Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Intertestamental Period

Now I know (somewhat) how Israel felt during the period between Malachi 4:7 and the advent of our Lord Jesus . . . No, God has not been silent; but let's just say He hasn't exactly been locquacious where my blog is concerned!!!

Sure there's been plenty of fodder for discussion; but none of it has seemed to have been "blog-worthy". I know , I know, Tiger has given us much to discuss about adultery, hero-worship and evasive driving maneuvers. The Prez is always good for a lesson in "how to kill your young and get other people to pay for it". And you just can't beat a good "end of the world" story with the Mayans and 2012 knocking on our door. Certainly there was something I could milk out of these hot issues; but that's exactly what I promised not to do!

I want to thank each of you who have checked back here over the last few months to find out if I posted anything new; and I want to apologize for not having anything. I do, however, want to assure you that I am still committed to this blog and to blogging that which has substance and not just space-filling capability. I hope that 2010 will bring a rush of topics for me to give you my insignificant two cents. I hope that anyone who is new to In Submission to Sovereignty was able to get something out of my old stuff and that you'll check me out again in the new year. For those of you who have been with me for a while thanks for not abandoning the ship!

Doubtless there will be plenty that the pulpit pimps will serve up more that needs to be debunked. The atheists will provide more distortion and inconsistency to be refuted. TBN will always present more brazen heresy that needs to be denied. At the same time there will be triumphs for God that need to be trumpeted; and God-willing, yours truly will give an interesting perspective on it all.

Thanks for reading. May the always triumphant, infinitely Holy and intentionally near God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ continually comfort, protect and mature you throughout a God-glorifying 2010!!!

Be Like the Bereans, Baby!!! (Acts 17:11)

Sunday, June 07, 2009

by Dr. R.C. Sproul

Hi there; long time no pontificate! Well, you know my promise: "NO FLUFF"! Technically I still have nothing new for you so I'm deferring to a true genius: Dr. R.C. Sproul. This article, "Grace Alone" is from the June 2009 edition of Tabletalk Magazine. I think Dr. Sproul's logic and reasoning are air-tight. I double-dog dare you to refute him!

Grace Alone (from Dr. Sproul's monthly column: Right Now Counts Forever)

Soli Deo gloria is the motto that grew out of the Protestant Reformation and was used on every composition by Johann Sebastian Bach. He affixed the initials SDG at the bottom of each manuscript to communicate the idea that it is God and God alone who is to receive the glory for the wonders of His work of creation and of redemption. At the heart of the sixteenth-century controversy over salvation was the issue of grace.

It was not a question of man's need for grace. It was a question as to the extent of that need. The church had already condemned Pelagius, who had taught that grace facilitates salvation but is not absolutely necessary for it. Semi-Pelagianism since that time has always taught that without grace there is no salvation. But the grace that is considered in all semi-Pelagian and Arminian theories of salvation is not an efficacious grace. It is a grace that makes salvation possible, but not a grace that makes salvation certain.

In the parable of the sower we see that regarding salvation, God is the one who takes the initiative to bring salvation to pass. He is the sower. The seed that is sown is His seed, corresponding to His Word, and the harvest that results is His harvest. He harvests what He purposed to harvest when He initiated the whole process. God doesn't leave the harvest up to the vagaries of thorns and stones in the pathway. It is God and God alone who makes certain that a portion of His Word falls upon good ground. A critical error in interpreting this parable would be to assume that the good ground is the good disposition of fallen sinners, those sinners who make the right choice, responding positively to God's prevenient grace. The classical Reformed understanding of the good ground is that if the ground is receptive to the seed that is sown by God, it is God alone who prepares the ground for the germination of the seed.

The biggest question any semi-Pelagian or Arminian has to face at the practical level is this: Why did I choose to believe the gospel and commit my life to Christ when my neighbor, who heard the same gospel, chose to reject it? That question has been answered in many ways. We might speculate that the reason why one person chooses to respond positively to the gospel and to Christ, while another one doesn't, is because the person who responded positively was more intelligent than the other one. If that were the case, then God would still be the ultimate provider of salvation because the intelligence is His gift, and it could be explained that God did not give the same intelligence to the neighbor who rejected the gospel. But that explanation is obviously absurd.

The other possibility that one must consider is this: that the reason one person responds positively to the gospel and his neighbor does not is because the one who responded was a better person. That is, that person who made the right choice and the good choice did it because he was more righteous than his neighbor. In this case, the flesh not only availed something, it availed everything. This is the view that is held by the majority of evangelical Christians, namely, the reason why they are saved and others are not is that they made the right response to God's grace while the others made the wrong response.

We can talk here about not only the correct response as opposed to an erroneous response, but we can speak in terms of a good response rather than a bad response. If I am in the kingdom of God because I made the good response rather than the bad response, I have something of which to boast, namely the goodness by which I responded to the grace of God. I have never met an Arminian who would answer the question that I've just posed by saying, "Oh, the reason I'm a believer is because I'm better than my neighbor." They would be loath to say that. However, though they reject this implication, the logic of semi-Pelagianism requires this conclusion. If indeed in the final analysis the reason I'm a Christian and someone else is not is that I made the proper response to God's offer of salvation while somebody else rejected it, then by resistless logic I have indeed made the good response, and my neighbor has made the bad response.

What Reformed theology teaches is that it is true the believer makes the right response and the non-believer makes the wrong response. But the reason the believer makes the good response is because God in His sovereign election changes the disposition of the heart of the elect to effect a good response. I can take no credit for the response that I made for Christ. God not only initiated my salvation, He not only sowed the seed, but He made sure that that seed germinated in my heart by regenerating me by the power of the Holy Ghost. That regeneration is a necessary condition for the seed to take root and to flourish. That's why at the heart of Reformed theology the axiom resounds, namely, that regeneration precedes faith. It's that formula, that order of salvation that all semi-Pelagians reject. They hold to the idea that in their fallen condition of spiritual death, they exercise faith, and then are born again. In their view, they respond to the gospel before the Spirit has changed the disposition of their soul to bring them to faith. When that happens, the glory of God is shared. No semi-Pelagian can ever say with authenticity: "To God alone be the glory." For the semi-Pelagian, God may be gracious, but in addition to God's grace, my work of response is absolutely essential. Here grace is not effectual, and such grace, in the final analysis, is not really saving grace. In fact, salvation is of the Lord from beginning to end. Yes, I must believe. Yes, I must respond. Yes, I must receive Christ. But for me to say "yes" to any of those things, my heart must first be changed by the sovereign, effectual power of God the Holy Spirit. Soli Deo gloria.


Dr. R.C. Sproul is founder and president of Ligonier Ministries, and he is author of the books A Taste of Heaven and Getting the Gospel Right.

Unleash your hidden calvinism!

Be Like the Bereans, Baby!!!

Friday, May 01, 2009

In Submission to Sovereignty: Greatest Hits

While still mired in blogging-burnout, I remembered what many popular musicians do when new material is slow in coming: they release a "greatest hits" album. So having complied a modest library of blogs (some of which some of you may have missed)I present to you: In Submission to Sovereignty: Greatest Hits!!!

With the increased media exposure of the likes of Creflo "Cashflow" Dollar; I thought we should be reminded of . . .

The Subtle Sinfulness of Silence

I knew when I began publishing this blog that my comments about heretical teachers, aberrant theologies, etc. would ruffle a lot of feathers. I expected to encounter fierce opposition and that many would be offended by what I have to say. I can honestly state, however, that it is not my intention to offend. It is my hope that someone, somewhere is given pause to think about what their being taught and then to move in a God-honoring direction. One of the unfortunate side-effects of "truth" is frequently "offense".

Of greater concern to me, is the prospect of having to stand before God one day and having to explain why I was silent. Having to explain why I said nothing when I observed some of those very near and dear to me walking toward a cliff. I firmly believe that my salvation is a done deal and that my sinful silence would be forgiven; but let's just say that I want to be able to cast as many crowns before the feet of my Savior as is possible.

That said, I would like for you to consider a few scenarios and honestly answer for yourself . . . what would you do?

Imagine, your mother needs serious medical treatment. She selects a physician whom you know to have been misdiagnosing illnesses, prescribing improper medications and has been successfully sued for malpractice multiple times. Would you warn your mother? She really likes this doctor. She really trusts this doctor. What would you do?

Imagine, your brother receives a large sum of money and decides to invest in the stock market. Your brother chooses a stockbroker whom you know to be entirely disreputable. He charges exorbitant fees for his services, all his clients have lost large sums of money while he continually prospers greatly. Would you warn your brother?

Imagine, your sister falls in love with the man of her dreams. They become engaged and begin to plan their wedding. One night, your staying at a hotel and you hear the unmistakable sounds of a loud sexual encounter going on in the room next to you. When you leave the next morning, you observe your sister's fiance exiting that same room with another woman (or man, you pick). He looks at you winks and says, "C'mon, dog, you know the deal"! Would you tell your sister?

I'm not the "Amazing Kreskin", but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that in each of the scenarios, you would be singing like a canary. So why is that where health, money and romance is concerned we feel duty bound to reveal the truth; but where the more eternally consequential effects of false teaching are concerned, we suddenly clam up? Why are we not concerned about being perceived as judgmental, arrogant and holier-than-thou in those scenarios; but just want to live and let live when a person's walk with Christ is endangered?

I recently received a couple of answers to this sort of question. One person said that they would pray for the person and wait for God to reveal to them that their place of worship was apostate. Then they hoped that the person would see it for themselves and leave. Let's apply this solution to the scenarios that I have just presented. Praying is absolutely necessary and should be the first step; but are you going to tell me that as your mother is being prepped for surgery by Dr. Hamhands, all you are going to do is pray?! Please don't tell your brother that you prayed for him as he cashes in his son's college fund to pay his mortgage because Dewey, Cheatum and Howe landed him in the poor house! And after your sister contracts AIDS from her philandering husband, I'd keep that "I prayed you would find out" stuff on the down-low!

As bad as these results are, the result of failing to speak up to our brothers and sisters who are under the thrall of false teaching and counterfeit christianity is far more detrimental. A false teacher, by definition, teaches falsehood and a house built on the sands of falsehood will surely collapse. And unfortunately, no one who has been ensnared by these lies can point their finger at the teacher on the day of judgment. They failed to study to show themselves approved and they will reap what they have sown. But you said nothing.

It was also suggested that since the person is "saved" it doesn't matter that he is under false teaching because he's going to Heaven anyway. My response to this is always, "are you sure"? I mean you have to be omniscient (God) to rest in this assumption. It was further suggested that, if a person walks down the isle and has the Gospel explained to him and he receives Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior, then he is "saved". My answer to this is, "possibly". It depends on which Jesus he "received". If he received the Jesus of the prosperity gospel, or the Jesus who according to Creflo Dollar was not God is he really "saved"? These are false Jesuses and a false Jesus cannot save, truly. If, however, they somehow trust in the Biblical Jesus Christ (how that is possible in places that barely mention Him is truly a miracle) they are now obliged to forsake false teaching! A "profession" doesn't save anyone. A life of obedience and trust in the person and work of the Biblical Jesus Christ is evidence of our salvation. To paraphrase "Forrest Gump": "saved is as saved does" (see James 2:14-26).

In my humble opinion, there are four main reasons why a person who knows better would remain silent in the face of a loved one's peril.

1. Fear of losing friends/relations.

You might remember the old cliche': "If you love something set it free. If it comes back, then it's yours. If it doesn't come back, then it never was". As mushy as it sounds, I believe that it is true. If you are not allowed to openly express your heart and concerns to someone whom you call "friend", I suspect the term "friend" has been misapplied in this particular arrangement. It is said that "friendship is essential to the soul". Can it be denied that trust is essential to friendship?

The stance I have taken has caused major arguments with members of my family; it has even loosened bonds with those who once pledged that nothing could ever do so. I would like to think that if the situation was reversed they would love me enough to warn me, regardless of my reaction. The Word of God says to do unto others as you would have them do unto you (Matthew 7:12). I can sleep well at night knowing that I have.

If someday I am shown to have been wrong about the deeds I have charged any of these teachers with, I will be the first to repent and apologize. If the future proves me to be correct, my door will always stand open to them.

2. Fear of confrontation.

Going along just to get along. I don't have a lot of sympathy for this situation. Let's just say I'm happy that Martin Luther King didn't suffer with this problem. I'm glad Muhammad Ali didn't have this problem. I'm really glad Jesus didn't have this problem.

Jude urges us to "contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3). Paul instructs us to ". . . rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not devoting themselves to . . . the commands of people who turn away from the truth" (Titus 1:13-14).Peter warns us to ". . .take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose you own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (II Peter 3:17-18).

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind" (II Timothy 1:7). Go grow a backbone!

3. Individualism.

We as the body of Christ have lost our understanding of community, the communion of the saints. An "I've got mine, you better go get yours" mentality pervades. We are saved individually, but we are ingrafted into a shared vine. We are our brother's keeper. Paul vividly illustrated that we all are to function together and if one of us is damaged, we all are damaged (I Corinthians 12:12-26).

4. Lack of love.

Oh, I can hear the jaws tightening already. "Who are you to suggest that I don't love my family/friends"! Hold on there, Tex! Don't get your drawers in a wad! As shown in the previous scenarios, "Love" compels us to act in the best interest of those we love. Love compels us to protect those we love. Love sacrifices it own comfort for the sake of others. Love weathers the misunderstandings and anger directed at it. If your "love" is lacking these qualities, maybe your heavy on emotional love and a little light on volitional love, agape love.

"Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful". Proverbs 27:6


Is this silence sin? Here's the bottom line, the Word of God states that to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin (James 4:17). We really have no excuse for our silence. Are we going to repeat Adam's folly in the Garden of Eden? Are we just going to stand there knowing the commands of God and say nothing while the serpent seduces our friends and family? That's how we all got into this mess in the first place!

"Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman: If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people; Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul. But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand." Ezekiel 33:2-6

Be Like the Bereans, Baby!!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Greatest Trick Satan Ever Played . . . Deepak Chopra and Carlton Pearson

Every now and then we need something to make us angry and digusted. Well, I have just the thing for you. Last night on ABC's Nightline, they had another in there series of debates called "Face Off". Last Night the topic was, "Does Satan Exist"? On the "pro" side was a former prostitute-turned-evangelist, Annie Lorbert; and a guy who is fast becoming one of my heroes, Mark Driscoll (Pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA- see link on my sidebar).

On the "con" side, as you might expect was the elegant idiocy of Deepak Chopra and the apostate Carlton Pearson. Yes, evil does indeed make strange bedfellows.

So, put down anything fragile or anything you don't want thrown against your computer screen; in fact for the safety of your computer maybe you'll want to listen to this in another room! Follow the magic link and come back here to give your comments!!!

"Does Satan Exist"? an ABC Nightline "Face Off" Debate

Be Like the Bereans, Baby!!! (Acts 17:11)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


During the summer of 1982 I had the privilege of attending the United States Marine Corps' Platoon Leaders' Class in Quantico, Virginia. To this day, that remains one of the top three hardest things that I have ever done. My life was not my own; we were told when to eat, when to sleep, when to awaken, when to wash, where to be, etc. We were constantly barked at and nothing we did was ever correct. We were told we would not last an hour in combat; and if we ever even mistakenly brush against one of our instructors we were threatened with certain death. But other than that we had a great time.

What I didn't realize at the time was that every detail of our time at PLC was planned to the nines. Even the badgering and death threats were all part of a master plan. There was nothing random, nothing left to chance. Every detail of this six weeks of "hell on earth" had one purpose: to make us battle-ready Marine Corps officers. No randomness.

I played football throughout high school and for my first two years in college. I remember two, sometimes three-a-day practices in the heat of summer that made men barf up a lung or two. I remember constant drilling to prepare our team for the gridiron battles that lay ahead. We scrimmaged and watched films of our opponents ad nauseum; yet it was always according to the plans of our coaches. We prepared for every contingency that might happen during the games. All of this was for the purpose of making us ready to fight to the finish on the football field. No randomness.

Today, I am an airline pilot. But before I was could wear my airline's uniform, I had to endure two years of professional pilot training, three weeks of indoctrination by my airline and worst of all: nine rounds of "no holds barred" wrestling with a beast they call the "Simulator". Now, some guys are born to fly and they take to that cursed box like a duck to water. I'm not one of them. That unfeeling, merciless contraption of satan has made me want to rip up my pilot's license, put on a blue vest and welcome people to Wal-Mart on more than one occasion! It is also on that "top three hardest things I have ever done" list. By the grace of God; however, I have made it through every time. The point is: they put us through every conceivable emergency scenario for one purpose . . . to make ready to be responsible for the lives of countless travelers. No randomness.

While reminiscing over these events recently, it gave me an insight about our lives as followers of Jesus Christ. Let's face it, if you have been a Christian for any length of time you already know the belief that "once you get saved your life get's easier" is a lie from the pit of hell. From relationships to finances, death and disease, from being put down to pagans bent on world domination; our very souls are tried regularly. Thanks be unto God for the gifts of faith and prayer which are the only avenues by which we are strengthened and given peace in the midst of our trials.

My insight; however, presented another perspective. One which I hope is biblical and will be of some help. Here it goes: if fallen man rightly attempts to prepare himself for the demands of temporal pursuits, shouldn't Almighty God even more so prepare His children for eternal glories? We proudly boast of our all-knowing, all-seeing, ever-present and almighty God. We profess of a God who is "sovereign" over every facet of life. By this we mean that God is in control of ALL things, big and small. God, Himself, testifies to this in Scripture when He says in Isaiah 14: 24, 27: "The Lord of hosts has sworn:

“As I have planned,
so shall it be,
and as I have purposed,
so shall it stand . . .

For the Lord of hosts has purposed,
and who will annul it?
His hand is stretched out,
and who will turn it back"?

These truths, taken to their logical conclusion, say to me that nothing we encounter in this life is random. As a matter of fact, I'm willing to go out on a limb and say that everything we encounter and every event on earth is planned by our sovereign God. If every detail of Marine Corps Officer training or every detail of the Pittsburgh Steelers' training camp, or every detail of airline pilot training is planned in order to arrive at a specific outcome; how much more are the events of God's world planned to bring about His desired outcome of an exalted Savior of men and the bringing of many sons to glory? No randomness.

Scripture makes clear that Jesus was the lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8KJV). It also proclaims that those who are in Christ were chosen in Him before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4KJV). This clearly indicates that a plan was in place long before the earth began. A plan that encompassed all the failings, victories, temptations, trials; and yes even sins that the participants would ever commit. Notice that in the Old Testament after God established His covenant with the children of Israel He declared that they would not keep the covenant. "And the Lord said to Moses, 'Behold, you are about to lie down with your fathers. Then this people will rise and whore after the foreign gods among them in the land that they are entering, and they will forsake me and break my covenant that I have made with them'" (Deut.31:16). Consider this: if the Israelites had been faithful and kept the covenant, would Jesus' death have been necessary? I think not. But that's the whole point of redemptive history; the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. An exalted Savior and Lord, a glorified Father and a redeemed people of God; that's the Bible! No randomness.

Did God make Israel fail? Certainly not! Israel, as are all mankind, was responsible for their choices; but their failure was inevitable. God is not the author of sin.

So, what of the trials and triumphs of our lives today? They are the training eternally planned for each of us. God, in His infinite wisdom, has planned every detail of our lives from the womb to the tomb. All with the purpose of glorifying Himself and producing battle-tested replicas of His perfect son, Jesus.

" For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers" (Romans 8:29)"

"And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6)"

What does this mean for our prayers and our expectations? If I am correct, does that mean we have figured out God's plan? Does that mean that, now, the jig is up and He must do something new? God forbid! Knowing this, is the reason for an even more uncompromising trust in our sovereign God. Since we know that He is invincible and that He is incapable of failure; we should of all people be the most assured and the most at peace. Jesus was able to endure the cross because of the glory that lay beyond it. Jesus was able to endure the very wrath of God the Father because of the glory that lay beyond it. Who are we to imitate?

Talk about "dangling chad" . . . for us who belong to the Lord Jesus Christ, this is the most rigged "election" (Ephesians 1:4-6) in the history of the world. I, for one, would have it no other way.

No randomness.

Be Like the Bereans, Baby!!! (Acts 17:11)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Why We Contend

I'll let the videos speak. Here's Mark Driscoll . . .

Be Like the Bereans, Baby!!! (Acts 17:11)
The Gospel that Repels

Some time ago, I posted a series of blogs called: "Say 'ello to the Good Guys". Somehow I forgot to include this next gentleman. I have to thank "The Pilgrim" over at the blog, "Defending. Contending." for posting the following video of
Pastor John MacArthur.

If your pastor is not telling you this every Sunday, he is not doing his job . . .

You can slap me silly and call me "Shirley"; but somehow I don't think you'll be seeing Dr. MacArthur on TBN again any time soon. Just a hunch.

Be Like the Bereans, Baby!!!