Monday, August 29, 2011

Adrian Rogers on Predestination, Calvinism

Adrian Rogers was pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church, Cordova, Tennessee and elected three times as president of the Southern Baptist Convention. He was the first president elected, and a leader in, the SBC Conservative Resurgence. His messages are still widely distributed through TV, radio, and literature. He is the favorite preacher of multitudes of Southern Baptists.

Below are a few of Adrian Rogers thoughts on predestination and Calvinism:

“Did God predestine some people for Heaven and predestine some people for Hell? Are humans just pawns on the chessboard of fate? Absolutely not!”

“There are some who…say that God has chosen some before they are born to go the Hell and others He has chosen to go to Heaven - and there’s absolutely nothing they can do about it. I don’t accept this for a moment…”

“God hardened Pharaoh’s heart because Pharaoh first hardened his own heart.”

“All God did was to crystallize the sin that was already in him [Pharaoh]. God did not take a little tender child and say, “I’m going to harden your heart and then I’m going to cast you into Hell.” 

Pharaoh “had blasphemed the God of Heaven, and God had warned him. God has sent His messenger to him, but this man stubbornly and arrogantly said “no” to God. It was then that God further hardened the heart of this man whose heart was already hardened. But don’t get the idea that God just raised up Pharaoh to send him to Hell. God warned Pharaoh, but he wouldn’t heed the warning.”

On Romans 9 and Jacob and Esau; “God is not talking about two little babies, one born for Heaven and one born for Hell. That’s not what He is saying at all. This is national, not personal.” Later, “God was not talking about salvation. He was simply saying that Israel is going to be His choice, and the descendants of Jacob are going to be His spiritual leaders in the world…Nothing is said here about one twin going to Heaven and the other twin going to Hell.”

On the Scripture, “The vessels of wrath fitted to destruction.” “Well, how did they get ripe for destruction? In his word study, Vincent reminds us that this is the middle voice, which means simply that they fitted themselves for destruction. It is not the potter than fits them for destruction. It is the potter who is long-suffering. It is the vessels of wrath who fit themselves for destruction. God never made anybody to go to Hell. God wants people saved. He wants you saved. First Timothy 2:4 speaks of ‘God who will have all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of truth.’”

“The following Scriptures show God’s universal love for all and His promise to all who will trust in Christ.” Rogers then quotes John 3:16-17; Isaiah 53:6; Romans 8:32; 1 Timothy 2:4; 1 John 4:14; 1 John 2:2; Revelation 22:17; Romans 9:33.

After quoting 1 John 2:2 Adrian Rogers says, “In this classic passage Jesus is spoken of as the propitiation or the satisfaction, not only for the sins of those who are already saved, but for the sins of the whole world.”

“If you want to be saved, to be one of the elect, then just come to Jesus.”

“I invite you to pray like this,
‘Dear God, I know that You love me. I know that You want to save me. I am a sinner and my sin deserves judgment, but I need mercy and I want mercy. I am not going to harden my heart against You, God. I open my heart. Come into my heart and into my life right now. Forgive all my sin, save me, Lord Jesus.’
Friend, pray that from your heart, ask Jesus to save you, trust Him to do it, and He will!”

These quotes are from the sermon booklet, Predestined for Hell? Absolutely Not!, by Adrian Rogers, Love Worth Finding, P.O. Box 38800, Memphis, TN 38183-0300, (lwf.org); 1999; 2010. 901/382-7900.
Order the booklet today; it just costs $2. Order extra for those who have questions about this subject.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, August 29, AD 2011.

Related Articles:
Brief History of SBC Conservative Resurgence
Unlimited Atonement, Jesus Died For All
Adrian Rogers on "Wit & Wisdom of Pastor Joe Brumbelow"
Paige Patterson on Calvinism
B. H. Carroll on Hyper-Calvinism
Books on Calvinism, Predestination
Wit And Wisdom Of My Dad
Ancient Wine Production and the Bible
 
Roy Fish on Calvinism; part 1 of 2

Other articles found in lower right margin under Gulf Coast Pastor Articles (Labels).

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Book Review - Coach John Wooden, by R. L. Sumner

It’s hard to find good, extensive book reviews today. One of the few who still does it is Dr. R. L. Sumner, evangelist and editor of The Biblical Evangelist.

The website only lists some of the Reviews and features of each print issue of The Biblical Evangelist. Currently it is carrying Sumner’s review of:

COACH WOODEN by Pat Williams with Jim Denny; Revell, a Division of the Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, MI; 8 Chapters, 186 Pages; $17.99

Sumner quotes Wooden as giving the following advice for his players:

* Talent is God-given: be humble.
* Fame is man-given: be thankful.
* Conceit is self-given: be careful.

Not bad advice for preachers as well.  Of course there is much more than this to the Book Review.

Other Reviews this issue:

CREATION OR EVOLUTION? By E. Norbert Smith; 15 Chapters, 309 Pages (large size, 8”x10”); CreateSpace, Scotts Valley, CA

IN THE SHADOW OF EVIL by Robin Caroll; B&H Books, Nashville, TN; 39 Chapters, 371 Pages; $14.99, Paper

EVIDENCE FOR GOD, Edited by William A. Dembski & Michael R. Licona; Baker Books, a Division of Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, MI; Four Sections, 50 Chapters; $19.99, Paper

Check it out at biblicalevangelist.org and Click “Book Reviews.” Then subscribe to the print copy, and send a generous donation.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, August 24, AD 2011.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Deuteronomy 14:26 - Does it Commend Alcohol?

And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household. -Deuteronomy 14:26 (KJV).

You may spend the money on anything you want: cattle, sheep, wine, beer, or anything you desire. You are to feast there in the presence of the LORD your God and rejoice with your family. -Deuteronomy 14:26 (HCSB)

Christians who favor drinking seem to ignore plain Scriptures that speak directly against alcohol (Proverbs 20:1; 23:29-35; 1 Thessalonians 5:6-8; etc.), while glorying in Deuteronomy 14:26, an obscure verse that only mentions wine and strong drink in passing. This has become a favorite verse of those seeking to justify Christians’ drinking.

It may seem strange that God would forbid His Old Testament priests to drink while engaging in worship, yet tell the people they were welcome to drink during worship without regard to age or amount. It sounds strange because it is a contradiction, and because it never happened.

The word in Deuteronomy 14:26 translated "strong drink" or even "beer" by some translations, is the Hebrew word "shekar."

Many authorities theorize that shekar always means an alcoholic drink. But significant authorities disagree. They believe shekar, like the biblical words for wine, could refer either to an alcoholic, or a nonalcoholic drink, but made from fruit other than grapes.

A few of those authorities:
The New King James Version (NKJV) translates shekar in Deuteronomy 14:26 as “similar drink.” Elsewhere, when it is obvious shekar is referring to an alcoholic drink, it uses the term, “strong drink.”

And you shall spend that money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen or sheep, for wine or similar drink, for whatever your heart desires; you shall eat there before the LORD your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your household. -Deuteronomy 14:26 (NKJV).

“It is tolerably clear that the general words ‘wine [yayin; oinos]’ and ‘strong drink [shekar]’ do not necessarily imply fermented liquors, the former signifying only a production of the vine, the latter the produce of other fruits than the grape.” -Dr. Lyman Abbott, A Dictionary of Religious Knowledge,

Shekar - “Sweet drink (what satiates or intoxicates).” -Dr. Robert Young, Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible, Eerdmans, 1970.

“Not only the word yayin, but also shekar can refer to grape juice as well as to wine (cf. Deuteronomy 29:6; Numbers 28:7; Exodus 29:40).” -Dr. Robert P. Teachout in his doctoral dissertation on The Use of Wine in the Old Testament, 1979, Dallas Theological Seminary.

It is also interesting that we get our English words sugar, saccharine, cider from the Hebrew word shekar. These words allude to a root meaning of sweet, rather than alcoholic. Also, cider can mean alcoholic, or nonalcoholic apple juice, just like the original word shekar.

Next time a drinker waves Deuteronomy 14:26 in your face, let everyone know that many authorities say shekar, the word for strong drink, can also refer to a nonalcoholic beverage.

Finally, in that day they could more easily make and preserve nonalcoholic wine and shekar, than the alcoholic kind. Nonalcoholic drinks were common in their day, just as they are in ours.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, August 22, AD 2011.

Note: Much more information on Shekar and Deuteronomy 14:26 is in the book Ancient Wine and the Bible by David R. Brumbelow.

Related articles:
Preserving Unfermented Wine in Bible Times
2006 SBC Resolution on Alcohol Use in America
Alabama Baptist Review of "Ancient Wine and the Bible"
Dr. Brad Reynolds' Book Recommendations on Alcohol
 Alcohol Condemned in the Bible
Biblical Principles Condemn Alcohol
Other related articles can be found in lower right margin under Gulf Coast Pastor Articles (Labels).

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Of Jesse Mercer, L. R. Scarborough, Georgia and Texas

“Dr. Jesse Mercer, of Georgia, in 1838 gave $2,500 to the Home Mission Society of Northern Baptists to send two Baptist preachers to evangelize Texas.” -L. R. Scarborough, With Christ After the Lost, Southwestern Library of Centennial Classics, revised by E. D. Head; 1942, 2008.

These were “foreign” missionaries. In 1838 Texas had won its independence only two years earlier and was its own country, the Republic of Texas. It would join the United States of America in 1845.

In 2010, 172 years later, there are (Southern Baptists of Texas Convention statistics):

*  2332 Baptist churches in the SBTC.
*  An average of 237,313 in worship each Sunday.
*  16,988 Baptisms each year.
*  $37,700,000 given to the Cooperative Program, International Mission Board, North American Mission Board and other missions through the SBTC.
*  Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, one of the largest seminaries in the world, is in Fort Worth, Texas.

And this does not even come close to counting all the other Baptists and Baptist institutions in the state of Texas.

Thank you Jesse Mercer, and Georgia Baptists. Thank you Northern Baptists. Thank you for giving to the Lord, and giving to Texas.

Note: L. R. Scarborough, then president of SWBTS, went on to give Texas Baptist statistics for about 1940. I updated them with recent SBTC statistics. Thanks to Lane Rice for help with the SBTC statistics. 

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, August 18, AD 2011.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Paige Patterson on Calvinism

Several years ago Dr. Paige Patterson spoke on Calvinism at the SBC Pastor’s Conference. An excerpt from Baptist Press follows:

PATTERSON: PEOPLE ARE ‘TOTALLY FREE’

Patterson began his segment by saying, to laughter, “The real question we are here to discuss today is whether or not you are here on your own free will."

He listed six areas in which he and Calvinists agree –- areas for which he said he has great appreciation. Calvinists, Patterson said: “usually lead very pious lives”; believe theology is important; generally are “very clear about the dangers involved in the charismatic movement; “understand the purpose of everything is to glorify God”; “never question the inerrancy of Scripture or the substitutionary atonement of Christ”; and “are crystal clear about the fact that salvation is by grace alone.”

But Patterson also said there are several areas of concern he has with “some Calvinists”:

-- the notion that if “you are not a Calvinist then you must be an Arminian.” He said he is neither.

-- the argument that “if you are not a Calvinist then you do not accept the doctrines of grace.” Patterson said, “I believe that salvation is by grace alone, and I'm not a Calvinist.”

-- the assertion that those who are not Calvinists don’t believe in the sovereignty of God. “I just happen to believe that God is sovereign enough that He can make a man totally free if He wishes to do so,” Patterson said.

-- “antinomian tendencies” present “in some Calvinists,” particularly on the subject of drinking alcohol. Antinomianism tends to overemphasize grace in relation to law.

-- a failure of Reformed pastors to be “completely forthright” with pulpit committees during interviews. “This is a concern not only about Calvinists,” Patterson said. “It is a concern about people who happen to be dispensationalists, like me. It's a concern about any position which you hold." There should be “full disclosure of what you believe and what you plan to do once you become the pastor of that church."

-- the “compassionlessness” for a lost world seen in “some Calvinists.” Patterson said what he “appreciate[s] so much about Dr. Mohler and many of my other Calvinist friends is that that emphatically is not true of them."

Patterson said he views the doctrine of election through the "foreknowledge of God." He also said he sees no biblical evidence for “irresistible grace” –- one of the tenets of Calvinism.

“If, in fact, men cannot resist the will of the Holy Spirit … then in fact salvation is coercive and a person does not have a choice about what he is going to do,” he said. "… I believe it is God's will that every human being be saved. I don't believe all of them will be saved -- narrow is the way, and straight is the gate.”

Patterson read two quotes he attributed to Presbyterian pastor R.C. Sproul: "God desired man to fall into sin. God created sin"; and "It is [God's] desire to make His wrath known. He needed, then, something on which to be wrathful. He needed to have sinful creatures."

“It is impossible to find justice in that by any biblical definition of justice," Patterson said. “… This makes God, in some sense, the author of sin.”

He listed several scriptural passages -- 1 Timothy 2:3-6, 2 Peter 3:9, Hebrews 2:9, 1 John 2:2 -- that he said support general atonement instead of the Calvinist tenant of limited (or particular) atonement. *

"To me, the references to the universality of the atonement are absolutely overwhelming in the New Testament," Patterson said. “… The Calvinist must fall back on the idea of two wills of God –- a revealed will and a secret will. The problem with the secret will, of course, is that it is secret and we cannot know about [it] at all. Not only that, [but] it pits the secret will in juxtaposition and over against His revealed will.”

Patterson challenged those in attendance, "My fervent prayer is that whatever your beliefs are about the sovereignty of God … you will join me in taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth.”
-from Baptist Press, June 13, 2006 by Michael Foust.

Dr. Paige Patterson is a graduate of Hardin-Simmons University and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (Th.M. and Ph.D.), he is the author of a number of books, and was twice elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention. He was one of the key leaders in the Conservative Resurgence that brought Southern Baptists back to their historic commitment to the inerrancy of the Bible. Patterson serves as president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas (swbts.edu).

One additional quote:
“The current trend in Southern Baptist life to imitate the Reformed movement is a major step backwards and must be resisted.” -Dr. Paige Patterson, at SWBTS Anabaptist Conference, 2012.
[The Reformers fought against Believer's Baptism by Immersion and actually persecuted, tortured, and executed Anabapists and Baptists in the 1500s and 1600s.]

* The Calvinist doctrine of Limited Atonement says Jesus died only for the elect.  Non-Calvinists (or at least non-5-point Calvinists) believe in General or Unlimited Atonement.  Unlimited Atonement means Jesus died for the sins of all humanity; of course, only those who believe are saved. 

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, August 8, AD 2011.

Books on Calvinism, Predestination

Adrian Rogers on Predestination, Calvinism   

See Related Articles by clicking any of the "Labels" in this post, or by going to the lower right margin under Gulf Coast Pastor Articles (Labels). 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

How to Get a Life When Ministry Drains it Out of You

HIGHLANDS, Texas (BP)--Years ago my dad and I, both pastors, attended an associational meeting. The speaker lamented a survey revealing that something like 75 percent of all pastors had considered leaving the ministry. Dad -- Joe Brumbelow, who in his lifetime was pastor of several churches in South Texas -- commented, “The results worry me, too. I’m concerned that 25 percent of the preachers lied.”

Most every pastor has considered quitting. Stress, burdens and heartache are common among professional clergy. As a young preacher I learned much from my dad about how to "get a life" while in the ministry:

-- Laughter is a good medicine (Proverbs 15:13; 17:22). It can cure what ails you or at least make life a little more bearable. Laughter takes the edge off difficulties. Laugh often. Joke, when appropriate, with your church members and your family. If you are a believer, you have ample good reasons to smile. Humor also enhances and illustrates your Bible teaching. Through humor a pastor can reveal the joy of the Lord.

-- Find humor in practically every situation. Joe Brumbelow certainly did. Even a serious circumstance sometimes brought a smile or humorous comment. "Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying," he surmised. "Brother Joe", as most everyone called him, enjoyed biblical humor such as Job's telling his questionable friends, "No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you" (Job 12:2, KJV). Funny situations abound; recognize and enjoy them.

-- Be serious about your ministry but not too serious about yourself. You may be an outstanding minister, but God can get along fine without you. The world does not hang on your shoulders. Dad ended a lot of stress when he prayed one day, "Lord, this is Your church, not mine. I’ve done all I know to do. If You want it to die, then let it die." He recognized that God ultimately was in control. That day he took his burdens to the Lord and left them there.

When you make a mess of things, don’t try to hide it; just admit it and have a good laugh at yourself. As my old college friends once said, "Lighten up."

-- Use humor that is appropriate. Humor can cut as well as heal. Be careful of misunderstandings. Sometimes humor is better understood in person than in writing (or in e-mail.) Don’t use off-color humor at all. Limit some humor only to family or your closest friends. Keep some thoughts to yourself!

-- Everyone needs a diversion. Vance Havner quoted Jesus' telling His disciples, "Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while” (Mark 6:31). Havner said, "If you don’t come apart and rest, you will just come apart."

With Dad, relaxation meant fishing. He’d go wade-fishing and forget the world's cares. He complained that live shrimp (which he used for speckled-trout fishing) were way too expensive. He then concluded with a smile, "But it’s cheaper than paying $60 an hour for a psychologist." Fishing was his "stress therapy." Gardening also relaxed him. He could bring something good out of the worst of soils. A diversion is not a waste of time; it’s something you need. Being spiritual when you are physically tired is difficult. Get enough rest. Joe Brumbelow joked, "Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is to take a nap."

-- Fellowship with fellow ministers. The old spiritual says, "Nobody knows the trouble I’ve known, nobody knows but Jesus." But those in ministry often know, understand and care. Don’t just seek out persons of the same age. Make friends with ministers that are older and younger than you. Late in his ministry, Brother Joe considered being friends with the younger ministers on the staff at First Baptist Church in Lake Jackson, Texas (where he served at the time of his passing in August 2002) to be an honor. Dad instructed young preachers to attend associational, state and national conventions. Sometimes these get boring and tedious. But you need the instruction; you especially need the fellowship. Laugh, cry and pray with other preachers.

-- Lean on your family and closest friends for your deepest emotional needs. Brother Joe said, "I would rather be known as a great husband and dad than to be known as a great preacher." Make your home a fine place to retreat. My mother played a vital role in this area. A church can be a loving family. But don’t expect members to meet needs that only a close family or the closest of friends can meet.

-- Most of all, lean on Jesus. Nurture your personal relationship to the Lord. More than anyone else, Jesus understands the trouble you’ve known.
--30--

David R. Brumbelow is pastor of Northside Baptist Church in Highlands, TX and author of a book about his dad, "The Wit and Wisdom of Pastor Joe Brumbelow: Favorite illustrations, personal stories, humor, history, folklore, and lessons learned from over 50 years in the ministry." The book is available in bookstores and also through the publisher at http://www.hannibalbooks.com/.

Originally published at Baptist Press October 19, 2005. The article was later published in a couple of state Baptist papers. bpnews.net
Related Post:  The Girl Who Saved His Ministry

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, August 2, AD 2011.

Wit And Wisdom Of My Dad (Wit & Wisdom of Pastor Joe Brumbelow, the book)
Other articles in lower right hand margin under Gulf Coast Pastor Articles (Labels).