Sunday, September 25, 2016

Holiness and the Gospel

In spite of my weaknesses, failures, and frailties,
God the Father loves me in Jesus.

We need to be convinced of this Gospel truth in order to allow the Gospel to speak into our lives and hearts. 
If you are not convinced of the Father's love for you in Jesus, holiness will become for you a way of seeking to earn His acceptance.
Maybe, just maybe, if I am holy enough the heavenly Father will welcome me into His heart.
 
If you are not convinced of the Father's love for you in Jesus, the call to holiness will feel like a chore.
It will seem as though the Lord is saddling you with a standard that sucks the joy right out of your life. Instead of seeing your mandate to be holy as a loving boundary erected by a Father who wants you to be happy, you will see it as a restriction on happiness put in place by a cold and distant killjoy.

If you are not convinced of the Father's love for you in Jesus, you will see holiness as a way of getting a leg up on all the unholy people around you.
If you are not resting in Jesus' righteousness, you will just patch together your own counterfeit. You will grab for a comparative righteousness—a standard you create or adapt from someone else, a standard that helps you feel like you are better than other people. And it will be nothing more than an effort to compensate for your feeling of insecurity before your heavenly Father.

*These words are taken from Modest by R W Glenn and Tim Challies, and
adjusted in order to address holiness instead of modesty. Whatever God
has mandated the Christian to do can be substituted in place of holiness
or modesty and the truth remains the same; the application is the same.
Efforts at holiness (or whatever else) without the Gospel are actually anti-Gospel because such efforts subtly but steadily communicate that God accepts us on the basis of our performance. If you pursue holiness (or whatever else) outside of the Gospel, not only will you fail to be genuinely holy (or whatever else), but everything you do in the name of that supposed holiness (or whatever else) will undermine the very Gospel you profess to believe.

While we do not make excuses for ourselves in order to justify ourselves, we still need to remember that we are human and we are prone to weaknesses, failures, and frailties. We can fall into one of two ditches on either side of the road of grace if we are not careful. The one ditch is antinomianism (or licentiousness, a "license to sin"). The other ditch is legalism. While grace gives us complete freedom in Christ, grace is not without an edge. Legalism recognizes that there is an edge to grace but goes about maintaining that edge in all the wrong ways. Antinomianism forgets or ignores that there is an edge to grace and says it is okay for us to sin since we will be forgiven anyway. Antinomianism presumes on the forgiveness of God. Because of our weaknesses, failures, and frailties, we may be tempted to fall into the ditch of legalism in order to try and curb them, or we may be tempted to fall into the ditch of antinomianism by saying it does not really matter anyway.

Because of our weaknesses, failures, and frailties, we need to constantly, daily, speak the Gospel to ourselves. The Gospel needs to inform all areas of our lives. The Gospel will prevent us from making excuses for ourselves and trying to justify our weaknesses, failures, and frailties, but the Gospel will also prevent us from falling into the ditch of legalism or the ditch of antinomianism. Both ditches are thieves of the grace of God and of the Gospel.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Dumb Things Christians Say

"Christianity isn't a religion, it's a relationship."

I am not 100% certain, but I suspect in one of my older blog entries that I have used this dumb statement. I know in the past, for certain, that I have spoke it when talking with others. The fact is, this statement is utterly untrue. I am not sure where this nonsense originated, but countless numbers of Christians regurgitate this foolishness without a single thought toward it. The fact is, Christianity is both a religion and a relationship. Any fool that avoids calling Christianity a religion because of his/her personal distaste for the word (and/or his/her lack of understanding as to the word) is merely illustrating his/her own ignorance. Read any historical Christian material and you will see that they had no problem identifying Christianity as a religion or referring to themselves as religious. Read Charles Spurgeon and you will see that he had no problem identifying Christianity as a religion or referring to himself as being religious. Christianity is a religion. In fact, it is the only true religion. All others are false, and every follower of any other religions will find themselves in Hell for having broken God's laws. Christianity is a God-made religion, whereas all other religions are man-made.

"I'm not a Christian, I'm a Jesus Follower."

I believe that I have addressed this dumb statement in an older blog entry. A Christian and a Jesus Follower are one in the same. Any fool who avoids calling him/herself a Christian because of the many false converts and hypocrites out there giving Christianity a bad name is merely illustrating his/her own ignorance. Do you not think there are false converts out there calling themselves Jesus Followers, too? Making up a new term to replace an old term does not change what that term is intended to mean. Changing B.C. and A.D. to B.C.E. and C.E. because you want to eliminate Christ from the equation does not change a thing; you merely provide a more accurate equation for Christ: Before Christ's Era and Christ's Era. Calling yourself a Christian or calling yourself a Jesus Follower, they both amount to the same thing. It is an attempt to split a single hair.

"I don't do anything religious."

Yes, you do. If you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs as a means of worship, you are doing something religious. If you partake of baptism and the Lord's Supper, which are both ordinances the Christian is commanded to do, you are doing something religious. Christians do a great many things that are religious, and there is nothing wrong with that. These religious things are part of our religion. What the Christian does not do is religious superstitions such as those found in the Catholic church or other false religions such as Islam, Mormonism, or the Jehovah's Witnesses.

**Will be expanded...**

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Two Thieves of the Gospel

There exist two thieves of the Gospel. Wherever the Gospel is present, these two thieves stand on either side of it. Every Christian is at risk of leaning toward one or the other. In fact, some Christians swing dangerously back and forth like a pendulum between the two. Some Christians will even pick and choose which of the two they will apply to certain areas of their life, like the religious hypocrites they are. These two thieves are Legalism and Antinomianism. Timothy Keller has said, "Antinomianism steals from the Gospel by twisting the grace of God into a license to do whatever you want while legalism steals from the Gospel by twisting the edginess of grace into law. And both look for ways to get out from under the shadow of the cross. Both try to avoid Jesus as Lord and Savior. Antinomianism avoids Jesus by resisting His lordship. Legalism avoids Jesus by rejecting His saviorship."

Antinomianism: Paul addressed this issue in Romans when he asked, "What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means!" (Rom. 6:1-2). The meaning of this word is very simple. Anti means "against" and nomianism refers to a particular approach to the law. Simply put, Antinomianism means "against the law" or "no law." This term is used by theologians to refer to Christians who like to turn grace into a license to sin, or licentiousness. Licentiousness is Antinomianism. Jude addressed false teachers "who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness" (v. 4). Antinomianism looks at how free grace is and then twists it to mean that our thoughts, attitudes, and behaviours—the way we live—do not really matter to God because we are forgiven. Antinomianism supposes that sin is not that big of a deal.

Legalism: Paul addressed this issue is Colossians when he said that people make rules "according to human precepts and teachings," and that these rules only have "an appearance of wisdom" while being "of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh" (Col. 2:21-23). Legalism is the exact opposite of Antinomianism. Legalists assume that the Christian faith is performance-based. Many Christians are consumed with outward conformity to rules while at the same time not being concerned with sin in their hearts. Legalism says we are accepted by God based on our own accomplishments. It says we can live up to the standards that God has set. Legalism has "an appearance of godliness" but is guilty of "denying the power thereof" (2 Tim. 3:5).

While grace is free and gives us freedom in Christ, there is still an edge to grace. Grace never says we are completely and utterly free to say or do whatever we want, whenever we want, however we want. Legalism acknowledges that there is an edge to grace, but goes about dealing with that edge in all the wrong ways. Antinomianism forgets that there is an edge to grace, and thinks it does not matter if we sin or even how we sin. It presumes on the forgiveness of God. The Christian needs to be mindful of both of these thieves of the Gospel and to speak the Gospel to him/herself daily.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

A Sign of the Times

How is it that when an individual embraces his/her sin of homosexuality and decides to "come out," ignorant people cheer him/her on saying that he/she has done a "courageous" thing or that he/she was very "brave"? Since when is it courageous or brave to embrace your sinful desires and be proud of your life of sin? If an individual embraces his/her sin of adultery, is he/she being courageous and brave by "coming out" about it? If an individual embraces their sin of being a rapist, are they being courageous and brave by "coming out" about it? If an individual embraces their sin of being a murderer, are they being courageous and brave by "coming out" about it? If an individual embraces their sin of pedophilia, are they being courageous and brave by "coming out" about it? If an individual embraces their sin of lying and/or stealing, are they being courageous and brave by "coming out" about it? Why does society cheer on the sinfulness of homosexuals while at the same time condemning other sins that are equally or less offensive compared to homosexuality?

Sin is sin, people. In the eyes of God, all sins are equal and will receive the same just punishment. There is nothing courageous or brave about embracing your particular sin and parading it about in sinful pride! Do you see any other sins being exalted to the degree of homosexuality? Has there ever been an Adultery Pride Parade? How about a Pedophile Pride Parade? What about a Murderer Pride Parade? Why do you suppose that is?

What is even worse is those ignorant people who refer to those who turn to the Bible for answers as "bigots." But only in relation to the homosexual issue. If any other sin is mentioned and a person turns to the Bible to answer against that sin, they do not call them "bigots" then. Only when the issue is homosexuality. Why? Because these people know that God and the Bible condemn homosexuality and that those who embrace it, support it, or promote it are without excuse.

Some people struggle with thoughts and temptations of homosexuality the way others struggle with thoughts and temptations of pornography (or any other sin). No matter how strong or how frequent those thoughts and temptations come upon you, they are not indicators of who you really are!!! See Temptations: The Truth Behind Homosexuality. If you were "fighting against" or "trying to suppress" these thoughts and temptations in your own strength, because of how you were raised and what you were taught, then of course they would never go away and you would never be free of them. You are trying to get rid of temptations by legalistic means. The only answer, the only cure, to your constant thoughts and temptations of any particular sin is Christ Jesus. You need to constantly pray and ask Him to rid you of it, and you need to trust in only Him. Do not think on your temptation or give way to it. Flood your mind constantly with Jesus and the Gospel.

No temptation has overtaken us that God has not provided a way out from. When you give in and yield to your thoughts and temptations, and especially when you embrace them, you reveal what is truly in your heart as well as revealing that you have never been saved in the first place. You have no understanding of what it means to be saved. Try and evade it all you want, but the Bible is clear on its position regarding the sin of homosexuality. Every single individual on this planet knows the truth intrinsically. Simple common sense informs you of the truth, as does basic biology. If you have a light bulb, it was clearly made to go in a light socket. If you have a plug, it was clearly made to go in an outlet. If you have a bolt, it was clearly made to go in a nut. Likewise, the penis was clearly made to go inside the vagina and the vagina was clearly made to receive the penis. Jesus brought his listeners back to the way God intended marriage and sexuality to be when He referred to Adam and Eve and man leaving his parents and being united to his wife.

Homosexuals like to try and argue that the issue is not about sexual organs. However, this is false. Sexual organs are a part of the issue, whether homosexuals like it or not. By attempting to remove sexual organs from the equation, they try and say the issue is solely about "love." There is more to the issue than homosexuals want others to know. That is why they attempt to use fallacious arguments and emotional manipulation in order to get others to side with them and support them. But homosexuals are starting to overplay their hands and the truth is starting to come out. Slowly.

Sex, desire, and lust are not one's identity. You do not see other people trying to find their identity in their being a profound adulterer, do you? Take the arguments homosexuals use in relation to their disorientation and their "identity" and apply those arguments to adultery or any other sin. Do you see how ridiculous those arguments are? The reason so many people fall for those arguments, even though they are lame and hold no water, is because the homosexuals continue to play the Damsel In Distress card so that others will want to be their White Knight and rescue them. In reality, homosexuals are terrifying beasts disguising themselves as damsels in distress in order to lure in the ignorant and gullible who refuse to listen to common sense, logic, or rational.

When homosexuals claim, "I never wanted to be gay," it is an utter lie. Do you see murderers or rapists or adulterers or pedophiles saying, "I never wanted to be a murderer"; "I never wanted to be a rapist"; "I never wanted to be an adulterer"; "I never wanted to be a pedophile." If you never wanted it, you would not be doing it. It is just as stupid to listen to if someone in politics were to say, "I never wanted to be President of the United States." If you never wanted it, then how and why are you where you are? Because at some point you chose it; you wanted it; you gave in to it.

So-called "Christians" who ignorantly support other so-called "Christians" who "come out" as gay have revealed that not only are they also false converts, but that they know nothing about God, Christ Jesus, or the Bible. Romans 1:32 condemns both the doer and the supporter of the doer. Paul informs believers to take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but to expose them instead. These so-called "Christians" choose to support the unfruitful works of darkness because their hearts are dark and sin-filled. When professors of Christ embrace or support those who embrace their sins as if there is nothing wrong with it, it is A Sign of the Times.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Trey Pearson: Another False Convert


First of all, it is not "open-mindedness" that invited Trey Pearson to the festival; it was empty-mindedness. Sad how the world associates closed, empty minds with "open-mindedness." Open acceptance and approval of anything and everything is not being "open-minded." As one of my favourite quotes goes, "Have an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out." This depicts many in this day and age. They think they have an open mind when in reality what they have is an empty mind because they left their brains at home.

Second of all, the "disgruntled" fan is correct. No other individual would tweet things like, "Yay! I'm an adulterer and I get to lead worship at a Christian music festival." Why is it that homosexuals are so proud of living in open, defiant, rebellious sin? This fan is further correct in acknowledging that by tweeting what he did, Trey's participation at the festival became about his sexual disorientation and not about Christ Jesus. When your identity is rooted in your sin or your sexual disorientation and not in Christ Jesus, you can be sure that you are not a Christian and do not belong to Christ. Bank on it!

Third of all, Aaron Deillo knows nothing of what Jesus meant when He talked about loving others. In Aaron's mind, "loving" Trey is supporting him in his wicked lifestyle of living in open, defiant, rebellious sin. Would Aaron feel the same "love" and support if his friend was openly cheating on his wife with multiple women? Of course not!!! Would he feel the same "love" and support if his friend was a known pedophile, rapist, or murderer? Of course not!!! Mr. Deillo is a hypocrite who knows nothing of Jesus' love or what Jesus was talking about when He talked about love. Sadly, he is not alone in his ignorance. Many people these days have no clue what "love" is or what it means to "love." They associate it with all sorts of wrong ideas and concepts. Many today think "loving" someone means supporting them in whatever wickedness they choose to engage in, accepting and approving of their practices thereof.

As Christians, we should come alongside Trey in true love, reminding him that he is naming the name of Christ, which means that if he is a genuine Christian, he needs to repent and depart from his sinful lifestyle. If he does, if he becomes part of the "such were some of you" (1 Cor. 6:11), then we can embrace him as a true brother in the faith. Otherwise, if he refuses to repent and continues living in open, defiant, rebellious sin, he reveals himself to be a false convert and a lost soul still dead in his trespasses and sins, destined for an eternity in hell. As Christians, while we can come alongside him in love, it does not mean we support him in his sinful lifestyle or in his open, defiant, rebellious sin. Church discipline is not merely for inside the church. Anywhere where Christ is named and something is being done in His name, church discipline needs to be applied. If a professing "Christian" artist was engaged in adultery with several women, would a "Christian" venue like Joshua Fest invite them to be part of the show? Of course not!!! Would they invite a professing "Christian" known to be an open peodophile, zoophiliac, rapist, murderer, etc.? Of course not!!! So why will they invite someone who is openly gay and living in deliberate, defiant sin? Because these people do not know God, do not trust in His Word let alone read it, nor do they belong to Christ Jesus. Real, genuine, born-again Christians do not support, approve of, condone, or make excuses for the open—or hidden—sin of others. Those who support and condone people like Trey Pearson, Ray Boltz, Jennifer Knapp, or Vicky Beeching are mentioned in Romans 1, too: "Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them" (Rom. 1:32).

Last of all, Five Iron Frenzy demonstrated their anti-Christ stance when they deliberately ignored the decision to remove Mr. Pearson from the festival (though sadly not through church discipline) and invite him to participate with them during their last song. Their doing so rejected church discipline, defied the Word of God, and spit directly in the face of Christ Jesus. What they did was not showing "love" or support for Mr. Pearson; it was showing utter disdain for the Word of God and hatred for Christ Jesus. If Jesus were to suddenly appear in front of the members of Five Iron Frenzy (and in fact in front of many professing "Christians" these days), and tell them matter-of-factly that homosexuality is a wicked sin (like all sins) and that it will not be tolerated or excused come Judgment Day, you can be sure the members of Five Iron Frenzy (and many professing "Christians" these days) would be calling Jesus a "homophobe" and picking up rocks to stone Him with. This is how you can identify genuine children of God from the children of the devil. It is sad how the world, including professing "Christians," suppresses the truth of common sense and simple biology in unrighteousness even as it informs them that homosexuality is unnatural and a perversion of both human and sexual natures.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

The 21 Rules of This House

by Gregg Harris (father of Joshua Harris)
  1. We obey God.
  2. We love, honor and pray for one another.
  3. We tell the truth.
  4. We consider one another's interests ahead of our own.
  5. We speak quietly and respectfully with one another.
  6. We do not hurt one another with unkind words or deeds.
  7. When someone needs correction, we correct him in love.
  8. When someone is sorry, we forgive him.
  9. When someone is sad, we comfort him.
  10. When someone is happy, we rejoice with him.
  11. When we have something nice to share, we share it.
  12. When we have work to do, we do it without complaining.
  13. We take good care of everything that God has given us.
  14. We do not create unnecessary work for others.
  15. When we open something, we close it.
  16. When we take something out, we put it away.
  17. When we turn something on, we turn it off.
  18. When we make a mess, we clean it up.
  19. When we do not know what to do, we ask.
  20. When we go out, we act just as if we were in this house.
  21. When we disobey or forget any of the 21 Rules of This House, we accept the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Lion Will Lay Down With the Lamb


How many of you have seen images such as this one in your local Christian bookstore? How many of them have a slogan similar to the title of this blog? How many of you have actually quoted this slogan when talking to others? Guess what?

It is not in the Bible!

If professing Christians spent more time actually reading the Bible instead of getting their theology from bogus sources and repeating false information with the blind belief that it comes from the Bible, then perhaps more Christians would know their Bible and would not be lead astray by false doctrines and doctrines of demons.

What does the verse actually say?
"And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them." Isaiah 11:6
Where the idea of "The lion and the lamb shall lie down together" came from, I do not know. But if more Christians read their Bibles and knew their Bibles, they would know that no such verse exists. But these same professing Christians think the Bible says, "Cleanliness is next to godliness," and, "God helps those who help themselves." So... if I help myself to your hard-earned money, I better not hear you complaining or calling the police because, according to your theology, God is helping me.

Foolishness!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Baptism In the Old Testament

In the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, the Greek word baptizo (βαπτιζω) occurs very infrequently. Only twice, to be exact. In Isaiah 21:4, we read: "My heart goes astray and lawlessness baptizes my soul." The writer was changed from a state of quiet trust in God to fearfulness as a result of seeing great wickedness and knowing that terrible judgments would follow. Similarly, Galatians 3:27 says, "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ." In other words, the Christians in Galatia had been identified with Christ Jesus. We see the same thing in 1 Corinthians 10:1-2: "I want you to know, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the seas, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea." This passage is especially significant in understanding baptism, since the people of Israel were obviously not "immersed" (the Baptist's favourite word for baptism) either in the sea or the cloud.

Let us look at the favourite verse on baptism that some cults twist out of context and draw false conclusions from: "He who believes and is baptized will be saved" (Mark 16:16). This verse has never meant that unless a person is baptized (immersed) in water, he/she cannot be saved. We know this conclusion is wrong because of the rest of Scripture. We are saved by grace through faith in the work of Christ on Calvary. This verse, like all verses dealing with baptism, is addressing the believer's identification with Christ.

The only other word found in the Septuagint is the Greek word bapto (βαπτω), occurring 18 times. They are as follows:
Exodus 12:22
Leviticus 4:6, 17
Leviticus 9:9
Leviticus 11:32
Leviticus 14:6, 16, 51
Numbers 19:18
Deuteronomy 33:24
Joshua 3:15
Ruth 2:14
1 Samuel 14:27
2 Kings 8:15
Job 9:31
Psalm 68:23
Daniel 4:33
Daniel 5:21
dip hyssop in blood
dip finger in blood
dip finger in blood
dip in water
dip in blood, in oil, in running water
dip hyssop in water
dip foot in oil
dipped in edge of water
dip bread in vinegar
dip staff in honey comb
dip in water
dip into pit (plunge)
dip in blood
wet with the dew of heaven
wet with the dew of heaven
With the possible exception of three of these passages, none of them can be used to support the concept of "immersion." This concept is derived eisegetically from the Baptist's misinterpretation of Romans 6:3-4 due to their failure to pay attention to the context of the passage. The majority of the above passages all speak of dipping something into something (without "immersion"), and some continue on to speak of sprinkling.

Baptism in the Bible more frequently than not is used figuratively or metaphorically to speak of a change of identity having taken place. When you examine 600 years of classical Greek literature (from about 400 B.C. to about 200 A.D.), you find that there is no definite translation for the words bapto and baptizo. If they meant "immersion" definitively, then our Bibles would have translated the words as "immersion." The fact that these words are transliterated rather than translated is demonstrative of the fact they do not have a definitive translation, as seen by Isaiah 21:4's translation of the Hebrew word ba'ath (בעת), which means "terrify, startle, fall upon": to input fear.

Children of believing parents are baptized so as to identify them with Christ Jesus. Baptism is a sign and seal of that identification. It is then the parents' responsibility to train up their children in the ways of the Lord so that when their children are older they will not depart from the faith. As the child grows and learns, he/she can then appropriate that identification or reject it. His/her baptism acts as a testimony/witness for or against them. They either kept covenant with God or they broke covenant with God. Either the promises are theirs or the curses are theirs. The Baptist practice of baptism (that of waiting until physical/spiritual maturity) is unbiblical, as in Scripture we see individuals who have professed Christ being baptized immediately—even when that profession turns out to have been false!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Confronting Silly Beliefs

Lawrence Krauss, an atheist, has said, "You've got to confront silly beliefs by telling them they are silly," adding, "If you're trying to convince people, pointing out that what they believe is nonsense is a better way to bring them around." But is this true?

I have been doing this with atheists and evolutionists for years, telling them that their beliefs are silly and pointing out to them that what they believe is utter nonsense. However, even though I defeat them at every turn and show them the utter ridiculousness of what they believe and how it simply is not true and is not science, even though they admit defeat and agree that I have completely dismantled what they believe in, yet they choose to continue believing it (or a sad replacement for it). Why? Simple.
“Evolution is unproved and unprovable. We believe it only because the only alternative is special creation which is unthinkable.” –Sir. Arthur Keith

“Most modern biologists, having reviewed with satisfaction the downfall of the spontaneous generation hypothesis, yet unwilling to accept the alternative belief in special creation, are left with nothing. I think a scientist has no choice but to approach the origin of life through a hypothesis of spontaneous generation. One has only to contemplate the magnitude of this task to concede that the spontaneous generation of a living organism is impossible. Yet here we are as a result, I believe, of spontaneous generation.” –George Wald
These two quotes show the irrational and prideful ego of atheists and evolutionists. They have no scientific evidence to support their beliefs, yet because the only alternative is one where they are subject to a higher authority, they willfully choose to suppress the truth and blindly place their faith in what they know to be impossible and untrue. And they purposefully and knowingly deceive others with the same lies they try to convince themselves.

I can convince any honest atheist or evolutionist (honest being the key word here) beyond the shadow of a doubt that their beliefs are false and impossible. Yet, amidst their submission to the truth of the facts and in spite of their agreement with my irrefutable evidence, they still continue to cling to the belief that was buried six feet deep. Why? Because no amount of evidence, no matter how convincing the arguments are, will ever change their hearts. If you brought before them a live dinosaur (dragon), they would not change their beliefs; they would only try to fit what stands contrary to them in with what they want to believe. Only God can change their hearts in such a manner so as they finally come to terms with the overwhelming facts and evidence stacked against their beliefs. Scientific and/or otherwise.

No matter how wise I am, no matter how intellectual I am, no matter how well I present my arguments, no matter how much evidence I mount against my counterpart, while they may admit defeat and agree with me that their position is impossible, I will never be able to fully change their mind, and I certainly will never be able to change their heart. Because this is God's area of expertise, I have resolved to do only what I can and leave the rest in God's hands. I will speak the truth in whatever area is being discussed, but whether or not my counterpart accepts it, agrees with it, or changes their mind on it is entirely up to God. I do not have that kind of power (nor do you, Christian), nor is it my responsibility to do (nor am I called to do such).

It is God who is sovereign over all things. It is He who is able to take a heart and change it from a heart of stone to a heart of flesh. All I can do is answer a person, in whatever season, as to the hope I have within me. I will answer a person truthfully, whether they want to accept it or not, without trying to force them to accept it, leaving what they do with what I say up to them. The rest is between them and God. I can pray for them, pray that God would use what I say and shape them accordingly, but that is it. That is the extent of my part. The rest is up to God. You Christians reading this would do well to learn from it. The conviction and conversion of an individual is NOT your responsibility. You do NOT have the power to do such. STOP repeating yourself, saying the same thing in different ways, trying to force people to accept the truth and convert to the faith. You are only going to create false converts. The conviction of sin, righteousness, and judgment belongs to the Holy Spirit. The conversion of a soul belongs to God. You are to do ONLY your part and NO MORE. "Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and doctrine." 2 Timothy 4:2

Gavin Ortlund's Confusion On Baptism

Gavin Ortlund wrote an article titled, Why I Changed My Mind About Baptism. In this article, the argument he presents is poor, weak, and twisted, revealing a lack of knowledge and understanding not only of baptism, but also of circumcision. In his article, he writes: "The faith of an Israelite child's parents was not what determined the child's right to circumcision; it was the child's association with the nation of Israel." While this is not entirely accurate or correct, the same argument can be applied to baptism and the church. So once again, it supports infant baptism because a child's association with the church is that they are full members thereof.

When you were born, were you born as a full citizen of your country with all the rights and responsibilities thereof? Yes, you were. However, because you were young, you did not know of these rights and responsibilities and could not appropriate them. You had to be taught them. When you were older, you then either embraced them as your own or rejected them, which is treason and demands you leave your country. The same is true concerning circumcision and baptism. The son circumcised on the 8th day had no faith of his own. He knew nothing of the covenant promises and had to be taught it. As he grew, he could then embrace what he was taught by faith and appropriate the blessings unto himself, or reject what he was taught and appropriate the curses unto himself. The same is also true of baptism, which people would see and understand if they practiced it in accordance with what we see in the Scriptures.

Gavin goes on to ask this ridiculous question: "So, given paedobaptist presuppositions, why not baptize the grandchildren of believers, too? If we're really building off continuity with the Old Testament precedent, why stop at one generation?" The ridiculousness of this question can be seen in a number of ways. First, infant baptism does not stop at one generation. Where Gavin gets this foolish concept from I have no idea. There are families who, by God's grace, have a legacy of faith from generation to generation to generation, just as promised in Scripture. Each of these generations has faithfully baptized their children. The precedent of the Old Testament did not circumcise grandchildren, so where does Gavin draw this foolishness from?

Second, for a man who grew up in and around Presbyterians, Gavin has completely missed the mark on this issue. This may not entirely be his fault, but the fault of the churches he attended. As Bryan Chapell writes, "We must confess that some bring their children for this sacrament because of the sweetness of the ceremony, or because of the traditions of family and church, or even with the misguided expectation that somehow 'holy water' will magically protect their child from hell. Yet neither sentiment nor tradition nor superstition is sufficient reason for believers to bring their children to be baptized. ... We baptize infants because we believe that the Bible teaches us to do so."

Third, apparently Gavin is unaware that God does not have any grandchildren.

Gavin continues by making a fallacious argument. He writes, "Those who espouse infant baptism bear responsibility to define the word infant. ... But it's difficult to see how that would be consistent with Genesis 17 or the practice of God's people throughout the Old Testament." Paedobaptists bear no such responsibility. The command is clear from Scripture. Apparently Gavin does not understand Genesis 17 or the practice of God's people through the Old Testament. Once again, never were grandchildren circumcised. The children were always circumcised by their respective parents. Do you think Ishmael and Esau did not circumcise their children? They have nothing to do with Israel, but they have much to do with Abraham. Circumcision was always connected to the faith of the parents, regardless of the genuineness of that faith. If you have parents in the Presbyterian church whose faith is not genuine, and they baptize their infants, do you think that somehow changes anything? Gavin's mentality on this issue seems to be entwined in the misguided belief that baptizing your children somehow protects them from hell or ensures they will be Christians. For all his "intensive study," he does not seem to have learned a thing.

Gavin continues further by making a false statement: "In no biblical covenant or redemptive-historical era has the sacrament of initiation been for 'those who believe and their children.'" History disagrees with him, as does Reformed tradition.

Gavin ends his article by asking a bunch of ridiculous questions centered on his foolish concept regarding grandchildren. Where he pulled this theory from is beyond me, but it is clear that he is desperately reaching in his attempt to argue against something he has clearly failed to grasp through his "intensive study." The fact of this can be seen in his statement: "Better, and more continuous with circumcision and the OT precedent, I think, to define the church simply as the children of Abraham: defined by physical descent throughout the OT (Gen. 17:9), and defined by spiritual descent throughout the NT (Gal. 3:7)." Many Muslims are physical descendants of Abraham, yet they are not the church. It appears as though Gavin's confusion runs greater than simply baptism and circumcision, as he does not seem to understand who and what the church is either. In the Gospel of John, Jesus identifies the Jews as descendants of Abraham (8:37), but tells them they are not his children (8:39) but the children of their father, the devil (8:44). Being physically descended from Abraham did not mean you were part of the church. It has always been the spiritual descendants of Abraham in both the Old Testament and the New Testament who were part of the church.

Gavin, you need to conduct a lot more study. Your conclusion in your article is drawn from assumptions, as well as a lack of understanding concerning these elements. I would call it a blundering conclusion as the evidence from your article reveals a lack of knowledge and understanding of not only baptism and circumcision and everything surrounding them, but also of the church. In case you missed it, Paul refers to our baptism as circumcision (Col. 2:11-12). Both of these are in the metaphorical use, expressing a change of identity having taken place, which is what both circumcision and baptism infer, but may not be the reality. How many people in the OT were circumcised and yet no change ever took place in their life? How many people in the NT were baptized and yet no change ever took place? Judas? Simon Magus? Demas? See Baptism's Meaning.

See also Michael Horton's Infant Baptism: God's Grandchildren.