Romans 9 and Unconditional Election

David Bovenmyer’s seminar notes, GCC Pastor’s Conference—June 19, 2012

In the time I have allotted, I won’t be able to go through the chapter verse by verse, but must confine myself to giving three overall assumptions and then some observations on the passage. So I’ll dive right in.

Assumption #1: Paul’s purpose in this passage was not to address the questions and issues that surfaced in the church during the middle ages.

This may seem too obvious to mention, but, frankly, it’s all too easy for us to have our minds filled with the issues of our day or to have our thinking colored by our theological tradition or by the debates throughout the history of the church, and never really discern the issues and questions that the writers of scripture were addressing. Continue reading

Romans 7 Refers to a Man Under the Law, Not a Man Under Grace

Here are some thoughts on the identity of the “wretched man” of  Romans 7:14-ff. These verses refer to a man attempting to serve God under the law of Moses (Torah), not a man under grace and serving in the “way of the Spirit.” These are preliminary thoughts and I would appreciate any feedback that you may have for me.

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What is the Flesh?

This morning I wrote this definition of the “flesh.” The word is used very broadly in the New Testament.  This definition is an attempt to define a narrow usage of the word by Paul in Galatians 5, 1 Corinthians 3, Romans 7, and a few other places.  These are my preliminary thoughts and I would love any feedback that you have for me.

The flesh, as spoken of by Paul in Galatians 5, is an orientation of life consistent with that of the natural man attempting to live apart from God, Christ and redemption. At the core of this orientation is a tendency toward the indiscriminate satisfaction of human desire without proper regard for God, other humans, or eventual consequences. Living in the flesh is consistent with living in the world, since the world largely lives by this orientation. Living in the flesh becomes addictive and ingrained in habits of the body and of the mind.  Since many indiscriminately indulged desires are physical in origin and since the mind is contained in a physical organ which becomes shaped and programmed toward indiscriminate indulgence, the word “flesh,” when describing this orientation, is often associated with the body.  Yet no bodily desire is, in itself, evil.

The flesh is not a sub-part of the human personality that must be suppressed, as I used to think and as many Christians think. Every part of the human personality and all human desires are God-given and good, when oriented properly. Human desires often must be suppressed for the attainment of the greater good, or must be tempered by the truth of reality, but are not evil in themselves. Thus pride is a good desire for significance and honor that is not tempered by the reality of our true position and power compared to God and others. Lust is good sexual desire toward an improper object. Impatience can be an unwillingness to suppress good desire for a greater good, perhaps not recognizing the existence of the greater good.

In contrast, walking in the Spirit, is an orientation of life consistent with the truths of reality, including God’s person, love, plans, and rights. God indwells every believer in Christ in the person of the Holy Spirit and walking in the Spirit involves dependence upon the Spirit and yielding to the Spirit’s lead in the light of the truths, plans, and purposes of God.

Is Faith a Work?

© David Bovenmyer, 2012

The Bible teaches that all people receive justification from God by grace through faith in Christ, apart from any good works.  Salvation is monergistic—worked by God alone.  God does the saving through Christ and we add not even one good work to it.  Yet the Bible also teaches that people must place their faith in Christ in order to be justified.  God doesn’t believe for us; we must believe.  However, none of us would believe without God’s drawing and calling.  Therefore faith is synergistic—people believe with the influence and help of God.  Continue reading

Why Women Leave Men

Many years ago, while speaking at a couples conference, my friend and comrade Brent Knox talked about the biggest mistake that men make in marriage–we are too passive.  We tend to procrastinate, avoid, shirk our responsibilities, and revert to being little boys. We fail to move towards our women and families with the leadership, interest, and concerned love that they so desperately want and need.  Recently I came across an article that reinforces this view, particularly in regard to emotional engagement.  It’s entitled, “Why Women Leave Men.” Women file for divorce twice as often as men and this article explores their major reasons. It’s definitely worth the read.


This small booklet looks at the gift of tongues in the Bible and examines its nature and purpose.


Random Origin of Life is Impossible

This drawing depicts the interior of a plant cell.  The green structures are chloroplasts. Continue reading