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Nailing Your Colors

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You may not remember much from your World History class,

but you probably at least remember that the nations of Europe
fought it out for a long time to see who was going to be Number
One. For many years, their biggest way to fight it out was with
their big navies. So, if a ship from England saw a ship from France,
you could expect some fireworks. Of course, the way you knew
what country a ship was from was that flag they flew from the
top of the mast - their colors. When they would see a ship approaching
on the horizon, they usually lowered their colors until they could
see whether that other guy was a friend or an enemy. But occasionally
there was a ship that approached those encounters in a radically
different way. There were a few courageous captains who would
give a simple six-word order to their crew, "Nail our colors to the
mast!" But you could just hear the first mate saying, "Captain, that
means we can't lower our colors, no matter what." To which the
captain would say something like this - "That's right."



Does God know the future?

You don't have to take theology to understand God's omniscience. Now usually
we would assume that the issue of God knowing everything was a settled
question for Christians. This is the kind of discussion we have shortly
after we're saved, and then it's settled forever. But when you discuss God's
omniscience with anyone, it's likely that you're doing it with, perhaps, an
agnostic or someone who doesn't think much about God.
Now, some of you listening to this broadcast today may be in that category
and I'm glad you've tuned in. But most of you probably believe in God. In
fact, if I asked you, "do you believe that God knows everything completely?"
I feel fairly confident that you would say yes. But recently there's been a
growing discussion among Christians about what God knows in the future. This
is called the openness of God. Let me describe what that means.

The idea of "openness" means that God does not fully know the future because
humans have not yet made their choices that will affect the future. There's
some pretty well-known theologians, American theologians, who have embraced
this idea. A chief among them is Gregory Boyd who teaches at Bethel College
and pastors Woodland Hills Church in Saint Paul, Minnesota, also, Clark
Pinnock who teaches at McMaster Divinity College and John Sanders of
Huntington College. You see, this is an issue that has provoked a
significant amount of debate among churches and pastors--especially in the
Baptist General Conference in the United States.

I thought it would be good for us today to take time just to explore what
the Bible has to say about all this. Now, to be sure, in the debate, most
who are engaging in the debate look at Scripture passages, interpret them
differently, perhaps--but, they draw their strength and their understanding
from Scripture. I want to share with you today, my friends, what I think God
knows. And my answer to the question is, "I believe God knows everything

Let me have one of the exponents of this open theism tell you exactly what
the movement believes, however. This man's name is John Sanders. Uh, he has
written a number of books on this subject. One of those books is one that
I'm quoting from now. He says this: "The openness of God is an attempt to
think out more consistently what it means that God enters into personal
relationships with humanity. We want to develop an understanding of the
triune God and God's relationship to the world that is biblically faithful,
finds consonance with the tradition, is theologically coherent and which
enhances the way we live our Christian lives."

On the core tenets of the Christian faith we agree. But we believe that some
aspects of the tradition need reforming. Particularly when it comes to what
we call "classical theism." Now what John Sanders is saying there is that he
believes that he falls right in the middle of Christian orthodoxy. But there
needs to be some reformation of what we describe as Christian orthodoxy.
What then are the general tenets of this open theism, the idea that God
doesn't know everything that occurs in the future?

Again, let's have John Sanders tell us. "Open theism presents an
understanding of God's nature and relationship with His creatures, which we
call the openness of God; in broad strokes, it takes the following form.
God, in grace, grants humans significant freedom to cooperate with or work
against God's will for their lives, and He enters into dynamic give and take
relationships with us. The Christian life involves genuine interaction
between God and human beings. We respond to God's gracious initiatives and
God responds to our responses...and on it goes.

"God takes risks in this give-and-take relationship, yet He is endlessly
resourceful and competent in working toward His ultimate goals. Sometimes
God alone decides how to accomplish these goals. On other occasions," says
John Sanders, "God works with human decisions, adapting His own plans to fit
the changing situation. God does not control everything that happens.
Rather, He is open to receiving input from His creatures. In loving
dialogue, God invites us to participate with Him to bring the future into
being." So says Dr. John Sanders in his book The Openness of God.

Well, we're here today, friends, on Back to the Bible to think about whether
or not that's true. Is it true that God doesn't know what happens in the
future? What does the Bible have to say? Let me suggest to you today that
the Bible teaches that God's knowledge is not open, His knowledge is
comprehensive. God knows everything and He knows it completely. God's
knowledge embraces all that is actual and all that is possible with regard
to God knowing everything that is actual, He knows everything that existed
past, present and will exist in the future.

Let me point to you some Scriptures. Matthew 12:35-36: "A good man out of
the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out
of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for
every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of
judgment." God knows everything we have done in the past. Romans 2:6,
speaking of God that He "will render to each one according to his deeds." If
God didn't know what our deeds were, He couldn't judge us according to them.

God also knows everything that is actual in the present. Job 23:10: "But He
knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as
gold." Job clearly understood that God knew what was happening in his life.
Proverbs 15:3: "The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on
the evil and the good." Present tense. God sees and knows everything that

I suppose where the "rub" comes, is in the future. And that's where this
whole "openness debate" centers. Does God know the future? Does He know
actually everything what's going to happen in the future? Well, I believe He
does. And I do so because of what the Word of God says. Listen to this,
Isaiah 46:9-10: God says, "Remember the former things of old, for I am God,
and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the
end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done,
saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure.'" See, it's
evident that God says, even from the ancient times, "I have declared the
things that are not yet done." God knows the future.

Acts 15:18: "Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the
world" (KJV). Now, that doesn't say, "Known unto God are all His works to
the present time. He's waiting to find out what you and I will do so He can
know the future." That is not said, it is not implied. I don't think it is a
legitimate concept.

Knowledge is exploding, friends, exploding at a rate of more than 2,000
pages every minute of every day. I mean, think about that, even Einstein
couldn't keep up! If you read 24 hours a day, from age 21 to age 70, and
miraculously you retained everything you read, you would be
one-and-a-half-million years behind when you finished--reading 24 hours a
day, from age 21 to age 70, retaining everything, you're still a
million-and-a-half years behind.

Now, that's not a problem with God, however. And I think that's what the
omniscience of God is all about. God knows everything completely. Everything
that actually happened in the past, God knew before it would happen.
Everything that actually is happening in the present, God knows today. He
knows what's going to happen today--and everything that will happen will
actually happen in the future. God knows all about it.

But let me take you one step further. I think the Bible not only teaches
that God knows everything that is actual in the past, present and future. I
think the Bible also teaches that God knows everything that is potential in
the past, present and future--everything that's possible. God knows all
things that are logically possible, but which have never happened or have
never been.

Let me give you some examples. First Samuel 23:12: "Then David said, 'Will
the men of Keilah deliver me and my men into the hand of Saul?' And the Lord
said, 'They will deliver you.'" Now, this was a potential. David did not
know whether these men would deliver him to Saul or not, but God did. God
knew what was possible in the future. Because God knows everything.

Let me read you Psalm 81, a couple of verses at the end, beginning at verse
13 to the end of the Psalm. "Oh, that My people would listen to Me" [says
God], "that Israel would walk in My ways! I would soon subdue their enemies,
and turn My hand against their adversaries. The haters of the Lord would
pretend submission to Him, but their fate would endure forever. He would
have fed them also with the finest of wheat; and with honey from the rock I
would have satisfied you."

Now, did you notice all the potential there? All the possibilities, all the
woulds--God would subdue their enemies, God would have fed them, God would
have satisfied them. That's all potential stuff, friends. And yet the Bible
depicts God as knowing all the things He would do. And it's not dependent
upon what we do, what God would do, God knows every potential. He's not
waiting to find out what man does so He can respond and understand what to
do. God knows every potential scenario that mankind might ever encounter.

Jeremiah 23:22, speaking of unfaithful pastors and prophets, God says: "But
if they had stood in My counsel, and had caused My people to hear My words,
then they would have turned them from their evil way and from the evil of
their doings." See, God isn't waiting to find out what these prophets do and
then respond accordingly. God knows what they did, God knows what they will
do and God knows what would have been the case had they done something else.
I think that's pretty comprehensive, isn't it? That indicates to me that God
knows not only everything that is actual--past, present and future. God
knows everything that is potential.

Jesus said the same thing in Matthew 11:21: "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to
you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done
in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and
ashes." Now, don't miss this, friends. We're talking today about the current
openness debate that is going on in theological circles.

I think the Bible clearly indicates that God knows everything. He knows
everything completely. There is no openness in God's knowledge. God is not
waiting to find out what will happen in the future and then simply
responding to it. It's important for you and me to recognize that God's
knowledge is a lot deeper than these people are giving Him credit for.

Now, you want to go deeper on this subject? Have I piqued your interest on
this debate about openness? Now, you can come to our Web site, Come to our Web site and click on the sidebar that says
"dig deeper" and we'll discuss this even further.

Now, I want you to think about what others have said about this open debate.
One of the strongest critics of the open debate is a pastor in the Baptist
General Conference where a lot of this debate is going on. His name is John
Piper. You may recognize that name. John Piper says that open theism that
denies that God can foreknow free human choices dishonors God, distorts
Scripture, damages faith and would-if left unchecked-destroy churches and
lives. Its errors are not peripheral but central.

Now, think about this, my friend. Is it possible God doesn't know
everything? One of my former seminary professors Roger Nicole asks some very
pointed questions about those who believe in the openness of God's
knowledge, that He doesn't know everything in the future. For example, Dr.
Nicole asks, "How could God possibly know that Judas would betray Jesus for
30 pieces of silver, when payment of such a sum was dependent upon
unforeseeable decisions of the chief priests and of Judas?" If God doesn't
know the future, how would He know that?

How can God envision the death of Christ before the foundation of the world?
That's mentioned in 1 Peter 1:20, also Revelation 13:8 and 17:8. How could
God envision the death of Christ before the foundation of the world when He
presumably did not know whether Adam would fall or not, had to wait for Adam
to fall in order to decide?

Now, friends, listen to me. I think the Bible is clear enough that we can
set aside any concern we have about whether or not God knows the future. If
we will let the Bible speak for itself, if we do not assume things that are
not in evidence in Scripture, if we don't theologize or philosophize or do
all those other things that are going on in people's minds today, if we
simply read the Bible and let God speak for Himself, I think we'll come to
the proper conclusion.

You know what I think the proper conclusion is? The proper conclusion is
that God knows very well, not only the past and the present, He also knows
your future. I think that brings great comfort--certainly does to me! I
don't want to face the future thinking that God is waiting to find out what
happens, waiting to find out how I'll respond to the future before He knows
what to do in order to respond to me.

Now, that's not the kind of God that's presented in the Bible. It's not the
kind of God I serve. And I know it's not the kind of God you serve. You can
trust God today. You can trust Him to know everything. That's what
omniscience means. He knows everything actual and everything potential. He
knows everything completely.

Dan Norton: The complete and total knowledge of God--past, present and
future. It's a great foundation for our trust in Him. You've been listening
to a study on the Omniscience of God on this Monday edition of Back to the

Uh, Dr. Kroll, it's important to understand that God knows everything. And
if we think He isn't omniscient, that His knowledge is limited we actually
take something away that makes Him God.

Woodrow Kroll: Yes, we do. We take away an attribute of God, His
omniscience. Uh, we take away part of the character of God, I think, Dan.
We, we make Him less than God. And if we take omniscience away from God
today, what will the next generation of theologians take away from Him? Will
they take away His purity? Will they say that God is holy most of the time,
but He can't always do what is right? I don't think so. We have to be very
careful that we do not diminish the character of God.

Dan Norton: Well, as believers, how do you think we should respond to people
that take the view that God isn't omniscient?

Woodrow Kroll: Uh, we always respond charitably, but we dare not give an
inch. The whole issue here, Dan, I believe is the issue of sovereignty. It's
dressed up in a theological debate with the fancy clothes of people who want
to be orthodox but wish also to reduce orthodoxy to their own terms. But,
mark my words, this is an issue of God's sovereignty. Is God sovereign
enough to know the future or is He not? We cannot allow even honest people
to reduce God's sovereignty. God simply won't tolerate it.

Dan Norton: So, what if someone says, "Well, if God knows what I'm going to
do, why doesn't He keep me from making terrible mistakes?

Woodrow Kroll: (he laughs) Yeah, this is no different than the argument that
says "Why did God permit Adam and Eve to sin in the first place?" He could
have kept sin out of the Garden through His sovereign control, but God
refuses to treat people as puppets. He gave us a moral conscience with which
we have to interact. He gave us a will that, although it's now stained by
sin and bent toward evil, that will we still have to exercise. So, to ask,
"If God knows what I'm going to do, why, then, doesn't He keep me from
mistakes" is not to know the character of God very well.

Dan Norton: Mmm. It comes back to that personal responsibility
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Is all Scripture inspired by God?

"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for
reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God
may be adequate, equipped for every good work" (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

God's Word is inspired.
Second Timothy 3:16 speaks of the inspiration of Scripture. "Inspired" is
the translation of a Greek word that literally means "God-breathed." Every
word of Scripture is from the mouth of God!

Theologians speak of inspiration as the mysterious process by which God
worked through the authors of Scripture to produce inerrant and divinely
authoritative writings. Inspiration is a mystery because Scripture doesn't
explain specifically how it occurred. The only glimpse we have is from 2
Peter: "Know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of
one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human
will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God" (1:20-21).

"Interpretation" speaks of origin. Scripture didn't originate on the human
level but with the Holy Spirit, who "moved" upon the authors to write it (v.
21). "Moved" is the translation of a nautical term that describes the
effects of wind upon a ship as it blows against its sails and moves it
through the water. Similarly, the Spirit moved on the Biblical writers to
produce the Word of God in the language of men.

The human authors of Scripture knew they were writing God's Word, and they
did so with confidence and authority. Often they cited or alluded to one
another as authoritative agents of divine revelation (e.g., 2 Peter

On a personal level, inspiration guarantees that what Scripture says, God
says. It's His counsel to you; so you can study and obey it with full
assurance that it is true and will never lead you astray.

For further study, consider this: Often the New Testament affirms the
inspiration of the Old Testament by attributing Old Testament quotations to
God Himself. For example, compare these Old Testament passages with their
New Testament counterparts: Genesis 2:24 with Matthew 19:4-5; Psalm 2:1-2
with Acts 4:25-26; Isaiah 55:3 with Acts 13:34; Psalm 16:10 with Acts 13:35;
Psalm 95:7-11 with Hebrews 3:7-11. How might you respond to someone who says
that the Bible is merely the words of devout religious men?

Adapted from John MacArthur, Drawing Near, October 13 (Wheaton, Ill.:
Crossway Books, 1993).

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Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but
only what is helpful for building others up according to their
needs, that it may benefit those who listen. --Ephesians 4
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If the books in my Bible don’t follow a chronological
arrangement, what was the order in which they were written?
The following list arranges the books of the Bible according to their most probable dates.

Old Testament

Genesis—1445–1405 B.C.
Exodus—1445–1405 B.C.
Leviticus—1445–1405 B.C.
Numbers—1445–1405 B.C.
Deuteronomy—1445–1405 B.C.
Psalms—1410–450 B.C.
Joshua—1405–1385 B.C.
Judges—ca. 1043 B.C.
Ruth—ca. 1030–1010 B.C.
Song of Solomon—971–965 B.C.
Proverbs—ca. 971–686 B.C.
Ecclesiastes—940–931 B.C.
1 Samuel—931–722 B.C.
2 Samuel—931–722 B.C.
Obadiah—850–840 B.C.
Joel—835–796 B.C.
Jonah—ca. 775 B.C.
Amos—ca. 750 B.C.
Hosea—750–710 B.C.
Micah—735–710 B.C.
Isaiah—700–681 B.C.
Nahum—ca. 650 B.C.
Zephaniah—635–625 B.C.
Habakkuk—615–605 B.C.
Ezekiel—590–570 B.C.
Lamentations—586 B.C.
Jeremiah—586–570 B.C.
1 Kings—561–538 B.C.
2 Kings—561–538 B.C.
Daniel 536–530 B.C.
Haggai—ca. 520 B.C.
Zechariah—480–470 B.C.
Ezra—457–444 B.C.
1 Chronicles—450–430 B.C.
2 Chronicles—450–430 B.C.
Esther—450–331 B.C.
Malachi—433–424 B.C.
Nehemiah—424–400 B.C.

New Testament

James—A.D. 44–49
Galatians—A.D. 49–50
Matthew—A.D. 50–60
Mark—A.D. 50–60
1 Thessalonians—A.D. 51
2 Thessalonians—A.D. 51–52
1 Corinthians—A.D. 55
2 Corinthians—A.D. 55–56
Romans— A.D. 56
Luke—A.D. 60–61
Ephesians—A.D. 60–62
Philippians—A.D. 60–62
Philemon—A.D. 60–62
Colossians—A.D. 60–62
Acts—A.D. 62
1 Timothy—A.D. 62–64
Titus—A.D. 62–64
1 Peter—A.D. 64–65
2 Timothy—A.D. 66–67
2 Peter—A.D. 67–68
Hebrews—A.D. 67–69
Jude—A.D. 68–70
John—A.D. 80–90
1 John—A.D. 90–95
2 John—A.D. 90–95
3 John—A.D. 90–95
Revelation—A.D. 94–96


Bible - God's Word in different languages...
Scripture and Bible Scripture translations
  .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}
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Victory I


The Lion Sleeps Tonight

Mr. Sandman

Only The Lonely

Beyond The Sea


Magnificent 7

Magnificent 7 - II


I Walk The Line

God loves you so much that He died for you!!!


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Verse of the Day

* * * Four Important Things To KNOW: #1) For ALL (Americans, Muslims, Jews, Catholics, Hindus, Buddhist, Asians, Presbyterians, Europeans, Baptist, Brazilians, Mormons, Methodist, French, etc.) have sinned & fall short of the glory of God. #2) For the wages of above (see #1) are DEATH (Hell, eternal separation from God, & damnation) but the Gift (free & at no charge to you) of God (Creator, Jehovah, & Trinity) is Eternal Life (Heaven) through (in union with) Jesus Christ (God, Lord, 2nd Person of The Trinity, Messiah, Prince of Peace & Savior of the World). #3) For God so greatly loved & dearly prized the world (Americans, Muslims, Jews, Catholics, Hindus, Buddhist, Asians, Presbyterians, Europeans, Baptist, Brazilians, Mormons, Methodist, French, etc.) that He even gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, that whosoever (anyone, anywhere, anytime - while still living) believes (trust in, relies on, clings to, depends completely on) Him shall have eternal (everlasting) life (heaven). #4) Jesus said: "I am THE WAY, THE TRUTH, & THE LIFE. No one (male/female - American, Muslim, Jew, Catholic, Hindu, Buddhist, Asian, Presbyterian, European, Baptist, Brazilian, Mormons, Methodist, French, etc. ) comes (arrives) to the Father (with GOD in Heaven) EXCEPT BY (through) ME (no other name). *** This wonderful loving GOD gives you the choice - - - (Rev. 3:20) {Please note that church membership, baptism, doing good things, etc. are not requirements for becoming a Christian - however they are great afterwards!!!} *** Jesus said, "Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction (Hell, damnation, eternal punishment), and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life (Heaven, eternal happiness, forever with God), and only a few find it.

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But these are written so that you may
believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the
Son of God, and that by believing in
Him you will have life. Jn 20:31

Seek the Lord while He may be found;
call on Him while He is near. Let the
wicked forsake his way and the evil
man his thoughts. Let him turn to the
Lord, and He will have mercy on him,
and to our God, for He will freely
pardon. "For My thoughts are not
your thoughts, neither are your ways
My ways," declares the Lord. "As the
heavens are higher than the earth, so
are My ways higher than your ways
and My thoughts than your thoughts.
As the rain and the snow come down
from heaven, and do not return to it
without watering the earth and making
it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed
for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is My word that goes out from My
mouth: It will not return to Me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire and
achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
You will go out in joy and be led forth
in peace; the mountains and hills will
burst into song before you, and all the
trees of the field will clap their hands.
Instead of the thornbush will grow the
pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle
will grow. This will be for the Lord's
renown, for an everlasting sign, which
will not be destroyed." Is 55

O Lord, you have searched me and you
know me. You know when I sit and when
I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying
down; you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you know
it completely, O Lord. You hem me in -
behind and before; you have laid your
hand upon me. Such knowledge is too
wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where
can I flee from your presence? If I go up
to the heavens, you are there; if I make
my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide
me and the light become night around
me," even the darkness will not be dark
to you; the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you. For you
created my inmost being; you knit me
together in my mother's womb. I praise
you because I am fearfully and wonderfully
made; your works are wonderful, I know
that full well. My frame was not hidden
from you when I was made in the secret
place. When I was woven together in the
depths of the earth, your eyes saw my
unformed body. All the days ordained
for me were written in your book before
one of them came to be.

How precious to me are your thoughts,
O God! How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them, they would
outnumber the grains of sand. When
I awake, I am still with you. Search me,
O God, and know my heart; test me
and know my anxious thoughts. See
if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Ps 139

But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up,
that I may show My power in you, and that My
Name may be declared in all the earth. Ex 9:16

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small:
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
- - Isaac Watts

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