f The Wittenberg Door: August 2011

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Commenting on Christendom, culture, history, and other oddities of life from an historic Protestant perspective.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

PC(USA) and Its Continued War Against Biblical Authority

For nearly a century the Presbyterian Church (USA) has been sliding towards the complete abandonment of Scripture as an authority. To ensure that they keep advancing towards that goal, the PC(USA) joins likeminded apostates in the Episcopal Church (US), the United Church of Christ, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in ordaining practicing homosexuals. Removed from their constitution is the ordination requirement of “fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman or chastity in singleness.”

Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk of the PC(USA) General Assembly, explained the meaning of the change: “Clearly what has changed is that persons in a same-gender relationship can be considered for ordination . . . . The gist of our ordination standards is that officers submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and ordaining bodies (presbyteries for ministers and sessions for elders and deacons) have the responsibility to examine each candidate individually to ensure that all candidates do so with no blanket judgments.”

For further information on this change, plus insightful analysis, I recommend Dr. Albert Mohler’s article, Following Jesus While Rejecting the Bible? Yet Another Tragedy in Mainline Protestantism.


Thursday, August 04, 2011

John McArthur – Servant of the Word and Flock

Arminian Today offers a review of John McArthur – Servant of the Word and Flock by Iain Murray. This is a fine review, but there’s another reason I’m featuring it here at The Wittenberg Door: I’d like to take the opportunity to commend Arminian Today. We, Calvinists and Arminians, have important differences when it comes to man’s plight and how God reconciles His people to Himself. So what I’m about to say should not be construed as diminishing those differences. The reason that Arminian Today is the only Arminian blog to which I link is because I’ve found it to be thoughtful, honest, and charitable. Unfortunately, this is not typical of the Arminians who comment on my blog (and elsewhere) or of the Arminian sites that I visit.

Being a former Arminian, I am very sympathetic to their position. I think it was B.B. Warfield that said that we are born Arminian, so I certainly understand the inclination. As wrong as I think they are on these issues, we are still brothers in Christ. We Calvinists and Arminians must remember to treat each other as brothers in Christ. This means that we must take the time to understand each other’s views, carefully consider them, and respectfully respond. So, in that spirit, I am pleased—even excited—to feature a blog by an Arminian that I can respect. I pray that other Arminians will likewise follow the example of Arminian Today.

Here is how Arminian Today kicks off the book review:

Iain Murray is one of my favorite biography writers. His books on Evangelicalism history have always been good reading to me as was his book on the Holy Spirit. For Christmas 2010 I received Murray's book on John Wesley and the men who followed him after his death and the history of the early Methodist movement. Murray, despite being a Calvinist, was fair to Wesley and the early Methodist leaders even if he disagreed with their theology.

I was then excited when I first heard that Murray was writing a biography on John MacArthur . I enjoy Dr. MacArthur's ministry even if he and I don't see eye to eye on every point. I was thrilled then to learn more about Dr. MacArthur and his background. I was not disappointed with the book.

You can read the rest of the review here.


Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Must Read: Against Calvinism

Heads-up to readers: I am preparing to ditch my Calvinism. Two of my favorite bloggers, Jeff Peterson of The Lighthearted Calvinist and Eddie Eddings of Calvinistic Cartoons, have joined Jon Cardwell of Justification by Grace (I am just now familiarizing myself with his blog, but it looks like it’ll be joining my list of favorites) in writing a book against Calvinism: Against Calvinism: Logical Arguments to Disprove the Doctrines of Grace. The book is already getting rave reviews on Amazon:

This book has nothing "against" Calvinism in it. It is an apologetic for Calvinism with blank pages for the "arguments against" implying that there are no arguments against Calvinism (arrogant are we?)….

Disappointed would be an understatement in regards to this book. I will accept mild blame in that I should have researched the book a bit more. This is NOT a refutation of Calvinism. The logical arguments are actually blank pages….

This deceptive book that doesn't cover what its tile claims, and thus wastes the money & time of trusting customers who didn't take the time to read the reviews….

With such glowing recommendations, how could I not exhaust my vast fortune, all $11.92 of it, to own it? Especially since it claims the honor of having been banned by Arminians and Roman Catholics everywhere! Besides, for those of you familiar with Eddie Eddings, you can bet that you’re in for a wild ride, something that is hinted at in the product description:

DISCLAIMER/CAVEAT EMPTOR: As the people of God, we are to be seekers of the truth, students of the truth and proclaimers of the truth. In the interest of full disclosure, we do need to inform and remind you this book is filed in both the "Humor" and "Religion" categories of CreateSpace. There is good reason for this. Humor includes elements such as satire and irony and this book contains these from cover to cover. Therefore, please do not be disappointed when you find the book indeed contains these in its entirety…. Yes... this is ironic and satirical. Peterson, Eddings, and Cardwell fully embrace the Doctrines of Grace. In other words, all three are Calvinists. AGAINST CALVINISM was birthed from compiling, first, "The Definitive Scripture List Refuting Calvinism." Having every scripture for refuting Calvinism front and center, the time was ripe to build every premise from the scripture proofs for clear, logical arguments against Calvinistic Theology in order to disprove the teachings that are also referred to as the "doctrines of grace." After years of painstaking research, this endeavor is complete. This epic work will not only take you where you never thought you'd go Biblically, but it also gives you straight insights into clear Arminian thinking and logical deduction. Every pastor, teacher, Bible scholar, and seminary professor will certainly choose to place AGAINST CALVINISM next to every ready, reachable reference work in his study. You may enjoy AGAINST CALVINISM so much that you'll want to purchase several copies for your next Sunday school series. Decide now! The choice is, after all, based on your own free will.

So please join me in ordering Against Calvinism, which is available at The Wittenberg Door bookstore. Buy it. Live it. Love it. Annoy people with it—it’s been predestined.