Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Afterglow of Christmas

The Afterglow

After the carols have ended
And the gifts have been placed away,
The candles burned out their brightness
And the snow has melted to gray;
After the holly has withered
And the berries have all turned brown,
The carpets sparkled with tinsel
When the needles came tumbling down,
With all the merriment ending
And the embers are burning low,
May the Christ, the Heart of Christmas,
Fill and brighten the afterglow.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, December 21, AD 2011.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Was John Newton A Calvinist?

Who gave Himself a ransom for all. -1 Timothy 2:6

John Newton is the famous author of the hymn Amazing Grace. Newton lived a wicked life. He served as captain on a slave ship. But eventually he was gloriously saved, came to oppose slavery, and preach the Gospel. American Tract Society has a great tract on him, The Amazing Story of Amazing Grace.

Was John Newton a Calvinist? The answer is yes, and no.

Newton claimed to be a Calvinist. That is pretty good evidence. The point is this - there are a hundred different varieties of Calvinists. What kind of Calvinist was he?

Some Baptists claim to be non-Calvinists, meaning they are neither Arminian or 5-point Calvinist. Others, believing the same thing, call themselves Moderate Calvinists. This would stand in contrast to more Strict Calvinism or 5-point Calvinism.

Many have put it that all Southern Baptists are Calvinists because they at least agree with one of the five points of Calvinism; the one called Perseverance of the Saints. This is also referred to as Eternal Security, or Once Saved, Always Saved. In this sense, we are all at least Moderate Calvinists. Many Moderate Calvinists would also say they believe in other of the five points of Calvinism, depending on how they are defined.

On the other hand, most Southern Baptists reject one of the five points of Calvinism known as Limited Atonement. The big majority of Southern Baptists believe Jesus sacrificially died for all people on the face of the earth (John 1:29; 3:16-17; Romans 5:6.; 2 Corinthians 5:14-16, 19; 1 Timothy 2:4, 6; 4:10; Hebrews 2:9; 2 Peter 2:1; 3:9; 1 John 2:2). A Strict Calvinist, however, believes Jesus only died for the elect, those who will eventually get saved (Limited Atonement).

Some Strict Calvinists of today love to point out Christian leaders of the past as Calvinists, implying they believed in all five points of Calvinism. The reality is many of them were more of the Moderate rather than the Strict 5-point variety.

Now back to John Newton. It is interesting that he gently reproved some of the more militant Calvinists of his day.

Did John Newton believe in the modern day view of all five points of Calvinism? Apparently not. It appears that Newton was of the more Moderate Calvinist variety.

Evidently John Newton did not believe in Limited Atonement. Why? Consider a couple of his hymns, and you be the judge.

My Soul Once Had it’s Plenteous Years

O sinners, hear His gracious call!
His mercy’s door stands open wide,
He has enough to feed you all,
And none who come shall be denied.
-John Newton

Now Let Us Join With Hearts and Tongues

When angels by transgression fell,
Justice consigned them all to hell;
But mercy formed a wondrous plan,
To save and honor fallen man.

O glorious hour, it comes with speed
When we from sin and darkness freed,
Shall see the God Who died for man,
And praise Him more than angels can.
-John Newton

In his hymns, Newton often says Jesus died for sinners. All are sinners.

It appears John Newton was indeed a Calvinist, but one of the more Moderate variety. Evidently he did not believe the view of Limited Atonement.

Note: It also seems evident from their writings that John Calvin himself, and B. H. Carroll, founding president of SWBTS, also believed Jesus died for all mankind.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, December 19, AD 2011.

Related Articles (find many more in lower right margin).
Unlimited Atonement, Jesus Died For All
Books on Calvinism, Predestination

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

"Merry Christmas" is Preferred by Customers

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. -Isaiah 9:6

The Christian Post (; 12-5-2011) reported,

“A recent Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 70 percent of American adults prefer retailers to use ‘Merry Christmas’ signs. Twenty-four percent of those polled would rather see ‘Happy Holidays.’ According to the survey, many adults across almost all demographic groups prefer ‘Merry Christmas,’ with young adults feeling as strong as older adults.”

I hope and pray more retail stores and even Christians themselves realize it can be more offensive to refuse to use the word Christmas at Christmas.

Stores, prominently display your “Merry Christmas” signs. Tell your employees they can actually wish their customers a “Merry Christmas.”

May we all remember and emphasize the true, biblical meaning of Christmas.

So this month I wish all a Merry, Christ-honoring Christmas!

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, December 7, AD 2011.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

L. R. Scarborough on Soul-Winning

Plan of Salvation
“The winner needs to be right on the plan of salvation. This is basic. Salvation is by grace through faith plus nothing. [He goes on to quote Ephesians 2:8-10; Romans 3:24; Titus 3:5.] The conditions of this grace are repentance (Acts 3:19; 17:30; 19:4; 20:21) and faith (John 1:12; 3:16-36; 5:24).”
-L. R. Scarborough, With Christ After the Lost, Southwestern Library of Centennial Classics, revised by E. D. Head; 1942, 2008.

Soul Winning and Worldly Pleasure
“Indulgence in worldly pleasures is death to our influence in winning men to Christ, and the harboring of secret sins is spiritual paralysis to our power with God. ‘Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost’ (1 Corinthians 6:19), and God’s temple should be untainted.”
-L. R. Scarborough, With Christ After the Lost.

Associate with Soul-Winners
Association with great soul-winners, in person and through books, will stimulate your own compassion of heart. Eternity alone will tell the full story of the influence of Paul, of Spurgeon, of Moody, in creating the soul-winning hunger in others.”
-L. R. Scarborough, With Christ After the Lost.

Zechariah 4:6
“Eloquence and charm of voice in song or speech may sweep men off their feet temporarily, but it takes the power of God to win them from their sins and regenerate them.”
-L. R. Scarborough, With Christ After the Lost.

L. R. Scarborough (AD 1870-1945) was a pastor, evangelist, author, founded and taught the first seminary “Chair of Evangelism,” and was the second president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Ft. Worth, Texas ( Scarborough also served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention. His book, With Christ After the Lost, was used for many years in seminaries as an evangelism textbook.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, December 1, AD 2011.

L. R. Scarborough on Tracts
Other articles listed in lower right margin.