Monday, July 30, 2012

Obituary - Pastor Bob Ellison

Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.”  -Revelation 14:13

Bob Ellison, pastor of Highlands Baptist Church, Highlands, TX died May 4, 2012 after a long struggle with cancer. Born March 1, 1954, he was a United States Air Force Veteran serving for a time in Turkey, and graduated from Moody Bible Institute.

Ellison is survived by His wife Linda; daughter and son-in-law Annalisa and Branden Gilbert; sisters and brothers-in-law Shirley Doty, Becky and Mike Hargrove, Kathy and Randy Copeland. Also by his grandson, Daniel Robert Gilbert, due to arrive in June.

Jimmy Davis and Eddie Norris officiated the Funeral Service at Highlands Baptist Church. Burial at Houston National Cemetery. His obituary was in the Baytown Sun, Baytown, TX. Arraignments were made by Navarre Funeral Home, Baytown. 

Bob Ellison also pastored in Comanche, Texas.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, July 30, AD 2012. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Romans 9, Calvinism, Traditionalism

In Romans 9:13 God says, "Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated."

Romans 9 is one of the Calvinists’ favorite chapters. They refer to it often and believe it refers to personal salvation. They use it against Traditionalists or non-Calvinists. They say Traditionalists have no answer to this obviously Calvinistic Scripture, or that they don‘t believe it. One joked a couple of years ago about how a Traditionalist tore Romans 9 out of his Bible. We have even been accused of not believing in inerrancy because we do not agree with their interpretation of this passage.

The answer to Romans 9, however, is very simple. When referring to Jacob and Esau, God is not speaking of two individuals, but of two nations (see also Genesis 25:23). God is not saying, I’m sending one of you to Heaven and one of you to Hell.

Romans is quoting an Old Testament passage, not from Genesis, but from Malachi (1:2-3), long after Jacob and Esau were dead. Both passages (Romans & Malachi) refer to the nations of Israel and Edom.

Furthermore, love and hate are used differently than they are often used today. Hate is used in the sense of “loved less.” This use of the word hate is seen in Genesis 29:30-31 and Luke 14:26.

This Scripture is not speaking of personal salvation, but of how God elected Israel to be His chosen people and passed over Edom. For example, my song leader can’t preach and I as pastor can’t sing. God gave us different gifts and talents. Does that mean He hates (in our modern day view of hate) one of us and loves the other? No, God loves us both, but chose us for different roles. It has nothing to do with our personal salvation.

Calvinists have made the mistake of saying this chapter is only about personal election, about whether one is sent to Heaven or Hell.

Both sides will have all types of variations and nuances in their interpretation of Romans 9. But my views presented above are certainly not out of the ordinary.
A few quotes should prove this true:

“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.”
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 that 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.’”
-Adrian Rogers, Predestined for Hell? Absolutely Not!,

Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated must be interpreted in the sense of nations, not individuals, which is the original reference in the two OT quotations (Genesis 25:23; Malachi 1:2,3). The nations of Israel and Edom are in view, not Jacob and Esau as individual men, whose names occur as eponymous ancestors of the later tribes.”
“Moreover, ‘love’ and ‘hate’ are not the grounds of election as we understand these subjective feelings…The emotional terms indicate rather a special function and destiny. Judah, not Edom, was elected for progressive revelation in history. This meaning may be supported by the rendering ‘Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I loved less.’”
-The New Bible Commentary: Revised, Edited by D. Guthrie, J. A. Motyer, A. M. Stibbs, D. J. Wiseman, publisher Wm. B. Eerdmans; 1970.

“God is not speaking here about the individual Jacob but about the nation of Jacob (Israel)…The reference here is not to individual election but to the corporate election of a chosen nation - Israel.”
“Regardless of the corporate election of Israel as a nation, each individual had to accept the Messiah in order to be saved.”
“God’s ‘love’ for Jacob and ‘hate’ for Esau is not speaking of those men before they were born, but long after they lived.”
“The Hebrew word for ‘hated’ really means ‘loved less.’”
-Dr. Norman Geisler, Chosen But Free: A Balanced View of Divine Election, Bethany House; 1999, 2010.

“The key to unlocking the mystery of this passage - if ‘mystery’ it may be called - is found in our Lord’s declaration of verse 12: ‘It was said to her, the elder shall serve the younger.’ It ought to be pointed out, and pointed out every strongly, that ‘S-E-R-V-E’ does not spell ‘S-A-L-V-A-T-I-O-N.’”
“As a matter of fact, the whole issue is a national matter which pertains to governments, not a personal matter dealing with the salvation of individuals. This ‘purpose of God according to election’ deals strictly with the descendants of Esau serving the descendants of Jacob! The entire chapter relates to God’s dealing with a nation, Israel, not with individuals as such.”
-Dr. R. L. Sumner, An Examination of TULIP: The Five Points of Calvinism,; 1972.

“Israel’s election to serve as a chosen people and individual election to salvation for Christians is interwoven in Romans 9-11. Calvinists often do not give adequate attention to the former.”
-Dr. Steve W. Lemke, Whosoever Will, Edited by David L. Allen and Steve W. Lemke, B&H; 2010.

“Romans 9:13 is a reference to Malachi 1:2-3 and refers to nations (Israel and Edom) and not individual sinners. God does not hate sinners. John 3:16 makes it clear that He loves sinners. The statement here has to do with national election, not individual.”
-Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Volume I, Victor Books; 1989.

“There is no question here of predestination to Heaven or reprobation to Hell; in fact, eternal issues do not really come in throughout this chapter, although, of course, they naturally follow as the result of the use or abuse of God-given privileges. But we are not told here, or anywhere else, that before children are born it is God’s purpose to send one to Heaven and another to Hell…The passage has entirely to do with privilege here on earth.”
-H. A. Ironside, Romans. Quoted in Whosoever Will, Allen & Lemke.

So yes, Traditionalists do have, and have had, an explanation of Romans 9. We don’t ignore it, we believe it and teach it. And it is ridiculous to say because we disagree with a standard Calvinist interpretation that we don’t believe in inerrancy.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, July 8, AD 2012. 


Romans 9 Revisited; Non-Calvinist Views
Books on Calvinism, Predestination

Adrian Rogers on Predestination, Calvinism
Paige Patterson on Calvinism
Basic Baptist Doctrines / Beliefs
Unlimited Atonement, Jesus Died For All
Other articles in lower right margin.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Back To Bethel Bible Conference, 2012

The 24th Annual Back to Bethel Bible Conference will be held July 9-12, 2012 at the Red River Valley Bible Camp, at Paris, Texas. 

Conference Speakers: 
David Allen (SWBTS), Paul Boughan, Malcom Ellis, Phil Hoskins.

Conference Singers: 
Kasey Boughan, The Calvary Singers.

Conference Leader: 
Kyle B. Gulledge

You can stay at the camp for free, or check into local hotels (Holiday Inn Express. Child care available at camp.

No cost for staying at camp, meals, or conference.
An Offering will be received at each service to cover expenses of camp.

The Conference will begin Monday evening at 7pm, with supper served from 5-6:30pm.
Each morning service will begin at 9am.
Morning services will have three speakers.
Evening services will have two speakers.

More Information, including map:

I plan to attend this conference.  Hope you can too.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, July 3, AD 2012.

Monday, July 2, 2012

No One Seeks After God, Or Do They?

I often hear that no one seeks after God. I just heard this again today from a Calvinist. Yes, I agree that is in the Bible. 

For example:
There is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. -Romans 3:11

The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts. -Psalm 10:4
Also: Psalm 14:1-3; Psalm 53:1-3; Hosea 7:10

But could it be that is only one side of the coin? Cornelius sought after God (Acts 10). Why are verses like the following seemingly ignored?

But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. -Deuteronomy 4:29

When You said, “Seek My face,” My heart said to You, “Your face, LORD, I will seek.” -Psalm 27:8

The humble shall see this and be glad; and you who seek God, your hearts shall live. -Psalm 69:32

Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. -Isaiah 55:6

Yet they seek Me daily, and delight to know My ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and did not forsake the ordinance of their God. They ask of Me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching God. -Isaiah 58:2

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. -Jeremiah 29:13

The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. -Lamentations 3:25

Seek the LORD, all you meek of the earth, Who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden In the day of the LORD’s anger. -Zephaniah 2:3

For thus says the LORD to the house of Israel: “Seek Me and live. -Amos 5:4

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. -Hebrews 11:6

The next time you hear someone pointing out everyone knows that no one seeks after God, in order to make some Calvinistic point, perhaps you should point out some of the often neglected Scripture above. 

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, July 2, AD 2012. 

Calvinism and Being Dead in Sins
Books on Calvinism, Predestination
Brief History of SBC Conservative Resurgence
Other Articles in lower right margin.