Do All Babies Go to Heaven?

im_always_right_i_know_it_just_ask_me_embroidered_hat-p233634491112613347dq6q_400People are silly some times. As I’m finding out folks claiming some sort of faith in Christ aren’t in the minority here either. Because I’m the odd duck in that I’m a Reformed believer I get all kinds of ridicule and attempts at correction.

You know what else I’m learning? People who criticize those of us who believe in the Doctrines of Sovereign Grace don’t have a clue what reformed theology actually is.

That doesn’t stop folks from criticizing us though.

Yesterday a well meaning young fella informed me that he could never serve, worship or even choose a “god” that could send babies to hell. He also claimed that Martin Luther NEVER taught that infants go to hell.

His use of the word “choose” tells me he doesn’t have a hint of what Reformed Theology is. We don’t choose God He chooses us (John 6:44) and that’s what Reformed believers believe.

Did Martin Luther teach that babies can go to hell?

I don’t think folks truly understand the Reformers or what they taught and believed. Salvation by faith alone in Christ alone was the hill that men like Martin Luther and John Calvin were willing to die on.

Men like Martin Luther and John Calvin believed that men are drawn by God and the only way to salvation was by FAITH ALONE in CHRIST ALONE.

I don’t care how many “guarantees” one makes Martin Luther NEVER claimed anything different.

Did Martin Luther practice “infant baptism”? Sure he did. Did he believe baptism “saves” the one being baptized? No he did not and to imply such a thing would be wrong.

And babies? If they die do they all go to heaven?

This is above my pay grade. Like Luther and Calvin I believe in salvation by faith alone in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8). I believe this was a gift given to me by a choice God made about me at the beginning of time (Romans 8:29-30). I also trust God because he is good (Psalms 100:5), just (1 John 1:9), merciful (Deut 4:31), loving (1 John 4:8) forgiving (Isaiah 43:25-26) and most importantly, unlike man, He is never wrong (Job 34:12).

That’s what I believe….

This weeks Calvin’s Corner was a lot of fun to do. While we didn’t talk about where babies go when they die we did discuss the reaction by some of our Reformed Brethren who decided to play God with their very own Lambs Book of Life and actually claim that 21 Coptic Christians martyred by ISIS weren’t Christians. I’ll leave the player below or you can visit our Calvin’s Corner website and download the program.

Ten Lessons From the Book of Job

I try and read at least one Old Testament book per week. Sometimes I succeed-sometimes I fail but I really do try.

This past week I read the Book of Job. It’s not the first time I’ve read it-these are the ten lessons I learned from Job this week.

1). Folks who call Satan names need to have his or her head examined. While Satan is a defeated foe that defeat doesn’t happen until the end. Until then he’s alive and causing trouble.

2). Satan needs permission from God to wreak havoc in the believer’s life so please be careful who you attribute trials and tribulations to.

3). God can use anyone, even Satan himself, to bring glory to Himself. That’s true power.

4). God will never give a child of his more than he can handle…..and not matter what the circumstance He is worthy to be praised.

5). No matter what the trial or tribulation a true believer will never blame God and will always look inward first.

6). God doesn’t have to answer to anyone for what He does or doesn’t do.

7). Choose your friends wisely. When Job needed comfort all he got was criticism. When Job needed love what he got was a lecture.

8). Our responsibility to worship honor and obey God doesn’t stop when life isn’t going our way.

9). God is Sovereign and in complete control.

10). All true wisdom comes from above

What have you learned from the Book of Job?

On this weeks Calvin’s Corner I share my list of things I’m looking for in a Pastor with my co-host Pastor Michael Newnham.

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What I look for in a Pastor

 

Last week my good friend Michael Newnham wrote a blog post on his site about what Christians look for in a Pastor. Since this topic is near and dear to me I was interested in what others thought about this subject.

Here are the biblical requirements for the office of Pastor.

1 Timothy 3:1-7

This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

No, I haven’t flipped and gone King James Only it was what appeared when I opened up my E-Sword.

The requirements are stiff and for a reason; God didn’t want just anyone leading his flock of sheep so He made sure to leave a strict set of guidelines for us to follow.

The problem today, and probably an age old one, is that folks forget about the Good Book and what God really wants and do whatever they like.

When the Pastor falls or the sheep get trampled people shake their heads and wonder why. A simple look at the life alongside those requirements would probably eliminate much of this foolishness.

I think that’s why I’m so careful about where I worship and who I serve with. I’ve seen too many instances of folks getting carried away and acting more like Kings of a kingdom. I have no plans on paying tribute to anyone other than Jesus.

I’ve also seen plenty of folks get trampled and I don’t have any desire to get run over by anyone and especially not in a place where I’m there to serve.

So, I have a list of things I look for in a Pastor and on this weeks Calvin’s Corner I shared most of it with my co-host Pastor Michael Newnham. I’ll leave the player below otherwise use the link just above the player to download it to your portable listening device.

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Divine Revelation or God Told Me…..

I spent twelve years living in Greece and while I encountered many cultural differences that made life interesting one thing that NEVER happened to me was someone telling me “God told me” or “God told me to tell you”.

Divine revelation is a beautiful thing isn’t it?

I’m of the belief that God can do whatever He likes so I usually listen without trying to laugh because you never know, right?

My usual audible response to the “God told me to tell you” is to ask them “why doesn’t He just tell me himself rather than tell you”?

It’s reasonable, right?

Their response is always the same; “It’s because you aren’t listening”.

Hmmmmm. Now that is like a punch in the gut isn’t it?

So, it’s all about testing time for me (1John 4:1). As the text says plainly not all spirits are actually from God no matter what people think or say.

I had one guy always telling me “God told me” and how he “knew” things about, for example, my time in Greece that he couldn’t possibly know because “God told him”.

He never got around to actually telling me so not only did this fella have “divine revelation” but he and God were actually gossiping about me?

His “god” sounds more like Allah than the God of the Bible.

So one day I’m talking with this fella about the Cleveland Cavaliers guard Dion Waiters and I speculated he might be suffering from appendicitis. He immediately informed me that he “knew that” because “the Lord told me”.

Turns out Waiters was suffering from food poisoning. So either “god didn’t know” or “god lied”. No matter which is of no matter to me because nothing is hidden from the God of the Bible (Hebrews 4:16).

Whether these folks think they are speaking for God or not the moment they claim they received their instructions directly from God Himself, and the instruction, revelation or secret or whatever they’ve conjured up in their mind turns out false they become false prophets.

 Jeremiah 23:16

This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD.

And there you go. No diagnosis of their mental state necessary. No name calling or calling him out by name on a blog. Stop listening and keep it moving.

Pray too.

We didn’t talk about any of this on this weeks Calvin’s Corner. We did talk about “Deflate Gate”, “Sinners Prayers”, “Altar Calls” and whether either tradition is harmful or whatever. We also talked about the father of such traditions Charles Finney. I’ll leave the player below or you can download the program via the link underneath the player.

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TBN: The Vehicle for the Gospel!

Don’t let the title of this blog post fool you. I don’t believe for a second the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) is a vehicle of the gospel.

A friend of mine told me this the other day when I complained to him that nearly every preacher I have heard in Ohio speaks the same nonsense that you can hear twenty four hours a day on TBN. He claimed that I listen to all the wrong preachers.

He has no idea I gave five years of my life attempting to thwart their doctrines of devils through this blog. That I finally gave up because I was sick of these saintly people attempting to destroy me professionally, personally and financially.

He also has no idea that every false doctrine you can hear on TBN has been examined biblically and found wanting on this site.

Here we go again.

Let’s just say for the sake of argument that my friend is correct when he says that TBN is a vehicle for the Gospel. Let’s also say that my friend in as much admitted that I’m listening to all the wrong preachers. Logic follows that this vehicle (TBN) must then contain some false teachers and some good teachers of the Gospel.

Here’s the Gospel;

1 Corinthians 15:1-4

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,

 

I’m not suggesting that you watch TBN but look at this schedule for today January 7, 2015 and you tell me which teacher is going to preach the Gospel?

The Billy Graham Crusade should be ok and Greg Laurie is on at 10pm and if we are really lucky Franklin Graham might be alright but outside that all there is are flesh peddlers.

So, in twenty four hours of programming today we can get our flesh satisfied a hundred ways from Sunday and our spirit filled maybe one hour in a half and that’s if we are lucky.

That doesn’t sound like much of a vehicle for the gospel does it? It sounds more like the spare tire to me.

This weeks Calvin’s Corner was really interesting. Michael and I talked about the Reformed view of Baptism and we also discussed how we thought Martin Luther and John Calvin would respond to TBN and more importantly those who support it financially.

 

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The Saddest Altar Call I’ve Ever Seen!

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Anyone who has ever watched a Billy Graham Crusade has witnessed what is commonly referred to as an “altar call”. You know what I’m talking about, right? That endless stream of people walking/running or whatever to the front of the podium supposedly to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.

That’s what an altar call is. Billy Graham wasn’t the one that invented it; Anglican ministers were the ones who did that. Charles Finney is the one that made the altar call famous.

The other night I saw a minister utilize the “altar call” and a couple of people responded to his call to accept Jesus yet no one was waiting there to pray with the respondent

The minister brought enough people with him to listen to him preach pray with respondents yet no one stepped forward to do so.

Usually there is someone waiting for the respondent supposedly to “pray with them and welcome them to the Kingdom”.

Sometimes people go forward to have someone pray with them for a very special need and again there is usually someone there to actually pray with them.

In this case the minister stood off to the side smiling while whispering to one of the other guys who led the show   service but neither of them made any attempt to pray with either person.

Did I forget to mention an “altar call” can’t be found in the Good Book?

I’ve been guilty of this before and I’m sure some of you have either called for one or have taken part in one. That doesn’t make it right does it?

Praying with people publicly is biblical (James 5:14-15). If that was the reason for calling folks up there in the first place that would have been a good thing.

Having folks make a public profession of faith is also biblical (Romans 10:9). Neither of the two fellas coming forward made any type of public anything nor were they asked to.

They walked up their alone, knelt down alone, prayed alone and walked back to their seats alone.

Like I said it was a very sad altar call.

I don’t want to get into motives here but some have actually used the “altar call” as a sort of census or way to count how many folks got “saved” while they preached.

I can’t say that was the case here but I can’t say it wasn’t either.

Did I mention these altar calls aren’t in the Good Book?

I want to be generous and say the minister had the very best intentions when they asked folks to come forward. I’d like to say there may have been some mis-communication between the lead minister and his associate.

I also want a yacht but I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

The saddest part of all this is the message it sent. Christianity is meant to be done in community not in a vacuum.

No one from that community embraced either of those two fellas. They didn’t acknowledge them, shake their hand, nothing.

I didn’t pray with them either. That makes me just as culpable as they are.

Like I said it was the saddest altar call I ever saw.

Something that made me happy this week was recording Calvin’s Corner with my friend Pastor Michael Newnham. This week Michaels Minnesota Vikings beat my New York Jets in the first ever Calvin’s Corner Bowl, we talked about how we as Christians should respond to former Baltimore Raven Running Back Ray Rice, feuding over Eschatology and much more. I’ll leave the player below or you can use the link just above the player to download the program to your portable listening device.

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Calvin’s Corner #12: Finding Reconciliation in Ferguson Missouri

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Pastor Michael Newnham and Phil Naessens talk about Michaels book Make Your Own Application in the process of becoming an audio book, the situation in Ferguson Missouri and the guys discuss what they feel is the greatest threat to the American Church.

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