Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at My hands. Put your hand here and place it in My side. Do not be faithless, but believing.”28 Thomas answered Him, “My Lord and my God!”29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen, and have yet believed.” John 20:27-29
We need to understand that Thomas was a Jew. Jews only believed in one God, YHWH the God of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob, & were very careful not to use His name in vain. By the Scriptures of the Old Testament they new about the Messiah, but didn’t have a complete understanding or revelation about Him, until Jesus came.
The prophets of the Old Testament said in referring to their coming Messiah, that He is God or Divine:
After King Solomon’s death Israel was divided into 2 kingdoms: The northern kingdom of Israel & the southern kingdom of Judah. Both of them fall into idolatry (spiritual adultery). About 200 years latter God judged Israel & Syria conquered them. But still the Lord in His mercy was calling them to repentance.
I see the same happening today to the believers or body of Christ, falling into idolatry, following after all kind of men doctrines, in apostasy, falling away from the truth of God as was prophesied in the Scriptures about the latter days. 1 Tim, 4:1-3, 2 Thess. 2:3, etc.
Those hardened or cut off are NOT born in this condition, but have “grown hardened” over years of rebellion , their hearts or conscience becomes dull or hardened because of continual & unrepentant sin in their lives (1 Tim.4:2, Acts 28:24-27, Matt. 19:8, Rom.2:5, Heb 3:13).
i. Our first parents, being seduced by the subtlety and temptation of Satan, sinned in eating the forbidden fruit. This their sin, God was pleased, according to His wise and holy counsel, to permit, having purposed to order it to His own glory.
II. By this sin they fell from their original righteousness and communion with God, and so became dead in sin, and wholly defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body. – Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 6 (Calvinist Catechism).
John Calvin regarding the lost : “it was his good pleasure to doom to destruction” (Institutes of the Christian Religion, III:xxi,7.)
But the Word of God says:
“For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.” Eze. 18:32,– Ezekiel 33:11
Romans 9:12-13: “It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.“
Calvinists teach that Romans 9:13 proves that Jacob was predestined by God, to heaven and Esau was predestined by God, to hell even before they were born. But this isn’t true!
This a more complex chapter (needs more biblical historical background for the proper context) & could be a difficult passage for some to understand it well. Unfortunately Calvinists use this chapter 9 to convert people to Calvinism, to convince them of their view on predetermined election, & even use it on the unsaved people or babes in Christ who still don’t understand Bible doctrine properly, causing confusion to many.
We understand Calvinism is a divisive and controversial issue, but we believe it must be faced because it is growing, and affects the Gospel of Salvation and the very Person of God. Brushing it under the carpet has made the problem worst with time. And as some Reformed have recognized ‘What could be more relevant to the Gospel than how sinners are saved? ‘
What makes things more difficult, is that we know there are many nice, God loving & sincere people involved in this religious system, a lot of them get in it by default, thinking they need to choose between Calvinism or Arminianism. But they don’t have to follow any men’s doctrine, just Jesus Christ & His Word. Many that follow this doctrine don’t even know who was John Calvin, or haven’t read his writings.
The primary requirement of a teacher of the Word, is to be steadfast in the doctrine taught initially by Jesus & the apostles.
Acts 2:42 “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. “,
“But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine” Titus 2:1
The foundation of our Christian faith is Jesus Christ the son of God. He is the author & finisher of our faith :
looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2
There can be no Gospel message or preaching without the story of the sacrifice of Christ as the Redeemer of mankind. But something has happened to the integrity of the Gospel of Christ over time, it has become diluted, twisted, contaminated, etc.
We will find the true gospel in the Scriptures. The following verse is called the ‘Gospel in a nutshell’:
Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures 1 Corinthians 15:1-4
We see today a constant attack against Christ’s doctrine. A growing number of people, especially among proponents of the ecumenical movement & emergent church movement, are now saying: “Doctrine divides, experience unites” or “Doctrine is not important. Let’s lay aside our doctrinal differences and let’s unite.” It sounds nice but sadly is not biblical.
Is sound doctrine important? Is truth important? Of course it is!