About Me – On Spiritual Gifts

If you don’t know, this is a post that helps you the reader to become more acquainted with where I – the author of this site – stand on various topics and theological points. Keep reading to see where I stand on today’s topic.

Spiritual gifts can be all sorts of things.

Spiritual gifts can also change over the course of one’s life. There’s nothing guarunteeing they’ll be kept life-long.

Now, the term “spiritual gift” hasn’t been used uniformly over time. Some use this term to describe only those sort of gifts as seen at Pentecost in the book of Acts whereas others take a broader meaning for the term.

As you might guess from how I started this post, I take the broader meaning. In it, I would include any gift/skill uniquely qualified for aiding the Church and spreading the gospel.

I would also count myself among those commonly called cessationists in regards to the Pentecostal sort of gifts. Why is that? Here are some reasons (not an exhaustive list):

  1. What you see in Acts is a particular event upon the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that does not repeat elsewhere in the Scriptures. It would make sense that if this were a more common event, the Apostles would have had more to say and direct on the matter in the epistles.
  2. A key component in that event was that everyone could hear what was said in their own tongue. This is commonly not the case in modern-day “events”.
  3. Modern-day “tongues” have been repeatedly shown by those who truly know the language claimed and linguists alike to be little more than babble.
  4. The vast majority of miraculous events described by some in our time are more easily explained by God’s providence – His regular working through the means of his creation.

An even better place to see many of the reasons I would side with cessationists on the topic (and on those related items), can be found in John MacArthur’s book Strange Fire. The book goes far beyond simply what I’ve discussed here but addresses this topic as well. I would also direct people to YouTube where there are hours of John’s thoughtful responses to critiques on the book.

Note: I do these posts not because I think I’m somehow superior in my views or anything absurd like that but out of a desire to be up-front and honest with my readers as to where I stand. Otherwise, you’d be left to figure things out by reading between the lines and/or guessing.

Hebrew Tidbit #3

There are varying font styles in Hebrew as you would also find in other languages like English. Hebrew even has a cursive method of writing, but what I want to focus on today is how Hebrew can be found written with or without vowel markings.

Personally, I prefer Hebrew written with the vowel markings but there is much modern material written without them and you simply have to have memorized the right vowel sounds or infer from context the correct pronunciation.

Here are the vowel names: (Please note that if you look around online you will likely find multiple spellings to some of these.)

  • patah
  • segol
  • hireq
  • qames-hatup
  • qibbus
  • qames
  • sere
  • holem
  • qames-he
  • sere-yod
  • hireq-yod
  • holem-waw
  • sureq

In addition, there is a shewa as well which is more like a “half-vowel” when pronounced.

Hebrew Tidbit #2

We are used to calling our collection of letters the alphabet and we use them for our many words including every thing I have written in this sentence. Hebrew has its own set of characters and its own “alphabet” except it goes by a slightly different name.

In Hebrew, their collection of letters is the aleph-bet. It looks and sounds very similar to our own name in English. The name comes specifically from the first two characters of the Hebrew aleph-bet. They are א (aleph) and ב (bet). Rather simple, right?

That’s all for now!

About Me – On Christ

If you don’t know, this is a post that helps you the reader to become more acquainted with where I – the author of this site – stand on various topics and theological points. Keep reading to see where I stand on today’s topic.

These days people like to claim all sorts of things about Christ. Never mind what the Scriptures have to say about Him!

Still, there are others who claim – like many of the heretics of old – that their view of Christ is Scriptural but it is only upon truly investigating that you find they’ve added or taken away from the accounts.

If you have read any of the other posts in the About Me, you would know that much of where I stand on things follows the lines of “conservative”, “reformed”, and “orthodox”. Here will be no different.

In fact, I’ll be borrowing at points from the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith so here we go!

  1. Jesus Christ is the Son of God
    1. “Christ” is not a last name but a title of being the Messiah
  2. Jesus is the Son of Man. He was born of woman in order to save mankind.
  3. He has two distinct natures yet one being. He is not some sort of third “what”.
  4. He is a person of the Trinity.
  5. He is eternal. Even when His mortal body was killed, death could not hold Him and He rose from the grave.
  6. Jesus was begotten, not made. He has always been.
  7. He is one with the Father as part of the Trinity. He is God.
  8. Jesus Christ is our savior.

For a more in-depth look, here’s chapter 8 of the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith titled “Of Christ the mediator”:

It pleased God, in His eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, His only begotten Son, according to the covenant made between them both, to be the mediator between God and man; the prophet, priest, and king; head and savior of the church, the heir of all things, and judge of the world; unto whom He did from all eternity give a people to be His seed and to be by Him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified.

The Son of God, the second person in the Holy Trinity, being very and eternal God, the brightness of the Father’s glory, of one substance and equal with Him who made the world, who upholds and governs all things He has made, did, when the fullness of time was complete, take upon Him man’s nature, with all the essential properties and common infirmities of it, yet without sin; being conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary, the Holy Spirit coming down upon her: and the power of the Most High overshadowing her; and so was made of a woman of the tribe of Judah, of the seed of Abraham and David according to the Scriptures; so that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion; which person is very God and very man, yet one Christ, the only mediator between God and man.

The Lord Jesus, in His human nature thus united to the divine, in the person of the Son, was sanctified and anointed with the Holy Spirit above measure, having in Him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; in whom it pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell, to the end that being holy, harmless, undefiled, and full of grace and truth, He might be throughly furnished to execute the office of mediator and surety; which office He took not upon himself, but was thereunto called by His Father; who also put all power and judgement in His hand, and gave Him commandment to execute the same.

This office the Lord Jesus did most willingly undertake, which that He might discharge He was made under the law, and did perfectly fulfill it, and underwent the punishment due to us, which we should have born and suffered, being made sin and a curse for us; enduring most grievous sorrows in His soul, and most painful sufferings in His body; was crucified, and died, and remained in the state of the dead, yet saw no corruption: on the third day He arose from the dead with the same body in which He suffered, with which He also ascended into heaven, and there sits at the right hand of His Father making intercession, and shall return to judge men and angels at the end of the world.

The Lord Jesus, by His perfect obedience and sacrifice of Himself, which He through the eternal Spirit once offered up to God, has fully satisfied the justice of God, procured reconciliation, and purchased an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven, for all those whom the Father has given unto Him.

Although the price of redemption was not actually paid by Christ until after His incarnation, yet the virtue, efficacy, and benefit thereof were communicated to the elect in all ages, successively from the beginning of the world, in and by those promises, types, and sacrifices wherein He was revealed, and signified to be the seed which should bruise the serpent’s head; and the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, being the same yesterday, and today and for ever.

Christ, in the work of mediation, acts according to both natures, by each nature doing that which is proper to itself; yet by reason of the unity of the person, that which is proper to one nature is sometimes in Scripture, attributed to the person denominated by the other nature.

To all those for whom Christ has obtained eternal redemption, He does certainly and effectually apply and communicate the same, making intercession for them; uniting them to Himself by His Spirit, revealing to them, in and by His Word, the mystery of salvation, persuading them to believe and obey, governing their hearts by His Word and Spirit, and overcoming all their enemies by His almighty power and wisdom, in such manner and ways as are most consonant to His wonderful and unsearchable dispensation; and all of free and absolute grace, without any condition foreseen in them to procure it.

This office of mediator between God and man is proper only to Christ, who is the prophet, priest, and king of the church of God; and may not be either in whole, or any part thereof, transferred from Him to any other.

This number and order of offices is necessary; for in respect of our ignorance, we stand in need of His prophetical office; and in respect of our alienation from God, and imperfection of the best of our services, we need His priestly office to reconcile us and present us acceptable unto God; and in respect to our averseness and utter inability to return to God, and for our rescue and security from our spiritual adversaries, we need His kingly office to convince, subdue, draw, uphold, deliver, and preserve us to His heavenly kingdom.

If You would like to see this chapter with the included Scripture references, click the following link to see the1689confession.com which will include them.

Note: I do these posts not because I think I’m somehow superior in my views or anything absurd like that but out of a desire to be up-front and honest with my readers as to where I stand. Otherwise, you’d be left to figure things out by reading between the lines and/or guessing.

About Me – On Creation

If you don’t know, this is a post that helps you the reader to become more acquainted with where I – the author of this site – stand on various topics and theological points. Keep reading to see where I stand on this topic.

All of creation is unquestioningly that, a creation, not a product of mere chance. God was clearly involved in the creation of everything – the universe, everything in it, humans too.

Now, I’ve spoken at some length on this topic under the “ologies and key terms” series. I deal with Creationism there in 4 parts but I’d recommend starting with the Introduction (Part 1).

Those articles give a great place to start on the topic but they do not truly tell you where I belong – where I stand.

I am certainly a creationist and I side more closely with the young-earth group. With that said, I am not anti-evolution. Let me explain.

In its simplest definition, evolution means change. There is an overabundance of evidence that organisms do in fact change over generations. However, much of the observed changes are deleterious in nature. In other words, evolution by loss of genetic information, not the addition of new. Evolutionary evidence thereby can explain speciation – as there is enough evidence for such drift. However, we haven’t truly been around long enough for evolution to be the deriving force of all the different types of life. Not to mention the fact that that sort of thinking is an assumption as it hasn’t and isn’t directly observed on such a macro level. I can certainly see how people would arrive at the conclusion but if most genetic changes (mutations) are deleterious, it doesn’t do well to explain new genetic innovations. Much more could be said here but I’ll leave it there for now.

I do know and have friends among the old-earth creationist camp (all of which are of the Framework hypothesis variety). Their position is interesting to me but I’m not convinced by it. That’s not saying my own is exactly air-tight though. Nevertheless, I see them as fellow believers that largely differ on time-frame, the extent of evolution’s part, and ultimately how to interpret the creation week. However, they hold much of the rest of Scriptures exactly the same as I do (same Christ, same Trinity, etc.).

Another position that often comes out in this topic is theistic evolution. In my youth, I had held this position. If you are not familiar with it, it effectively tries to hold as true both the Scriptures and everything naturalistic science claims. As you might imagine, this simply doesn’t work as you have to compromise somewhere – especially as naturalism is rather atheistic. These days this position doesn’t garner as much support as it once did though you will see some still use the term to describe their position. It has become a sort of “no man’s land” or catch-all term and I’d advise either asking further questions of the person who claims it to see where they actually stand or treat them as one who is still trying to figure things out.

Note: I do these posts not because I think I’m somehow superior in my views or anything absurd like that but out of a desire to be up-front and honest with my readers as to where I stand. Otherwise, you’d be left to figure things out by reading between the lines and/or guessing.

Hebrew Tidbit #1

Did you know?

In Hebrew, the text is read and written from right to left instead of from left to right as it would be in English and many Western languages.

Sentences also do not come to end in a period. Instead there is a : looking symbol at the end of verses. You have to figure out where we would put our punctuation by first reading the Hebrew text and understanding everything in context (like commas, periods, etc.).

That’s all for today!

Quote #32 – Magnificat

Here we have Mary magnifying God in response to the fulfillment of His promise to send the Messiah!

And Mary said:

“My soul exalts the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
“For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave;
For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed.
“For the Mighty One has done great things for me;
And holy is His name.
“And His mercy is upon generation after generation
Toward those who fear Him.
“He has done mighty deeds with His arm;
He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart.
“He has brought down rulers from their thrones,
And has exalted those who were humble.
“He has filled the hungry with good things;
And sent away the rich empty-handed.
“He has given help to Israel His servant,
In remembrance of His mercy,
As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and his descendants forever.”

(Luke 1:46-55)

It is also known as the “Song of Mary”.