A longform piece on Bethel and its swiftly-growing School of Supernatural Ministry was just published last week. It is a troubling article to say the least, but it is critical that believers stay apprised of these sorts of movements within self-proclaimed evangelicalism. Click here to read it.
We need to be able to think biblically about this so-called New Apostlic Reformation movement, because it is growing in followers, money, and influence (you may be surprised by its reach), and is especially appealing to the youth (who tend to consider themselves disenfranchised from anything that feels to them like ‘traditional’ Christianity). From its base in Redding, CA, Bethel is a sort of global headquarters for this charismatic movement, and Molly Hensley-Clancy’s essay provides some helpful insight into what is developing there. It is a must-read.
One of the best sermons I heard last week was this one from Pastor Neil Stewart (Christ Covenant Church in Greensboro, NC). In expositing the story of the fall (Genesis 3), Pastor Stewart unfolds a helpful theology of the Devil, particularly, in my opinion, in his third point – “The Devil is one of God’s creations”. In his discussion of this point, he focuses on the sovereignty of God, concluding with a brief but extremely helpful overview of the problem of evil. This final point alone is well worth taking the time to listen to this Lord’s Day.
Like shoot the entirety of this impressive short film, Detour:
No-one tells a visual story like the French do.
It is not just a handful of texts that teach the perseverance of the saints: the entire gospel sustains and confirms it. The Father has chosen them before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4), ordained them to eternal life (Acts 13:48), to be conformed to the image of his Son (Rom. 8:29). This election stands (Rom. 9:11; Heb. 6:17) and in due time carries with it the calling and justification and glorification (Rom. 8:30). Christ, in whom all the promises of God are Yes and Amen (2 Cor. 1:20), died for those who were given him by the Father (John 17:6, 12) in order that he might give them eternal life and not lose a single one of them (6:40; 17:2); he therefore gives them eternal life and they will never be lost in all eternity; no one will snatch them out of his hand (6:39; 10:28).
The Holy Spirit who regenerates them remains eternally with them (14:16) and seals them for the day of redemption (Eph. 1:13; 4:30). The covenant of grace is firm and confirmed with an oath (Heb. 6:16–18; 13:20), unbreakable like a marriage (Eph. 5:31–32), like a testament (Heb. 9:17), and by virtue of that covenant, God calls his elect. He inscribes the law upon their inmost being, puts his fear in their heart (Heb. 8:10; 10:14ff.), will not let them be tempted beyond their strength (1 Cor. 10:13), confirms and completes the good work he has begun in them (1 Cor. 1:9; Phil. 1:6), and keeps them for the return of Christ to receive the heavenly inheritance (1 Thess. 5:23; 2 Thess. 3:3; 1 Pet. 1:4–5).
In his intercession before the Father, Christ acts in such a way that their faith may not fail (Luke 22:32), that in the world they may be kept from the evil one (John 17:11, 20), that they may be saved for all times (Heb. 7:20), that their sins will be forgiven them (1 John 2:1), and that they may all be where he is to behold his glory (John 17:24). The benefits of Christ, which the Holy Spirit imparts to them, are all irrevocable (Rom. 11:29). Those who are called are also glorified (8:30). Those who are adopted as children are heirs of eternal life (8:17; Gal. 4:7). Those who believe have eternal life already here and now (John 3:16). That life itself, being eternal, cannot be lost. It cannot die since it cannot sin (1 John 3:9). Faith is a firm ground (Heb. 11:1), hope is an anchor (6:19) and does not disappoint us (Rom. 5:5), and love never ends (1 Cor. 13:8).
– Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics: Holy Spirit, Church, and New Creation, vol. 4
So says Al Mohler on today’s Briefing.