Monday, March 25, 2013

Robert A. Baker on Original Sin, Guilt, Sin Nature

Sin as Inheritance and Choice

Sin is presented in two aspects in the New Testament - as inheritance and as voluntary choice. The first is known as original sin - the mark of sin upon the human race (Romans 5:19). Original sin does not involve guilt (John 9:3; cf. Ezekiel 18:20). God does not condemn for personal sin the innocent babe who does not know right from wrong. Original sin means, rather, that the nature of every child born into the world is corrupted so that when he becomes old enough to know right from wrong the child will choose sin instead of righteousness (1 Corinthians 2:14; Romans 7:18). Before a child is able to choose, he is not guilty before God; but when he learns to know right from wrong, because of original sin he will choose against God and become guilty before God.

The second aspect of sin has been suggested already. The whole human race has become tainted through original sin (Romans 3:9). As soon as any child reaches the age of accountability, he, by reason of that taint, chooses personally to sin (Romans 8:7-8). Then he becomes guilty of sin as a personal choice.”

-Dr. Robert A. Baker, The Baptist March in History, Convention Press, Nashville; 1958.

Dr. Baker (AD 1910-1992) served in the U.S. Secret Service, and as pastor. He was a graduate of Baylor University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Yale University. He served for many years as professor of Church History at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Further information on Inherited Guilt vs. Inherited Sin Nature see:
Born Guilty? by Dr. Adam Harwood 

Interview with Dr. Adam Harwood

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, March 25, AD 2013.


Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of Salvation
Other Articles in lower right margin. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Ancient Wine Production and the Bible

Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.
-1 Thessalonians 5:6

Misperceptions abound about the Bible and wine. Many believe the wine of the Bible was the same as today and always alcoholic. But the biblical and ancient words for wine were generic; they referred to both alcoholic and nonalcoholic wine (much like the English words: drink, cider, liquor, punch, eggnog).

 For example, Jesus referred to unfermented wine as “wine” (Greek word, oinos; Matthew 9:17). The Old Testament referred to just pressed grapes as “wine” (Proverbs 3:10; Isaiah 16:10; Joel 2:24). Just pressed grapes produce nonalcoholic wine or grape juice. It refers to grapes on the vine as “wine’ (Isaiah 65:8). Scripture even speaks of infants crying for wine (Lamentations 2:11-12); parents do not give alcoholic, but nonalcoholic wine to infants.

Ancient writers did not have a word for alcohol, but Aristotle, Plutarch, Pliny, Hippocrates, Columella, Athenaeus and others recognized some wine would intoxicate and some would not. Aristotle said sweet wine (which had not fermented, thereby taking away it’s sweetness) would not inebriate. Plutarch gave a confused discussion of why sweet wine would not intoxicate, and other wine would.

Nonalcoholic wine was common and when the Bible refers to wine, it must be determined by the context whether it is referring to alcoholic or nonalcoholic wine. Some wine was dangerous (Proverbs 20:1; Isaiah 28:7), some was not (Judges 9:13; Psalm 104:15; Zechariah 9:17). Scripture says Jesus turned water to wine (oinos); it does not say the sinless Christ turned water to beverage alcohol. Remember Jesus Himself called nonalcoholic wine “oinos.”

Another misperception is that all ancient wine was fermented and alcoholic, except for a brief period between pressing the grapes and when fermentation set in. Many contend fermentation could not be prevented until the 1860s discovery of pasteurization (and Welch’s). Some authorities have said Passover wine had to be fermented since Passover was in the Spring, months after the grape harvest. History, ancient knowledge, and science disprove this assumption.

Actually, unfermented wine was easier for ancients to produce and preserve than alcoholic wine. Methods included boiling down fresh wine to a thick consistency that would not spoil or ferment. When ready to drink, they simply added water. This thick, strong wine (grape molasses, pekmez, vincotto) was also used for cooking.* The grape harvest lasted six months and certain type grapes would keep fresh for months. These grapes could be pressed into wine at any time of the year (Genesis 40:11). Dried grapes or raisins were re-hydrated and pressed into fresh un-intoxicating wine, a practice used by many Jews right up to modern times. Ancient warriors were issued cakes of dried grapes to make their own wine as needed. Nonalcoholic wine was also preserved with salt and lactic fermentation.

These and other methods were commonly used by ancients to produce and preserve nonalcoholic wine. Just because we do not know these ancient methods, in no way means they did not know. This unfermented wine was widespread and held in high esteem. In contrast, drinkable alcoholic wine did not just magically happen; it was difficult to produce and preserve.

While most Baptists oppose alcohol, they still debate whether the Bible directly condemns it. I believe it does. Proverbs 20:1 directly calls wine a mocker. Proverbs 23:29-35 describes the effects of alcoholic wine and says not to even look at that kind of wine (23:31). 1 Thessalonians 5:6-8 and 1 Peter 5:8 command us to be sober. Sober (Greek, nepho) literally means “wineless.” In addition a number of biblical principles teach against using alcohol (or any other mind-altering drug) for pleasure or recreation.

For these and many other reasons, for well over 100 years Baptists and the Church Covenant have wisely advised to abstain from the manufacture, sale, and use of beverage alcohol.
  
* I have some of this thick wine (grape molasses); made in Lebanon, purchased through amazon.com. While it says to refrigerate after opening, I opened it, then kept it at room temperature. It has kept in perfect condition, without spoiling or fermenting, for over two years.

-by David R. Brumbelow, P.O. Box 300, Lake Jackson, TX 77566 USA.
© AD 2013. Brumbelow is a pastor and graduate of ETBU and SWBTS. He is author of Ancient Wine and the Bible: The Case for Abstinence, freechurchpress.com; and The Wit and Wisdom of Pastor Joe Brumbelow. David writes at gulfcoastpastor.blogspot.com. 

Permission granted to reproduce this article.   
This article was first published at SBCToday.com.

Note: This article is available in PDF form, and available for Alcohol and Drug AbusePrevention Sunday (3rd Sunday of March), etc. Find it at:
Alcohol And Drug Abuse Prevention Sunday - Free Resources


Read more in: 
Ancient Wine and the Bible - the Book
Adrian Rogers on Alcohol, Drinking, Wine
More articles in lower right margin.  

Monday, March 4, 2013

Dr. Roy Fish on Calvinism, Predestination; part 2 of 2

Predestination and Foreknowledge
Scripture plainly teaches that predestination, which means to destine beforehand, is based on foreknowledge. God chose those whom He knew beforehand would choose Him! That’s why Paul said, in Romans 8:29-30 in that tremendous passage, “For whom He foreknew…” You’d better start where Paul starts. “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son…” But He predestines on the basis of foreknowledge! The same thing is said in I Peter 1:2...

God elects, God predestines on the basis of knowing beforehand. That’s what the word “foreknowledge” means. I’ve checked it out in the Greek. It just means God knows what’s going to happen.

I had the privilege, last Saturday flying from DFW to Atlanta, I had the privilege of sitting by a schoolteacher who is going to Germany to be a teacher at one of our English-speaking schools in a military area of Germany. And she had a church background. But she had a deep deep disturbance in her soul. In fact, she was so deeply disturbed that she went to a chaplain there and told him how deeply disturbed she was, but she didn’t get any satisfaction or any peace. Well, needless to say, that kind of situation to a professor of evangelism means “Sick ‘em.”  Excuse me for my failure in decorum and dignity there. But I knew that God was dealing with this lady. Her heart was hungry and open. See, God knew the situation. She said, “It’s sheer accident that I’m in this seat. I’m supposed to be in another seat.” But God knew the hunger of her heart. And God knew that she was ready for the message of Jesus. And He took all of the factors regarding her background, her hunger, and He chooses to use a vessel that was committed to Him to share the gospel. And sometimes I’m not that vessel that I want to be. And that is God’s way of demonstrating His election.

God elects and God foreordains and God predestines, but on the basis of foreknowledge.

Limited Atonement

The L in the TULIP stands for Limited Atonement, or Limited Love, or Particular Redemption. It really says that God did not love all men enough to have Christ die for all. It says that God didn’t care about the non-elect. He loved only those who would respond to Him in repentance.

I was discussing with an adamant Calvinist one day this very subject. He is a man of God but he doesn’t give 2 cents for the non-elect. He’s not interested in them. He couldn’t care less. I said, “You mean God doesn’t love them?” He said, “No, God doesn’t love them. He doesn’t love the non-elect.” I said to him, “Do you believe that the rich young ruler was one of the non-elect?” He said, “Yeah. He flatly turned down the Lord Jesus Christ. He turned Him down. He was one of the non-elect.” So I just turned my Bible to Mark 10. I said, “I want you to read this and stuff it in your Hyper-Calvinistic pipe!” The Bible says that when Jesus looked on the rich young ruler who was just about ready to reject Him, when Jesus looked on him, He loved him! And that word “love” is the same word that’s used in John 3:16. It’s the famous Greek word, “agape”! Jesus looked on this lost person and He loved him! And you will never pass a person on the streets of Mobile that God doesn’t love. You will never rub shoulders with anybody in a crowded shopping center that God does not love.

Limited atonement almost brings me to the point of righteous indignation. Why? Well first of all because limited atonement depersonalizes the offer of the gospel. You see, you cannot look a person in the face, if you want to witness to them about Jesus, you cannot look at them in the face and say to them, “Jesus Christ died for you.” You can’t do that. Because you don’t know that He did! You don’t know if they are one of the elect or not! Many Calvinists say, “We can offer the gospel to all,” but I want to say that that is impossible under Calvinism. How can you offer a salvation that is not provided? And If Jesus didn’t die for somebody, then salvation is not provided, and you cannot offer salvation to all.

Friend, I want to tell you, when I began to wonder how is God going to receive someone who has made as many mistakes as I, who has sinned as much as I have, friend, I look to the Cross. I look to the Cross. “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to the Cross I cling.” He died for me, God. That’s the only way I expect to be received. That’s the only way I expect to get into heaven. But if atonement is limited, how can I be sure that He died for me? In final analysis, I can’t! And that’s a part of the reason why I detest the tenet of limited atonement.

Now scholastic Calvinism says it is the duty of all people everywhere to believe. But listen, in the light of Limited Atonement, I ask you - believe what? They can’t believe that Jesus died for them because they don’t know that for sure! All people are commanded to believe, but it becomes a very nebulous proposition at that point. Believe what?

Irresistible Grace

The I in the TULIP is what is called Irresistible Grace. That means that people who are going to be saved have no other option. They really don’t have a choice. The grace of God cannot be resisted. They cannot resist this special saving grace. Now the corollary to this follows: That is that those who are not elected are irresistibly damned– they cannot be saved. Like those who receive grace cannot resist it, so those who receive damnation cannot resist it.

Now, this is one reason why some groups have virtually given up on evangelism. Because it follows that if God works so irresistibly to either save or damn, Christians cannot affect the salvation of sinners, so they feel no responsibility for sharing that which might even have a tendency to interfere with the immutable purposes of God.

Sovereignty of God and Free Will of People

Now, ladies and gentlemen, all of us here, I trust, believe in the sovereignty of God – the absolute sovereignty of God. It is taught in the Bible. But along with the sovereignty of God, taught in the Bible also is the free will of people. You and I can choose. You say, “How can that be reconciled? That God is sovereign and yet people can make choices – people have a will regarding what they are going to do? If God is sovereign, how do you reconcile it? I don’t have to. Friend, there are times when you start looking at God that you scrutinize the inscrutable. And God doesn’t have one bit of trouble reconciling His sovereignty with man’s free will.

It was Spurgeon who was trying to lead a person to Christ, and somebody got frightened – they were always having to caution Spurgeon. “You may be speaking to one of the non-elect!” Spurgeon said, “Well….it’s all right. I don’t think God would mind too much if a few of the non-elect got saved.” My kind of Calvinist.

Dwight L. Moody, the great evangelist wisely said, “The elect are the ‘whosoever will’s.’ The non-elect are the ‘whosoever wont’s.’”

God’s grace can be resisted. People do not have to say “yes to the call of God, and nobody is compelled to say “no” to the call of God.

I believe getting involved in Reformed theology is a backward step that you as an individual or that you as a church do not want to take.

-Dr. Roy Fish, Excerpts from “The C Word (Calvinism)” preached August 11, AD 1997 at Cottage Hills Baptist Church, Mobile, Alabama. Part 2 of 2

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, March 4, AD 2013. 
 
Other Articles:
John 3:16 Conference, 2013
 
Roy Fish on Calvinism; part 1 of 2
Books on Calvinism, Predestination
Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Sunday; Free Resources
Robert G. Lee On Calvinism
Unlimited Atonement, Jesus Died For All
Other Articles on this and many other subjects in lower right margin.