter 1:2aElect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father


I am going to cover a topic that has spawned much debate. Some would say this topic is controversial so just skip over it and move on.  Why introduce a subject that may divide those who follow this blog?  The answer, to do a verse by verse study I cannot skip over it.  I will give you my thoughts based upon my study and prayer for understanding of the subject at hand.  I will use scripture to support my conclusions because my opinion doesn’t matter, what God says does.

Verse 2 is actually a continuation of verse one.  In context this is part of Peter’s greeting to Christians scattered throughout the provinces listed in verse 1. Contained within this greeting is a statement of doctrinal importance I want to look…

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When I consider the absolute independency of God, and the necessary total dependence of all created things on Him, their first cause, I cannot help standing astonished at the pride and impotent, degenerate man, who is so prone to consider himself as a being possessed of sovereign freedom, and invested with a power of self-salvation, able, he imagines, to counteract the designs even of infinity wisdom, and to defeat the agency of Omnipotence itself.  You shall be as gods, said the tempter to Eve in Paradise; and you are as gods, says the same tempter, now, to her apostate sons.  One would be apt to think that a suggestion so demonstrably false and flattering; a suggestions the very reverse of what we feel to be our state; a suggestion alike contrary to Scripture and reason, to fact and experience, could never meet with the smallest degree of credit.  And yet, because it so exactly coincides with the natural haughtiness of the human heart, men not only admit, but even relish the deception, and fondly incline to believe that the father of lies does, in this instance at least, speak truth.

The Scripture doctrine of predestination lays the axe to the very root of this potent delusion.  It assures us that all things are of God; that all our times and all events are in His hand.  Consequently, that man’s business below is to fill up the departments and to discharge the several offices assigned him in God’s purpose from everlasting; and that, having lived his appointed time, and finished his allotted course of action and suffering, he that moment quits the stage of terrestrial life, and removes to the invisible state.

– Augustus Toplady from the preface to Absolute Predestination by Jerome Zanchius

God Intended the Fall of Man

While listening to a theology course from Jim McClarty I heard the following and wanted to share it:

God was under absolutely no obligation to tell us anything about himself.  He was not obligated to do it at all.  When Adam fell, once Eve rebelled, they were in opposition to God.  God could have very well said, “Well, that’s it, you rebels, I gave you a shot, I gave you a nice place to stay, all I told you to do was tend the garden, make some kids, don’t eat from that tree.”

 But, as soon as there was a sinner, God demonstrated himself as savior.  And you might notice that when Adam and Eve fell, they did not go looking for God, they ran from God.  Part of their fall was their realization that they were naked, they were sinful, and that God was a judge. They did not find out that they were good or right or holy, they found out that they were in trouble, and they ran, they hid, they sewed together fig leaves, that was their plan.  God came looking for them. He was under no obligation to do so, but he did it out of mercy and grace. 

In other words, part of the reason that God created humanity, and part of the reason that in his grand sovereignty he brought about the fall, was because God was going to reveal himself.  He wanted to reveal himself in the broad spectrum of his character, his nature, and his attributes.  All of his attributes, every single one reveals some part of God.  Even the names of God found in the Bible are revelatory of the character of God.  God is in the process of revealing himself, showing himself to his creation.

The reason that God sovereignly brought about the fall of man was because he was intending to reveal himself and this was the method he used in order to do it.  People struggle with that!  If you take the view that Adam and Eve by their free will chose to rebel against God but that they had the option not too, that they could have simply just not rebelled. Then you are also saying that God would not have been able to reveal himself as merciful, or as savior, or as gracious, or as long suffering, or as kind.  All those wonderful attributes of God would have never been known because human being would never need them.  Instead God intended the fall, the same way he intends everything.

Here is the proof.  “Don’t eat from that tree.”  If God really didn’t want Adam and Eve to  eat from the tree, he would not have put it in the garden.  Now, if I can figure that out, I’m sure that God could figure that out.  So, what does God do, he puts that tree in the garden as a temptation.  Adam and Eve do a pretty good job of keeping their hands off.  They understand that they aren’t supposed to eat from it.  Eve even went so far as to say to the serpent that they weren’t supposed to touch it.  They got it.  They understood what God said.  And by the way, they didn’t need that tree because every other tree that bears fruit is good food for them.  They really don’t even need that tree.

Then Satan comes in the form of a serpent and he has a conversation with Eve.  Where is God at this moment?  One of the attributes of God is that he is omnipresent, he is everywhere at once.  So, what is God doing?  Why didn’t he interrupt the conversation?  “Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, hey there, shut your mouth, you serpent.  Who do you think you are talking too?”  God could have said that to either party.  Later in the Genesis narrative you see that God put enmity between the serpent and the woman.  He drove them apart.  Why didn’t he do that before the conversation?  He certainly could have, but he didn’t.

So, not only did he provide the temptation, he provided the tempter. Then he just stood back and let things take their natural course.  Why?  Because without the fall, without sin, there would be no need of a savior.  Before the foundation of the world, Jesus is referred to as the “lamb slain before the foundation of the world.”  Why does there need to be a lamb slain?  Because there is definitely going to be a people who need a savior.  And those people are going to be given to him as trophies of grace so that through all eternity he gets all the glory for those people being in the presence of God.  It’s all about God, it’s all about his worship.  God is in the enterprise of glorifying himself.  So, everything, including the fall is part of God’s revelation of himself because he wanted to reveal himself in a full spectrum.

This is not a word for word transcript, but it is very close and captures the context of Pastor McClarty’s teaching.  If you want to listen for yourself, here is the link to the message.  Either listen to the whole thing or scroll up to the 48 minute mark in the sermon and listen from there.

Spurgeon Thursday


NO. 241

Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called.” Romans 8:30.

THE GREAT BOOK OF GOD’S DECREES is fast closed against the curiosity of man. Vain man would be wise; he would break the seven seals thereof and read the mysteries of eternity.  But this cannot be! The time has not yet come when the book shall be opened and even then the seals shall not be broken by mortal hand, but it shall be said, “The Lion of the tribe of Judah has prevailed to open the book and break the seven seals thereof.”—

Eternal Father, who shall look

Into Your secret will?

None but the Lamb shall take the book

And open every seal!

None but He shall ever unroll that sacred record and read it to the assembled world. How, then, am I to know whether I am predestinated by God unto eternal  life or not? It is a question in which my eternal  interests are involved—am I among that unhappy number who shall be left to live in sin and reap the due reward of their iniquity? Or do I belong to that goodly company who, albeit that they have sinned, shall nevertheless be washed in the blood of Christ and shall in white robes walk the golden streets of Heaven? Until this question is answered, my heart cannot rest, for I am intensely anxious about it. My eternal destiny infinitely more concerns me than all the affairs of time! Tell me, oh tell me, if you know, Seers and Prophets—is  my name recorded in that Book of Life? Am I one of those who are ordained unto eternal life, or am I to be left to follow my own lusts and passions and to destroy my own soul? Oh, my Hearer, there is an answer to your inquiry! The book cannot be opened, but God Himself has published many a page thereof. He has not published the page whereon the actual names of the redeemed are written,  but that page of the sacred decree whereon their character is recorded is published in His Word and shall be proclaimed to you this day! The sacred record of God’s hand is this day published everywhere under Heaven and he who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to him! O my Hearer, by your name I know you not and by your name God’s Word does not declare you, but by your character you may read your name! And if you have been a partaker  of the calling which is mentioned in the text, then may you conclude beyond a doubt that you are among the predestinated—“For  whom He did predestinate, them He also called.” And if you are called, it follows as a natural  inference you are predestinated!

Now, in considering this solemn subject, let me remark that there are two kinds of callings mentioned in the Word of God. The first is the general or universal call, which in the Gospel is sincerely given to everyone who hears the Word. The duty of the minister is to call souls to Christ; he is to make no distinction whatever—“Go you into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.”  The trumpet of the Gospel sounds aloud to every man in our congregations—“Ho, everyone who thirsts,  come you to the waters and he that has no money, come you, buy and eat. Yes, come buy wine and milk without money and without price.” Continue reading

Are You Reformed?

(Part 1)

By Richard Lucas–

Perhaps the question has been posed to you at one time or another.  The appropriate answer it seems depends almost as much on the questioner as the one replying.  For those in the emerging “Young, Restless, and Reformed” category, they might not realize that not everyone else understands the self-describing moniker of “Reformed” in quite the same way.

I have two goals for these blog posts: 1) to sketch out something of the landscape of those who consider themselves “Reformed”; and 2) to provide some historical perspective to the development of the T.U.L.I.P. acronym  in an effort to perhaps curb some misplaced enthusiasm.

Map of the Reformed Landscape

Here I’m merely surveying from my limited experience those who I’ve run into in the modern American Evangelical landscape.  I also will focus on those groups most likely to interest readers of this blog, which is “self-consciously Evangelical, Reformational, and Baptistic.”  My sympathies will become apparent as I don’t withhold my own biases along the way.

The survey really falls into more of a spectrum than separate categories, because there is quite a bit of overlap between various groups.  Nevertheless I think some differentiation will still prove to be helpful, because these groups are often using the word “Reformed” in different senses (i.e. historically, soteriologically, biblical-theologically, etc.).

1) Theonomists

They believe they are the only ones who are consistently reformed.  To them being reformed is applying their bi-covenantal theology in every area of life, including ethics, in a thoroughly consistent manner.  Continue reading