Connie Mack managed in the majors longer than any man before or after him. In addition to an 11-year big-league playing career, his 53 years spent as a skipper is a record that will almost certainly…
When A.W. Pink joined our Lord in victory over sin in Heaven he surely came to know the Holiness of God. In his lifetime he wrote over 20 books expounding on God’s glorious attributes, doctrines, and sound theology. He authored a book on Genesis which has been an instrumental work for me, along with his book on the Attributes of God, Saving Faith and his most popular work, The Sovereignty of God. In his writings he has managed so easily to elevate God to the top of our considerations, and lowered man to the lowest of our deliberations. He is accredited with renewing Calvinistic thinking in the Evangelical world in the 20th century. Most of his books were published after his death and read by many weary saints who drank from the cisterns of his profound gospel and doctrines of God. It could easily be said without his works many saints may very well not even be where they are today in how they see the world, and how they consider God.
In the 20th century, Pink’s writings encouraged many to see God for who He is through sound biblical teachings. However, where do we see the standings of evangelicals in the 21st century? How do they describe God and who do they declare He is? For this we can review some relevant information that shows us the errors of the modern-day evangelical teachings. This information will propel us into the rest of the article and assist us in understanding where American churches are right now. My hope is that mutually we can see a common problem and perhaps provide a solution to what is the defining thought of any person; who is God?
From a recent study published by Ligonier Ministries entitled “The State of Theology” we see some very alarming information concerning both American evangelicals and non-evangelicals. The survey, which produced a very well written article detailing easy to read graphs, displays for us a set of foundational statements about the God of the Bible to which participants can either agree or disagree. Statements concerning the Trinity, sin, salvation through faith alone through Christ alone, Christ’s deity, the authenticity of the Bible and so forth. Nearly all statements are core Christian beliefs. Here I will highlight one of these statements: God learns and adapts to different circumstances. True or False? To my surprise, and I’m hoping yours also, Ligonier found that an astonishing 32% of evangelicals strongly agreed, and likewise 20% somewhat agreed. That is a total of 52% of evangelicals believe God can learn and adapt in some form or fashion, that He adapts to His environment, and learns from His mistakes. The middle of the road were not sure, at 17%. Those who somewhat disagreed were 8% and an embarrassing 23% disagreed! At first glance this seems to be a trivial matter, that God learns and adapts. Who really cares? Is it all that important to believe in an immutable, unteachable God? The unlearning God that seeks no advice or counsel from others. Is it important to know God cannot and has not changed? Perhaps people do not understand that by declaring God learns and adapts is synonymous with saying He changes. He arrives at a point in time and finds Himself at a crossroads, a choice is to be made. He updates Himself to the times according to events, or the outcome there of. Or perhaps they perceive Him as a person who regularly learns from His mistakes. Can God make a mistake? According to these individuals He can.
How are congregants of the evangelical modern day American church coming to these types of conclusions? What is being taught in churches today? Is there a digression of sound theology? Do pastors, teachers, elders, small group leaders simply not have the correct view of God? I would rest my case with Jude, that great saint who in such few words taught us there are men who have crept into the church, unnoticed and unchallenged. Who sit among us fearlessly, eating and drinking with the brethren. Some enter secretly through the back door or window only revealing themselves in time. Others though, skip right up the stairs and through the main doors. These men come baring fresh, new ideas on theology. They are galvanizing, energetic, and arrive with a plan to spread their message, they are all too often welcomed by the church with open arms. These individuals are false, they have entered to deceive and to destroy. As Jude says, “These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage.” Their books are on our shelves, their videos in our collections and sermons distributed throughout the congregation. Day in and day out they preach their fruitless sermons, write their faithless articles, and teach their loveless doctrines. Doctrines that the sinner gobbles up for lack of conviction and the saint swallows whole for lack of discernment. These men have swept through churches killing many like blight. They snag the Christian, stunt their spiritual growth, and create doubt! Jude goes on to proclaim, “But these speak evil of whatever they do not know…”. They do not know God, and in turn produce godless doctrines! They turn the grace of God into lewdness, imperfection, and waste. Their reward for such evils is soon enough.
How then is the Christian to defend against such fallacies? In as few words as possible, we are to pray and teach the true doctrines of God! (Jude 20, 21) It is by knowing the truth that we will see the lies preached. By contending earnestly for the faith! By reading our bibles.
Harping on false doctrines is a tedious task (for there are many) and one that often results in hardened hearts and bruised intellects. Rather I would prefer to focus on the true doctrines of God, specifically those that are missing from the church. It is these types of messages that tend to be archaic in Evangelical churches: the elevating of God’s perfect, eternal, and beautiful attributes and the humbling of man’s finite and sinful behaviors. To know God is to have life! (John 17:3) We must return to establishing God at the forefront of our thoughts and meditations. Return to the doctrines taught by men of the faith, not modern boys of the common seminary who acquiesce to the culture, society, government, or belief systems of other religions. There is one Truth, and His name is Christ. We must believe Him at His word, for His word is Holy, and He is Holy.
Now let us return to the original reason for writing this article. “God learns and adapts to different circumstances” is clearly a false statement. There should have been an overwhelming disagreement, but as we saw, the evangelical’s overwhelming answer was antithetical. In order to believe that God can learn or adapt we must also believe God can change, and in order to think He can change, we must also believe there is a force or substance that which changed Him. The equation would look like this:
God’s decision = A force outside Himself + His will
God is frequently or infrequently updating Himself to the circumstances of the times. In other words, He is not permanent. He is not the Rock, He declares Himself to be (Ps 18:46), He is not the consistent God He says He is (Malachi 3:6). He is simply another god, one to whom bends his own will to something other than his own. He confides in a material, substance, power, or entity other than Himself. With that said there are several attributes that would refute this thinking; however, we will be looking at a singular attribute of God. Perhaps His most beautiful and true attribute; His solitariness.
It has been rightly said that God created everything from nothing. As an easy way of communicating the events of creation, this is true. Nevertheless, it does not fully appreciate God’s fullness in Himself. We know He created from Himself, through Himself; not from nothing. With that in mind, perhaps we can consider an alternative way of describing creation. This is not to contend with the aforementioned statement, rather to improve upon it by including the most important attribute of God in the statement; “God alone, created”. This is a purer statement that declares His Solitariness in creation as we see in Genesis 1 “In the beginning God created…”. We must understand from eternity past to the first day of creation “God was separate, unique and the absolute cause of all that exists… there was no substance or principle of any kind to oppose him; no material to tie him down; no force to circumscribe his freedom” — Herman Bavinck on God’s creation. (John 1:3, Col 1:16, Heb 1:2) A. W. Pink writes “There was a time, if “time” it could be called, when God, in the unity of His nature dwelt all alone. “In the beginning, God…” there was no heaven, where his glory is now particularly manifested. There was no earth to engage his attention. There were no angels to hymn his praises; no universe to be upheld by the word of his power. There was nothing, no one, but God; and that, not for a day, a year, or an age, but “from everlasting.”” If there were a substance or force, that would indicate that “force” is also eternal and can change God. This would eliminate God’s glory and His solitude. We know that He created for Himself, through Himself and from Himself all things (Rom 11:36). Isaiah says: “For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens, who is God, who formed the earth and made it, who did not create it in vain, who formed it to be inhabited: “I am the LORD, and there is no other””. We further ascribe to Job and his conversation with God. In chapter 38 God declares His Omnipotence in a long set of rhetorical questions. He begins with His solitariness for it is proper to describe God first as alone in all His works; “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?”. He is asking a rhetorical question, of course Job wasn’t there! No one was, God was alone, separated from His creation to be, apart from any external idea or reason. There was no previous understanding of creation that God pulled from, nor were the Angels involved. There is none like Him, nor equal to Him. There is none to give Him advice, guidance, information, or solutions to anything, least of all creation. (Isaiah 46:5, Ex 8:10) He purposefully created man last, so that you and I could not disgrace His name by speculating He counseled within Adam for creation’s sake.
In the breathtakingly misunderstood, eternal past, the Triune God in His perfect Love and Grace counseled within Himself to create the universe and all that is in it. Existence of all materials is from Him, yet apart from Him. Creation requires Him, yet he does not require it. He is separate from it (Gen 1:1). He is independent of all things including time, space, and matter. Allow me to quote Herman Bavinck again who so carefully describes this independence of God; “All being is contained in Him. He is a boundless ocean of being. “If you have said of God that he is good, great, blessed, wise or any other such quality, it is summed up in a single word: He is (Est)… Even if you add a hundred such qualities, you have not gone outside the boundaries of his being. Having said them all, you have added nothing’ having said none of them, you have subtracted nothing.” Nothing you or I do increases his supremacy, likewise anything we don’t do does not degrade him. Being separate and independent gives Him the ability not to simply know all, but to govern all (Rom 9:5, 9:18) It is by His perfect will that His works are done (Eph 1:11). Paul declares this in verse 5 of Ephesians 1 when referring to the predestination of His elect saints “…according to the good pleasure of His will.” By His will all is created and ordained, for Him and to Him. (Rev 4:11)
We clearly see He created you and I, this earth and all that is in it and one day soon He is to return and create a new heaven and new earth, for this one must be [uncreated] destroyed (Rev 21:1). By His Holy will we were created, and soon to be uncreated. It is paramount our standing be proper with a God that does not entertain bribes or is influenced by anyone. He does not accept unholy worship by unholy hands. (Gen 4:5) He is a jealous God who will not compete with other gods or unholy worship. (Ex 20:3, 34:14) He will not accept worship that does not ascribe to His design. We understand by the deaths of Aaron’s sons there is no partiality with God. He is to be approached with righteous hearts on His terms, not ours. He stands alone in all His decisions, those that we have heard pastors say are good and right along with those you and I might see as unfit (2 Sam 6:8). Likewise, we face Him alone and unworthy. He is unmatched, and equally unintimidated by us. He sits high and lifted up on His throne of judgment ready to deliver the punishment for sin or extend His hand full of grace to the sinner (Isa 6). Salvation is His alone.
He alone created the universe and with it a plan of salvation (Jonah 2:9). He orchestrated the divine events of the Old Testament that lead to the birth of Christ, God the Father’s only begotten Son. He was born of a virgin and lived a sinless life to be the perfect sacrifice. God requires a perfect, sinless, unblemished sacrifice for our sins. At the end of Christ’s ministry, He was scorned, mocked, tortured, and nailed to a wooden cross where He took on God’s wrath and punishment. With His last breathes He saved another sinner who believed in Him, pulling him from the eternal punishment of Hell fulfilling the reason He came to us (Mat 1:21). He died and was buried in a tomb where He lay for three days. On the third day He arose and conquered death! He ascended to Heaven where He sits at the right hand of God. Who else could have designed a more beautiful way of salvation? That you and I should believe in the only name by which we may be saved, Jesus Christ.
To know God is to have eternal life (John 17:3).
Salvation through Christ alone (Acts 4:12)
An interesting article in Quartz, “It’s time to start wasting solar energy”, illustrates the energy industry’s mindset change from one of investing just enough to cover demand and then passing on…
2018 brought a lot of exciting things for us. We started with an idea of Pledgecamp, a crowdfunding platform that will change the industry for the better. Later that year, we started working on the…