My Impressions of “The Shack”

This is a list of what I liked and didn’t like about William P. Young’s book The Shack Continue reading

Is Faith the “gift” in Ephesians 2:8?

 

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; (Ephesians 2:8, NASB95)

Some Christians believe that the word “that” in Ephesians 2:8 refers to the word “faith” as its antecedent.  The following comments from various commentaries on the passage show that the Greek language does not support this.  Neither can the word “that” refer to “grace.”  Rather, the word “that” modifies the previously presented concept of “salvation.” Continue reading

Is regeneration by faith or is faith by regeneration?

What is regeneration?  The word means to be born again.  John 1:12 and John 3:6 indicate that this new birth is not physical but spiritual. Just as we were born into a physical family, we are born into a spiritual family and become children of God (John 1:12). This regeneration is accomplished by the work of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5), who was poured out upon us richly.  Regeneration seems also to be envisioned in the passages that refer to passing from death to life and being resurrected with Christ, although the term is not specifically used in these passages (John 3:33, John 5:24, Ephesians 2:1-10, Colossians 2:12-14).

Some pastors and teachers  teach that regeneration precedes faith and is necessary for it.  They believe that mankind is so fallen that his heart is unable to respond to the gospel or believe in Christ. They say that we must first be regenerated before we can believe. Some believe that regeneration and faith occur simultaneously and that regeneration is only logically prior to faith.  Others believe that regeneration often is temporally prior to faith.  Either way, they believe that regeneration is the condition and means of obtaining faith. Continue reading

Dead Men Can Believe!

What Does it Mean to be “Dead in Sin”?

I’ve often heard the argument, based on Ephesians 2:1-3 that since fallen man is dead in sin, he is incapable of seeking God, doing good, desiring God, responding to the call of God, or believing in Christ while in this dead state.  The argument is that man must first be regenerated before he is able to respond to the gospel and believe.  In the following points, I give my analysis of Ephesians 2:1-10 and its context and argue that Paul did not intend to use the “death” analogy in the sense of such total disability, and that indeed, men must believe in order to be made alive.  Continue reading

Does 1 John 5:1 teach that faith is caused by regeneration?

The following is an evaluation of John Piper’s interpretation of 1 John 5:1

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. (1 John 5:1, ESV)

Commenting on 1 John 5:1, John Piper says, “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Son of God has been born of God.  This is crystal clear that the reason you believe is that you have been born of God, not the other way around.”[1]

I take Piper to mean that being born again is the cause of belief.  Piper also seems to be envisioning and emphasizing initial faith more than an ongoing confession of faith. Continue reading

Salvadorian Mission Trip Report

We are back from El Salvador. It was a wonderful time. Continue reading

Sanctification

David Bovenmyer

© Great Commission Churches, 2000, 2007, used by permission

What is sanctification and why should we study it?

The English word “sanctification” is derived from the Latin sânctus, which means to consecrate or set apart. The New Testament Greek word, hagiasmos, has the same meaning. The Greek word family associated with this word is most often translated “sanctify, holy, consecrated, and saint.” In this paper, we will look at the sanctification process—the process by which God’s elect are set apart from the perversion and corruption of sin and set apart to God, to become His pure and spotless people.

Understanding the subject of sanctification is obviously of utmost importance, since God’s number one goal for believers is to make them holy and like Christ in character. Gaining an accurate understanding of sanctification is important not only for own personal growth, but also for our effectiveness in shepherding and building others. Continue reading

Emotions and the Heart

David Bovenmyer

© 2010, Great Commission Churches, Used  by Permission

“You are going through the motions, but you’re heart is not with me.”  These or similar words tumbled from my wife’s mouth while tears started to form in her eyes.  We were on one of our weekly dates, our designated times for planning, prayer, and connection with each other.

“Oh, man, I’m busted, and she is not happy” I thought.  I knew I should be interested and involved in the conversation, and part of me wanted this, but I found my thoughts wandering and my emotions drifting toward frustration and grumpiness.  Continue reading

An Evaluation of the Prosperity Gospel

David Bovenmyer

Copyright 2000, 2007 Great Commission Churches, Used by Permission

What is the prosperity gospel?

Prosperity theology is not confined to a denomination or a tradition, but is a many-faceted movement that has infiltrated much of modern-day Christianity, influencing primarily the charismatic movement, but also non-charismatic churches as well.  Continue reading

The Doctrine of Hell

David Bovenmyer
© Great Commission Churches, 2002, 2007, used by permission

A passage from Dante’s Inferno

On either hand a wide plain stretched, to show

A sight of torment, and most dismal woe.

At Arles, where the stagnant Rhone extends,

Or Pola, where the gulf Quarnero bends,

As with old tombs the plains are ridged, so here,

All sides, did rows of countless tombs appear,

But in more bitter a guise, for everywhere

Shone flames, that moved among them.

Every tomb

Stood open, white with heat. No craft requires

More heated metal than the crawling fires

Made hot the sides of those sad sepulchres; Continue reading