After living out the doctrines of grace since my conversion, I’ve discovered there are a lot of so-called sovereign grace believers. These people come in many different varieties. There are the Reformed Baptists, the Sovereign Grace Baptists, the Calvinistic Landmark Baptists, the Primitive Baptists, etc…. There’s also the OPC, the CRC, the URC, the PRC, the PCA, the FPC, the DRC, etc…. Whether or not there are true believers involved with these organizations or not is not the point of this post. However, I would like to comment on how conditionalism almost always seems to raise its ugly head amongst the professed Calvinists.
Earlier last year, my wife and I visited a local primitive baptist church. They had some crazy ideas that we didn’t agree with such as making foot washing an “official ordinance”, rebaptism requirements for “membership”, and some weird “baptist successionism” that some of the members held dear to their hearts. These are all things that I find repugnant, but the preachers always preached eternal grace. Of course, hearing grace preached from the pulpit is something I enjoy immensely, and I was even considering looking past their other errors and joining the church. But sadly conditionalism, as usual, raised its ugly head.
One Sunday after the sermon something didn’t sit right with me and I asked an elder about assurance or what some primitive baptists call “time salvation”. I of course believe that all the elect come to a knowledge of their Lord through faith alone. This is the cardinal doctrine of the reformation, and anything that goes against this is plain anti-christ. What continued to spill out of this man’s mouth was that salvation “in time” or assurance of salvation is conditioned upon our works. I was horrified beyond belief! How could someone proclaim grace so well in the pulpit and fifteen minutes later have the audacity to proclaim that God’s people are saved “in time” by their works?
It’s my opinion that most “calvinists” haven’t gone to the school of Grace. They refuse to make it the center of doctrine. Any teaching that says any part of salvation that is not conditioned upon Christ Alone is an attempt by men to rob Christ of His glory and destroy the message of the Gospel. This includes justification, sanctification, regeneration, assurance, conversion, etc… All these things are dependent upon Christ and His Grace; and a refusal to recognize this is a denial of Him.
Christ is the believer’s all in all. Every true believer will look to Christ for their justification, for their sanctification, for their assurance, for their faith, for their everything! We as those who love the Gospel of Grace cannot stand for anything less in our fellowship with one another. Will we give lip service to the reformed doctrine of solo Christo? May God forbid!
It has been said by many “theologians” that God has two different wills. This belief concerning the will of God has been invented in order to explain some of the more seemingly difficult passages one might encounter in Scripture. For example, some will say that God has elected a limited number of people to salvation in Christ, but that He also desires that all men would be saved. This example is an apparent contradiction to most serious students of the Bible and even many plain thinking atheists! But to those who dislike the idea of a truly Sovereign God, this contradiction easily rests in their convoluted minds partly because of the doctrine of the “two wills” of God.
Ultimately, the “two wills” theory teaches that God does not always get what He “desires” or “wants”. This evil doctrine on one hand portrays an impotent God unable to save an individual out of respect for the ‘free agency’ of the individual. Yet on the other hand, it also portrays a God at conflict with Himself. What is a rational person to think?
Thankfully, the Bible portrays an immutable God who has purposed to glorify Himself. Before the foundation of the world, God determined to glorify Himself by the salvation of sinners. He decreed that they would fall in order that His glory would be manifested in their salvation by Christ’s sacrificial and substitutionary work on the cross. He also decreed that He would be glorified by the reprobation of billions of people. In fact, all the events of history, every particle of dust, all the comings and goings of man were predestined in God’s immutable and eternal counsel. Everything occurs because of God’s unitary and Sovereign will. May He be praised for His infinite wisdom! Child of God, look around your world and do not worry. Everything in this world, including your circumstances and your difficulties are for your good (Rom 8:28) and ultimately God's magnificent Glory.
“He is in one mind, and who can turn Him? And what His soul desireth, even that He doeth” (Job 23:13)
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God... - Eph 2:8
It is true that all men have a responsibility or an obligation to believe the Lord and His Gospel. To not believe the record of Christ's accomplished work of salvation for His people is a terrible sin for which men will be held accountable. All men have a duty to bow before the Lord, to acknowledge Him as their Sovereign Creator, and to honor Him. But do men have a duty to be blessed? Are men responsible for the blessings which flow from Christ to His people? No, of course not! That is a ridiculous concept indeed! But saving faith is that blessed gift of God that gives men the ability to look to Christ and see that the benefits of His sacrificial work apply to them. It is a gift of assurance. To suggest otherwise is to take this wonderful gift of God and turn it into a work.
Those who insist on the doctrine of "duty-faith" suggest that all men have a responsibility to be saved. They suggest that those for whom Christ did not die are duty-bound to look to the Lord and believe that He loves them and that He died for them. Men are encouraged to believe a lie. So in order to be seen as honest men, these perverters of the Gospel reinvent the concept of atonement and twist it so that Christ's death becomes sufficient for all and efficient for only the elect. Salvation is not accomplished until it is applied. In this unbiblical scheme, unelected men are duty-bound to have these blessings based on Christ's supposedly loving and hypothetical atonement for them. Since this proposition is accepted as true, then it logically follows that these blessings must be offered as something that can be accepted for salvation or rejected for damnation to all men indiscriminately. Of course the concept that men are totally dead in trespasses and sins is now also twisted so that men are now physically capable of accepting this "offer" but are spiritually limited. Does this not sound like free will theology? It does to me. Sadly it passes for "sovereign grace" theology these days!
The next time someone tells you that saving faith is a work that must be performed by men, I suggest you respond to their folly by inquiring them if regeneration is also a work that men must perform. What about sanctification or even the future resurrection at Christ's return? Is that now too a command which men are obligated to obey?
God is responsible for all of salvation. God and man cannot both be responsible. To suggest that man is responsible to have saving faith while acknowledging the Sovereign Grace of God is to embrace a contradiction and entertain a doctrine of devils. Let us flee from such follies.
God needs no defenders. He needs nothing to justify His sovereign acts in this world. He is the Creator, the Shaper, and the Molder. He is the Almighty. Being the Almighty, He has absolute control over all that He has created. There is nothing He can do that is unrighteous – all of His acts are Righteous acts. There is no law that can judge Him as unrighteous as He is the law giver. He has declared the end from the beginning and has done, is doing, and will continue to do all His pleasure (Isa 46:10). All the events of this world come to pass only because the Lord has decreed them according to His pleasure. Those who admire the Sovereign right and Genius of the Lord to rule all of His creation as He pleases see no need to defend this proposition. But there are some who claim to rejoice in God’s absolute sovereignty yet perceive the need to defend Him and justify Him before the world.
The Lord is Sovereign in Salvation. Before the foundation of the world, He elected some to salvation and others to damnation not because He foresaw that some would do good or bad, but because it pleased Him (Rom 9:11). Some modern day religionists see no reason to defend the things they perceive to be “good” such as Sovereign election in Christ. But while they may pay lip service to the election of men unto salvation, they often attempt to justify God’s decree concerning reprobation or simply deny it altogether. Why are men ultimately damned to hell? The obvious answer to this question given to us in His Word is because the Lord determined it according His pleasure. There is no need to justify this answer! It is true that men are sinful and deserving of eternal condemnation. But why are they sinful? Why were they made to be sinful? Was it not because it pleased the Lord that He would be glorified in the reprobation of men? This is not a hard question to answer, and any attempt to qualify it is to dishonor the Creator in His Sovereign Rule over all that exists.
Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? (Rom 9:21-24)
Is the Bible a mystery? Are doctrines such as heaven, hell, God’s omniscience and immutability, eternity, God's Predetermining of all things, the Trinity, and imputation of sin and righteousness to be considered as mysteries? It is considered humble to suggest that these things are mysteries and cannot be understood. But I contend that such a claim is pure arrogance and very dangerous! Just because a person cannot comprehend the propositions set forth by Scripture does not at all mean the Lord has not revealed understanding to someone else. It is prideful to suggest that men cannot comprehend what you cannot!
So what exactly is a mystery? As with anything, we must go to the Scriptures for understanding.
Mk 4:11, (KJV), And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:
Rom 11:25, (KJV), For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.
1 Cor 2:7, (KJV), But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
Col 1:26, (KJV), Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:
As we can see from Scripture, mysteries are those things which are hidden. But do we notice anything else about the mysteries of the Bible? They are to be known! They are to be discovered and understood. We do not “accept” the mysteries of the Bible by “blind faith”, but we seek to logically understand the propositions set forth by Scripture and rejoice in the knowledge which is given to us by the Lord. Mysteries are those things that most people cannot comprehend, but are understood by God’s elect.
So how does this teaching apply to us today? The next time someone comes to you with a doctrine you are unfamiliar with, I suggest you ask questions – lots of them! Listen carefully to their answers. If they ever answer, “it’s a mystery”, or “it's strange but I accept it by faith”, that means they really don’t know. This is unbiblical terminology and it must be rejected in wholesale by Christians everywhere especially if we would desire to see our brethren grow in knowledge of our Lord.
Is the Gospel a mystery? Yes – but only to those who are perishing; not to God’s regenerate elect. Was Christ’s death a mystery? Yes – but only to those who are perishing. To those of us who have had the truth of Scripture revealed, these things are no longer mysteries, but wonderful doctrines which we understand and in which we rejoice.
Do you believe something to be true and not understand why? You may very well be a mystic. Repent and diligently seek the answer in Scripture until the Lord reveals this wondrous knowledge to you.
God's Will to Justify His People IS the Justification of Them
John Gill wrote in his masterpiece, a Body of Doctrinal Divinity, that “…God's will to elect, is the election of his people, so his will to justify them, is the justification of them;” (John Gill, A Body of Doctrinal Divinity, Book II, Chapter V, Section II.)
God’s word is so powerful that whatever He declares, it’s accomplished the moment He says it. He has no need to wait for the results. We, being temporal creatures, must wait for things to be accomplished when we set our mind to something. If we decide to do something, we must allocate time to our endeavors and wait for the results. But God, being the Eternal Almighty has no need to wait for things to be accomplished in time. He created time and sees it all at once. There is not a moment in time that escapes His constant scrutiny – past, present, or future! And if He has decreed to Justify His elect by the blood of Christ, then He needs not wait as an observer for things to be accomplished in time.
Christ is said to be the lamb slain before the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8). Now do I believe that Christ was “physically” slain in eternity? Absolutely not. Christ, the physical man was crucified in time on the cross. He was slain in time. That is how we see and understand things – in time. But Oh what sweet joy it brings to my soul to know that from all eternity the Father looked upon Christ as slain for the justification of His people! The Lord has always constituted His people as righteous in Christ from all eternity. His people were never constituted as wicked sinners as Christ was their mediator from before the foundations of the world.
God’s people have been given allspiritual blessings in Christ from before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:3-4). One of these spiritual blessings is the imputed righteousness of Christ. There was never a moment in God’s mind that the elect were hated and despised. He has always viewed them as being in Christ.
So how does this apply you? Child of God, if you have been given faith in Christ and His work, then please recognize that this precious gift is the evidence of your justification. When you were converted to Gospel knowledge, you did not “join” the Kingdom of God. You were always viewed as part of His kingdom. There is no danger of you falling out of His sovereign hand as you have always been held. And even in your unconverted state, God’s love for you was beyond measure. He has always viewed you in Christ.
The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. - Jer. 31:3
God’s love to His precious elect did not begin in time. It did not begin with any event. It does not depend on the conversion of the elect person to the Gospel but upon God’s pleasure in His crucified, buried, and resurrected Son.
Can you get your mind around this simple concept? God never ever had any disposition toward His people except Love! It’s eternal. It’s everlasting. It’s Foundational. It’s unconditional! All of God’s acts of kindness flow from this great Love.
Election is a fruit of God’s love. Adoption is a fruit of God’s love. Justification is a fruit of God’s love. Sanctification, Regeneration, Faith and Assurance, Perseverence, Resurrection, Glorification and all of salvation all flow from this immeasurable love!
It has been reasoned by many religionists that God hates his people until they are converted in time. This is a blasphemous teaching right up there with the teaching of “common grace” and may be even worse. Oh how horrible to think of such things! Did Jesus actually hate His people when He hung on the cross? No of course not! That was the ultimate act of love and to suggest otherwise is to profane and curse Christ.
Mal 3:6, (KJV), For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
God’s love toward His people does not change. He has not decreed to love, hate, and then love again. His love is steadfast and has accomplished eternal salvation for His people and He continues to love them from eternity through their birth, their unregenerate life of sin, their converted state and through the rest of their lives. Is this not the security His people need? If God’s affections toward His people were changing, there would be no assurance that His love for them will not change in the future.
Child of God, may God’s love fill your soul with unspeakable joy. Meditate on it and ponder the unfathomable riches of His Everlasting and Unchanging Love.
The Gospel or “good news” about Christ and salvation is not about what He is doing. The Gospel is about what Christ has done. The Gospel comes as an announcement to God’s people that those who believe this message are already part of of God’s kingdom. Those that believe were justified by Christ over 2000 years ago on the cross.
Jn 19:28, (KJV), After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.
Jn 19:30, (KJV), When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
Heb 9:12, (KJV), Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
1 Cor 15:3-4, (KJV), For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; (4) And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
That’s all there is to it! It’s a simple message and comes as “glad tidings” (Rom 10:15) to God’s chosen vessels of mercy (Rom 9:23). Christians look back to the cross of Christ for all of their salvation and nothing else. They do not look to any experience or any other event in their lives.
The Apostle Paul warned against anti-christs that would come and pervert this message with false gospels and was even fighting these awful messages during his ministry. Today, the warning of anti-christ has been realized and there are many false gospels. There are generally two prevailing characteristics amongst these false gospels. First, they all use “Gospel language”. Second, they all point to a real benefit of the cross as the basis of salvation. For example, one of the benefits of Christ’s death is the precious gift of faith which is given to Christ’s people for their assurance. It is how they come to rely and know of Christ’s atonement for them. But many people have made it the basis for salvation. Phrases such as: “you must be born again”, “you have to have faith”, “God loves you and wants to save you”, and “accept Christ as your personal savior” are generally dead giveaways that the person using this language is promoting a false gospel.
We must be on guard against confusing our experiences with the message of Christ. It is true that we must be born again in order to see the kingdom of God, but that is not the Gospel. Being born again is a result of Christ’s accomplished salvation – not the cause of it.
I for one take great joy in knowing that salvation is entirely outside of me and rejoice in the alien righteousness of my Lord Jesus Christ. I am content to know that His righteousness is mine simply by God’s Sovereign Grace. This truly is good news.
As a person who is known as a high grace predestinarian, the most common accusation I face is the lie that my high grace friends and I are anti-evangelical. This charge is slanderous and a complete mischaracterization of me. Those who often fling this accusation against me often have not taken the time to dialog with me about my beliefs or offer to sit down and study the topic of evangelism with me or my other high grace friends. It seems they are content to cast reproach upon us from their lofty “evangelical” position of authority as pastors, “missionaries”, and other unbiblical “leadership positions.”
What is the basis for these attacks? I propose that it all stems from an unbiblical understanding of evangelism. Today, evangelism is equated with “soul winning” and an elaborate “plan of salvation.” Modern “evangelists” believe that they have a duty to get men converted to Christianity. When this form of proselytizing is merged with a perverted form of calvinistic theology, the result is Arminianism.
I do not intend to deal with the vast majority of religionists such as the southern baptist free willers, the pentecostals, or most “evangelicals.” These are out and out pelagian; and history, as well as scripture has clearly condemned these movements as anti-christ. I intend to deal with the true Arminians of today and they are usually known as “reformed evangelicals” or “evangelical calvinists”. Their religion is no less blasphemous and flesh pleasing than that of their pelagian brothers. The only difference is they hope to deceptively hide their satanic practices with “sovereign grace” language. Harsh words? Absolutely! I have nothing but contempt for the “evangelism tactics” of conditional calvinists.
To make my point simple, the evangelism of modern day calvinism is not biblical! It is notevangelism. Its basis is found in a false presupposition and is rooted is deceitfulness. Its presuppositions are many, but they can be summed up neatly in two premises. First of all, it proposes that salvation is found in conversion. Its second premise is that all men are redeemable. The purpose of modern day evangelism is to “save souls.” If its premises are wrong, then it is completely wrong in all ways. If its purpose is wrong, then its methods are wrong and it is not to the “praise of the glory of His grace.” (Eph. 1:6)
The true biblical meaning of evangelism is “announcing good news.” That’s it! Do you get it? It’s that simple. It means to proclaim the Gospel of Christ. I can’t stay quiet about it! The Gospel is Christ saved His people. Those that believe were already saved by Christ in His earthly ministry, death, and resurrection. I love the Gospel, and I tell it to everyone who will listen to me. It truly is good news! The Gospel brings such joy to my heart that if I was forced to be quiet about it, I think I would burst. But you won’t see me giving out “free offers”, proselytizing, or preaching this news in the hopes of “saving a soul.” I rest confidently that God has His sheep out there in the world, and they will rejoice in these “glad tidings” at the appropriate time. I will not resort to the terrors of hell, wrath, and condemnation in order to get people converted. I am content to simply proclaim that Christ has always loved His people and that He died for them. God’s people do not need to be coerced or scared into a Gospel profession.
God’s people have had their names written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world. Those who won’t believe the Gospel have never had their name written in the book of life from the foundation of the world (Rev. 17:8). If a person’s name is not written in this book, then no amount of Gospel preaching is going to put it there for them. “Deciding” to believe this message won’t help them either as it’s far too late for them to be saved now.
I can hear the objectors now, “but Brandan, you’re going to hurt evangelistic zeal…” “Oh, but Brandan, what motivation will we have?” These objections are unbiblical, but that’s not going to stop the flesh pleasers. “Who cares if the hyper-calvinists are theologically correct if more souls are saved by our methods!”
I don’t care if men think I’m not evangelistic and don’t believe in preaching the Gospel. I’ll continue to proclaim God’s free and sovereign grace unstained by the will of men. I’ll tell it to everyone who will listen. I hope only to glorify and praise my Lord who has redeemed His people. Christ and His Gospel of an accomplished salvation is my joy. Those of you who are in love with “saving souls”, I hope that you repent of your babbling flesh pleasing methods and turn from your blasphemous doctrine!
We Do Not Separate God's Decree from the Actual Events of Time
We at 5solas.org love to focus on God's eternal decree. It gives us great comfort to know that God has predestined every single event of our lives. It helps us to know that there is nothing that happens in this world that is not His pleasure. Even many of the discussions on this website focus on this wonderful truth. However, to many outsiders, those that are not familiar with God's decree, and those who don't dwell on it like we do, it is thought that we emphasize the decree of God to the exclusion of the cross of Christ and the events of time. Let me state emphatically right here and right now that not only is this an impossibility, but it is wrong.
We cannot separate the events in our lives and throughout the world from God's decree. It is true that whatever will be will be, is it not? Events cannot happen without a decree and a decree without its correspondent events not being actualized is not a decree. Take for example God's eternal decree for God to justify His people. We love this decree of God so much, but only because of the actual events which transpired because of it! God's decree to justify His people without the cross of Christ is not justification. God's justification of His people without the decree is not justification either. The decree to justify and the actual justification of them cannot be separated in any degree. That is why it is safe for us to focus on God's decree and state that the decree to justify IS the justification of His people because God's decree does not return void. It is efficacious. When God speaks - His word is accomplished.
We have been accused of focusing on the decree of election and reprobation to the exclusion of the cross. That we make God's decree of separation the basis of our Gospel as opposed to the cross of Christ. But did not Christ die for only those elected to salvation? Men were elected in Christ in eternity or they were not elected in Christ in eternity. It is true that we emphasize the eternal decree of God in the Gospel. Nevertheless, while we may emphasize this important decree, we do not mean to exclude the cross of Christ from it as to us it is an impossibility. God's decree must always be attached to the actual events associated with it. Just as the actual events that are accomplished must be within view of God's decree.
God's Sovereignty is at the heart of the Gospel message. It is not liked by most religionists. Many disciples of Christ departed from His presence when they heard of His Sovereign Eternal Decree.
Jn 6:60-66, (KJV), Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? (61) When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? (62) What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? (63) It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. (64) But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. (65) And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. [that is in God's eternal decree] (66) From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
Let us not shrink back from God's eternal decree. Let us not be like those disciples that would depart from a Christ who is absolutely Sovereign. I am not ashamed of my Predestinarian faith although I realize that many may think I eliminate the cross of Christ. But the cross of Christ without the decree of God is not the cross just as a decree without the cross is not a decree. To speak of the cross of Christ is to speak of the decree of God. To speak of the decree of God is to speak of the cross of Christ.
I hesitate to post this in my blog because many will see it as a matter of ethics. Our rule for living is the Gospel, and I will never depart from that. But I believe our understanding of God's relationship with His children is to be the basis for our parenting. Our parenting should be a reflection of God's parenting, and oh what a wonderful Father He is!
Here's my question: Does the Bible teach us to spank/beat our children? I'm only interested in the biblical teaching on this subject. Where are the principles for spanking taught in Scripture?
I'm familiar with the following passages:
Prov 23:13-14, (KJV), Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. (14) Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.
Prov 29:15, (KJV), The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.
Prov 22:15, (KJV), Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
Heb 12:6-7, (KJV), For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. (7) If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
Prov 13:24, (KJV), He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.
Now who am I to question these passages? I have always believed these passages of Scripture taught that it was the biblically correct thing to spank your children. That's what I would think upon first look at these passages. But as reformed thinkers we know that the word world(gr. kosmos) does not necessarily mean "all men universally". So does the "rod" necessarily mean "to spank?" I've heard preachers waste a whole Sunday morning talking about the virtues of spanking and spit out these passages as "absolute proof" for their dogma. Only until recently did I realize that these passages might have been misinterpreted.
The word "rod" can have different meanings. For example, the word could represent a stick used for hitting. But since I believe parents are to look at their children as our Shepherd looks to His sheep, then would these passages not have a different meaning?
Shepherds did not use their rod to beat their sheep into submission - no, it was more commonly used as an instrument for guiding and directing the paths of their sheep. How else are we to interpret Ps. 23?
Ps 23:4, (KJV), Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
I can tell you right now that I've never been spanked by my Lord. I've been chastised or "censured" - but never spanked by my loving Father in Heaven. I am His sheep, and He has used His rod to guide me and correct me; but never to beat me.
From time to time, there are things that Robbins says that make me want to shout Amen! Here is a recent e-mail I received that I really enjoyed and express my sentiments perfectly:
On July 16 the Louisiana Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America unanimously declared Pastor Steve Wilkins of the Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church to be "publicly exonerated and declared to be faithful to the Confessional standards of the PCA." None is so blind as he who will not see.
To add insult to injury, the Louisiana Presbytery, in that same report, declared that "we believe that the proper place for theological development/inquiry of this nature is in the courts of the Church and not through the internet or in the pews."
Yes, theology must be reserved to the experts, and the Louisiana Presbytery considers itself the experts. Those peons in the pews, who pay the bills and elect church officers -- perhaps the correct word for them is pew-ons -- have no business discussing the doctrines of justification, covenant, election, and baptism. They emphatically have no business identifying false teachers such as Wilkins.
This elitist clerical attitude is another indication of the anti-Reformational mindset of these men. At the time of the Reformation, Tyndale wanted the ploughman and the mechanic to know the Bible as well as the theologian does. It was Rome, not the Reformers, who thought it wrong for the common people to be discussing theology.
We here at The Trinity Foundation are delighted that pew-ons are discussing doctrine and discussing it on the Internet and in the pews. When Christ preached, he preached to the common people. He got them thinking about doctrine. He answered their questions. For them he had compassion and encouragement. But for the religious leaders, the experts in the Scriptures, he had sarcasm (see, for example, John 3), and contempt (see, for example, Matthew 23).
If a new Reformation comes, it will come through controversy. It will start at the bottom, not the top. And it will start in the pews, not the pulpits. The pulpits, like the Louisiana Presbytery and the Pharisees, will do their best to stop it.
This is the 5solas.org position as well. Pastors, theologians, you are no different than the regulars that come to discuss theology and God's word on this website. "Post away" my fellow friends in the Gospel!