Is God the Father of Everyone?

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by John Ellis

The claim of exclusivity is one of liberal “Christianity’s” biggest problems with Christianity. The thing is, the really scary thing is, the rejection of exclusivity in Christianity is a rejection of Christianity. Denying that Christianity is exclusive requires denying the words of Jesus.

Throughout his ministry, and more than any other person recorded in the Bible, Jesus spoke about the coming eternal judgment in hell of the unrighteous. Frequently, Jesus told his disciples and those listening that not everyone is/would be part of the Kingdom of God. In plain language that is impossible to misconstrue, Jesus told the Pharisees that their father was the devil. Having the devil as your father means that you are excluded from the Kingdom of God. Christianity is an exclusive religion.

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The Cross Is Where True Social Justice Is Found

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by John Ellis

Luke chapter fifteen is one of the most beautiful passages in the Bible; which is to say, one of the most beautiful passages in all of literature. As the chapter opens, we meet a group of grumbling Pharisees and scribes who are accusatorily saying of Jesus, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” With his response, Jesus reveals his love, his heart, and the reason for his incarnation.

The self-centered, self-righteous revelation of the Pharisees and scribes’ hearts finds a contrast and, more importantly, an antidote in the three parables that Jesus told in response. Instead of defending himself against the charge of receiving sinners and eating with them, Jesus confirms the accusation and explains that that is exactly what he came to do. Jesus’ telling of “The Parable of the Lost Sheep,” “The Parable of the Lost Coin,” and “The Parable of the Prodigal Son” reveals to us his desire to see sinners saved and reconciled to God. The readers of the Bible shouldn’t be surprised.

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The Sacred VS. the Secular: Having a Party Instead of a Bible Study

Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine.” Job 41:11b

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by John Ellis

Several years ago, pretty much every other Sunday evening at my house, I hosted a group of men from church. We would gather, drink Scotch or beer, listen to music, and talk. Sometimes, we discussed theology. Often, though, we discussed sports or movies or philosophy, current events, politics, music, literature, you get the picture; our evenings together were rather unstructured, and we discussed whatever came to our minds. The evenings were fun and edifying.

At some point, we invited several of our younger brothers in Christ (they were in their early to mid-twenties). Several of them took advantage of the invitation, and showed up at one of the Sunday evening gatherings in my library. As the evening came to a close, it was obvious that our young brothers were disappointed. We discovered later that they were expecting a structured time of Bible study and/or prayer. The following Sunday, one of the younger brothers haughtily confronted me and a friend and accusingly asked, “What’s the point of your getting together? It was a waste of time!”

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David & Goliath: A Tale of Two Songs

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by John Ellis

If the Old Testament stories were to be ranked based on popularity, the story of David and Goliath would undoubtedly rank in the top-three. I wouldn’t be surprised if most people’s list didn’t rank the tale as number-one. Anyone who has spent any amount of time in Sunday School or VBS is familiar with the story of the young Israelite who was destined to become king taking down the Philistine giant with only a sling. The Biblical story is so ubiquitous, in fact, that “David and Goliath” has become a cultural colloquialism used to refer to any underdog tale. Sadly, though, the story of David and Goliath is as misunderstood as it is popular.

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Faith Will Move a Mountain

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by John Ellis

Several weeks into my new life as a follower of Jesus, something went wrong with the front end of my car, including the brakes. Over the previous decade or so, I had changed the brake pads and rotors on cars many times. But whatever was wrong this time eluded my limited capabilities as a mechanic. I also didn’t have any money. I did have Matthew 17:20, though.

Matthew 17:20 is the famous and oft-quoted passage in which Jesus tells his disciples, “For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”[1]

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I Didn’t Want to Become a Christian

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by John Ellis

“A man is not saved because he believes in Christ; he believes in Christ because he is saved.”[1]

The above quote is from Lorainne Boettner’s seminal book The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination, which I am currently reading. Why it’s taken me so long to finally read this great book is a question that is irrelevant. Why I’m reading it at this point and time is relevant, however. Recent conversations with a brother in Christ from my church about Calvinism prompted me to begin writing an article titled, “Why I Believe in Limited Atonement.”[2] That was a month ago.

(Edit: “Why I Believe in Limited Atonement” is finished and can be read here.)

The article is taking longer than I anticipated, which, ironically, doesn’t surprise me. Considering the topic, I want to be thorough; being thorough includes washing myself with robust and God-honoring articulations of the topic. Hence, the Boettner book. While reading The Reformed Doctrines of Predestination, the quote above reminded me of a topic that my friend and I briefly touched on during one of our conversations, and I thought that it would make a good “tune-up” article, whet appetites for the coming, much longer, and much denser article, and, Lord willing, be edifying and encouraging[3].

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Progressive Proof-Texting: Defending a Libertine Spirit With Matthew 15

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by John Ellis

And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” Then the disciple came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” But Peter said to him, “Explain the parable to us.” And he said, “Are you still also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passed into the stomach and is expelled? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.” Matthew 15:10-20

Recorded in Matthew 15, Jesus’ words cut two ways. On one hand, the passage challenges legalism (Neonomianism), but on the seemingly-opposite hand, it confronts antinomianism, especially the self-proclaimed progressive kind. Sadly, many legalists ignore this passage and many progressive Christians rip Jesus’ words out of context in order to justify their libertine-loving antinomianism.

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