Why don’t you recommend GOOD teachers for a change?

screen-shot-2016-10-03-at-10-35-39-amIt seems every other day we get a request to recommend “good” teachers. The request is either genuine: (“Can you help me find some solid pastors to listen to?”), or made with a generous side of snark: (“Oh yeah? You’re so busy bashing everyone, why don’t you recommend who you think is a good teacher for a change?”)

This is a good time to remind our readers why we are here and why we expose false teachings and name names. Because while we’d love to give you a long list of “safe” teachers, that would not be serving our audience well at all.

Mark 10:18Let’s first tackle what we don’t do:

Our work here is not to provide you with that list. We’re also not here to help you compare good teachers with bad teachers.  You should be comparing ALL teachers to God’s Word. His holy-breathed-out Scripture is the standard.  The Bereans in Acts 17:11 knew this, and Paul gushed with joy at their willingness to compare what he was saying to the prophecies. One more thing: We’re not here to “bash” leaders.  If it seems that way to you, then you are probably not used to having your favorite celebrity pastor’s teachings and actions held up to the light of Christ.

So why in the world are we here?

We exist to help Christians discern and equip themselves to keep themselves and their brothers and sisters from falling into deception. Our focus here at Berean Research has always been to give you the tools on our website to help you study these movements, and to encourage you to compare every teaching to scripture. We call these tools “White Papers,” which is another name for research papers. These contain easy-to-digest bullet points about what a movement or teaching entails, who the leaders are and how to compare counterfeits to the real Word of God. You can find a list of our White Papers on the right-hand side of our site, and we encourage you to share them with your church and your loved ones.

Our articles are meant to establish a pattern. If a teacher has been “off” in his or her doctrine, there’s a good chance it’s been happening for some time. You can use the search bar to type in a leader’s name to see if there is a pattern of red flags for further investigation and prayer.

Unfortunately these are dicey times for the visible Church, and we must warn you of the wolves in these treacherous times. As my dear friend Mary Danielsen recently shared, “this ain’t no time to be shallow:”

Christians need to know who these very influential high profile men are. And 100 more wolves. They need to know who not to read/follow. No one can find a solid church for another person, I know what I’m talking about. When I became a church assistant 20 years ago I could have recommended a solid church for those seeking in most markets. Two decades later I got nothing — except my own experience in my home church. One never knows when or if a church will go south doctrinally. No one has eyes and ears in each church and it’s high time sheep take responsibility for knowing who is who and how to recognize good teaching. Such a list of good teachers is now an impossibility. In these times, not only do wolves NEVER repent of their folly, but once solid churches often succumb to apostasy. It’s worse than you think out there and the only way to vet a church is attend and have a well-tuned radar and a deep and wide understanding of the Word. If you do not you are open to deception. This ain’t no time to be shallow.

So back to that list of “good” teachers. There are folks whose ministries do an excellent job of recommending people. Even though this is not our scope at Berean Research, I am happy to point you to writers like Michelle Lesley, who shares her recommendations for solid men and women of God HERE.

Finding solid teachers is your job, Christian. And we hope that it starts with the man behind your own pulpit. That’s whom you should be listening to. If your pastor isn’t serving up the meat of Scripture with a healthy portion of both Law and Grace in his Gospel sermons, then by all means seek out solid pastors for your listening and viewing nourishment. But please, Bereans, make an effort to seek the Bible to see if these things are truly solid. Many sites like ours have already done some of the heavy lifting for you. Now it’s time to exercise those Berean legs of yours and start discerning truth from counterfeit.  We’re here if you need help!

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47 Responses to Why don’t you recommend GOOD teachers for a change?

  1. Manny1962 October 3, 2016 at 11:33 am #

    At the end of the day, WE are responsible for what we allow into our minds! There is a reason why God sent the Holy Spirit to help the bride………… He knew in the last days trouble, strife and apostasy would try and derail the sheep! Before all fails, remember……we have the Holy Spirit to help us! In all things! That includes scripture understanding, discernment, and all concerns we have. Aren’t we worth more than sparrows? God is a lamp unto our feet, what we need to do is worry less, pray more and most of all turn your heart to trust God! If Christians would just read more of their bibles on a daily basis and pray, God promises He will lead us no matter what! Genuine pastors are getting harder and harder to find, don’t be surprised if in the very near future, men will have to be the pastors of their own households, while small home churches will be the norm.

  2. Michelle Lesley October 3, 2016 at 12:35 pm #

    Thanks for the shout out, Amy! This is a great article. It’s so important that we don’t just take someone else’s word for it about who’s sound and who’s not, but to compare everything to Scripture.

    I just wanted to add that I actually have 4 lists of recommended teachers (2 men, 2 women, all under 1 link right here: http://wp.me/P1qdEF-1Jb) and also that I keep an eye on the people on those lists. If one of them wanders off the reservation, he’s/she’s gone. I have a delete button and I’m not afraid to use it! :0)

    • Jackie October 3, 2016 at 2:56 pm #

      All Calvinists of course. Typical.

      • nannette October 3, 2016 at 3:39 pm #

        Jackie, I noticed that too!

        • Maggie October 3, 2016 at 7:24 pm #

          Jackie and Nannette:
          I don’t understand your bad reaction to Calvinists. There is a diversity of teaching in the Calvinist camp.

          • nannette October 4, 2016 at 7:25 am #

            Galatians 1:6-9

          • Sola Scriptura October 4, 2016 at 2:21 pm #

            Calvinism is false and murders the gospel. Sovereign election isn’t the power of God unto salvation…the gospel of Jesus Christ is. See Romans 1:16

    • Amy Spreeman October 4, 2016 at 9:16 am #

      Michelle, thank you for the updated link to those teachers. I will update this post accordingly!

  3. Edwitness October 3, 2016 at 1:35 pm #

    Amy,
    Where do you get the doctrine that the law and grace can go together? You said “If your pastor isn’t serving up the meat of Scripture with a healthy portion of both Law and Grace in his Gospel sermons, then by all means seek out solid pastors for your listening and viewing nourishment.”

    A Berean would shred that statement. The gospel by definition, as preached through Paul, excludes the law. Paul said that law and grace not only do not mix but, he said that when law and grace are mixed together the result is the person described in Romans 7. The “wretched man”. The man who can not do what he wants to and is always doing what he hates but can’t help because he still considers the law integral to his life in Christ. He said Israel, those who know the law, are delivered from the law by faith in Jesus. He also says that Jesus abolished the law.

    But, maybe I misunderstood you here. maybe you were referring to the fact that we need to know just exactly where the law fits in the Christian life. In that case you would be saying that pastors need to be teaching their listeners that the law has nothing to do with getting saved or as a matter of practice or even acknowledgement in the Christian’s life. And that the law was only ever given to Israel through Moses.has never been intended for the Christian to keep. I sure hope that is what you meant when you said that.

    Gal.2:21-“I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” Grace is not only for getting saved in the first place. It is also for continued life in Christ for the Christian. The law nullifies grace. Therefore, if we mix the law with grace then grace is no more grace.

    Rom.4:4-7- Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
    But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
    Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,
    Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.

    Also Rom.11:16- “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.”

    No. The law can have nothing to do with grace.

    Blessings:-}

    • Maggie October 3, 2016 at 7:08 pm #

      Edwitness:
      Does your understanding of Scripture originate from the Holiness Movement (from John Wesley) since you don’t accept the teaching of a fallen nature and (somehow) think that believers can live without sinning? I’m just trying to make sense of your theology.

      As an aside (I don’t want to debate this), I really appreciate hearing the teaching of both law and grace used in sermons. I learned a lot by listening to Pastor Chris Rosebrough discuss this at fightingforthefaith.com. He is a Lutheran pastor and apologist.

      • Edwitness October 4, 2016 at 12:19 am #

        No Maggie, It doesn’t originate with Wesley.

        The teaching of the law with grace is not the gospel Paul taught. His gospel was one of by grace through faith plus nothing. To whatever degree we allow the law into our salvation experience, it is to that extent that we will nullify God’s grace in our Christianity. Even to the extent that, like the RCC, we are not Christian at all. How much leaven does it take to leaven the whole lump? How much law till grace is nullified? Rom.7:1-7 will explain it. It says you can not have the law in your life and still have Jesus.

        And it is the scripture that says that these kept the law blameless, not me. Just sayin’.

        The sin nature doctrine is nowhere found in scripture. It is made from assumptions that this infers that, and this implies that. Never once do we find the scripture directly saying that man has a nature that is sinful or depraved. This is why I say it is based on assumptions.

        But, the biblical doctrine of salvation that I espouse comes from the understanding that man is natural as the bible teaches. Not evil or “depraved” as Calvin’s TULIP states. There are simply too many scriptures that support this fact to believe anything else. Such as 1Cor.15:45-50

        “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. (Adam was made a “living soul”)

        46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. (In the verse prior we learned Adam was made a “living soul”. And from this verse we learn that a “living soul” is “natural, not spiritual”)

        47 The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven.
        (Adam is of the earth)

        48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. (We find here that we are earthy just like Adam. And if we will be like Jesus we will be heavenly)

        49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. (We find here that as we now bear the “image” of Adam we will bear the image of Jesus)

        50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. (This verse tells us that flesh and blood, the image, earthy, natural, living soul we received from Adam, that he had from the time of his creation, can not inherit the kingdom of God)

        There is nothing IN the passage that tells us the soul is evil or “depraved”. It compares the fact that the soul of man can not inherit the kingdom to the way corruption can not inherit incorruption. This is simply saying the natural can not inherit the spiritual. See how we use the same words that are in the passage? Scripture interprets scripture.

        Some rightly dividing now.
        This is why Jesus said you must be born again. Because until we are, we are natural, flesh, not spiritual. And we are told here the natural, flesh and blood, can not inherit the kingdom of God. And that only the spiritual can. John 3:1-8 agrees completely with this interpretation.

        Also the interpretation of Rom.5:12-14 that says man dies because he sins is an incorrect interpretation of the passage. In fact, when interpreted this way, vs.12 contradicts vs.s 13 and 14. Because vs.13 tells us that sin is not imputed (doesn’t count against you) when there is no law. And that from Adam to Moses there was no law. None. Since this is true, why did people still die if it is sin that causes death when sin is not imputed? It is not and this proves it.

        Then vs.14 says that there were those who did not sin the same sin Adam did. This makes it clear that the idea that we inherited from Adam a sin nature is wrong. Because the sin nature doctrine says that we were all in Adam’s loins sinning with him when he sinned. But, this verse teaches There were those who did not.

        I hope you are seeing that when I say whatever I say about the doctrine’s of the Bible they come from careful consideration of what the Bible actually says. And not on assumptions that lead to this dot and another assumption that leads to another dot and so on. I do not read INTO the scripture anything I believe before I read it, so that I can understand what it actually says, and not what I assume it must mean based on what I think I already know.

        I have been taught how to read the scriptures in this way. I was fortunate enough to sit under this teaching with a man named Dr, Ray Shelton. He wrote a book that he was unable to have published before he died called the Biblical Doctrine of Salvation. He always reinforced the concept that when reading the scriptures we must never insert our pre-conceived beliefs into the passage. And to always let the verse say just what it says. Then with rightly dividing and proper understanding of the grammar, we would come as close to the correct interpretation as we can through the aid of the Holy Spirit.

        There are others who have things online that are close to what I have come to know is the truth. One is Alfred T, Overstreet. He has a paper called
        Are Men Born Sinners?
        by Alfred T. Overstreet
        THE ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF THE DOCTRINE OF ORIGINAL SIN

        I believe he has done a wonderful job of explaining where the doctrine came from. And where it came from is not good. I have not read anything else he has written so I can’t speak to it. But, along with what I write here, if you read that paper too you will come away with a better understanding of where I am coming from.
        Sorry it got so long.

        Thanks Maggie and Blessings:-}

        • Maggie October 4, 2016 at 2:12 am #

          Edwitness:
          I was hoping for a yes/no answer. I should have known better. :o)
          BTW, doctrine of original sin does not equal the teaching of a fallen nature.

          • Edwitness October 4, 2016 at 8:31 am #

            Sorry about that Maggie,
            So how is it that the teaching of a sin nature Is not equal to the teaching of a fallen nature? What do you think would be the difference?
            Blessings:-}

        • nannette October 4, 2016 at 8:23 am #

          Romans 5:8 says, “But God commendeth His love for us, in that, while we were sinners, Christ died for us.” 1 John 2:1 says, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” Romans 2:12 says, “For as many as have sinned without (apart from the law) shall also perish with out law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law.” Romans 3:23 says, “For ALL have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Read 1 John 1-10. The big problem here is this. The Calvinist believes that we have no free will, but God says we need to repent (change our mind). The Calvinist says, God chooses you because your elect. They preach John 3:16 to the elect. You see if one believes it they must be the elect, the ones that don’t must be the ones who chose them to go the hell. This doctrine is evil. 1 John 1:1-10 is continual, so that we can continue in fellowship with God. It has nothing to do with salvation at this point. The law shows us our sin as Galatians 3:24 says, “The law was our school master to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” When I witness to people I bring up the law and show it to them so they can see they have broken it, so they can see they are sinners, after that I tell them the good news! 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 Blessings

          • Edwitness October 4, 2016 at 9:00 am #

            Nannette,
            Gentiles were never under the law. So how can it show the Gentiles their sin when they are not responsible to it? Rom.2:14

            And the Jews are not under the law since Christ’s death. Eph.2:15. So how can it show them their sin since they are not responsible to it? That covers everyone doesn’t it?

            It’s as if the law had never existed. Like it was before Moses. In other words “sin is not imputed where there is no law”. Rom.5:13 and Rom.4:15.

            The law was given so that sin would be imputed. It would count against those who were responsible to keep it.

            Those who are apart from the law as we are that are in this dispensation of grace will be judged. But HOW? By what judgment? Here is HOW.

            What did Jesus say to those in Mt.7 that said “…and in thy name done many wonderful works?” He said “And then will I profess unto them, I NEVER KNEW YOU: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

            What was their iniquity? They believed that it was the works that would save them apart from knowing Him.

            This then is the judgment for those who are alive since Christ’s resurrection.

            I could say a lot more regarding the verses you cited but it would get very lengthy.
            Blessings:-}

          • Edwitness October 4, 2016 at 9:06 am #

            Nannette,
            You are correct. Tha Calvinist view is wrong. If a man’s eternity is predetermined then free will is unnecessary. And the call for repentance is without merit. Because he does or does not according to what God has already determined for him. And not according to free will.

            Blessings:-}

          • nannette October 4, 2016 at 10:17 am #

            Edwitness, The Word is clear. The law is written on all hearts, all have a conscience. Some suppress it, but it is there. We All know that stealing is wrong, that fornication is wrong, that idol worship is wrong. Paul was the Apostle to the Gentiles. “The sting of death is sin; and the STRENGTH OF SIN IS THE LAW.” 1 Corinthians 15:56, read Galatians 3:24 again, “Wherefore the law was our school master to lead us to Christ.” Galatians 3:24, “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust (coveting) except the law said, Thou shalt not covet.” Romans 7:7 . If the Gentiles had no law then why does it say in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, “MOREVER brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS according to the scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. All the scriptures! Sin. How do they know about sin? The law. Blessings.

          • Edwitness October 4, 2016 at 8:45 pm #

            Nannette,
            When you say that we all know that stealing is wrong you do not take into account the tribes that were here when America was settled. In some of their cultures stealing from another tribe or an enemy was highly thought of. They gained much prominence in their tribe when they could do it.
            This is also true of many other people’s around the world. Among other things that you and I might call sins. Right and wrong are learned behaviors. They are not in us from birth. You have seen National Geographic pictures of both men and women who walk around naked without the slightest thought that it is wrong. It is a cultural thing. A learned behavior.

            When you said;
            “All the scriptures! Sin. How do they know about sin? The law. Blessings.” You are wrong. Paul did not mean that he taught what he knew as a Pharisee. Here is why.

            1st notice that in the passage you mentioned regarding what Paul taught the Gentiles he does not say he taught them the law. You quoted;
            “1 Corinthians 15:1-4, “MOREVER brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS according to the scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” You added the law, not Paul.

            2nd what Paul received was the teaching he received from Jesus after meeting Him on the road to Damascus. He said it this way;
            Gal.1:15-24
            “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace,
            To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him AMONG THE HEATHEN; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:
            Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.
            Then AFTER THREE YEARS I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.
            But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother.
            Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not.
            Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia;
            And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ:
            But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.
            And they glorified God in me.”

            This means the gospel Paul was given directly from Jesus was not the same as the gospel taught by the other apostles. Because he was specifically sent to minister to the “heathen”. The Gentiles. The gospel he was given to teach was “by grace through faith” plus nothing.
            Gal.2:7,8- “But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;(For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)”

            And this is also why Peter said when speaking of Paul’s doctrine that;
            “As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things HARD TO BE UNDERSTOOD, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” 2Peter3:16

            Please notice also that Peter mentions “the other scriptures”. Refering to his and the other apostles and the OT. Even Peter noticed the difference. Check also in Acts where James and Peter and the others recognized the difference in Paul’s ministry from their own.

            The difference is that Paul was sent to the Gentiles and the others were sent to the Jews.

            Blessings:-}

          • nannette October 4, 2016 at 11:40 am #

            I wanted to add that the word ‘depraved’ means: to make morally bad or evil. Reprobate seems to mean the same: Wicked, sinful, or unprincipled person. (The Random House Dictionary). Reprobate or depraved is mentioned in Romans 1:28, 2 Timothy 3:8, Titus 1:6, 2 Corinthians 13:5-7 KJV, NASB. The Calvinist believes it’s TOTAL and that we are unable to have free will. Then we get to the ones that say we don’t have to obey anything such as the law, to where now we have lawlessness. In which there are many people who are unmarried living in sin in churches who teach the Bible, sing in the choir, and participate in communion. The problem with this is the fact is that when a person becomes born again he still has his old sin nature as well as God the Holy Spirit. We can grieve the Holy Spirit if we continue sinning. in 1 John it clearly says that our fellowship gets broken until we say something like, “Lord I know I sinned today, I yelled a this person, or I said an evil thing to this person, or I lied, or I’ve been murmuring. Please forgive me” Then 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess (admit) our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us.” 1 John 1:10. We still have commandments and it’s very clear. To love our Lord our God with all our hearts, to love our neighbors, to not eat things strangled or drink blood (that is why the Eucharist is so evil). Keep the Commandments: John 14:15,21, 15:10, Acts 1:2, 1 Corinthians 7:19, 1 John 2:4, 3:22, 3:24, 5:2, 5:3. Rev. 12:17. What are they? Acts 15:20, Romans 13:8&9, 16:26, 1 Thess. 5:12-28. 1 John 5:21. Blessings

          • Edwitness October 4, 2016 at 9:25 pm #

            Thank you Nannette,
            That is exactly what the T in TULIP means. But, you do not have to have lawlessness because the law has been abolished. Eph.2:15. Christians love the way Jesus does. At least that is the goal. And when we love as Jesus does we won’t do things that do not express God’s love to others. We will be loving them and preferring others above ourselves. Rom.12:10-
            “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;”.
            And of course we can’t forget the love chapter. 1Cor.13

            And as Paul said in Gal.5:22,23- “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
            Meekness, temperance: AGAINST SUCH THERE IS NO LAW.”

            Blessings:-}

          • Edwitness October 4, 2016 at 9:34 pm #

            I just wanted to add to what I wrote before this question; Isn’t that what gives you the desire to worship Jesus? The fact that He loves you soooo much? It certainly is what drew me to Jesus in the very beginning.

            Blessings:-}

    • Amy Spreeman October 3, 2016 at 11:15 pm #

      No, you’re correct. The Law doesn’t save; it exposes and condemns. Jesus fulfilled the Law. But you can’t explain the Good News without the bad.

      Maggie beat me to the CR recommendation! I never heard the Gospel rightly and completely preached before Chris Rosebrough explained it to me. That was many years ago, and the start of my discernment journey.

      • Edwitness October 4, 2016 at 7:59 pm #

        How very Berean of you?

        Blessings:-}

  4. Sola Scriptura October 3, 2016 at 2:20 pm #

    David Cloud at wayoflife.org is a very good Bible teacher. He is not 100% perfect, but he is the best I’ve found.

  5. Q October 4, 2016 at 1:41 pm #

    Amy,

    Do you understand Reformed Theology?

    Do you understand their soteriology?

    Are you aware of the varied teachings of New Calvinism?

    Reformed Theology always goes away after a while because what it really is and what is being taught becomes widely understood and is rejected. Then it comes back to a generation that doesn’t understand it and because of its complexities and strange arguments it takes a while to figure it out again………

    • Amy Spreeman October 5, 2016 at 9:26 pm #

      Q, The answer to all 3 of your questions is Yes.

      • Q October 6, 2016 at 7:48 pm #

        Okay, Not that there are some reformed teachers that I agree with on many points but it looked as though that was all that was offered on that site.

  6. Maggie October 4, 2016 at 3:13 pm #

    Concerning Calvinism and free will, I relate to what Pastor Josh said in his comment under the recent John Piper article. I hope it’s ok for me to quote an excerpt of Pastor Josh’s comment: “Before you start trying to make a case that Calvinism hinders “the gift of freewill”, you really need to find such teaching in Scripture (It isn’t there!) – and, at the same time, give good theological arguments against the numerous biblical passages (especially in the epistles of Paul) which teach about “election”, the people of God being regarded as God’s “elect”, and God’s sovereign role in the salvation of every believer. After all, even the Old Testament makes it plain that “Salvation belongs to the LORD” (Psalm 3:8). There’s really no confusion in Scripture about this, and John 3:16 teaches nothing to the contrary.”

    What I know is before I came to salvation in Christ, I was unable to choose not to sin because I was dead in my trespasses and sins. It was by the power of the Holy Spirit that brought me to the point of conviction of sin and repentance and being able to believe in Jesus Christ in order to be forgiven and saved. I don’t consider this “free will” because it did not originate with me. The only part I played was that I responded to the truth that was revealed to me by the Holy Spirit. I am one of the “elect” by His sovereign will. I am not a Calvinist but a Christian.

    • berlorac October 7, 2016 at 5:52 pm #

      Very well said, Maggie! I haven’t had time to respond here for awhile, but when I saw your comment, I wanted you to know that you’re not alone here…

      Grace to you, and peace from our Father and our Lord Yeshua.

      • Maggie October 11, 2016 at 11:30 pm #

        Thank you, Berlorac. The same to you.

  7. nannette October 4, 2016 at 3:57 pm #

    Maggie, since you quoted Pastor Josh, I will quote someone only because he says it in an excellent way. The “U” in T.U.L.I.P means this: Unconditional Election. Now the meaning: “Another phrase that is not found in the Bible-“necessarily follows from total depravity.” This doctrine is declared to be the heart of Calvinism.” (P.91), “Unconditional Election is the outworking of Calvinism’s extreme view of sovereignty. which allows man NO FREEDOM of choice or action even to sin. That being the case, if anyone is to be saved, God must choose for them. Out of Unconditional Election, then, comes predestination to salvation.” (P.92-TULIP and the Bible, Dave Hunt) On the other hand the ones that ARE NOT saved were chosen by God to got to hell without any choice what so ever making God not the Savior of All men. So then why preach the gospel Maggie? If people are already chosen? Calvinism teaches another gospel and that’s a fact. Predestination means that God knows who will ACCEPT the invitation after hearing the gospel. And, on the other hand God knows who will reject, it was their choice. Now, what does Scripture say? “And it shall come to pass, that WHOSOEVER shall CALL on the Name of the LORD shall be saved.” Acts 2:21. A man drowning in the sea who never yells ‘help save me’, is in the same predicament still! Blessings

    • Maggie October 4, 2016 at 5:09 pm #

      There is moderate and extreme Calvinism. I assume the extreme position is to be a 5-point Calvinist, which I believe Dave Hunt is addressing in your reference. I think there is room to allow for a less extreme view. There is a tension in Scripture regarding predestination and the responsibility of an individual that I am not able to resolve but which I accept.

    • electedbyhim October 4, 2016 at 8:02 pm #

      God’s Sovereign Choice
      Rom 9:1 I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit,
      Rom 9:2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart.
      Rom 9:3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh,
      Rom 9:4 who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises,
      Rom 9:5 whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.
      Rom 9:6 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel;
      Rom 9:7 nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants, but: “THROUGH ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS WILL BE NAMED.”
      Rom 9:8 That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants.
      Rom 9:9 For this is the word of promise: “AT THIS TIME I WILL COME, AND SARAH SHALL HAVE A SON.”
      Rom 9:10 And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac;
      Rom 9:11 for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls,
      Rom 9:12 it was said to her, “THE OLDER WILL SERVE THE YOUNGER.”
      Rom 9:13 Just as it is written, “JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED.”
      Rom 9:14 What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be!
      Rom 9:15 For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.”
      Rom 9:16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.
      Rom 9:17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH.”
      Rom 9:18 So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.
      Rom 9:19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?”
      Rom 9:20 On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it?
      Rom 9:21 Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use?
      Rom 9:22 What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?
      Rom 9:23 And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory,
      Rom 9:24 even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.
      Rom 9:25 As He says also in Hosea, “I WILL CALL THOSE WHO WERE NOT MY PEOPLE, ‘MY PEOPLE,’ AND HER WHO WAS NOT BELOVED, ‘BELOVED.'”
      Rom 9:26 “AND IT SHALL BE THAT IN THE PLACE WHERE IT WAS SAID TO THEM, ‘YOU ARE NOT MY PEOPLE,’ THERE THEY SHALL BE CALLED SONS OF THE LIVING GOD.”
      Rom 9:27 Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, “THOUGH THE NUMBER OF THE SONS OF ISRAEL BE LIKE THE SAND OF THE SEA, IT IS THE REMNANT THAT WILL BE SAVED;
      Rom 9:28 FOR THE LORD WILL EXECUTE HIS WORD ON THE EARTH, THOROUGHLY AND QUICKLY.”
      Rom 9:29 And just as Isaiah foretold, “UNLESS THE LORD OF SABAOTH HAD LEFT TO US A POSTERITY, WE WOULD HAVE BECOME LIKE SODOM, AND WOULD HAVE RESEMBLED GOMORRAH.”
      Israel’s Unbelief
      Rom 9:30 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith;
      Rom 9:31 but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law.
      Rom 9:32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone,
      Rom 9:33 just as it is written, “BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”

      • Jackie October 4, 2016 at 8:57 pm #

        The context is Paul talking to two groups of people – Jew and Gentile.
        From the beginning it must be understood that Romans is presented to a mixed audience of converted Jews and converted Gentiles. A primary factor in Paul’s presentation will be addressing two or more groups that are supposed to be unified in Christ, and addressing them as a unity, while also respecting their collective identities as separate groups.

        • Edwitness October 4, 2016 at 9:53 pm #

          “The context is Paul talking to two groups of people – Jew and Gentile.”
          Amen to that Jackie.

          Blessings:-}

      • nannette October 4, 2016 at 10:10 pm #

        This is the same chapter all Calvinists use. But, they need to pay attention. It is talking about NATIONS. Look at Jeremiah 18:1-9. What NATION did GOD choose? “The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD saying, Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. Then I went down to the potter’s house, and behold, wrought a work on the wheels. and the vessel that he made of the potter: so He made (reworked) it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. Then the word of the LORD came to me saying, O HOUSE OF ISRAEL. at what instant I SHALL SPEAK CONCERNING a NATION, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up (uproot), and to pull down, and to destroy. If that NATION against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And at what instant I shall speak concerning a NATION and concerning a KINGDOM, to build and to plant it;” Read Romans 9 again. Romans 9:9-14, “For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son. Verse 11, “For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) It was said of her, the elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.” He is talking about His choice between two NATIONS, Esau verses Jacob, Jesus came through Jacob, not Esau. I don’t see individuals or the church in this. The church has not replaced Israel! Blessings

    • Rocky October 4, 2016 at 11:59 pm #

      Just wondering if you advocate the belief that God does not know the future?

      • nannette October 5, 2016 at 8:30 am #

        Rocky no, I don’t advocate that God does not know the future. The church is comprised of Jew and Gentile, in the future God will save the Jews, they are gathered in unbelief. “For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery-so that you will not be wise in your own estimation-that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved just as it is written, The deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove un-Godliness from Jacob. This is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.” Romans 11:25-27 NASB. This is future. Praise the Lord!

  8. Q October 4, 2016 at 6:03 pm #

    For those interested in what Reformed/Calvinism teaches compared to the bible I highly recommend this free Notebook.

    http://caryl.tv/pdf/BasicReformedTheologyNotebookMay2016.pdf

    I would save it to your computer even if not interested now…

    • Q October 4, 2016 at 6:05 pm #

      And here is the original source with other helpful articles.

      http://caryl.tv/blog/teaching-tool-on-calvinism/

    • Maggie October 4, 2016 at 10:22 pm #

      Q-
      When I previously looked into the resources caryl.tv has on Calvinism, I was totally turned off by the theology of Calvinism. After more study and discussions with friends in Reformed churches, I got the impression that it is the extreme form of Calvinism that is being presented in the caryl.tv materials. As I mentioned before, I understand Calvinist/Reformed teachings do come in a more “moderate” form. I guess I’m the only one in this discussion who has that point of view.

      • Q October 5, 2016 at 4:23 pm #

        Maggie,
        I agree that reformed believers come in different forms and the extreme ones don’t even agree with each other. So the best you can do is critique what the majority agree on. it’s a logical system, the ones that are moderate don’t like a particular harsh conclusion and so ignore or don’t accept it, for some this would cause a cognitive dissonance causing them to not think much about it or push the belief system.

  9. Edwitness October 4, 2016 at 9:49 pm #

    Predestination means that God has called ALL to be saved. Who receives salvation depends on free will.
    This can be seen in the fact that it is not God’s will that any perish and because Jesus died for the whole world. Not just the “predestined” by foreknowledge.

    Blessings:-}

    • Sola Scriptura October 5, 2016 at 3:35 pm #

      Great work here Ed. Romans 8:29 and 1 Peter 1:2 (KJV) explain predestination and election well. It defines them as something God “foreknew,” rather than something he set in stone before the earth was made. He gave us freewill…and knew how we would use it.

  10. Q October 5, 2016 at 4:41 pm #

    Calvinism’s Soteriology

    Tulip

    T = Total Depravity = Inability to choose after hearing the Gospel
    U = Unconditional Election = God chose the elect without human choice. Why so few?
    L = Limited Atonement = Jesus only died for the elect not the whole world
    I = Irresistible Grace = No free will, man can not resist and has no choice in salvation
    P = Perseverance of the Saints = Knowing you are saved by your works not by simple faith leading to doubt and worry

  11. nannette October 5, 2016 at 7:09 pm #

    This is suppose to be a discernment website. I just want to do a little discernment on the man John Calvin. Born in 1509, by the way he was only 8 during the reformation-which began when Martin Luther wrote the 95 theses on Oct 31, 1517. Wiki says he broke with the Catholic Church around 1530-so he was 21 yrs. old. Calvin fled to Geneva where he published the 1st edition of ‘The Institutes’ in 1536. So he was 27. Recruited by William Farel to help ‘reform’ the church in Geneva, both men were expelled because they didn’t like their ideas. Calvin went back to Geneva in 1541 at 32 yrs. old. Calvin denounced Michael Servetus and he was burned at the stake for heresy by the city counsel. Calvin’s opponents were forced out of the city counsel. Apparently in 1533 at age 24 Calvin experienced a religious conversion. In later life he wrote of 2 accounts of his conversion that differed. One of which he said, ‘a sudden change of mind’. In Calvin’s Geneva people were burned alive for witchcraft, suffered deaths, banishments, punishments, imprisonments, starvation and more. This is the man you want to follow? Please see this link:http://www.a-voice.org/tidbits/calvinp.htm His conversion did not sound like love, joy, peace and what was taught in 1 Timothy chapter 3. With Christians like this who needs enemies? “For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face.” 2 Corinthians 11:20

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