Are these the same as our Vacation Bible Schools (VBS)? Our VBS run for a week, M-F, for about 3 hours in the day. When I was a kid, we had Neighborhood Bible Clubs - these were usually one evening a week for the summer. That is great how many kids you had come!
'Calvinism' is a term that has come to describe the a particular system of theology also known as the 'doctrines of grace'. I'm sure it has developed into something more than Calvin ever taught. For the sake of discussion, though, there's nothing wrong with using this common term to indicate what system we are referring to. Perhaps the terms are different in the UK, but over here, the system of theology that you are describing as your beliefs is generally called Calvinism, or Reformed doctrine (the two terms are used interchangeably). Ephesians 1:3-6 do speak of being predestined, chosen by God before the foundation of the world - in context, having been chosen in Him (that is, in Christ Jesus - only believers are in Christ, therefore, Paul is speaking of believers being chosen) to be holy and without blame (this speaks of sanctification, not salvation). This predestination is speaking of the fact that believers are predestined to be made more like Christ - sanctified. I believe that this is a core misunderstanding among those who believe as you do - they tie the sanctification process in with salvation, rather than recognizing that it is separate and distinct. God knew who would believe (cause he's omniscient like that), and predestinated those believers (those who are in Christ) to be sanctified unto Him - that we might be to the praise of the glory of His grace. Does the part about being predestined unto the adoption of sons sound like salvation? Yes, but since the entire context speaks of sanctification, I will allow the context to define the discussion and not stick my own ideas into it.
I have friends that are incredibly smart and have reviewed many doctrinal books by leading Calvinists. They (my friends) describe the theological system as appealing to intellectualism - to the mind of man that wants to be wise and knowledgeable. These leading men talk, define, and redefine simple Scripture into a complicated theological knot. I am not that smart, and cannot understand such knots. All I know is the simple understanding of Scripture I received as a child - that God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting lift. My own review of TULIP doctrine has found that Unconditional Election has a verso - for if God unconditionally elects people to salvation, then He likewise unconditionally elects others - that He has created - that would not exist without His actions - to hell and eternal condemnation. That's not what John 3:16 says. That's not the action of a loving God. It's one thing for God to have created the world knowing that some (many) would reject Him - it's another for Him to create knowing that many would go straight to hell through no fault of their own. For if a man is created with no choice but to sin and no possibility of salvation - how is it his fault if he does what he has no choice but to do? Such an idea turns our just, merciful and loving God into a sadistic creature. Can you not see how this doctrine maligns the very nature of God Himself?
Invicta, 360watr did not invent his understanding of Calvinism. The men of my church have come to the same conclusion - that the views stated above are what Calvinism really teaches when brought to its logical conclusion. I recognize that they are not the conscious teachings of Calvinism, but we do feel they are the underlying motivations. And that is why we reject it, even as we accept that there are many, many honest believers who accept Calvinism at face value and have no idea - or do not agree - that such is its conclusion.
That hat being said, 360watt, there are plenty of IFB churches that accept Calvinism but are still, in fact, independent, fundamental, and Baptist. You really can't say that someone isn't IFB because they're Calvinist. Doesn't work that way. This site though, as we know, is both IFB and anti-Calvinist.
I'd find out some info before you go. We support a missionary to Cuba, and he still asks that we not post any information connecting them to that work online. I've also met a Cuban pastor who ended up fleeing the country to save his son's life. Cuban young people are required to serve in the military, and their captains persecute the young Christians. This man's son was a special target because of his father's prominence, and also had some medical issues that pretty much guaranteed he would not survive training (especially when coupled with the 'special' treatment he could expect). Because of his father's position, the army refused to grant the medical exception that they normally would. Persecution is still strong down there, and you do not want to either put yourself in a bad position or cause harm to other believers there by your actions (by way of government reprisals). If you're interested, PM me and I'll send you the missionary's name.
Are you being facetious, Potatochip? Royalty is mentioned in the Bible because that was the general governing procedure of those times. Israel was given a king because they requested one - but that request was contrary to God's Will and He warned them that they wouldn't like it! Royalty is not 'biblical' in the idea that it is 'how it is to be done' - just saying. The KJV was not written there - it was translated there (being as that was the only English-speaking nation at the time, there's nothing too special about that). That being said, I'm probably a typical Canadian in that I am proud of our queen and perfectly satisfied to have her. (Charles, on the other hand...) However, if she ever actually tried to change things in a manner we didn't like (i.e. actually rule), I have a feeling that Canada would pull a US stunt and decide we didn't need royalty anymore, either.
Alan, I have a question for you. A while back I read some articles about the Chinese characters - how the old script consists of pictures that can be interpreted to match up with an early cultural knowledge of the events of creation/flood (like the symbol for a large ship combines symbols for a boat and 8 people). Very interesting stuff. From your knowledge of the Chinese characters, would you say that such an interpretation is reliable?
Rosie, would one of these work? http://www.christianbook.com/kjv-reference-bible-brown-chocolate-leathertouch/9781433607141/pd/607146X?event=EBRN http://www.christianbook.com/kjv-reference-bible-leathertouch-thumb-indexed/9781433607196/pd/607196X?event=EBRN
Haha!! Now that's a list! Well, we ought to be able to find at least two of those animals in the wild, and the rest are at the zoo (but you forgot buffalo!). But your list is out of order. The Rocky Mountains are definitely more interesting than the Toronto Tower.
Seriously?? What do they have instead? We still have magazines in waiting rooms - except for really fancy places that run a TV instead. But I think that's because they're trying to be upscale. She's going to the mountains after she stays at my place, so I won't need to take her there. I was thinking of seeing if she was interested in going to Elk Island Park and seeing the bison. Hmm... maybe the Badlands too. Do they have Badlands in England?
Haha... yes. I've even got an infuser for looseleaf. Hmm.. maybe I should pick up some fresh stuff, though. My tea stock's a bit on the old side.
I'm going to be hosting a university student for a few weeks in August while she is studying in Canada. This is a first time for me, and I'm trying to figure out how best to be a good host. My visitor is from Liverpool. I was wondering if any of y'all from the UK could give me any hints as to... I don't know... what you would like to experience if you were visiting Western Canada, or any things that would help make a visit seem homey to you (must have English muffins in stock, or something like that). Any ideas?
Ha... well, the Americans send missionaries to Canada, so why not England? Seriously, though, I could see why the Mission Board feels that way. England is viewed by us over here as a country that was once hugely instrumental in sending the Gospel around the world, but which now appears to have very little gospel influence. And because of its former position as a leader in missionary effort, I could see why some people would never think of sending missionaries to England now - thus the 'forgotten peoples' aspect. I know how weird it is, though, to think of your country as a focus for missionary effort. We had a family come up a few years back to go to Hinton as missionaries, and it was just so weird to think that they were sent here as missionaries - it's not like we're darkest Africa, or something. Or are we? Africa (the non-Muslim areas, anyways) appears to be much more open to the Gospel than the average Canadian.