Archives For Clint Archer

AcquariThe sun was setting at about 7pm one balmy Summer day during the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. The stadium was emptying after a day of track and field events. The 20 mile marathon’s gold medal had been awarded about an hour earlier. Suddenly the sound police sirens caught everyone’s attention. They were clearing traffic for a lone figure to enter the stadium.

John Steven Acquari was the last runner in the marathon. Wearing the colors of Tanzania, he was grimacing in agony as he hobbled onto the track for the final 500 yards.

He had taken a serious fall in the race and had ripped a hamstring and badly grazed the skin off his legs. He was bleeding and cramping, but tenaciously shuffled around the field toward the finish line. The crowd quickly gathered to cheer him on. They were clapping and shouting encouragement to him as he finally collapsed over the finish line in sheer exhaustion and pain. After he had recovered somewhat a journalist asked him the question on everyone’s mind: “You were so seriously injured, why didn’t you just quit running?’

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iMagnetOne of the most graphic and disturbing war movies is Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan. Set during the Second World War, an American widow, Mrs Ryan, is informed that three of her four sons have been killed in action, during the Normandy invasion. The army decides to bring her youngest son home. They dispatch a platoon on a quest to locate and rescue Private Ryan.

The platoon of intrepid soldiers risk their necks, brave terrifying circumstances on this perilous mission, and several of them lose their lives in the effort to save his. But when they finally find Private Ryan and announce the good news that they have come to rescue him, they encounter the one obstacle they could not have anticipated: he refuses to come with them. He doesn’t think it’s fair for him to be saved while his compatriots are left behind. And so he “resists” the rescue.

Instead of removing him by force, they decide to fight alongside him to protect him where he is, until he changes his mind. {Spoiler alert…} In the process the valiant rescuers all die, failing their mission to save Private Ryan. *Sniff*

I hope I’m not being overly “relevant” to suggest that the film illustrates all that is wrong with the Arminian view. Jacobus Arminius taught that God’s saving grace could be resisted by an exercise of the free will of the person God extended his grace to. What the Bible teaches, on the other hand (and what John Calvin’s followers articulated in the “I” of the TULIP acrostic), is that when God’s invincible grace dispatches his Son to die for a sinner and his Spirit to save that soul, the mission of redemption will most certainly be accomplished. The grace of God is thus irresistible.

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LThe next installment of our little TULIP series on Calvinism is the big L.

This is the boogieman doctrine of Limited Atonement. What is the debate? The issues is usually phrased this way:  “For whom did Christ die, the whole world, or specifically for those who would believe?”

If option A, the whole world, then why are some people in Hell? if option B, only believers, what about the verses that talk about Jesus loving the world? You can see what even some Calvinists disavow this letter, leaving them as diminutive “four-pointers” whose gardens bloom with tu_ips.

Put another way, “Did Jesus die to potentially save everyone or did he die to actually save some?”

John Calvin articulated that the Bible teaches clearly that Christ’s death effectually accomplishes salvation for those he chose to save. His sparring partner Jacobus Arminius said Christ’s death potentially provides salvation for everyone, but not effectually for anyone. If you were to illustrate this on a napkin for someone you might try this…

CALVINISTS say: Salvation is a NARROW bridge to Heaven that gets only the elect there.

ARMINIANS say: Salvation is a WIDE bridge with everyone on it, but it goes only half way.

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Everyone who believes the Bible does believe in election. Ooh, them be fight’n words. Let me explain…

mug chose meThe Greek word for elect means chosen or called out from a group. Used eighteen times by six NT authors. Yes, even in the NIV. So it cannot be ignored or denied.  The debate pivots only on the matter of election being conditional or unconditional.

Arminians say ‘I owe my election to my faith.’

Calvinists say ‘I owe my faith to my election.’

One says God elects those who will believe. The other says God elects, so they will believe.

I’m not putting words in their mouths. In the Articles of Faith of the National Association of Freewill Baptists, Article 9 states:

God determined from the beginning to save all who should comply with the conditions of salvation. Hence by faith in Christ men become his elect.”

i.e., your salvation is conditional on your faith.

So, does God elect you and therefore give you faith that saves, or does he recognize those who have faith, and therefore elects to save them? These questions must be answered by God’s word.

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Hamlet is William Shakespeare’s psychological tour de force, which deals with some of the deepest philosophical and anthropological questions in life. What is man? Are we innately good, or evil? What drives us? What curbs us? What is the reason for us to be or not to be? These are the questions the pensive Danish prince Hamlet muses about throughout the haunting story.despicable me

The play touches on one of the enduring debates in psychology—whether humans are born with a good nature or an evil one.

Many popular Oprah-esque paradigms today surmise that the reason people do bad things– the reason for the crime rate, the genocide, the atrocities we see on the pages of history– is because people have been infected with evil by their environment. In fact, they warn that viewing yourself as innately evil is harmful to your self-esteem.

The solutions proffered to cleanse the human stain of violence and wickedness, is a concoction of better education systems, a more stable economy, improved healthcare and welfare for the poor, etc.

Basically if everyone were nourished, healthy, and literate, there would be a sharp decrease in war, crime, depression, stress, pollution, corruption, and foolish decisions that ruin the economy and individual lives.

And this is what Hamlet seems to feel early in the play, as he regales Rosencranz with these words:

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There are no new sins, only more diverse and efficient ways of committing them. Before we let the mainstream of 21st Century culture catch us in its current, let’s hit pause for a moment and get our bearings. Perhaps it’s time to swim against the information flow.

Here are four godly disciplines to pursue in 2014 that have taken on a unique significance in the last five to ten years.

1. Pluck the I out of your iPhone.

not invincibleThe advent of smart phones has introduced an unprecedented rate of interruption into our social interactions. Phones have made us selfish and inconsiderate in ways that used to be deemed boorish and uncultured.

Formerly, if someone walked up to you and began talking while you were already engaged in another conversation, that the person would be considered rude.

But this decade has made us feel rude for not replying instantly to any interruption that hails from our phone.

You know how frustrating it is to be halted mid-sentence by a text chime tone, only to have the person you were talking with treat the “What’s up?” ping as if it were a life-and-death enquiry. I understand if Jack Bauer asked me to hold my thought while he checked the text message from the President. But very few people work for CTU or are on call to intercept a terrorist attack.

Most people answer their phones for one reason only: they heard it “Ping.” How Pavlovian can you get?

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