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Thread: Does God so love the world?

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    Does God so love the world?



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    Re: Does God so love the world?

    Does God So Love the World?
    by: John MacArthur
    Love is the best known but least understood of all God's attributes. Almost everyone who believes in God these days sees Him as a God of love. I have even met agnostics who are quite certain that if God exists, He must be benevolent, compassionate, and loving.

    All those things are infinitely true about God, of course, but not in the way most people think. Because of the influence of modern liberal theology, many suppose that God's love and goodness ultimately nullify His righteousness, justice, and holy wrath. They envision God as a benign heavenly grandfather-tolerant, affable, lenient, permissive, devoid of any real displeasure over sin, who without consideration of His holiness will benignly pass over sin and accept people as they are.

    Liberal thinking about God's love also permeates much of evangelicalism today. We have lost the reality of God's wrath. We have disregarded His hatred for sin. The God most evangelicals now describe is all-loving and not at all angry. We have forgotten that "It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Hebrews 10:31). We do not believe in that kind of God anymore.

    We must recapture some of the holy terror that comes with a right understanding of God's righteous anger. We need to remember that God's wrath does burn against impenitent sinners (Psalm 38:1-3). That reality is the very thing that makes His love so amazing. Only those who see themselves as sinners in the hands of an angry God can fully appreciate the magnitude and wonder of His love.

    In that regard, our generation is surely at a greater disadvantage than any previous age. We have been force-fed the doctrines of self-esteem for so long that most people don't really view themselves as sinners worthy of divine wrath. On top of that, religious liberalism, humanism, evangelical compromise, and ignorance of the Scriptures have all worked against a right understanding of who God is. Ironically, in an age that conceives of God as wholly loving, altogether devoid of wrath, few people really understand what God's love is all about.

    How we address the misconception of the present age is crucial. We must not respond to an overemphasis on divine love by denying that God is love. Our generation's imbalanced view of God cannot be corrected by an equal imbalance in the opposite direction, a very real danger in some circles. I'm deeply concerned about a growing trend I've noticed-particularly among people committed to the biblical truth of God's sovereignty and divine election. Some of them flatly deny that God in any sense loves those whom He has not chosen for salvation.

    I am troubled by the tendency of some-often young people newly infatuated with Reformed doctrine-who insist that God cannot possibly love those who never repent and believe. I encounter that view, it seems, with increasing frequency.
    The argument inevitably goes like this: Psalm 7:11 tells us "God is angry with the wicked every day." It seems reasonable to assume that if God loved everyone, He would have chosen everyone unto salvation. Therefore, God does not love the non-elect. Those who hold this view often go to great lengths to argue that John 3:16 cannot really mean God loves the whole world.

    Perhaps the best-known argument for this view is found the unabridged edition of an otherwise excellent book, The Sovereignty of God, by A. W. Pink. Pink wrote, "God loves whom He chooses. He does not love everybody." [1] He further argued that the word world in John 3:16 ("For God so loved the world…") "refers to the world of believers (God's elect), in contradistinction from 'the world of the ungodly.'"[2]

    Pink was attempting to make the crucial point that God is sovereign in the exercise of His love. The gist of his argument is certainly valid: It is folly to think that God loves all alike, or that He is compelled by some rule of fairness to love everyone equally. Scripture teaches us that God loves because He chooses to love (Deuteronomy 7:6-7), because He is loving (God is love, 1 John 4:8), not because He is under some obligation to love everyone the same.

    Nothing but God's own sovereign good pleasure compels Him to love sinners. Nothing but His own sovereign will governs His love. That has to be true, since there is certainly nothing in any sinner worthy of even the smallest degree of divine love.
    Unfortunately, Pink took the corollary too far. The fact that some sinners are not elected to salvation is no proof that God's attitude toward them is utterly devoid of sincere love. We know from Scripture that God is compassionate, kind, generous, and good even to the most stubborn sinners. Who can deny that those mercies flow out of God's boundless love? It is evident that they are showered even on unrepentant sinners.

    We must understand that it is God's very nature to love. The reason our Lord commanded us to love our enemies is "in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous" (Matthew 5:45). Jesus clearly characterized His Father as One who loves even those who purposefully set themselves at enmity against Him.

    At this point, however, an important distinction must be made: God loves believers with a particular love. God's love for the elect is an infinite, eternal, saving love. We know from Scripture that this great love was the very cause of our election (Ephesians 2:4). Such love clearly is not directed toward all of mankind indiscriminately, but is bestowed uniquely and individually on those whom God chose in eternity past.

    But from that, it does not follow that God's attitude toward those He did not elect must be unmitigated hatred. Surely His pleading with the lost, His offers of mercy to the reprobate, and the call of the gospel to all who hear are all sincere expressions of the heart of a loving God. Remember, He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but tenderly calls sinners to turn from their evil ways and live.

    Reformed theology has historically been the branch of evangelicalism most strongly committed to the sovereignty of God. At the same time, the mainstream of Reformed theologians have always affirmed the love of God for all sinners. John Calvin himself wrote regarding John 3:16, "[Two] points are distinctly stated to us: namely, that faith in Christ brings life to all, and that Christ brought life, because the Father loves the human race, and wishes that they should not perish." [3]

    Calvin continues to explain the biblical balance that both the gospel invitation and "the world" that God loves are by no means limited to the elect alone. He also recognized that God's electing, saving love is uniquely bestowed on His chosen ones.
    Those same truths, reflecting a biblical balance, have been vigorously defended by a host of Reformed stalwarts, including Thomas Boston, John Brown, Andrew Fuller, W. G. T. Shedd, R. L. Dabney, B. B. Warfield, John Murray, R. B. Kuiper, and many others. In no sense does belief in divine sovereignty rule out the love of God for all humanity.

    We are seeing today, in some circles, an almost unprecedented interest in the doctrines of the Reformation and the Puritan eras. I'm very encouraged by that in most respects. A return to those historic truths is, I'm convinced, absolutely necessary if the church is to survive. Yet there is a danger when overzealous souls misuse a doctrine like divine sovereignty to deny God's sincere offer of mercy to all sinners.

    We must maintain a carefully balanced perspective as we pursue our study of God's love. God's love cannot be isolated from His wrath and vice versa. Nor are His love and wrath in opposition to each other like some mystical yin-yang principle. Both attributes are constant, perfect, without ebb or flow. His wrath coexists with His love; therefore, the two never contradict. Such are the perfections of God that we can never begin to comprehend these things. Above all, we must not set them against one another, as if there were somehow a discrepancy in God.

    Both God's wrath and His love work to the same ultimate end-His glory. God is glorified in the condemnation of the wicked; He is glorified in every expression of love for all people without exception; and He is glorified in the particular love He manifests in saving His people.

    Expressions of wrath and expressions of love-all are necessary to display God's full glory. We must never ignore any aspect of His character, nor magnify one to the exclusion of another. When we commit those errors, we throw off the biblical balance, distort the true nature of God, and diminish His real glory.

    Does God so love the world? Emphatically-yes! Proclaim that truth far and wide, and do so against the backdrop of God's perfect wrath that awaits everyone who does not repent and turn to Christ.

    Does the love of God differ in the breadth and depth and manner of its expression? Yes it does. Praise Him for the many manifestations of His love, especially toward the non-elect, and rejoice in the particular manifestation of His saving love for you who believe. God has chosen to display in you the glory of His redeeming grace.

    [1]Arthur W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1930), 29-30.
    [2]Ibid., 314.
    [3]John Calvin, Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, William Pringle, trans. (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1979 reprint), 123. Adapted from The God Who Loves © 2001 by John MacArthur. All rights reserved.
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    Re: Does God so love the world?

    I see the perverbial CAN OF WORMS opening on this!!!!!!!

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    Re: Does God so love the world?

    Gag!

    Quote Originally Posted by lionovjudah
    I see the perverbial CAN OF WORMS opening on this!!!!!!!
    Especially notice the one word used by Brandon LOL. Guess he smelled the "can of worms" Blessings.
    "There are Signs of a new upsurge of interest in the Study of Scriptures: a New Readiness to Test Traditions, Search the Scriptures and Rightly Divide the Word "I am the WAY the TRUTH the LIFE and the RESURRECTION and no man can come to the FATHER but by ME"

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    Re: Does God so love the world?

    John Macarthur and his god that cannot achieve his own minds desires, MacArthur makes mention of his heros in the article such Reformed Stalwarts as WAIT FOR IT----Andrew Fuller, posting on quick reply so i will just say EEEEK. Ivor Thomas...........
    For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain , Phillippians 1 v21.

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    Re: Does God so love the world?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivor Thomas
    John Macarthur and his god that cannot achieve his own minds desires, MacArthur makes mention of his heros in the article such Reformed Stalwarts as WAIT FOR IT----Andrew Fuller, posting on quick reply so i will just say EEEEK. Ivor Thomas...........
    I noticed that too immediately Ivor. Andrew Fuller a Gospel Stalwart?!?!?! HAHAHAH I laugh - what a joke.
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    Re: Does God so love the world?

    Yet there is a danger when overzealous souls misuse a doctrine like divine sovereignty to deny God's sincere offer of mercy to all sinners.
    His god must be less intelligent than I am, because even I know that an offer to the reprobate cannot be sincere. An offer to one for whom Christ did not die is for naught. Does MacArthur also deny the particular nature of Christ's death? Bleh!

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    Re: Does God so love the world?

    Quote Originally Posted by melted

    His god must be less intelligent than I am, because even I know that an offer to the reprobate cannot be sincere. An offer to one for whom Christ did not die is for naught. Does MacArthur also deny the particular nature of Christ's death? Bleh!
    Hi melted. Does He believe unto the Name of Jesus Christ? Does he worship the God of judaism, Islam, Hinduism etc?
    The pagan unbelieving "jews" tell us we worship a "mangod" and I believe it is just as bad for one christian to say another christian worships "another god" than the one Jesus Christ preaches just because he views scripture in a different light than others who believe in Jesus. THis is what seperates "our God" from "their God". Maybe I just misread what you said.
    Just a humble opinion. Blessings
    "There are Signs of a new upsurge of interest in the Study of Scriptures: a New Readiness to Test Traditions, Search the Scriptures and Rightly Divide the Word "I am the WAY the TRUTH the LIFE and the RESURRECTION and no man can come to the FATHER but by ME"

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    Re: Does God so love the world?

    John MacArthur believes in the limited atonement. Here is the link: http://www.biblebb.com/files/macqa/70-17-2.htm

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    Re: Does God so love the world?

    JMAC believes in the sufficiency/efficiency argument. This is not Limited atonement. He believes that Christ's death was sufficient for all and efficient only for the elect. It is a damnable teaching.
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    Re: Does God so love the world?

    Quote Originally Posted by InChristAlways
    Hi melted. Does He believe unto the Name of Jesus Christ? Does he worship the God of judaism, Islam, Hinduism etc?
    The pagan unbelieving "jews" tell us we worship a "mangod" and I believe it is just as bad for one christian to say another christian worships "another god" than the one Jesus Christ preaches just because he views scripture in a different light than others who believe in Jesus. THis is what seperates "our God" from "their God". Maybe I just misread what you said.
    Just a humble opinion. Blessings
    If John MacArthur does not assent to God's omniscience and His sovereign work in salvation, then he does not worship the same God that I do. It is not the name that we worship but God Himself. There are certain attributes of God that cannot be overlooked if we are to call one another brethren of the same Church of God. I make no claims as to John MacArthur's state of regeneration, but his description of God does not seem to be the one I know and love.

    A sincere offer of salvation must also be joined by the means to make the salvation true. If the means have already been accomplished in Jesus Christ, and some have been left out, then there is no such thing as a sincere offer to those for whom Christ did not die. To proport such is to either call God a liar, or question His omniscience.

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    Re: Does God so love the world?

    Quote Originally Posted by melted
    If John MacArthur does not assent to God's omniscience and His sovereign work in salvation, then he does not worship the same God that I do. It is not the name that we worship but God Himself. There are certain attributes of God that cannot be overlooked if we are to call one another brethren of the same Church of God. I make no claims as to John MacArthur's state of regeneration, but his description of God does not seem to be the one I know and love.

    A sincere offer of salvation must also be joined by the means to make the salvation true. If the means have already been accomplished in Jesus Christ, and some have been left out, then there is no such thing as a sincere offer to those for whom Christ did not die. To proport such is to either call God a liar, or question His omniscience.
    Can God desire things He has not decreed? Can He decree things He has not desired?

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    Re: Does God so love the world?

    Quote Originally Posted by cih92
    Can God desire things He has not decreed? Can He decree things He has not desired?
    Read my blog entry on this topic cih92...

    http://www.predestinarian.net/showth...1170#post31170
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    Re: Does God so love the world?

    Originally Posted by meltedHis god must be less intelligent than I am, because even I know that an offer to the reprobate cannot be sincere. An offer to one for whom Christ did not die is for naught. Does MacArthur also deny the particular nature of Christ's death? Bleh!
    If John MacArthur does not assent to God's omniscience and His sovereign work in salvation, then he does not worship the same God that I do. It is not the name that we worship but God Himself. There are certain attributes of God that cannot be overlooked if we are to call one another brethren of the same Church of God. I make no claims as to John MacArthur's state of regeneration, but his description of God does not seem to be the one I know and love.
    Catholics and protestant both believe in the same One God and Creator of the Bible, just different beliefs and doctrines and why the Bible is discussed so much.
    I love the God that Jesus Christ preaches and since there is only one God and Creator, I just felt it was a poor choice of words to use "his god" instead of just saying I do not believe his own views/beliefs of scripture, whether right or not.

    No other religion in the world but christianity preaches this message of Good news and Eternal Life through faith and belief in Jesus Christ our Lord, so again that is what seperates us from other Religions and their God totally. Agreed?
    1 corin 1:22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
    "There are Signs of a new upsurge of interest in the Study of Scriptures: a New Readiness to Test Traditions, Search the Scriptures and Rightly Divide the Word "I am the WAY the TRUTH the LIFE and the RESURRECTION and no man can come to the FATHER but by ME"

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    Re: Does God so love the world?

    Quote Originally Posted by cih92
    Can God desire things He has not decreed? Can He decree things He has not desired?
    Isa 46:8-11 "Remember this, and be assured; Recall it to mind, you transgressors. (9) "Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, (10) Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, 'My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure'; (11) Calling a bird of prey from the east, The man of My purpose from a far country. Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it.

    I believe that God's decree is His desire, and His desire is His decree. They are one in the same.

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    Re: Does God so love the world?

    Quote Originally Posted by melted
    Isa 46:8-11 "Remember this, and be assured; Recall it to mind, you transgressors. (9) "Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, (10) Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, 'My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure';

    (11) Calling a bird of prey from the east, The man of My purpose from a far country. Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it.

    I believe that God's decree is His desire, and His desire is His decree. They are one in the same.
    Hi melted. Yes, He appears to take pleasure in His decrees and His Creation, otherwise, why are we here?

    You quoted a passage I used in my OT study. He specifically mentions this as being planned and done. It appears to be a future prohecy but I can't tell if it is Jesus or another type of "prey" He is calling on. Anyway, interesting you should bring that up. Blessings.
    "There are Signs of a new upsurge of interest in the Study of Scriptures: a New Readiness to Test Traditions, Search the Scriptures and Rightly Divide the Word "I am the WAY the TRUTH the LIFE and the RESURRECTION and no man can come to the FATHER but by ME"

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    Re: Does God so love the world?

    Quote Originally Posted by jmac
    Does the love of God differ in the breadth and depth and manner of its expression? Yes it does. Praise Him for the many manifestations of His love, especially toward the non-elect
    This quote from the article says it all. Here JMAC says to praise God for all manifestations of God's love but especially for His love of the non-elect. Oh my! What about especially praising Him for His love of the elect? No, that's not nearly as important as praising Him for common grace. The church I left not too long ago had a whole thanksgiving sermon devoted to praising God for His love of the non-elect. It's enough to make you gag on your turkey dinner. - Brandan
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    Re: Does God so love the world?

    Quote Originally Posted by Melted
    [A sincere offer of salvation must also be joined by the means to make the salvation true. If the means have already been accomplished in Jesus Christ, and some have been left out, then there is no such thing as a sincere offer to those for whom Christ did not die. To proport such is to either call God a liar, or question His omniscience.
    Perhaps we should expect that John MacArthur will soon be changing God's character to the one of the "hireling" in John 10. The hireling:
    (verses 12, 13, 14)
    -does not own the sheep; the sheep is not his
    -flees when he sees the wolf coming

    If MacArthur's god "sincerely" calls "sheep that are not his own" and then let the "wolf", the devil, to catch them, then MacArthur's little "god" has the character, the morals of a "hireling".

    If MacArthur's god sincerely calls "sheep that are not his own" and then lets them die in the hands of the "thief", the "wolf" or the "hireling", then this "god" cannot be called "The Good Shepherd".

    If a god sincerely calls "sheep that are not his own" and then his sheep do not know him and have no ability to know him or wil EVER know him, because he never planned for them to know him in the first place, then this "god" cannot be called The Good Shepherd".

    I believe what the Good Shepherd said:

    - I give my live for the sheep (my sheep)
    - I know my sheep and am known of them
    - I am recognized by my sheep when I call them and they obey me (My sheep will hear my voice)

    I see no examples in the Bible where the Good Shepherd calls His sheep and some "goats" tag along...

    I have no idea where this preachers, with so much knowledge and experience take this ideas from...
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    Re: Does God so love the world?

    Great observations, Milt and Melted!

    I have noticed that Fuller/Fullerism has been mentioned in a lot of recent posts. In addition, we cannot forget the contributions of Robert Louis Dabney--that respected civil war teacher who defended the South and slavery! HE is the one that convinced our former associates Martin and Doug that we were in error; his writings are far more convincing and deceptive to unsuspecting minds than Fuller, Spurgeon, or any other low-grace 'Calvinist'. He defended the notion of God's universal 'offer' or 'proposal' of mercy and disposition of love to all mankind with the most deceptive persuasion of anyone in history.
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    Re: Does God so love the world?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Gill
    This quote from the article says it all. Here JMAC says to praise God for all manifestations of God's love but especially for His love of the non-elect. Oh my! What about especially praising Him for His love of the elect? No, that's not nearly as important as praising Him for common grace. The church I left not too long ago had a whole thanksgiving sermon devoted to praising God for His love of the non-elect. It's enough to make you gag on your turkey dinner. - Brandan
    Brandan, what baffles me and I told you and Bob personally, is that THERE IS NO BENEFICIAL RESULT, nor any "good thing", nor any special blessing, or anything effective, effectual or life changing for preaching that God loves the non-elect... I am still to see the purpose and the goal of it other than a "man pleasing desire" to make the Gospel palatable for those who reject it and to maintain churchian attendance high, with a "touchy feely" sensation about God. I see no other purpose in this message!

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