Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Foreknowledge of God

The fourth chapter in Arthur Pink's book The Attributes of God (Baker Books, 1975) is entitled "The Foreknowledge of God" which is of course a follow up to his third chapter on the knowledge of God. The emphasis in this chapter is on the relationship between the knowledge of God and election, that is, the doctrine that God chose those who would be saved before the foundation of the world.

Pink begins by asserting that the Arminian position on this matter is "radically wrong" because (1) it repudiates the truth of total depravity, (2) it takes away the independence of God, and (3) it reverses the biblical order of cause and effect by making our believing the cause of God's election rather than his election the cause of our believing.

To counter this position Pink begins by defining the word "foreknowledge" which, he says, simply means "to know beforehand." Nothing unexpected here. But what is perhaps unexpected is that the word "foreknowledge" is never used to refer to God's prior knowledge of events but rather to refer to God's prior knowledge of persons. And, furthermore, it denotes a sense of the favor of God upon those persons so that to say "God foreknew a person" is to say "the favor of God rested upon a person."

The practical import of this is that when the Bible says God "foreknew" certain persons it does not mean, as the Arminians says it means, that he foresaw their exercise of faith in Jesus and then elected them to salvation. Rather it means that he foreknew them with favor as persons and then elected them of his own free will. "God did not elect any sinner because he foresaw that he would believe, for the simple but sufficient reason that
no sinner ever does believe until God gives him faith; just as no man sees until God gives him sight. Sight is God's gift, seeing is the consequence of my using his gift. So faith is God's gift (Eph. 2:8-9), believing is the consequence of my using his gift" (33).

Pink concludes, then, "This being so,
all the glory and praise belongs alone to him. You have no ground for taking any credit to yourself. You have 'believed through grace' (Acts 18:27) and that, because your very election was 'of grace' (Rom. 11:5)" (34). Therefore, though God's electing of certain persons to salvation is, and perhaps always will be, a mystery to us, we know that he did so in order to remove boasting from our lips and replace with it pure praise. He did so in order to exalt his glory and increase our joy in him, and in that final day we will see that there was no other, no better way to acheive this. Thus, let us praise him now by faith!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Please Pray for Missionaries in India

I recently received the following prayer alert. Please join me in pleading for these precious souls. We at Glory of Christ are supporting a missionary in this part of the world and thus feel this situation very keenly.


Dear beloved sponsors and friends of Good News India:

We have never seen anything like this. We knew that Orissa was the most
resistant and hostile State in India as far as the Gospel is concerned. And
we brushed off the continuous threats and harassment we faced as we went
about His work. But none of our staff imagined that they would see this kind
of carnage.... And it seems to be totally under the radar of the Western
Media .... Let me explain.... A militant Hindu priest and 4 of his
attendants, who were zealously going around the villages of Orissa and
'reconverting' people back to Hinduism, were gunned down by unknown
assailants in Central Orissa last weekend. Immediately the Christians were
blamed. The cry rose up...'Kill the Christians!' And the horror began.... In
the past 4 days, we have first hand witness to hundreds of churches being
blown up or burned and many, many dozens of Christian tribals have been
slaughtered. For no other reason than they bear the name of Christ.

Night and day I have been in touch with our Good News India Directors spread
across 14 Dream Centers in Orissa... they are right in the middle of all
this chaos. In Tihidi, just after the police came to offer protection, a
group of 70 blood-thirsty militants came to kill our staff and destroy the
home. They were not allowed to get in, but they did a lot of damage to our
Dream Center by throwing rocks and bricks and smashing our gate, etc. They
have promised to come back and 'finish the job.' Our kids and staff are
locked inside and have stayed that way with doors and windows shut for the
past 3 days. It has been a time of desperately calling on the Lord in
prayer.

More police have come to offer protection. In Kalahandi, the police and some
local sympathizers got to our dream center and gave our staff and kids about
3 minutes notice to vacate. No one had time to even grab a change of clothes
or any personal belonging. As they fled, the blood thirsty mob came to kill
everyone in the building. We would have had a mass funeral there, but for
His grace. In Phulbani, the mob came looking for Christian homes and
missions. The local Hindu people, our neighbors turned them away by saying
that there were no Christians in this area. So they left. We had favor. The
same thing happened in Balasore.

All our dream centers are under lock down with the kids and staff huddled
inside and police outside. The fanatics are circling outside waiting for a
chance to kill. Others were not so fortunate. In a nearby Catholic
orphanage, the mob allowed the kids to leave and locked up a Priest and a
computer teacher in house and burned them to death. Many believers have been
killed and hacked into pieces and left on the road.... even women and
children. At another orphanage run by another organization, when this began,
the Director and his wife jumped on their motorbike and simply fled, leaving
all the children and staff behind. Every one of our GNI directors that I
have spoken to said: 'We stay with our kids.... we live together or die
together, but we will never abandon what God has called us to do.' More than
5000 Christian families have had their homes burned or destroyed. They have
fled into the jungles and are living i n great fear waiting for the
authorities to bring about peace. But so far, no peace is foreseen.

This will continue for another 10 days.... supposedly the 14 day mourning
period f or the slain Hindu priest. Many more Christians will die and their
houses destroyed. Many more churches will be smashed down. The Federal
government is trying to restore order and perhaps things will calm down. We
ask for your prayers. Only the Hand of God can calm this storm. None of us
know the meaning of persecution. But now our kids and staff know what that
means. So many of our kids coming from Hindu backgrounds are confused and
totally bewildered at what is happening around them. So many of their
guardians have fled into the jungles and are unable to come and get them
during these trying times. Through all this, I am more determined than ever
to continue with our goal: the transformation of a community by transforming
its children. Orissa will be saved... that is our heart's cry.

If we can take these thousands of throw-away children and help them to
become disciples of Jesus, they will transform an entire region. It is a
long term goal, but it is strategic thinking in terms of the Great
Commission. What can you do? First, please uphold all this in fervent
prayer. Second, pass this e-mail on to as many friends as you can. We must
get the word out and increase our prayer base for this is spiritual warfare
at its most basic meaning. We are literally fighting the devil in order to
live for His Kingdom. The next 10 days are crucial. We pray for peace and
calm to pervade across Orissa. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
Please pass it on and help us to get as many people to partner with us on
this cutting edge effort to fulfill His mandate: Go and make disciples of
all nations.... Prayer works!


Blessings, Chip & Sandy Wanner

Col 2:2 MBI Team Facilitators to YWAM frontlines