Does the Believer Have One Nature or Two? (Part 2)

Published as a single article in DBSJ 2 (Fall 1997): 81–103. Used by permission.

Part 2 continues Part 1’s consideration of what “nature” means in the “one or two natures” question.

Theological Usage

As was previously noted, the use of the term nature as it relates to the question of one or two natures does not stem primarily from a particular text. Instead, it can more correctly be viewed as a theological term, essential to the discussion at hand, but whose meaning is generally derived from its common, ordinary usage. Webster, for example, defines nature as “the inherent character or basic constitution of a person or thing: essence, disposition, temperament.”1 Smith helpfully observes that

except when it is used for the material world or universe, the term “nature” does not designate a substance or an entity. Instead, it is a word which refers to the inherent or essential qualities of any substance or entity.2

Read more about Does the Believer Have One Nature or Two? (Part 2)

Does the Believer Have One Nature or Two? (Part 1)

Published as a single article in DBSJ 2 (Fall 1997): 81–103. Used by permission.

In recent times the popular radio preacher and author, John MacArthur, has attacked the idea of two natures in the believer. He says at one point: “If you are a Christian, it’s a serious misunderstanding to think of yourself as having both an old and new nature. We do not have a dual personality!”1 Similar attacks have come from a number of others. J. I. Packer says: “A widespread but misleading line of teaching tells us that Christians have two natures: an old one and a new one.”2 John Gerstner labels the two-nature viewpoint “Antinomianism.”3 Are these attacks justified? Is it unbiblical to speak of two natures within the believer? This essay purposes to tackle the issue. Read more about Does the Believer Have One Nature or Two? (Part 1)

Tipping, Tithing, and Grace Giving: Giving in the Old Testament

We’re examining what the Bible says to today’s Christian about financial giving. I encourage you to read Part 1 and Part 2 if you haven’t already. They are essential to knowing how the following information fits in the sequence of thought.

Giving material and financial resources in worship to God is not new. Let’s look at giving in the Old Testament context. We can then understand better how the Old Testament principles and practices fit into the New Testament setting and how they relate to Christians today.

The Practice of Giving In the Old Testament

There are three kinds of giving that God instructed the children of Israel to observe. They are sacrifices, tithes, and freewill offerings. Let’s look at each.

Sacrifices

People offered sacrifices to God long before He instituted the sacrificial system into the lives of the Jewish people. A moment of reflection brings to mind Cain and Abel (Gen. 4:3-4), Noah (Gen. 8:20), and Abraham (Gen. 22:1-14). These all gave sacrifices as a form of voluntary worship to God. Read more about Tipping, Tithing, and Grace Giving: Giving in the Old Testament

Millennial Dawn: A Counterfeit of Christianity

(About this series)

CHAPTER VIII MILLENNIAL DAWN A COUNTERFEIT OF CHRISTIANITY

BY PROFESSOR WILLIAM G. MOOREHEAD, D. D., UNITED PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, XENIA, OHIO

Six rather bulky volumes, comprising in all some 2,000 pages, are published by the “Watch Tower and Tract Society” of Brooklyn, N. Y. The author of this work is Mr. Charles T. Russell. Formerly his publications issued from “Zion’s Watch Tower”, Pittsburgh, Pa. They then bore the somewhat ostentatious title, “Millennial Dawn,” (1886). The volumes now bear the more modest inscription, “Studies in the Scriptures”, (1911). Why the change in the title is made can only be conjectured. Some rather severe criticism and strictures of the views advocated in these books have brought Millennial Dawn into disrepute in the minds of many people, and accordingly we think the former title has been dropped and the later and less objectional one substituted for it. Some color is given to this conjecture by the fact that certain evangelical terms are applied to the movement of which Mr. Russell is the head, as, e. g., “People’s Pulpit of Brooklyn”, “International Bible Students’ League”, “Brooklyn Tabernacle”, “Bible House and Tract Society”, (Our Hope, Feb., 1911). The later title and the various names now freely used tend to allay suspicion and to commend the propaganda of Mr. Russell and his followers to the Christian public. Read more about Millennial Dawn: A Counterfeit of Christianity

Reading Scripture Aloud with Animation

Written for The Body Builder, a publication of Highland Park Church.

Today’s article seeks to help us better implement 1 Timothy 4:13, “Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching” (ESV).

One goal of a pastor-teacher is to train believers to better serve our Lord (Ephesians 4:12-16). In my view, one characteristic of a good church is one in which most people are active in some form of ministry. Whether engaging in acts of hospitality and love (like taking meals to a new mom or contributing to funeral dinners) or ushering or youth work or special music or running the video projector or teaching—or salting the ice—we all need to serve. One way many of us can contribute to the Body is by reading the Word aloud. Read more about Reading Scripture Aloud with Animation

The Bible on Clark Pinnock's Open Theism, Part 2

Read Part 1.

Other Passages Answer Clark Pinnock’s Open Theism

Genesis 6:6—God is sorry and grieves. The LXX uses the word enthumeomai, which is simply to consider or think about, not to “be sorry” (See Matt 1:20). The Hebrew nachem is to have sorrow or to console oneself. Clearly God has emotional responses to the deeds of men. Still, this gives no indication of what God did or did not know beforehand. If He wants to have foreknowledge and still be saddened by what takes place, does He not have the right to do that? Or is He only allowed to express emotion if He follows the rules of open theism?

Genesis 8:1, 9:15-16 (and Ex 6:5)—God’s remembering is not indicative of His otherwise forgetting. Rather it points to a return to focus of that which is remembered. God didn’t forget Noah or the covenant. To assume that God’s remembering requires His first forgetting demands the presupposition that God has the same limitations as humanity. To use God’s remembering as an argument that He forgets or does not know, requires presupposing that the premise of open theism is correct before examining the biblical data. Read more about The Bible on Clark Pinnock's Open Theism, Part 2

How to Debate Vaccines* and Still Come Out a Christian

“Baby’s First Shot” Richard Sargent, The Saturday Evening Post, March 3, 1962

(*or organic food, essential oils, education, health care, immigration, soteriology, eschatology…)

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that there have been several outbreaks of measles across the United States recently. Not surprisingly, this has led to vigorous (if not often, one-dimensional) debate about the safety and efficacy of childhood vaccinations. And all I have to say to CNN, FOX, NPR, and every other news outlet that is now covering this story: Y’all are late to the party. We mamas have been debating this for years.

I remember the first time I realized that the questions surrounding vaccines were more than theoretical. I was visiting a friend when she opened her freezer to get some ice. There, sitting next to a chub of frozen hamburger, was a tray of lab vials. When I asked about them, she casually replied, “Oh, those are my kids’ vaccines. I ordered them from XYZ instead of the standard ones. My doctor said he would administer them if I bought them and stored them myself.” Read more about How to Debate Vaccines* and Still Come Out a Christian

Tipping, Tithing, and Grace Giving: Three Ways People Give

Read Part 1.

Tipping

People who give at church do it in one of three ways. I’ll call the first way tipping. In our culture there are times when we give a few dollars to someone who provides a service. The most common example is a restaurant server. If he or she gets our order right and delivers it in a timely and cheerful way, we leave a tip of 15% or more.

This is how many people give to God. When the offering is mentioned, they go digging for loose cash, drop a few bills in the plate, and maybe wonder how they’re going to buy lunches or lattes for the rest of the week. Some may plan ahead, considering their income, expenses to support their lifestyle, and how much discretionary money is left. They will arrive at what they feel is a reasonable amount and give that to the Lord.

People who give this way may be fulfilling an obligation, not wanting to seem rude or feel guilty for not participating. Or they may be truly grateful for what the church or the Lord does for them. It is possible that this is all they know, not having been taught what the Bible has to say. So ”tipping” is giving a small portion of your extra resources to God. There isn’t a biblical basis for it. It’s just what people do. Read more about Tipping, Tithing, and Grace Giving: Three Ways People Give