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The Doctrine of Unconditional Election

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A. Arminian Position: God's election is based on man's foreseen faith. Before the foundation of the world, God chose certain individuals for salvation based on His foreseeing that they would, of their own free will, choose Christ.

B. Reformed Position: God's election is unconditional. God's choice of certain individuals for salvation was not based on any foreseen response of obedience on their part, but was based solely in His good and sovereign will.

C. Scriptural Support for the Reformed Position:

1. God has an elect people whom He has chosen to grant salvation.

  1. Deut.10:14 -1514 "Indeed heaven and the highest heavens belong to the Lord your God, also the earth with all that is in it.15"The Lord delighted only in your fathers, to love them; and He chose their descendants after them, you above all peoples, as it is this day.

  2. Matt.24:22 - 2422 "And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened.23 "Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There!' do not believe it.24 "For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.

  3. Matt.24:31 31 "And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

  4. John.6:37 - 39 37 "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.38 "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.39 "This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.

  5. John.6:65 - John.6:65 (NKJ)

  6. 65 And He said, "Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father."

  7. John.17:9 9"I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.

  8. Rom.8:28 - Rom.8:33 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?33 Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies.

  9. Rom.11:5 -5 Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

  10. Eph.1:4 - Eph.1:5 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,

  11. Eph.1:1111 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will,

  12. 1Thes.1:4 - 1Thes.1:5 4 knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God.5 For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.

  13. 1Thes.5:99 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,

  14. 2Thes.2:1313 But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth,

  15. 1Pet.1:1 - 1Pet.1:2 an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,2 elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.

  16. 1Pet.2:8 - 1Pet.2:9 8 and "A stone of stumbling And a rock of offense." They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

2.God's choice was not based upon any foreseen faith or good works.

  1. Deut.7:6 - Deut.7:86 "For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth.7 "The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples;8 "but because the Lord loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

  2. Rom.9:11 - 13 (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls),12 it was said to her, "The older shall serve the younger."13 As it is written, "Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated."

  3. Rom.9:1616 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.

  4. 1Cor.1:27 -29 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are,29 that no flesh should glory in His presence.

  5. 2Tim.1:9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,

3. Faith and good works are the result, not the ground of predestination.

  1. Acts.13:48 Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.

  2. Acts.18:27 And when he desired to cross to Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him; and when he arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace;

  3. Eph.1:12 -that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

  4. Eph.2:10 - For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

  5. Phil.1:29 - For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,

  6. Phil.2:12 - Phil.2:13 12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

  7. 1Thes.1:4-5 knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God.5 For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.

  8. 2Thes.2:13 - 14 13 But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth,14 to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

  9. 2Pet.1:5 - 11 5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge,6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness,7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble;11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

4. The Biblical term foreknew (Rom. 8:29) means to forelove to set regard upon, to know with a particular interest, delight, affection or action, to foreordain.

  1. Amos 3:2 - 2 "You only have I known of all the families of the earth; Therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities."

  2. Jer.1:5 5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations."

  3. Mat.7:22 "Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?'23 "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'

  4. 1Cor.8:3 But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him.

  5. 2Tim.2:19 Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: "The Lord knows those who are His," and, "Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity."

  6. 1Pet.1:20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you

D. Key Quotations

1. Westminster Confession of Faith III,5

Those of mankind that are predestined to life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to His eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel of good pleasure of His will, has chosen, in Christ, to everlasting glory, out of His mere free grace and love, without any foresight of faith, or good works, or Perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in the creature, as conditions, or causes moving Him thereunto; and all to the praise of His glorious grace.

Doctrine of the Perspicuity of Scripture

This doctrine of the perspicuity of Scripture
authority of the Holy Scripture,  for which it ought to be believed, and obeyed, depended not upon the testimony of any man, or church, but wholly upon God (who is truth itself) the author thereof:  and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God.
The authority of Scripture means that all the words in Scripoture are God's words in such a way that to disbelieve or disobey any word of Scripoture is to disbelieve or disobey God (Grudem)

The key to your our Bible Study will be steadiness. Many people begin with great enthusiasm and good intentions but relatively few make personal Bible Study a consistent, persistent, you-can't-make-me-quit part of their lives. Do what it takes to make it a life long habit. Perhaps at first that means not being too ambitious either in how often or how much you aim to cover in your study. Start slowly and build. Also, think carefully about when and where you do your study. Many like to do their Bible Study first thing in the morning. The main thing is to find a time and a place for regular, peaceful, undistracted time with your Lord.

I learned or I might say still learning, is by those who have already learned. (Learned that statement by Prof. Joe Chomms at Hyles Anderson of all places in 1978)  Then in 1982 at the Shepherd's Conference in Sun Valley CA  Grace Commuity Church.

First one needs to understand the doctrine of the This doctrine of the perspicuity of Scripture

How one may elicit the true sense of Scripture.

  1. The first rule is the most fundamental principle in hermeneutics, that is, Scripture interprets Scripture.

  2. Secondly,  we insists that the way to know the Scriptures is to have our minds opened by Christ.

  3. Thirdly, we  asserts that the Spirit is required for the understanding of the Scriptures.

  4. Not only is the truth of the Word made clear in our hearts by the Spirit, also  that truths are made known in the preaching. The former calls internal clarity, the latter  calls external clarity.

Doctrine of Total Depravity


A. Arminian Position: Man is spiritually sick. Fallen man was seriously affected by the fall but he still has the ability to choose spiritual good. He determines his eternal destiny by either accepting or rejecting God's mercies.

B. Reformed Position: Man is spiritually dead. Because of the fall, man has become spiritually dead, blind and deaf to the things of God and is therefore unable of himself to choose spiritual good and determine his own destiny.

C. Scriptural Support for the Reformed Position

1. The fall has resulted in spiritual death to all men.

  1. Gen.2:16 - And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat;17 "but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."

  2. Romans.5:12 - Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned

  3. Eph.2:1 - Eph.2:3 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

  4. Col.2:13 - Col.2:13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,

  5. 2. Fallen man is now blind and deaf to spiritual truth.

  6. Gen.6:5 - Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

  7. Gen.8:21 - And the Lord smelled a soothing aroma. Then the Lord said in His heart, "I will never again curse the ground for man's sake, although the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.

  8. Ecc.9:3 3 This is an evil in all that is done under the sun: that one thing happens to all. Truly the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil; madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead.

  9. Jer.17:9 - "The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?

  10. Mark.7:21 "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,22 "thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.23 "All these evil things come from within and defile a man."

  11. 3.Fallen man is now under the control of Satan and in bondage to sin

  12. John.8:44 "You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.

  13. Eph.2:1-2 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience

  14. 2Tim.2:25-26 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth,26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.

  15. 1John.3:10 -10 In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.

  16. 1John.5:19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.

  17. Rom.6:20 - For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.

  18. Titus.3:3 - For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.

4. Fallen man, left in his dead state, is totally unable to repent, to believe the gospel, or to come to Christ.

John.6:44 "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. [Note: The word here translated draws is translated as drags in other passages, such as John 21:11, Acts 21:30, and Acts 16:19.]

  1. John.6:65 - And He said, "Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father."

  2. Rom.3:9 What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin.10 As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one;11 There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God.12 They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one."

  3. Rom.8:7 -8 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

  4. 1Cor.2:14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

D. Key Quotations

1.Westminster Confession of Faith IX,3

Man by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation; so as a natural man, being altogether averse from good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto.

Doctrine of Grace Links

Doctrines of Grace
To know the doctrine of Sola Gratia we we obviously cannot avoid drinking up the beautiful doctrines of grace which are mediated to us from Christ through the Holy Spirit..  The acrostic TULIP best express Reformed soteriology:  These are, total depravity, unconditional election, definite (limited) atonement, irresistible grace, and perseverance of the saints.  All Christians should get to know these because after you understand them you will realize that these truths really speak to the fact God saves sinners by the grace of Jesus Christ alone. We do not want anyone to simply embrace a system, but so that we glorify God in Jesus Christ by ascribing all to Him in our salvation. A good place to begin learning more about the doctrines of grace is ‘Putting Amazing Back into Grace’ by Michael Horton.  We also can't emphasize enough how much practical help the book 'When Grace Comes Home: How the Doctrines of Grace Change Your Lifeby Terry Johnson is. Get this book if you want to know and understand the nitty gritty of how the doctrines of grace relate practically to everyday living. For those who want a great overview and prefer reading less, I highly recommend this great DVD of high production quality: ‘Amazing Grace: The History & Theology of CALVINISM.  For the most thoroughgoing exposition of the atonement make sure you get John Owen's classic, 'The Death of Death in the Death of Christ'. Particular redemption is brilliantly argued here. 
The Sovereignty of God in Election and All Things
According to the Scriptures, God chose in Christ those whom He would redeem, before the foundation of the earth. (Jn. 17:9; 2 Tim. 1-9-10, Eph. 1:3-14; 2 Thess. 2:13-14; ) Elaborating on this there is some fine literature out there;  A.W. Pink's 'The Sovereignty of God’ seems to stand the test of time and may be considered a classic. For a contemporary look at the doctrine of election we highly recommend Chosen For Life: The Case for Divine Election by Sam Storms which is really a helpful book on the topic. 'Still Sovereign: Contemporary Perspectives on Election, Foreknowledge, and Grace' brings together many of today’s best Reformed scholars and continues to affirm that salvation of the Lord alone. Many essays on various topics related to grace.  Another excellent treatment is Gordon Clark’s ‘Predestination’ and the 'The Reign of Grace' by Abraham Booth (a Classic). Loraine Boettner’s 'Reformed Doctrine of Predestination' has been extremely helpful to many.  Furthermore, I want to recommend one of today's clearest thinkers with regard to God's sovereignty and compatibilism: John Frame's 'The Doctrine of God'. The book is irenic toward its opponents but it utterly lays bare and demolishes arguments for libertarian free will theism.

Sola Gratis (Grace Alone)

Sola Gratia (Grace Alone)

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Central to understanding the Bible and possibly the most neglected doctrine in evangelicalism is the doctrine of grace alone. This and Solus Christus (Christ Alone) give us the heartbeat of the Reformed faith. Luther, Calvin and the other Reformers understood this to be the pivotal doctrine of the Reformation. The term allows only grace to be the active power in justification and leaves nothing to the human will or to human works.

Synergism (synergismus), or cooperation between man and God, is therefore effectively ruled out of the initial work of salvation. Even faith (fides) itself springs from the grace of Christ and cannot be considered as the result of human effort.

These Reformers taught that sinners are not free to choose but are completely captive to their sin…nothing precedes the grace and work of the Holy Spirit.

Reformation Scholar Michael Haykin says, "it is wrong to suppose that the doctrine of Justification by faith alone, that storm center of the Reformation, was the crucial question in the minds of such theologians as Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, Martin Bucer, and John Calvin.


This doctrine was important to the Reformers because it helped to express and to safeguard their answer to another, more vital, question, namely,

whether sinners are wholly helpless in their sin, and whether God is to be thought of as saving them by free, unconditional, invincible grace, not only justifying them for Christ’s sake when they come to faith, but also raising them from the death of sin by His quickening Spirit in order to bring them to faith."

With this very thing in mind,

Martin Luther believed that his Bondage of the Will was his greatest work and best expressed the theology of the Reformation.

You will chuckle at Luther's descriptions of his theological opponents but the arguments require some deep thinking.

Jonathan Edward’s Freedom of the Will is considered his greatest work but I would only recommend it to advanced students of the Word.

R.C. Sproul’s 'Willing to Believe: The Controversy over Free Will' is a better introduction for lay readers.

John Owen's book 'The Holy Spirit' is up there with some of the best books we have ever read on the sovereign work of the Spirit in salvation. We cannot stress how important the topics of free will, grace and the Holy Spirit is to recovering the gospel and facing up to the current crisis in evangelicalism.

Integral to this is its belief that "man's primary purpose is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever."

As affirmed in the beginning of the 'The Westminster Confession of Faith’. Glorify God also means that we need to know him. I am always struck by the ease at which so many evangelicals say we don’t need to know theology, we just need Jesus. Well would you say the same thing about your wife or husband. I don’t really want to know about him/her, I just need him in a generic sense. Can we love those who we don’t want to know anything about? J.I. Packer really helps us here with his classic 'Knowing God' which, to my amazement, even some who reject the Reformed faith love. I would also heartily recommend the Puritan Thomas Watson’s 16th Century classic, ‘A Body of Divinity’.

Reformation Theology Reading Guide Links

Reformed Linksbibile study e-swordlogo.gif

These links are Reformed theologically. If you're interested in other perspectives or sites that are Calvinist but not necessarily Reformed, try Other Christian Links.

Calvinism explained well a little

Common complaint amongst non-Calvinist: "They (Calvinist) quote more reformers than they do the Bible" Calvinism fellowship Debate and Discussion Group

I would say this is rather valid.
How can we change this?

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Calvin, Warfield, Spurgeon, and Edwards,

I think there are two things at play here that may cause that perception. First, often, the Reformers expressed things better than I can, and I don't want to take credit for what someone else said. Hence, I say "Calvin put it well when he said..." or something to that effect. However, sometimes, I am just being lazy and not thinking their thoughts after them, but simply accepting what they say because I trust them. It is hard work to read from someone, look up all the references, do word studies, context evaluations, etc. Sometimes, we just get lazy and don't do it. This is the legitimate part of the complaint, in my opinion.

It's not our fault they are willfully ignorant of church history and misunderstand sola scriptura. That said, we can ask them why they don't do the same and get into their unbiblical presuppositions

we believe in sola scriptura not solo scriptura. We do not hold to private interpretation in isolation from the church.

Reformed scholastic also requires historical evidence of practice and doctrine. If it's correct you should be able to evidence it from the history of the church.

There seems to be a general misunderstanding of sola scriptura and Reformed Scholasticism here.

It is because the quotes posted reflect the truth of scripture. For that matter why say any other words than read the bible. The words spoken by the reformers are rooted in the bible. Why do we go to church and listen to a sermon whether it is 30 min. old or 500 years old it still is man's response and proclamation of the scriptures. I see in Arminian churches scriptures quoted yet the context completely distorted and missing the point altogether. What would be better to speak a truth about the scriptures using your own language or speak a verse of the bible implying wrong and improper context? I don't know how many times I speak to people and they say "my pastor said". Regardless this happens it is the content that matters. If a bible verse "all things are possible" on a baseball shirt and a quote like " A man who is really saved by grace does not need to be told that he is under solemn obligations to serve Christ. The new life within him tells him that .-Spurgeon" If these are my options I am going with the quote over the bible verse out of context. In our culture many bible verses if quoted in itself are accepted to mean whatever one feels. Phil 4:13 for Holyfield, Curry, Jeremiah 29:11 etc.

While I understand your frustration with uninformed or underinformed people, or those who are fooled by Scripture taken out of context, it doesn't change the fact the God's Word is inerrant, and even well schooled men are not. While we have much to gain from the "doctors of the church" and I think we'd be foolish not to learn from them, I understand the frustration that folks feel when they say, "Prove it, prove your stance," and all they get in return is people quoting men or people quoting confessions, when what they really want is Scripture to back your claim. In other words, they want what God said on the subject. The doctors of the church based their beliefs on Scripture, not some other men's words. Ultimately, God's Word is what counts in the end. (Matthew 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33)

Gods word will stand amen. But I think the problem is the suggestion is as someone said above "There seems to be a general misunderstanding of sola scriptura and Reformed Scholasticism here." I guess the accusation is those who quote the Reformers are doing so above the scriptures. If that's the argument then it's a poor argument lumping some with the rest. If it's we shouldn't quote the Reformers then we shouldn't quote anyone or listen to any preacher speak unless he is just reading the Bible. I don't know anyone who is Reformed and doesn't use the scriptures as their foundation of their faith and theology. So i don't get the accusation thinking Reformed believers hold Reformers equal with scripture. That is why I quoted the verses AMD Reformed people too. I just don't get how quoting someone staring a great truth insuates a claim that I don't hold to sola scriptura. The statement can be said of anyone in that case and that was my point in the post you replied to. Gods word is ALL that counts in the end.

That does not mean we hold those quotes as inspired just encouragement to the realities of the scriptures

think there are two things at play here that may cause that perception. First, often, the Reformers expressed things better than I can, and I don't want to take credit for what someone else said. Hence, I say "Calvin put it well when he said..." or something to that effect. However, sometimes, I am just being lazy and not thinking their thoughts after them, but simply accepting what they say because I trust them. It is hard work to read from someone, look up all the references, do word studies, context evaluations, etc. Sometimes, we just get lazy and don't do it. This is the legitimate part of the complaint, in my opinion.

Soul-winning is the chief business of the Christian minister;

indeed, it should be the main pursuit of every true believer. We each should say with Simon Peter, "I'm going fishing," and with Paul our aim should be, "That I may somehow save some of them."

What Soul winning is not:

We do not regard it to be soul-winning to steal members out of churches already established

we do not consider soul-winning to be accomplished by hurriedly inscribing more names on our church roll in order to show greater numbers at the end of the year

Do not consider that soul-winning is or can be secured by the multiplication of baptisms and the swelling of the size of your church

Nor is it soul-winning merely to create excitement

Nor is soul winning a one shot evangelism

What is the real winning of a soul for God?

What are the processes by which a soul is led to God and to salvation?

Instruction: I take it that one of its main facets consists in instructing a man that he may know the truth of God. Teaching begins the work and continues with it to the very end of the new Christian's life. So, if we don't teach men something, we can shout all day, "Believe! Believe! Believe!" but what are they to believe?

Impression: , to win a soul it is necessary not only to instruct our hearer and make him to know the truth, but to impress him so that he may feel it.

Implanting: They must be quickened into a new life, and they must become new creatures in Christ Jesus. its essence lies in the implanting and the creation of a new principle within the man.

Regeneration, or the new birth, works a change in the whole nature of man, and, so far as we can judge, its essence lies in the implanting and the creation of a new principle within the man.

regeneration will be shown in conviction of sin.

true conversion may be known by the exhibition of a simple faith in Jesus Christ.

there must also be wholehearted repentance of sin.

proof of the conquest of a soul for Christ will be found in a real change of life.

There must be a harmony between the life and the profession.

we must also see true prayer, which is the vital breath of godliness.

There must also be a willingness to obey the Lord in all His commandments.

If the professed convert distinctly and deliberately declares that he knows his Lord's will but does not plan to obey it, you are not to pamper his presumption, but it is your duty to assure him that he is not saved

How You Can Take Head Knowledge to A Heart Applicationbibile study e-swordlogo.gif

Sometimes you get to share with someone an idea that they’ve never heard before. And that idea absolutely revolutionizes the way they think about themselves or others — or even God himself. Watching someone "get it" for the first time is exhilarating. Seeing the fruit in their lives is deeply rewarding. However, it’s also pretty rare. In most cases, it’s not some brilliant insight that people need; it’s the practice of actually applying the fundamentals they already know.

How do we go from the instruction of Proverbs 3:5, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding," to the personal affirmation of the writer of Psalms 56:3–4, "When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid"? In other words, how do we go from head knowledge to heart application? Here are five ways:

1. Have realistic expectations for the presence of both suffering and service in the Christian life.

The genuine application of God’s promises does not preclude the genuine experience of pain, fear, and sadness. There is no doubt that the gospel provides relief and rest from this fallen world (Romans 8), but there is just as little doubt that suffering exists as a part of God’s plan, not in spite of it (Romans 5:3–5). Too often we try to use the promises of God like a magic wand that can alleviate every hurt with a cursory read. When this approach fails, we blame ourselves (I do not deserve God’s goodness) or God (he isn’t actually good) or both.

But Paul is clear in both Romans 5 and 1 Thessalonians 4: Belief in God’s promises doesn’t shield us from pain but rather redeems it. The gospel tinges our pain with hope and thereby makes it more manageable, more purposeful — not nonexistent.

2. Even if it feels half-hearted at first, commit to daily prayer and Bible reading, as well as weekly participation in gathered worship.

The less we are in God’s word, the less the Bible will seem applicable to us. This reality seems like a no-brainer but like most appetites (food, sleep, recreation) our spiritual appetite can be dramatically affected by crisis. In the midst of pain, we’re tempted to ask the "Where is God in this?" question, but what we should ask is, "Where is my worship in this?" If we lose our appetite for the things of God, it should come as no surprise when we do not feel God’s presence in our lives. Regular scriptural intake and worship are every bit as vital as sleep, exercise, and diet (Matthew 4:4).

Study of the Old Testament

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Any persistent student of Scripture soon stumbles on the problem of the relationship between the Old and New Testaments. The confusion springs from several key differences between them.

First, the scope of the testaments differs considerably. The former covers roughly a millennium and half of redemptive history (not counting the hazy period before Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) and involves a multitude of characters living in different periods and locations around the ancient Near East. The latter covers a time period spanning less than a century and involving a relatively limited cast of characters.

Second, the form of the two testaments differs greatly. The Old exhibits texts comprising diverse genres ranging from poetry to legal code, from historical narrative to apocalyptic vision, while the New is comprised primarily of a historically unique genre called "Gospel" and a list of letters, at least one of which includes an extensive apocalyptic section.

Third, the message of the two testaments seems divergent. The Old encodes the prehistory and history of an ethnic—not to mention geopolitical—entity called Israel, including its constitutional documents and great orators, while the New describes the life and times of a singular individual and the followers he commissioned to proclaim his message of salvation.


Helpful Paradigm

As an Old Testament professor I often get asked, "How does the Old Testament relate to the New?" Here’s an analogy I like to give in response: The Old Testament is the blueprint; the New Testament is the building.

Before you build, you need a blueprint. The blueprint explains exactly how the building will be built. It shows you the wiring, the framing, the joists, the rooms, the floorplans. But once the building is built you don’t throw out the blueprint; you keep it around since it shows you the inner-workings. Anyone who’s renovated a home knows the value of the blueprint. You need to know where the wiring is laid, where the load-bearing walls are located, where the stairways and exits can be found in case of emergency. It’s hard to locate these things when you’re looking at the building. The blueprint is of utmost importance, but no one would say the blueprint is the building.

The blueprint explains the building. If someone asks to see the building before it’s built, you take them to the blueprint. Once the building is completed, however, you take them to the building itself.

The same is true with the New Testament. The New Testament is the edifice to which the Old Testament inevitably points and undoubtedly explains. The covenants, their signs, and the revelation that attends them anticipate Jesus and his kingdom. Indeed, they have little meaning without their fulfillment in Christ.

Four Benefits

Here are four further reasons why I think this is a useful analogy.

1. The blueprint relates to the building in an organic, interrelated way.

The relationship between the Old and New Testaments is similarly one of organic development from anticipation, shadow, type, copy (or what we might call plan, form, design, profile) to reality, fulfillment, substance, actuality.

The curtain of the Old Testament closes on the people of God waiting for a litany of end-time promises. The New Testament opens with how the fulfillment of those promises are being inaugurated in Christ. When John the Baptist quotes Isaiah 40, he’s saying the restoration is finally happening. When Matthew quotes Isaiah 9 in relation to the northern kingdom, he’s doing the same. In other words, Jesus and the apostles are not starting a new religion. They are interpreting the Old Testament in light of the person and work of Jesus. Just as you cannot separate the blueprint from the building it describes, so you cannot separate the Old Testament from the New.

2. Understanding the building assumes understanding the blueprint.

The teaching of the Old Testament is assumed in the New. If you wish to understand virtually anything about Jesus’s life, death, resurrection, and significance for the world, you must flip back to the Old Testament.

For example, do you want to understand how Jesus is Christ (the Greek title referring to his role as Messiah)? No doubt his "Christhood" is one of the most common claims about him throughout the New Testament. Yet there’s little teaching about what the title "Christ" actually means. To grasp how Jesus is Christ, then, we must return to the Hebrew Scriptures and engage with its promises of a Davidic heir who would effect restoration from exile, restoring God’s people to their rightful place. The New Testament writers assume you already know what they’re talking about.

The examples are endless. Do you want to understand how Jesus is a prophet, or a priest, or a king, or a temple, or the true people of God? You can only discover what such titles and themes mean by reading the Old Testament. It is the blueprint for the kingdom of God, and Jesus is the building.

3. As the blueprint shows the building’s structural and ornamental aspects, the Old Testament relates to the New in a variety of ways.

On the one hand, there are load-bearing—that is, structural—walls. Themes like God’s presence, God’s holiness, God as a warrior, God’s requirement of righteousness, covenant, new creation, redemption from slavery/exile, grace, sacrifice, and sanctuary are crucial to an understanding of both testaments.

There are also themes we might call ornamental. These are more vague, allowing for a certain latitude in our understanding. The exact nature, role, and hierarchy of the angels, for example—and various aspects of the spiritual realm, for that matter—figure into the teaching of both testaments, but they often resist clear understanding.

The term "ornamental" does not mean unimportant. In Ephesians 6, Paul declares that the conflict of the Christian life is in fact spiritual, though it often wears carnal clothes. What we find in disciplines like demonology or angelology or in popular movies often stem from extrabiblical sources far removed from the teaching of redemptive history.

4. The building is not a distraction from the blueprint, but its proper purpose.

The revelation of Jesus does not establish a parallel path of redemptive history that runs alongside the work of redemption established in the Old Testament. There isn’t now one plan for those "in Christ" and another plan for ethnic Israel. All Old Testament roads lead to Christ. He is, after all, the Davidic heir, the true Israel, the better high priest, the righteous remnant, not to mention the one in whom the fullness of deity dwells bodily (Col. 2:9). He is the only hope for the new Israel—the children of the promise (Rom 9:8).

Uses and Limits of Analogy

No analogy yields a one-to-one relation to the thing it describes. If it did it’d be a copy, not an analogy. That said, sticky problems arise when we approach the relationship between the testaments, and word pictures can help.

I offer this blueprint/building analogy, then, as one that highlights not only the provisional nature of the Old Testament in relation to the New, but also their organic and progressive connection.

Scott Redd is president and associate professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. He is the author of Wholehearted: A Biblical Look at the Greatest Commandment and Personal Wealth (Institute for Faith, Work, & Economics, 2016).


Most Christians will at some point wrestle with doubts over the truthfulness of Scripture. This observation is generally uncontroversial. What inflames debate is how these doubts should be resolved. Do we bypass our intellectual struggles and treat them as unimportant or a sign of weak spirituality, or do we delve into apologetics and rigorous historical study in order to establish our faith once and for all? Or might there be another way?



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