“This Babbler”

Acts 17:18

            The Epicurean and Stoic philosophers, as well as the religious leaders of the Jews, looked upon the Apostle Paul as an ignorant babbler, “a setter forth of strange gods because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection.” Because they could not understand his doctrine, though they could not refute it, and because they were determined to hold on to their religious superstitions and idolatry, they attempted to discredit Paul’s message by deriding him, attempting to make him look ridiculous.

            Nothing has changed in our day. Those who despise the gospel of God’s free and sovereign grace in Christ, wishing to make room in the kingdom of God for themselves and others without denouncing the idols of free will and good works, before which they joyfully bow every day, deride as babbling idiots those who preach free grace. We are smiled upon, with condescending sneers, as ignorant people who do not understand the issues. Because we believe that salvation is all of grace, that Christ is all our righteousness for both justification and sanctification, and that every false way really is a false way, we are denounced as hyper-calvinists, antinomians, and cultish. We are considered extremists.

Take the mud slung at you, my brother, and wear it as a badge of honor! Let us be extremists for Christ in this day when most are extremists against him. Was he not an extremist for us? What could be more extreme than his everlasting, free, unchanging love for our souls (Jer. 31:3)? What greater extreme could he have gone to for us than that he has gone (2 Cor. 8:9; Phil. 2:5-7; 2 Cor. 5:21)?

Yet, preachers today, many who claim to believe the glorious truths of eternal election, sovereign predestination, particular redemption, effectual calling, and certain perseverance, seem ready, willing, even anxious to compromise these glorious gospel truths in the name of unity with those who despise them, and reject as contemptible heretics those who refuse to join them in compromise. You figure that out if you can. I know this - Our extremism for him is the only thing that could possibly make any sense (Rom. 12:1-2).