Spiritual Blog

blog

I have decided to separate my writings into two separate blogs. Not that I think there is anything wrong with mixing secular thoughts with spiritual ones… It is more for convenience sake. If you want to read some of my spiritual reflection and meditations on the Book of all Books, then head over to http://www.erlern.net. I probably will be putting some interesting items there too. It’s all hush, hush at the moment, but it will get more interesting (to me) as time passes.

I cannot dispense with this blog. I have to confess that there is still a desire to ensure that I do not lose touch with the IT progress. I have been raised up with technology at the forefront of my childhood life. My growth has been much influenced by the many changes that technology had to offer to new consumers like me (at that time). Therefore, this blog will still be my sounding board for things that are definitely not spiritual in focus. I like to look at it as a hobby 🙂

It can be useful to just write something different each time (back and forth between both blogs). I would not want to be trapped in a particular mindset that makes me lose context with the people of this world, whom I am staying with for the next few years till my departure 🙂

http://www.erlern.net

My personal spiritual blog.

True Israel

John Hendryx posted a concise post regarding the real definition of “Israel” as used in the Scriptures. Referring to Ephesians 2:11-21, he writes:

Notice in this passage that Paul speaks to Gentiles as having been previously separate and alienated from Israel and the covenants, but in Christ, Gentiles have become citizens of Israel. Being “brought near” was their modern day parlance for Jewish proselytes. Because verse 12 and verse 19 are separated by some text (which speaks of benefits in Christ) many do not pay attention to their close connection. Let’s have a look then: Verse 12 “alienated from the commonwealth of Israel” is joined to (vr. 19) “you are no longer strangers and aliens”. No longer aliens to what? No longer aliens to the commonwealth of Israel. That means that Gentiles who are in Christ are now “citizens” (v. 19) of Israel built as a house with Christ as the chief cornerstone. In other words, Jesus Christ is the True Israel of God (its fulfillment and foundation) as are all who are joined in union to Him. To say it another way, both OT and NT saints who are in union with Christ are citizens of Israel according to this passage.

Full article is here: http://www.reformationtheology.com/2009/06/an_observation_about_israel_in.php

RBCM.net Re-Design!

Screenshot of the Site Redesign

Screenshot of the Site Redesign

Finally, after SO MANY tries and re-tries… the church website (RBCM.net) has been finally been redesigned and completed (except for minor things like photos). Check it out. The MP3s for 2005-2007 has yet to be completed, but they are still available.

Phew… I have to admit that I envy some of the skills that some top wordpress designers have in what they do. They make it seem so easy… Ah well… I cannot complain much on this. Thank God for sustaining me for the past few days. Have been very very crazy and slow in re-categorising the MP3s. The volume is crazy!

Hope you like it too.

www.rbcm.net

The Merger of Calvinism with Worldliness by Dr Peter Masters

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The titled article is from Sword & Trowel 2009, No. 1. I have to admit that the piece is thought-provoking and blunt on the direction which Calvinism is heading in mainstream reformed evangelical circles. At the end, I cannot help but observe that one of the main issues that Dr. Masters have against this ‘new Calvinism’ is their public congregational worship. That seems to be the chief contention from what I can summise from the article. I think I am more concern with the 2nd point listed; ‘soft separation from worldliness’.

The new Calvinists constantly extol the Puritans, but they do not want to worship or live as they did. One of the vaunted new conferences is called Resolved, after Jonathan Edwards’ famous youthful Resolutions (seventy searching undertakings). But the culture of this conference would unquestionably have met with the outright condemnation of that great theologian.

Resolved is the brainchild of a member of Dr John MacArthur’s pastoral staff, gathering thousands of young people annually, and featuring the usual mix of Calvinism and extreme charismatic-style worship. Young people are encouraged to feel the very same sensational nervous impact of loud rhythmic music on the body that they would experience in a large, worldly pop concert, complete with replicated lighting and atmosphere. At the same time they reflect on predestination and election. Worldly culture provides the bodily, emotional feelings, into which Christian thoughts are infused and floated. Biblical sentiments are harnessed to carnal entertainment. (Pictures of this conference on their website betray the totally worldly, showbusiness atmosphere created by the organisers.)

In times of disobedience the Jews of old syncretised by going to the Temple or the synagogue on the sabbath, and to idol temples on weekdays, but the new Calvinism has found a way of uniting spiritually incompatible things at the same time, in the same meeting.

The full article can be read here: http://www.metropolitantabernacle.org/?page=articles&id=13

I can understand the danger that is expressed in the article and the implications if this ‘compromise’ is unchecked. However, I think it begs the question of what then are the essentials of Reformed teaching and practice in world that is changing culturally? There is a need to properly (and accurately) dissect out the Puritan way of life from the Puritan age in which they lived in. I find my thoughts straying back to Edmund S. Morgan’s excellent dissertation entitled: “The Puritan Family”, which debunks many myths concerning the lifestyle of the Puritans.

This is not a matter to be taken lightly, as the charges which Dr. Masters make upon the New Calvinist is very serious (if true on every point). We cannot just ignore the warning, thinking that it is only coming from a small (but prominent) Reformed Baptist church in the UK, nor can we just hope to wish it away (not when Mark Driscoll and his type of amalgamation with culture is getting more followings among Reformed churches).

May God give us the sensibility to understand and come to a real understand of God’s Will in these matters. I for one would admitedly need it.

Against Future Justification According to N.T. Wright

Wright

It is here that the main issue comes out clearly against N. T. Wright’s (his website is shown above) novel approach to future justification:

According to the vision of final judgment in Revelation 20:11-15, it is only those outside of Christ who will be judged according to their works.  John says, “I saw the dead, great and small standing before the throne, and books were opened” (Rev. 20:12).  The question is, “To whom does John refer when speaking of ‘the dead’?”  On a simple reading, we might assume that he means everyone who had previously been dead prior to their resurrection, that is, all persons who ever lived.  But on more careful consideration, we should realize that those who are resurrected to death are only those who are resurrected for eternal condemnation.  Jesus noted two categories of persons resurrected in the future: some will be raised “to the resurrection of life,” whereas the wicked will rise “to the resurrection of judgment” (Jn. 5:29).  Now, John says in the Revelation, “the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done” (Rev. 20:12).  Here is the final judgment according to works, by which every man and woman outside of Christ will give an account before his holy judgment seat.  But John mentions another book, by which those who are raised to life are justified: “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:15).  By necessary inference, some are judged by their works and thrown into the lake of fire, and others are not condemned because their name is in the book of life.

Richard Phillips gives us a general argument against Wright’s position, which you can read fully here: http://www.reformation21.org/articles/five-arguments-against-future-justification-according-to-works.php. If you are confused over the issue of Future Justification according to N.T. Wright, it basically says that the believer in Christ, is finally justified by works in the future. This is a departure from Classical Reformed teaching that was recovered by Luther and Calvin in the 17th century.

Again, this calls into question all these newer (modern) takes on Christian doctrines that departs from the history of the faith. Although I never believe in the extreme orthodoxy of some churches (e.g. Rome and Greek), but it is good to keep the understanding that our Christian forefathers had the same Spirit that is working in our contemporary believers today. It is wise not to discount the past just because we are lazy or because of pride in what is ‘novel’.

Sad to see so many in Malaysia trying to hold on to new concepts that were traditionally taught in their churches, not knowing that they are novel doctrines that just came out 100 years before. It is soberring to consider that we have to always be vigilant and come back to the bible  and to study it (not just memorise) by having the whole counsel of God as a measure against what we are taught.

Rapper Shai Linne on Particular Redemption / Limited Atonement

This is the best rap song on Calvin’s teaching on Particular Redemption. Thoroughly biblical point which highlight’s Jesus Christ’s work on earth to save sinners, and not merely to make it ‘possible’ to save. The lyrics are very good:

Verse 1

Here’s a controversial subject that tends to divide
For years it’s had Christians lining up on both sides
By God’s grace, I’ll address this without pride
The question concerns those for whom Christ died
Was He trying to save everybody worldwide?
Was He trying to make the entire world His Bride?
Does man’s unbelief keep the Savior’s hands tied?
Biblically, each of these must be denied
It’s true, Jesus gave up His life for His Bride
But His Bride is the elect, to whom His death is applied
If on judgment day, you see that you can’t hide
And because of your sin, God’s wrath on you abides
And hell is the place you eternally reside
That means your wrath from God hasn’t been satisfied
But we believe His mission was accomplished when He died
But how the cross relates to those in hell?
Well, they be saying:

God knows He tried (8x)

Verse 2

Father, Son and Spirit: three and yet one
Working as a unit to get things done
Our salvation began in eternity past
God certainly has to bring all His purpose to pass
A triune, eternal bond no one could ever sever
When it comes to the church, peep how they work together
The Father foreknew first, the Son came to earth
To die- the Holy Spirit gives the new birth
The Father elects them, the Son pays their debt and protects them
The Spirit is the One who resurrects them
The Father chooses them, the Son gets bruised for them
The Spirit renews them and produces fruit in them
Everybody’s not elect, the Father decides
And it’s only the elect in whom the Spirit resides
The Father and the Spirit- completely unified
But when it comes to Christ and those in hell?
Well, they be saying:

God knows He tried (8x)

Verse 3

My third and final verse- here’s the situation
Just a couple more things for your consideration
If saving everybody was why Christ came in history
With so many in hell, we’d have to say He failed miserably
So many think He only came to make it possible
Let’s follow this solution to a conclusion that’s logical
What about those who were already in the grave?
The Old Testament wicked- condemned as depraved
Did He die for them? C’mon, behave
But worst of all, you’re saying the cross by itself doesn’t save
That we must do something to give the cross its power
That means, at the end of the day, the glory’s ours
That man-centered thinking is not recommended
The cross will save all for whom it was intended
Because for the elect, God’s wrath was satisfied
But still, when it comes to those in hell
Well, they be saying:

God knows He tried (8x)

I don’t agree with the entire ‘video’, what with the depiction of the Lord and all, but the music is intriguing enough to warrant inclusion in my post.

It’s nice to see the chorus playing on the absurdity of those who do not understand Particular Redemption (also known as Limited Atonement)… they will be the one saying “God knows He tried”, which is a sad utterance on a Lord who was supposed to save, and not just ‘make it possible’.

The Green Bible?

Oh my…

green-bible

Go check it out @ http://greenletterbible.com

According to the site:

The Green Bible is the definitive movement Bible that shows that God is green and how we can care for and protect God’s creation.

The Green Bible will equip and encourage people to see God’s vision for creation and help them engage in the work of healing and sustaining it. With over 1,000 references to the earth in the Bible, compared to 490 references to heaven and 530 references to love, the Bible carries a powerful message for the earth.

I have no idea whether to laugh or cry at this endeavour. *shrug*