Archive for February, 2007

A Spirit Controlled Temperament

Temperament Is a Combination of Inborn Traits That Subconsciously Affects Our Behavior. These Traits Are Arranged Genetically on the Basis of Race, Sex, Nationality, and Other Heredity Factors. They Are Passed on in Our Genes. It Is Believed We Inherit More from Our Grandparents Than Our Parents.

Character Is the Real You. in Scripture It Is Called “the Hidden Man of the Heart.” It Is a Result of Our Natural Temperament Modified by Childhood Training, Education, and Basic Attitudes, Beliefs, Principles, and Motivation. It Is Sometimes Called “the Soul” of a Person Made up of Mind, Emotions, and Will.

Personality Is the Outward Expression of Yourself Which May or May Not Be the Same As Our Character, Depending on How Genuine We Are. Sometimes Personality Is a Pleasing Facade for an Unpleasant or Weak Character.
“Man Looks on the Outward Appearance but God Looks on the Heart.”
“out of the Heart (Character) Proceed the Issues of Life.”

“You Can Use Your Background As an Excuse for Present Behavior Only Until You Receive Jesus Christ As Your Personal Lord and Savior. After That You Have a New Power Within You That Is Able to Change Your Conduct.”  Dr. Henry Brandt

Not All Believers Are Experiencing This Transformation and the Reason Is Revealed by Their Conduct. They Are Not Living the Spirit Filled Life and Bearing the Fruit of the Spirit. the Filling of the Spirit Enables on to Bring Into Subjection Their Temperament and Character So It Shows in the Personality.

Galatians 5: 22, 23 “the Fruit of the Spirit Is Love, Joy, Long-Suffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness, Self-Control….”
the Holy Spirit Filled Temperament Does Not Have Weakness.
All These Traits Are Traits of a Spirit Controlled Temperament, Character, and Personality.
Persons Can Fast, Pray, and Even Give Their Bodies to Burned at the Stake but if They Don’t Evidence the Fruit of the Spirit Theirs Is Not a Spirit Controlled Temperament, Character, and Personality.

This Article Is a Review of:
Spirit-Controlled Temperament  by Tim Lahaye  Pp. 45-56

John Calvin

1509 – 1564
John Calvin was born in Noyon, 1509. He was trained as a lawyer in the humanistic school of Scripture interpretation.
The house of Savoy had ruled over Geneva for years. When the local populace overthrew that government locals invited John Calvin, a lawyer, in to help reform the local church and government.
The citizens soon found themselves under an even more tyrannical leader than the Pope had been. They rebelled and drove Calvin out of town.
In 1540 a new group of city rulers invited him back and soon he was the dominate force in the area.
In Strasbourg in 1538 Calvin wrote his “Institutes of the Christian Church.”  Calvin’s writings were declared to be an exposition of Scripture. Instead they became a defense of his personal theology. They were used as a defense of his theology, social and political philosophy.
The system of theology he devised came to be known as Calvinism or Reform Theology.
In the mid-1550s Protestants from France, England, Germany and the Netherlands fled persecution in their countries and came to Geneva. They joined Calvin’s efforts to establish the more radical Calvinistic doctrines. They believed all policies should be based on a literal reading of the Scripture. Not only should this be the standard in the church but in civil government and society in general.
Calvin instituted four primary categories of offices in the church.
Pastors: They exercised authority over all religious affairs in Geneva.
Teachers: They were to teach theology to the populace.
Elders: They were older individuals elected by the city council. Their job was to oversee everything everyone did. This formed a bond between church and state.
Deacons: They were appointed to look after the elderly, sick, poor, and needy.
Servantus of Spain was one who strongly opposed Calvin. Of the possibility of Servantus coming to Geneva Calvin said:
“…if he comes here, if my authority is worth anything, I will never permit him to depart alive.”
He did come, was arrested, and his property confiscated.
The theocratic government Calvin had helped establish desired to have him burned alive. Calvin belatedly appealed for him to be decapitated. He was burned alive with Calvin’s consent.
Calvin wrote, “Whoever shall maintain that wrong is done to heretics and blasphemers in punishing them makes himself an accomplice in crime and is as guilty as they are.”
Followers of Servantus, known as Libertines, were targeted by Calvin. In 1555 the Libertines attempted to displace Calvin. When their efforts failed Calvin had their leaders rounded up and executed.
Calvin used the Consistory, a court presided over by an ecclesiastical hierocracy, to aid his political aims and to maintain control over civil and religious life in Geneva.
Jaques Gruet was an opponent who sided with some old Genevans in opposing Calvin. Gruet was tortured into confessing he had issued writings opposing Calvin and was beheaded for doing so.
Pierre Ameaux complained about Calvin bringing in inordinate numbers of French priests to support him in Geneva. Calvin said this constituted an attack on his divinely ordered authority by Ameaux. Calvin persuaded the city council to require Ameaux to wear a hair shirt and march through the city streets to the city square where he was to beg mercy.
Calvin’s theocratic government believed every sin was a crime and practiced excommunication. Such applied even to persons who wore what was considered inappropriate clothes or engaged in work or pleasure on Sunday. Persons guilty of “wild dancing” or “bawdy singing” were severely punished. The latter ones had their tongues pierced.
Such actions resulted in excommunication and many persons being banished from the city.
Calvin’s reprehensible approval of torture is an issue most modern day Calvinists do not deny but do disavow.
Calvin professed to believe in separation of church and government. However members of the consistory and church formed judicial boards that imposed theocratic law. They closed taverns and replaced them with “evangelical refreshment places” where alcohol could be consumed but only with Bible reading. This practice was short lived.
The five points of doctrine identified by the acrostic TULIP that bear his name did not originate with Calvin. They were a product of the Synod of Dort, sessions of which were held in 1618 and 1619. They were issued in response to five special objections that arose after Calvin’s time (1509-1564). They were based on his teachings.
The Synod so strongly reacted to those opposing their positions as to have beheaded four days after the Synod one of the most respected statesmen of the time Johan van Oldenbarnevelt. Additionally the outstanding jurist of the era, Hugo Grotius, was imprisoned for life.
The most controversial teaching of Calvin regarded predestination. The early church and moderate Protestant churches had taught God had not predestined salvation for certain ones while predestining others to hell. It was commonly held that salvation was a gift of God based on man’s free will in responding positively to God’s love initiative. Calvin taught salvation was not a choice but based on God’s pre-determined decision from the beginning of time.
This meant certain people were the “elect” of God and were to populate the church.
In his “Institutes” Calvin defined predestination:
“We call predestination God’s final decree, by which He determined what He willed to become of each man. For all are not created in equal condition; rather, eternal life is ordained for some, eternal damnation for others.”
History has judged Calvin wrong on many issues. Many of his proponents admit this but believe him to be worthy of adulation because of his overall contributions.
His detractors believe he was obsessed with power, could not abide dissent, and is unworthy of praise often afforded him.
He lived in Geneva until his death on May 27, 1564.
Respected historian Will Durant concludes his section on Calvin in his eleven volumes on history by saying: “But we shall always find it hard to love the man who darkened the human soul with the most absurd and blasphemous conception of God in all the long and honored history of nonsense.”The Story of Civilization, Volume 6, page 490, Will Durant


“Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. It is consistent with the free agency of man, and comprehends all the means in connection with the end. It is a glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness, and is infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable. It excludes boasting and promotes humility.”
V. God’s Purpose of Grace    The Baptist Faith and Message

Before the dawning of creation, omniscient God knew that man would sin and need to be saved. This foreknowledge did not mean God caused it. It resulted from man exercising his free will given him by our sovereign God. A pre-creation Trinitarian council concluded the method of this salvation. Therefore, Jesus Christ was “the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world.”
Several things are essential in considering God’s grace. Primary among them is God loves all people and it is His will to save as many as possible. It should not be thought of as God designing arbitrarily to save just a few He selects. Such an attitude leads to fatalism. Such an attitude reduces the incentive to evangelize. Some argue it doesn’t – and it doesn’t for some, but it decidedly does for most. An appraisal of churches where a restricted view of limited grace prevails shows there to be little or no evangelism. Consider the protestant churches of Europe and many in America.
At no place in Scripture is election presented as mechanical with man simply being a marionette on God’s strings. Election is never represented as violating man’s free will.
“No man comes to me, except the Father…draws him”
(John 6:44).

God lovingly “draws.”  Man freely “comes.”
God’s sovereignty is clearly taught in Scripture. This means He can do whatever He desires. He is free to establish boundaries and enforce His desire. He has all power to act according to His divine nature. His love and grace prompted Him to create human beings with the authority to choose on their own behalf. This free will is indicated in many Bible accounts.
Evidence of the power of choice is seen in God’s instructions to His ancient people.
“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil….I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live…” (Deuteronomy 30:15 & 19).
On behalf of the Lord Elijah gave the people a choice: “How long will you falter between two opinions” If the Lord be God, follow Him; but if Baal, then follow him” (I Kings 18: 21). This “either — or” calls on the people to choose. They had freedom of choice.
This freedom of choice is seen in Joshua’s charge to his followers: “”…if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom you will serve…” (Joshua 24: 14, 15).
The same courses open to ancient Israel in these instances is available to the “whosoever” of John 3:16. That is, those who believe in Him. It is a choice, a matter of free will given man by our sovereign God.

God in His sovereign will designed man to have a free will. He would not have a free will if God did not allow it.

If this truth is not allowed:
a) man is not a free moral agent capable of fellowship with God.
b) God Himself would be accountable for man’s sinful acts.
C) If all things are arbitrarily predetermined by God there is no need to pray.
Laws of nature illustrate this spiritual law.
God in His sovereign will has designed certain laws of nature. Human beings are free to live according to these laws or in violation of them. Though free man is still responsible for the consequences of his actions.
The same is true of God’s spiritual laws. Man can either obey or disobey them but still suffers the consequence or enjoys the blessings.
Before creation God took the initiative of seeking and saving. The marvel is not that man is seeking God but that God is seeking man: “the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).
God’s sovereignty and man’s free will are both taught in Ephesians 1: 3-13.
God is represented as “He chose us” and “predestined us” (vss. 3,4).
“Chose” can also be translated “elected.” This choice by God was made before “the foundation of the world.” Thus, the word “predestined” means a predetermined destiny. What determines this destiny? The word translated “predestined” translates a verb meaning to mark off a boundary (vs. 11). It was a surveyors term used to distinguish a territory. In love God marked off the boundary as being “in him.” Election is “in Christ.”
In these eleven verses “in Christ” or the equivalent is used 10 times. Christ is the boundary fence. It has been predetermined that all who are “in Him” are predestined to share His destiny.
God did not ask the council of anyone regarding this. He did it of His own sovereign will.
God purposed and provided to make salvation available to all persons. He took the initiative and gave man a free will to make the choice as to whether to be “in Christ.”
God is glorified by the fact man had this hope beforehand (Vs. 12).
Man’s free will is seen in the expression “in whom, having believed” or in another translation “in whom also after that ye believed‘ (Vs. 13). Meaning you freely believed.
Salvation occurs when a person believes “in Christ.” This belief is more than mere intellectual ascent. It involves submitting to Christ as His servant and obeying Him as Master. It is belief that results in a life change, a transformed life that produces fruit of repentance.
The fact God foreknows who will and who won’t willfully be “in Christ” does not mean He makes it happen.
Before creation God established for Himself the standard that He would not violate man’s free will. God Himself elected, that is, chose the plan of salvation.
“Election is not to be thought of as a bare choice of so many human units by God’s action independently of man’s free choice and the human means employed. God has elected, chosen, to reach people through their native facilities, the church, evangelism, education, and missionary endeavor.”
If God’s sovereign election and man’s free will are not considered together we split God’s decree and of necessity leave out one part.
“One is strangely insensitive to the throb and pulse beat of the whole New Testament if he thinks that each man’s fate is determined for him in advance. This is not a rigged television show. God is not playing with toys and manipulating gadgets; He is seeking men who stand in awesome freedom where they may accept or reject the salvation which God alone can offer.” Frank Stagg

This article is a review of:

The Big Hole Valley

In recent years my wife and I have been privileged to spend a bit of time each year in the Big Hole Valley in Montana. It is one of the most scenic spots in America. It is a basin sixty miles long and fifteen miles wide bordered by the Pioneer Range on the east and the Rocky Mountain cordillera of the west. Streams flow from virtually every valley to form the Big Hole River which merges with the Beaverhead River to form the Jefferson which merges with the Madison and Gallatin Rivers and flows into the Missouri River into the Mississippi and eventually into the Gulf of Mexico.

The ranch house sits on an table 5860 feet above sea level. The view is right up the river. Mount McCartney, the tallest free standing mountain in North America at about 9,000 feet, forms the ranch boundary to the east with the river on the west. The ranch is about one tenth the length of the valley.

All of this is approximately three hours from Yellowstone over the Beartooth Highway, the highest roadway in North America appropriately dubbed “America’s most beautiful highway.” The elevation is slightly less that eleven thousand feet. The alpine vistas are enthralling. The route home is through Virginia City and Nevada City, two engaging old gold mining towns.

Lewis and Clark along with their Native American guide, Sacajawea camped here. Nearby Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce fought the Battle of the Big Hole River and started their trek toward Canada. On the ranch and nearby are abandoned gold mines. The fertility of the valley has earned it the name “The valley of 10,000 hay stacks.”

Moose, elk, black tail and white tail deer, antelopes, gold and bald eagles, proliferate on the ranch along the Big Hole River known as one of the ten best trout fishing streams in America.

Our friends from Grand Rapids, Michigan who own the ranch have developed a portion of it as a retreat center. They pay all expenses for groups from three colleges and fourteen other groups to each spend a week there in the summer each year. Most who come are from Michigan.

Quality provisions for softball, basketball, soccer, volleyball, and horseshoes provide outdoor recreational opportunities. A spacious game room is provided. Tubing the river and climbing McCartney are priorities. The food is superb. All is free. Everything is first class in keeping with the reputation of Yellowstone Builders, the contractors.

The ranch has been developed to provide a setting for young people to have solitude and engage in spiritual training. It is amazing how attitudes and even facial expressions change within a week. The ranch is in reality an investment in the future of America. Some schools bring their student leaders and others their sports teams captains and coaches. Non-churched inner city as well as urban church groups come.

It is a big investment for an even bigger cause. Living and conversing with the owners I am persuaded they think it is the best investment they have ever made. Their expressed joy and sense of gratification over lives positively influenced provides dividends for time and eternity. It is good to be a little part of something this big. The Big Hole fills an empty hole in a lot of lives.