Question Sent to Me on the Difference Between Supra/Infralapsarianism 

David,

Thanks for your site and your work here. I just have one question: on your page stating your doctrinal views you stated that you were a "supralapsarian". From what I have studied, "supralapsarianism" as opposed to "infralapsarianism" says that God even predestined the "Fall"(not "just allowed" it), and is the ultimate cause of "All" events(sin included). Would you agree with this? Thanks for your response, I'm not trying to start any arguments, I promise! Love ya Brother.
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Thanks for the question!

The main difference between supra/infralapsarianism has to do with the point at which God predestined the elect, was it "before the foundation of the world" (as in Ephesians 1:4), or was it after the fall? Supra/infralapsarianism doesn't really have anything to do so much with whether God did or didn't predestine the fall, but more with the point in time of which he predestined the elect in particular. So supra says God chose us before the foundation of the world. Infra says God chose us after the fall occurred. So I'm supra, having not been convinced of the infra position.

As far as the fall goes, it is my personal belief from the Scriptures that God has indeed providentially ordained whatsoever comes to pass (including evil), and yet is in no way the author of sin and evil. God cannot and will never be charged with being the one responsible for evil, because it contradicts His very nature. Therefore, mystery abounds on this subject. All we know is God has the reigns on everything, and yet is not the creator of evil, but only good. All we know is that as in Job's situation, for example, God hates evil and wickedness, but yet at the same time ordains it (in allowing Satan a certain level of damage in Job's life) to bring about His glory and good, holy, righteous purposes, as it is clearly shown at the end of the book. I hope that answers your question my friend! Thanks for asking ...

In Christ Alone,

David
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The Justification of God by John Piper - A Review 

In a day when men in the pulpit and in the study would take the verses of Romans nine totally out of context, infer unwarranted and unscriptural presuppositions (foreknown faith as the basis for election), thus pressing ideologies onto the text that are just not there, John Piper's scholarly work on what Romans nine is all about is a great defense of Biblical election (unconditional election) that shines a light in the darkness of so much poor analysis and exegesis of this chapter. Romans nine is about the very definition of who God is: the sovereign Lord over ALL things whose name will be proclaimed in all the Earth, being that His glory is the highest good and that His promises never fail.

Two of the main ways this text is gutted of its intended meaning is first, by the majority of interpretors proposing that Romans nine is not about individual, eternal election to salvation, but rather, corporate temporal election to historical roles, such as Israel being elected as God's chosen people (as opposed to say David being individually elected to salvation). Secondly, there are those who do believe in individual election, but who will say God chose them because they first chose Him (conditional election, if they choose me I'll choose them). Piper goes to pain-staking lengths to show how great of an error these propositions are by starting in Romans 9:1 and working his way forward in both the Greek and Hebrews texts. He goes into extensive arguments about how these will not stand in the face of the Berean test of Scripture. In addition, he shows the larger context of the previous chapter, Romans eight, displaying how sure the promises of God are to His people, that He will never fail in carrying them out, because, namely, they are rooted in His unconditional electing love.

However, if that's true, that God's promise will not fail, what do we make of these promises if the large majority of the Jews, at the official levels, rejected Christ? I mean, having rejected the Gospel, they remain under the wrath of God! Has God's promises to Israel failed? And if His promises failed to His chosen people, what are we to make of His promises to us, the grafted in branches? Paul's answer? "But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel." (Romans 9:6) And thus Paul begins his argument as to why the promises of God did not fail Israel, just as they will never fail us who trust in Christ. Why haven't God's promises failed? It comes down to election. God's promises are rooted precisely in His plan that was set into effect before the foundation of the world. And Piper shows that to be the case very forcefully.

I highly commend this book to all of you who want to delve into a really good study of these controversial passages in Romans. Piper is an excellent scholar and it is very hard to get around these arguments when confronted with them. Many esteem predestination as an unloving doctrine, that it paints God as a mean, old grandfather who randomly chooses some and not others for salvation. That is called Greek determinism, not Biblical election. However, as we see from the Scriptures, God is the most loving precisely in predestination to salvation through the work of Christ on our behalf (and in every instance where election is mentioned in Scripture, that is exactly how it is presented, the love of God electing us to eternal life through Christ). To see that truth opens up the doors of experiencing God's grace in deeper ways, because you see just how rebellious from the heart you really are, and just how deep into your soul God had to go to first regenerate you and bring you to life from spiritual death, granting you the eyes to see and ears to hear the call of Christ to salvation, and thus moving in you to respond positively to the Gospel message, just as the Lord did to the Gentiles at Antioch in Acts 13:48 and in Lydia in Acts 16:14.

To hear some excellent messages on much of the same material in this book by John Piper himself on Romans 9 (without being too heady), go here:
http://www.westerfunk.net/theology/piper/romans/9/

To order this book now, go here:
http://www.monergismbooks.com/The-Justi ... 16367.html
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The Most Important Point to be Attended To - George Mueller 

"According to my judgment the most important point to be attended to is this: above all things see to it that your souls are happy in the Lord. Other things may press upon you, the Lord's work may even have urgent claims upon your attention, but I deliberately repeat, it is of supreme and paramount importance that you should seek above all things to have your souls truly happy in God Himself! Day by day seek to make this the most important business of your life. This has been my firm and settled condition for the last five and thirty years. For the first four years after my conversion I knew not its vast importance, but now after much experience I specially commend this point to the notice of my younger brethren and sisters in Christ: the secret of all true effectual service is joy in God, having experimental acquaintance and fellowship with God Himself."

"Now in brotherly love and affection I would give a few hints to my younger fellow-believers as to the way in which to keep up spiritual enjoyment. It is absolutely needful in order that happiness in the Lord may continue, that the Scriptures be regularly read. These are God's appointed means for the nourishment of the inner man. . . .Consider it, and ponder over it. . . . Especially we should read regularly through the Scriptures, consecutively, and not pick out here and there a chapter. If we do, we remain spiritual dwarfs. I tell you so affectionately. For the first four years after my conversion I made no progress, because I neglected the Bible. But when I regularly read on through the whole with reference to my own heart and soul, I directly made progress. Then my peace and joy continued more and more. Now I have been doing this for 47 years. I have read through the whole Bible about 100 times and I always find it fresh when I begin again. Thus my peace and joy have increased more and more."
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Custom Web Site Searches from Google 

Apparently this is a relatively new function, but Google has now made it possible to add a customized search to your web site (though some form of this has been around for a while). The major difference now is that you can actually show the result on your own web site versus going off to another site (like Google). In addition, you have the ability to do custom color layouts, show relevant content first, amongst several other configuration options. So now, as you can see above, I have added a Google search bar that will bring results up from my blog. I have also added this functionality to my other site, www.westerfunk.net to make it easier to find content. So check it out! The search function works much better than the built-in search function for this site to find blog entries, performing a better job of pulling up relevant results (because, well, it's Google).
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The Peter Syndrome of Catholic Apologists - James White 

http://vintage.aomin.org/SBNDDHrep.html

James White refutes the claims of scholarly Catholic apologists who state the historic church throughout the ages has always believed in 1) the Pope (citing Peter constantly as an argument that cannot stand against severe scrutiny) and 2) the infallibility of the Pope.

"Many centuries after the Council of Nicea, long after the rise of the Papacy into prominence (and just before its fall into the Pornocracy), supporters of this institution (the Papacy) began the process of changing history through the use of forgeries. Documents like the famous Donation of Constantine began to circulate. The very fact that men had to create such documents tells us something very important: the belief they wished to substantiate in history could not be substantiated any other way. That is, if people had always believed in the Papacy as it was developing in later centuries, there would be no need to create forgeries to make it look otherwise. One of the forgeries that can be traced to this period involves an expansion in the canons that were passed at the Council of Nicea. Originally the council passed twenty canons, including the famous 6th canon. Yet, centuries later, other collections began to appear. There is no question that these other canons are forgeries-fakes. Yet, amazingly enough, Scott Butler and his co-authors (RCC Apologists) cite from these forgeries in an attempt to substantiate their position! They are not alone here, and in fact, as the quotation below shows, they at least admitted that these canons are not part of the 'generally accepted' list. I have heard other apologists, such as Tim Staples, quote Canon 39 of the Arabic canons as if it were a part of the original Council of Nicea, a tremendously dishonest thing to do. On page 308 of Jesus, Peter & the Keys, we find the following:

(From the Arabic Canons of the Council of Nicaea):

'[CANON XXXIX] Of the care and power which a Patriarch has over the bishops and archbishops of his patriarchate; and of the primacy of the Bishop of Rome over all.

'Let the patriarch consider what things are done by the archbishops and bishops in their provinces; and if he shall find anything done by them otherwise than it should be, let him change it, and order it, as seemeth him fit; for he is the father of all, and they are his sons. And although the archbishop be among the bishop as an elder brother, who hath the care of his brethren, and to whom they owe obedience because he is over them; yet the patriarch is to all those who are under this power, just as he who holds the seat of Rome, is the head and prince of all patriarchs; inasmuch as he is first, as was Peter, to whom power is given over all Christian princes, and over all their peoples, as he who is the Vicar of Christ our Lord over all peoples and over the whole Christian Church, and whoever shall contradict this, is excommunicated by the Synod. [While not a part of the generally accepted canons of the Council of Nicea, these canons promulgated from the Eastern Church give a mind's eye view of the thinking of Eastern Christianity.]' Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, eds., Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers--The Seven Ecumenical Councils, vol.14, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1994), 48.'"
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"Anonymous" Posts New Video Explaining Who They Are 

Apparently, February 10 is their day of action ... so they say at least ... I'm starting to wonder now if this is a giant marketing campaign for some company?

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Free Unlimited Music Downloads? 

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A Timely Quote for our Day 

"We must have the full message. . . 'deliver the whole counsel of God'. . . . It starts with the Law. The Law of God ... the demands of a righteous God, the wrath of God. That is the way to bring men and women to conviction; not by modifying the Truth.... We must confront them with the fact that they are men and that they are fallible men, that they are dying men, that they are sinful men, and that they will all have to stand before God at the Bar of Eternal Judgment....And then we must present to them the full-orbed doctrine of the Grace of God in Salvation in Jesus Christ. We must show that no man is saved 'by the deeds of the Law', by his own goodness or righteousness, or church membership or anything else, but solely, utterly, entirely by the free gift of God in Jesus Christ His Son. . . . We must preach the full-orbed doctrine leaving nothing out-conviction of sin, the reality of Judgment and Hell, free grace, justification, sanctification, glorification. We must also show that there is a world view in the Bible ... that here alone you can understand history-past history, present history, future history. Let us show this great world view, and God's Eternal purpose.... Let us at the same time be very careful that we are giving it to the whole man ... the gospel is not only for a man's heart, that you start with his head and present Truth to it ... Let us show that it is a great message given by God which we in turn pass on to the mind, to the heart, to the will. There is ever this danger of leaving out some part or other of man's personality... Let us be certain that we address the whole man-his mind, his emotions and his will."

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones The Weapons of our Warfare, 1964, pg. 21-22
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Unconditional Election - A Friendly Chat 

Recently, I sent an email to a good pastor friend of mine who was denying unconditional election in some statements he was making on his online radio show. I was in no way angry about it, but rather saddened by his denial, because so much hope, joy, and love are seen in this particular point and it shows us that the roots of our salvation begin with God, not with us, in order that He gets all the glory for our salvation, not just 99%, but 100%. The email is an attempt to try to convince him of unconditional election. I post it here with the hopes of someone else who doesn't believe this doctrine would now be convinced of it. If we really look at our own personal experience in conversion deeply, we see that the decisive reason and cause for our salvation was not our initial good will toward God (because Scripturally we had no good intentions toward God), but rather God's decisive work in us to will that which is pleasing to Him, namely, faith in His Son.
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Hey ___!

Before going into this whole thing, I want you to know I admire you so much, appreciate your ministry and see amazing amounts of fruit in it. I just love seeing your desire for the lost to be saved that I also share with you. I praise God for when I see how He's worked in you and your ministry to will and to work for His good pleasure in helping people come to Jesus. I just want you to be assured that I have nothing at stake in this where I'm trying to "prove a point" or "win" an argument. That is nonsense to me and childish. I love you as a brother in Christ and desire to show that to you. So many "Reformed" types have done a terrible disservice by portraying unconditional election as a fatalistic, mean, harsh doctrine, that God forces people into hell "against their will", that men have no will of their own, and that secondary causes are of no effect in bringing people to faith. I rather want to present unconditional election in a positive, loving, Biblical light, by God's grace. I'm a fellow brother of yours in Christ who has been so radically changed and moved in my love for Jesus by this great truth, seeing that the very roots of His salvation mercifully granted to His people go into eternity, into the very counsels of God Himself with His good and perfect plans for the entire world, though we do not fully understand what all He's doing. I seek for others who love Christ to see the depth of what this doctrine does to radically change the perspective and life of the believer. When I consider God mercifully saving me back in 1997 when I was pursuing rebellion against God as hard as I could, I ask, "Why did you save me, Lord?" and the response from the Scriptures is, "Because I loved you from eternity." That is unconditional election, in a very short statement. Unconditional electing love. He loved me because He loved me, that's all I can say and rest in. All the times unconditional election is mentioned in Scripture it is always for the edification of the readers and never presented to bring up dissension in the church. The people who bring dissension into the church with this doctrine nowadays (and in times past) have totally misconstrued and warped the Biblical understanding into a deterministic, pagan Greek idea (aka fatalism) that is far from the way the Scriptures present it. I want to present unconditional election in relation to the love of Christ for His people, from the Bible; that is at least my desire in this and I ask the Lord to help me do just that.

I'm a sinner saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. And as such, I have nothing to boast in concerning this, no knowledge, no wisdom, no insight, as if it came from myself. Everything I have is a gift from God, everything. So if I believe to have insight into a point, God has blessed me with that and I give Him all credit for it. When I speak, I in no way intend to insult your intelligence of the Scriptures or any other way. I simply desire to display what I believe to be the Biblical understanding of this point for your personal edification and relationship with Christ; that is my prayer. All of what I believe concerning election comes from the Scriptures, as I'll show later on in our conversation. In my conversion experience, unconditional election illustrates itself so clearly, as I'm convinced it does with every believer, if they'll take a step back and consider the possibility of these things. All I boast of is Jesus and His cross on my behalf to raise me from spiritual death; that work alone is what brought me to faith, applied by the working of the Holy Spirit directly and through secondary means (like people and Scripture). It is my hope in this you will see that the main issue concerning unconditional election is rightly giving God the praise for every step of salvation, from alpha to omega, and that He is the Author, Creator, and Granter of our faith itself. Anyway, with that said ...

To get the conversation going, I thought it would be good to start with a few questions that hit at our own personal experience: our conversion. All believers want to give God the credit for their salvation at every step, from beginning to end. I haven't met a believer who didn't want to give God all glory for their conversion. Salvation is the work of God through Jesus's death and resurrection, where He was given on our behalf because we were helpless to save ourselves in any capacity at all. As believers, we all agree on that :) In addition, I want to start with a good definition of unconditional election from Wayne Grudem's systematic theology: "Election is an act of God before creation in which He chooses some people to be saved, NOT on account of any foreseen merit (or anything else at all) in them, but only because of His sovereign good pleasure." This has historically, since the Reformation, been known as grace alone, that is, grace alone is the only explanation for why I am saved and another is not. The 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith, article 3, paragraph 5, also has an excellent definition that I would commend: "Those of mankind who are predestinated to life, God chose before the foundation of the world was laid, in accordance with His eternal and immutable purpose and the secret counsel and good pleasure of His will (that we cannot know). God chose them in Christ (that is through the work of the cross) for everlasting glory, solely out of His free grace and love, without anything in the creature as a condition or cause moving Him to choose." This is unconditional election (what I believe), as opposed to conditional election, where God chooses sinners based upon something he sees in them or something they do.

But what about our faith, through which we were saved? Where did that come from? Hoe does that fit in with Grace Alone? If we were spiritually dead and blind to the message of the Gospel in ourselves naturally (Romans 3:9-18, 8:7-8) (e.g. to Jews the cross is a rock of stumbling, to Gentiles foolishness), how is it we, as foolish Gentiles, came to be "assured of things hoped for ... convicted of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1) if we "were dead in trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1)? The answer is in the latter part of Ephesians 2:4-5. "But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ." The key there is that God alone, not myself in any capacity, made me alive together with Christ, bringing me from spiritual death, giving me eyes to see and ears to hear, which then infallibly gave rise to my faith because I could now see Christ for who He was. Paul even goes further in this passage to show that faith itself is the grace of God, that is, an undeserved gift graciously bestowed on wrath-deserving sinners. "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this ["by grace ... through faith"] IS NOT your own doing; it is the Gift of God, not a result of works, SO THAT no one may boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9) God is the One who grants faith by grace alone (not grace plus my good intentions toward God, because I have none prior to regeneration) ... so that no one may boast, but rather give God the glory for bringing them to faith. No one is owed salvation or this granting of faith through which we are saved, nor can we earn it in any capacity. We are owed wrath instead, and it is only God's grace that we are delivered. The point of unconditional election is so that we don't boast in anything, anything at all, including our faith. This is why election is so difficult to wrestle through, because it strips us totally down where we have nothing to rely on in ourselves, and all that is left is Christ and His power breathing life into our dead souls and sustaining us until the very end.

So I ask again, where did our faith come from? Did our faith arise from our spiritually dead soul, or did we produce it out of our unregenerated human nature? Now I want to affirm something many so-called "Reformed" people who misunderstand this doctrine and distort it do not either believe or convey: historic Reformed theology strongly affirms that we are the one's who will to believe in Christ or not. "Freewillians" and historic "Predestinarians" both agree on that in fact. God doesn't will for us or believe for us. We either believe, or we don't, ourselves. We do make a genuine choice pertaining to Christ. But the question is why do we make the choice we do, namely the choice in favor of Christ as Lord and Savior? Most who disagree with predestination will throw the Scriptures up against it that say "Whosoever will" as an attempt to discredit the validity of this doctrine (though the words "predestined" "elect" "election" "chosen" "called" are all in the New Testament itself and must be dealt with if we are to be faithful to the Scriptures). But my response to those who would raise those verses as a counter-point to unconditional election is, of course whosoever believes will be saved. That doesn't answer the issue we are dealing with though in unconditional election. I have no problem preaching those verses because they are Biblical. "For 'everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'" (Romans 10:13) "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16) Indeed, God has loved the world by sending Christ into it, that if anyone throws themselves at the feet of Christ for salvation, they will be saved. I believe that with all my heart and will teach it, just as C.H. Spurgeon did, who also believed this great truth of unconditional election.

Yet these verses, as precious as they are to Gospel preaching, just beg the question being aimed at in discussing unconditional election in particular: being dead in tresspasses and sin, naturally a slave to sin under the blindness and darkness of the wrath of God, why did I will what I willed when I trusted Christ? Why did I desire what I desired when I fell in love with Christ? Being the sinful wretch that I am, poor, blind, and naked, how did I will something pleasing to God, namely faith? How did I come under such deep conviction all of a sudden that I had so thoroughly offended God by slapping Him in the face with my glory-hating life? The Scriptures answer these questions adequately: the Holy Spirit came in, and gave me new birth, gave me spiritual eyes to see, ears to hear, and cut me to the heart with the message of the Gospel, bringing deep conviction of sin and great love and trust in Jesus. "We love because He first loved us." (1 John 4:19) and "The Lord opened [Lydia's] heart to respond to Paul's message." (Acts 16:14) He cut me (and all who believe) to the heart by His power through the work of the cross, applied by the Spirit, when I wanted nothing of Him in my rebellious sin. He did not merely give me an opportunity to be saved (though indeed that is true and I surely affirm that), but He made sure I got saved by His supernatural, incomprehensible power, "making me alive together with Christ." Is there any way I can claim credit for my belief in Christ who I cannot see with my physical eyes, though now I know in my heart of hearts He is who He says He is, the Christ? Why am I not a Pharisee, hardened in unbelief, left to my sinfully dead will that always chooses evil in the sight of God? Where did that conviction and resolve come from that Jesus is the King of Glory? Was it not from the hand of God Himself that brought me to faith in His Son? If not, isn't this something I could rightly boast in as having done myself apart from God's work? But if so, was this not a choice He made to move in me and bring me to faith in His Son? And when did He make this choice to save me through the cross? "He chose us (believers) in [Christ] before the foundation of the world..." (Ephesians 1:4)

Here's a scenario I would pose as an illustration ...

Two unbelieving people, best friends, go to a church and hear a preacher very clearly present the Gospel. One believes and the other rejects it as foolishness.

Why does one person believe and the other reject the message? What made the difference? Was it intelligence? Sheer willing of faith by his own spiritual strength out of a sinfully dead state? Was one was more naturally inclined to believe than the other? Was one more spiritually empowered by nature than the other? Was it anything at all within the guy as a reason for why he believed?

The Reformational nickname for election is "grace alone," because there is no other explanation besides grace as to why one is saved and another hearer of the gospel is not. To deny unconditional election is to deny "grace alone," which as Luther clearly stated, was the hinge upon which the Reformation turned. Denying unconditional election, as very carefully articulated in Romans 9 in particular, is essentially denying that the decisive reason for our salvation was something other than God's grace (free will led by chance, spirituality, intelligence, etc.).

I believe that dwelling upon these questions and then going to the Scriptures (particularly Romans 8:28-30, Romans 9, Ephesians 1, John 6, several places in Acts), unconditional election is an inescapable reality in the Bible itself that brings so much joy in our faith; it is solid rock to place our feet on when everything around us crumbles. "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31) That is the hope of God's unconditional electing grace, from beginning to end. "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." (Philippians 1:6)

To end, I want to quote C.H. Spurgeon where he says something profound that hits right at the center of this:

"The thought struck me, How did you come to be a Christian? I sought the Lord. But how did you come to seek the Lord? The truth flashed across my mind in a moment—I should not have sought Him unless there had been some previous influence in my mind to make me seek Him. I prayed, thought I, but then I asked myself, How came I to pray? I was induced to pray by reading the Scriptures. How came I to read the Scriptures? I did read them, but what led me to do so? Then, in a moment, I saw that God was at the bottom of it all, and that He was the Author of my faith, and so the whole doctrine of grace opened up to me, and from that doctrine I have not departed to this day, and I desire to make this my constant confession, 'I ascribe my change wholly to God.'"


Your Brother in Christ,

David

"What do you have that you did not receive?" - 1 Corinthians 4:7
"But by the grace of God, I am what I am." - 1 Corinthians 15:10
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Anonymous Consortium of Hackers Declares Cyber-War on Scientology 

Allegedly these are hackers, that is, not sure how this has been verified ...


Update @ 2:07 pm

Well apparently, they are already working on it ... http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,325586,00.html
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