Monday, September 17, 2012

Alistair Begg and the Truth For Life tour with 710 KFIA

This past Thursday I went to see Alistair Begg speak here in Sacramento. It was great, he did an exposition of Mark 6. I'll record the main points that I found memorable.

Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd.
  • John tells us that the crowd was in danger of wanting to take Him by force, so He dismisses His disciples and sends them off to deal with the crowd
And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them.
  •  Jesus is up on a high mountain, so He looks down and sees them rowing painfully
And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them,
  •  The NIV captures the text better in that He was walking by them, not that He intended to leave them to die
And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded,
  • What kind of God is this that got into the boat with us? What an amazing God that He would stoop down and empty Himself to come and be with us.
or they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.
  • It's not necessary to think of this as their hearts were hardened against Christ as the messiah, or Christ as their friend. It means they didn't get what Jesus was saying: He was claiming to be God. He took the people and made them lie down on the green grass to eat, just like the Shephard David prophesied about.
After the lesson Alistair did some Q&A. One person asked what he thought of the year 1975, another asked if we should pray for an hour like Jesus asked his disciples, another asked what should we do to be awake and watchful like the 5 virgins, but the most interesting question came from one person who asked the following (and I'm not going to remember it perfectly) "How can you say to people that God loves them if He sends them to hell?"
Upon hearing that I thought that this person was an atheist, giving the standard line about if God is such a loving God then He wouldn't damn people, you are familiar with this I'm sure. But upon hearing it a little more closely I think he was a high Calvinist objecting to the evangelism technique of telling people God loves them. Alistair gave a brilliant answer of course, telling him that this should be of no surprise considering that God's justice and love are held up together in the cross.
But consider for a moment how much the objection of the hyper-Calvinist sounds like the mocking of the rank atheist.
That's pretty instructive of just how destructive hyper-Calvinism really is, or should I say, what it really is.

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