Friday, January 12, 2018

The Difference Between Descriptive & Prescriptive

It drives me crazy when I hear people compare flesh-pleasing, emotionally driven, chaotic worship to David dancing before the Lord. Some will say, “David danced naked before the Lord, so we can worship however we want to!”

This is why it’s vital to understand the difference between what is “descriptive” in the Word, and what is “prescriptive”.

A passage is descriptive if it’s simply describing something that happened, while a passage is prescriptive if it’s specifically teaching that something should happen. For example, Scripture’s recording of David dancing with all his might would fall under the “descriptive” category, while Paul’s instructions to the church, such as, “all things should be done decently and in order” (I Cor. 14:39,40), “a woman should not exercise authority over a man” (I Tim. 2:11-14), etc, would fall under the prescriptive side.

Simply put, “is it a description or a command?” is a very important question to consider. This is How to Interpret Scripture 101, and it’s honestly quite frightening how many people are unaware of this method of interpreting Holy Scripture.

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Thursday, November 30, 2017

If God is not willing that any should perish, why do some perish?

God is not willing that any should perish, but that all come to repentance (II Peter 3:9). So if God is all-powerful, why doesn’t everyone come to repentance?

While God is willing that none should perish, He has also willed to allow some to reject Him and continue in their rebellion, in order to display His holy and righteous justice. And His desire for the latter is stronger than the first.

If God, being all powerful, desired to save everyone strongly enough, all would be saved. But, we know that Universalism is heretical. So yes, God desires all to be saved, but He also desires justice because He's a just judge. Scripture tells us that He desires to make "the riches of His glory" known to His chosen people, and does so by serving justice to those who reject Him.

Romans 9:22-23
“What if God, desiring to show His wrath and to make known His power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of His glory for vessels of mercy, which He has prepared beforehand for glory.”
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Monday, July 10, 2017

Ray Comfort: Why I'm neither Calvinist nor Arminian

How do God's sovereign grace and man's responsibility to turn to Him fit together?  For example, Ezekiel 33:11 says, "As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die...?"  

It is clear from Scripture that He grants us repentance (Acts 5:31; 11:18), and He also gives us faith as a gift (Romans 12:3), but He then commands all men everywhere to repent and to have faith (believe). See Mark 1:15; Acts 17:30.  

We also read that "Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Acts 2:21, Romans 10:13), and of course John 3:16 says "whoever believes on Him shall not perish." Whoever means whoever. 

Charles Spurgeon proclaimed divine sovereignty yet he also preached man's responsibility, although he admitted that he didn't understand how they fit together.  

Consider his exhortations to the sinner: "Believe in Jesus, and though you are now in slippery places your feet shall soon be set upon a rock of safety";  "Sinner fly to Christ";  "O sinner, humble yourself under the mighty hand of God..."

And he preached that it is the sinner's responsibility to trust in the Savior: "Trust Christ with your soul and He will save it.  I know you will not do this unless the Holy Spirit constrains you, but this does not remove your responsibility."

The Arminian and Calvinist views are diametrically opposed to each other, yet believers on both sides point to a multitude of verses to back their theology. If you choose one view or the other, don't let your choice cut you off from others who may believe differently. 

Is it possible that the two opposing truths can walk together?  It is, if all that is missing is some information for them to harmonize. The day will come when we will understand all things (see 1 Corinthians 13:12), and it is then that we will be glad that we didn't cause division in the Church, and "sow discord among brethren," something God hates (Proverbs 6:19). 

Sadly, Church history has shown us that Christ-centered men of God have clashed over these issues (e.g., Wesley and Whitefield). More recently I have seen brethren make a theological stand and much to their dismay they were marked by their home church as troublemakers. Fine missionaries have been pulled from the field, pastors fired from the ministry, and churches have split because of this issue.  

So, if you do think you have it worked out, be careful that you strive to keep unity among the brethren, and then focus on your God-given commission.  Firefighters exist to fight fires, not to fight each other. When the firing squad stands in a circle, it makes the enemy happy.  

Every moment that you and I spend arguing about theological interpretation is time we have lost forever that could have been spent in prayer for the unsaved or in seeking to save that which is lost. 

I wouldn't be surprised if much of the contention for this issue isn't based on a supposed love of the truth, but is rooted in sinful pride.

(Source: here)
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