Thursday, November 29, 2007

Building Bridges

The following can be found at Todd Pruitt's Blog "1517".

"Nathan Finn of Southeastern Seminary gave a very helpful address on common misconceptions about Baptist Calvinists. He offered five myths that are often held about Baptist Calvinists":

Myth 1 – Calvinism is a threat to evangelism.

Of course this is nonsense. Less than two hundred years ago most Protestants were Calvinists. The founders of the modern missions movement as well as the Southern Baptist Convention were Calvinists. Calvinists see no contradiction between sovereign election and the call to world evangelization. This is so because not only ordains the ends but He ordains the means to those ends. God promises to win for Himself a people from every nation, tribe, language, and people. He also means to use His people as the means toward that end.

Myth 2 – Calvinists are opposed to invitations.

Wrong. The proclamation of the Gospel is an invitation. What many Calvinists are uncomfortable with is the modern practice of altar calls. An invitation and an altar call are two entirely different things. Charles Spurgeon and George Whitefield pleaded passionately for their hearers to repent and believe in Christ. Under their ministries untold thousands were converted, yet without altar calls. Many Calvinists are bothered by their memories of manipulative altar calls and incomplete presentations of the Gospel. Also, Calvinists do not like being told they have to do something that is not commanded or modeled in Scripture.

Myth 3 – Calvinism is the same thing as hyper-Calvinism.

The typical non-Calvinist evangelical has rejected Calvinism because hyper-Calvinism is the only Calvinism of which they have ever heard. Hyper-Calvinism is an aberration that is no more representative of Calvinism than Pelagianism is representative of Arminianism. Hyper-Calvinism rejects both the necessity of evangelism and the call for all men everywhere to repent and believe. The fact is, there are not very many genuine hyper-Calvinists around anymore. Groups that do not reproduce tend not to last very long.

Myth 4 – Calvinists deny human free will.

First of all, there is no single Calvinist or non-Calvinist view of human free will. The fact is, while many non-Calvinists claim to believe in free will they actually believe that man’s will is limited. Every decision we make is conditioned by countless factors. Also, we pray regularly that God will overcome people’s stubborn will. “God change my son’s heart.” “Lord bring my friend to repentance.” Calvinists affirm just as strongly as non-Calvinist evangelicals that repentance from sin and faith in Christ are absolutely necessary for salvation. All who repent and believe will be saved without exception. Furthermore, no one is saved against their will. The Calvinist, however, is careful to affirm that it is God who makes the convert willing. The Calvinist credits his willingness to repent and believe to God alone.

Myth 5 – Authentic Baptists are not Calvinists.

Baptist history is strongly rooted in Calvinism. Take time some day to read the London Baptist Confession of 1689 or the Abstract of Principles of the Southern Baptist Convention. The examples of prominent Baptists and Southern Baptists who were/are Calvinists are legion. From John Bunyan, William Carey, Charles Spurgeon, and Adonirum Judson to Andrew Fuller, J.P. Boyce, W.A. Criswell (that’s right), and many others in our own day Calvinists have always been a part of Baptist life.

Dr. Finn’s address is well worth the hearing. If you are a Calvinist then Charles Lawless’ address on misconceptions that Calvinists often hold about non-Calvinists was excellent and gracious.

Another Gem From Dr. Bridges


Breathe new life into your prayer life…

Does this prayer sound familiar? “God bless all the
missionaries. Give them wisdom to do your work.
Protect them and keep them well.”

Maybe you too have struggled with how to pray for missionaries and unfamiliar people groups in far away places. We’d all agree that prayer is essential to missions and that every Christian is called to Great Commission praying. Then why do we struggle to press on in prayer?

Maybe we don’t know what to pray about or how. Here are some ideas, not a formula, for more effective Kingdom-building praying. Use these guidelines to fuel your prayers for missionaries you already know or people groups you learn about.

Pray boldly and pray often!

Open Doors: It is God who opens new doors for the
Gospel. Pray for favor from governments and
authorities for missionaries needing visas and for
churches seeking places to meet together. Pray that
the Gospel would prosper, even in the face of

Understanding: Pray that God would enable
missionaries to learn new languages and customs so
they can reach people at a heart level. Ask for
teachable, humble hearts that are yielded to the Lord.

Changed Hearts: Pray for hearts to be softened and
ready to receive the message of the Gospel. Pray
that national believers would be rooted and established
in love, and that they would grow in the knowledge of
God’s word and boldly share it with others.

Healthy Churches: Pray for the establishment of
God’s kingdom as churches grow and multiply in the
least reached places. Pray for unity among believers
so that churches would work together to impact their
communities and the world.

Safety and Family: Pray for good health and safety
for missionaries, many of whom work in remote places
far from medical care. Intercede for missionary
children and the added stresses that face families
living cross-culturally.

Perseverance: Pray for missionaries to persevere with
joy in the work to which the Lord has called them.
Pray against discouragement and the attacks of the
enemy who seeks to destroy.

Wisdom: Pray for wisdom to discern God’s will as
teams set plans and priorities for ministry. Pray for
their faith to grow as they trust God for all things.

Willing Servants: Pray for more co-laborers willing to
go and make disciples. The harvest is plentiful, but
the laborers are few!

Intercessory prayer support is one of the key things that believers in local churches can do to support world evangelism.

Seven things all missionaries need…and which people forget to lift them up in prayer over:

1. Victory over mental stagnation.
2. Freshness in prayer and in Bible teaching.
3. Guidance in how to present the Gospel.
4. Deliverance from the temptation to pride.
5. Wisdom in relationships with other missionaries.
6. Strength to overcome temptations brought on by
7. A saving sense of humor.

From A Missionary: Specifics To Pray For:

When traveling:

That missionaries will pass effortlessly through customs and immigration lines.
That the planes on which missionaries travel will not encounter mechanical problems or trouble from terrorists.
That our missionaries will make all their connections.

Health and safety objectives:

Protection for the missionaries from accidents, crime, natural disasters, terrorists, and dangerous animals.
Protection for the missionaries from sickness.
That missionaries will find time for proper sleep, rest, and exercise.
That missionaries’ food and water needs will be met.

Spiritual watchcare objectives:

Times of intimacy for missionaries with Jesus in Bible study, prayer and worship.
Shielding for the missionaries from dark forces in spiritual realms.
Preservation for missionaries from discouragement, fear, and doubt.
That missionaries will demonstrate purity, humility, boldness, wisdom, patience, love for people, a teachable spirit and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Teamwork objectives:

That teams of missionaries will experience and express unity, love, good communication, patience, and spiritual gifts.
That missionaries will be granted grace for cultural adjustments, dealing with jet lag, being away from family and friends and lack of privacy.
For missionaries to have wisdom to design and implement effective efforts that will make a long-term difference here…and that they will be able to establish and maintain solid friendships with government officials and other leaders in their chosen land.


Verses to read at prayer time:

Exodus 4:12; 33:14 Zechariah 4:6
Psalms 4:8, 19:14, 121:1-8 Acts 1:8, 4:29,30
Isaiah 40:29-31; 55:10-11 Ephesians 3:16-20; 6:10-20

“The true greatness of any church is not how many it seats but how
many it sends” -Unknown

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

When we are truly, honestly and fervently seeking the LORD; then and only then are we able to fully delight ourselves in Him. When we do then the following will naturally take place. We will not be able to help ourselves to not give thanks, to not call on His name, to not make His name known, to not sing praises to Him, to not tell of His greatness, to not glory in His name, to not rejoice in Him, to not look to the LORD and His strength and to not seek His face ALWAYS. Because as point 9 and 10 state, it is by His strength that we are able to do anything and that ONLY comes from gazing on His beauty. May our hearts never become malcontent. May they always be seeking the Giver of all things, the Savior of the world.


Ps 105:4

  1. Give thanks to the LORD,
  2. call on his name;
  3. make known among the nations what he has done.
  4. 2 Sing to him, sing praise to him;
  5. tell of all his wonderful acts.
  6. 3 Glory in his holy name;
  7. let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.
  8. 4 Look to the LORD and his strength;
  9. seek his face always.