Both Pre and Amil see the world gradually getting worse. They always quote texts like "As it was in the days of Noah" and "Many will say to Me in that day" and "Will the Son of Man find faith in the earth" etc. This sounds pessimistic to me. Did not God say to the Son, "Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool"? He did not say, "Sit here till you have to go down and make them your footstool." All throughout the Psalms (which so few know these days because of those accursed choruses) you read of the global kingdom of God; all nations, all kings and princes, all the world etc. We all think this generation is the last or close to it. I think we have hundreds, if not thousands of years to go. I do not believe evil will be eradicated in this age. But I believe that the Spirit of God will bring in His elect in His time, and I believe strongly that there are many more elect than non elect. The Bible speaks of multitudes that cannot be numbered when speaking of the saints, but the others are thrown into a relatively small place - a pit or a lake. If things are slowly going to blazes, and the elect are perishinlgly few, then I am not surprised so many "calvinists" can't be bothered evangelising. what's the point if we are in a losing battle anyway?
The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. We were created to worship God, we were redeemed to worship God and we gather together into groups of churches (called out ones) to worship God. But you cannot glorify God without keeping His commandments; without living in a way that reflects His glory (Coram Deo). You cannot glorify God and then mutilate His Word, or make Him out to be less than His Word reveals Him to be. You cannot glorify God while your so-called worship is man-centred, man-pleasing and ultimately man-glorifying. So your so-called bi-products are a little more important than you make them out to be, for they reflect what it is you are really glorifying - yourself or God.
MurrayA wrote: I haven't read the book, but I have read a review, and I have read others in a similar vein and I can only say I dissent most strongly. Any post-millennial approach suffers from the same sorts of fallacies as pre-millennial approaches, i.e. the failure to perceive the confusion of the two comings from the OT perspective (as in the familiar appeal to Isa.11:9), and the all-important distinction between the "now" and "not yet" from the standpoint of the NT. Moreover, Chilton's book seems to be similar to others in the same vein by adopting a radical preterist view of prophecy, which to me is both plain wrong, and in some forms is sheer heresy.
I always saw myself as an optimistic Amil, till I realised there was no such thing. Amil is pessimistic! Chilton's book proved to me that we have the wrong idea when it comes to Biblical prophecy. We tend to see everything as future; the Olivet discourse, most of Revelation etc. Everyone thinks that their generation is the end one and that the Bible speaks to them today about their tomorrow. This is plainly wrong. I know the full preterist view is wrong, but then every system of theology has its areas of extremism. Have a read of some of these things, Boettner, Chilton, Gentry etc.
The only thing that makes sense is the Euphrates. It talks about the gods/idols that Abraham served before his conversion. They were never eradicated and surfaced again when Rachel stole them from her father Laban. But it makes little difference in the overall scheme of things, as there is one true God and apart from Him an endless host of false gods, including man as he deifies himself. Joshua is telling the Israelites there are only two possibilities - either you serve the Living God or you are an idolater. This is a truth that reverberates throughout Scripture; there are only two kinds of people in this world - those who are in Christ and those who are not. There are sheep and goats, wheat and tares, elect and reprobate; call them what you like. But the fact remains you either serve the Living God or you are an idolater.
I cannot believe the votes on this thread. To be in the covenant is not synonymous with being saved!!! To be elect is, because all whom He predestined He glorified. But to be in the covenant does not mean you are elect. What foolishness is this? All those who left Egypt were members of the covenant, yet most could not enter in because of their rebellion and faithlesness. Likewise today, there are children born into the covenant but some of them are Esaus. So many of you believe that all those who were in the covenant in the OT were elect unto salvation??? Please explain yourselves.
Bernard wrote: I'd support closing this one; it's been going nowhere for a while.
I agree - this issue is at the heart of dispensationalist theology and is as important to dispensationalists as immersion of adults is to believers. I guess we all need to remember that true fellowship is not based on agreement but on the completed work of Jesus Christ. I think all that could be said on this topic has been said. JD has been outnumbered but has not wavered and for that I commend him. I will graciously bow out of this discusssion. I would, in closing, like to recommend to you all a commentary on Revelation called "The Days of Vengeance" by David Chilton. It is superb, highly readable, very informative and unbelievably challenging.
I agree also - there are many hymns both old and new which have all the criteria to make them suitable. Many of the old hymns were based on Psalms or were, in the case of many of Isaac Watts', Christianised Psalms. But isn't it interesting how much, if not most, of the debates on worship centre around music. Not preaching, praying, preparation of the heart etc, but music - as if this is the most important element of worship. Strangely, the texts on Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs do not mention singing, but speaking. The vocal praises in Revelation are said, not sung. Even the 'song' of the angels at Christ's birth was not a song as such. The reason why music has become the focus point is clear. It is derived from a desire to make church services more attractive to non-believers, so they do not feel out of place in church. This is where it all goes wrong, because church is not for unbelievers and if an unrepentant sinner feels comfortable in church something is hopelessly wrong. The whole 'seeker sensitive' phenomenon is based on a fundamental mistake. There is none who seeks after God. Church is where we seek God, it is the gathering of redeemed believers, and not for those who are still of this world.
Bernard wrote: I believe that this (Luke 14) needs to be understood in the context of passages like:
The division occurs only on account of rejection of the gospel. There will be three in a family that reject the gospel, and two that repent and are saved. Then there will be division. I believe this division is the 'hate' described in the context above. If an unbelieving man is saved, but his wife rejects the gospel, & he must choose one, the man must 'hate' his wife and love God.
So where does this leave God's hatred for Esau? for sin? for lawlesness (Heb 1:9)? I am pretty sure they all come from the Greek word miseo - to hate. Then, I suppose just as there are different degrees and manifestations of love, there could be in hatred. But I think too many today are trying to promote a God of love who does not have hatred, wrath, hot displeasure, vengeance etc.
jago wrote: Do they also feel they cannot sing scripture as an aid to memory?
Icon - the texts on Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs speaks about letting the word of Christ dwelling in you richly. The word of Christ is the Scriptures. The other one talks about teaching and admonishing each other. You cannot teach Scriptural truth on the basis of a man-made hymn. I cannot admonish someone on the basis of anything other than Scripture. Jago - I do not support Psalms only. But I lament their passing and their being replaced. Many of the old hymns are great. Much of what is sung in churches today is subjective rubbish. The problem is that both truth and error can be learned in song. Arius put his heresies in songs and much of what he taught stuck. If you want kids to learn the teachings of the Bible, teach them songs. But if the songs are full of error, it is error they will learn. I believe in worship we must bring God the best we have. Of all the Psalms, hymns, songs and choruses, which do you think is the best we have to offer? Most of the modern choruses and songs are badly written, musically poor and theologically unsound. With Psalms you know you can't go wrong - they come straight out of the Bible.
So now you are going to tell us that OT saints were redeemed and saved, but they did not have the Holy Spirit. You need to understand that to be redeemed and saved you need to be regenerated by the Holy Spirit, to be justified by the Holy Spirit and to be sanctified by the Holy Spirit. These indispensable elements are only within the Holy Spirit's sphere of operation and are not possible without His agency. No one was ever saved by the blood of bulls and goats. No one was ever saved by the law. There is no difference in the salvation of those of the OT and those of the NT. The difference only lies in their perception - the Old looking forward and the New looking back. There is one faith, one Lord, one baptism - and that baptism is not water baptism but that operation of the Holy Spirit which I mentioned earlier and which is signified by water baptism. Every time you try to make a seperation between OT and NT saints you put asunder that which God has joined together.
Would someone care to give me their definition of "hate" as we find it in the Bible? Jacob I loved, Esau I hated(Mal1:3; Rom 9:13) I hate them with perfect hatred (Ps139:22) You hate all workers of iniquity (Ps 5:5) The wicked His soul hates (Ps 11:5)
There is a teaching going around that Biblical hatred amounts to no more than deliberate indifference. But if you see the hatred God has for sin as indifference the cross becomes meaningless. A perfect love for righteousness can only exist if it is coupled with a perfect hatred for unrighteousness. "You loved righteousness and hated lawlessness" (Heb1:9). I know that there are verses that speak of hating father or mother and these are used to push the view that hate means 'love less'. I can't see it. I love my neighbour's wife a lot less than I love my own wife, but I don't hate the poor woman. Does anyone have opinion or insight into this? Be interested to hear what you have to say.
Icon O'Clast wrote: The Lord's Church is that body of believers, elect from all eternity, bought and paid for by the work of the Lamb of God, out of every nation, tribe and tongue and out of the whole dimension of time - including all OT as well as NT saints, including all redeemed Jews as well as redeemed non-Jews, including all who died in infancy but were in the covenant of grace, and all who remained in "infancy" throughout their life because of biological or accidental damage to their intellectual faculties.
AMEN Icon! That just about sums it up for me. Well said indeed
JD wrote: There was no repentance in Israel. They killed their king, for crying out loud!
The king was killed because that was the plan of God from before the foundation of the world. They may have taken Him with lawless hands and thus broken God's revealed law, but in doing so they fulfilled His eternal purpose. That which was foretold by the mouth of ALL His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled (Acts3:18). JD just because there is no specific verse that says an OT saint was born again does not mean that they were not born again. There is no salvation possible without the agency of the Holy Spirit. We believe in the Trinity but nowhere is that word specifically mentioned in Scripture. Give me a text that has the word 'Trinity' in it! If there is no regeneration, no justification and no sanctification then there is no salvation from sin possible. God sent His Holy Spirit to apply these things by the blood of Christ and through the Word of God. If you are correct then there could not be such a thing as an OT Saint. But during OT times God 'overlooked' man's ignorance for a time (Acts17:30; Rom3:25) meaning He suspended His judgement until such time as Christ said, "It is finished!" Do you believe OT saints were saved???"
If you do a proper exegesis of the two parallel texts which speak on Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual songs you come to the conclusion that they speak of Psalms, Psalms and Psalms. OT Psalms was the only hymnbook the OT church knew and one of the saddest days in the history of the Protestant church waw when the Psalms were thrown out with the bathwater.
The John 7 text refers to the pouring out of the Spirit at Pentecost. In that sense He had not yet come. But to infer from that that He was not present or operational prior to Pentecost is to miss the whole concept of the OT Church. Faith in God is not possible without the Spirit. Repentance and conversion, which are spoken of often in the OT, are not possible without the agency of the Holy Spirit. I know that your system of theology must make you see the wide gap between OT and NT saints, between Israel and the Church. But you need to let go of that system of theology. It is false system, flawed from woe to go. The nature of Scripture is covenantal, NOT Dispensational. God deals with His people through His covenant. While you are viewing Scripture through the double-vision glasses of Dispensational interpretation we are wasting our time discussing anything.
DB you are absolutely correct. The worship wars didn't start a few years ago, they started with Cain and Abel. It was because one offered in faith and the other because he had to. Hebrews lays out carefully in ch 12 the difference between those who came to the mountain that smoked and those who come to Mt Zion. But it ends with the grave warning, "Therefore since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by shich we may serve god acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God IS a consuming fire." There are too many who feel that the so-called liberty we have in Christ allows us to carry on in church any way we want, sing anything we want, do whatever we feel like. If there was one major issue that always came up in Israel's problems it was worship - either by worshipping other gods, worshipping God the wrong way or worshipping the right way with the wrong attitude. If there is one thing God is unbelievably serious about it is how we worship Him. It is the reason why we were created and it is the reason why we were redeemed from sin. Not just so we could have a pleasant life and go to heaven when we die, but that we migh praise and worship the God who made us. I think so much of the church today has lost sight of that.
I still think the Westminster Confession expresses the mystery of God's eternal decrees best of all: "God from all eternity did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass (1): yet so as thereby neither is God the author of sin (2), nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established (3). 1 - Eph1:11; Rom11:33;Heb6:17; Rom9:15,18 2 - Jms1:13,17; IJohn1:5 3 - Acts2:23; Mt 17:12; Acts4:27,28; Jhn19:11; Prov16:33 No one can deny that there are Divine decrees, that God is an intelligent Being who knows and judges, who purposes ends and devises means, who acts from design, conceives a plan and then proceeds to execute it. Quite frankly, I can't understand how those who profess to believe the Bible and who profess to worship the Almighty God revealed in that Bible have a problem with this doctrine. If you have a problem with this doctrine, you may perhaps need to consider the possibility that you have a problem with the God of the Bible. If you cannot reconcile your human feelings with revealed Scripture,don't try to change Scripture, try to change your feelings.
If you try to reason away what Paul is trying to say about election in Romans 9, then you make his whole argument look ridiculous. Why would he talk about unrighteousness with God, and who are you to reply etc if he did not mean what he said? He is anticipating all Arminian and Humanistic arguments against the decree of election, and masterfully refuting them. Yet there are those who say Paul is not talking about election to salvation but choosing a nation etc. What does that have to do with the NT gospel? Why does he then go to such lengthy arguments to forestall your protestations about election? Arminian arguments only substantiate Paul's points, because he anticipated every one of them. If these things are not by God's decree then they are by chance or by accident. But God works ALL LTHINGS according to His purpose. If this were not true, then the promise that He works ALL THINGS for good for those who love Him is an empty and meaningless promise and we would have no assurance of anything.
So you would have sheep become goats and vice versa; wheat and tares being interchangeable? Try and understand people, for once and for all - the reason why God allows us to get a glimpse of reality from His perspective is so we might be comforted and assured. Spurgeon understood that. We know that God has His elect, we just don't know who they are. So we preach the gospel to all without discrimination. Knowing that God has His elect assures us of conversions. Knowing that God has decreed all things assures us that He works all things for good for those who love Him. Asking if the Bible teaches predestination is like arguing if the Bible teaches creation. ANY answer apart from YES must be wrong; "Being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works ALL THINGS to the counsel of His will." You either take that as it is, and be comforted and assured byt it, or you argue against it and end up looking foolish on discussion forums. "I am God and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times tthings that are not yet done, saying; "My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure. Indeed, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it, I will also do it. LISTEN TO ME YOU STUBBORN HEARTED!! (Is 46:10-12).