Let's be reasonable with one another, shall we?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Total Depravity/Inability ... What is the whole Bible picture?

UPDATE: J. Moorhead brought a Bible passage to my attention. It is listed at the top of the green section.

I have come to the conclusion that what I thought was meant by "Total Depravity" was not what the Calvinists believe. The doctrine actually means "Inability to believe in the Gospel until you are born again." I do not, at this time, think this is a "whole Bible truth."

I guess that makes me a one point Calvinist (... for the time being.) (That is so ridiculous.) In summary, my visitors who defended "INABILTY" have given me the following Bible passages (in green). My visitors who believe that people are able ... and urged to respond to God with faith, have given me the following verses (in blue).

All of these Bible verses are true! They do not mean something that would cause their true meanings to conflict. What is the understanding that validates every Bible truth on this post? That is the question.

When the Gentiles heard this, they rejoiced and glorified the message of the Lord, and all who had been appointed to eternal life believed. (Acts 13:48)

No one can come to Me unless the Father draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:44)

Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him of my Father. (John 6:65)

Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. (John 8:43)

Only the sheep who the Father gives the Son can hear His voice and believe. (John 10:25-30)

Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ. (Ephesians 2:5)

For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves.
(Colossians 1:13)

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. (Colossians 2:13)

It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy. (Romans 9:16)

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:14)

None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. (Romans 3:10-11)

For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. (Romans 8:7-9)

There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius…
So he said to him, "Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God."
(Acts 10:1,5)

Paul and Silas … to Berea … These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Therefore, many of them believed. (Acts 17:10-12)

And he made from one every nation of men to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their habitation, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel after him and find him. (Acts 17:26-27)

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
(Acts 2:21)

...Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:4)

And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb… (Romans 4:19)

Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints…
(Philemon 1:5)

For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. (1 Peter 4:3)

And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
(Revelation 22:17)

next up...Unconditinal Election


  • I'm so glad that you are digging into the word and looking at what they have said.The word is the truth, but truth can still be twisted. Good going

    By Blogger forgiven, at 11/17/2005 9:04 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    But it's so simple. No one can come to Jesus unless the Father draws them. So what if He takes the time to draw every single person, so that everyone is capable of responding?

    Consider: God desires all men to be saved (1 Tim 2:4). He is not willing that any perish (2 Peter 3:9). So what does He do with that good will and desire of His? He predestines according to the counsel of His will:

    "having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will."
    (Eph 1:5)

    This brings us to a moment of reckoning. Does this mean everyone will be saved? Obviously not. So how can everyone be predestined, and yet not be saved? Here is where we must reexamine some of our own terminology.

    When we say 'predestined', what, exactly, is meant by this phrase? What is being predestined? An outcome? A hope? Outward circumstances? Inward decisions? Can it be that God's work is perfect, and yet some will not respond?

    I'll tell you one thing. If He does all that is necessary and yet they do not respond, they will certainly be without excuse. But for Himself He will just in condemning them, and glorified by His own efforts on their behalf, in reaching out to them. This, according to the principle of Proverbs 25:21:

    "If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink;
    "For so you will heap coals of fire on his head, and the LORD will reward you."

    (Prov 25:21-22)

    I know you really haven't gotten into predestination yet, but when you do I'll add a link if anyone who is interested in reading about this perspective further.

    By Blogger loren, at 11/17/2005 10:07 PM  

  • I'm not seeing how the blue words really conflict with the green. Help me out.

    By Blogger Zoanna, at 11/17/2005 11:23 PM  

  • Can we add "Unwilling"

    Did you ever wonder:
    Why the nations rage and the plot a vain thing?
    Why humanity takes council against God and His Anointed One?
    Why humanity refuses to "kiss The Son"?..See Psalm 2
    Why Humanity does not glorify God as God nor is thankful to Him?

    Why humanity takes pleasure in wickedness and does not like to retain God in our Knowledge? See Romans 1:18-32

    Why humanity through it's own wisdom does not know God? 1Cor.1:18-25.

    Why Jesus was so hated, and Those who followed Him as well?

    Why He could do so many miracles and still people would not believe? See John 12:37

    Why after experiencing God's wrath yet they still curse Him? Rev. 16:9

    Do we dare think that some are more spiritually sensitive than others? More wise? Less captivated by sin? Does it say that SOME men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil? John 3:19.

    If not for God initiating salvation in individuals, we would all be lost. Eph. 2:4-5

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 11/18/2005 12:13 AM  

  • Awesome scripture verses and very well thought out stuff.

    Do you like the movie The Princess Bride? When I think of Total Depravity discussions I think of Miracle Max's quote.

    Miracle Max says, "It just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY dead. There's a big difference between MOSTLY dead and ALL dead. ... Now, mostly dead is slightly alive. Now, all dead...well, with all dead, there's
    usually only one thing that you can do. "

    I think depravity in it's discussion is about what is our true spiritual depravity really mean from the scriptures or how dead are we really before we come to Christ.

    I was thinking about this are the idols so in front of the dead man and the passions for loves of the dead man so intertwined with idols that keep him from glorifying God. It's clear the depravity of our souls is so evident in each of us in Romans 1 and without God's restraining grace we don't have hope.

    God makes it clear that in the call of the gospel for people to come to faith that he is serious about his call for people to come to faith, but all men without exception don't seek him because our spiritual deadness.

    I see total depravity as clear in the scriptures.

    Total depravity is biblical in my opinion. Romans 1 is talking about all of us in our natural state. Romans 3 is clear as well in our total depravity.

    God does call all men to repentence and seeking him, but all men without exception don't seek God.

    Romans 3 even goes so far to
    say and teach us that "there is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable."

    How is it that many people seek God. (Ezekiel 36:26 "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh”).

    The scriptures clearly explain that He showed His perfect mercy and grace even while we were sinners, by nature children of wrath, and incapable of doing anything good to grant our salvation, also that we were dead in our transgressions and sins. I love the picture in Ephesians on this and meditating on it for hours in context is so helpful.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 11/18/2005 12:14 AM  

  • There is some overlap in points in the verses you quoted, so I will interject Acts 13:48:

    "When the Gentiles heard this, they rejoiced and glorified the message of the Lord, and all who had been appointed to eternal life believed.

    By Blogger Jonathan Moorhead, at 11/18/2005 12:44 AM  

  • No one can come to Me unless the Father draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:44)

    This verse show that with our wit,our own arguments and efforts to draw others to Christ is short coming. Our duty is to bear witness of Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit will do the rest.

    Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him of my Father. (John 6:65)

    Even if you want to come to Him, you have to ask him. He see your heart and He knows the True. You can’t lie your way in.

    Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. (John 8:43)

    They were of the Devil in the next verse it tells you this. The Devil has fallen so if you are of the devil you have no knowledge of what the Lord

    Only the sheep who the Father gives the Son can hear His voice and believe. (John 10:25-30)

    knows if you are Going to give your heart to Him or not . He is all Knowing

    Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ. (Ephesians 2:5)

    We were enemies of God. We were destitute and degraded. He loved us in spite of it all.

    All these verses are saying that we do not deserve, but He loves us and give us all a chance to come. His unfailing love.

    By Blogger forgiven, at 11/18/2005 1:07 AM  

  • Rose,

    Sorry didn't answer your question. I think there has to be a point in our faith that we love to take every verse in context and stay there for some time letting the word of Christ dwell in us richly and I'm so glad you are doing this. Praise and glory to God.

    I find these types of things to go into the context of the verses.

    Receiving the word with all readiness as a berean. I think of this like many other religious people of the day God was working of them to draw them to himself through the ministry of the Word. Those who believed believed by the power of the Word. Many religious people who are not saved love to read the Word but still have idolatry in their hearts before they believe.

    Acts 17 is one of my favorite passages. Oh to be an evangelist I continue in prayer for this. I have actually used many of the statements Paul uses in an outline of a way I witness to people in India in sharing the gospel to them via the internet.

    Yes whosoever will and the spiritual deadness must be considered at the same time but to consider the height of our spiritual depravity we must also realize that may have a bit different from the actual call of the gospel based on what God says. What do you think the scripture verse that says "Many are Called, but few are chosen means" I mean apart from all of the calvinist labeling and stuff. Does it mean that the call of the gospel goes out to all people in a well meant consideration but few of those people are chosen to come to faith or few people have faith in Christ.

    So my point is that the call of the gospel to the lost world is for all people, but many turn away and those that don't are chosen and are totally changed because they originally didn't seek God in any sense of the world and were dead in their trespasses and sins.

    I should stop talking so long. nighty night everyone.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 11/18/2005 1:07 AM  

  • Forgiven,

    You have said "Even if you want to come to Him, you have to ask him. He see your heart and He knows the True. You can’t lie your way in."

    Please forgive me forgiven, but I would like to discuss this with you some more to get a bit more thinking on the topic.

    What about the fact that our heart is desperately wicked? We can't make our own heart better in and of our own will. That's why he says he will take our heart of stone and make it into a heart of flesh. That's the old testament explanation of regeneration or being born again. The question is did you make your heart a heart of flesh so that you could respond better to Christ and then he would then see in the future your faith and then say okay the Father will now give the Son to you. How do you see this in the scriptures.

    When you consider those who have come to faith, have you considered Romans 9 in this. Romans 9 makes it clear that God's mercy doesn't depend upon man's effort or God forseeing the quality of our future actions or heart, but in his sovereignty in electing Jacob.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 11/18/2005 1:17 AM  

  • I agree with your conclusion, Rose.

    A big problem is caused by taking John 6 out of its dispensational context anf ailing to recognsie that the Gospel of Grace was not offered until after the Resurrection.

    Our heart naturally desires to do evil because of our corrupt nature. However, even Calvinists hold that God has given man a conscience that can lead him to a degree of obediance to the Law. When a man comes under the influence of the preachign of the Gospel, which is accompanied by the gracious drawing of the Holy Spirt he is enabled to believe.

    Apart from John 6, which Calvinists take out of context, there is no clear statement of man's total inability to believe.

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 11/18/2005 3:42 AM  

  • Does the elect's response of faith to the Gospel establish that they are any better than the non-elect?

    No. Faith is not an act of obediance to God's Law. GOd demands total obediance and holiness. He cannot accept a response of faith as meritorious, hios acceptance of our faith is purely by grace. If you Calvinists believe that faith is a work- would you say it is correct to say:

    'We are saved by grace through works'?

    If faith is a work, then we are saved by grace through works, even if we they are what God has ordained that we do. That is largely the position of Thomas Aquinas and a number of other Roman Catholic Scholastics.

    You could argue that at the moment of their acceptance of Christ, the elect show a bit less pride and folly than the non-lect, but thsi would not mean that in gerneral the character of theri lives was any more pleasing to God. There are plenty of Christians who have committed far worse sins than many non-Christians.

    To imply that faith is meritorious is to confuse faith and works and to trivialise grace.

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 11/18/2005 4:03 AM  

  • If I were going to rely on a theologian for my faith, you are the one on whom I would rely.

    I'm not going to do that, however.

    It is interesting how many scriptures are quoted either only in their immediate context to the exclusion of the context of the Bible in toto, or not in context at all.

    Good post!

    By Blogger Joe, at 11/18/2005 6:58 AM  

  • Here's some interesting things to think about as I was doing my morning devotion this morning.

    The real question what is slavery to sin as it is in the bible and Jesus says to those who are lost only those who can hear God's word are OF GOD (ESV) or BELONGS TO GOD(NIV). I think I will ponder this more and study Jesus' discussion to the pharisees.

    All of these quotes are written to unbelieving pharisees.

    John 8:34-35 "Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever."

    John 8:45-47 "But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 11/18/2005 8:29 AM  

  • Again in John, Jesus was hardening the hearts of the Jews. It was given only to the disciples to know the mysteries of the kIngdom of Heaven. That is why Jesus spoke in parables, not to make Himself more easily understood, but because He came to be rejected of men.

    The position after Christ's rejection is:

    'Unto you first God, having raised up his son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning every one of you away fromm his iniquities.' Acts 3:26

    God Bless


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 11/18/2005 8:49 AM  

  • Hi Rose nice piece

    Did God said to Love Him with all your your wicked heart...No..

    Did God said that David was a man after his own heart ..is Gods heart wicked....No

    The heart is wicked when it turns you away from what the Lord wants you to do.

    David said to his son before handing the throne over to him;

    1 Chronicles 28:9
    9 And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.

    The heart can be wicked and God knows your heart. That why God doesn't hear the words that come out of your mouth as much as he see your heart and knows the truth.

    He know when you have totally repented. He knows your Heart.

    By Blogger forgiven, at 11/18/2005 9:38 AM  

  • Forgiven,

    Yes Christians repent and turn to God. I think we can all agree on this truth. God is so gracious to us while we are yet sinners. Thank you Lord.

    The real question is how does our heart repent, is it something within ourselves that makes ourselves undead to sin. I would have to say when God takes our heart of stone into a heart of flesh.

    There is no changing of our wicked hearts apart from a work of Grace. This is all over the Bible, however how depraved our hearts are is the question. Do we in our own ability make ourselves alive when we are dead? Do we in our own depravity seek God? No the scriptures says we don't apart from a work of Grace and it's all over the scriptures and you would agree with this as well, but how dead we really are is the question.

    More later.

    Blessings to you in the Lord as you study salvation, thanks for the verses and the time.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 11/18/2005 10:03 AM  

  • Ezekiel 36:26
    'A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I pu twithin you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and I will give you an heart of flesh'.

    This verse certainly does refer to regeneration, however, it is referring to the regeneration of Israel. In context, it appears to take place after the conversion of the Jewish remnant on the Day of the Lord at the close of the Tribulation. It occurs after 'it has come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord sahll be saved.'

    Now this conversion cannot originate completely in the remnant themselves, because it says in Zech 12:10, that the Spirit would be poured out on the inhabitants of Jerusalem. This leads them into the mourning of repentance.

    I think it safe to say that faith originates in both ourselves through common grace and the special grace of the Holy Spirit in the preaching of the Gospel.

    Ephesians 6:19
    'And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel.'

    1 Thess 1:5
    'For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but in power, and in the Holy Ghost and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.'

    The Gospel comes in power; it can enable people to believe. Likewise the Scriptures can enable men to believe:

    2 Tim 3:15
    'And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.'

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 11/18/2005 10:31 AM  

  • Shawn

    God does it look:Proverbs 15:11-13

    11Hell and destruction are before the LORD: how much more then the hearts of the children of men?

    12A scorner loveth not one that reproveth him: neither will he go unto the wise.

    13A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.

    God love us so much that He will do what it take to show you that your ways are wrong. He won't go against your will, but who can stand a broken spirit. So when you are face to face with Him you can't say that He did try to show you your ways.

    By Blogger forgiven, at 11/18/2005 10:35 AM  

  • Dyspraxic,

    So are you say that's the regeneration of Israel so that doesn't have to do with our dispensation of the church. Those who tend to put an overemphasis on who the passage is written too tend to not see the biblical story as every page of Scripture teaching of the Gospel. I believe there isn't a page of scripture that doesn't teach the gospel. By the gospel, I mean the greatness of God the wickedness of sinners, and God's Grace to save us. Look to Moses and Joseph and you see they write about christ. As Jesus said,

    Jesus said in John 5 "If you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”


    By Blogger Shawn L, at 11/18/2005 10:48 AM  

  • Hebrews 11:23-26 "By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king's edict. By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 11/18/2005 10:51 AM  

  • Forgiven,

    I agree with most of your statements, however was thinking about something you said.

    You said He won't go against your will, but who can stand a broken spirit.

    Yes many times our hearts are hardened toward God, but if it wasn't for our hearts and wills changed we would all be left in our idolatry and passion for other things and glorifying things that die and faid. God does it by His Word and the power of the Gospel.

    How is it that our will is bend toward evil and a heart of idolatry and is changed. God must in many respects or some way change our will because our autonomous will doesn't love God. I think you agree with that as well that God must put influence on our will to change it.

    Think of how our will be changed in Heaven. We say that we love God, but sin and Jesus tells us that what comes out of a man is what is in his heart. So when we sin we see that our heart is deceitful and following after idols and we are really committing spiritual adultery. We see that in the Christian life as well, on our own left to our own will we would be seeking only spiritual adultery, but God in his mercy through the washing of the Word makes us as a bride ready for marriage.

    How else is our will going to be changed in heaven, but by God going against our sinful and flesh or will on this earth toward God.

    How is it that Jacob was before he was born one the the ones God had mercy on him in his sin before his heart was born. Romans 9 sheds light on this as well to me.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 11/18/2005 11:00 AM  

  • Where is Rose?

    Ezekiel does relate to the same experience that we partake of in Regeneration. However, by understanding it in context and in the context of God's prohecies to Israel, we find that thsi regeneration takes place after conversion, as does our own regenration.

    Yes, grace is revealed throughout the Scriptures.

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 11/18/2005 11:15 AM  

  • forgiven,
    I have read all your comments. Thanks for participating. It is good to be forgiven, isn't it?

    At face value, your comment makes sense to me! Not everyone will be saved and God's work is perfect. I appreciate the way you have come up with an understanding that validates all of the Scripture verses I have listed.

    The blue words don't conflict with the green, because they are ALL God's Word! (That was exactly the point of this post) I'm not sure if you read that post of mine, but your question goes to the heart of what I am trying to do in this exercise. If our theology conflicts with any part of the Bible, our theology is at fault. So we need to find the understanding that does not conflict with any portion of scripture. I'm so glad you're here!

    You bring up a lot of good questions for me to ponder. I am also glad to see you here and I hope you will continue to challenge. :~)

    Wow! I haven't seen your face for a while and then, when I woke up this morning, I see you in quintuplicate! Welcome and thanks for all that you are adding. The word "dead" and what the Bible is saying in the verses that refer to the state of the unbeliever require some close examination. I remember when you did a post on that Princess Bride quote and you had the picture of the guy peeking through the opening in the door! I don't look at all the people around me who don't believe and see them as currently dead. I believe the term hearkens ahead to where they are headed (in the second death,) if they don't become saved ... just like the Bible says we are "seated in the heavenlies" ... but we are still here. It is the place we are headed, and it is also a position in Christ. However, I could be wrong.

    Jonathan Moorehead,
    Thank you for that verse. I will add it to the post ... it is also God's Word!
    I read the passage this morning after your bringing it to my attention. I think it COULD mean that the salvation was broader than the Jews wanted to think ... in that it was also appointed that the Gentiles would hear the gospel and could receive salvation at that time. Isn't that the point of the passage? It can't mean something that contrdicts other portions of scripture. Please continue to share the Bible with me.

    Thank you for your comments. Your explanation is something that, I believe, helps to explain how all of these verses are true. All scripture is FOR us, but it is not all TO us.

    your words of encouragement are surely undeserved, but ... thank you!!! (You made my day.) I never thought of myself as a "theologian"! What a concept! (I am just trying to understand the truth.)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/18/2005 11:16 AM  

  • Rose, you are doing theology- does that not make you a theologian? Your going into as much depth as my PhD thesis.

    God Bless


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 11/18/2005 11:19 AM  

  • Rose do you mind if we hang out?

    I do agree with you on all points that you are saying. Do you agree that God will go out of his way to save us. I believe that if I pray for so one to come to the Lord , God works on him or her. If we do not believe that we are lost in all that we do. I believe that someone prayed for me because of the path that I was going down wasn't even in the same direction.

    By Blogger forgiven, at 11/18/2005 11:20 AM  

  • Of course I don't mind if you hang out. I will hop in and hang out here and there, as I can, also. I'm busy today (but I am reading every word.)

    BTW, some of you need to use better punctuation! (...that is the proofreader in me... but I know my punctuation is not perfect; either?)

    BTW - save some of your energy for the next 4 points ... and I do appreciate how everyone is staying on topic - TOTAL DEPRAVITY and what the Calvinists mean by it.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/18/2005 11:25 AM  

  • Rose,

    I mean spiritually dead... Sorry about saying Dead so much and yes the Princess Bride quote isn't exactly how people live.

    Yes the deadness doesn't mean anything but dead to God and seeking after idols and also refers to slavery to sin. Another quote in the scriptures are spiritual adultery. These are all of the Bible's ways to explain our hearts really toward God in my opinion before we come to Christ.

    Deadness in Ephesians 2 refers to that.

    That would be a great topic for discussion I will probably blog on it soon (without the princess bride quote)

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 11/18/2005 11:42 AM  

  • Forgiven,

    You said, "Do you agree that God will go out of his way to save us. I believe that if I pray for so one to come to the Lord , God works on him or her. If we do not believe that we are lost in all that we do."

    This is so true. God uses the means of Grace in a persons life to convert them. And that has to do with the prayers of the saints before they hear the Word, but in these means God has still elected the people before the creation of the world by His Sovereign Grace. We should believe both if we believe the Bible. I think the topic of human responsibility and God's Sovereignty in all of salvation is so true throughout all of scripture.

    I will probably talk about that more on Election. Sorry to get ahead but all of this ties together. Alot of this has to relate back to God's Glory being revealed in the saving of the saints and how that plays out in our sanctification and our prayers for others. So God's election doesn't nullify human responsibility to pray for the lost.

    Sorry to bring up election, but when I pray I think of this but know that in the prayers of the saints God acts and God is still sovereign over all creation.

    Dyspraxic Fundamentalist,

    Thanks for your comments.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 11/18/2005 11:53 AM  

  • Rose,

    Acts 13:48

    How is the verse's interpretation of election not fiting with the whole of the bible.

    The Whole of the bible speaks about God saving a people for himself for His Glory.

    As a side note on my own heart toward study :

    That begs the question of how quickly we are to go directly to the thought "it might contradict other scripture" before we leave the context.

    I'll have to consider that more and pray about this. I know that I don't want to say right away on any verse "well that context doesn't fit with my theology so let's change the meaning." This is a struggle for all of us to keep trying to get our theology from the Word.

    Shawn Lynes

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 11/18/2005 12:04 PM  

  • Following is a short article by Bob Wilkin of the Grace Evangelical Society www.faithalone.org

    As Many As Were Devoted to eternal life believed
    by Bob Wilkin

    There’s a verse in Acts which is extremely well known to five-point Calvinists. It reads, “And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed” (Acts 13:48).
    It seems to say that only those appointed to eternal life are able to believe in Jesus and gain eternal life. Hence all others are doomed to hell no matter what they do.
    Some use this verse to prove what is called double predestination. That is the idea that God predestined some to the kingdom and the rest to hell.

    Others use this verse to prove single predestination. In this view all are doomed due to Adam’s sin. That God in His mercy chooses to deliver anyone at all from this fate is purely a matter of grace. He was not obligated to save anyone. Thus when He elects some and predestines them to the kingdom, that is grace. The ones not chosen are said to be passed over. God doesn’t actively predestine them to hell, He just passes them over and doesn’t elect them. But the net effect is that they go to hell because that is the destiny of all sinners who aren’t vessels of God’s mercy.

    To me that second view is really logically identical to the first. For if those passed over are doomed, then they are logically predestined to hell.
    Let’s consider another interpretation of Acts 13:48 in hopes of better understanding this issue of the capability to believe.

    Inability to Believe Is Not Implied

    A simple verse like John 5:40 contradicts the idea that any adult with full mental faculties is unable to believe. Jesus said, “And you are not willing to come to Me in order that you might have life.” That He is speaking of eternal life is clear in light of the preceding verse where Jesus specifically mentioned eternal life. And that the issue is believing in Jesus is clear from v. 38, “Him you do not believe.”

    Jesus would never say “You are not willing to come to Me” unless that were possible. If that were impossible, then this statement would make no sense. It would be like talking to a grasshopper and saying that it could have been President of the United States, but it was not willing and so it won’t be President. The issue of the will has nothing to do with a grasshopper becoming President.

    Well, some might say, you’ve run from the passage at hand to some other verse to try to divert attention from a verse you can’t handle. No, I’ve shown a clear verse that contradicts an alleged implication. But in addition, the immediate context of Acts 13:48 has something quite similar to the point Jesus made in John 5:40.
    The text says that these people “believed.” It doesn’t say they were regenerated so they could believe. It doesn’t say they were given faith. It says they believed. If the extreme Calvinist view were correct we would expect to read, “As many as had been elected were regenerated and then given the gift of faith.” But we don’t find that or anything close to that. Additionally, as we shall now see, the larger context itself shows that those who didn’t believe were capable of doing so.

    The Willful Unbelief of the Jews Versus The Devotion of the Gentiles

    Acts 13–14 chronicles the first missionary journey of Paul and Barnabas. Pisidian Antioch is one of the places they evangelized and made disciples (13:14-51). They preached in the Jewish synagogue there and Paul’s sermon is recorded in vv. 15-41. Then, in v. 42, Luke says that “when the Jews went out of the synagogue the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath.” There is an implied contrast between the negative response of the Jews and the positive response of the Gentiles to Paul’s message. What is implied at this point is explicit one week later.

    The Gentiles were hungry for the Word. So, “on the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God” (v. 44). However, when the Jews saw the crowd “they were filled with envy; and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul” (v. 45). Paul’s words to them are startling: “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles” (v. 46, italics added). Notice that the Jews were culpable for rejecting the gospel. Indeed they judged themselves unworthy of eternal life.

    Those who hear the good news and reject it are condemned not because they were unable to believe, but because they rejected the saving message and hence in effect judged themselves unworthy of eternal life!

    There are two main options in understanding v. 48. We begin with the more common.

    Election May Be in View

    Most translations read, “And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.” Many commentators thus see this as an allusion to unconditional election. If that is true, and I don’t think it is, then as we have just seen it still in no way indicates that the non-elect are unable to believe. It would simply be a statement that the elect believed.

    The Greek verb used here is not the one which means to choose or to elect. If Luke were making a point about election, why didn’t he use that verb? Nowhere else in the entire Bible is this word used of election! In fact, not only does the word not refer to election, it is even possible if not probable that it doesn’t mean appointed here either.

    Personal Devotion May Be in View

    This verse uses the verb tassõ in the passive voice. According to the leading lexicon of NT Greek in Acts 13:48 it means “to belong to, to be classed among those possessing” (BAGD, p. 806). Additionally it points out that the passive can also mean “to devote oneself to a service.”

    Tassõ is used in Acts 13:48 in a type of Greek construction (perfect periphrastic) which suggests that the verbal action occurred prior to the believing. The question is, what meaning should we assign to tassõ here? It could mean, “As many as had belonged to eternal life believed,” or “as many as had been classed among those possessing eternal life believed” or “as many as had been devoted to eternal life believed.” The context is helpful here.

    In v. 42 the Gentiles “begged [Paul and Barnabas] that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath.” Begging suggests devotion. They were devoted to learning about the good news of eternal life. This makes good sense in the context and it also makes a nice parallel. The Jews in Pisidian Antioch rejected the teachings of Paul and Barnabas and judged themselves unworthy of eternal life. The Gentiles, oppositely, accepted the teachings of the apostles. However, instead of saying “they judged themselves worthy of eternal life,” Luke chose to say instead that the Gentiles believed, as many as had been devoted to eternal life. (Note: the Greek puts “they believed” before the words “as many as…”) They first devoted themselves to searching out the way to eternal life and then having discovered the message (Jesus guarantees eternal life to all who simply believe in Him) they believed it.

    God Will Remove the Veil for Anyone Willing

    This passage clearly teaches that the unbeliever is not without spiritual sensitivity. Here we have unregenerate people begging the apostles to come preach the Word of God to them. Like Cornelius in Acts 10, they were actively responding to God’s drawing by seeking Him.

    It is true that certain verses teach that Satan blinds the eyes of unbelievers so that they can’t see the gospel clearly and hence believe it (Luke 8:12; 2 Cor 4:4). But remember that in Acts 16:14 we are told that “God opened Lydia’s heart that she might heed the things spoken by Paul and Silas.”

    Lydia, like the Gentiles of Pisidian Antioch reported in Acts 13, was a God-fearing Gentile. She was at the place of prayer by the riverside outside of Philippi. She was seeking the truth and God rewarded her search (just as He rewards all who seek Him, Acts 17:27; Heb 11:6) by opening her eyes to the truth.

    Clearly the Gentiles in Pisidian Antioch were capable of responding positively to the preaching of the apostles. They begged to hear more, and as a result, God opened their eyes and they believed.

    Everyone is capable of responding and when they do, God will ultimately open their hearts to believe.

    Note that the ability to believe was there all along. God doesn’t have to create that in a person.


    This verse doesn’t teach Christian fatalism. There is, in fact, no such thing as biblical fatalism. God so loved the entire world that He gave His only begotten Son to die on the cross in our place and rise from the dead so that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. As the old Baptist hymn puts it, “Whosoever surely meaneth me!”

    So, how should we apply this verse? If you have not yet believed the saving message—that all who believe in Jesus for eternal life have it—ask God to show you the truth. It is already clear that you are devoted to learning the Word; otherwise you probably wouldn’t be taking the time to read this article. So, if you ask God to open your eyes so that you can know what you must do to have eternal life, He will answer that prayer.

    If you have already believed in Jesus for eternal life, spread the good news and pay special attention to fertile ground. If you meet people that are interested in eternal life, tell them the saving message! It’s great to be God’s vehicle in helping someone devoted to eternal life believe in Jesus

    By Blogger Antonio, at 11/18/2005 5:33 PM  

  • I'm responding to Loren's first comment.

    Concerning predestination, if you look at Romans 8:29 and following, you'll see the so-called golden chain. All who are predestined are called, all who are called are justified, all who justified are glorified. It is written in at least the form of an if...then...else statement. Thus in Romans, all who are predestined are called, justified, and glorified, without exception.

    Furthermore, the way Paul is using this as a basis of assurance in Romans 8, it implies that if you are justified, you were previously predestined. That makes the golden chain an if and only if sequence, but I digress. In the final analysis, Romans 8 necessairly implies that if someone was predestined, they will be glorified (and hence ultimately saved).

    By Blogger Earl, at 11/18/2005 5:43 PM  

  • Thanks Earl for your thoughts. I must ponder them.

    Please don't post an entire article as a comment. Put it on your blog and post a link to it in the comment. (Just for in the future).

    Now, smile! :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/18/2005 6:13 PM  

  • Hi Earl,

    Glad you brought that up:

    "For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified."
    (Romans 8:29,30)

    The first Greek word of verse 30, ‘moreover', is a primary particle which shows an adversative or continuative sense (Strong’s 1161). It can simply be translated as ‘and’ or ‘but'. Thus, the passage may be interpreted as something like this:

    ‘For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. But [understand this]: those who were predestined were first of all called, and then they were justified, and then they were glorified; [and only afterward were they predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.]'

    As you can see, this changes the order in the 'golden chain' and allows it to follow Christ Himself more closely: " . . . just as He chose us in Him . . . having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself . . ." predestination, adoption by Christ, and election in Christ is the proper chronology.

    ‘Glorified’ is another word we need to think about (vs 30). Although it is sometimes used in relation to a future resurrected state, it is actually used more often to describe a present glory, relating to God Himself, or simply relating to those who have been saved because they are joined with Christ, as He was joined with the Father:

    "And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:
    (John 17:22)

    Hope this helps.

    By Blogger loren, at 11/18/2005 7:02 PM  

  • Rose, in case you are interested, I would highly recommend John Piper’s work on Calvinism, particularly his article on Are There Two Wills in God? Divine Election and God's Desire for All to be Saved. Additionally, his book Justification of God: An Exegetical and Theological Study of Romans 9:1-23 is a classic for Romans 9 (which happens to be the chapter that swayed me to Calvinism). Hope this is beneficial.

    By Blogger Jonathan Moorhead, at 11/18/2005 8:41 PM  

  • Yes, John Piper who says:

    "...we must also own up to the fact that our final salvation is made contingent upon the subsequent obedience which comes from faith." (John Piper "TULIP: What We Believe About the Five Points of Calvinism...", pg 25)

    We must own up to the fact that our "final" salvation (not the present and immediate possesion of eternal life) is contingent on works... well you do the math.

    My Free Grace Theology Blog


    By Blogger Antonio, at 11/18/2005 10:59 PM  

  • Antonio, it really is sad to see how you misrepresent your sources for your agenda. It is so easy to take authors out of their contexts and make them say something they are not. In this particular instance it is interesting to note Piper’s very next sentence:

    “The way these two truths [faith and works] fit together is that we are justified on the basis of our first act of faith because God sees in it (like he can see the tree in an acorn) the embryo of a life of faith . . . God works to cause his elect to persevere. We are not left to ourselves and our assurance is very largely rooted in the sovereign love of God to perform that which he has called us to do.”

    By Blogger Jonathan Moorhead, at 11/19/2005 10:21 AM  

  • Loren,

    Thank you very much for sharing this approach to Romans 8. I always wondered how those who don't hold to the logical priority of predestination over calling interpreted Romans 8. I'm going to keep this as a note because I've never seen a commentary or any other analysis of Romans 8:29, 30 like the the one you gave. I always like to get alternate reasoned approaches that are different from how I see things.

    Why is it that all the translations I know, NASB, KJV, NKJV, NIV, -- don't render it as you do? Is their a Calvinistic bias on the part of all these translators? I'd find that hard to believe. What are your thoughts?

    By Blogger Earl, at 11/19/2005 12:49 PM  

  • Jonathan,

    Look. He said it, I quoted it. He seems pretty emphatic : "We must own up to the fact..."!

    He is clear as day saying that final salvation is contingent on works.

    Now hop around all you want and throw out your Red Herrings, but you do not deal with his quote but seek to distract from it.

    Unless he does not mean what he says, he is emphatic that final salvation is contingent on works.

    It would take Houdini to get out of that quote.

    My Free Grace Theology Blog


    By Blogger Antonio, at 11/19/2005 2:41 PM  

  • Hi Earl,

    Don't know that I'd say there's a Calvinistic bias to those translations. I think Christianity as a whole has always viewed the translation that way, even if they were uncomfortable with it.

    There's really no reason to challenge a translation unless you've seen something else, somewhere else in the Bible, that doesn't seem to click, and you're determined to look deeper until you find how the two can be reconciled.

    But even then, in soteriology, it can lead to a paradoxical maze, so I think most people would give up before reaching the end. Look at how many opposing positions in soeriology seem to enjoy Biblical support. Does man have a free will, or is God sovereign? Can man respond, or must God draw Him? Do we work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, or is faith devoid of works? Can man lose his salvation, or can he not? Are we saved when we believe, or saved when the Lord returns?

    Christians could find Scriptural support for each of those positions, and know that the other fellow has support also -- and not know what to do with that fact, except to be uncomfortable with their conclusions. Even if they do try to resolve one of those points, it leads them straight to the next point and the next obstacle.

    In my opinion, the reason is that, historically, we have been looking for a system of beliefs, a 'plan' of salvation rather than a Person of salvation. But I digress. Another time . . .

    By Blogger loren, at 11/19/2005 5:41 PM  

  • Jonathan,
    Thank you for those links.

    Jonathan and Antonio,
    You guys are more than welcome to carry on your argument here, but try to contribute to the clarification of the point at hand. Now, smile!! :~)

    Loren and Earl,
    Thank you for your respectful discussion that I have benefitted from. You both are wonderfully wise gentlemen. Please continue as I delve into this tired subject.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/19/2005 6:56 PM  

  • Hi everyone!
    I want to add my silver dollar, but my two cents will have to do for now, not to pick on anyone... ok Loren...

    Loren, you said,"in soteriology, it can lead to a paradoxical maze, so I think most people would give up before reaching the end. Look at how many opposing positions in soteriology seem to enjoy Biblical support. Does man have a free will, or is God sovereign? Can man respond, or must God draw Him? Do we work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, or is faith devoid of works? Can man lose his salvation, or can he not? Are we saved when we believe, or saved when the Lord returns?"

    I think those are good questions here and thereby you make a strong point. That is where proper, consistent hermenutics should be applied, but far too often they are not.

    There, that is all you will get from me tonight!

    I love you all, and God does also.

    Thanks for your patience :-)
    brother John

    By Blogger J. Wendell, at 11/19/2005 7:30 PM  

  • Hi John,

    I agree that a good hermeneutic is the answer. The one that I would apply is in Eph 4:13. When we look for the the knowledge of the Son of God, we will come to the unity of the faith with no more winds of doctrine.

    If we ask ourselves, first of all, 'How does this show me Jesus?' we will begin to see the spirit and the life of Scripture.(2 Cor 3:6,17; Rev 19:10)

    If this is our heart and we still make a mistake, God is willing to work with us lovingly to correct it(Phil 3:15,16).

    By Blogger loren, at 11/19/2005 9:20 PM  

  • Brother Loren~
    I can see that you would/do. Your Spirit blesses me, thanks.

    brother John

    By Blogger J. Wendell, at 11/19/2005 9:59 PM  

  • Princess Bride and Total Depravity?


    By Blogger Bhedr, at 11/19/2005 11:50 PM  

  • We do need to look for a consistent line of teaching in the Scripture, however. We need to beware of fuzzy-thinking on these issues.

    God Bless


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 11/20/2005 4:15 AM  

  • BTW Shawn that was a joke. If you remember that line in the movie. A funny movie the Princess Bride was. I've got a hankering to watch it again.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 11/20/2005 3:25 PM  

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