Man's Need of Salvation: Total Depravity and Man's Inability
We begin our study of God’s sovereign grace in salvation with the biblical teaching regarding the effect of the fall upon man and the doctrine of original sin. This teaching is crucial for understanding the doctrine of salvation because one’s understanding of the effects of the fall upon mankind will largely determine one’s view of salvation. In other words, a person’s view of man’s state resulting from Adam’s sin is foundational to that person’s concept of how man appropriates salvation.
Chosen by God
One of the fundamental doctrines that underlie the biblical teaching that men are saved by the grace of God alone is the doctrine of election. The doctrine of election refers to God’s choice of a certain number of people out of fallen humanity who in history would receive all the merits of Christ’s redemptive work and thus be truly, actually and eternally saved.
Christ's First Gospel Sermon
In the verses before us we have the second part of our Lord’s doctrinal discussion with the learned teacher Nicodemus. In versus 3 through 10 Jesus instructs him about the crucial doctrine of the new birth. When it becomes obvious that Nicodemus does not understand our Lord’s teaching on this topic at all, Jesus rebukes him for his unbelief and then proceeds to explain the importance of His own teaching and ministry.
Jesus: The Way, Truth and Life
Many people in America today view Jesus Christ as a friendly, wise, ecumenical teacher. They view Him as a great religious leader among religious leaders such as Buddha, Mohammed and Krishna. Such views, while popular, are not based on the Bible or the teaching of Jesus Himself. In fact, the sad truth is that the more the typical American truly learns about the extraordinary claims of Christ, the more he will be highly offended by His teaching.
A Review of Iain H. Murray's "The Psalter - The Only Hymnal?"
In 2001 the Banner of Truth Trust published a small booklet by Iain H. Murray entitled, Should the Psalter be the Only Hymnal of the Church? In this booklet Murray sets out to answer the question, “whether or not Christians and churches are left to form their own judgment on the material they use for this purpose [congregational praise], of whether there is a principle which requires them to use one book alone, namely the Book of Psalms (that is, the Psalter in metrical form).”
The Passion of the Christ: A Biblical Critique of the Mel Gibson File
A movie produced and directed by Mel Gibson was released recently about the last twelve hours of Jesus’ life entitled The Passion of the Christ. This film received a huge amount of publicity before its release in late February 2004.
Paedocommunion: A Biblical Examination
Any study of the Lord’s supper would not be complete without considering the question: Who are the proper recipients of communion? As one aspect of this question, we will consider the issue of paedocommunion.
Brief Critique of Schlissel's Articles against the Regulative Principle
Recently, a series of articles was written by Pastor Steven M. Schlissel against the regulative principle of worship, entitled “All I Really Need to Know About Worship...I Don’t Learn from the Regulative Principle.”
The Neo-Presbyterian Challenge to Confessional Presbyterian Orthodoxy
John Frame (a Presbyterian Church in America ordained minister, “worship leader,” and professor of systematic theology at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida) has written a book that both defends and sets forth the worship paradigm of most modern “conservative” Presbyterianism.
The Religious Observance of Christmas and 'Holy Days' in American Presbyterianism by Chris Coldwell
The roots of American Presbyterianism go back to the Presbyterian Church in Scotland, and their historic doctrine and practice are expressed in the Westminster Standards written in the mid-17th century. It was the time of the second reformation, and those pursuing reform had sworn the Solemn League and Covenant.
A controversial topic that is avoided by many pastors and sessions today is the issue of head coverings in public worship. There are many reasons why this subject is avoided.
Brian Abshire's Justifications for Christmas Refuted
Today we are going to critique an article by Rev. Brian Abshire entitled “Rethinking the Pagan Origins of Christmas.” I have chosen an article by Brian Abshire out of the dozens of pro-Christmas articles on the web for the following reasons.
A Critique of a Critique of Theonomy: Answering Matthew Winzer
In 2009 the journal, The Confessional Presbyterian, published a lengthy article entitled “The Westminster Assembly and the Judicial Law: A Chronological Compilation and Analysis.” Part one by Chris Coldwell is a chronologically ordered collection of source material from divines written or preached during the time the Confession of Faith was formulated. Part one is thorough and exceptionally useful for understanding what churchmen and scholars were thinking about the judicial law as it related to Christian states in the New Covenant era.
Reformed Social Antinomianism
That modernist and evangelical churches have an unbiblical view of God’s law should come as no surprise to those familiar with their systems of theology. What is surprising, however, is the fact that most modern conservative Presbyterians express hostility to the moral case laws within the judicial code of Israel as well. In this section we will look at some of the popular arguments against the use of these laws in the New Covenant era and will critique them.
Toward an Understanding of the Judicial Law
The body of law given to Israel as a nation and as the visible expression of the church is covenant law and thus is unique. This makes it more difficult for modern Christians to properly analyze it and use it for today’s society. When we think of civil laws in a modern nation, we think strictly in terms of legal actions related essentially to political and criminal laws. We think of laws being broken that involve police action, law courts, judges and civil sanctions. While such things are part of the judicial law in Scripture, one must not restrict the judicial laws within the Mosaic code to the modern conception.
The Proper Definition and Uses of the Law
The apostle Paul says “that the law is good if one uses it lawfully” (1 Tim. 1:8). For the apostle, there is nothing wrong with the law, for it is holy and just and good (Rom. 7:12). But the law has often been misunderstood and abused by professing Christians and heretics throughout history. In this section we will consider some common abuses of the law and will see that properly defined and applied, the law is necessary to understand the gospel and is essential for sanctification (personally and corporately).
Theocracy and Christocracy
In our study of biblical law and civil government, we need to consider the issue of theocracy as the ultimate goal of divine revelation. A major reason why this is necessary is that most professing Christians do not understand what a Christian theocracy would entail and, due to misunderstanding, ignorance and the bad theology, have a very negative concept of the idea. In most Christian circles today, if one mentions theocracy in a positive sense and argues that it is the goal of divine revelation through the work of Christ, one will be considered a dangerous teacher and a perilous subversive.
As the second millennium comes to a close the issue of civil government has once again become a matter of serious debate among Christians. The reasons for this increased interest are manifold. One reason is the rise of the theonomy or Christian Reconstruction movement in the 1970’s.
The Subjection of Kings and Nations to Messiah by James R. Willson
The person, offices and administration of Messiah receive, even at the present time, much illustration from typical exhibitions of them under the law. To apprehensions so slow and imperfect as ours, the dignity of the Mediatorial person, and the importance of his mission, are displayed with wonderful emphasis in the sacrifices, sprinklings, holy places, and priestly and royal functions of the Mosaic economy.
Prince Messiah's Claims to Dominion over Governments by J. R. Willson
The Lord Jesus Christ exercises, as Mediator, the offices of prophet, priest and King. The church bore ample testimony to his prophetic office, in the early ages of Christianity, in the writings of the Fathers, in their suffering to the death for holding the truth of the Bible, to be a revelation from heaven.
One of the most maligned, disbelieved and perverted sections of the Bible is the first three chapters of Genesis. If one were to attend any secular university, or any modernistic or liberal church, one would be told that the early chapters of Genesis do not record actual events.
Modernism and Biblical Inerrancy
One of the greatest enemies of biblical Christianity is Modernism or Christian Liberalism. In fact one could make a case that Christian Liberalism has caused more harm to Protestant denominations and institutions in the twentieth century than any other heretical movement. What is Christian Liberalism?
Jesus' Active Obedience in Justification: Refuting Norman Shepherd
The most important question facing any man, woman or child is: how does a person become right with God? How can a person who cannot perfectly obey the law, who has the guilt of sin, be justified and have peace and fellowship with Jehovah?
Christ's Warning Against False Teachers
At the present time a number of “conservative” Reformed denominations are drifting theologically toward a dark and uncertain future. The decline is not primarily due to syncretism with culture or blatant ethical violations but rather is rooted in theological subversion from within.
When we speak of Christianity or the gospel we must not only examine and understand what Jesus did, but also who He was and is. For, just as a trust or belief in the historical events in our Lord’s life (e.g., the virgin birth, His sinless life, His sacrificial death, His resurrection and ascension to God’s right hand) are necessary for salvation, so is a belief in the person of Christ.
The Gospel Crisis in the OPC and PCA
In the conservative Presbyterian and reformed realm, there has been a controversy raging since 2002. In the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) and the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) the controversy has been especially painful because the Federal Vision teachings have been adopted by a number of pastors and elders, who by their teaching and example, have turned whole congregations away from the doctrines of Scripture and the Westminster Standards on crucial gospel issues.
One of the most popular teachings today in Evangelical and Charismatic churches is the doctrine of the pretribulation rapture. The pretribulation rapture teaching is that there are two separate comings of Christ.
The Final Judgment
The final judgment is the last major event connected to the second coming of Christ. When Jesus returns, the resurrection of the body will occur and the whole human race will appear before the judgment seat of Christ.
The Kingdom of God
A subject that on the surface appears very simple, yet which has produced an extensive bibliography of complex articles, as well as strong disagreements among evangelical theologians is the kingdom of God. Indeed, there are at least as many views of the kingdom of God as there are eschatological schools of thought.
In Romans 1:18 and following Paul begins a discussion of the wrath of God against wicked men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness. The apostle proves that all men are without excuse because they suppress the truth about the living God revealed unto them.
God's Wrath against Unbelievers Proved and Justified
Paul’s epistle to the Romans contains the longest, most systematic and profound exposition of the gospel in the whole Bible. The apostle’s letter is the closest thing to a systematic theology that we find in the New Testament. These points raise the question: Why does Romans contain such a complete and detailed presentation of the gospel?
Jesus' Instructions for Dealing with Temptation
In the Roman Empire believers were surrounded by an anti-Christian, morally degenerate culture. There was the worship of false gods as well as an idolatrous love of money, status, power and pleasure.
The Temptation of Eve
The Christian life is one of warfare. There is the struggle with the flesh (cf. Rom. 7:14-25) and there are temptations that arise throughout life. Given the fact that Christians endure one temptation after another, and, given the fact that history is littered with people and denominations that have succumbed to the lies of Satan and have totally apostatized, one should try to understand Satan’s methodology of deception.
Our subject is self-control in an age of dissipation. The Word dissipation is defined as: a wasteful use of time or energy; a wasting or squandering of something; or a dissolute, irregular course of life, an excessive indulgence in pleasure.
Definitive Sanctification and Romans
Today the term sanctification is commonly used to describe the life long process in which a believer puts off sinful behavior and grows in holiness. The doctrines of union with Christ and regeneration are often completely left out of discussions on sanctification.
Necessity of Sanctification: Brief Refutation of the Carnal Christian Heresy
Throughout its history the church has been plagued with two heretical teachings regarding sanctification. One error confounds justification with sanctification and thus makes salvation dependent upon faith in Christ and good works.
The Great Enemy Within
What is the greatest enemy of a Christian's holiness? Is it the allurement of the world or the attacks of Satan? No. It is neither of these things.
Perhaps one of the most misused words in American society today is the word liberty. Liberty is often erroneously defined as freedom to say, watch, or do anything one wants, no matter how filthy, perverted or debauched.
We live in a time when the institution of marriage is under attack from many quarters. Young people often delay marriage for many years to favor a career and/or live a lifestyle of habitual fornication.
Establishing a Christian Home
Our subject is establishing a Christian home. This topic is rather broad; therefore, we will focus our attention on establishing a Christian family by choosing a godly husband or wife.
Encontrando um Parceiro Piedoso (Portuguese)
Noso tema é estabelecer un lar cristão. Este tópic é bastante amplo; portanto, nós iremos focar nossa atenção em estabelecer uma família cristã escolhendo um marido ou esposa piedosos.
Dealing with Marital Problems
In our modern post-Christian culture, problems within professing Christian families have been on the rise for quite some time. This sad reality is due to a number of factors.
Pentecost, Part 1--Old Testament Background, New Testament Expectation
One of the most important events in the history of redemption is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. It was on the day of Pentecost that the resurrected, ascended, glorified King poured out His Spirit upon the church.
Pentecost, Part 2--The Events of Pentecost and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit
In the book of Acts the physician Luke (an evangelist and co-laborer with the apostle Paul; cf. Ac. 16:10-17; 20:5; 21:18; 27:2; 28:16) gives us an inspired history of the formation and empowerment of the Christian church and the spread of the gospel from Judea, to Samaria, and to the Gentile world.
Pentecost, Part 3--The Filling of the Holy Spirit
When Jesus poured out the Spirit from heaven the disciples were baptized in the Spirit and also filled with the Spirit. “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues” (Ac. 2:4).
Pentecost, Part 4--The Change to the New Covenant Administration
One of the most common questions associated with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost regards the differences between the Old and New Covenant. How is the outpouring at Pentecost unique, given the fact that the Old Testament saints were already indwelt by the Spirit and partakers of His gifts?
Pentecost, Part 5--Speaking in Tongues
After the disciples were baptized in the Holy Spirit “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Ac. 2:4). When the apostles are filled with the Holy Spirit they become the Spirit’s mouthpiece by speaking in tongues (i.e., spoken foreign languages) to a large assembly of foreign Jews.
Pentecost, Part 6--Excursus on the Charismatic Movement
Many modern “Christian” historians and authors describe the rise and spread of Pentecostalism and the Charismatic movement as a great modern revival; as, first, a breath of fresh air upon a dying, formalistic Protestantism and, then, a great reviving force upon Roman Catholicism.
Spiritual Gifts, Part 1--The Apostleship
When the Holy Spirit came to the new covenant church at Pentecost, He equipped the church by giving diverse gifts to its members. The apostle Paul discusses a number of these spiritual gifts in his epistles (e.g., Rom. 12:3-8; 1 Cor. 12-14; Eph. 4:7-13).
Spiritual Gifts, Part 2--Prophecy
The gift that Paul places immediately after “apostle” is that of prophet (see 1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 4:11). New Testament prophets, just like their Old Testament counterparts, received direct revelation from God which was then communicated to the people of God.
Spiritual Gifts, Part 3--Evangelist
The third office listed by Paul is the evangelist. This office is often misunderstood today, for many denominations still have an office called an evangelist. The modern “evangelist” is someone who preaches the gospel where it previously had not been known.
Spiritual Gifts, Part 4--Pastor-Teacher
The fourth office that Paul lists is the gift of pastor-teacher. Before we examine this office we need to justify the combining of the two terms (pastor, teacher) into one category. John Calvin (whose interpretation was adopted by the early Reformed and Presbyterian churches) argued that the apostle was designating two distinct offices.
Spiritual Gifts, Part 5--Governor or Ruling Elder
Another office that is crucial to the well-being of the church is the office of ruling elder. A ruling elder has the gift of leadership, government or administration in the church.
Spiritual Gifts, Part 6--Mercy and Giving
The gift of showing mercy is a broad gift which includes visiting and attending the sick; caring for the poor; showing love and compassion toward orphans and widows; and, showing kindness to believers who are suffering emotionally, who may be going through a personal crisis.
Spiritual Gifts, Part 7--Miracles and Healing
In 1 Corinthians 12:28 Paul lists healings and the working of miracles as gifts of the Spirit. We have placed these gifts together because the working of miracles includes healing the sick and because of the supernatural nature of these sign gifts.
Spiritual Gifts, Part 8--Word of Knowledge and Discerning of Spirits
When Paul sets forth examples of spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12, the first gifts he mentions relate to the conveyance of wisdom and knowledge. “[T]he apostle speaks neither of wisdom nor of knowledge in themselves, but a word, discourse of wisdom or knowledge; for he seizes the gift in action at the moment when it is to serve the edification of the church.”
We live in a time in which many professing Christians regard church membership as optional. They consider church membership as something that men devised for pragmatic reasons; that it has nothing to do with the requirements of Scripture.
Conflict Resolution in the Church
Professing Christians desire peace in the body of Christ. Many acknowledge that peace and purity can only be maintained through biblical church discipline.
The Great Commission
The Great Commission is one of the most referred to and preached upon portions of Scripture by Evangelical and Fundamentalist pastors and teachers today. Given the fact that the Great Commission contains Christ’s marching orders for the church, this emphasis is warranted.
Regulative Principle Applied to Church Government by James H. Thornwell
The argument from the Scriptures against the system of Boards is, of course, a very short one to all those who sincerely receive and adopt our Standards. If our model of church government is according to the pattern revealed in the Mount, whatever is subversive of its fundamental principles must necessarily be unscriptural and destitute of all Divine authority.
The Discretionary Power of the Church by John L. Girardeau
There are certain utterances which, though brief, are comprehensive and regulative. They enounce principles, or inculcate duties, which involve all minor and dependent ones, and stamp a moulding influence upon thought and action.
Covenanter, Yes: Steelite, No New!
Over the years many people have accused me of being a Steelite. Others have asked me why I am not a Steelite. In this brief study, I want to explain my position and give biblical and practical reasons why I am not a Steelite and never will be. The term Steelite is used in this monograph to describe a particular interpretation of Presbyterianism started in the modern era by Jim Dodson around 1990.
The 1980 Testimony of the R.P.C.N.A New!
In light of the fact that doctrinal attainments are cumulative over time and different historical circumstances require different applications, the R.P.C.N.A. adopted “The Testimony of the R.P.C.N.A. in 1980” in order to better apply “Scripture Truth to the contemporary situation” (Testimony, p.4). This document is crucial in identifying the current theological state of the R.P.C.N.A., in that any doctrinal statements that are different or contradictory from the Westminster Standards essentially replace or nullify the doctrinal statements of the original Confession of Faith (adopted 1648).
A Biblical Refutation of the Roman Catholic View of Authority
One of the fastest growing religions in the United States is Roman Catholicism. This growth is due to a number of factors. There is a large body of Roman Catholics who immigrate (both legally and illegally) to the United States each year from Mexico, Central and South America.
Halloween: A Biblical Critique of James Jordan and American Vision
The second most popular “holy” day, holiday or festival in the United States at the present time is Halloween. We live in an age that is so corrupt theologically, and compromised ethically, that celebrating Halloween has become accepted by most professing Christians and is even advocated by purportedly Reformed churchmen (e.g., James Jordan, Gary DeMar, Steven Wedgeworth, David Mathis) and organizations (e.g., the supposedly pro-biblical law or theonomist para-church organization called American Vision founded by Gary DeMar in the 1980s).
Every religion, worldview or philosophy has a viewpoint regarding how the world and universe came into being. One’s view of the origin or source of things is crucial because one’s belief regarding the why and how of the source of all things will affect one’s whole view of reality, ethics, meaning and ultimate concerns. Given this fact, we should not be surprised that the first words of the Bible are a revelation from God regarding the creation of the world: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1).
Cain and Abel
In Genesis chapter 4, the inspired narrator turns his attention from the origin of sin in humanity to its lasting effect on mankind. The focus of chapter 3 was to note how the first man (the federal head of mankind) fell and brought guilt, moral depravity, and spiritual and physical death to the human race. In chapter 4 we see the consequences of the fall on the first social institution–the family.
Noah and the Universal Flood
One of the most interesting and richer sections of Scripture is the story of Noah, the ark and the universal flood on the earth. With it, the earlier lessons on the importance of faith, the devastating effect of the fall, the antithesis between the godly and ungodly lines and the judgment caused by sin, continue. This narrative brings to an end the history of the old world and reveals that the antediluvian era climaxes with the complete failure and wickedness of all mankind except one family touched by God’s grace.