Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sorry for the delay

I've been so busy, as many of you have I'm sure, with Thanksgiving and I have three major papers due over the next two weeks, I haven't been posting the follow up stuff to the debate. I'll try and get to it very soon, because I think it's worth while. Hopefully I can deal with at least one or two baptism passages over the next week or so.

Also, I'm going to get back to doing a verse by verse study over at "To Die Is Gain". I'm trying to decide whether I should pick up where I left off or start a different book. It's been so long since I was doing the 1 Corinthians study I feel like I'd be starting cold in the middle of it.

Let me know what you think, and feel free to suggest a book for the study if you think I ought to start a different one than 1 Corinthians.

I'll try and get back to frequent posts soon.

Serving Christ,


Monday, November 12, 2007

After the Debate

Well the debate came, and just like that, it went. Thankfully it went well, for me anyway. Garret Boyer did a commendable job considering that he has not really had any experience in public speaking or debate. However, that said, his argument was pretty simple and ammounted to the usual Church of Christ argument.

The verses that were used as his main argument were:

Acts 2:38 (shocking I know)

1 Peter 3:20-21 (even more shocking, I know)

Surprisingly he made a rather large argument based upon Acts 8:26-40 this is the story of Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch. Mr. Boyer's major point was that Philip was concerned with being baptized immediately after hearing the gospel, and that God did not take Philip away from there until after he had baptized the Eunuch. This supposedly is a narrative example of baptismal regeneration.

Well, there are some serious problems with that interpretation, and he used a similar argument for the Philippian jailer in Acts 16:25-34 and basically argues that because we see baptism occur after almost every passage in Acts where people accept the gospel that this points to the need for baptism to finish the process of salvation.

Of course it could simply mean that in the apostolic era there wasn't any confusion about the importance of baptism as an expression of the salvation one had through faith in Christ, and everyone who believed in Christ was eager to follow Him in obedience to baptism.

Anyway, I'm going to do a series of posts dealing with the issues surrounding this debate, debunking passages that are often pointed to by baptismal regeneration proponents such as the Church of Christ.

The debate was recorded, if you'd like an audio CD you can contact me via email, Just give me your address and I'll send it your way. All I'm asking for $5 to cover the cost of the CD's and shipping. If you live outside the US we'll discuss the difference in shipping.

I'll work on making it available for download in Mp3 format as well.

Serving Christ,


Friday, November 9, 2007

Purpose of Apologetics

As I look forward to tomorrow's debate over the issue "Is baptism a necessary condition for salvation." I've given some thought yet once again about the purpose of apologetics. That is, why is apologetics important and what purpose does it serve. It is my personal conviction that apologetics has (at the very least) three major and crucial functions within the church.

1. Defending the Faith: Obvious I know. But let us never forget that the word apologetics comes from the Greek phrase "pros apologian" which literally means "toward a defense." Apologetics is the area of ministry that stands as a shield for the church. I think this is a major reason why I am so passionate about apologetics. With all of the wolves that are trying to snag the sheep, apologists play the role of a shepherd in a universal sense. I do not mean this in any way to downplay the more central role that pastors play as shepherds to local congregations, I honor that role as supremely important and it is an official office given by Scripture where "apologist" is not.

But nonetheless, apologist's practice the art of refuting false doctrine and clarifying Biblical doctrine. The work of an apologist is to silence "false prophets" and point towards the truth of Jesus Christ as found in the Scripture. Apologetics is an academic ministry, a fight on the front line of Christian doctrine, saying "thus says the word of God" and telling false teachers "you stand condemned by Scripture." I love apologetics because it is a noble profession of holding the line.

2. Building up the Body: Another purpose of apologetics that is closely related with the first purpose, the other side of that coin perhaps, is encouraging Christians to know what the Bible teaches and have confidence in solid Christian doctrine. While apologetics is the art of defending the faith, the best way to defend the faith is to equip the church with the truth so that each believer can themselves call a spade a spade. Apologetics keeps out false doctrine away from the church and solidifies Biblical doctrine within the church.

3. Evangelism: A good apologist always has, in addition to the first 2 points, this third one in mind. A desire to see the lost saved. Whether it be the false teachers we refute, the people who follow them, or the people who are neutral but by hearing the truth compared to falsehood are drawn by God's Spirit to know Christ Jesus. Yes apologetics is also a way of proclaiming the gospel. One cannot help while clarifying the gospel message to also proclaim it and pray that God draws His elect to Himself.

As I engage in this debate tomorrow, I hope I accomplish in the name and power of Christ and the authority of Scripture, all three of those purposes. I appreciate your prayers for the debate tomorrow.

In Him


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Baptism Debate Saturday

Well, it's the week of the big debate! I'm excited for this opportunity to share the truth of God about baptism and what it is for (and what it is not for). It's a real privilege to defend what Scripture teaches especially given an issue that centers around the genuine gospel of Christ verses a perversion of the gospel.

I met today with Garret Boyer, whom I'm debating, and Dr. Richard Kyle (the moderator) and we discussed the final details of the debate. We scaled the time back a bit so it wouldn't run as long. Unfortunately people don't always want to listen to a full 2 1/2 hours of theological debate, so it's now closer to only 2 hours.

Mr. Boyer is a sharp guy, I look forward to hearing how he decides to approach the debate and which passages he hones in on. I of course expect Acts 2:38, 1 Peter 3:20-21, John 3:5, and a few others to be used, but nonetheless it will be interesting to see how well and in what way he presents them.

He has my respect for being willing to debate this issue in an environment that is by far predominantly against the view of baptismal regeneration. Hillsboro is a predominantly Mennonite area (Mennonite Brethren, General Conference Mennonite, Alderman Mennonite). Tabor college where I'm at currently is a Mennonite Brethren School and this is where the debate is going to be held.

Some Mennonite's do not practice full immersion for baptism and some do, but none (insofar as I know) hold to baptismal regeneration and all of them, I believe, hold to believers baptism as a sign of salvation. So Mr. Boyer is the one holding the unpopular opinion here which I would think would make it even a bit harder (something like when James White is on the radio in Salt Lake City, Utah). So he does have my respect in being willing to stand up for his conviction even though it is wrong and extremely dangerous to ones soul.

Anyway, it should be a fun time (yes, I think debating is fun.) I appreciate your prayers as I finish up my preparation for the debate Saturday and as I attempt to communicate God's truth in a way that brings Him glory and hopefully convicts sinners of their need to trust in Christ Jesus alone for salvation. If you live anywhere in the area of Hillsboro I'd love to see you this Saturday at 2pm in the Tabor College Chapel.

Sola Fide,


Who Really Benefits From The Health & Wealth Gospel?

"Eddie Long and Benny Hinn are among six televangelists whose ministries are being investigated by a Senate panel. The other four are led by Paula White, Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar and Kenneth Copeland" says an article found on AOL news.

Regardless of what the findings are of this panel the list of "who's who" in the Charismatic televangelists have obviously drawn attention because of their lavish living. From million dollar mansions to private jets, expensive cars, etc., it would seem the only one who truly benefits from the charismatic "Health & Wealth" are the underhanded Scripture abusing preachers that we so often see on TV. I doubt seriously that the list should really stop with these 6.

Here's the link to the news article:

As Christians if we really want the "abundant life" that Scripture promises, let's not pursue spiritual handouts from God, let's pursue holiness.


Thursday, November 1, 2007

What Must I Do To Be Saved: Calvinist View

As a class assignment for my History Of Christianity class, I have the privilege tomorrow of answering the question "what must I do to be saved?" from the Calvinist point of view. The following is the approach that I'll be giving, it's very condensed and there's much more to say about the issue, much more Scripture that could be given, and I only deal with the first 2 doctrines of the 5 points of Calvinism here. But it's going to be an initial introduction to Calvinism for most of the people that I will be talking to tomorrow. Here it is.

A man once asked the apostle Paul "What must I do to be saved?" His reply was simple and straightforward, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved." (Acts 16:30-31)

The message of Scripture is clear from cover to cover that it is faith that justifies a sinner before God.

Romans 1:17 tells us that "The righteous shall live by faith."

Romans 3:26 tells us that God is "just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus."

An Old Testament example is found in Genesis 15:6 where speaking of Abraham it says "And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness."

Many, many more examples could be given like these that tell us God saves men by their faith in Him. Faith in the Lord Jesus is the only condition for salvation that Scripture gives for salvation. Most Protestants agree with such a statement (though not all), so what separates the Calvinist in his doctrine? The Calvinist believes that while one must place their faith in Christ for salvation, because of sin that entered the world in Genesis 3, people have become so depraved by sin that it is impossible for man to have genuine faith in Christ.

Look at Romans 1:18-32 for an overview of the effect sin has had on mankind.

"18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

24Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

26For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them."

And also in Romans 3:10-18,

"10as it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one;11no one understands;no one seeks for God.12All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;no one does good,not even one."13 "Their throat is an open grave;they use their tongues to deceive." "The venom of asps is under their lips."14 "Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness."15 "Their feet are swift to shed blood;16in their paths are ruin and misery,17and the way of peace they have not known."18 "There is no fear of God before their eyes."

The dilemma of mankind is that we are so darkened in our hearts and minds because of sin that we are unable to know or find God, nor do we even desire to seek Him. As the Scripture says, "no one seeks for God." If God were simply to have offered Christ as He did and then left it up to man to choose Jesus Christ as their savior, all of us would be going to Hell, because people are enslaved to sin, inherently opposed to God and the things of God as long as they are apart from Christ.

About this Romans 8:7-8 tells us "7For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8Those who are in the flesh cannot please God."

The context of this verse is clear, all who are apart from Christ are in the flesh, opposed to God. So I ask you, is mankind’s will truly free as we think of free will? No it is not. The will of man is enslaved to sin. People on their own free will as we call it would never choose God because of sin.
Now it is true that man does that which he most wants to do, there is no doubt. When we sin there is no one forcing us to sin, we did it because it was our strongest desire at that time. But the question is, where did that desire come from? It came from our sinful nature that mankind inherited at the fall. So we are not free as we think of free, we simply do that which we most want to do and it appears to be a free action, but our will is bound to sin as unbelievers.

Therefore I’ll say it again, man cannot, will not, and does not want to choose Christ. If God were to let man do that what in his so called "free will" he most wanted to do then all would choose to live in their sin and all would die and go to Hell.

Therefore if any are to be saved it depends not on the free choice of man, because man’s choice is not truly free, but rather on the free choice of God to save those whom He chooses.

Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us "8For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast."

Salvation from God is a gift that He freely gives. He grants sinners His grace and the gift of faith so that they may believe. It is a misnomer that man has faith to give, rather God supplies the faith with which to believe. God chooses those whom He desires to show His mercy to and He gives them saving faith.

Look with me at Romans 9:6-24.

6But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, 7and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but "Through Isaac shall your offspring be named." 8This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. 9For this is what the promise said:

"About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son." 10And not only so, but
also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— 12she was told, "The older will serve the younger." 13As it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."

14What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! 15For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." 16So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 17For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." 18So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. 19You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?" 20But who are you, O man, to answer back to God?

Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me like this?" 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?"

Before either Jacob or Esau had done anything that could be called "good or bad" God chose Jacob and placed His love and favor upon him but Esau received God’s "hate" as it is said, he did not receive God’s favor rather His condemnation. Paul expects people to react against this and say it is not fair. This is where Paul says that God is the potter and we are the clay and He can make out of the same lump of clay whatever He as the potter wishes, that is His right as the Creator. He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy. And if God chooses to harden someone’s heart and use them as an example of His power as He did Pharaoh, He can do that to.
It’s helpful to remember that what all people deserve because of their rebellion against God is death and Hell, therefore the fact that God chooses to intervene in the life of a sinner who by nature hates God, is a pure and wonderful act of grace and mercy on God’s part.

So then in the midst of this conversation about salvation we see the Scripture says in 9:16 "So then it depends not on human will or exertion,
but on God, who has mercy."

Scripture emphasizes time and again that God chooses us and not the other way around. Look at Ephesians 1:3-6

"3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved."

The only hope mankind has for salvation is the grace and mercy of Christ to intervene on our behalf, because otherwise we will do just what we want, live in sin, and we’ll get just what we deserve, we’ll go to Hell. If you are a believer you should praise God that He had mercy on you and gave you faith to trust Him with.

This covers briefly only the first 2 doctrines of the 5 that make up the 5 points of Calvinism (A.K.A. the doctrines of Grace) if you desire to have a fuller explanation of these 2 (Total Depravity and Unconditional Election) and the last three not mentioned here (Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints) you can go to, on "Biblical Christianity" and then click on "The Doctrines of Grace."

-Jacob Allee