Category Archives: Peace

Something Greater than a Mother’s Love

By johninnc

My wife’s mother passed away last week, and I had the privilege to deliver the following message at her funeral. My wife’s mother (Doris) did not write this, but we are sure she would have approved.

Ephesians 2:4-7:

[4] But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
[5] Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
[6] And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
[7] That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

There’s something that Doris knows is true that she wants everyone else to know. I don’t think she would mind us paraphrasing for her. It goes something like this:

Dear friends,

There is an old adage that there is nothing greater than a mother’s love. As someone who has a mother, and is a mother of five, I understand why some would say this.

But, a mother’s love cannot compare to the perfect love that God has for us.

There is a God. He is the eternal creator, without beginning or end. He created everything, including you and me. He is perfectly holy, perfectly just, and perfectly loving. As such, He cannot allow anything that isn’t perfect into His presence.

You and I aren’t perfect. We have all broken God’s laws, and can’t do anything to fix that. Our efforts to work our way back to God are completely useless.

But, God loves us so much that He would rather die than spend eternity without us.

So, He gave his only begotten Son –Jesus Christ – God in the flesh – to reconcile us to Him.

Jesus had no sin of His own, but bore our sin so that we might be reconciled to God. He had no sin and we had no righteousness. Jesus took our sin from us. He made the complete payment for our sin, leaving us nothing to pay.

He did this by suffering a criminal’s death by crucifixion. He died on the cross, He was buried, and He was raised from the dead three days later, proving that His payment for our sins was accepted.

Anyone who believes in Jesus, and what He accomplished through His death and resurrection, has eternal life. Eternal life means that it can never be lost or forfeited. God no longer sees believers in their sins, but sees them as perfectly righteous.

People will tell you all kinds of different ways to have eternal life, or even that there’s no such thing.

Many people will tell you that Jesus is necessary for salvation, but that He isn’t enough – that you have to “do your part” by reforming your behavior, doing good works, and so on. But this is not true. We are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

You should listen to what Jesus has to say, above what anyone else tells you. Since Jesus is God, and God is perfect, He cannot lie.

Here is what Jesus says on how to have eternal life:

John 11:25-26:

[25] Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
[26] And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

I hope you believe this. I do.

Love. Doris

 

 

 

Casting All Of Your Care Upon Him

1 Peter 5-6-7

By johninnc (image provided by Holly Garcia)

1 Peter 5:6-7:

[6] Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
[7] Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

For those who have received the free gift of eternal life through Christ Jesus, learning to cast our care upon God can be frightening. Our natural instinct is to try to fix our problems on our own, or do it with an “assist” from God. Satan preys on these tendencies.

But we really only cast our care upon God when we realize we are helpless. This is when we find ourselves truly humble. Sometimes, we wait until our own abilities are exhausted and then cast our care upon Him.

1 Peter 5:8-9:

[8] Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
[9] Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

Our fleshly rendition of this passage is to keep an eye out for trouble, and to make sure to fight it off. But, we are no match for the devil. He doesn’t fight fair. He gets in our heads. He influences our thoughts.

Ephesians 6:12: For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Ephesians 6:13 gives us the solution:

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

The full armor of God is not His trappings.  It is God Himself.

Ephesians 6:16: Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

The shield of faith – the object of our faith – is God Himself.

Psalm 28:7: The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.

 The Lord is trying to teach us to cast our care on Him. He doesn’t punish us when we don’t – he allows us to feel the pain. But, he blesses us when we do.

Psalm 23:

[1] The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
[2] He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
[3] He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
[4] Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
[5] Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
[6] Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

I find Psalm 23 to be one of the most comforting passages of scripture – the calmness associated with the Good Shepherd. He will come get us if we are in the ditch and call out to Him. He will defend us against the enemy. He is there for us always. Cast all of your care upon Him.

If you would like to know how to receive the free gift of eternal life Click Here

John MacArthur Speaks on Predestination: A Rebuttal

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John MacArthur Speaks on Predestination Question:

A Grace-Based Rebuttal

Source of the MacArthur Interview: Shepherdsconference.org, 2010, Media, General Session 5, an Interview with John MacArthur
Johnny Mac
Introductory Comments:
Generally speaking, when I review an article or interview, I will select several salient statements upon which to comment. This methodology usually works well, but, at times individuals have made the accusation that the writer’s or speaker’s statements have been misquoted or taken out of context. In order to head off this dodge, I have chosen to print the MacArthur interview on the subject, “The Question of Predestination,” in its entirety. My brief, clearly-labeled comments or responses to MacArthur’s open questions and statements will be inserted throughout the text of the interview; they will be in [brackets].

Note: To view the article in its entirety, go to:

http://califgracer.wordpress.com/

John MacArthur on Predestination:

A Grace-Based Rebuttal

Source of the MacArthur Interview: Shepherdsconference.org, 2010, Media, General Session 5, an Interview with John MacArthur

[Interspersed with bracketed comments]

Question posed to MacArthur:

“Why witness? How do we tell people that God loves them and that Jesus Christ did not die for them? Or do we tell them that?
[Inserted comment: A great question posed to John MacArthur. I have often myself asked Calvinists a similar question: “If God’s got it all slated as to who gets to go to heaven and who must go to hell, and the individual has abolutely no say in the matter, then, WHY HAVE MISSIONS?” To date, I have never heard anyone give a logical biblical answer to that question. Let’s see whether John MacArthur will be the first] . . . .

MacArthur answers:

Well, you tell them whatever the Bible tells you to tell them. And the Bible tells you to go into the world and preach the gospel to every creature. That’s what you do because that’s what the Scripture says.”

[Inserted Comment: Right so far, John: Mark 16:15. And verse 16 tells why Jesus commanded the preaching of the gospel (the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, 1 Cor. 15:1-8)—so people would believe and become saved (cf. Acts 16:30-31); he also warns that those who refuse to believe (right through the point of death) will be lost (cf. John 3:18, John 5:40, 47). Christ Jesus would never command something be preached to the world if that proclamation had no possibility of efficacious results, i.e., if the individual had no ability to respond to the message in belief (Calvinists teach “Total Inability,” the “T” of the Calvinist acronym “TULIP,” that is, that men and women are completely dead in their sins and have absolutely no ability to respond in believing faith to the gospel of Christ Jesus). In view of the multitude of verses that call people to believe and thus be saved, e.g., John 3:16-18; Acts 16:30-31; John 5:24; John 6:29, 40; John 7:37-38 (ALL are welcome); John 11:25-26, this (Calvinist) teaching is UNBIBLICAL and illogical.]

MacArthur continues: “Any tension you have between that and the doctrine of divine election and predestination; any tension you feel in those areas, I feel. I feel the same tension. I ask the same question. I don’t know that there’s some kind of quick answer to the question. I am, however, happy to concede that God can resolve all things that I can’t (crowd laughter and applause). Really! I don’t expect the view and you shouldn’t expect of me to be able to unscrew the ‘unscrutable’ [inscrutable?]. Uh, you, you, really don’t think that I’m going to solve all the vast theological dilemmas that have existed since the Scriptures were penned. [Interviewer inserts, ‘Actually, some people do.’ (crowd laughter; then MacArthur continues)] Ya; the best answer to this question is, ‘My brother, I feel your pain’ (crowd laughter).”

[Inserted Comment: Really, Dr. MacArthur? The best answers that you can give are, “I feel the same tension,” “I ask the same question,” “I feel your pain”? Might it be that these issues are “painful” and “unresolvable” only because you view the Bible and the gospel through skewed Calvinist lenses? Christ called us, not to live in tension, anguish and fear, but in trust and rest in his finished work on our behalf. Matthew 11:28 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” ]

Mac Arthur: “I, uh, I’m not here to give you an answer, but, I will tell you this: I do not believe that Jesus died for nobody. I believe he died for somebody. And I believe he died specifically for those who would believe in him, and those who believe in him are those who are regenerated by the Holy Spirit based upon the eternal sovereign electing purpose of God. I think his atonement was an actual one, not a potential one. I don’t think that it was a general one; I think it was a specific one. I think it was a real death for sin. The issue here is the nature of the atonement.”

[Inserted Comment: Wow, Dr. MacArthur, you are speaking at a leadership conference at a question and answer session, and you say, “I’m not here to give you an answer”? Let’s look at some of your statements: “I do not believe that Jesus died for nobody. I believe he died for somebody.” Response to MacArthur: The Bible declares that Jesus died for everyone, for the world: John 6:33 “The bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto THE WORLD.” John 3:16 “For God so loved THE WORLD, that he gave his only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” 1 John 2:2 “And he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of THE WHOLE WORLD.” 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some me count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, NOT WILLING THAT ANY SHOULD PERISH but that ALL should come to repentance.” 1 Timothy 2:3-6 “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who WILL HAVE ALL MEN TO BE SAVED, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who GAVE HIMSELF A RANSOM FOR ALL, to be testified in due time.”

Yet, sadly, NOT ALL THE WORLD WILL RECEIVE his gracious gift (Ephesians 2:8-9) of salvation: John 3:36 (which clearly demonstrates man’s free will to accept or reject God’s gracious gift of salvation through believing in his Son, cf. Matthew 23:37; John 3:18) “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”]

To view the entire article, go to:

http://califgracer.wordpress.com/

Free Grace Gospel Tract: Let’s Build it Together

saved by grace

Greetings Free Grace Friends!

This is a new project which I trust will be instructive, beneficial and a good way to demonstrate the Truth of the Free Grace Gospel as opposed to the Folly of other “gospels.” Anyone can participate, but the administration reserves the right to review and possibly edit some of the comments for appropriate content, grammar or length.

Here are the rules:

There will be two categories listed in the tract. The first will be comprised of genuine presentations of the Free Grace Gospel of the Bible. The second category will be made up of poor or false presentations of statements which are commonly referred to as, “the gospel.” Please keep your statements BRIEF (one or two lines per category maximum) as this process is meant to assemble an easy-to-read free-flowing tract. Brief Scripture references or Scripture quotations are fine (King James refs. preferred). Please limit your comments to one entry per category per day. This restriction will allow lots of people to take part in the project. As the entries come in, they will be checked as indicated above, and, if appropriate, they will then be added to the tract. Well, that’s about it for now. Thanks, in advance, for participating. Here are the two categories: “Proper, Biblical, Free Grace Presentations of the Gospel,” and, “Inappropriate, False or Erroneous Presentations of What is Called, “the gospel”

Proper, Biblical, Free Grace Presentations of the Gospel:

“And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:31)

Ephesians 2:8-9
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Jesus Christ was fully man yet fully God. He lived a sinless life and died on a cross, shedding his blood in the process, as a payment for our sin. It was only by a perfect sacrifice that our sin could be forgiven. Jesus died, was buried, and rose again. He is in heaven and is the only means by which man can be saved from the penalty of sin and thereby escape eternal damnation.
Do you realize that you are a sinner that stands condemned before God? Rom 3:23 Do you understand that Christ died for you? Will you this very moment trust Christ alone to be your Savior? The Bible says that whosoever believes on Him (Christ) shall have everlasting life. John 3:16.

“Trust in Christ alone for your Salvation and in nothing else.”

We don’t “do” anything to be saved. It is a free gift. We only need to BELIEVE!

Shorthand equation…: Eternal Salvation = Faith + Nothing

There really is no other way to obtain salvation than this:

John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
John 3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

(true) Acts 16;30-31 “what Must I do to be saved? Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ . . .

True: “We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, as a representative and substitutionary sacrifice, and that all who believe in Him are justified on the ground of His shed blood.”

Genuine:
Romans 6:23(NKJV) For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
“Our salvation was infinitely costly to God, but it is absolutely free to us.” Quote by Dave Branon.

1Pe 1:18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
1Pe 1:19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Eph 2:8-9 For by grace… There is no price that we can add to obtain salvation. Christ paid the price. There is no additional price to be paid on our part. We must simply put out faith in Christ alone to save us.

Statements Below are Inappropriate, False or Erroneous Presentations of What is Called, “the gospel” (again, these statements below are NOT the true gospel of the Bible).

“Turn or burn”

“Faith sandwich” – works on the outside, faith in Christ on the inside. Can also be served “open face”. Example:
Works – Repent of your sins
Faith – Place your faith in Jesus
Works – Surrender to Jesus as Lord

A sampling of “the MacArthur” plan of salvation (for the full message, see: Comments, Holly’s list of MacArthur sayings). Sample: “Becoming a Christian is not easy. It’s hard. Another way to say all that is that the Kingdom opens up to those who seek with all their hearts. You’re not going to sleep your way into the Kingdom. The Kingdom requires earnest endeavor, untiring energy . . .”

Two false gospel quotes: 1. Calvinism is the Gospel. (Sermons, Vol. 1, p. 50) Spurgeon . . . . 2. I believe that Christ came into the world not to put men into a salvable state, but into a saved state. Not to put them where they could save themselves, but to do the work in them and for them, from first to last. (Sermons, Vol. 3, p. 34) Spurgeon

Inappropriate expressions I hear a lot:

“Count the cost”

“Forsake your life”

There are so many mountains in your life, so many obstacles in your life; so many things in your life that seek to derail you−to stop you. And they’re going to stay there because some of those things just don’t go away by counseling. They go away by falling on your face before God until He delivers you. ~Paul Washer

So I would like to add that the notion of “praying a sinner’s prayer” or “asking Jesus into your heart” is one example of a false or faulty gospel.

Erroneous faith + works analogy: Salvation is like a row boat. One oar is faith. The other oar is works. If one uses one oar only, the boat goes in circles. If both oars are used, the boat travels in a straight path to its destination (i.e., heaven). But we are not going to Heaven in a rowboat. Rather, we are carried to heaven on the shoulders of the good Shepherd, Jesus Christ!

(Illustration above based on a Dr. Harry Ironside sermon)

False quotes:

• “Christ did not die to forgive sinners who go on treasuring anything above seeing and savoring God… If we don’t want God above all things, we have not been converted by the gospel.”
― John Piper, God Is the Gospel: Meditations on God’s Love as the Gift of Himself

“Gospel repentance is tapping into the joy of our union with Christ in order to weaken our need to do anything contrary to God’s heart.” [@DailyKeller]
“You are not saved by love, joy, peace…You are saved by faith not fruit, BUT you are never saved by fruitless faith.” [@dailykeller]

And finally today, one more head scratcher from Spurgeon:

“Avoid a sugared gospel as you would shun sugar of lead. Seek the gospel which rips up and tears and cuts and wounds and hacks and even kills, for that is the gospel that makes alive again. And when you have found it, give good heed to it. Let it enter into your inmost being. As the rain soaks into the ground, so pray the Lord to let his gospel soak into your soul.” Spurgeon

(false statements )-faith alone justifies but the faith that justifies is never alone; also salvation is free but it can cost you everything (these two are not for the tract but I couldn’t resist mentioning them—kept them in, they are worth mentioning)

(this is a common tract prayer) believe in Jesus, feel sorry for your sins and turn or be willing to turn from your sins etc, etc.

More false definitions of even what faith is, by W.E. Vine as quoted by Macarthur in “the Gospel according to Jesus”:

Faith consists of “a firm conviction…a personal surrender…[and] conduct inspired by such surrender” (173-174). According to this definition, faith includes conduct, that is, works. Faith is conviction, surrender, and conduct.

False: “We believe that all who receive by faith alone, Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and who confess Him as such before their fellow men, are born again of the Holy Spirit and thereby become children of God.”

Here was one on FB: Instead of hugging and accepting a sinner in their sin, how about warning them of the truth of hell damnation and salvation through repentance to Jesus? Few warn because most are with sinners on the broad path to destruction. TIME TO REPENT AND DEDICATE TO JESUS AND BE SEPARATE FROM SIN. . . . When asked what one did with the woman at the well or later they asked about why Paul still sinned, this was the answer: Dear soul, those whom were forgiven were changed and left their sin…Jesus didn’t forgive those who stayed in their sins…He didnt say to the pharisees who refused to repent “Your sins are forgiven” Dont be fooled if you stay in sin and won’t turn from the broad path, then you won’t find the forgiveness needed to enter heaven…Rather hell instead…Time for you to repent and seek to know Jesus and he will lead you and forgive you…….

What You Must Do:
God commands all men everywhere to repent of their sins, turn to God, and believe in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Come to Him and flee from the wrath to come! To repent is to turn away from everything in your life that goes against God’s will, including your works, words, and thoughts.
Stop fighting against God! Fall down before Him and stop trying to justify yourself and think you’re good enough. Admit your wickedness before a holy God, your helplessness to do anything to please Him, and trust in nothing except what Christ has done.
If you come to Christ, repenting of your sins and believing in Him, you will be saved. . . .

Repentance: 1) to change one’s mind, i.e. to repent
2) to change one’s mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins “Repentance (metanoia, ‘change of mind’) involves a turning with contrition from sin to God; the repentant sinner is in the proper condition to accept the divine forgiveness.” (F. F. Bruce. The Acts of the Apostles [Greek Text Commentary], London: Tyndale, 1952, p. 97.)

On the topic of salvation in one sermon MacArthur compared it to an exchange. He said, “It’s an exchange of all that I am for all that he is.”

Christmas 2012 — Understand the True Meaning

Shepherds in the field

God’s message to the lowly Shepherds in the fields outside of Bethlehem – we take an unusual look at these precious, classic Bible verses which announced the birth of the Savior, Jesus Christ.

Luke 2:9-11
And, lo, the angel [messenger] of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be  to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

As we examine this classic verse – the emboldened words take on great new meaning.

(1) Good Tidings. Good News. The Greek word for this phrase is the exact same root word as the Gospel in Romans 1:16, It is the Power of God!!
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

(2) To All People: Greek: Pas; all, any, every, the whole. Imagine that!!  The Good News of Salvation is for ALL people. God’s offer is not just to a specific chosen or select group but ALL people. When The Lord says, “All” He means ALL people!!

(3) Born: To literally be born, brought forth, be delivered, be in travail — as of a virgin, Mary, the mother of Jesus. Jesus Christ did not just appear on earth but He was physically born as God’s “only begotten Son.” John 3:16

(4) A Savior, One Who Saves Jesus is not offering nor is He the Author of a bi-lateral contract to individuals, in which we offer Him something in exchange for salvation. No!! He is the Savior. He has done it all, He paid the price — it was finished on the Cross of Calvary.

(5) Christ: Gr. Christos; The Anointed One, The promised Messiah, the Holy appointed One.

(6) The Lord – Gr. Kurios; supreme in authority, God, Lord, master. Jesus Christ, thereby God in the Flesh!!

Therefore we see The Lord, the Christ, the Savior was born to benefit ALL people — and my dear friends, that IS the Good News, the Good Tidings, the Gospel of our salvation.

In all the glory of His birth some two thousand years ago, He came to die on the Cross in order to eternally redeem anyone from the sin-debt death penalty upon all. Anyone who makes the decision to place their trust/faith in Jesus Christ alone for their eternal salvation has that eternal salvation immediately.

Jesus Christ Himself speaking:
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” John 6:47

Further Biblical Proof: << Click

Joyously Free From the Burden, Oppression and Depression of Lordship “Salvation” and Calvinism.

By Jack Weaver

This is a wonderfully encouraging note from Kim who, with her husband, was trapped in Calvinism and Lordship “salvation” for over 22 years, She proclaims they are both now Joyously Free From the Burden, Oppression and Depression of Lordship “Salvation” and Calvinism. This is her story.

~~~~~~~00~~~~~~~

I’ve been ‘lurking’ on your ExPreacherMan site for a couple of months now, and I can happily say that my eyes have been opened and my life and faith have been changed completely because of the wonderful words of Truth contained on your site, which God has so graciously used to ‘change my mind’.

My husband and I had been swallowing the false Calvinism and Lordship Salvation teachings of R.C. Sproul and John MacArthur for 22 years, and me for 11 years before that, not realizing that they offered only false gospels.

In recent years, however, I found myself having more and more ‘trouble’ with the Calvinism teachings and emphases. So the Holy Spirit had been preparing me, I believe, for the day I came across your web site and discovered how truly disgraceful the teachings of Calvinism and Lordship Salvation are — false teachings offering false gospels, we now clearly see.

In searching for information on the book A Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns, [Reviewed by Bruce Bauer] I got a hit on your site, and then came across the post You May Be a Lordship Salvationist If:” [By John] and began reading. I not only gained the information I needed to refute the unbiblical ‘social gospel’ message of Stearns’ book, which I knew to be error, but quickly saw the Truth of Free Grace as I read more and more of your posts and comments.

Now my husband and I are 100% Free Gracers, and are experiencing that wonderful feeling of a giant burden lifted! The oppression and depression of years of works and behavior focus are gone, and we’re finally enjoying and appreciating the wonder and joy of salvation by God’s Grace alone through Faith alone in Christ alone. So Thank You so much for your wonderful ministry at ExPreacherMan. We will keep reading!

Now we are looking for a Free Grace church in our area! Can you tell me, please, whether you recommend churches that are associated with the Evangelical Free Church of America organization? I know Chuck Swindoll was pastor of an EFCA church in Fullerton, California for years, but now has his own church in Frisco, TX that is not EFCA affiliated. In our search for DTS (Dallas Theological Seminary) churches, we found a couple near us that identify themselves as EFCA churches. By the way, unfortunately it was Calvinistic teachings which had infiltrated a DTS church that I landed in shortly after college that initially led me astray. And we are finding that LS teaching seems to be everywhere.

Thank you so much,
Kim

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Kim, thanks for your encouraging note. We are excited to read your email about how you and your husband have come to a clear understanding of Salvation by Grace alone through Faith alone in Jesus alone. We are blessed by your note!!! This will be a Thanksgiving in which we will give thanks to the Lord for you and with you.

About your question on EFC churches. My understanding is that they are a loose affiliation of churches with no real “set-in-concrete” Statement of Faith. Some of them may be OK but others wander all over the theological landscape — some are Calvinist and some LS.

I am sure our readers will rejoice with you and some may have suggestions for churches — but regrettably, we find good Free Grace churches are very few. If you wish to disclose your approximate general location, some of our readers may be able to help you with suggesting a church.

Heaven is truly FREE !!! << Click

Can Calvinism Be Proven By A Few Partial, Out-of-Context Verses?

By Jack Weaver

Lauren sent to me several partial Bible verses for explanation. She felt her selections, “make some of the strongest arguments for Calvinism.” In a later note she commented, “I would say I am not sure what I believe right now. I used to hold strongly to the reformed or Calvinist view and still think there is a lot in scripture to support it.”

I pray we will be able to present God’s Word convincingly and understandably to Lauren so she can rest in the Security and Peace of Salvation by her personal decision to put her faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone as her Savior and not depend upon the amorphous “promises” of Reformed/Calvinist teaching.

Because of my vision difficulties, I have elicited the help of our dear friend and my former Assistant Pastor, Dr. Tom Cucuzza, Pastor, Teacher, Lecturer and Author of  Secure Forever! – on Amazon << Click

We must be aware that Bible verses may be chopped up and taken out of context to prove just about any “religious” point.

Here are the partial, non-contextual verses Lauren submitted for explanation. Thank you Lauren:

Heb 12:2 in part, “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,”

Romans 9:16, “So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.”

Romans 9:18, “Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.”

John 5:21 in part “No one can come to Me unless the Father draws (drags) him.”, “even so the Son gives life to whom He will.”

John 15:16 in part, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you…”

John 3:3 “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again (from above) he cannot see the kingdom of God”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The complete verses with detailed contextual explanations from Dr. Cucuzza are:

1.
John 6:44 “
No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”

The word “draw” is never translated as drag in the KJV. It can mean that, but she is insinuating that God does it and accomplishes salvation regardless of man’s will. That is nowhere in the text.

a. How is a person drawn? V.45 gives the clear answer: We are drawn through the ministry of the Word of God. And this is available for all mankind, not just a select few.

John 6:45 “It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.”

Romans 10:17 “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

b. We are also drawn by the Holy Spirit, but He draws everyone.

John 16:8 “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
9 Of sin, because they believe not on me;
10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.”

c. Also, through the death of Christ we are drawn.

John 12:32 “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”

2.
John 5:21 “For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.”

This verse is answered in v.24. He gives life to all those who believe.

John 5:24 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

3.
Romans 9:14
“What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.
15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.”

Romans 9-11 is talking about the national election of the Jews for God’s purpose in the world, not personal election to salvation.

In Romans 9:14-16 The Lord didn’t have to show mercy to anyone. But He will accomplish His plan for the ages by showing grace to mankind. Israel is still in existence today because the Lord did not wipe them out in the days of Moses.
Romans 9:17 “For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?
20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?”

vs. 17-21 Pharaoh, the leader of Egypt,  already had a wicked attitude toward the children of Israel in the early chapters of Exodus. He did not want to let them go, for he wanted them as slaves for his own glory. The Lord knew (foreknowledge) in eternity past that Pharaoh would be the way he was and therefore used him to show the world the power of Jehovah God, the LORD. It had nothing to do with God making it impossible for Pharaoh to be saved and go to Heaven.

The Bible does say in Exodus that the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, but it also says that Pharaoh hardened his own heart. Which is true? Both! The Lord’s will and plan for Israel was the factor that hardened Pharaoh’s heart. God hardened Pharaoh’s heart by continually testing him. The Lord knew (foreknowledge) that Pharaoh would not change his mind about the Israelites, and therefore used him to accomplish the Divine purpose. Not one verse in the Bible says that Pharaoh couldn’t believe in the Messiah. He chose to reject the God of Moses.

4.
John 15:16
“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.”

He was speaking to His disciples (already saved people) about their discipleship and service, not salvation. That you should go and bring forth fruit. It was their choice on whether they would obey Him in this regard or not. This verse has nothing to do with salvation, but with the purpose of the Christian life.

 5.
John 3:3 “
Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

This refers of course to the new birth. If we simply read further down to v. 14-18 we see HOW a person is born again- by trusting Christ alone as Savior. And this is open to the world, v.16-17.

John 3:14 “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

6.
Hebrews 12:2 “
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Again, v.2 cannot be divorced from v.1

Hebrews 12:1 “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,”

I cannot see anywhere the Calvinistic bent or interpretation in v.2. What is the point? Yes, He is the captain and prince, and author if you will, of our faith. But it means He is the head, the leader. We are looking unto Him to lead us through the entire Christian life.

“Author”: Originator, founder, leader, chief, first, prince, as distinguished from simply being the cause. AMG’s Complete Word Study Dictionaries.

Dr. Tom Cucuzza Northland Bible Baptist Church

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We appreciate the questions from Lauren and especially for Dr. Cucuzza taking his time to answer. We also pray Lauren and others will decide to believe the Truth that salvation is free and only available through an individual’s choice to believe by Grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.

We must never depend upon the false Calvinist teaching that some are “elect” by God to be saved and consequently ALL others, (me, you, our friends and relatives) have no choice or chance to make that decision to believe in Jesus Christ for salvation.

Eternal Life in Heaven is For Anyone << Click