From the Archives: How I Became Convinced of the Effectual Call

I grew up with a semi-Calvinistic understanding of salvation. I knew that people were dead in sins and that dead people don’t do anything. But I did not understand much of how salvation actually worked.

When I first heard someone teach on the effectual call (also poorly described as irresistible grace) I balked at it. It didn’t seem to match up with my conception of salvation and my experience of life. When the gospel was preached, it seemed that the Spirit was working generally in people’s hearts, and they either responded to that work or rejected it. But that was all that was happening.

While in graduate school, I took a class on Romans. When studying through Romans 8—specifically verses 28–30—I became convinced that the effectual call was a biblical teaching. Read more about From the Archives: How I Became Convinced of the Effectual Call

Theology Thursday - Byzantine Priority & the "Phantom" Eclectic Text (Part 2)

Maurice Robinson continues to make his case for Byzantine priority for the Greek text of the New Testament. In this excerpt, he explains his approach to restoring the text from his perspective, and how it differs from the eclectic method.1 

Principles for Restoring the Text

For the most part, the principles utilized in the practice and application of Byzantine-priority theory remain identical to those found in the standard text-critical handbooks regarding the eclectic methods. The issue is not the principles, but the total scope of their application; modern eclecticism sees only the individual variant units, while Byzantine-priority sees the sequential text as a whole.

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“Replacement Theology” - Is It Wrong to Use the Term? (Part 9)

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This is the final post in this series, the purpose of which has been to ask whether “replacement theology” and “supercessionism” correctly describe what some theologies, covenant theology especially, do with the nation of Israel and its OT promises in teaching fulfillment through “transformation” into Christ and the church. I am not saying that every CT (or NCT) will want to see themselves undercover of these names, only that the names fairly describe this aspect of the way these good people interpret the NT’s use of the OT.

We have seen that replacement theology exists. I have shown that some CT’s actually use the term “replace” (or “supercessionism”) to describe their approach in their own works, and that they recommend books that unashamedly use it. More anecdotally, I have encountered this opinion many times in conversations.

Of course, replacement theology is not confined to orthodox Reformed covenantalism, but they are the ones whose books and lectures I know best. In this tradition, it is common to view the history of Israel as primarily a structural learning device; a tool for teaching the Christian church through narrative and type; a “means to an end” as R. Scott Clark put it. Read more about “Replacement Theology” - Is It Wrong to Use the Term? (Part 9)

Should Divorcees Be Forbidden to Teach or Lead in Local Churches?

The constitutions and bylaws of independent Baptist churches commonly include language that forbids divorced persons from teaching Sunday School or holding church office. The restriction is so common that of the dozens of church constitutions I’ve read and filed, only one or two lack some version of it. Since many churches with these restrictions have some history of conflict over them, the topic also tends to be seen as a minefield—best to fence it off and leave it alone.

But these same church constitutions and confessions of faith also strongly emphasize the authority of Scripture, and one question should always be welcome: Is what we’re doing biblical? Is it compatible with Scripture and the revealed nature and purposes of the church?

Let’s consider some arguments pro and con. Read more about Should Divorcees Be Forbidden to Teach or Lead in Local Churches?

Why They Followed the Law (Part 3)

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Many dispensationalists are mistaken about the impetus for obeying the Mosaic Law, and they’re mistaken about Paul’s main point in his letter to the Galatian churches.1 These errors compound one another and, like an investment gone mad,2 they produce great confusion among Christians.

I’ll repeat something I wrote in the first installment of this series:

In Galatians, Paul was not arguing against the Old Covenant. He was arguing against the twisted, warped version of the Old Covenant the scribes and Pharisees had been pushing for so long.

Dispensationalists have made many attempts to explain the relationship between Old Covenant saints, the law and Christian life today.3 They often labor mightily to avoid the excesses of Scofield and Chafer, while yet simultaneously upholding a strong discontinuity between the Old and New Covenants. They often focus relentlessly on Paul’s letters (particularly Galatians and Romans), and less on the Old Covenant texts or their continuity with Jesus’ ministry. Read more about Why They Followed the Law (Part 3)

Fulfilled Prophecy a Potent Argument for the Bible

(About this series)

CHAPTER IV — FULFILLED PROPHECY A POTENT ARGUMENT FOR THE BIBLE

BY ARNO C. GAEBELEIN, EDITOR “OUR HOPE,” NEW YORK CITY.

“Produce your cause, saith the Lord; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob. Let them bring them forth, and show us what shall happen; let them show the former things, what they be, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them, or declare us things to come. Show the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know, that ye are gods” (Isa. 41:21-23). “I declare the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying. My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure” (Isa. 46: 10).

This is Jehovah’s challenge to the idol-gods of Babylon to predict future events. He alone can do that. The Lord can declare the end from the beginning, and make known things that are not yet done. The dumb idols of the heathen know nothing concerning the future. They cannot predict what is going to happen. And man himself is powerless to know future events and cannot find out things to come. Read more about Fulfilled Prophecy a Potent Argument for the Bible

Theology Thursday - Byzantine Priority & the "Phantom" Eclectic Text (Part 1)

In an appendix to his The New Testament in the Original Greek: Byzantine Platform, Maurice Robinson explained the Textus Receptus and the Byzantine platform are, in fact, quite different. For him, the crux of the issue is the dominance of the Byzantine text:1

From the beginning of the modern critical era in the nineteenth century the Byzantine Textform has had a questionable reputation. Associated as it was with the faulty Textus Receptus editions which stemmed from Erasmus’ or Ximenes’ uncritical selection of a small number of late manuscripts (hereafter MSS), scholars in general have tended to label the Byzantine form of text “late and secondary,” due both to the relative age of the extant witnesses which provide the majority of its known support and to the internal quality of its readings as subjectively perceived.

Yet even though the numerical base of the Byzantine Textform rests primarily among the late minuscules and uncials of the ninth century and later, the antiquity of that text reaches at least as far back as its predecessor exemplars of the late fourth and early fifth century, as reflected in MSS A/02 and W/032.

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Revelation 19:15 & the Coming Reign of Jesus over the Nations

I often have been drawn to Revelation 19:15. This verse comes in the middle of Revelation 19:11–21, a dramatic section describing Jesus’ second coming from heaven to earth. Concerning Jesus the verse reads:

From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations; and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.

4 Messianic Passages & Revelation 19:15

Note that the wording of Revelation 19:15 is closely connected to four Old Testament messianic passages: Read more about Revelation 19:15 & the Coming Reign of Jesus over the Nations