Pentecostalism

I’ve had a difficult time defining Pentecostalism. Is it Charismatic? What is Holiness Pentecostalism? Where did it come from? Dr. Ryan Reeves lays it all out nicely in a very irenic manner.

Bio from Reformed Theological Seminary:

Dr. Reeves has been a full-time faculty member at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Jacksonville, FL since 2010. Dr. Reeves completed a Ph.D. in Church History from the University of Cambridge on Tudor evangelicalism. He has been a guest lecturer for Reformed Theological Seminary and also for Cambridge University. A church historian, Dr. Reeves’ primary research interests are political theology and ecclesiology during the Reformation, specifically political obedience, resistance theory and the relationship between church and state. He also has an interest in the early Swiss Reformation, the Tudor dynasty and early Protestant theology.

Dispensational Sleight of Hand

Dispensational

Dispensationalists claim to view scripture literally. This is often contrary to the manner in which the Apostles viewed the Old Testament. I’m not suggesting we have the authority of the Apostles to take scripture and spiritualize it as they often did, rather, I hope to view scripture in the way it was intended to be understood. Dispensationalists and Amillennialist both agree on the historical-grammatical method of understanding scripture but we differ on how to gleam the “literal meaning” of scripture. A good example of a forced and therefore false literalism can be found in the differing interpretations of the eschatological Temple mentioned in Ezekiel and Revelation. To gain some idea of how the Dispensationalist forces a meaning on scripture considering Amos 9 and Acts 15.

We read, “For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, which say, The evil shall not overtake nor prevent us.In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old:” (Amos 9.9-11)

At first glance it might might conclude with the Dispensationalist that a some point in the future a Temple will be rebuilt. If we use a historical-grammatical method of interpretation, without considering the New Testament, we miss the meaning of these verses. Most eschatological positions do not force the interpretation of this passage, pick up commentaries by 17th century Premillennialists or Postmillennialists and you’ll see they look to the New Testament as the final interpreter of the Old. For a New Testament understanding we read the words of Peter who reinterprets the verse in light of the work of Christ on the cross.

“And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:” (Acts 15.16)

In this passage we see Peter applying the Old Testament prophecy of a future Temple to the Church. The Tabernacle of David is the church according to the Apostle Peter which is contrary to the Dispensationalist position. If we use a historical-grammatical method we must conclude that Peter meant what was recorded in scripture. Peter spiritualized the old prophecy and applied it to the church. We find Peter, literally calling the church “the tabernacle of David!” Peter does this under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and we must accept Peter’s reinterpretation of the prophecy. We find this spiritualizing tendency in the epistles as well.

“And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” (Eph. 2.20-22)

The Church is called the “holy temple of the Lord.”

Peter states again, “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” (1 Pet. 2.5)

To look for the physical shadow or type when it has been fulfilled denies the centrality of Christ and is called in the New Testament “carnal.” Paul weights in.

“While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.” (2 Cor. 4 & 5)

Under the old Mosaic Covenant of Works the tabernacle or Temple was the dwelling place of God. Israel had to attend to the lawful worship of God at the Temple. Believers in the New Covenant of Grace have the indwelling of the Spirit, and a new heart, which is why Peter refers to the body as the tabernacle.

“Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.”

Ezekiel has a few BIG passages used by Dispensationalists to force the old covenant type or shadow upon the New Covenant meaning given by Spirit to the Apostles. Let me point out how quickly the Dispensationalist abandons the so-called “literal” meaning when it comes to Eze. 43.19.

We read, “And thou shalt give to the priests the Levites that be of the seed of Zadok, which approach unto me, to minister unto me, saith the Lord God, a young bullock for a sin offering.”

This verse is found in the often cited portion of Ezekiel that Dispensationalists believe foretells a future rebuilt Temple but this future Temple will return to offering sacrifices for sin. To the credit of most Dispensationalists they abandoned their pretension to “literalism” and claim the sin offer is not really a sin offering but rather a memorial or commemoration of the sacrifice of Christ. This is a “shoe horn method” of reading scripture where we find nothing in the passage that would indicate the need to insert ideas of memorials or commemoration but yet the Dispensationalist applies a “shoe horn” to slip in ideas, verses or meanings not found in the text. And they do so to avoid adding to the finished work of Christ. Amen. Is it a tenable position? Or course not. The sacrificial system was said to “decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away” (Heb. 8.13) and it did with the destruction of the Temple in ad 70. The Dispensationalist would have Israel, at some future date, return to this Old Covenant ignoring what the Apostles had to say on the matter.

Christ’s death put away any need for Old Covenant types and shadows. (see Hebrews 9 & 10) Paul goes further to state that the old system was “a shadow of things to come” (Col. 2.17) and old system was a “shadow of heavenly things…” (Heb. 8.5) If we read these cited passages using a historical-grammitical method, trying to gain a literal meaning from the authors, we find the Dispensationalist is engaging in a sleight of hand.

Read the passages for yourself.

Yours in the Lord,

jm

Maundy Thursday

“Today is Maundy Thursday…” no it’s not, stop it!

“I love it when you call me big Papa..” – Pope Francis

papa

“…the acceptable way of worshipping the true God, is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imagination and devices of men, nor the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representations, or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures.”

( Jeremiah 10:7; Mark 12:33; Deuteronomy 12:32; Exodus 20:4-6 )

The Christ of Arminianism

(First posted on Feileadh Mor 6 years ago.)

The Christ of Arminianism

Rev. Steven Houck

1. The Christ of Arminianism – loves every individual person in the world and sincerely desires their salvation.

The Christ of the Bible – earnestly loves and desires the salvation of only those whom God has unconditionally chosen to salvation. (Ps. 5:5, Ps. 7:11, Ps. 11:5, Matt. 11:27, John 17:9-10, Acts 2:47, Acts 13:48, Rom. 9:10-13, Rom. 9:21-24, Eph. 1:3-4)

2. The Christ of Arminianism – offers salvation to every sinner and does all in his power to bring them to salvation. His offer and work are often frustrated, for many refuse to come.

The Christ of the Bible – effectually calls to Himself only the elect and sovereignly brings them to salvation. Not one of them will be lost. (Isa. 55:11, John 5:21, John 6:37-40, John 10:25-30, John 17:2, Phil. 2:13)
3. The Christ of Arminianism – can not regenerate and save a sinner who does not first choose Christ with his own “free will.” All men have a “free will” by which they can either accept or reject Christ. That “free will” may not be violated by Christ.

The Christ of the Bible – sovereignly regenerates the elect sinner apart from his choice, for without regeneration the spiritually dead sinner can not choose Christ. Faith is not man’s contribution to salvation but the gift of Christ which He sovereignly imparts in regeneration. (John 3:3, John 6:44 & 65, John 15:16, Acts 11:18, Rom. 9:16, Eph. 2:1,Eph. 2:8-10, Phil. 1:29, Hebr. 12:2)

4. The Christ of Arminianism – died on the cross for every individual person and thereby made it possible for every person to be saved. His death, apart from the choice of man, was not able to actually save anyone for many for whom he died are lost.

The Christ of the Bible – died for only God’s elect people and thereby actually obtained salvation for all those for whom He died. His death was a substitutionary satisfaction which actually took away the guilt of His chosen people. (Luke 19:10, John 10:14-15 & 26, Acts 20:28, Rom. 5:10, Eph. 5:25, Hebr. 9:12, I Peter 3:18)
5. The Christ of Arminianism – loses many whom he has “saved” because they do not continue in faith. Even if he does give them “eternal security,” as some say, that security is not based upon his will or work but the choice which the sinner made when he accepted Christ.

The Christ of the Bible – preserves His chosen people so that they can not lose their salvation but persevere in the faith to the very end. He preserves them by the sovereign electing will of God, the power of His death, and the mighty working of His Spirit. (John 5:24, John 10:26-29, Rom. 8:29-30, Rom. 8:35-39, I Peter 1:2-5, Jude 24-25)

As you can see, although the Christ of Arminianism and the Christ of the Bible may at first seem to be the same, they are very different. One is a false Christ. The other is the true Christ. One is weak and helpless. He bows before the sovereign “free will” of man. The other is the reigning Lord Who wills what He pleases and sovereignly accomplishes all that He wills.

If you believe and serve the Christ of Arminianism, you must recognize the fact that you do not serve the Christ of the Bible. You have been deceived! Study the Scriptures and learn of the True Christ. Pray for grace to repent and trust Christ as your sovereign Savior.

Rejecting the biblical faith…

Persons of the Reformed persuasion should note the following from the Eastern Orthodox service book is required to join the Eastern Orthodox church:

The Bishop questioneth the convert from the Reformed Confession after this wise:PAPACY

Dost thou renounce the false doctrine that, for the expression of the dogma touching the Procession of the Holy Spirit, the declaration of our Saviour Christ himself: “who proceedeth from the Father”: doth not suffice; and that the addition, of man’s invention: “and from the Son”: is required?

Dost thou renounce the false doctrine, that the predestination of men to their salvation, or their rejection, is not in accordance with the Divine foreknowledge of the faith and good works of the former, or of the unbelief and evils deeds of the latter; but in accordance with some arbitrary destiny, by reason of which faith and virtue are robbed of their merit, and God is held accountable for the perdition of sinners?

Dost thou renounce the erroneous belief that in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist the bread and wine are not transmuted into the Body and Blood of Christ, and are merely emblems of the Body and Blood of Christ?

Dost thou renounce the erroneous belief of the Reformed teachers, who reject five Sacraments: Chrismation, Confession, Marriage, Anointing with Oil, and the Priesthood itself, which administereth the other Sacraments, and presume to administer Baptism and the Eucharist, never having received, through the laying-on of hands by a Bishop, that Ordination which hath been transmitted from one to another, even from the holy Apostles?

Dost thou renounce the erroneous belief of the Reformed teachers who receive not the traditions of the Holy Church, reverence not the Saints, and deprive the dead of spiritual aid, and the living of consolation, in that they reject prayers for the dead?

Universal Redemption

A quote from John Kennedy (Man’s Relations to God, 95-96) posted on the Puritan Board:

“There is in every soul, in whom conscience is active, a feeling of insecurity. There is, in every mind, containing any acquaintance with gospel truth, the idea that an interest in Christ’s death is essential to safety. There is in every unrenewed heart a desire to avoid the necessity of dealing with a personal Saviour, and to attain to hope, through the gospel, without being “born again.” The figment of a universal atonement has been produced to meet this craving. It is just the gospel perverted to suit the taste of proud carnal man. “Christ died for all, and therefore for me; I believe this, and therefore I shall be saved,” are the stages of an easy journey to the hope of peace. But there is a triple error here – the personal reference is separated from the gracious design of the death of Christ; the death is dissociated from the person of Christ; and the work of the Holy Ghost is ignored.”