Divine DecreeIn numerous passages throughout the Bible, there are places where Scripture speaks of God’s “purpose” (Acts 4:28), His “plan” (Ps 33:11; Acts 2:23), His “counsel” (Eph 1:11), “good pleasure” (Isa 46:10), or “will” (Eph 1:5). In one way or another, each of these designations refer to what theologians call God’s decree. The Westminster Confession famously characterizes describes God’s decree as follows: “God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass.”

So in those instances where Scripture speaks of God’s purpose, plan, counsel, pleasure, or will, these passages are referring to the divine decree by which God, before the creation of time, determined to bring about all things that were to happen in time. John Piper, summarizing God’s decree, says, “He has designed from all eternity, and is infallibly forming, with every event, a magnificent mosaic of redemptive history” (Desiring God, 40). This helpful summary presents three characteristics of God’s decree that succinctly encapsulate the teaching of Scripture: God’s decree is eternal, immutable, and exhaustive.

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God wanted him to be a Lobo.

I’m sure you’ve heard of the NFL theological conundrum: if prayer works, and two opposing teams pray for victory, who will win?

Here is a variation of the question: In a game against the Steelers, Green Bay Packer’s receiver Jordy Nelson tore his ACL. After the game he made headlines when he told a reporter that in a regular season game he would have just rubbed dirt on it, but since it was pre-season he left the game, and now is likely out for much of the season.

Enter the theological dilemma: Green Bay’s division rivals, the Detroit Lions, have a safety who unsafely commented on Nelson’s injury. Glover Quin said that in any injury God is at work, and that all things that happen, happen for a reason.   Continue Reading…

Question-About-Suffering1

blog.richmond.edu

One of my mentors used to wisely say, “We are either in a trial, about to enter a trial, or coming out of a trial.” Such is life under the weight of the Curse.

Since God’s people are called to be skilled relationally, this means that relating to people in suffering is going to comprise much of our relationships.

Here are a few reminders for Christians as we minister to others in their suffering:

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Like a premature unveiling of the picture of Dorian Gray, the hideous hypocrisy that lay discreetly stashed in the attic of AshleyMadison(dot)com’s online vault was unceremoniously exposed last week. scarlet letter

This outing of 28 million male and 5 million female adulterers has made a lot of people hot under the lipstick stained collar. Furtive liaisons that “weren’t hurting anybody” have now left a swathe of casualties in their wake. And now that their trust in the sanctity of Internet privacy has been shattered, these poor philanderers and home wreckers have to grow used to the scarlet letter on their reputation, now that everybody knows who they really are. What could they have done differently to avoid getting caught?

There is only one way to not get caught in adultery: don’t commit adultery.

Hebrews 4:13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

God’s observation of our lives has no blind spot.

But the Bible gives us practical wisdom on how to avoid committing adultery. Here are six suggestions from God’s word:

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team pink or team blue?
I can still remember the excitement I had as a father-to-be. I sat next to my wife during one of her pre-natal visits and our baby was finally far enough along for us to get our first glimpse of our bundle of joy. At last, with the help of ultrasound technology, we could decide whether to paint the room pink or blue and we could eliminate at least 50 percent of the names we were considering. Or could we? Continue Reading…

This is the week where new seminary students report for duty—two hundred new students start at The Master’s Seminary in Los Angeles (and five at our Washington DC campus!), and as a pastor I watch new students leave for seminary every year.

Here is the advice I give them:    Continue Reading…

One of the hardest things about working with college students is growing in friendship with them over a summer only to watch i hate goodbyesthem leave for school come August. After unsuccessfully trying to convince them to stick around and attend the local college, the only thing left to do is to do my best to equip them to be able to thrive while they are away. So here are five prerequisites to have success in college.

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In light of the Supreme Court’s decision earlier this summer, here are six articles from The Master’s Seminary Journal that address the issue of homosexuality from a biblical perspective.

1. God’s Word on Homosexuality: The Truth about Sin and the Reality of Forgiveness

Abstract: Through following a distorted meaning of “love,” some in the present day have condoned homosexual practice, without realizing that biblical love excludes homosexuality because of its sinfulness. Christians can best share the gospel with homosexuals by calling their lifestyle what the Bible calls it—sin. Genesis 1–2, Matthew 19, and Ephesians 5 describe clearly the way that God has instituted marriage as a monogamous, heterosexual relationship. Genesis 19, Jude 7, and 2 Peter 2 illustrate how the Fall almost immediately eroded the purity of human sexuality, including a devastation of the divine institution of marriage. Leviticus 18 and 20 and Romans 1 lay out very plainly God’s instructions about how repulsive homosexuality is in God’s sight. Yet Isaiah 56 and 1 Corinthians 6 make plain God’s plan for homosexuals to find freedom and forgiveness through a life-changing faith in Jesus Christ. The door is wide open for homosexuals and lesbians to accept God’s invitation.

 

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There is no Workaholics Anonymous. Why would there be? Overwork isn’t a hamartia in our society’s currency-lubed, prestige based, multitasking rat race.

Gambling, pornography, cocaine, booze, and most other addictions carry a stigma of shame associated with weakness or dysfunction. But for some reason the caffeinated crew of interns at work broadcast their exhaustion with feigned self deprecating whines of “Sorry I’m so spaced today. It’s because I pulled three all-nighters and haven’t had a day off since the Blackberry was invented.”

Everyone in a cubicle thinks he’s Jack Bauer. Is it possible your job isn’t important enough to global stability to warrant the hours you put in? If that suggestion prickles your pride, then perhaps your dedication to the corporate fiefdom isn’t as noble as you make it out to be.jack_bauer_productivity

I don’t have a definition for what constitutes too much work, but we all know people whose lives are affected detrimentally by their workload. If, thanks to work, your family is disintegrating, your health is deteriorating, and time for God’s priorities (e.g. attending and serving in church) is disappearing then your schedule is unbalanced.

One of the reasons God made Sabbath for mankind is so that we will rest from our labor regularly enough to worship him devotedly, and recuperate sufficiently to sustain a long, productive, God-centered life.

And the hubris of an overstuffed day planner isn’t limited to Silicon Valley Microserfs, Wall Street moneygrubbers, or medical residents. Students, housewives, and pastors all glory in the shame of their limitless spirit being more willing than their sleep deprived flesh.

As a seminoid I loved that the strong coffee for sale in the break room was labeled “Lazarus Blend.” We sported dark rings under our puffy eyes and disheveled clothing (who has time to iron), and if someone remarked, “You look like death!” that was a compliment.

 

Here are five possible reasons for overworking:

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August 13, 2015

Q & Eh?

by Lyndon Unger

Welcome to our weekly Q & A.  This is the part of the show where we dig into the mailbag and answer questions from our viewers at home.

No wait.

I’m thinking of my local cable access crochet show: Hook, Line, and Thinker.  It’s my show where I discuss various theological issues while crocheting interesting toques.

Bane Mask

THIS is the Cripplegate, so it’s our first ever (and possibly last, depending on how this goes) “Q & Eh?”

This is where readers ask the Canadian contributor questions (via FaceBook) and he answers them.  The following four questions were selected based on the number of positive votes they received.  Seeing that I forgot to limit the contest to one question per person, I’ll tackle the four winners.  Also, knowing that many people were hoping for a silly answer to these (mostly) silly questions, I’ll provide a silly answer first and then a more serious answer after that.  Let’s get started. Continue Reading…