Soteriology

What Is a Christian?

There is no one definitive answer to the question, “What is a Christian”? That’s because there are many biblical texts that provide various answers, all of them true. While most believers tend to think in terms of one, simple, standardized definition of a Christian, God evidently wants us to think in a more comprehensive manner. It’s good for us to consider the many facets of the beautiful diamond of salvation, and one of the most thought-provoking answers may be found in the High Priestly prayer of Jesus in John chapter seventeen.

Here, Christ prays first for Himself (vs. 1-5), secondly for His Apostles (vs. 6-10), and finally for all Christians to the end of time (vs. 20-26). The prayer of Christ for His Disciples beginning in John 17:6 is the focus of my thoughts. Although these words were spoken specifically in relation to the Apostles, careful reflection reveals that they apply equally to all born-again believers. So, in these words of Christ, what is a Christian?

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Thoughts On Eternal Security

From Faith Pulpit, Spring 2016. Used by permission.

It has been twenty-four years since the topic of eternal security was last addressed in the Faith Pulpit. In the February 1992 issue Dr. Myron Houghton presented the four major views on security and then explained how Romans 8:28–30 supports eternal security. In this issue Dr. Alan Cole, professor of Bible and theology at Faith Baptist Bible College, extends the discussion by presenting additional evidence to support the view that genuine believers cannot lose their salvation.

I appreciate the article Dr. Myron Houghton wrote in 1992 about eternal security, and I completely agree with his position. The article provides valuable help to Christians regarding this important issue. Since Dr. Houghton’s article examined Romans 8:28–30, I want to explore several other passages that support eternal security.

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Regeneration—Conversion—Reformation

(About this series)

CHAPTER IV - REGENERATION—CONVERSION—REFORMATION

BY REV. GEORGE W. LASHER, D. D., LL. D., Author of “Theology for Plain People” CINCINNATI, OHIO

In his “Twice-Born Men,” Mr. Harold Begbie gives us a series of instances wherein men of the lowest grade, or the most perverse nature, became suddenly changed in thought, purpose, will and life. Without intentionally ignoring the word “regeneration,” or the fact of regeneration, he emphasises the act of conversion in which he includes regeneration which, in our conception, is the origin of conversion and a true reformation as a permanent fact. A weakness in much of the teaching of modern times is in that conversion and reformation are thrust to the front, while regeneration is either ignored, or minimized to nothingness.

Jesus Christ did not say much about regeneration, using the equivalent word in the Greek (paliggenesis) only once, and then (Matt. 19: 28) having reference to created things, a new order in the physical universe, rather than to a new condition of the individual soul. But He taught the great truth in other words, the needful fact by which He made it evident that a regeneration is what the human soul needs and must have to fit it for the kingdom of God.

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The Nature of Regeneration

CHAPTER III - THE NATURE OF REGENERATION

BY THOMAS BOSTON (1676-1732)

I. For the better understanding of the nature of regeneration, take this along with you, in the first place, that as there are false conceptions in nature, so there are also in grace: by these many are deluded, mistaking some partial changes made upon them for this great and thorough change. To remove such mistakes, let these few things be considered:

1. Many call the Church their mother, whom God will not own to be His children. “My mother’s children,” that is, false brethren, “were angry with me” (Cant. 1: 6). All that are baptized, are not born again. Simon was baptized, yet still “in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity” (Acts 8: 13-23). Where Christianity is the religion of the country, many are called by the name of Christ, who have no more of Him than the name: and no wonder, for the devil had his goats among Christ’s sheep, in those places where but few professed the Christian religion. “They went out from us, but they were not of us” (1 John 2: 19).

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Salvation by Grace

(About this series)

CHAPTER V - SALVATION BY GRACE

BY REV. THOMAS SPURGEON, LONDON, ENGLAND

WHAT IS “GRACE”?

Once upon a time, I met, on board an Australian liner, an aged man of genial temperament, and of sound and extensive learning. He managed to dwell in well-nigh perpetual sunshine, for he followed the sun round the globe year after year, and he was himself so sunny that the passengers made friends with him, and sought information from him. It fell out that a discussion having arisen as to what “Grace” was, someone said, “Let us ask ‘The Walking Encyclopoedia’; he will be sure to know.” So to him they went with their inquiry as to the meaning of the theological term, “Grace.” They returned woefully disappointed, for all he could say was, “I confess that I don’t understand it.” At the same time he volunteered the following extraordinary statement: “I don’t think that they understand it either who so often speak of it.” Like the medical man of whom the Rev. T. Phillips told in his Baptist World Congress sermon who said of Grace, “It is utterly meaningless to me,” this well-read traveller comprehended it not. Some among us were hardly astonished at this, but it did occur to us that he might have allowed that it was just possible that on this particular theme, at all events, some less learned folk might be more enlightened than himself. Now, it chanced that on that same vessel there was a Christian seaman, who, if he could not have given a concise and adequate definition of “Grace,” nevertheless knew perfectly well its significance, and would have said, “Ay, ay, sir; that’s it,”

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