Author: Lance Ralston

Introduction In Part 1 we took a look at Meticulous or Hard Determinism and the way it casts God as a moral monster. In Part 2 we will consider a couple more troubling doctrines of Calvinism, then turn to consider a more Biblically consistent view of God’s sovereignty. Double-Predestination We ended Part 1 with this from John Calvin . . . . . . how foolish and frail is the support of divine justice afforded by the suggestion that evils come to be, not by His will but by His permission. . . . It is a quite frivolous refuge to say that God otiosely permits them, when Scripture shows Him not only willing, but the author of them. . . . Who does not tremble at these judgments with which God works in the hearts of even the wicked whatever He will, rewarding them nonetheless according to desert? Again it is quite clear...

Introduction This is an appeal to those attracted to a movement going by several titles, predominantly The Resurgence and Neo-Calvinism. The more traditional title is Reformed Theology. Its popular contemporary proponents are voices like RC Sproul, John Piper and James White. These and others have inspired a growing number of popular bloggers and podcasters spreading the Reformed brand. The movement’s well-known advocates are intelligent and well-spoken advocates whose influence is persuasive. The following appeal is a cautious attempt to ask those being drawn into The Resurgence to make sure they realize what they are buying into when they embrace Reformed Theology. Are you ready to intellectually embrace what Calvinism really says about God? A word of caution is needed in regard to what follows. While attempting to avoid inflammatory words and contentious phrases, there is going to be some strong challenges to the basic tenets of Calvinism. They are strong only because...

[What follows is an edited transcript of today’s (August 24, 2017) “the Briefing” with Al Mohler. Not much commentary is needed. Be aware of how far Statism has progressed in the United States.] CBS News //  Sacramento, California // “The Rocklin Academy school board is facing tough questions from parents concerned over a controversial incident involving transgender discussions inside a kindergarten class.” The story can be summarized in this: A transgender reveal of a student in a kindergarten class in a charter school in Sacramento. There are two issues. 1) A school sponsored lessons for kindergartners including a gender reveal having to do with five-year-olds. 2) Parents were not told this was going to happen. They were intentionally not told, and furthermore, they are not going to be told, according to those who are making the policies. A parent said, “My daughter came home crying and shaking so afraid she could turn into a boy.” The...

Progressive Regressive Christianity What goes around, comes around. What’s coming round now is a resurgent liberalism that aims to accommodate Christianity to contemporary society and the moral revolution that’s virtually swept Western Civilization into its camp. That moral revolution has its ideological roots in the Enlightenment but surged out of its hothouse of the academic elite, where it gained a hegemony until it emerged in the 60’s to become a pervasive social movement. Moving co-tangent with the radicals of the moral and sexual revolution of the 60’s was a resurgent interest in Christianity that breathed new life into a moribund church. The Jesus People Movement was a genuine revival that renewed thousands of churches and birthed new fellowships that stripped the Church of empty rituals in favor of a deeply held faith in Jesus as personal Savior. One of the marks of this resurgent Evangelicalism was a return to the Reformation belief...

Once again controversy rages over a film. This time, a beloved children’s classic, Beauty & the Beast. Disney Studios live action film “updates” the tale with some, what they consider, socially-conscious editing by including a nod to a same-sex attraction for one of the characters. And many parents are now second-guessing taking their kids to see it. The call for protests and boycotts has been renewed. Before we fall into step with James and John asking Jesus if He wanted them to call down fire, let’s take a breath and think this through. Of course Disney is going to make movie expressing a secular worldview. What else are we to expect from them? It’s not governed by a Biblical worldview. Why then do we show shock and outrage when they fail to produce films reflecting their, rather than our, moral philosophy? What’s true of Disney, is true of most other media outlets,...

44 years ago, on Jan. 22, 1973, the US Supreme Court rendered the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion on demand in all 50 States. The companion case to Roe was Doe v. Bolton, which made abortion legal through all 3 trimesters; meaning a mother could drive to an abortion clinic on the day she was scheduled to deliver to "terminate her pregnancy", instead of to a hospital to deliver her child. We decry those Germans who turned a blind eye to the Holocaust. Should the Lord tarry, some future generation will likely hold a similar opinion of those who ignore the holocaust taking place in our time and place. Over 59 million unborn children have now been killed by abortion in the US since Roe, dwarfing the Nazi Holocaust. I need to state this unequivocally so those who disagree, understand the ground I stand on in this issue: Abortion on demand...

What follows is an excerpt from Newell's commentary on Romans. Enjoy . . . The Nature of Grace Grace is God acting freely, according to His own nature as Love; with no promises or obligations to fulfill; and acting of course, righteously ~ in view of the cross. Grace, therefore, is uncaused in the recipient: its cause lies wholly in the GIVER, in GOD. Grace, also is sovereign. Not having debts to pay, or fulfilled conditions on man's part to wait for, it can act toward whom, and how, it pleases. It can, and does, often, place the worst deservers in the highest favors. Grace cannot act where there is either desert or ability: Grace does not help ~ it is absolute, it does all. There being no cause in the creature why Grace should be shown, the creature must be brought off from trying to give cause to God for...

Organizations are notorious for producing Vision / Mission statements, then ignoring them. Many hours and much effort is expended producing them. But once the project is complete, they are printed up, encased behind glass in a nice frame, hung on a wall, and forgotten. We believe the Vision for CCO is a Spirit-inspired portrait of a better future; THE future He ordains us to move with purpose toward. Therefore, each year, we emphasize a specific part of our vision to intentionally pursue it. Over time, as we focus on the vision’s various components, we’ll move toward the reality that vision holds forth. As we approach the end of each calendar year, I seek God for fresh direction on what He wants us to focus on in the upcoming year. Most years, the Spirit directs us to some new component of the vision. Occasionally, we’re called to stay attuned to what the previous...

[The following is drawn from ideas articulated in the article “The Dilemma of Theistic Determinism” by Gunther Juncker in the Journal for Baptist Theology & Ministry, Fall 2015, Volume 12, Number 2] Theistic Determinism is technical verbiage for the idea prominent in Reformed Theology that God’s sovereignty is meticulous and controls everything. While the Bible is certainly clear that God is sovereign over His creation, the traditionalist understanding of His sovereignty means God ensures all things work out to the end He’s ordained. It doesn’t mean everything that happens is His immediate and direct will. Classic Calvinism and the position of Reformed Theology is that God’s sovereignty is meticulous; that is, everything that happens is God’s direct will and that He is in fact causing what happens. Theistic Determinism holds that what we deem as evil, is in fact caused directly by God. Understanding that this is a morally abhorrent position and...

Pastor Chuck Smith frequently referred to Ephesians 4 as a transformative passage for his ministry. He’d served for seventeen years as a pastor in a denomination where pastors were urged to be evangelists. After reading Ephesians 4:11-12, Chuck understood his role as a pastor needed to “equip the saints” which was best done by faithfully expositing the Word of God. Pastor Chuck’s application of that became the central theme around which Calvary Chapel grew. As he was fond of saying by way of a motto for our movement, “Simply teach the Bible, simply.” Hang on to that; we’ll come back to it later. Here we are, barely three years after Pastor Chuck’s passing, and the movement has fractured in two, I won’t say “competing”, but disparate groups; Calvary Chapel Association and Calvary Chapel Global Network. For brevity’s sake, we use the acronyms CCA and CCGN. Although neither group has at this stage...