November 22, 2017

Whosoever Will – Excerpts (Part 2)

FrontLine May/June 2017 | VOLUME 27 | NUMBER 3

As a preview to our current issue, the following are excerpts from some of our main articles for this month. We encourage you to subscribe to FrontLine if you don’t do so already.

Sacrifice for the Sake of the Gospel
Steve Love

What should a believer be willing to do or be for the sake of the gospel? Consider the question from a more pointed angle: What should a believer be willing to sacrifice for the cause of the gospel, for ministry opportunities?

Two key words within these questions are intrinsically connected — “sacrifice” and “gospel.” This leads to yet another question: Is the gospel possible without sacrifice? …

A growing tension has developed concerning this passage [1 Cor 9.19-23], and sacrifice is at the center of the debate. At issue seems to be how much of the gospel message can be sacrificed for the sake of contextualization, rather than contemplating how much of our cultural context we are willing to sacrifice for the sake of gospel integrity. …

Our discussion must move beyond contextualizing the gospel to commitment to personal sacrifice for the sake of the gospel, so that it might be understood in all contexts. This requires a clearer understanding of biblical sacrifice.

Paul’s Gospel Apologetic in Athens
Bryan W. Brock

Outside of Jesus Christ, there has never been a greater example of Christian apologetics and evangelism than the apostle Paul—indeed we would do well to follow his example as he followed Christ’s (1 Cor. 11:1). Apologetics can be succinctly defined as the defense of the faith and evangelism as the propagation of the faith. Both of these are gospel-advancing disciplines, and both should happen at the point of every gospel encounter. …

Paul finds himself alone in Athens through a seemingly unfortunate chain of events. Only a few days or maybe weeks earlier, he and his ministry team of Silas, Timothy, et al., were preaching the gospel in Thessalonica when they were chased out of town by the Jews. Moving on to Berea, they were welcomed in a more noble way by those eager to compare the message of Christ with the Old Testament Scriptures. Soon, however, their Jewish opponents from Thessalonica arrived and instigated enough of a protest that Paul was forced to leave. The rest of Paul’s ministry team remained in Berea, and Paul alone was carried by ship to Athens. …

His eyes look right through the cultural splendor and exquisite artistry, seeing a city co-opting glory that rightly belongs to God alone and offering it instead to carved idols. Deeply moved, he heads to the synagogue where he finds Jews and Greek near-converts to Judaism; from there he moves to the marketplace and disputes with those he finds there as well (v. 17). The word “dispute” (dialogomai) does not indicate that Paul engages in an even exchange of ideology but rather in an authentic conversation where he both listens and sets forth life-giving truth. …

Luke narrates that the philosophers “took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is? For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean” (vv. 19–20). …

What unfolds next is Paul’s famous apologia: his opportunity to defend and promote the good news of Jesus to religious and philosophically minded unbelievers. …

Their worldview is not simply misaligned—it is wrong; it is rebellious. Paul now speaks on behalf of God when he declares, “The times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent” (v. 30).

Whosoever Won’t
Andrew Hudson

Most Jews refused to repent and trust Jesus during His first coming. Did Jesus produce or cause this refusal to repent? This might seem like a strange question, given the fact that Jesus left heaven and took on human form to offer the kingdom to the Jews. Why would Jesus work against one of the purposes for which He came? But there are several New Testament passages that are used to claim that Jesus prevented the Jews from believing. All of these passages refer to Isaiah 6:9–10.…

Suggestions that Jesus caused the blindness of the Jews so they would not repent are misguided. The Jewish rejection preceded the Mosaic curses in both Isaiah’s day and Matthew’s day. The irreversible declaration of Mosaic curses as judgment for disobedience is God’s response to the Jews. God did not cause the initial rebellion. But God will make sure that His irreversible judgment is carried out. God causes the judgment; He does not cause the rebellion. …

Isaiah 6:9–10 is based on Deuteronomy 29:2–4. Therefore, it became the perfect exemplar for the nation of Israel when speaking about the irreversible judgment of God (i.e., Mosaic curses) that follows the Jews’ rebellion against God. It was particularly useful as an exemplar because Isaiah also spoke of the suffering servant, Jesus Christ (Isa. 53).

The NT Gospels always uses this exemplar of Jews who refused to accept the suffering servant. In each of these instances, Jews are prevented from repenting as an irreversible judgment for previous rebellion.


(Originally published in FrontLine • May/June 2017. Click here to subscribe to the magazine.)


Although Proclaim & Defend is the blog of the FBFI, the articles we post are not an expression of the views of the FBFI as a whole, they are the views of the author under whose name they are published. The FBFI speaks either through position statements by its board or through its president. Here at Proclaim & Defend, we publish articles as matters of interest or edification to the wider world of fundamentalist Baptists and any others who might be interested.

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