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In this study we are looking primarily at the arguments used by classical Pentecostals and some Charismatics to defend Spirit-baptism as an experience that is both separate from and subsequent to conversion.   The Analogy based on the experience of Jesus   This argument is as follows. Jesus is conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. This is said to correspond with our regeneration or new birth by the Holy Spirit. Years later (@ 30), Jesus ...Read More

Paula was raised in a Christian home where church attendance was commonplace. But it wasn't until she was eleven years old that she began to take a serious interest in who Jesus is. That summer she attended a church camp and for the very first time consciously repented of her sins and put her faith in the atoning death of Jesus as her only hope for eternal life. It was a wonderful experience that brought both joy and a sense of relief. She never doubted from that moment ...Read More

John Hick is perhaps the most famous religious pluralist in the world today. Professing to have once been an evangelical, Hick is now vocal and prolific in his denial of the exclusivity of Jesus Christ. Hick contends that in spite of differences in language, culture, concepts, and liturgical actions, basically the same thing is occurring in all religions, namely,   "Human beings coming together within the framework of an ancient and highly developed tradition to o...Read More

In this study and the one to follow I want to identify and then respond to the six most frequently used arguments in defense of cessationism. If you are not familiar with that word it refers to the doctrine that certain spiritual gifts, typically (and mistakenly) those referred to as “miraculous” in nature (such as healing, prophecy, tongues, miracles, word of knowledge, etc.) ceased or were withdrawn by God from the church at the close of the first century o...Read More

3.         The third argument for cessationism pertains to the alleged negative assessment given by many to the nature, purpose and impact of signs, wonders and miracles in the NT. I had been taught and believed that it was an indication of spiritual immaturity to seek signs in any sense, that it was a weak faith, born of theological ignorance, that prayed for healing or a demonstration of divine power. Some are even more pointed i...Read More

Are Prophets the Foundation of the Church: A Study of Ephesians 2:20Read More

Has Satan assigned specific demons special responsibility, authority and power over specific geographical and political areas? Could the entrenched resistance to the gospel in some nations and cultures be due to the ruling presence of a demonic spirit (or spirits) placed there by Satan? If so, what is the responsibility of the Christian? Is there a unique form of spiritual warfare calling for special tactics when it comes to dealing with so-called "territorial spirits"?Read More

What does the Bible mean when it speaks of the "will" of God? Does God always "get his way"? Can his "will" be resisted or frustrated? Consider the following texts:   "I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose [or willing] of Yours can be thwarted" (Job 42:2).   "All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, but He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; and no one can ward off His hand ...Read More

If human nature is corrupt and guilty from conception, the consequence of Adam's transgression, are those who die in infancy lost? The same question would apply to those who live beyond infancy but because of mental retardation or some other handicap are incapable of moral discernment, deliberation, or volition. This is more than a theoretical issue designed for our speculation and curiosity. It touches one of the most emotionally and spiritually unsettling experiences ...Read More

Can a Christian be demonized, i.e., indwelt by a demonic spirit? Three answers have been given: Yes, No, and Yes/No!   A.        Arguments for a Modified Demonization of Christians   Mark Bubeck, Merrill Unger, Thomas White and others suggest that a believer can be demonized, but in a somewhat modified or restricted sense.   Based on the doctrine of trichotomy, according to which a person is comprised of three facu...Read More

This issue may best be illustrated by the use of four Latin phrases:   ·      non posse non peccare - "not able not to sin" (this describes unregenerate people and the fallen angels)   ·      posse peccare – “able to sin”, and posse non peccare - "able not to sin" (these describe Adam before the fall, regenerate people, and Jesus, if one denies his impeccability)   &mid...Read More

The Arminian Concept of Election             Although I am unapologetically a Calvinist, I think it only fair that the Arminian perspective be defined in detail. All too often in controversies such as this, people tend to portray their opponents in less than glowing terms. After all, it’s always easier to dismantle and refute a caricature of what your opponent believes. Here I want to present as objectively a...Read More

In continuation of part one . . .   A. The Arminian Concept of God's Will   Thomas Oden (The Transforming Power of Grace [Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1993]) contends that "the eternal will to save may be viewed as either antecedent or consequent to the exercise of human freedom in history" (82). This Wesleyan-Arminian perspective recognizes "God's primordial (or antecedent) benevolence, and God's special (or consequent) benevolence. A distinction is posited ...Read More

I have two goals that seem to be incompatible and irreconcilable. It is going to be difficult for me to achieve them both. It seems as if to emphasize one is to minimize the other. Let me explain.   On the one hand, I want to emphasize the value and dignity of marriage. Jesus himself in the passage from Matthew 19 is emphatic about the divine design for marriage: “What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.” Therefore, sundering or severing ...Read More

B.        Jesus on Divorce and Remarriage   1.         Mark 10:2-12   The relevant passage is in vv. 11-12 where we read: “And He said to them, ‘Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she is committing adultery.’”   Somewhat of a surprise here “is t...Read More

The question is often raised: “If the so-called miracle or sign gifts of the Holy Spirit are valid for Christians beyond the death of the apostles, why were they absent from church history until their alleged reappearance in the twentieth century?” My answer follows:   1)         They were not absent. They were possibly less prevalent, but to argue that all such gifts were utterly non-existent is to ignore a sign...Read More

The word most often translated "hell" in the NT is Gehenna, the Greek equivalent for "the valley of Hinnom". This valley is immediately southwest of Jerusalem, still visible from the Mt. of Olives. At one time it was there that human sacrifices were made to the pagan deity Moloch (2 Kings 23:10; 2 Chron. 28:3; 33:6; cf. Jer. 7:31; 19:5ff.). When King Josiah brought religious reform to the nation, Gehenna was condemned and came to be used as a garbage dump for the city of...Read More

Imprecations in the Psalms or, Does the OT teach us to Hate our Enemies?Read More

Although the term "apostle" is found in 1 Cor. 12:28 and Eph. 4:11, it is never explicitly called a charisma or "spiritual gift". Exhorters are those who exhort, teachers teach, healers heal, those who have the gift of faith exercise extraordinary faith, and so on. But how does an "apostle" (noun) "apostle" (verb)? What does it mean to minister as an apostle? One ministers as a discerner of spirits by discerning spirits. One ministers as a giver by giving. However, to sa...Read More

Please read carefully the following passages: Deut. 7:1-11; 20:16-18; Joshua 6:21; 8:24-29; 11:10-15 (also Ex. 23:31-32; 34:12-16).   How do we explain the fact that God evidently commanded Israel (Joshua 6:21) to exterminate the entire population of Jericho: men, women, and children? Numerous attempts have been made to deal with this. For example:   (1) Some argue that the decision was Joshua's, which indicates that Israel was simply at a very primitive s...Read More

Is there Healing in the Atonement? A Study of Isaiah 53Read More

What is "Open Theism"?Read More

A Brief Response to "Open Theism" From Isaiah 41-48Read More

A Brief Response to "Open Theism" From Daniel 11Read More

What was Paul's Thorn in the Flesh? A Study of 2 Corinthians 12:1-10Read More

Does the NT employ Pseudonymity?Read More

What are the Signs of an Apostle? A Study of 2 Corinthians 12:12Read More

What is at stake in the Lordship Debate?   Those who affirm "Lordship" salvation oppose the idea that one may have saving faith without submitting to the Lordship of Jesus in daily obedience. We are saved by faith alone, but not by the faith which is alone (Sola fides iustificat, sed non fides quae est sola).   Saving faith is a working faith. That faith by means of which we are justified is the kind or quality of faith that produces obedience and the frui...Read More

Are Christians Obligated to Tithe? A Study of 2 Corinthians 8-9Read More

Was Jesus a Calvinist? A Study of John 6Read More

It should really come as no surprise that in seasons of renewal, revival, and increased activity of the Holy Spirit, one of the most frequently voiced criticisms is that manipulation is occurring. Identifying manipulation and avoiding it is therefore of crucial importance. Webster's defines the verb manipulate as follows: "to manage or control artfully or by shrewd use of influence, especially in an unfair or fraudulent way."   But what does it mean to say a mini...Read More

In Part One I identified 10 of 15 characteristics of manipulation in the name of ministry. Here in Part Two I conclude our study. 11.       A leader is manipulative when he/she compensates for the lack of anointing by using natural skills or tactics to arouse or inspire or excite an audience. For example, when the Lord does not appear to be bringing laughter, it is manipulative to tell jokes or laugh infectiously in hope of inducing the sa...Read More

The word “freedom” has a variety of meanings for a variety of people. To Martha Stewart, it means early release from prison. To an Iraqi citizen, it means democratic rule following the elections in January. To a small businessman it may be defined in purely economic terms. To someone in a formerly communist bloc country it may mean the absence of social and political oppression. But what does “freedom” mean to the Christian? What does it mean to y...Read More

“But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?” (ESV)  Why is it, in view of the staggering claim of so many millions of people in America to having...Read More