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From A.W. Pink’s The Sovereignty of God, quoting scripture and Spurgeon in support of predestination:

“As many as were ordained to eternal life, believed” (Acts 13:48). Every artifice of human ingenuity has been employed to blunt the sharp edge of this Scripture and to explain away the obvious meaning of these words, but it has been employed in vain, though nothing will ever be able to reconcile this and similar passages to the mind of the natural man. “As many as were ordained to eternal life, believed.” Here we learn four things: First, that believing is the consequence and not the cause of God’s decree. Second, that a limited number only are “ordained to eternal life,” for if all men without exception were thus ordained by God, then the words “as many as” are a meaningless qualification. Third, that this “ordination” of God is not to mere external privileges but to “eternal life,” not to service but to salvation itself. Fourth, that all-“as many as,” not one less-who are thus ordained by God to eternal life will most certainly believe.

The comments of the beloved Spurgeon on the above passage are well worthy of our notice. Said he, “Attempts have been made to prove that these words do not teach predestination, but these attempts so clearly do violence to language that I shall not waste time in answering them. I read: ‘As many as were ordained to eternal life believed,’ and I shall not twist the text but shall glorify the grace of God by ascribing to that grace the faith of every man. Is it not God who gives the disposition to believe? If men are disposed to have eternal life, does not He-in every case-dispose them? Is it wrong for God to give grace? If it be right for Him to give it, is it wrong for Him to purpose to give it? Would you have Him give it by accident? If it is right for Him to purpose to give grace today, it was right for Him to purpose it before today-and, since He changes not-from eternity.”

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What does John Piper mean when he speaks about God ordaining, within the context of his Sovereignty over sin?

There is design in what he permits.  And therefore when I say he ordains, I mean He has a history in view and He is going somewhere with what He permits to happen.  That’s what I’m talking about when I’m talking about the ordaining of, or the governance of, sin. (Resolved ’09: God’s Sovereignty Over Satan’s Fall)

I can rest easily upon that: “He is going somewhere in what He permits to happen.”

For more of this, check out the link above, and the second part to his message titled: How Sin Serves the Glory of Christ.

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Favorites in…

Weather:  I’ve never seen this before…at first I thought it was a hoax – snow rollers.

Movies: Some good questions to ask when watching films from John Frame. (HT: JT)

Health: 10 Tips To Save Your Vision.  Read it, know it, live it.

Listening: Recent sermons from great speakers at the NEXT 2009 Conference.

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Nonpolar

A good quote from Timothy Keller in his book “The Prodigal God.”  He is describing the two basic ways that people pursue happiness and fulfillment in light of the parable of the prodigal son: the elder brother’s way of moral conformity, and the younger brother’s way of self discovery.  Keller explains that both ways are dedicated to “self-salvation.” He continues:

Jesus’s message, which is “the gospel,” is a completely different spirituality.  The gospel of Jesus is not religion or irreligion, morality or immorality, moralism or relativism, conservatism or liberalism.  Nor is it something halfway along a spectrum between two poles – it is something else altogether.

The gospel is distinct from the other two approaches: In its view, everyone is wrong, everyone is loved, and everyone is called to recognize this and change.  (p. 44-45)

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This is hilarious.  Original sin according to Brian Regan:

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Reflections

First off, I should introduce myself and apologize for rarely posting. I’m Andy, and though I am a faithful reader, I haven’t had much time to contribute to this blog because I’m in my first year of seminary. But, I took my last final yesterday and now feel the need to be reflective. As I was cleaning my room last night I came across some notes I took at the seminary’s orientation last year. I laughed out loud as I read one quote that has proven to be true, “God brought you here to seminary to mess with you.” I’ll share a few ways that has been happening.

I was all about correct doctrine when I came here 9 months ago…I was quick to judge “emergents” who seemed to cast aside truth in an effort to “reach the culture.” I have by no means come to a point where I cast doctrine aside, but am less arrogant (hopefully) in thinking that I have it all figured out. These are a few questions that I am still pondering: how much of our doctrine is shaped by our American culture and how much of that is Biblical? Throughout the minor prophets, nations are judged because of their extreme arrogance, and God’s people were not exempt from that. Another judgment against God’s people was that their worship was not from the heart. They went to the temple, they did their sacrifices and externally they seemed very faithful, but their hearts were not in it which was evidenced by the way they lived outside the temple. They neglected the poor and needy and they joined in “pagan” sins, even turned to other gods. This was convicting to me because I have so often “done the church thing” out of a sense of duty and not engaged my heart in worship. I have not worhipped any idols carved by human hands, but have put other “worldly idols” before God – want evidence of that? Check out my bank statement!

Those who put doctrine over ethics, the pharisees, received some of the harshest of Jesus’ rebukes. (though they didn’t have good doctrine either) Do I fall into the same mindset as them, so convinced that they are correct that they weren’t even able to recognize the Son of God when he came? What about those to whom Jesus ministered to? He didn’t go for the best of the best, he came for those who were sick, outcasts, neglected, those who clearly did not have it all together. For his disciples he chose men who were not of high social status, but blue-collar guys who would faithfully follow him. So often we create our discipleship models by the same standards of the world, choosing the “natural leaders” and neglecting those whom the world neglects. We choose those who are fun to be around, in which we are no different from the world. That is, if we are choosing anyone at all! I don’t mean to criticize those who are investing in younger generations…you are a blessed minority! We all need to consider how we can serve the needy in our world, across the globe AND in your neighborhoods!

These are just a few thoughts from the semester, hopefully I can share more thoughts over the next few summer months. I am not claiming to have this all figured out, but those above reflect some of the questions that I have been struggling through over the past few months. I would love to hear your feedback or reactions…where you agree or disagree.

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Favorites in…

Blogging: C.J. Mahaney just completed a four month long blog series on productivity.  Very helpful.

Health (and fun): John Mark Reynolds gives Ten Unexpected Cultural Results of Swine Flu.

Reading: Justin Taylor recommends some must reads from D.A. Carson.  “When D.A. Carson writes a book, buy it.” – Al Mohler

Listening: Not a link, but if you have itunes, search for Campus Impact (college group at Lincoln Berean) and listen to the message from Christopher Yuen on April 28.  It is an incredible account of his journey through drugs, disease, and homosexuality.

Bible Study: John Piper’s method for studying the Bible.  Here is his podcast explaining it a bit.

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