Thursday, January 30, 2014

And so it begins...

Let me start out by saying, this may be a labor of futility. I know, that might not be the best way to start off a blog but when I say that, I mean come on, who want to hear what a layman has to say about what he sees going on in the Christian world. For all I know, I may not even have a right to call myself a "layman" (yes, I just looked up what it means), I am by no means an expert or apprentice in anything other making a mess at my house.What I am is a man who grew up going to church, which made me a fine candidate for the Pharisees. I knew what sin looked like, in other peoples lives, yet had a Giant Sequoia sticking out of my eye glaring back at them. For my friends that live in the desert, a Giant Sequoia is a tree. For the past few years I have been working to get all the cluttered doctrine that I have been taught out of my head, like a cranial enema. Which kinda gives me a direction for this blog I guess. Anyway, by the grace of God He quickened me a few years back and by His sovereign will revealed the beauty of Reformed Theology, or at least the Doctrines of Grace. (I still can't turn the Millennial Kingdom into a allegory nor see the profit in baptizing babies.)

My hope for this blog is first and foremost, to force me to type out my thought of what I am learning in His word. Secondly, to maybe help others like me to figure out what scripture truly says. Lastly, I want to post questions that us normal folk have and hopefully have really smart people answer/debate them, that would be amazing!

So, you are wondering "what do you believe John?" Good question my friend.

- I believe the 5 Solas and the Doctrines of Grace are the best expression of the Christian faith. (all other Reformed bloggers italicize Sola, so I'm doing it to be cool like them.)
 - I believe the Scriptures are theopeneustos, God breathed and are sufficient for life and godliness (2Tim3:16) and I have no time for myths and philosophical conjecture (that means you William Lane Craig).
-I believe that Genesis if read plainly, like any historical narrative is supposed to be, talks about a literal 6 day creation, and that science cannot explain a supernatural event no matter how hard we try.
-I believe Scripture is clear that God is triune, 3 persons (not manifestations) in one completely awe-inspiring God, seen as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
-I believe Scripture is clear that in Christ all the fullness of God dwells bodily. By that I mean, Jesus is God, was born of a virgin and condescended Himself by taking on humanity (Col 1:9). While on earth He retained His divinity, lived a perfect life, was crucified to pay for our sins, He died, was buried and three days later was raised from the dead and in so doing proving that God the Father accepted His sacrifice.
- I believe that no matter what Rob Bell says, Jesus is the ONLY way to see the Father. Hell is a real place in which those who trust in themselves and not in the finished worked of Christ will spend eternity separated from God and that those whom were chosen from before the foundation of the earth (Eph 1:4), get to delight in the presence of the Lord forever.
-I believe that the Holy Spirit is working mightily in the world today. Yet I also believe that the Apostolic Gifts ceased, i.e. tongues, healing and prophecy. What He does do is, indwell believers, raise the spiritually dead, makes the spiritually blind see and illuminates Scripture leading us into truth. So don't call me a Deist or rationalist.

I can keep writing, but this blogging stuff is actually hard work and its nearly midnight. But I gotta say, Mr. Challies, I got mad respect for you.

In all things for the Glory of God


  1. Great Start, brother John! You have clearly articulated many things already. I wonder how you will word these thoughts in 6 months or a year?

    As for futility, I think you have already discovered that, whether anyone other than me ever reads your musings, it doesn't much matter since it is more about the musings than the audience. This is a record of your thought life and the journey through them to the next stage. I hope you will enjoy it.

    As for labels like layman, reformed, calvinist (or not), pre-post-a-millenialist, the essence of it is that we are Christians, and in the end, we will see Him as He is, and the labels won't matter any longer any way. They can serve a purpose in this life, and we will certainly discuss them in our class. So, let's all set ourselves to get that "cranial enema" you mentioned! I think we all need one of those.

    With appreciation,


  2. Cranial enema? Gross. But it makes your point.

    Do you not believe that speaking in tongues exists, because you have not spoken in tongues or another reason? It is a gift that is listed in the Bible.

  3. Good question Misty,

    It has nothing to do with personal experience, but what Scripture reveals to us about the gifts. As you have stated, it is stated as being a gift, but what needs to be established from Scripture is what was the nature of those tongues, and what was the purpose.
    The first occurrence of speaking in tongues occurred on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2:1-4. The apostles went out and shared the gospel with the crowds, speaking to them in their own languages: “We hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” (Acts 2:11). The Greek word translated tongues literally means “languages.” Therefore, the gift of tongues is speaking in a language a person does not know in order to minister to someone who does speak that language. In 1 Corinthians chapters 12–14, Paul discusses miraculous gifts, saying, “Now, brothers, if I come to you and speak in tongues, what good will I be to you, unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or word of instruction?” (1 Corinthians 14:6). According to the apostle Paul, and in agreement with the tongues described in Acts, speaking in tongues is valuable to the one hearing God’s message in his or her own language, but it is useless to everyone else unless it is interpreted/translated.

  4. Continued...

    A person with the gift of interpreting tongues (1 Corinthians 12:30) could understand what a tongues-speaker was saying even though he did not know the language that was being spoken. The tongues interpreter would then communicate the message of the tongues speaker to everyone else, so all could understand. “For this reason anyone who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret what he says” (1 Corinthians 14:13). Paul’s conclusion regarding tongues that were not interpreted is powerful: “But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue” (1 Corinthians 14:19).

    Is the gift of tongues for today? First Corinthians 13:8 mentions the gift of tongues ceasing, although it connects the ceasing with the arrival of the “perfect” in 1 Corinthians 13:10. Some point to a difference in the tense of the Greek verbs referring to prophecy and knowledge “ceasing” and that of tongues “being ceased” as evidence for tongues ceasing before the arrival of the “perfect.” While possible, this is not explicitly clear from the text. Some also point to passages such as Isaiah 28:11 and Joel 2:28-29 as evidence that speaking in tongues was a sign of God's oncoming judgment. First Corinthians 14:22 describes tongues as a “sign to unbelievers.” According to this argument, the gift of tongues was a warning to the Jews that God was going to judge Israel for rejecting Jesus Christ as Messiah. Therefore, when God did in fact judge Israel (with the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in A.D. 70), the gift of tongues would no longer serve its intended purpose. While this view is possible, the primary purpose of tongues being fulfilled does not necessarily demand its cessation. Scripture does not conclusively assert that the gift of speaking in tongues has ceased.

  5. Continued...

    At the same time, if the gift of speaking in tongues were active in the church today, it would be performed in agreement with Scripture. It would be a real and intelligible language (1 Corinthians 14:10). It would be for the purpose of communicating God's Word with a person of another language (Acts 2:6-12). It would be in agreement with the command God gave through the apostle Paul, “If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God” (1 Corinthians 14:27-28). It would also be in accordance with 1 Corinthians 14:33, “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.”

    God most definitely can give a person the gift of speaking in tongues to enable him or her to communicate with a person who speaks another language. The Holy Spirit is sovereign in the dispersion of the spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:11). Just imagine how much more productive missionaries could be if they did not have to go to language school, and were instantly able to speak to people in their own language. However, God does not seem to be doing this. Tongues does not seem to occur today in the manner it did in the New Testament, despite the fact that it would be immensely useful. The vast majority of believers who claim to practice the gift of speaking in tongues do not do so in agreement with the Scriptures mentioned above. These facts lead to the conclusion that the gift of tongues has ceased or is at least a rarity in God's plan for the church today.

  6. And I will add one more thing. Many take what happened in the book of Acts and try to treat it as "normative". Yet the book of Acts was about the beginning or the birth of the Church. So there were many things that happened at the beginning that we do not see any more. When was the last time we see a physically dead man raised from the dead? Or a man paralyzed from birth be told to get up and walk, and he does? We don't see those types of healings now days for one simple reason. The canon of Scripture has been closed and those who preach the word of God no longer need "sign" gifts to be attested by, we have the written word to measure the truth of these men.