I like to get y’all fired up and really question what it is that you believe and I also like the opportunity to plug books that have made an impact on the way I look at things now from a more Reformed Orthodox position. Well the book that I think speaks directly to this current flap is a book by White Horse Inn contributer Dr. Kim Riddlebarger. This work is entitled “Man of Sin” and can be found nearly anywhere fine books are sold.
From the Description:
What should Christians believe about the Antichrist?
Christians have always been fascinated with the Antichrist, but recently the interest seems to have reached an all-time high, with pop culture depictions and speculation leaving many people confused or even frightened. But what does the Bible really say? What have Christians throughout history believed about the Antichrist? Should we fear the Antichrist or such things as the mark of the Beast? Have some end-times prophecies already been fulfilled?
Pastor and professor Kim Riddlebarger carefully untangles the confusion surrounding this biblical doctrine. He considers common beliefs about the Antichrist and end times, closely examines the relevant scriptural passages, and explains how these passages have been interpreted historically by the church.
Pastors, professors, and concerned Christians seeking trustworthy guidance on the doctrine of the Antichrist will appreciate Riddlebarger’s sound biblical approach.
Here is an excellent article by Richard Gaffin, Professor of Systematic Theology at Westminster Seminary, Philadelphia that appeared in Modern Reformation magazine. I am an unabashed Cessationist and found this article in this weeks White Horse Inn e-mail quite good.
Defense of Cessationism
by Richard Gaffin
“Cessationism is a term that carries a lot of baggage. By itself it’s negative, suggesting what no longer exists or, in current debate about the gifts of the Holy Spirit, what one is against. So at the outset, certain misconceptions about the “cessationist” viewpoint need to be addressed.
It’s not that today God’s Spirit is no longer at work in dynamic and dramatic ways. What, for instance, could be more powerful and impressive, even miraculous, than the 180-degree reversal in walk that occurs when the Spirit transforms those dead in their sins into those alive for good works? This, Paul says, involves nothing less than a work of resurrection, of (re-) creation (Eph. 2:1-10). Awesome indeed!
Nor is the point that all spiritual gifts have ceased and are no longer present in the Church today. As will become clear, at issue is the cessation of a limited number of such gifts; the continuation of the large remainder is not in dispute…”
Read the rest on the Modern Reformation website.
This Post grew out of a response I gave to a question posited by “Bob” in a thread on Toby’s Classical Presbyterian Blog.
Considering a good 90% of modern American Christians are at the least Semi-Pelagian you have quite a question that I believe needs to be SERIOUSLY considered and prayed about in a manner befitting Gethsemane. We fret over (albeit very serious as well) sexuality issues while allowing many of our “evangelical” conservative brethren to preach a gospel of Works Salvation that is in many ways more endangering to the future and health of Christendom than the ills of Liberal social ethics. We tolerate the abominable teachings of Finney, Graham, and others while fighting the onslaught of liberalism in a separate arena. Both problems, Arminianism and Liberalism, ultimately are cut from the same cloth hermenuetically. They each want to place the value of Salvation upon the unworthy shoulders of beings that cannot bear the weight of their own sin. Whether in Finney’s theology (see an excellent critique here) that weight is paid by generic “good works” or Liberalism’s “Social Gospel” salvation, which like Finney, comes to embrace Process Theology (a modern-day heresy in its own right) and the idea that Christ’s death and resurrection is not enough for salvation but merely places one in the position to move in the direction of salvation by checking off various benchmarks on the way to earning a place in the kingdom through various “good works”.
The point here is that while it is good that “evangelicals” are fighting the false diversity of Liberal social ethics at the same time they are no better if they deny Sola Fide in the process. To paraphrase something I heard Michael Horton say one time on the White Horse Inn it strikes me as odd that a term like “evangelicalism” can encompass such a broad spectrum of people to include both Benny Hinn and R.C. Sproul who could not be farther away systematically if they tried but are seen as the same because of their shared views on a very narrow slice of theological pie. My Reformed brethren we have to be careful with whom we lie down with and cast our arm around to win secular political battles when in doing so we put ourselves in danger of losing the Kingdom entirely.
How fitting that R.C. Sproul’s lovely article on the Pelagian Captivity of the Church appears this month on the White Horse Inn website. This message that Sproul presents is a mandatory read for all who wonder about the status of our Reformed faith in today’s world. Sproul spells out exactly what has infected this era-the same thing that has always infected the church-the devaluation of the Grace of God and the promotion of the personal ability of man. Even during the dark days of Reformation the Romanists and the Reformers could agree on at least one doctrine-that of Original Sin. We find our church today infiltrated by the disciples of Pelagius who seek to elevate the person to a status that we neither deserve to attain nor are we able to receive without the purposeful sacrifice of the lamb on Calvary and deny the worthiness of Christ’s sacrifice by tossing the need for the sacrifice out the window. If we could be saved by perfect obedience to the law there is no need for the sacrifice. If we can work off our own death what is the need for the atonement?