Presented to Dr. Derek Coleman
Luther Rice Seminary
In Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements for the Course
EV 520 Theology and Practice of Evangelism
Justin Z. DuBose
One of the most well-known biblical passages is found in Matthew 28:19-20. This is a direct command from Jesus to his disciples. This verse is where the Body of Christ finds its primary mandate for evangelism. “Go and make disciples of all nations”, is what Jesus tells His disciples. He also tells them that “all power in Heaven and on Earth has been given to me”. Within this one passage we find both the sovereignty of God as well as our mandate for evangelism. And yet, these two theological concepts seem to almost be at odds with one another. If God truly has all power and authority to save, then what need has He of us to do His work for Him? J.I. Packer and his book, “Evangelism And The Sovereignty of God” address this issue head on.
Packer’s text has become one of the foremost books on the topic in all of Christendom. In simply mentioning to a few people at church, they were very familiar with the author as well as the title. Packer’s book addresses this topic by classifying it as “antimony”. Packer defines antimony by saying, on page 24, “an antinomy exists when a pair of principles stand side by side, seemingly irreconcilable, yet both understandable.” Christians tend to classify themselves as either Calvinists or Armenians, and Packer’s books says that these two can co-exist, and in fact they must.
By classifying evangelism and God’s sovereignty as an antimony, Packer is suggesting that the two can stand side by side, and in fact that they must. As Packer says, on page 27, the seeming antimony is between “what God does as King and what He does as judge.” And yet, on the same page, he notes that “God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility are taught to us side by side in the same Bible; sometimes indeed in the same text.” He goes on to specifically cite a passage in Romans 9, the Great Commission in Matthew 28, and the Beatitudes in Matthew 5.
Packer notes that, as you comb through Scripture, you find that there is but one prescribed method by which men must be saved. “God’s way of saving men is to send out His servants to tell them the gospel, and that the church has been charged to go into all the world for that very purpose”. 
If both principles are plainly evident in the same text, as Packer highlights, where does this antimony stem from? “It is our widespread and persistent habit of defining evangelism in terms, not of a message delivered, but of an effect produced in our hearers.”  In defining what evangelism is, Packer notes that “according to the New Testament, evangelism is just preaching the gospel, the evangel.”  Packer uses the Apostle Paul as the quintessential picture of the characteristics of someone spreading the gospel of Jesus. He specifically notes three things: He was the commissioned representative of Jesus Christ, His primary task was to teach the truth about Jesus Christ, and His ultimate aim to was to convert His hearers to a faith in Jesus Christ. Packer argues that as long as we can maintain these characteristics, then we are fulfilling the human responsibility piece of the Great Commission. But what of the message that we are to preach?
Packer notes four characteristics in this regard. Our message is about God, it is about sin, it is about Christ, and it is a summons to faith and repentance. If we can preach this message while upholding the characteristics above, then we can trust God to be the sovereign, righteous judge that He is. Yet, there is still another question for Packer in all of this. What should be our motive for evangelism?
The primary motivation, according to Packer, is that we bring glory to God. The other motivating factor is our love of our neighbors, and our desire to see them saved. Packer notes that beyond simple recognition of God as King and Judge, without love our evangelism is driven by the wrong engine. What, then, is the ultimate conclusion that Packer comes to?
“We have to make room in our minds for the thoughts of divine sovereignty and of human responsibility to stand side by side.”  Packer’s ultimate conclusion, which is very aptly stated, can be found on page 101 of his book. He says the following: “It is true that God has from all eternity chosen whom He will save. It is true that Christ came specifically to save those whom the Father had given Him. But it is also true that Christ offers Himself freely to all men as their Savior, and guarantees to bring to glory everyone who trusts in Him as such.” What a powerful and sobering statement. Packer tackles one of the most difficult theological questions in all of Christendom, and surmises such a brilliant statement that it seems very hard to disagree with, at least from a wholly biblical perspective.
What then is the reaction to such a thesis? Packer begins the book in a very good place – by not only looking at both aspects, but doing so relationally. Good Christian people believe both of these things, and there then must be good biblical basis for both. His classifying them as an antimony does both justice. For many would agree that these things do, in fact, seem to be at odds. And yet, they are both so biblically true. Packer’s classification as an antimony demonstrates to all readers that reconciliation is possible, and passages such as Matthew 28, which have both concepts present within the same few verses, speak to this fact. He also acknowledges the fact that simply by praying, Christians are surrendering themselves to the sovereignty of God. This puts all the readers on a level playing field in regard to the early chapters of the book.
As he delves deeper into the antimony of divine sovereignty and human responsibility, he opens up the Scriptures further and further. In doing so, he goes to some well-known passages, such as Matthew 28 and Matthew 5, but also to some relatively obscure passages, like 2 Samuel. His treatment of the subject is extremely delicate and gentle, not at all harsh or judgmental. He comes across as a very humble man, simply seeking to exposit what the Scripture has to say about a potentially controversial subject.
In the final chapter of the book, Packer specifically goes to John 6:38-40 to demonstrate his point that these two truths can and must exist together, for this is exactly where they dwell in Scripture. His breadth in quoting Scripture, his treatment of the subject, his taking about the two relationally, all shows that he has formulated a very well-rounded and well researched opinion on the subject.
In conclusion, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I would highly recommend it to another reader, and I can understand why the book was so well-known even within just a few members of my church. The book does for the Body of Christ what all Christian literature ought to do – that it to seek unity and reconciliation of the body rather than splintering and fracture. Packer’s book can unify believers from all different walks of life, different denominational backgrounds, even different theological worldviews. If one truly seeks to hold to a biblical view of missions and sovereignty, as Packer himself says, then they must not isolate one view or the other. Scripture is clear that they stand together, not alone. There are certain concepts that we as human beings must simply write off as too wonderful and too vast for our finite brains to fully comprehend, and this is one of them. As Packer himself says, “both aspects of the will of God are facts, though how they are related in the mind of God is inscrutable to us. This is one of the reasons why we speak of God as incomprehensible.” 
Packer, J.I. Evangelism And The Sovereignty of God (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books).
 Packer, J.I. Evangelism And The Sovereignty of God (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books), 38.
 Ibid, pg. 41
 Ibid, pg. 45
 Ibid, pg. 92
 Ibid, pg. 93
THE SANCTITY OF CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE
Presented to Professor Ann Kerlin
Luther Rice Seminary
In Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements for the Course
CO 620 Biblical Counseling in Marriage and Family
Justin Z. DuBose
The institution of marriage in the Bible has been present from the beginning. In the opening chapters of the opening book of the Bible, we see God say that it is not good for man to be alone. From this fact comes Eve – the helpmate God created for Adam. We see Adam and Eve have a family in the opening chapters of the Bible. Multiple times throughout the Old Testament this idea of marriage and its sanctity in the eyes of God are present.
King Solomon, most remembered for his wisdom, has much to say about marriage and its value in the eyes and mind of God. In the fifth chapter of Proverbs, he writes, “may you be ever captivated by her love”. This highlights the idea that marriage is to be a loving relationship – far beyond one man and one woman simply cohabitating together - which is supported in the New Testament. Proverbs 18 has a very revealing statement about marriage. Here we find that “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord”. Not only is marriage instituted by the Lord, but it is also “good”. This word transliterated as “good” is the Hebrew word “טוֹב”, which is the same word used in the creation of the world when God declared that what He created was “good”. This supports the idea that marriage is “excellent”, as Strong’s defines this word. Marriage is not simply an institution, rather it is an institution of extreme value to the Lord and to man. The ancient Israelites thought so highly of marriage that they actually codified that newlyweds were to devote one year to each other. In Deuteronomy 24 we read from the Hebrew law that, “If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married”. Indeed, the institution of marriage has very sacred roots in the eyes and mind of God. The New Testament simply builds upon this theology, going into great depth in some places about the sanctity of marriage.
Matthew 19 says to us that marriage is actually a spiritual unification that occurs in the eyes and mind of God. “"Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh' ? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." The marital union of two people actually unifies them as one being in the eyes and mind of God. This is how powerfully and seriously God views the marriage bed. Hebrews 13 tells us that marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure.
The apostle Paul actually provides us with the most extensive writing on the subject of marriage. This seems almost ironic given the fact that Paul himself was never married. When you think about all the men in the Bible who were married and prolific writers – Moses, David, Solomon, etc. – that could have written about marriage, Paul seems like a rather unusual choice for extensive writing on the subject.
In his letter to the church in Ephesus, Paul extensively talks about marriage in chapter five. In what is perhaps the most important dialogue in the entire corpus of Scripture on the topic, Paul addresses the relationship between husband and wife. If this relationship is so “good” and sacred, as we have established, how is the relationship to function in the practical world? Paul essentially says that wives are to submit to, or respect, their husbands, and husbands are to love their wives. The apostle Paul goes most in-depth in addressing the role of husbands and wives in marriage, and specifically the issue of male headship.
In our modern day, contemporary society, gender issues are at the forefront of the smorgasbord of hot button topics which typically polarize people. As soon as the phrase “male headship” is uttered, you can often see visible disgust, or at least confusion, on numerous faces. Is this not an archaic terminology for the uneducated and unrefined? The Bible would suggest not.
In the military, there exists a term called “nesting”. The idea behind this word is that an operation order ought to be properly “nested” with the mission and objectives of higher commands. This keeps everything in the chain of command, from the very top all the down, properly aligned with the mission. When Ephesians 5 is examined closely, you see that this idea of male headship is properly nested within submission to Christ. In verse 24, we see that this idea is nested within submission of the Body of Christ to Jesus Himself. Steven Tracy addresses this idea of nesting male headship in the relationship of the church to the Triune God. He says, “The Trinity teaches us that headship and submission are founded within an intimate love relationship among equals, not coercive domination by a superior.”  When we look to the relationship of first, the Trinitarian persons and, second, to the relationship of the church to Christ, we see a true picture of male headship. Of the relationship of the church to Christ, Paul writes that “Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her”. The implication here is a sacrificial love – a demonstration of love through sacrifice for the other partner.
What about the issue of female submission? Males are to act toward their wives in a loving manner, but wives are simply to submit? We need to look a bit closer at what Paul has to say about female submission. Jason Hall writes on the topic of female submission. Notice this concept of “nesting” at work here in his definition. Jason puts female submission within the larger context of submission to Christ and love for one another. “The submission of Christians to God is not one of domination or involuntary enslavement, and a wife’s submission to her husband is also not one of domination or involuntary enslavement. The proper motivation for any act of submission in the Christian faith is ‘reverence for Christ’”.  The more we examine this idea of submission and headship in the Christian marriage, the more this idea of nesting comes up. If God views marriage as “good” – as a created, sacred institution that is “good” – then there must be confusion on our part about marriage that must be reconciled to what God created marriage to be. If he who receives a wife receives favor from the Lord, then Christian marriage must be a good thing for both husband and wife. If, in Deuteronomy, a man and wife were to spend the first year together, loving one another, then male headship must not be an abusive, aggressive role. Christian marriage is a beautiful and sacred institution, if one understands the Triune God who created it and gave it to us.
Tracy, Steven. “1 Corinthians 11:3: A Corrective To Distortions and Abuses of Male Headship” Journal of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood 08:1 (2003)
Hall, Jason. “Marriage As It Was Meant To Be Seen: Headship, Submission, and the Gospel” Journal of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood 15:1 (2010)
 Tracy, Steven. “1 Corinthians 11:3: A Corrective To Distortions and Abuses of Male Headship” Journal of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood 08:1 (2003), 18.
 Hall, Jason. “Marriage As It Was Meant To Be Seen: Headship, Submission, and the Gospel” Journal of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood 15:1 (2010), 14.
NG, LR, & NCU
My collection of personal papers written over the years