Friday, December 30, 2011

A Satirical Defense Of Alcoholic Beverages

By Pastor Bruce Oyen


    As the title states, this is a satirical defense of alcoholic beverages. Sometime satire helps make a point clear. 
My satire on alcoholic beverages:
    Many of us present-day Christians oppose the use of alcoholic beverages. So have many of them from the past. This is also true of many non-Christians.
    But we have been wrong in our opposition to alcoholic beverages. We have overlooked the fact that alcoholic beverages are a major source of employment for those in need of money. Without the use of alcoholic beverages, thousands of persons would be unemployed or under-employed. As proof of this claim, what follows is a partial list of jobs provided by the use of such beverages.
  • Bouncers at bars and night clubs get paid to stop the fights at these places. 
  • Casket makers profit from alcoholic beverages. Many persons die as a result of alcohol-related car accidents and other accidents, fires, alcohol overdoses, murders, and other things. This keeps the casket makers busy.
  • Cemetery workers. They get paid to dig the graves, mow the lawns, and do other things to keep cemeteries ready for use.
  • The cremation industry profits from alcoholic beverages. Not everyone wants to be embalmed and put in a casket. Many want to be burned up and put in an urn or have their remains scattered by the winds.
  • Urn makers profit from alcoholic beverages. They make the urns in which are put the cremated remains of the deceased.
  • Gravestone makers profit from alcoholic beverages.
  • Morticians profit from alcoholic beverages.
  • Other funeral home workers profit from alcoholic beverages.
  • Hearse makers profit from alcoholic beverages.
  • Florists profit from alcoholic beverages. They get paid to provide the beautiful flower arrangements seen at funerals.
  • Musicians profit from alcoholic beverages. They often get paid for providing music at funerals.
  • Ministers, rabbis, priests, and other clergy-persons profit from alcoholic beverages. They often get paid for officiating at funerals.
  • Police officers profit from alcoholic beverages. Such beverages keep them busy dealing with alcohol-related car accidents, fires, domestic violence, and murders.
  • Ambulance workers profit from alcoholic beverages. They are sent to help those hurt in alcohol-related car accidents, fires, and violence.
  • Firemen and firewomen profit from alcoholic beverages. They are sent to put out alcohol-related fires and accidents.
  • Jail workers profit from alcoholic beverages. They must take care of persons put in jail for alcohol-related crimes.
  • Prison wardens and guards profit from alcoholic beverages. They have jobs because of crimes committed by those under the influence of alcohol.
  • Doctors and nurses profit from alcoholic beverages. They get paid to take care of patients with alcohol-related injuries and health problems.
  • Physical therapists profit from alcoholic beverages. They get paid to help persons recover from alcohol-related physical problems.
  • Psychiatrists, psychologists, and counselors profit from alcoholic beverages. They get paid to help persons with alcohol-related personal problems.
  • Marriage and family counselors profit from alcoholic beverages. They get paid to help solve the problems alcohol causes in marriages and families.
  • Divorce lawyers profit from alcoholic beverages. They get paid to help end marriages destroyed by alcohol.
  • Judges profit from alcoholic beverages. They get paid to preside over alcohol-related court cases.
  • Insurance companies profit from alcoholic beverages. They get paid to provide insurance for a variety of alcohol-related things, such as car accidents.
  • Automobile repairmen profit from alcoholic beverages. They get paid to fix automobiles damaged in accidents caused by drunk drivers.
  • Television, radio and newspaper reporters profit from alcoholic beverages. They get paid to report on alcohol-related accidents, fires, murders, rapes, domestic abuse, and other things.
In Conclusion
    It is hoped that this satirical defense of alcoholic beverages helps readers to see the extensive negative affect such beverages have on our society.
    It is also hoped that readers understand that most of those persons who do profit from the use of alcoholic beverages are heart-broken by the results of their use. Most of them would rather not have to provide the services they do as a result of the use of alcoholic beverages.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Birth Of Jesus And The Restoration Of Israel

By Pastor Bruce Oyen

    The theme of this posting might seem odd. It is this: "The Birth Of Jesus And The Restoration of Israel." The theme came to mind recently when reading the Christmas story in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. I do this every year when we get close to Christmas, the time of year in which many Christians reflect on and celebrate the birth of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. And, since it is November, 2011, it is close to that time of year.
     As we thoughtfully  read through the Biblical accounts of the birth of Jesus, we find that these chapters are profoundly deep in meaning. And we understandably focus on favorite Biblical statements such as these in Luke 2:8 - 14: 8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 “ Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Quoted from the New King James Version.)    
     Though these verses are the heart of the Christmas story, they aren't the whole story. The story of the birth of Jesus includes more than the important subject of salvation and forgiveness, which are given to those who believe in Him as their Savior. The story of His birth reaches far into the future, and includes something that is still future. How far off in the future, we do not know, and it is not good to dogmatically guess at it.
     What is yet future is stated in Luke 1: 30 - 32, which says this: 30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” (Quoted from New King James Version)
      To what do these verses refer, that is yet future? The Pulpit Commentary answers the question. It says this: "These words of the angel are as yet unfulfilled. They clearly speak of a restoration of Israel, still, as far as we can see, very distant. Nearly nineteen centuries have passed since Gabriel spoke of a restored throne of David, of a kingdom in Jacob to which should come no end. The people, through all the changing fortune of empires, have been indeed strangely kept distinct and separate, ready for the mighty change; but the eventful hour still tarries." 
      Personally, I think it is very possible that the promise of Israel's restoration as a nation, with the Lord Jesus reigning as King from His earthly, millennial throne, spoken of here by the angel, could be fulfilled in the near future, not in the distant future.  But even if the fulfillment of this promise is in the distant future, we can rejoice that its fulfillment is absolutely certain, for it is a promise from God through the angel to His people. 
      But what we Christians should eagerly anticipate to come before the restoration of Israel, and the reign of Jesus as King, is the return of Jesus to take Christians to be with himself. This is what we call the rapture of the church. It is referred to in many New Testament passages, perhaps the most well-known of which is 1 Thessalonians 4:13 - 18. This could happen today. It might not happen for a long time. We don't know exactly when it will happen.
      Following the church's rapture will be a 7-year period of tribulation on the earth. We read about this in Matthew 24 and elsewhere.
      Following this tribulation period, the Lord Jesus Christ will return to earth, put down His enemies, and set up the kingdom spoken of in the Luke 1 passage referred to above. This is a great theme of both the Old Testament and the New Testament.
     For those who might be new to this Biblical subject, and who would like to study it out more fully, it would be good to start by reading 2 Samuel 7:10 - 17; Isaiah 2:1 - 22; and Matthew 19:28. A good cross-reference Bible will lead you to other verses about this subject.
     I suggest you get The Ryrie Study Bible.To take a look at this study Bible, click on this link:
    It would also be good to read Renald Showers'  book, There Really Is A Difference. To take a look at it, click on this link:
    Another important book to read on these themes is by John Walvoord. It is called, The Final Drama (14 Keys To Understanding The Prophetic Scriptures). To take a look at this book, click on this link:
   These books give the Biblical reasons for believing in the coming literal, earthly kingdom of Israel in which Jesus Christ reigns as King for a millennium (1,000 years). 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Good Reasons To Have The Attitude Of Gratitude

By Pastor Bruce Oyen

    It is Sunday, November 20, 2011. Thanksgiving Day is not far away. This is a special day when many Americans stop and reflect on the blessings we have in life. And this reflection leads us to give thanks for them.
      The attitude of gratitude is a common theme in the Bible, and especially in the Book Of Psalms. Consider Psalm 100's emphasis on thankfulness:

Psalm 100 (from the New King James Version)

A Psalm of Thanksgiving.
 1 Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands!
 2 Serve the LORD with gladness;
         Come before His presence with singing.
 3 Know that the LORD, He is God;
         It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
         We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

 4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
         And into His courts with praise.
         Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
 5 For the LORD is good;
         His mercy is everlasting,
         And His truth endures to all generations.
     Verse 4 tells us to be thankful to God. Verse 5 gives reasons to be thankful. Let's consider some other blessings for which we should be thankful, though the list is not complete:
  • The blessing of life itself.
  • The blessing of health.
  • The blessing of family and friends.
  • The blessing of work.
  • The blessing of God's forgiveness to all who believe in Jesus Christ.
  • The blessing of eternal life given to all who believe in Jesus Christ.
  • The blessing of permanent salvation for all who believe in Jesus Christ.
  • The blessing of assurance of that salvation by trusting the promises of God.
  • The blessing of comfort from God in time of sorrow or whenever else it is needed.
  • The blessing of God's strength in time of trials and testings.
  • The blessing of God's peace in life's storms.
  • The blessing of wisdom needed for making decisions.
  • The blessing of knowing the future from the Bible.
  • The blessing of answered prayer.
  • The blessing of second chances from God when we have failed to do his will and admit it.
  • The blessing of having the Bible, which is God's infallible Word, from which we know about all the blessings mentioned above. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

We Should Believe Jesus Christ Died To Save Everyone, Not Just A Few Persons

By Pastor Bruce Oyen

For You (Jesus Died)

This Posting's Theme
     My theme for this posting is: We should believe that Jesus Christ died to save everyone, not just a few persons.
An Explanation Of The Extent Of The Death Of Jesus Christ
     The Bible clearly teaches that Christ's death was for the purpose of saving everyone, but that it is effective only for those who believe in Him for salvation. The Bible says in 1 Timothy 1:15 that "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." Logic tells us that this includes all sinners. This means it includes all of us, for the Bible teaches we all are sinners. See, for example, what the Bible says in  Romans 3:10 and 23.
    But we must do something to get that salvation provided by Jesus Christ. The Bible says in Acts 16:31: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved." And the Bible says in Romans 10:13: "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."
An Explanation Of The False Doctrine Of "Limited Atonement."
     Many Christians believe in the false doctrine of "limited atonement." This false doctrine means that Jesus Christ did not die to save everyone, but only to save some, that is,  those whom God has chosen to save. They reinterpret, and also misinterpret, the many Biblical statements that teach Jesus Christ came into the world to save everyone, and that he died to save everyone.
The Results Of The False Doctrine Of "Limited Atonement"
    One result of this false doctrine is that the many Biblical statements, which for many centuries have been understood by the majority of Christians to teach Jesus Christ's death on the cross was for the purpose of saving everyone, no longer mean that.
    Therefore, those who hold this false doctrine tell us that what the Bible has long been understood to mean in statements such as those found in John 1:29 and in John 3:16 and 17; in 1 Timothy 1:15; 1 Timothy 2:1 - 6; in 1 Timothy 4:10; in Hebrews 2:9; and in 1 John 2:1 and 2, don't mean that at all.  Rather, so they tell us, the Bible teaches that the purpose of Jesus Christ's death was to save only God's chosen ones. No one else, they tell us, was included in the saving death of Jesus Christ. As they like to put it, Jesus died to save only those who become believers. Now, logic tells us that means he died to save only a small portion of humanity, for only a small portion becomes believers in Jesus.
    Another result of this false doctrine is that we cannot tell anyone that Jesus Christ died to save them, because, according to this doctrine, no one but the Lord knows who was included in His death.
   Another result of this doctrine is that we can only assume or guess that He died to save us. After all, if we cannot tell someone else that Jesus died to save them, how can we say He died to save us?
Who In The Past Taught The False Doctrine Of Limited Atonement, And Who Presently Teaches It?
      Many famous Christians from the past taught this false doctrine, including John Gill and C. H. Spurgeon. Some say Spurgeon backed off his 5-point Calvinism as he got older. I doubt that. But we know for a fact that he promoted the false doctrine of limited atonement for most of his ministry.
      Many famous Christians from the present teach this false doctrine, including R. C. Sproul, John MacArthur, Jr., and John Piper. This is not hearsay. I have read some of what they say in support of this false doctrine.
      If you want to read examples of how the Bible's clear statements that Jesus Christ came to save everyone are reinterpreted and misinterpreted in order to fit them into the theology of 5-point Calvinism, just look at the notes in The MacArthur Study Bible on the verses listed above. It will amaze you to read that MacArthur thinks Jesus Christ died for everyone, but that He did not die to save everyone! He says that everyone benefits from the death of Christ in some way, but not in the same way! He says the Lord died for believers, but the Bible says He died for sinners! To listen to a MacArthur sermon promoting the false doctrine of "limited atonement," or to read it, click on this link:
Support For The Biblical Doctrine Of The All-Inclusive Death Of Jesus Christ
     While it is true that many Christians and many Christian organizations promote the false doctrine of "limited atonement," it is also true that many promote the Biblical doctrine of this subject. Therefore, what follows are the statements of the Biblical doctrine from some individuals and organizations that affirm belief in the death of Jesus Christ for all persons, including those who end up in hell because they refuse to believe on Jesus Christ as their Savior.
  • Tyndale Theological Seminary has a very clear statement that supports the belief that Jesus Christ died to save everyone, and that opposes the false doctrine of "limited atonement". It says: "The Extent of Salvation We hold that Christ’s atonement was unlimited as to its provision for fallen humanity but limited as to its application to the elect. Thus, we reject the Reformed doctrine of Limited Atonement. [2 Pet. 3:9; 1 Jn. 2:2; 1 Tim. 4:10]."  This quote is from their website:
  • Dr. Norman Geisler And His Veritas Evangelical Seminary support the Biblical doctine that Jesus Christ died to save everyone, but that only those believe in Him receive that salvation. And, they oppose the false doctrine of "limited atonement." Here is a quote from the doctrinal position of Veritas Evangleical Seminary. It covers 9 important points, but only what pertains to our subject is given:   "We Reject:  (2) any philosophy or theology which denies that human freewill can be exercised in the receiving of Christ's free gift of salvation; specifically, we reject the belief that Jesus' atonement was limited in its extent, instead, we believe that He died for all unrighteous people and that any perceived limitation rests in one's free rejection of Christ's finished work of atonement, and we reject the assertion that God's wooing grace cannot be resisted or that He has elected some people to go to hell; instead we believe that anyone who wills to come to Christ may do so freely as a result of the Holy Spirit's conviction and wooing persuasion of the heart;"  Here is a link to the seminary's website, from which the quote was taken:
  • A. T. Robertson, the famous New Testament Greek scholar, made this good statement affirming what the Bible says on this subject: "At any rate, the propitiation by Christ provides for salvation for all (Hebrews 2:9) if they will only be reconciled with God (2 Corinthians 5:19-21)." This quote was taken from his comments on 1 John 2:2, found in his set of books called Word Pictures In The New Testament. The quote was obtained from this website: This statement does not limit the atonement to those who get saved, as does the 5-point Calvinist's atonement. Nor does this one by Robertson on Hebrews 2:9:  "His death was in behalf of every one (not everything as the early Greek theologians took it). The death of Christ (Andrew Fuller) was sufficient for all, efficient for some." Of course, the "some" for whom it is efficient are those who believe in Jesus Christ.
  • Lewis Sperry Chafer and John Walvoord were Presidents of Dallas Theological Seminary. Here is a quote on our subject from chapter 9 their book, Major Bible Themes: "In Scripture the death of Christ is revealed to be a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. Accordingly, John the Baptist introduced Jesus with these words, 'Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world' (John 1:29). Jesus in His death was actually the substitute dying in the place of all men." Later in the same paragraph we read the following statement: "The Savior has already borne the divine judgments against the sinner to the full satisfaction of the God. In receiving the salvation which God offers, men are asked to believe this good news, recognizing that Christ died for their sins and thereby claiming Jesus Christ as their personal Savior."  These statements do not limit the atonement to those who get saved, as does the 5-point Calvinist's atonement.
  • J. Vernon McGee is the well-known radio preacher who died in the 1980's. He wrote many good books, one of which is called Doctrine For Difficult Days. John Walvoord, quoted above, wrote the introductory commendation of this book. Here are some quotes from the chapter called "Salvation: Part 1." McGee said the following: "My friend, when He died upon the cross, He was a substitute for you! And He was a substitute for me! What happened to Him at that time should have happened to us --- we are guilty, He is innocent. That's important to see. Don't feel sorry for Him. It was for the joy that was set before Him that He endured the Cross. He did it willingly and gladly. He doesn't want your sympathy, He wants your faith."  And then later in the same chapter McGee wrote the following: "Are you trusting Him today? Is He really a substitute for you? You don't need to feel sentimental about His death. He died for you. And you are the fellow to feel sorry for if you have never trusted Him. Because, my friend, what happened to Him will have to happen to you if you don't trust Him. But He died, the just for the unjust, the innocent for the guilty, the One who is holy for the unholy. He took my place. He took your place. That's a wonderful truth!" These statements do not limit the atonement to those who get saved, as does the 5-point Calvinist's atonement.
  • The Independent Fundamental Churches Of America, International has a good statement supporting what the Bible says on this matter:  "We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross for all mankind as a representative, vicarious, substitutionary sacrifice, and that the sufficiency of this atoning sacrifice to accomplish the redemption and justification of all who trust in Him is assured by His literal, physical resurrection." from the deadThis statement does not limit the atonement to those who get saved, as does the 5-point Calvinist's atonement This quote is taken from the IFCA, International website:
  • Biblical Ministries Worldwide has good statements about this subject: "We believe the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through His death on the cross as a representative, vicarious, substitutionary sacrifice sufficient for the sins of the whole world, and our justification is verified by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead. (Romans 3:24-25; Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 2:9; 1 Peter 1:3-5; 2:24; 1 John 2:2)" Here is another one from BMW: "We believe the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures as a representative and substitutionary sacrifice for all people and all who trust Him are saved by grace through faith on the grounds of His shed blood, accepted in the beloved, kept by God's power, and thus secure in Christ forever. (John 1:12; 6:37-40; 10:27-30; Romans 8:1,38-39; 1 Corinthians 1:4-8; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-10; 1 Peter 1:5,18-19)." These quotes were taken from their website: These statements do not limit the atonement to those who get saved, as does the 5-point Calvinist's atonement. 
  • Baptist Mid-Missions has a good statement about the extent the death of Jesus Christ:  "We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died as the substitutionary sacrifice for all men. The blood atonement He made was unlimited in its potential. It is limited only in its application, effectively saving those who are brought by the Holy Spirit to repentance and faith." This statement does not limit the atonement to those who get saved, as does the 5-point Calvinist's atonement. This quote is taken from their website:
  • The Association Of Baptists For World Evangelism has a good statement about this subject: "We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He is very God of very God, being "God manifest in the flesh." He lived a life of absolute sinlessness and in His death made a full and vicarious atonement for our sins, dying not as a martyr, but as a voluntary substitute in the sinner’s place. He rose from the dead on the third day and ascended bodily into heaven. He is coming again to rapture His saints, and to set up the throne of David and establish His kingdom. The rapture is imminent and will be personal, pre-tribulational and pre-millennial."  This statement does not limit the atonement to those who get saved, as does the 5-point Calvinist's atonement. The quote is taken from their website:
  • The Fundamental Baptist Fellowship International has a good statement  on this subject: "We believe the Lord Jesus Christ died as a substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of all men according to the Scriptures, and all who receive Him are justified on the grounds of His shed blood (2 Cor. 15:3; 2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 3:21-26; Heb. 2:9; 1 Jn. 2:2)." The quote was taken from their website: This statement does not limit the atonement to those who get saved, as does the 5-point Calvinist's atonement 
  • New Tribes Mission has a short but clear statement about the extent of Christ's death:  "That the Lord Jesus Christ shed His blood and died as a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world." This quote was taken from their website: This statement does not limit the atonement to those who get saved, as does the 5-point Calvinist's atonement 
  • Chosen People Ministries has a good statement in support of an unlimited atonement: "We believe Jesus the Messiah revealed the mind of God (Deut 18:15; Acts 3:22-24; Matt 13:57; John 1:18; Heb 1:1-4), offered Himself once and for all as the only atoning, substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of humanity (Heb 4:4:14-5:10; 7:1-3; 9:6-10:18; 1 John 2:2; Rev 1:5." The quote was taken from their website: This statement does not limit the atonement to those who get saved, as does the 5-point Calvinist's atonement 
  • The General Association Of Regular Baptist Churches has a good statement about our subject: "We believe that the salvation of sinners is divinely initiated and wholly of grace through the mediatorial offices of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Who, by the appointment of the Father, voluntarily took upon Himself our nature, yet without sin, and honored the divine law by His personal obedience, thus qualifying Himself to be our Savior; that by the shedding of His blood in His death He fully satisfied the just demands of a holy and righteous God regarding sin; that His sacrifice consisted not in setting us an example by His death as a martyr, but was a voluntary substitution of Himself in the sinner’s place, the Just dying for the unjust, Christ the Lord bearing our sins in His own body on the tree;" The quote was taken from their website: This statement does not limit the atonement to those who get saved, as does the 5-point Calvinist's atonement. 
  • The Ohio Bible Fellowship has a doctrinal statement that does not endorse the false doctrine of "limited atonement. Part of it says the following: "We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man, without ceasing to be God, having been born of the virgin Mary, in order that He might reveal God and redeem sinful men (John 1:1, 2, 14; Luke 1:35)." It also says: "We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through His death on the cross as a representative, vicarious, substitutionary sacrifice; and, that our justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead (Romans 3:24, 25; I Peter 2:24; Ephesians 1:7; I Peter 1:3‑5)." It also says: "We believe that salvation is the gift of God brought to man by grace and received by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Whose precious blood was shed on Calvary for the forgiveness of our sins (Ephesians 1:7; I Peter 1:18, 19)."  These quotes were taken from their website:
  • Baptist International Missions, Inc.  has a good statement on our subject that does not endorse the false doctrine of "limited atonement." Part of it says the following: "We believe in the virgin birth of Christ, His Deity, and sinless life, His vicarious death, along with His bodily resurrection and ascension, and in His personal, pre-millennial return. We believe the Lord Jesus Christ is the second person of the Godhead, God in the flesh, virgin born as no other man has ever been born nor ever will be born. He lived an absolutely sinless life and became the sinner's voluntary substitute on the Cross by His vicarious death for man's sin. Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the third day, giving eternal assurance of redemption's full payment and the satisfaction of God's righteous indignation toward sin."  This quote was taken from their website:
In Conclusion
     As stated at the beginning of this posting, these are just a few of the many, many, many quotes that could be given to support belief in the Biblical doctrine that Jesus Christ did, indeed. come into the world to save sinners, and that includes all of them.
    Of course, His death on the cross will not do us any good unless we do what the Bible says must be done to be saved. And it says this in Romans 10:9 - 13:  "9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”  (New King James Version)       

Thursday, November 10, 2011

1 John 5:1, The New Birth, And Monergism

By Pastor Bruce Oyen


My Theme For This Posting
     My theme for this posting is this: "1 John 5:1, The New Birth, And Monergism."
What "Monergism" Means
    At the outset, we need to understand what is meant by "monergism." In this context, it is the belief that we do nothing to experience regeneration ( the new birth, or being born again). Monergists believe that we do not believe in Jesus Christ to be born again. They say if we are born again, it results in believing in Jesus Christ.    
    Many, and perhaps most, monergists believe God uses His Word to bring about the new birth, but not in the same way others, called "synergists," think of it. Synergists believe that the new birth happens when a non-Christian hears the Gospel, and chooses to believe in Jesus Christ because of the Gospel message.
    Many monergists, on the other hand, believe that God uses His Word in this way to  bring about the new birth: they say that when one whom God has chosen to save hears the Gospel message, it is planted in the heart somewhat like an apple seed is planted in the ground. The seed then germinates and becomes an apple tree. But the ground does not choose to let that seed be planted in itself, and it does not choose to let the seed become an apple tree.  The ground is  passive in the whole thing.
A Monergist Definition Of Monergism
    Here is a partial quote from a monergist website that gives this definition of monergism: Definition of Monergism: The view that the Holy Spirit is the only agent who effects regeneration of Christians. It is in contrast with synergism, the view that there is a cooperation between the divine and the human in the regeneration process. Monergism is a redemptive blessing purchased by Christ for those the Father has given Him (1 Pet 1:3, John 3:5,6, 6:37, 39). This grace works independently of any human cooperation and conveys that power into the fallen soul whereby the person who is to be saved is effectually enabled to respond to the gospel call (John 1:13; Acts 2:39, 13:48; Rom 9:16).
This was taken from the left side of the homepage of this website:
How 1 John 5:1 Relates To This Theme
    Now this is where 1 John 5:1 comes into the picture. This verse is a key verse in monergistic theology. The verse says this: Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. (King James Version) Monergists say this verse proves that non-Christians are passive in the new birth. They say this verse tells us that belief in Jesus Christ is the result of the new birth, not the means to receiving it.
Some Examples of Past Monergists
    John Gill lived in the 1700's and the 1800's. He was a Baptist pastor, theologian, and author of many works, including a multi-volume commentary set on the whole Bible. He was a monergist. Here is part of what he said on 1 John 5:1: Faith in Christ is the evidence of regeneration, and where that is, there will be love to the author of regeneration, and to them that are regenerated.
    John Calvin lived long before Gill. He had a monergist-synergist view of the new birth, as the following quote from his commentary on 1 John 5:1 proves. He wrote this: Whosoever believeth. He confirms by another reason, that faith and brotherly love are united; for since God regenerates us by faith he must necessarily be loved by us as a Father; and this love embraces all his children. Then faith cannot be separated from love.
    The first truth is, that all, born of God, believe that, Jesus is the Christ; where, again, you see that Christ alone is set forth as the object of faith, as in him it finds righteousness, life, and every blessing that can be desired, and God in all that he is. 1 Hence the only true way of believing is when we direct our minds to him. Besides, to believe that he is the Christ, is to hope from him all those things which have been promised as to the Messiah.
     Nor is the title, Christ, given him here without reason, for it designates the office to which he was appointed by the Father. As, under the Law, the full restoration of all things, righteousness and happiness, were promised through the Messiah; so at this day the whole of this is more clearly set forth in the gospel. Then Jesus cannot be received as Christ, except salvation be sought from him, since for this end he was sent by the Father, and is daily offered to us.
    Hence the Apostle declares that all they who really believe have been born of God; for faith is far above the reach of the human mind, so that we must be drawn to Christ by our heavenly Father; for not any of us can ascend to him by his own strength. And this is what the Apostle teaches us in his Gospel, when he says, that those who believe in the name of the only-begotten, were not born of blood nor of the flesh. (John 1:13.) And Paul says, that we are endued, not with the spirit of this world, but with the Spirit that is from God, that we may know the things given us by him. (1 Corinthians 2:12.) For eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor the mind conceived, the reward laid up for those who love God; but the Spirit alone penetrates into this mystery. And further, as Christ is given to us for sanctification, and brings with it the Spirit of regeneration, in short, as he unites us to his own body, it is also another reason why no one can have faith, except he is born of God.
Some Examples Of Current-Day Monergists
    Those men lived long ago. So, some readers might wonder if anyone believes this now, in the year 2011. Well, the answer is "Yes!" John Piper and R. C. Sproul teach that the new birth precedes faith in Jesus Christ, and results in faith in Him. And so do many other Christians.
    As proof of this, here is a link to the previously-mentioned website that is devoted to the promotion of monergism: On the website, you will find past and current authors and preachers who are monergists.
Pastor John MacArthur's View Of The New Birth Is Good
    Pastor John MacArthur is a 5-point Calvinist. But he does not believe that the new birth comes before faith.  I am in agreement with his view on the new birth, as found in his 1-volume commentary on the Bible. In his comments on John 3:3 he wrote, "New birth is an act of God whereby eternal life is imparted to the believer (2Cor. 5:17; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 1:13; 1 John 2:29; 3:9; 4:7; 5;1,4,18). John 1:12, 13 indicates that 'born again' also carries the idea 'to become children of God' through trust in the name of the incarnate Word." 
    In his comments on John 3:11- 21 he wrote, " The key word in these verses is 'believe,' used seven times. The new birth must be appropriated by an act of faith."
Some Thoughts On 1 John 5:1
     Now, let me give some thought on that key verse of monergists: 1 John 5:1. Here it is quoted again: Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. (King James Version).
     Does this verse really mean what the monergists claim it means? Does it really prove what they say, that the grace of regeneration works independently of any human cooperation and conveys that power into the fallen soul whereby the person who is to be saved is effectually enabled to respond to the gospel call?     My answer is a definite "No!" And here is why: Monergists tell us we must have spiritual life before we can believe in Jesus Christ. They tell us this spiritual life comes to us through the new birth or regeneration, which they say works independently of any human cooperation and conveys that power into the fallen soul whereby the person who is to be saved is effectually enabled to respond to the gospel call.
    However, and this  is a very important "however,"  John 20:30 and 31 says this: 30And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. (King James Version) John 20:30 and 31 clearly tells us that spiritual life comes to us as the result of believing in Jesus Christ, in contrast to what the monergists tell us.
    Though John Calvin held to a puzzling monergistic-synergistic view of the new birth, he is a safer guide on this subject than any strict monergists. Here is part of  what Calvin said on John 1:12 and 13:  It may be thought that the Evangelist reverses the natural order by making regeneration to precede faith, whereas, on the contrary, it is an effect of faith, and therefore ought to be placed later. I reply, that both statements perfectly agree; because by faith we receive the incorruptible seed, (1 Peter 1:23,) by which we are born again to a new and divine life.
Some Conclusions About 1 John 5:1
     Therefore, as we think about 1 John 5:1 we can come to these conclusions:
  • First, the verse could not support strict monergism because the verse would then contradict other Biblical statements such as John 1:12 and 13, and John 20:30 and 31. The Bible is God's infallible Word, and therefore it does not contradict itself.
  • Second, John's first letter (epistle) was written partly to counteract false teachers/teachings. Therefore, it is only logical that John would say in 1 John 5:1 that Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God. If anyone denies that doctrine, it shows that they have not been born of God. Don't we consider the so-called Jehovah's Witnesses to be non-Christians because of their false doctrines about Jesus Christ? Wouldn't we tell them their false doctrines prove they have not been born again? Don't we say that verses 7 - 11 of John's second letter apply to them? The verses say this: 7For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. 8Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. 9Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. 10If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: 11For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. (King James Version)
  • Third, even if 1 John 5:1 means that believing that Jesus is the Christ is a result of the new birth, it does not have to mean what the monergists say it means. They say it means we have no part in our new birth. They say we are strictly passive in it. But they are wrong to draw this conclusion from the verse, and here is why: it is only logical that those who have been born again by believing that Jesus is the Christ would continue to do so after they have been born again.
  • Fourth, if someone claims to have believed the truth about Jesus Christ, and claims to have been born again, but then departs from the truth, we could justifiably apply 1 John 2:18 - 22 to those persons. Those verses say this: 18Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. 19They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. 20But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. 21I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. 22Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. (King James Version)

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Dilemma Of John Piper, R. C. Sproul, And Other Monergists

By Pastor Bruce Oyen

     My theme is this: "A Dilemma Of John Piper, R. C. Sproul, And Other Monergists." The only reason I made specific reference to Piper and Sproul is the fact that they are current-day, well-known preachers and authors. If this posting were simply titled, "A Dilemma Of Monergists," many readers might just scratch their heads and say to themselves, "Monergists? What are monergists? And who cares, anyway!" But, many of those same persons are familiar with Piper and Sproul. This might get them to consider my point.
     So, here is what this posting is about: Piper, Sproul, and other monergists believe that a person must be born again to become a believer in Jesus Christ. Their belief is in opposition to the commonly-held belief among most Christians, including highly-respected theologians, authors, and preachers, who believe that we must believe in Jesus Christ to be born again. The monergists motto is this: "Regeneration (the new birth) precedes faith." They believe that the new birth results in faith in Jesus Christ, instead of believing that faith in Him results in the new birth.
     The reason monergists hold this view is because of their view of the effect of the sinfulness of humanity. They think the Bible's statements that we are dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1 and 5) mean we are not able to believe in the Lord until we are born again. They say we must be given spiritual life through the new birth (regeneration), which enables us to believe in the Lord for salvation.
     But here is a dilemma they find themselves in because of their belief: monergism contradicts a plain statement of the Bible. It's that simple: the idea that the we must be given spiritual life by the new birth in order to believe in Jesus Christ contradicts a plain statement of the Bible.
     "What statement is that?," you might be wondering. It is the one made in John 20:30 and 31. These verses say this: 30And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
      That's plain, isn't it?  Read the verses again. The apostle John wrote infallible Scripture, and said this: 30And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:
 31But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. What is plain here is the fact that John said believing in Jesus Christ results in having life, that is, spiritual life. But the monergists say that having spiritual life results in believing in Jesus Christ.
       My question is this: are we going to believe the words of fallible men like John Piper and R. C. Sproul, or the words of infallible Scripture?
     Calvinists often lean heavily on the writings of John Calvin. Here is part of what he said on John 20:30 and 31. It affirms my point that spiritual life is receieved by faith in the Lord, not before it. Calvin wrote: That believing, you may have life. This effect of faith was also added, to restrain the foolish longings of men, that they may not desire to know more than what is sufficient for obtaining life. For what obstinacy was it, not to be satisfied with eternal salvation, and to wish to go beyond the limits of the heavenly kingdom? Here John repeats the most important point of his doctrine, that we obtain eternal life by faith, because, while we are out of Christ, we are dead, and we are restored to life by his grace alone
    For proof that Sproul and Piper are monergists, click on these links:

The Power Of Christian Music

By Pastor Bruce Oyen

Line_of_music.gif - (6K)
Music: The Universal Language
      It has long been said, "music is the universal language." It seems everyone enjoys music. It is found in the fancy palaces of kings, and in the humble homes of slaves. It is played on the expensive instruments of professional musicians, and on the cheap instruments of the poor. It can have the complexity of symphony music, and the simplicity of hillbilly music. It can express a broad range of human emotions: from joy to sorrow, from faith to despair, from love to hate, from seriousness to humor.
     My theme for this posting is the power of Christian music in the lives of Christians and non- Christians.
First, let us consider its power in the lives of Christians.
     Many things influence us in our Christian lives. Some of those things are good, some are bad. Christian music has the power to have a great influence for good. Let me suggest some ways in which it can have a good influence in our lives.
    Christian music can comfort Christians.
    We can need comfort for a variety of reasons, such as the following:
  • When we have lost a loved one or a close friend  in death.
  • When we are waiting for a loved one's death.
  • When we are facing our own death.
  • When a family member's marriage is "on the rocks."
  • When someone close to us moves far away.
  • When our marriage is in trouble.
  • When our financial situation is not good.
   Consider some songs that have brought comfort to many Christians.
  • "What A Friend We have In Jesus."
  • "Does Jesus Care?"
  • "Sweet Hour Of Prayer"
  • "Blessed Assurance, Jesus Is Mine"
  • "When We All Get To Heaven"
  • "Count Your Blessings"
   It is important to sing and listen to songs of comfort in our church services and elsewhere. But such music can do more than comfort us:
   Christian Music Can Challenge And Convict Christians.
   We need to be challenged and convicted about many things relating to the Christian life, such as the following:
  • Bible reading
  • Prayer
  • Witnessing
  • Dedication
  • Service
  • Faith 
  • Joyfulness
  • Victorious living
   Consider some songs that do challenge and convict us to be better Christians.
  • "Thy Word have I Hid In My Heart"
  • "Is Your All On The Altar?"
  • "Take Time To Be Holy"
  • "Teach Me To Pray, Lord"
  • "I Will Serve Thee Because I Love Thee"
  • "The Joy Of The Lord Is My Strength"
  • "Count Your Blessings"
  • "Faith Is The Victory"
  • "Make Me A Blessing"
  • "Lord, Lay Some Soul Upon My Heart"
  • "Victory In Jesus"
   It is important to sing and hear music that can comfort, challenge and convict us to be better Christians. But it can do more than comfort, challenge and convict us:
   Christian music can confirm Christians in sound doctrine
   We learn a lot of doctrine from Christian music. More, perhaps, than we realize. Some of it unsound, some of it is sound. As theologian and author, Roger E. Olson, points out in some of his books, the religion of many persons is what he rightly calls "folk religion." That is, it is not really based on clear Biblical teaching, but on commonly-held beliefs among us. Unfortunately, even true Christians often have beliefs that are simply "folk religion," and Christian music can be a major source of it, if we are not careful.
    So, what sound doctrines do we find in Christian music? Here are some examples:
  • The deity of Jesus Christ.
  • The inspiration (divine origin) of  the Bible.
  • The Trinity.
  • The ministry of the Holy Spirit.
  • Salvation by faith in Jesus Christ.
  • The second coming of Jesus Christ to earth.
  • The importance of evangelism.
  • The love of God.
  • Heaven.
  • Redemption.
   What songs teach sound doctrine? Here are some examples:
  • "He Is Lord."
  • "Crown Him With Many Crowns."
  • "Holy Bible, Book Divine."
  • "Holy, Holy, Holy" ("God in three persons, blessed Trinity").
  • "Jesus Is Coming Again."
  • Go Ye Into All The World" ("and preach the Gospel").
  • "The Comforter Has Come."
  • "Redeemed, How I love To Proclaim It!"
  • "Only Trust Him."
  • "When We All Get To Heaven."
   Since we learn much, and hopefully sound, doctrine from Christian music, it is important to listen to it and sing it. But Christian music can also be a powerful tool for spreading the Gospel, and winning others to Jesus Christ. Therefore,
Second, let's consider the power of Christian music in the lives of non-Christians.
   This second main point will be shorter than the first one, because it is based to some degree on the first point. God has used Christian music to lead some non-Christians to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, from whom they then receive salvation. But their repentance and faith are the result of  their having learned certain truths that must be learned before one can be saved.
   In some instances, they have first learned those truths without music, such as through reading the Bible, attending a Bible study, listening to a preacher on the radio, or from some other source.
   But then God has brought them to repentance and faith through Christian music. In other words, the music was used by God as the final step in their conversion to Jesus Christ.
   In some other instances, non-Christians have first learned of their need for salvation through Christian music, and it perhaps it was Christian music that was their only, or their primary reason for becoming Christians. Therefore, God can and does use music as a means to save the lost. The only real difference between a sermon and a song is that in a song, Gospel truth is sung, but in a sermon it is spoken. But in both cases, the truth is made known.
Billy Sunday: An Example Of The Evangelistic Power Of Christian Music
     Let me use the conversion of Billy Sunday as an example of the power of Christian music to reach the lost with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For those who do not know it, after his conversion to Jesus Christ, Billy Sunday became a very influential evangelist in the USA. Many were won to Christ through his efforts. The following quote about Sunday's conversion is taken from chapter 7 of Rachael Phillips's book, "Billy Sunday: Evangelist of The Sawdust Trail."
    The book says this: "Very late one warm June night as Billy and other baseball players were visiting nightspots and drinking their way across downtown Chicago, they heard, of all things, a hymn. 'Listen, boys! My mother used to sing that to me,' said Billy. He followed the sound to a small band playing on the corner of State and Van Buren Streets. 'Come on, Billy. We'll take you someplace where there's some real music,' offered his companions. 'I want to stay.' Billy sat down on the curb, and a number of the ballplayers sat down beside him to listen as the band played. A few mission workers sang hymn after hymn. 'I haven't heard music like that since I left Davenport.' Billy could not take his eyes off the group.  The music flowed over him like a warm river, soothing him. His uncertain future with the White Stockings floated away like leaves down the creek behind his grandfather's house. 'I want to stay right here. I'll stay all night, if only they'll sing another one.....' Come on down to the Pacific Garden Mission, fellows,' urged Harry Monroe, one of the young musicians. 'It's only a few blocks away. You'll find God there.' Billy stood. 'I'm going.'
    The others watched open-mouthed as Billy followed Monroe down the street. The Pacific Garden Mission was located in one of the worst areas of Chicago, an area full of saloons, houses of prostitution, dirty dance halls, and gambling establishments. 'Strangers Welcome' said the lantern-lit sign over the door.  'I do, I do feel at home here.' He wondered why.
    The place reeked with tobacco and whiskey odors and the sweat and dirt of the men who sat on the rude wooden benches. One emaciated man stood up, his face as fragile and yellowed as old paper. 'I'uz a drunk and a thief,' he said, 'but Jesus done come into my heart and made me as new and clean as a newborn baby, and I know I'm going to heaven.' Most of the men stared at him and ducked their heads.
    An enormous black-haired man whose muscles bulged out of his shabby sleeves also rose. ' I - I hurt a man bad once,' he quavered. 'Took his bottle of whiskey and smacked 'im with it, but the Lord done forgave me. Now I can sleep without seeing his face and blood afore me every night.' Billy sat motionless through the entire service as man after man told how Jesus had rescued him from misery and heartbreak.
    When Colonel Clark, the founder of the mission, invited the men to ask Jesus Christ into their hearts, Billy did not move. He watched one man finally lurch forward. The Colonel and Harry put their arms around the filthy, half-drunken derelict and prayed.
     Later, as he stared at the ceiling in his room, Billy could hear the hymn that had drawn him to the mission. 'Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.....' He knew he was too far away from Pacific Garden Mission to hear the actual music, but the words wafted as tantalizingly through his room as the fragrance of his mother's Christmas dinners. Billy knew that he would return to the place that welcomed strangers.
     'Young man, do you wan to know Jesus Christ as your best friend? Do you want to ask him to forgive your sins?' The woman's gentle, precise voice held Billy as if she had gripped his coat lapels. Her wise eyes penetrated his.  'Y-yes, ma'am, I believe I do.' The well-dressed young man had returned a few nights after Mrs. Clark had first spotted him.  The boy's clean-cut appearance contrasted so vividly with that of the of the pitiful creatures around him. 'But God is never fooled by appearance,' Mrs. Clark reminded herself. 'He needs Christ as much as any of us here at the mission.' Her eyes glanced at the large inscription on the wall: 'Christ Came Into The World To Save Sinners, Among Whom I Am Chief.'
     Her husband, an astute Chicago businessman who had been involved in the Board of Trade, had recognized his own need for God's  forgiveness and asked Jesus Christ to be his Savior. Moved by the suffering of the people he saw each day in downtown Chicago, he had poured his entire fortune into the mission, hoping to rescue as many as he could. Colonel Clark himself had nailed that large sign on the wall.  
     Now the quiet man approached his wife and Billy. 'Billy wants to invite Christ into his life,' said Mrs. Clark. The Colonel smiled, and Billy thought he would fall over from the sheer sweetness of it. 'What's your name, son?' 'Billy,' answered the young ballplayer. 'Very well, Billy, let's ask the Lord to forgive you and help you live a new life for Him.' 'He's sure no preacher, thought Billy. He's got kind of a whiny voice. But as the Colonel prayed, Billy could not keep the tears from pouring down his cheeks. 'Dear Lord, Billy wants to tell you he's sorry for his sins; he believes You died on the cross for him.....' 'It must be you I'm hearing, Jesus. This must be your voice.' "
    This remarkable story shows how God can use Christian music to win others to faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. And some of them, as Billy Sunday proves, can become a major force in the spread of the Gospel.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Power Of Gospel Literature

By Pastor Bruce Oyen

GIF Animation  of a woman reading a book

    My theme is: "The Power Of Gospel Literature." By "Gospel literature,"  I mean  literature that has to do with a certain message in the Bible, which is the Gospel. The Bible speaks about many subjects, all of which are important in their own way. But the Gospel is a special subject among the many subjects of the Bible.
     To make sure all readers of this posting know what makes up the Gospel, let me quote the apostle Paul's  statement of it, as found in 1 Corinthians 15: 1 - 4. The quote is from the King James Version, which says this:
1Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
 2By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
 3For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
 4And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
     As you can see, the Gospel's content is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And it is that by which we sinners are saved, if we believe it. 
     Another  statement of the Gospel is  given in Romans 10:9 - 13. Those verses say this:
9That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
 10For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
 11For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
 12For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
 13For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
     In both 1 Corinthians 15 and Romans 10 we see that the core of the Gospel has to do with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, which brings salvation to each person who believes in Him. Believing in him can be expressed by calling upon Him for salvation, just as Romans 10:13 says. To call on Him for it, is to ask Him for it, trusting Him to at once grant the request.
     So, then, having made it clear what is meant by "Gospel literature," let us now think about its power. It has great power. It can do great things in the lives of those who believe it. The verses quoted above speak of its power. But so does Romans 1:16, which might be the most well-known statement of its power. The verse says this: 16For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
      Gospel literature is powerful, because it brings the message of salvation to those who need it. And it gives the desired result, salvation, when someone believes it. Consider some examples of those who became Christians through the influence of Gospel literature.
  • Our church supports French missionaries in France. Their primary outreach is to their fellow-Jews. This man and his wife are missionaries today because of the Gospel tract, "God's Simple Plan Of Salvation," by Ford Porter. They read it, and believed in Jesus because of it. They then got training, and now serve with the mission organization, "The International Board Of Jewish Missions."
  • I read of one man who was in the men's room at work. He noticed something in the hole in the roll of toilet paper, and took it out. It was the famous Gospel tract, "What Must I Do To Be Saved," by   John R. Rice. He read it, and became a believer in Jesus because of it.
  • A woman had received a Gospel tract from a friend. She was not interested in the subject, but she kept it in her purse for seven years. Finally, she read it, and became a Christian because of it. I do not know the title of that tract.
  • Here is another remarkable story of someone becoming a Christian because of a Gospel tract. This man walked home in the dark. When he got home, he noticed something stuck to his shoe. It was a Gospel tract. He read it, and became a Christian because of it. I do not know the name of that tract, either.
  • I read the story af a man who had checked into a motel room. He was so depressed  about the negative circumstances in his life that he contemplated suicide. But he took the Bible from the drawer and began to read the New Testament portion of it. Instead of committing suicide, he accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior and was saved at once. His whole life turned around for the better, as he daily followed the Lord and became active in a Bible-believing church.  The Bible had been donated by the Gideons.
       These examples show us how God uses Gospel literature to bring the message of salvation to those in need of it. These examples should challenge us to give away Gospel literature, trusting God to bless our efforts to win others to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
       What follows are links to two of the tracts referred to above, and to another one. Get some, and give them away. You can  be one whom God uses to bring the message of salvation to someone else, and maybe to many others!