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Showing posts from September, 2021

Calvinism, Arminianism and the biblical data

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In this post, Grace Communion Seminary Dean of Faculty Michael Morrison looks at Calvinism and Arminianism, compares them, then addresses the biblical data that brings both into question. Calvinism Classical Calvinism , a development of the teachings of John Calvin , has five key points, commonly presented with the acronym TULIP : T is for total depravity. This does not mean that everything people do is evil, but it means that all humans have some evil within them, and that the evil is found in all parts of humanity, including our use of reason. U is for unconditional election . God chooses some people for salvation, and his choice is based entirely within himself, not on anything the people have done or will do. L is for limited atonement.  This is the view that Jesus died only for the people he intended to save; he did not die for the sins of the people God does not want to save. I is for irresistible grace . Grace is always effective, because God always gets what he wants. If Jes

Setting the Spiritual Clock, part 1

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This post is the first in a two-part series recapping Paul Louis Metzger's book " Setting the Spiritual Clock: Sacred Time Breaking Through the Secular Eclipse ", for part 2 click here . This year (2021) the new year in the Christian worship calendar begins Sunday, November 28--the first Sunday in the season known as Advent. As we approach the liturgical new year, it's a good time to reflect on the meaning and purpose of the Christian worship calendar. Paul Louis Metzger helps us do just that in his new book.  As Timothy George wrote in recommending Setting the Spiritual Clock , the book gives us "a delightful walk through the entire Christian year. At once devotional and practical, this book is a useful guide for pastors, worship leaders, and faithful Christians of all traditions" (back cover). Other reviewers note how the book helps safeguard against the encroachment of secularism into the life of the church, particularly its worship. It does so by helpin

Benefits of using the lectionary in worship

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In  A More Christlike Word ,  Brad Jersak presents a Christ-centered approach to biblical interpretation that he refers to as  The Emmaus Way . This post summarizes what Brad says concerning how following the lectionary for all aspects of community (corporate) worship (including preaching) helps churches stay faithful to this method, keeping the focus on Jesus and his gospel.  Why follow the lectionary? Following the lectionary in community worship means conforming Scripture readings and sermons (along with other elements of worship) to the cycle of passages set forth in the lectionary.  [Note: though there are multiple lectionaries, the one that Grace Communion International follows is  The Revised Common Lectionary (RCL).]  As Brad notes, following the lectionary is a spiritual practice that helps sermons (and other elements of worship) take a more comprehensive view of Scripture . Each week the lectionary links multiple passages from various parts of the Bible in accordance with th

The inseparability of God's gifts of love and freedom

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In this post, originally published in "GCS News," Grace Communion Seminary President, Dr. Gary Deddo explains that, in Christ, the gifts of love and freedom are inseparable.  Unfortunately, love and freedom are often spoken of independently. For some, freedom is in the forefront. For others, love seems to be the central concern. Such separation of the two can leave the impression that they are not only independent of one another, but are in tension. And often, those who advocate for one or the other, in Christian or even in secular contexts, come to recommend or even demand opposite courses of action and reaction. In Jesus Christ and according to biblical revelation, the gifts of true love and true freedom have their source in our Triune God. They are actually one indivisible gift of grace. In Jesus Christ and according to his gospel, our Triune God’s kind of love and freedom can never be separated. They always go together. In fact, they cannot be separated without doing dama