Posts Tagged ‘doctrine’

If you have not yet heard the special bonus edition of the White Horse Inn where the usual cast of characters discuss Rob Bell’s book on hell you can find the audio here:

Heaven & Hell (Monergism).

By the way what are your thoughts on this issue of hell?


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Kevin DeYoung is the first out of the gate with a review of Rob Bell’s book “Love Wins,” but probably not the last considering the great disturbance that was created with the announcement of the book all over Twitter, Facebook and the numerous blog posts.

Follow the link below to get the full review:

God Is Still Holy and What You Learned in Sunday School Is Still True: A Review of “Love Wins” – Kevin DeYoung.

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Recently I have been introduced to the work of Jim McClarty who has a marvelous way of explaining the wonderful truths of the Scriptures. In this video he deals with the often misunderstood and misapplied passage of Second Peter 3:9. Listen carefully because Jim will put the verse back into it’s proper context and explain to you the true meaning of this passage; removing all confusion while answering the typical objections.

Tell me what you think, let’s have a conversation.

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Michael Horton’s book “The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way” is finally available.

Monergism Books describes the book in this way:

Michael Horton’s highly anticipated The Christian Faith represents his magnum opus and will be viewed as one of—if not the—most important systematic theologies since Louis Berkhof wrote his in 1932. A prolific, award-winning author and theologian, Professor Horton views this volume as “doctrine that can be preached, experienced, and lived, as well as understood, clarified, and articulated.” It is written for a growing cast of pilgrims making their way together and will be especially welcomed by professors, pastors, students, and armchair theologians. Features of this volume include: (1) a brief synopsis of biblical passages that inform a particular doctrine; (2) surveys of past and current theologies with contemporary emphasis on exegetical, philosophical, practical, and theological questions; (3) substantial interaction with various Christian movements within the Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodoxy traditions, as well as the hermeneutical issues raised by postmodernity; and (4) charts, sidebars, questions for discussion, and an extensive bibliography, divided into different entry levels and topics.

Kim Riddlebarger co-host with Dr. Horton on the White Horse Inn had this to say about the book:

Michael Horton’s The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way, has to be the most highly anticipated book in a long time.  It is also the most important theological text (from a Reformed perspective) to come along in some time.

Let me just say, I am blown away.I can say without embarrassment that I am one of Mike’s biggest fans.  I know him well, and I’ve worked with him a long time (since 1984 to be exact).  His four volume “Covenant” series (a theological prolegomena published by Westminster/John Knox) is absolutely stellar and groundbreaking in many ways.  But that series doesn’t come close to The Christian Faith in terms of importance and value to Christ’s church.

Barring some unexpected turn of events, my guess is that this will be Michael’s magnum opus, that one theological work for which he will be forever known.  It is that good.

The Christian Faith is everything I hoped for, and then some.  It is not a replacement for Berkhof, as I had hoped.  It is better than that.  This is a completely new statement of the Christian faith from a Reformed perspective written for Christians living in the 21st century.  It has an “apologetics” feel to it, without any smugness or lack of charity toward those with whom Horton disagrees.

It is very crisply written and concise, it covers an amazing amount of ground, and it demonstrates a thorough grasp of pretty much the entire contemporary theological landscape.  Imagine Calvin, Turretin, and the Heidelberg Catechism, being utilized in a running dialogue with virtually every contemporary theologian and movement of any significance you can name.  Horton pulls it off.

The sections are biblically rich (the right texts, used in the right way), Mike capably summarizes the history of debate on each topic, and then offers wise and thoughtful solutions to a host of theological challenges.  This book will stimulate both mind and heart.  No dead orthodoxy here!

Well, if you haven’t gotten the point by now, let me just say “buy it!”

This is a text we’ll be using for years to come!  Much of any future Reformed theological reflection, debate, and discussion, will be conducted in the light of this book.

To order your copy follow the link below where you can also find a sample pdf download of the book.

The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way :: Systematic Theologies :: Doctrine/Theology :: Monergism Books :: Reformed Books – Discount Prices – Free Shipping.

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Have you ever wanted to hear Francis Schaeffer teach on the Word of God. Well here’s your chance. Thanks to our brother Justin Taylor who has linked to dozens of lectures that you are sure to find encouraging to the health and growth of your faith. I know I will be spending time myself downloading these to put on my iPod.

Francis Schaeffer Lectures – Justin Taylor.

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Here is a good article on a very important doctrine which is really the foundation for coming to terms with the doctrines of grace.

The Doctrine of the Sovereignty of God.

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Part 1.  If Christ Suffered Hell for Everyone, Then What Are Those in Hell Doing There?

 John Owen writes:

 … “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:6)… it seems strange to me that Christ should undergo the pains of hell in their stead who lay in the pains of hell before he underwent those pains, and shall continue in them to eternity; for “their worm dieth not, neither is their fire quenched.” To which I may add this dilemma to our Universalists:— God imposed his wrath due unto, and Christ underwent the pains of hell for, either all the sins of all men, or all the sins of some men, or some sins of all men. If the last, some sins of all men, then have all men some sins to answer for, and so shall no man be saved; for if God enter into judgment with us, though it were with all mankind for one sin, no flesh should be justified in his sight: “If the Lord should mark iniquities, who should stand?” (Ps. 130:3). We might all go to cast all that we have “to the moles and to the bats, to go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty” (Isa. 2:20-21). If the second, that is it which we affirm, that Christ in their stead and room suffered for all the sins of all the elect in the world. If the first, why, then, are not all freed from the punishment of all their sins? You will say, “Because of their unbelief; they will not believe.” But this unbelief, is it a sin or not? If not, why should they be punished for it? If it be, then Christ underwent the punishment due to it, or not. If so, then why must that hinder them more than their other sins for which he died from partaking of the fruit of his death? If he did not, then did he not die for all their sins. Let them choose which part they will. (Owen, 61-62)

 After quoting Isaiah 53:6, Owen points out that it makes no sense that Christ would die for the sins of those who were already in hell before He died.  Those who are in hell are there forever, and so Christ’s death for them would be meaningless.  Owen then presents three options for what Christ’s death accomplished by way of sin-forgiveness:

  1.  Christ died for all the sins of all people.
  2. Christ died for all the sins of some people.
  3. Christ died for some of the sins of all people.

Starting with Option #3, Owen states that if this is true, then all people will have some sins to answer for.  It is a foregone conclusion with Owen, as it should be for us, that if we were to be held accountable for even one of our most modest, innocuous sins, as our consciences might perceive them, we would be justifiably damned for all eternity.  We cannot bear under the weight of God’s judgment for even one sin (Ps. 130:3).  And so, option 3 must be ruled out.

 Owen then states that he affirms Option #2.  He will spend the remainder of his book defending this position.

 As for Option #1, Owen asks the million dollar question: If this is true, then why are not all freed from the punishment of sin?  The first and most common response might be, “Well, because the gift must be received by faith; a person must believe.”  And this response is true, to a point.  One must receive Christ’s gift of salvation by believing upon the Lord Jesus Christ.  Faith is an integral part of salvation   Without faith, no one pleases God.  But a critical question must be asked: “But isn’t unbelief a sin as well?  And if it is a sin, then didn’t Christ die for that sin as well?” 

 Again, there are two possible responses.  Either unbelief is a sin for which Christ suffered and died, like all other sins, or unbelief is not a sin for which Christ suffered and died.   

 t might help us first to define the purpose of Christ’s suffering and death. Rom. 3:25 says, “God put Christ forward as a propitiation by His blood to be received by faith.”  A propitiation is a wrath-bearer.  God unleashed all of His wrath upon Christ, punishing our sins in Him on the cross.  2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For our sake, He made Him to be sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” Incidentally, Charles Spurgeon says that this is why we should never say, “God is punishing me for my sins.”  If we are a child of God, He cannot punish us anymore, ever!  There is, in fact, nothing left to punish.  Christ bore it all in His body on the cross (1 Pet. 2:24).  God expended all of His wrath against our sins upon Christ. 

 And so, if Christ died for all sins, including the sin of unbelief, and if Christ died for all people, then what about those who are now in hell?  What are they doing there?  Hell is God’s eternal and inextinguishable wrath against sinners who are not in Christ.  But if all sins have been punished in Christ, including unbelief, then those who are suffering in hell are suffering for nothing.  Their suffering is, in fact, a mockery of Christ’s suffering, since Christ already suffered in their place.  As John Piper says, “What are these flames licking at?”[1]

 Remember that God’s wrath was borne by Christ for all our sins, and were we to be held accountable for even one of our own sins, we would be damned.  Now if unbelief is a sin, and if Christ did not die for that sin, then belief is not an act of grace.  And if it is not an act of grace (that is, an act we are enabled to carry out by grace.  Remember, grace comes through Jesus Christ), then it is a work.  And we must remember that no one can be saved by works.  Ephesians 2:8 makes that clear.

 Owen doesn’t address this point, but what about the unbelief of a Christian prior to belief.  Many of us spent years in unbelief before we believed.  If that sin is unforgivable – unforgivable because Christ did not die for it – then grace does not extend to us for that sin while we were still in it, and we are all condemned for those years we spent in unbelief.  But, as Romans 5:8 says, “God demonstrates His love for us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  The fact that we believed after we had disbelieved shows that Christ forgives disbelief, and therefore died for it.

 The cross was that place in time and history where Christ underwent “hell” for those of us who would put our trust in Him.  Those who do not believe must undergo that hell for themselves for all eternity. 

 And so Owen makes his first strong case that those who are in hell because of sinful unbelief were not, in fact, those for whom Christ died.  If Christ did die for them, then why are they even there?

[1] From John Piper’s sermon For Whom Did Jesus Taste Death?

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