Monday, May 30, 2011
not commence our existence at the Reformation, we were reformers
before Luther or Calvin were born; we never came from the Church of
Rome, for we were never in it, but we have an unbroken line up to the
We have always existed from the very days of
Christ, and our principles, sometimes veiled and forgotten, like a
river which may travel underground for a little season, have always
had honest and holy adherents.
Persecuted alike by Romanists and Protestants of almost every sect,
yet there has never existed a
government holding Baptist principles which persecuted others; nor, I
believe, any body of Baptists ever held it to be right to put the
consciences of others under the control of man.
We have ever been ready to suffer, as our martyrologies will prove, but we are not
ready to accept any help from the State, to prostitute the purity of
the Bride of Christ to any alliance with Government, and we will
never make the Church, although the Queen, the despot over the
consciences of men."
Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, 1861, p.
Sunday, May 29, 2011
It started out innocently enough. I began to be fatalistic in my discussions now and then to loosen up and to test my theories. Inevitably, though, one philosophical axiom led to another and soon I was more than just a social Calvinist.
I began to imbibe sublapsarianism and supralapsarianism alone—"just to relax," I told myself—but I knew it wasn't true. I was becoming involved in Calvinist philosophy all the time. I began to teach Calvinism in my college class and in the pulpit. I knew that Calvinism and my church and the gospel did not mix, but I couldn't help myself. I was addicted.
I began to avoid my evangelistic friends (suspecting them of being Pelagians )and started hanging out with some Primitive Baptists, who shared my addiction and knew about the unwritten decrees of God. I was so inebriated with Calvin's Institutes, the Baptist Examiner, and listening to the White Horse Inn that I would return to the office dizzied and confused, asking, "What is it exactly that I was predestined to do here?" I fell down a pair of cellar stairs and cried out, " I'm glad that is over!"
Things weren't going so great at home, either. One evening I had turned off the TV and asked my wife about the meaning of the predestinated life and unconditional destiny. She spent that night at her mother’s.
I soon had a reputation as a hard shell. I had an uncontrollable urge to burn an Arminian at the stake or to hang a Quaker. One day the Fundamental Baptist Seminary President called me in. He said, "Skip, I like you, and it hurts me to say this, but your fatalism has become a real problem. If you don't stop your philosophical sophistry in front of the students, you'll have to find another job." This gave me a lot to think about. Similar complaints had come from my evangelical church after I stopped ordering Gospel Tracts and had canceled the visitation program.
I came home early after my conversation with the Seminary President, bringing the wife some TULIPS instead of Roses. "Honey," I confessed, "I've been caught up in election and reprobation and it has an awful hold on me." "I know you've been in a Calvinistic daze," she said, "and I want a divorce!" "But, honey, surely it’s not that serious!" "It IS serious," she said, lower lip aquiver. "If you keep on you will be fired from the school and the church and we won't have any money! And most Calvinist intellectuals hardly make any money! Why can't you be a healer or something?"
"That’s a faulty syllogism," I said impatiently, trying to give her the logical and scholarly answer that I give my students, and she began to cry. I'd had enough. "I'm going to the library!" I snarled as I stomped out the door. I headed for the library, in the mood for some Arthur Pink or R.C. Sproul. I roared into the parking lot and ran up to the big glass doors….but they didn't open. The library was closed.
To this day, I believe that a Higher Sovereign Power was looking out for me that night. As I sank to the ground clawing at the unfeeling glass, irresistibly whimpering for some Louis Berkof, a poster caught my eye: ‘Friend, is heavy Calvinism ruining your life?’ it asked. You probably recognize that line. It comes from the standard Calvinist Anonymous poster. It is responsible for what I am today—a recovering Calvinist. I never miss a CA meeting. At each meeting we watch a non-theological video; last week it was "God so Loved the World." Then we share experiences about how we avoided Hard Shellism since the last meeting. I still have my professor's job, and things are a lot better at home. Life just seemed … easier, somehow, as soon as I stopped participating in the doctrines of innuendo and inference and accepted the Gospel for what it is – an escape from hell for anyone who believes.
--copied, edited, and adapted by Herb Evans
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Connie denBok, a United Church minister in Toronto, is among those who despair that the church has become so much of the world, so focused on popular issues, that it is evolving away from the core of Christianity.
“In the 1960s and ’70s we became embarrassed about Jesus. And so we distanced ourselves from Jesus, and the point is without Jesus there’s no point in having a church. iTunes has better music and the NDP has better policies; everything else we do now somebody else does way better. The only thing we can do is this Jesus thing,” she said.
She's just about got it right.
David Harness, Jr.
Victory Baptist, Sherwood Park
Thursday, May 5, 2011
When the will of Henry J. Heinz, wealthy distributor of the famous "57 Varieties" line, was read, it was found to contain the following confession: "Looking forward to the time when my earthly career will end, I desire to set forth at the very beginning of this will, as the most important item in it, a confession of my faith in Jesus Christ as my Savior. I also desire to bear witness to the fact that throughout my life, in which there were unusual joys and sorrows, I have been wonderfully sustained by my faith in God through Jesus Christ. This legacy was left me by my consecrated mother, a woman of strong faith, and to it I attribute any success I have attained." - James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 381.
I read about a woman who telephoned a friend and asked how she was feeling, "Terrible," came the reply over the wire, "my head's splitting and my back and legs are killing me. The house is a mess, and the kids are simply driving me crazy." Very sympathetically the caller said, "Listen, go and lie down, I'll come over right away and cook lunch for you, clean up the house, and take care of the children while you get some rest. By the way, how is Sam?" "Sam?" the complaining housewife gasped. "I have no husband named Sam." "My heavens," exclaimed the first woman, "I must have dialed the wrong number." There was a long pause. "Are you still coming over?" the harried mother asked hopefully. - Bobby Moore, Any Old Port in a Storm (First Baptist Informer, First Baptist Church, Mineral Wells, TX, May 13, 1981), p. 1
A golden anniversary party was thrown for an elderly couple. The husband was moved by the occasion and wanted to tell his wife just how he felt about her. She was very hard of hearing, however, and often misunderstood what he said. With many family members and friends gathered around, he toasted her: "My dear wife, after fifty years I've found you tried and true!" Everyone smiled approval, but his wife said, "Eh?" He repeated louder, "AFTER FIFTY YEARS I'VE FOUND YOU TRIED AND TRUE!" His wife harumped and shot back, "Well, let me tell you something--after fifty years I'm tired of you, too!" -- James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 333.
Susannah Wesley spent one hour each day praying for her 17 children. In addition, she took each child aside for a full hour every week to discuss spiritual matters with him or her. No wonder two of her sons, Charles and John, were used of God to bring blessing to all of England and much of America.
Here are a few rules she followed in training her children:
1. Subdue self-will in a child and thus work together with God to save his soul. Illustration
I did not understand this idea but I did it with my girls. As children their will was broken to be obedient to there parents. All parents need to do this.
2. Teach him to pray as soon as he can speak.
The Joys of Being Mom
MOTHERHOOD The mother of three notorious kids was asked, "If you had it to do all over again would you have children?"
"Sure," she said, "but not the same ones."
MOTHERHOOD An overzealous little boy was pledging his devotion to his mother when he began to brag of what he would do for her when he grew up. "Mom, when I grow up I'm going to buy you an electric can opener, an electric toaster, an electric stove, and an electric chair."
MOTHERHOOD "The joy of motherhood is what a woman experiences when all the children have gone to bed."
The Perfect Gift for Mom
Three sons, who were very successful, discussed the gifts they gave their elderly mother on Mother's day.
The first said, "I built a big house for our mother."
The second said," I sent her a Mercedes."
The third said, "I've got you, both beat. You know how Mom enjoys the Bible, and you know she can't see very well. I sent her a parrot that can recite the entire Bible. It took 20 monks in a monastery 12 years to teach him. I had to pledge to contribute $100,000.00 a year for 10 years, but it was worth it. Mom just has to name the chapter and verse, and the parrot will recite it."
Soon thereafter, Mom mailed her letters of thanks:
She wrote the first son, "Michael, the house you built is too large. I live in only one room, but I have to clean the whole house."
She wrote the second son, "Marvin, I'm nearly blind so I can't drive. I stay home all the time, so I never use the Mercedes."
"Dearest Melvin," she wrote to her third son, "You were the only son to have the good sense to know what your mother likes. That chicken was delicious!"
Single Moms in the U. S.
There are 82.5 million mothers in the United States. Ten million of them are single. (Focus on the Family, May 2006, p.27)
Just Trust Mom
A young man was standing at the grocery store checkout line when he noticed an elderly woman in front of him. As she unloaded her grocery cart, she kept looking up and staring at him. After a few awkward moments, he asked, “Why do you keep staring at me?”
The woman said, “I'm sorry, but it's just that you look exactly like my son who recently died."
"I'm so sorry to hear that," the young man replied. "Is there anything I can do for you?"
"Yes," she said. “As I leave, if you would say, 'Goodbye, Mother' it would make me feel so much better because I need closure."
"I’d be glad to do that for you," he answered.
As the old woman was leaving, he called out, "Goodbye, Mother!"
After unloading his cart, the bill came to $147.50.
"How can that be?" he asked the clerk. "I only purchased a few items."
“Oh,” the clerk replied, "your mother said that you would pay for her."