A. Strictly speaking, Martin Luther (1483–1546) could not be called a Calvinist since he did not follow Calvin. Luther started the Reformation in 1517, while John Calvin (1509–1564) did not write the first edition of his Institutes of the Christian Religion until 1536.
A. In Matthew 23:37 Jesus says, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” Many think this is saying that God wanted to give grace to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, but they refused it. But a careful examination of what Jesus said shows that this is not the case.
A. I appreciate your good question. What you are asking about is what people often term the difference between predestination and double-predestination. Those who believe only in the predestination of the elect to be saved (for the sake of clarity, I’ll call it single-predestination) say that God in eternity elected some to be saved. They say that God simply passed over the rest of humanity, leaving them in their sins. Thus, they are condemned by their own sinfulness.
by Peter Ditzel
“O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.”
The words above are found in 1 Chronicles 16:34; Psalm 106:1; 107:1; 118:1, 29; 136:1 and, with some variation, in other passages. Thanksgiving is again upon us, and I find myself with so much to be thankful for that merely listing my blessings seems too trivial to express how much my family and I have been blessed this year, both spiritually and physically. Yet, this does not mean it has been an easy year. Far from it. Trials are also cause for thanksgiving. God calls us His jewels (Malachi 3:17), but gems are made by intense pressure and gold is refined in fire. E.M. Bounds wrote, “Gratitude and thanksgiving forever stand opposed to all murmurings at God’s dealings with us, and all complainings at our lot. Gratitude and murmuring never abide in the same heart at the same time.” I’ve listed a few more quotes that I think might be helpful to get the mind off of the turkey and onto the Creator.
by Peter Ditzel
Most of you are familiar with the account in John 11 of Jesus raising His friend Lazarus to life. It was an inspiring demonstration of Jesus’ power over life and death, proving that He worked His miracles by the power and authority of God. But if we focus only on the physical circumstances of Lazarus’ resurrection itself—seeing it as an isolated miracle—without also understanding what it pictures and without considering the events that led up to it, we are missing some important lessons. Lazarus comes from the Hebrew name Eleazar and means “whom God helps.” As we will see, Lazarus is typical of those whom God helps, the elect whom He loves. In this article, I want to cover twelve lessons we can learn from the account of Lazarus from the time of his illness to the time after his resurrection.
by Peter Ditzel
Many books have been written about the parables of Jesus. Some of these books are more helpful than others. Unfortunately, most suffer from one particular problem: They do not truly allow the Bible to interpret itself. Certainly, it can sometimes be interesting and even helpful to discuss the geography and the flora and fauna of the Levant and the social customs of the Jews in Jesus’ day. These things can have their place when talking about the parables. But, as is true whenever we study the Bible, unless we rigorously hold ourselves to biblical exposition, letting the Bible interpret itself, we will miss the intended meaning. It is my prayer that in this series of articles, God will keep me holding firm to Sola Scriptura, the Bible alone.
A. This question arises because most people assume that Adam and Eve had only three children: Cain, Abel, and Seth. Therefore, some people think that Cain must have found his wife from among some other family of humans. But the Bible says that all people come from Adam and Eve (see Genesis 3:20). Although the Bible specifically names Cain, Abel, and Seth as Adam and Eve’s children, it says that they had other children. In Genesis 5:4, we read, “And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters.” Some have assumed that this verse means that Adam had the other sons and daughters after Seth, but there is nothing in the wording of this verse that implies this. In other words, Adam and Eve had many other children throughout their long married life, both before and after the birth of Seth (Adam lived 930 years and God had commanded Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply”—Genesis 1:28). For the sake of not competing for grazing, hunting, and tillable land, they would have spread over a large area. It is to these members of his family that Cain went and found a wife. Of course, this also applied to Seth.