“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
1) Calvinism and the Old Testament (Don Wright)
2) Perish the Thought! (Dan S. Shipley)
3) Caring for Our Souls (video sermon, Tom Edwards)
4) News & Notes
Calvinism and the Old Testament
Most Bible believing people are familiar with Calvinism. If you are not, it is a doctrine that suggests that all human beings are born sinners because of the sin of Adam and Eve. Calvinists believe that the fall of Adam was the fall of all of mankind. It is interesting that they claim that we inherit Adam’s sin even though it was Eve who sinned first. Nevertheless, Calvinism teaches that man, as a result of the sin of Adam, is born totally depraved, unable to do anything good from a spiritual standpoint.
Total depravity is the T of the acronym TULIP, which sums up Calvinism. The rest of the TULIP is as follows: unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, and perseverance of the saints. Calvinism is taught by most churches that came out of the 16th century reformation movement, which makes up a large percentage of denominational churches today.
There are many scriptural problems with Calvinism, beginning with the fact that none of its tenets are taught in the New Testament. My personal observation is that, while the New Testament is a problem for Calvinism, the Old Testament might be an even bigger problem. To see this, we have to keep the first tenet of Calvinism in mind, which, as I stated above, is total depravity.
The doctrine of total depravity demands the conclusion that man is unable to hear the Word of God and believe it. In order for man to be saved, he must first receive an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, something that only God can provide, so that his heart is capable of believing in Jesus, or anything that is spiritually good.
First, let me say that this teaching of Calvinism is as anti-God as any doctrine an atheist could ever teach. It makes God an unloving, cruel, respecter of persons, Who purposely creates man in sin, and then condemns him to hell for not doing what he is incapable of doing in the first place. But, why is this a problem with the Old Testament? It is a problem because there are many Old Testament stories where individuals did good, even accomplishing the will of God, without any kind of outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Let us just take the story of Jonah for an example. Jonah was commissioned by God to go to the great city of Nineveh and preach to them (Jonah 1:2). Jonah did not want to do this; instead, he attempted to flee to Tarshish (Jonah 1:3). This is when the trouble for Jonah began because man cannot hide from God (Psalms 139:1-12). God caused a great wind upon the sea and a mighty tempest overtook the ship that was carrying Jonah to Tarshish (ver. 4). This ultimately led to Jonah being hurled into the sea and swallowed by a great fish (vers. 7-17). Inside the belly of this fish, Jonah prayed to the Lord and was delivered. The fish vomited him upon dry land (Jonah 2). Finally, Jonah goes to Nineveh to preach the word of the Lord to them (Jonah 3:1-3). It is how they responded to that preaching that is a refutation of Calvinism.
Jonah 3:4-5 (ESV)
4 Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” 5 And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them.
The Ninevites heard the Word of the Lord and believed it. There was no outpouring of the Holy Spirit. God did not work on their hearts miraculously. They were led to repentance by the simple preaching of the Word, the same way the people had their hearts pricked on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:36-37). Read the rest of the text in Jonah three, and it will be clear to you that these people believed God without divine help, except from the power of God’s Word. Ver. 10 is particularly damning to Calvinism.
Jonah 3:10 (ESV)
10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.
Do you see that? “God saw what they did.” God did not miraculously turn these people, they turned themselves from their evil ways. Clearly, they were not born totally depraved as Calvinism teaches. This is just one of many examples found in the Old Testament, showing people repenting without some special outpouring of the Spirit. If all of mankind fell with Adam, why is it only when we get to the New Testament era that people cannot believe in God without His miraculous help? The truth is, the story of Jonah and the response of the Ninevites to the preaching of the Word proves forever that Calvinism is untenable, for if man is not born totally depraved, the rest of the TULIP crumbles.
— Via Brown Street Beacon, June 6, 2020
Perish the Thought!
Dan S. Shipley
While visiting a local area hospital recently, I was amused at their curb-side signs which read: “Don’t Even THINK About Parking Here!” Such novel wording reveals an insight into human nature. When the motorist begins to contemplate leaving his car in a no parking zone, he is apt to think, “It’ll only be for a little while,” or “I’m in a hurry,” or “well, everyone else does it, why shouldn’t I?” Those who think thusly are likely to be found parked at the red curb. So, the admonition not to even think about it is appropriate — and not only for those tempted to park illegally.
Indeed, the Bible teaches of a serious correlation between our thinking and our temptations. “For out of the heart come forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, railings…” (Matthew 15:19). It is “from within” that all these evil things proceed and defile the man (Mark 7:21). As someone has observed, “What we sow in thought, we reap in deed.” How true! Thinking about it is the prelude to practically every sin committed. Like the motorist rationalizing about the no-parking zone, most find it easy to mentally “sell” themselves on their temptations — especially, after many weakening thought-rehearsals. What sinner has ever failed to find his own “extenuating circumstances” to minimize or excuse his sin? “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes” (Proverbs 21:2) — even when he does that which he knows to be wrong. Maybe he didn’t plan to be wrong, but then he didn’t plan NOT to either! This is not to say, of course, that all who have evil thoughts will necessarily involve themselves in evil deeds. It largely depends on what is done with the evil thought. If it is dismissed at once (“don’t even THINK about it”), it may do no harm. However, if it is nurtured, savored, and rehearsed, it is likely to find expression. As someone has said, “We can’t help it if birds fly overhead, but we need not let them build nests in our hair.” If we fail to control our thoughts, it is not likely that we will control our actions.
For this reason we need more teaching and preaching aimed at the HEART of ungodly conduct. True, evil deeds must be condemned, but we must not overlook the heart from which they are launched. If we can eliminate the hate we can eliminate the murder and countless lesser conflicts (1 John 3:15; Matthew 5:21-24). Handling lust at the beginning will prove an effective deterrent to fornication and adultery (Matthew 5:27-28). When we are able to remove envy, jealousy, and anxiety from the heart, we will have spared the world their troublesome manifestations — not to mention all the misery and heartache associated therewith. How much better off we would all be if we could just remember to not even think about such things! “Can’t help it” you say?
Peter evidently thought men could control their thinking. He encourages “girding up the loins of your mind” (1 Peter 1:13). Paul likewise admonishes “bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5) and to “think on these things” (Philippians 4:8). Can’t help it? Perish the thought!
Editor’s Note [Wayne Goff]: Dan Shipley was a gospel preacher from Texas who also was an avid golfer. Dan played football for SMU, and later became a gospel preacher associated with Robert F. Turner in the paper they published entitled “Plain Talk.” Dan was a humble man with many wonderful traits. He passed away in 2011 at the age of 82. He was also a personal friend of mine as we worshiped together in gospel meetings and played golf in East Texas. This article was published in July, 1981, but it is still perfectly appropriate today.
— Via Roanridge Reader, Volume 36 Issue 26, Page 3
Caring for Our Souls
To play the video sermon with the above title, just click on the following link while on the Internet:
News & Notes
Folks to keep in prayer:
Jeff Nuss has recently sustained serious injuries after being struck by a tractor-trailer that ran a red light. He has been hospitalized with broken ribs, brain bleed, bleeding of the spine, and is now also on a ventilator.
Let us continue to remember in prayer all the family and friends of Judy Daugherty (Jim Lively’s sister) who recently passed away.
Rex Hadley will probably continue in rehab for a total of 21 days.
Also for prayer: Rick Cuthbertson (cancer), Nell Teague (cancer), and Deborah Medlock (soon to have a device implanted to eliminate pain)
And our shut-ins: A.J. & Pat Joyner, Jim Lively, and Shirley Davis
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel — for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
2) Believe in the deity of Jesus Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins. For every accountable person has sinned (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10), which causes one to be spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23). Therefore, repentance of sin is necessary (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30). For whether the sin seems great or small, there will still be the same penalty for either (Matt. 12:36-37; 2 Cor. 5:10) — and even for a lie (Rev. 21:8).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21). This is the final step that puts one into Christ (Gal. 3:26-27). For from that baptism, one is then raised as a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17), having all sins forgiven and beginning a new life as a Christian (Rom. 6:3-4). For the one being baptized does so “through faith in the working of God” (Col. 2:12). In other words, believing that God will keep His word and forgive after one submits to these necessary steps. And now as a Christian, we then need to…
6) Continue in the faith by living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
We are currently meeting for only our Sunday 10 a.m. worship service each week, due to the coronavirus situation.
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
https://thomastedwards.com/go/all.htm/ (This link takes you to the older version of the Gospel Observer website, but with bulletins going back to March 4, 1990.)