Dr Jeff Straub: “My Journey Toward Biblicism”

Comment: This is an excellent read. I commend it to you!

The Garden of Life

Nobody is really surprised to hear me called a “Calvinist.” I am neither offended nor embarrassed by the term, though I try to use it cautiously. Recently I was preaching at a church and a well-meaning brother asked me if I was a Calvinist. I hesitated to answer. What did he mean by the term? I know what the term means historically, but many people use it carelessly. I know what Steve means by it, though, and he and I are still friends.

Whatever label you apply to me, my understanding of God’s sovereignty in salvation has changed over the years. Since Steve has brought up this issue in public, it may interest you to know how I came to the beliefs that I now hold. Well, this is my story.

As a teenager, I was headed in a wayward direction. In my unbelieving home, I learned two things: how to have marital conflicts and how to consume alcohol. Thankfully, God in His grace drew me to Himself before those family influences could bear significant fruit in my life. I trusted Christ as a teenager and began to hear biblical preaching in my late teenage years. By the hand of God, I was directed to a good Bible college (where Steve and I first met on virtually the first day we both stepped onto the campus, almost thirty-four years ago!).

I studied the Bible and then entered ministry surrounded by an atmosphere in which Calvinism was considered heretical. I had no real reason to question that which I was taught. We heard warnings about crusading Calvinism. A local church was even put off limits to students because it allegedly taught Calvinism. I hardly paid attention to the debate. In college and in graduate school, we were told that we were “Biblicists,” which was supposed to mean that we stuck with the Bible alone, not with man-made systems. I was contented with this position. Indeed, I knew nothing else.

Read the full article here!

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The Worthy Walk (Ephesians 4:1-6)

This Wednesday’s lesson will be from Ephesians 4:1-6.

  1. The call to a worthy walk – 4:1, “I … beseech you to walk worthy”.
  2. The character of a worthy walk – 4:2-3, “with all lowliness and gentleness …”
  3. The cause of a worthy walk – 4:4-6, “There is .. one Spirit … one Lord … one Father”

This text is very rich and I trust that our study will be a blessing. In preparation, please read this section in multiple translations. You also may wish to consider the use of the word “walk” in Ephesians:

  1. Our former walk: “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” (Ephesians 2:2).
  2. Our ordained walk: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
  3. The call to a worthy walk: “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called” (Ephesians 4:1).
  4. Our distinct walk: “This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind” (Ephesians 4:17).
  5. Our imitative walk: “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma” (Ephesians 5:1,2).
  6. Our holy walk: “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8).
  7. Our careful walk: “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16).

Thoughts on “unsearchable”

Texts:

Romans 11:33, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” (NKJV).

Other translations:

  • NASB: “How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!”
  • ESV: “How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!”

Ephesians 3:8, “To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ” (NKJV)

Three lessons:

  1. God’s judgements (speaks of His judgement of sin) are “unsearchable” (Romans 11:33)
  2. His ways (speaks of His “course of conduct, manner of thinking & deciding”) are “unfathomable” (NASB) (Romans 11:33).
  3. The riches of His mercy are also “unsearchable” (Ephesians 3:8).

One has a choice: will that one someday experience the unfathomable judgement of God? Or will one through faith in Christ, experience forgiveness of sins and life everlasting and the unsearchable riches of the Savior: “that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:15).

Bowling photos

We had a fun time at the Sundance bowling lanes Saturday night. Thank you Sheila for organizing this!

Aaron and Deanna, you will be greatly missed. You are an example of godliness and service! God bless you as you move to Vermont next week :(.

John Zobel was the big winner at bowling and at air hockey. Kathee’s photos follow:

Meg posted photos here!