Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Miracle of Humility and Thanksgiving

For the past several years the article, “Happy Humiliation Day,” has been reposted here at The Armoury in consideration of our national holiday: Thanksgiving Day. What is so compelling about our forefathers’ inauguration of Thanksgiving Day is the fact that it was all started with another day – a day of prayer and humiliation, as William Bradford recounts: “…they set apart a solemn day of humiliation, to seek the Lord by humble and fervent prayer, in this great distress…” If you have read the above article then you know that the settlers at Plymouth Plantation were enduring a great famine in the land such that many were suffering and dying from hunger and fatigue. In utter dependency upon the Lord, the people set aside a day of prayer and humiliation seeking the Lord’s provision of rain and a fruitful season, which the Lord supplied in abundance. In response to this, as Bradford recounts, “…they also set apart a day of thanksgiving.” What is so beautiful and haunting about this story is the word also. You see, their day of thanksgiving did not stand alone, but rested on the former day: the day of prayer and humiliation.

I would suggest to the reader that there is an ocean of truth supplied in such an example.

The subject of thankfulness is quite remarkable, especially when we consider the fact that fallen men do not “honor Him as God or give thanks…” (Romans 1:21). Paul’s important description of the pride, arrogance, and ingratitude of mankind reveals an important truth: the expression of genuine thankfulness to God is a miracle of divine grace and cannot be generated or feigned by the unbeliever, after all, without genuine humility there can be no genuine thankfulness. This principle which was understood and exemplified by our puritan forefathers is one that is desperately needed in our own day.

For myself, it helps me to remember that when my thankfulness to God shrinks in any measure, it is because of swelling pride. Yet, when humility waxes hot so does genuine thankfulness. The pairing of these attitudes is crucial for us all. As believers, we must remember these truths as we express thankfulness to God, whether it is a national holiday, or any other day of the year.

I would like to add one more note in view of what has been shared. Let us take time this day to pray earnestly for our nation and for its leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-4). Those who reject Christ may celebrate Thanksgiving Day as a national holiday, but without the Redeemer’s redemption and forgiveness, they do so as the objects of His wrath (John 3:36). Amidst all of our political problems within our nation, we must never allow a disquieted spirit to rule our hearts, thereby quenching our petitions for those who merely feign thanksgiving without genuine hope and joy in Christ (Ephesians 2:12).

With humility and thanksgiving, let us cry out to Him who gives true hope and everlasting joy to everyone who comes to Him in faith.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Fallible Prophets of New Calvinism

Today is the last day for amazon.com’s free offer of The Fallible Prophets of New Calvinism on the Kindle book format (link).

9781935358138 _cov2RGBSMALLFrom the website: This book examines Dr. Wayne Grudem's controversial teaching on fallible prophecy in view of various lexical, exegetical, and historical points of analysis. It also addresses the teaching's popularity and continuing advancement through many charismatics within the "New Calvinism" movement. The doctrine of fallible prophecy is neither benign nor harmless, rather it constitutes a troubling strange fire for the body of Christ and continues to spread through the advocacy of popular continuationists like Wayne Grudem, D.A. Carson, John Piper, and Mark Driscoll:

1. Chapter 1: Prophecy – A Test of Love: According to the proponents of fallible prophecy, the presence of error in a prophetic utterance does not make such claimants of the prophetic gift false prophets, it only means that they are New Testament fallible prophets by definition. This constitutes a complete reversal of meaning of prophecy which results in a confused message concerning the nature and character of the God who has consistently and effectually revealed Himself through His appointed messengers. Moreover, such a redaction of prophecy effectively confuses, and nearly eliminates, the scripturally prescribed tests for prophecy. The importance of this must not be underestimated, for all of the tests of prophecy, in the Old Testament and the New Testament, have an unimpeachable centerpiece: the love of God.

2. Chapter 2: Fallible prophecy – Lexical Considerations: Grudem argues that the New Testament connotation of the word prophet no longer possessed the sense of authority it once had. Thus, Christ did not call his disciples prophets because “…the Greek word prophetes (‘prophet’) at the time of the New Testament…did not have the sense ‘one who speaks God’s very words’.” In view of Grudem’s emphasis on this point, it will be very important for us to examine his lexical justification for such a conclusion.

3. Chapter 3: Fallible prophecy – The Case of Agabus: Grudem argues that genuine NT prophets could be resisted in view of their fallibility based upon texts like 1 Cor. 14:29. In support of this view, Grudem supplies examples of what he believes are NT fallible prophets, the most central of which is Agabus. Like Grudem, D.A. Carson insists that Agabus’ prophecy was fraught with error, saying, "I can think of no reported Old Testament prophet whose prophecies are so wrong on the details." This is a very serious accusation requiring a thorough investigation.

4. Chapter 4: Fallible prophecy – A Gift for All?: Grudem argues that, unlike the unique gift of prophecy given in the time of the OT, the NT gift of prophecy was extremely common and functioned “in thousands of ordinary Christians in hundreds of local churches at the time of the New Testament.” He also argues that neither grave error nor immaturity should serve as a barrier to the pursuit and exercise of such a gift by nearly everyone within the local church. Such thinking is a tragedy for the body of Christ which is called to holiness and truth in all aspects of life and servitude.

5. Conclusion: The Fallible Prophets of New Calvinism: Believing in the value and efficacy of fallible prophecy, a growing number of popular pastors and teachers are now openly promoting such teaching. Particularly within the increasingly popular New Calvinism movement we find a growing number of advocates of fallible prophecy. To facilitate the spread of this doctrine, Grudem himself supplies a 6-point strategy for establishing fallible prophecy within the local church. This poses an increasing danger of the tolerance and proliferation of false prophets within the church.