Wednesday, February 28, 2007

You need to read this... believe me.

The following is a link to a post by Erik Raymond on Irish Calvinist. It's an encouragement for evangelism for those time when we struggle with having the desire to do so.


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

New Podcast

Today's podcast is on the issue of Tongues. We take a systematic look at 1 Corinthians chapters 12, 13 and 14.

Click here to listen:

I apologize for the odd placement of advertisements, I am still trying to figure this program out, hopefully it wont be to interrupting for you.


Monday, February 26, 2007

Pyromaniac: Phil Johnson reflects on the charismatic versus the cessationist

The following link will take you to a post on Phil Johnson's blog "Pyromaniac." It is an interesting article that is a good supplement to todays podcast on the issue of tongues and the charismatic gifts.


Tomorrow's Podcast

Tomorrow on Reformation In Progress's podcast I will be taking a look at 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14 and discussing Spiritual gifts with a focused look upon the gift of tongues. My hope is to handle this controversial topic in a manner that honors Christ and the Scriptures. I believe if we take an honest and systematic look at the Scriptures then we will be able to see and learn a lot about this issue that causes so much strife and contention.

As I have been studying the issue again in preparation for the show I have attempted to set aside my presuppositions as much as anyone can and study with an open mind asking, "what does the Scripture really teach about tongues." I look forward to hearing responses from you all after the podcast.

Again, if you have questions that you want me to tackle on the show regarding Scripture and the Christian faith or if you have a question or comment about what is said, please send me an e-mail at:


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Got idea's?

In the first podcast of "Reformation In Progress" I discussed the issue of the "sinner's prayer" and whether or not it was biblical. The show was very improvised as it it was just meant to be a test run. I will be podcasting the show once a week and am open to idea's for topics. So if you have any, please share.

Some upcoming topics will be as follows, though not necessarily done in this order:

Why is the Bible the word of God?

How should we approach Bible difficulties?

Cults and their common thread: Continued revelation.

The Charismatic movement. Is it dangerous?

The emergent/emrging church movement?

An Audio series on the Doctrines of Grace.


I have a few more idea's of my own, but I am open to more suggestions. Also I would love to receive questions that relate to the Bible or the church in general so that I can take time to answer questions on the show as they are sent in. You can leave suggestions for topics here as well as questions, or you can e-mail them to me here: And if you haven't checked out the pilot episode of Reformation In Progress, you can do so by clicking on the link at the top left hand corner of this blog, or right here:


In Him -Jacob

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Sovereignty of God: Part 5

God’s immutability. When I first heard of this attribute of God I thought that it meant that no one could shut God’s mouth, but I was a little off. Here is how we will define God’s immutability:

God is remains exactly the same in His nature and being eternity past, present and future. God not only does not change, He cannot change nor can He be changed by anyone or anything.

Let’s look at some Scripture to show where this doctrine come from.

Malachi 3:6

"For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed."

Psalm 102:25-27

"25Of old you laid the foundation of the earth,and the heavens are the work of your hands. 26They will perish, but you will remain;they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, 27but you are the same, and your years have no end."

Numbers 23:19

"God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?"

James 1:17

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change."

Hebrews 13:8

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."

It is clear that Scripture teaches that God does not change, and indeed He cannot change because it would be contrary to His nature. We see above in Malachi 3:6 that it is said as clear as possible that "I the LORD do not change." Therefore should God change He would become a liar, and if He became a liar then He would become a sinner and cease to be God.

It’s a misnomer to say that God can do anything. More accurately we should say that God can do anything that is not counter to His nature. "God is not man, that He should lie." Lie is counter to God’s perfect and Holy nature therefore God is incapable of lying. So the age old question "Can God make a rock so big that He can’t pick it up?" is quite answerable. No, He cannot. God is omnipotent and has unlimited strength as well as unlimited creative powers. God could not create something that would deny His omnipotence, like a rock to big to pick up.

All that said, God’s immutability is very important. If God could say one thing and then change His mind, then the believer would have no security in the promises of God. God might decide not to save the one who places their faith in Jesus.

Furthermore, Scripture teaches that God is perfect. Therefore if God were to change He would not change for the better, there is no better than perfect. So by default if God were to change He would become imperfect. What kind of confidence could we have in an imperfect God? If God could change from being perfect in Holiness, and might, and such as these and become not holy, not almighty, what promise is there that we could be sure that He would or could keep. Perhaps in the end Satan would prevail over this changing God.

However this changeable God is not the God revealed in the Scriptures. The God of the Bible is a perfect God that cannot change or be changed. And we should thank Him daily for this part of His nature, for the security of the believer is found in this doctrine of God’s immutability.


Tuesday, February 20, 2007


I couldn't be more excited about this. As a new addition to my ministry, Reformation In Progress will now not only be a blog but a podcast. You can read the blog for some issues and listen to MP3 audio for other issues. Awesome huh? I will try and have a new podcast once a week. How exciting. The pilot episode is already posted and the link to it is at the top left hand corner of my blog's link list. Check it our and let me know what you think!

Here is the link:

In Christ -Jacob

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


I was going to write something grand today. Perhaps pick up on the series of God's Sovereignty. But, well.... it's blizzarding outside and I think I should go home now. So I leave you with another quote that I like, secular though it may be, I feel it rings very true.

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."

-George Bernard Shaw

I've been called unreasonable a time or two in my life... kind of makes ya feel good doesn't it. Ha!


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Great quote by J.C. Ryle

"Let no scorn of the world, let no ridicule of smart writers, let no sneers of liberal critics, let no secret desire to please and conciliate the public, tempt us for one moment to leave the old paths, and drop the old practice of enunciating doctrine -- clear, distinct, well defined, and sharply cut doctrine -- in all utterances and teachings."

Monday, February 12, 2007

Publishing books without fear.

I have been reading Martin Luther's book "The Bondage of the Will" recently. Basically the book was written as a response to a person named Erasmus who was a humanist in the Roman church, who took the position of mans free will. Christians history does owe Erasmus some credit on a couple of levels, he was responsible for one of the (if not the) earliest critical Greek New Testament texts. Even Martin Luther found it quite useful.

There is a lot of history between Erasmus and Luther that led up to Erasmus' publishing the book "Diatribe seu collatio de libero arbitrio" (Discussion, or Collation, concerning Free-Will). The translation of Luther's book as done by J.I. Packer and O.R. Johnston does a great job of giving details of all the events and exchanges between Luther and Erasmus and other prominent figures in light of the tension being caused by the reformation. Long story short, Erasmus wrote the "Diatribe" more by compulsion from outside forces rather than desire or conviction. Nevertheless, He wrote it. And he did so as a sort of swipe at Luther's theology, to which Luther masterfully responded and tore the Diatribe to shreds with unarguable theology.

Hopefully, if nothing else, this will get you interested in reading a great book. But here are my thoughts that I intended to share. Even as I was just reading the Historical and theological introduction to this book it struck me how even letters sent to one person and another were published for everyone to read and see. Furthermore it also struck me how it seemed there was some accountability amongst the theologians for what they wrote. After all Luther did not hesitate to strike down the diatribe with all the weight of Scripture because he saw it as no less than an attack on the gospel itself.

I'm sure there was much that went unchecked then as well, but just seeing a few examples of this "accountability" as you might call it, I thought to myself there needs to be more of that today. James White wrote "The Potter's Freedom" in response to Norman Geislers "Chosen But Free" and I think it kind of perturbed Geisler. My thinking however is "So what?" Should a person be able to wright a book dealing with doctrines of God's holy Scripture and have no fear? I should think that an honest Christian would welcome critique, even if it is a bit harsh. Though a response should certainly be done in the love of Christ, it should be done more often than it is.

To many authors today write books with no fear because they feel they can say whatever they like and get away with it. Here is my war cry, small though it may be received, "Let's keep theolgians and authors accountable for what they write!"

I don't mean to say that every book that is published deserves a response, or even everytime we disagree with a certain point made that it warrants a full response. But I do mean to say when we see a book or an article written that (knowingly or unknowingly) assaults the gospel it is our Christian duty to give an apologetic/polemic response. Apologetic meaning a biblical defense of the truth, not an "I'm sorry."

If such could be brought about more often then it might make the next person think hard before he puts pen to paper or more likely finger to keyboard. If I wrote something that did not stand under the weight of Scripture I would hope someone would challenge me in a Christlike manner. If this practice became more common place 1 of 2 things might happen.

1. Earnest and sincere brothers might be corrected in love and refute their own mistakes.

2. The person might not change their position but at least both sides of the argument have presented for readers to weigh for themselves.

I'm sick of books and articles that spit out heresies, and false doctrines going unchecked. And in the spirit of meaning what I say, I am going to take on a book written by Bryan McLaren called "The Secret Message of Jesus." Mclaren does no less than try to redefine the gospel in a way that unravells it altogether. And I am going to very soon write a response and see if I can get it published.

Those of you who know the word of God I encourage to join me in my pursuit of putting some fear back into writing on the Scriptures.


Wednesday, February 7, 2007

I don't know...

I guess Ted Haggard is cured from homosexuality after just three weeks of counseling...hmm.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

New Layout

With the new version of blogger it is easy to switch your template, and after having the one I did for a bit, I decided I just didn't like it as much as I did at first. Some things grow on you, others grow off you I guess. I'll try this one for a while and see if it takes.


How do you read it?


How did you first read it?

The Sovereignty of God: Part 4

We have already seen that God is all powerful, all knowing, and all present. Now we look at God’s eternal nature. The eternity of God can be defined in this way.

God is eternal. He existed eternity past, present and future. God is outside of time because He is the creator of time. Because God exists outside of time, He see’s the past, present and future simultaneously.

Get ready to be stretched if this concept is new to you. It was new to me not to long ago and it stretched me in a good way. Sure I always believed God existed eternally, but the application of that truth is what got to me and made me really have to study the Scripture in order to be able to say, "yeah that’s what it teaches." But before we get into all the application and philosophy of God’s eternal nature, let’s examine some Scripture so that you know I’m not just making this all up.

Exodus 3:13-14

13Then Moses said to God, "If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' what shall I say to them?" 14God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM."
And he said, "Say this to the people of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'"

This is one of the definitive verses concerning God’s eternal nature. Notice the present tense of the name that God gives, "I AM." God is not the merely the one who was and is and is to come (sure He is all that to; Revelation 1: 8) but He is also the self existent one who transcends time because time itself is created by Him. Perhaps another verse that is similar in nature to the passage in Exodus would help to illuminate this point.

John 8:57-58

"57So the Jews said to Him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?" 58Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am."

Ponder that statement for a moment with me. It would seem to be grammatically incorrect. Was Jesus merely incorrect in His grammar? Did the apostle John just make an error when He wrote down Jesus’ statement? No. Jesus said what He said quite intentionally. By saying this the way He did Jesus clearly identified Himself as God. He said he is the "I AM" of Exodus 3:13-14. The Jews reacted quite unfavorably to such an assertion and attempted to stone Him (John 8:59).

Aside from the clear identification as being one with the Father that Jesus made here, we can learn a lot from this statement concerning the eternal nature of God. Jesus could have merely said that "Before Abraham was I was there because I’m God." But He chose His words carefully to reveal Himself in a more descriptive way. The present tense that Jesus used when He said "before Abraham was I am" not only tells us that He is God, but also that He, as God, is eternal and He transcends time itself. Jesus did not merely exist in the present but He also existed in the past as He does also in the future.

(Now might be a good time to pause, take some Tylenol, drink an 8oz. glass of water and get ready to turn the wheels in you brain.)

God is not only omnipresent at all places at once in the physical sense, but also He is omnipresent throughout time. Past, present, and future. God can confidently make assertion about what will happen not only because He can control the outcome of the future and make sure His will isn’t thwarted, but instead He can say that the victory is won and the devil is defeated because God has already wrote the ending to the story and exist in the future as much as He does the present and as much as He does the past.

Here is an illustration that I find helpful. God observes His creation not as we do as temporal beings, but as the sovereign Lord over all creation. He is the painter, we are a part of the painting. God is not merely in the process of painting the picture, the picture is already complete. God views the past, present and future, complete and simultaneously. He asserts prophecy not because He is merely confident He can make it happen, but He asserts prophecy because it is already done. Consider the following verses

Hebrews 2:6-9

6It has been testified somewhere, "what is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for Him? 7You made Him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned Him with glory and honor, 8putting everything in subjection under His feet." Now in putting everything in subjection to Him, He left nothing outside of His control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to Him. 9But we see Him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. (Emphasis mine)

Look at what Scripture tells us. It says that everything has (past tense) been put into subjection under the feet of Christ. It’s done, finished, complete. But Scripture also tells us that as of now we do "not yet see everything in subjection to Him."

We look at the world and say "there is evil all over the place" we don’t see that Jesus has all of this under His subjection, but He does. Why? Because God sees the future judgement of Satan, evil and sin as already completed. It is finished. We don’t see it now as temporal beings, but God has already won the battle in the future. He exist outside of time and the story is already over. This is part of why God knows all things, because it is already finished and done according to His will. Not that God would be incapable of seeing the future, but it’s a moot point, because God wrote the future.

Now here come the objections, I can imagine, that this doesn’t seem fair. After all we as humans like to think that the story is still being written, the picture is still being painted. And on that note, we like to think that we have an active part in how things turn out. We tend to assume that God reacts to what we do to accomplish His purpose. I submit to you that such a view is unbiblical. In fact I submit to you that nothing happens apart from the will of God. God does not dance around the "Janga tower" trying to keep us humans from knocking it over as we manipulate it however we want. God does not sit and wait to see what we do and react accordingly to keep the world on course. God is the author of creation. Look at what Scripture says about our glorious God Jesus Christ.

Colossians 1:15-17

15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through Him and for Him. 17And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. (Emphasis mine)

God created all things and He is the one who gives authority to rulers and kingdoms, and He uses them to accomplish His purposes. This theme occurs time and again throughout Scripture. People think they are in control, and indeed it is true that they are doing what they want, but only according to God’s will.

Someone might here object, "are you saying that sin is according to God’s will?" Well, no. Not the sin itself, God hates sin. But God does use people’s sinful actions that they already want to do, according to His will. How about an example.

Jesus, before Pontius Pilate, is a perfect example of God’s sovereignty in appointing rulers and using them according to His purpose.

John 19:10-11

10So Pilate said to Him, "You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?" 11Jesus answered him, "You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin."

Pilate’s authority was given to him by God, and it was Pilate who delivered Jesus over to be crucified. Romans 13:1 tells us "....For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God." God throughout Scripture uses men’s sinful actions to fulfill His plan.

Acts 2:23 says,

This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. (Emphasis mine)

Clearly the murder of Jesus was a sinful thing, and yet clearly it was ordained by God to take place. Another great example was the sinful actions of Joseph’s brother’s. They sold him into slavery and lied to their father saying that a wild beast had killed him. Even though this was a sinful thing for them to do, because it happened, Joseph eventually (through a long chain of trying events) became second in command of the nation of Egypt. Because of this many people were saved from a great famine in the land. (Read the whole story to fill in the details Genesis 37-50) This was not merely coincidental, but the plan of God. After Joseph’s father died, his brother feared that Joseph would seek revenge, however Joseph replied in this manner.
Genesis 50:20

20As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.

Constantly God uses the sinful actions of people and nations to fulfill His plan. He does not merely react to them and make something good of it, He plans them. Does this make God responsible for sin as some might object? No. God doesn’t make anyone do anything that they don’t already want to do in their flesh. (Or as NIV would say, in their "sin nature")

We will talk more about the will of man versus the will of God as our conversation continues into the doctrine of Unconditional Election. But for now I will leave you with the previous Scriptures to ponder for yourself.

Let’s get back to the main point of this post, which is God’s eternal nature. It’s easy to go on rabbit trails when talking about the eternal nature of God, because it effects so many other doctrines in Scripture (if not all other doctrines). The point I am really trying to make is that God is eternal, He is the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end, and because of this He interacts with His creation in a way that is totally "other" than the way we interact with creation. He interacts one way as "creator", we interact in another way as part of His "creation." Because of God’s timeless eternal nature, He interacts with the world in the past present and future simultaneously, and that is sure to effect the way we understand God as we look at any other teaching in Scripture.

I will also note that it is because God exists outside of time and sees His creation as a "finished painting" so to speak, that God was able to apply forgiveness of sins to the "Old Testament believers." In God’s perspective, the sacrificial, substitutionary death of Jesus Christ was finished when creation was created. Therefore the sins of Abraham and other like Him were forgiven on the merit of Jesus Christ’s death satisfying God’s wrath for sin. Therefore it is written in Romans 3:23-26,

"23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood, to be receive by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He had passed over former sins. 26It was to show His righteousness at the present time, so that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus." (Emphasis mine)

God passed over the sins of the Old testament saints like Abraham, among others, who were justified by their faith in the promises of God to save them (just as we are saved today). God was just in so doing because in the sight of God, His wrath for sin had already been satisfied by Christ.

This, again, is by no means an exhaustive discussion on the issue and there are more Scriptures then I could count that would be applicable tot this discussion, but hopefully this has been a good introductory discussion on a subject that is probably a little bit new to many. I encourage you to study it further yourself.

In Him -Jacob Allee

P.S. Soon we will touch on the issue of God’s immutability.