Month: June 2012

Choose Jesus

If you have the ability to read and understand this right now, then by the time your life is over you are going to be a person who has the ability to make no less than a million choices. That’s right; I mean what I say!

Have you ever thought about how many choices you make a day? From the time you chose to get up this morning to the time that you will choose to go to bed tonight and everywhere in between you’re making choices. Some choices will only affect you, some choices will affect those closest to you like family and friends, and some choices will even affect strangers that you may never meet.

What makes us choose the choices we make? How often do we make choices because we have chosen Jesus?

On multiple occasions Jesus urged His follower’s to choose wisely (John 8:24-32). He encouraged them to choose a heavenly reward over an earthly one (Matthew 6:19-24). He encouraged them to choose the narrow way over the broad (Matthew 7:13-14). He encouraged them to choose courage over fear (Matthew 10:28-33). He encouraged them to choose faith over family (Matthew 10:34-39). He encouraged them to choose forgiveness over anger (Matthew 18:21-35). He encouraged them to choose Him (Matthew 11:28-30).

Why choose Jesus? Because there’s no other choice that makes sense – because there’s no one better to choose (Matthew 16:21-27; John 6:66-69). EA

Total Hereditary Depravity, Part 3 – The Tangled Web That Total Hereditary Depravity Weaves

Beginning with Total Hereditary Depravity, Calvinism weaves a very tangled web. There are some big problems with saying that everyone who is born is born a sinner. Besides the fact that Total Hereditary Depravity contradicts the teaching of the scriptures, one huge problem arises when the question, “What happens when babies die” is asked. Why ask such a question? Because sadly, it does happen; but even sadder is the answer that Calvinists must give when it does.

Calvinists don’t like this question. At least ones who realize what they’re saying. Why not? Well, remember, all a person has to do to go to hell is be born! After all, it’s sinners who are going to hell. And according to Total Hereditary Depravity that’s exactly what a baby is born!

Babies going to hell??? For being born??? According to Calvinism!!! No wonder the question is so uncomfortable. So how is the situation dealt with? Well, there are a few (howbeit extremely, extremely far-fetched) options on the table.

If you’re Catholic, you baptize the baby. This opens a whole other can of worms, but non-the-less the answer is you baptize the baby without faith contrary to what the scriptures teach (Mark 16:15-16). After you baptize the baby you can “worry” about the faith part later and have them “confirmed” without the baptism. It’s not a good answer, much less a scriptural one, but hey, it’s an answer!

Now if you’re Protestant you don’t believe that baptism has anything to do with salvation (at least the vast, vast majority believe this). If baptism isn’t necessary for adults, then how could it be for babies? The only way Protestants who believe in Total Hereditary Depravity deal with the issue is by saying babies who die get a “special exception” from said depravity. So that leaves all the babies who die as members of God’s predestinated, unconditionally elected group. I guess that makes all the babies who survive the one’s we have to worry about!?

Let’s cut to the chase. If you believe that Total Hereditary Depravity is the truth, you have one of two choices. One, the baby won’t go to Hell because they didn’t sin – but we can’t have that because they were born sinners!!! As for number two, the baby won’t go to Hell because they were born a part of God’s predestinated elect BUT you can’t be sure about it since they never expressed their faith. Either way, there can be no genuine hope because if you ask a person who truly believes in Total Hereditary Depravity, they will say you can’t be sure if a baby is in Heaven because they deserved to go to Hell.

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Total Hereditary Depravity, Part 2 – The Bible Simply Does Not Teach We’re Born Sinners!

From Genesis to Revelation you won’t find a single verse that teaches all of mankind is born completely corrupt and incapable of anything good spiritually the moment we’re born! You would think that would settle the issue, but sadly it doesn’t. Despite the fact that the Bible doesn’t teach Total Hereditary Depravity there are some people who still love to try to make it do so!

People who teach we’re born sinners love to quote David when he said, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.” (Psalm 51:5) They don’t love quoting it in context but they still love quoting it. But for some reason they don’t like to quote Job when he said, “But from my youth I reared him [the poor] as a father, And from my mother’s womb I guided her [the widow].” (Job 31:18) I wonder why not???

When did Job say he began guiding the widow??? So what did Job mean by that? Same thing David meant when he said he was conceived in sin! They were both speaking in hyperboles to describe the lifestyle they were living at that particular time. It’s not that David was literally conceived in sin any more than Job was literally serving the widow from the womb! They were symbolic phrases to describe the feeling they had in their heart.

People who teach we’re born sinners love to quote Paul when he said, “among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.” (Ephesians 2:3) They don’t love to quote it in context but they love to talk about how we’re children of wrath by nature – attempting to make Paul teach that we’re born that way. But they don’t like to quote Paul when he said, “for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves,” (Romans 2:14). Again I wonder why not???

Never mind the context of Ephesians 2:3 that says the nature of wrath comes from disobedience in verse 2 or that the nature is actually talking about a learned nature, let’s pretend for a second that nature means we’re born completely corrupt, and by nature we can’t do anything good spiritually! If people are born with a nature that can’t do anything good spiritually then how did the Gentiles of the old world follow God’s law by nature??? If people are born with a nature that can’t do anything good spiritually and the heart is nothing but corrupt, then how did Jesus describe the heart as good and honest that the seed (God’s word – Luke 8:11) fell into in Luke 8:15?

How can any of that happen? It’s because we’re not born sinners! We’re not born spiritually depraved! Total Hereditary Depravity is totally wrong!!!

The Bible teaches that we are all born spiritually innocent and we become guilty like Adam when we choose sin over righteousness. Adam and Eve ate from the tree of “knowledge of GOOD and EVIL” – not the tree of “knowledge of EVIL and EVIL.” The heart of mankind goes astray from God – it’s not born astray from God! (more…)

Total Hereditary Depravity, Part 1 – What Kind of Seed Did the Fruit Lead To?

Ever heard of continental divides? They’re areas such as mountains that literally divide geographical regions by causing water to flow in two separate directions thus creating a continental division. Spiritually speaking, there are correlations to continental divides that I call doctrinal divides, and one of the greatest doctrinal divides around is called Calvinism, and once a person hits the waters of Calvinism the truth flows in a completely different direction. Calvinism is not just a doctrinal divide; it’s a “great” one! Why? Because Calvinism fundamentally changes the way one must view the entire gospel of Christ; and it all begins with Total Hereditary Depravity (a.k.a. being born a sinner).

Total Hereditary Depravity teaches the immediate lack of spiritual life and complete wickedness and lack of nature to do any good spiritually the moment one is born. It preaches that the moment we’re conceived, our spiritual heart is so completely fallen and full of sin that we can’t choose to listen to God. It means the moment a baby is born, they are spiritually lost and worthy of God’s judgment and condemnation!

But what does the Bible say about this idea??? Since it’s all blamed on Adam let’s go to the scene of the crime and investigate!

The scene of the crime is recorded in Genesis 3:1-11. There you’ll find that without a doubt Adam and Eve sinned! But the odd thing about it is that, contrary to Calvinism, I don’t see anything there about you and me!!! I see the “origin of sin” for sure – but not the famed “original sin” that I am supposedly guilty of when I’m born. From this point in the Bible, Calvinists say every single person born (except Jesus – which we’ll talk about in the next post) is born with a depraved soul! Why? Because we personally sinned in the garden? Nope. Because we’re born in “Adam’s image and likeness” we’re born the sinner that Adam was (Genesis 5:1-3). Calvinism says to be born in the image of Adam is to be born a sinner – no exceptions!!!

But there are more than a couple of problems with the above idea, but I want to quickly give two of them!

First off, whose image were Adam and Eve created in? (Genesis 1:26-27) It was God’s image! The same image that we bear to this day. Now if being in the “image of God” meant being without sin then why did they sin??? If the beginning of the human race could begin life without being sinners then why can’t we?

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Some Things Are Scarier Than They Sound

“Attack of The…Chiggers!!!” Yeah, I know that doesn’t sound too intimidating…but it should!

Even though they’re after your blood, you can’t see them coming and they will drive you crazy when they get you, I guess chiggers just do not sound as scary as aliens, living zombies or some creature that lives inside the spooky cave. I mean really, what kind of name is chigger? It sounds about as scary as “fluffy.” That is, unless you have actually dealt with them.

I have yet to come across any mysterious flying objects with “death-rays.” And while I have seen some scary people in caves, all living by the way, that’s about the extent of it. But when it comes to chiggers, now that is a whole different ballgame. If you have ever dealt with them as I have, then you know that even the sound of the word “CHIGGER” can bring back memories of non-stop awful scratching. Laugh if you like, but when chiggers attack, those little guys mean business!

The point that I’m making with the chigger illustration is just because something doesn’t sound scary, that doesn’t mean it’s not!

Sometimes when a person with a little more life experience tries to warn younger people about the dangers of sin, the word “SIN” just does not sound as intimidating as it actually is in reality. Sin is not some fairytale boogey man, and it does not come from the imagination of people. Sin is real. And when it comes to the effect of sin there are no happy endings because sin is serious business! (1st John 3:4; James 1:14-16)

The young people who are warned about the sin and dangers of drinking sometimes laugh it off until one day they or one of their friends end up being paralyzed or killed in a wreck (I have personal experience with both). Then they understand how scary sin is.

The young person that is warned about the sin of partying, doing drugs and hanging out with the wrong crowd may roll their eyes until one day they or one of their friends get assaulted or raped. Then they understand how scary sin is.

The young person that is warned about the sin and irresponsibility of fornication may think that it is no big deal until one day the “protection” doesn’t protect, and then they are looking at raising a child alone because their “lover” didn’t really love them, much less want to be their friend! Sadly, the “boyfriend” may be pressured into agreeing to an abortion or the “girlfriend” may be pressured to get one because the other party involved refuses to take the responsibility that they helped to create. Yes, then they understand how scary sin is.

While I understand that bad things happen to good people quite often (1 Peter 5:7-9) these are only a few of the almost unlimited examples that can be given when a person ignores the heartbreaking consequences of sin, and the reality of these situations should speak for themselves.

To some people the word “SIN” may not be that scary; that is until we have to deal with it up close and personally. Then we realize that some things really are scarier than they sound. EA

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