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

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

TULIP … Irresistible Grace

[Grace is] "the holy rape of the soul" -Jonathan Edwards

When I first heard about Irresistible Grace, I didn’t quite understand the point. I had been saved and I knew that God had shed His grace in my life. Without grace, which I understood to be God’s unmerited favor that He bestows on believers because of the merits of Christ, I knew I would be still on that road to destruction ... but irresistible? Well, I certainly do think that the gospel is a pretty awesome offer: my filthy rags traded for the righteousness of Christ. It sure sounded wonderful to me when I heard it. I don’t really understand all the pride and such that keeps people from “getting it” when they hear the message of Christ and His free offer of salvation. They sure seem to be resisting the grace of God that is offered in the gospel. Ah, but my friend that explained TULIP to me told me that it is because the offer of salvation is not really available to them and they are not being drawn, in the irresistible sense of the word.

Irresistible - impossible to resist, or exert oneself so as to counteract or defeat, impossible to withstand the force or effect of, impossible to oppose

Grace - the free favor of God toward humans, (which is necessary for their salvation), by which God makes a person (born sinful because of original sin) capable of enjoying eternal life.
Let's start here
One Calvinist blogger makes this statement: [a widely] believed misconception about this doctrine is that Calvinists believe that everyone that God has chosen will come to faith regardless of whether or not they want to. This is not true. Calvinists believe that no one is willing to believe (Romans 3:10-18) until this special work of the Holy Spirit is performed in them at which point they become willing.

Now, what is the difference between

… everyone that God has chosen will come to faith regardless of whether or not they want to … (which is supposedly not the belief)

and

… no one is willing to believe until this special work of the Holy Spirit is performed in them at which point they become willing … (which is the belief)

I don’t see the difference. You have the wretched sinner who doesn’t seek God …then God works in his heart and he WILL BELIEVE. So, he will come to faith whether or not He wants to. (I’m scratching my head).

It goes along with the other points of TULIP nicely though, and it completes the understanding of the passage that they call the Golden Chain:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. (Romans 8:28-30)

So to the Calvinist, there is no room in this process for man to “kick against the goads” (Acts 26:14) or resist the drawing of the Holy Spirit. We were predestined, chosen specifically, called (this must be the calling of the Spirit through the gospel?), justified and glorified. There is not even a mention in the golden chain of faith or belief in the gospel. (It makes me wonder if this passage is even talking about salvation.) It is almost as though faith is just taken out of the equation … if this was the only scripture that we had.

Also, it seems foundational to this doctrine that the Calvinist (or Reformed) believes that faith is granted to us. To their understanding, faith is not ours, it is not from us, God puts it there and then we WILL BELIEVE. Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe that every breath I take is granted to me by God. I do believe the scripture teaches that it is by grace that I have heard the gospel and that I was issued the invitation to receive Christ. If God wanted to snuff out my life when I was 19, He could’ve done it and I would not have heard the gospel nor had a chance to believe. I believe the Bible teaches that the gospel is accompanied by the power of the Holy Spirit drawing all the hearers to Christ, searching their hearts for belief, faith and trust as they hear the good news. However, I don’t see it that He offers some special grace that regenerates a person before they believe, and then this irresistible grace then makes them want to believe. That seems biblically backward to me. I have to quote my Dyspraxic friend again:

… [there is not] convincing Scriptural data to conclude that man is incapable of believing when under the influence of the power of the Holy Spirit, that accompanies the preaching of the Gospel. Otherwise how would the Gospel be the power of God unto salvation? If Regeneration were necessary to believe, then Regeneration would be the power of God unto salvation.

… and we could then say the same about irresistible grace. Why isn’t the Bible flooded with a clear message that it is irresistible grace that brings salvation? On the other hand, I don’t believe that man can regenerate himself, as the Reformed so often like to accuse the questioners of Calvinism of saying. God regenerates when we are born again by the Word of God which we hear, believe and receive. We don't regenerate ourselves.

I do think this doctrine is necessary to TULIP because of the two preceding it in the acrostic. If God unconditionally elected only certain ones, then he would only die for those … and then He would definitely make them believers. However, when one questions the idea that God only chose certain select ones, then it is not necessary to come to these other conclusions unless one is clearly convinced from the Bible itself that those conclusions are right.

I want to remember these scriptures also, when coming to my understanding of how God is dealing with humanity in this and other dispensations:

"You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! (Acts 7:51)

But concerning Israel he says, "All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people." (Romans 10:21)

When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me. (John 16:8,9)

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! (Luke 13:34)

He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. (John 1:7-9)

But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself. (John 12:32)

Do people perish in hell because they weren’t chosen, died for by Christ, or irresistibly drawn?

Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. (John 3:18)

79 Comments:

  • An excellent presentation of the case against this doubtful doctrine.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 12/01/2005 4:03 AM  

  • Morning Rose

    I like to exspound on and backup your
    conclusions if I made . And by the way a Great Job of write you have done .

    Calvinism's doctrine of Irresistible Grace teaches that you cannot resist the grace of God, nor can you resist His Spirit. What does the Bible say?


    Revelation 3:20 ..... "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me."

    The Holy Spirit is a gentleman! He knocks at the door of your heart, he doesn't kick it down! Man has the choice to hear and open, or to refuse Him entrance.

    Matthew 23:37 ..... "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem ... How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling."

    Is faith something imposed irresistibly upon the elect, or does it come from hearing and accepting the Word of God?


    Romans 10:17 ..... "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ." "But many of those who had heard the word believed" (Acts 4:4).

    To look at Irresistible Grace in God Kingdom is like salt without being salty , it would be a bland world. God created a world of color , taste and smells.

    By Blogger forgiven, at 12/01/2005 5:07 AM  

  • Forgiven,
    I think it could be said that the first verse you have quoted is not referring to unbelievers being offered salvation and the second verse is referring to Israel, and therefore they are not speaking to the issue at hand (I've resisted arguments from the other side based on those objections).

    However, in reference to O Jerusalem... it does seem to say here that God was willing to do something, but He did not do it, because of the unwillingness of man. We find that idea many places in the Bible. So why, without clear Biblical teaching to the contrary, would we accept the notion that God overpowers our defenses when it comes to the free gift of salvation?

    Thanks for quoting Romans ... a much better verse. Faith comes from hearing. Who hears? US!!! The sinner. (I wish I would have thought of that verse last night and included it in the post). It is a response of the heart toward the drawing of the Holy Spirit toward God.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/01/2005 7:33 AM  

  • Rose, this has been very interesting.

    Your posts, as always, are very well thought out.

    Your responses are beginning to rival Pyro.

    Only your posts are easier to read.

    Thanks for such a great job!

    By Blogger Joe, at 12/01/2005 8:14 AM  

  • Hi Rose

    The idea of Jesus at the door applies to the sinner and to the saint alike; Jesus wants to come in to us, and dine with us, in the sense of having a deep, intimate relationship with us

    Sadly, note where Jesus is: on the outside, knocking to get in; Laodicea is "The Church of the Excluded Christ" (as are many churches today)

    Are they Saved?

    Christ comes as a lover; it is much the same as the voice heard in the Song of Solomon: It is the voice of my beloved! He knocks, saying, 'open for me, my sister, my love (Song of Solomon 5:2)

    Thanks You

    By Blogger forgiven, at 12/01/2005 8:35 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    You've done an excellent job in this post, you're really a very profound thinker. I've always considered this the weakest link in Calvinism. I think Calvinism itself considers this the weakest link as well.

    By Blogger loren, at 12/01/2005 9:15 AM  

  • Dyspraxic and Forgiven, I neglected to say thank you earlier! Thanks for your encouragement.

    Joe and Loren, your encouragement is so wonderful to me. Thank you. I don't know that the compliments are deserved, but I appreciate them.

    I wonder if my Calvinist friends are going to share their thoughts on this post. I wonder if I am off their blogrolls yet?! :~) I am not trying to offend, I am just a questioner by nature.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/01/2005 10:46 AM  

  • Maybe they are studying their confesions of faith.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 12/01/2005 11:44 AM  

  • Now don't be snide.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/01/2005 11:47 AM  

  • Rose-

    I'm pretty illiterate biblically speaking, so I probably shouldn't weigh in here as I fear being run out of town on the proverbial rail. How else would the Holy Spirit draw people to Christ if He didn't somehow get in there in the first place and create the need for Him? In the present here and now I don't have a need for Christ's redemption so without Him drawing me to seek Him out I wouldn't. No, I can't say as a human I like the idea of election, but my view is finite and I must trust His Sovereignty. If a person is elect than they will find Christ. For me it all comes back to His sovereignty. If I can't trust in His sovereignty over EVERYTHING than I am left with nothing.

    By Blogger mas, at 12/01/2005 11:53 AM  

  • Rose
    Sorry.

    Mas
    Do you trust God's sovereignty enough to let Him refrain from making a decsion about something?

    If God is sovereign over all, then He does not need to ordain everything to maintain His hold on the direction of the universe. Only a petty tyrant has to domminate everything to demonstrate his power.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 12/01/2005 11:59 AM  

  • Yes, I trust God enough to allow Him to refrain from making a decision. That doesn't negate His sovereignty. We aren't His puppets and I still sin.

    By Blogger mas, at 12/01/2005 12:06 PM  

  • So, if God needs not to ordain everything, then He can allow us to resist His will and withhold salvation from those who spurn His offer.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 12/01/2005 12:09 PM  

  • Yes, He could allow us to resist His will but I don't believe He does. Some help here, Jeremy, anybody?! I knew I should have kept my mouth shut:)

    By Blogger mas, at 12/01/2005 12:31 PM  

  • You could quote some verses from John 6 or Romans 9.

    Of course, the Calvinist and the non-Calvinist Dispensationalist would interpret these differently.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 12/01/2005 2:40 PM  

  • Recall that Pelagius attempted to introduce an heresy into the church - a heresy that was condemned in various local synods, and finally universally at the third ecumenical Council (Council at Ephesus). That is, the entire Christian community recognized together that what Pelagius was teaching was not what the apostles had been teaching. That was in 431 A.D.

    Pelagianism, in simple English, is best defined as a premise, and a conclusion. The premis is that Adam's sin did not corrupt mankind in any real way, and the conclusion of that premise is that men are freely capable of choosing God without God having intervened to make it happen. Put another way, Pelagius thought that men initiated salvation - the church universally condemned that notion.

    Everywhere in scripture we read that it is God who saves us. Many in the church today unwittingly follow the heresy of Pelagius - despite what their lips profess. They think that they are trusting Jesus to save them, but in reality they are trusting that Jesus will assist them in saving themselves. To be sure, once one thoroughly undress their doctrine, it is plain that Pelagianism is alive and well in the modern church - that is, men believe that Jesus is the tool God provided through whom we can save ourselves.

    In order for the full import of that statment to be realized, I will differentiate between saving myself and being saved:

    An unconscious man who is interrupted in the process of falling out of an open window - this man has been saved by the intervener.

    The wide awake man upon falling out a window manages to grab a curtain and thereby pull himself back inside - has not been "saved by the curtain" - but has merely used the curtain to save himself.

    In terms of the gospel, when a person believes that Jesus will save you in response to something you initiate - you are in effect using Jesus as a tool to save yourself. Your motives are entirely selfish (I don't want to go to hell!) and you cling to Christ in the same way the falling man clings to the curtain - ultimately it is you who is your savior - Jesus is just the means by which you are saving yourself. That is what Pelagius believed, and though it is a rank heresy that denies grace - it is nevertheless widely believed today.

    I am offended when God is demoted to the tool by which men generate their own salvation. Scripture teaches that it is God who saves *us*

    Thus it isn't my faith that saves me - but rather the faith I received as an unmerited gift from God beforehand saves me. Not something I generated, but something God generated. I do not save myself, God saves me - on every level. God extends grace so that I will have saving faith in Jesus Christ.

    To isolate this same grace and discuss it in a vacuum (as though it weren't part of the gospel of grace itself) seems perilous to me. If a person thinks that they are saving themselves by turning to Christ, they have made themselves their own savior, and God is just the curtain that they cling to as they pull themselves back into the building. Such a thing has all the elements of the gospel mixed up, so that we say that Jesus is saving us, but really we are saving ourselves.

    It was a damnable heresy to the church fathers, and it remains a heresy today. If anyone thinks that they are being saved by Jesus because of something they did - they are not being saved by Christ - they are trying to use Christ to save themselves.

    I would love to discuss I.G., but I would rather do so once everyone is in agreement about who is saving whom.

    :-)

    By Blogger Daniel, at 12/01/2005 3:49 PM  

  • Hi Daniel!
    I have been accused of being Pelagian before by a dear Reformed brother, but he said I am not a heretic. I don't think I am a Pelegian or a heretic. There are more options than Pelagian/Arminian vs. Calvinism/Reformed.

    Let me repeat my point from the post: I don't think we save ourselves. I don't think Christ is a tool. I believe Jesus has done all that is necessary for my salvation. I believe God has made the way open and clear and presented me with a gift. (gift is a biblical analogy for salvation.) Do I reject the gift or receive it? If I receive the gift, am I then using the giver? I don't think so.

    Falling out of a window... interesting analogy. I really enjoy your comments. They have a certain literary beauty. Thanks for sharing. Oh, I digress...falling out of a window. You were jumping out of that window because your friends had set up a trampoline below and you think it would be great fun to get a bounce. So your father, the saviour, grabs you and looks into your eyes, telling you that you will be fatally injured, as he is pulling you up. You scratch his hand because you want the thrill. You resist saving.

    That was fun, but I like the biblical illustrations better. Jesus said he is the door of the sheep. Does a door overtake and overpower you? No, it is something you can crawl through to escape the blizzard outside. Jesus is the all in all! The scripture says as many as received Him, to them He gave the power to become the sons of God...to those who believe on His name. Of course He does the saving!!! There is no other name given among men wherby we must be saved. To imply that a questioner of Calvinism believes they are saving themselves or that they are using God is just not right, Daniel.

    One of my problems with TULIP is that I can't discount the commission to tell the gospel to my people and encourage them to believe and trust Him. Is that asking them to save themselves? No.

    Thanks for being so interesting to read! I only wish you wouldn't pull out that card - the one that accuses questioners of Calvinism of stealing God's glory or His Soveriegnty or His saving.

    So are you clear now on who I think does the saving? I'm falling out the window and my father reaches forth his hand and I hold on to him instead of spitting in His face. (that illustration is ... )

    :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/01/2005 4:52 PM  

  • Were you born in 1966 too?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/01/2005 4:53 PM  

  • Hi again Rose!

    Dyspraxic Fundamentalist-
    Thanks! I told you all I was illiterate.

    By Blogger mas, at 12/01/2005 5:02 PM  

  • mas,
    I didn't mean to ignore your question, but I though Dysp was engaging you pretty well.

    Read my post again. I firmly believe that God draws us. We don't seek Him. But the scripture that says we don't seek Him does not say that we can't respond to Him when He is seeking us. (but then we are back at Total Depraivity, are we not?)

    Don't be illiterate! (I'm sure you are not, take confidence, read your Bible and interpret it. We are no longer in the days of the RC church where the Bible is only available to people who can read Latin). You ask some good questions. Enjoy the snow!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/01/2005 5:23 PM  

  • Rose-

    No, I'm probably not as illiterate as I feel. I don't sit down in my quiet time and scrutinize what I read against what the major theologians have to say. I read my Bible more for me and what it has to say to me. And then I unfortunately remember reading the verse I want and spend 20 minutes trying to find it in the concordance because I can't seem to remember references! I wish I had enough time to sit for hours at a time with it and other reference books. Perhaps in another season in my life. I knew you weren't ignoring me. Yep, enjoying the snow and chauffering children to piano lessons in it. :)

    By Blogger mas, at 12/01/2005 5:43 PM  

  • Daniel,
    If you want to call me a SemiPelagian, thats fine. But dont forget that semi means half. I would rather be called a SemiAugustinian.

    The Calvinist holds that our holy actions as believers are brought about by the gift of God. They also hold that saving faith is a gift. The two are seen as essential to salvation and are seen as entirely the work of God.

    Calvinists soften the distinction between faith and works by arguing that faith would be meritorious if it were partly of man.

    I therefore find it surprising that Calvinists are not more aware of the common ground they share with Augustinian forms of Catholicism, most notably that of Thomas Aquinas.

    Given the blurring of faith and works in Calvinistic theology, one would expect them to be more interested in establishing greater dialogue between their theology and Catholicism.

    It is impossible to completely distinguish faith and works as theological concepts when arguemnts are used about faith being a meritorious element.

    The Calvinist typically argues:

    1. We are not saved by works.
    2. Works are pleasing to God.
    3. Faith is pleasing to God.
    4. If faith partly originated in man, then it would be a work.
    =Faith originates purely in God.

    The problem with this logic is that it completely blurs the important Biblical separation of faith and works. I have not seen a convincing Calvinist argument to defend premise 3. This seems to be assumed by them as a matter of course. If faith partly originates in sinful man, it should hardly be a thing pleasing to God. God demands obediance, not faith. Faith, at least the faith in God's saving work, is not even partial obediance.

    If faith be a work, the logic of Justification by faith falls down.

    'Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness.'

    Calvinists in defending justification usually point out, quite rightly, that Abraham's faith was not a lesser kind of righteousness, but something else in place of righteousness. The confused argument for the meritoriousness of faith loses this truth completly.

    Have I gone on too long, Rose~?

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 12/01/2005 6:24 PM  

  • Consider Saul's mentor and teacher. Gamaliel. He seemed inclined to believe in Christianity and if one thought a good candidate for conversion then they would have gone to him to convert him; but God didn't. He went to the hardest heart on the road of Damascus and blinded him with light in order to open his eyes. You see, no heart is so hard that God cannot convert. Can His will be resisted? Yes, but not when God goes after a man with purpose. Saul was converted to Paul by the power of God. What happened to Gamaliel? No one knows.

    God said, "Let there be light!" and there was light. Can his stirring be resisted? Yes, but not if God fully choses to chose. Remember the fig tree and the terms and conditions as well as the ultimadum.

    God said that Sodom and Gomorrha would have repented had he done the same works there that He did in other cities. There is a timeline as well as a purpose and He works within that sphere that we don't know anything about. Also remember the Fig tree had a intercessor. Never cease to pray for other salvation for He would have all men to be saved and that is why we are ehxorted to pray. The power is in his hand to convert with irresistable grace but do we weep and pray for the lost? That is the question. I am beginning to convict myself, so I better stop and go pray.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 12/01/2005 8:01 PM  

  • Rose and friends,

    Sorry haven't had time to do much lately in the threads.

    More and more left over time requires me to do family worship and spend more time with my wife as I think I have blogged too much so I'm trying to keep a balance.

    First off the Jonathon Edwards quote is bad and silly. Can you tell me the context?

    Irresistible Grace is a silly term because the scriptures over again and again show the fact that people resist the Holy Spirit.

    In heaven you believe in a form irresistible grace as well, that God will change your broken will to a will that loves and adores you.

    More later one of my kids fell off a chair.......

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 12/01/2005 8:33 PM  

  • Brian, you are such a balanced Calvinist. I like that about you. I also have thought that there were certain people that were almost "forced" (the drawing was prit-near irresistible) to fit into the role that God had set for them. Paul. I think actually that this is what is meant by a lot of the pred. references in the scripture ... that God had prepared a certain apostleship or prophet role for a certain man. Thanks for your comments.

    Shawn, is she OK? I hate it when that happens. The Jonathan Edwards quote: I really don't know what sermon it came from, but I found it in Wikpedia under an article about irresistible grace. I'm glad it sounded as absurd to you as it did to me. I am going to go and look for the context of the remark now.

    So check one point off for Shawn?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/01/2005 9:50 PM  

  • Shawn, I found many references to the quote, but no complete context. But really, what context could there be that would soften it?

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&rls=GGLG%2CGGLG%3A2005-43%2CGGLG%3Aen&q=%22the+holy+rape+of+the+soul%22&btnG=Search

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/01/2005 10:01 PM  

  • DF (Matthew),

    You said "If God is sovereign over all, then He does not need to ordain everything to maintain His hold on the direction of the universe. "

    Here's some verses I gathered together about God's decrees about 2 years ago. There is much more evidence in the bible about God's decrees than many things you could come up with.

    The truth is that the Bible teaches that God is perfectly good and Holy, and the Bible teaches that He is in control and orchestrates ALL things to accomplish His good pleasure (Job 42:2; Ps. 115:3; Isa. 14:27; 43:13; 46:10; Dan. 4:35; Eph. 1:11).

    Lamentations 3:37 "Who can speak and have it happen if the Lord has not decreed it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come?"

    Isaiah 46:9-11 "Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, 'My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure'; calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of My purpose from a far country. Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it."

    And
    Psalm 115:3
    Psalm 135:5-7
    Proverbs 16:9
    Proverbs 16:33
    Proverbs 19:21
    Proverbs 21:30
    Amos 3:6
    Job 14:5
    Isaiah 45:7

    May the Lord bless you Matthew,
    Shawn Lynes

    Rose,

    On your comment on Romans 8 not dealing with salvation, it clearly is. Just because it doesn't talk about faith and repentence doesn't mean it isn't happening. It clear is talking about salvation considering justification is implied with faith. That's all over Romans

    Romans 8 is another example of how much we as evangelicals don't study doctrine for the purposes that biblical authors do. I wish in my own life and desires to bring back the praise and joy to studying the doctrine and not for argumentation. Forgive me when I have gone that route....

    I think the passage in Romans is to give us hope and joy and praise in suffering for the gospel...

    18 : the current suffering can't compare to the glory

    19 : Creation awaits this glory

    21-24 : Creation will be set free, creation groans, believers groan for adoption as sons

    25-27 : wait with patience, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us

    28 : God will work all things together for good to those who have been called (the sheep)


    Because of this, I believe Romans 8:28-30 are for the primary purpose of us remember the glory of God in our salvation in your suffering so that you can make it.

    All By God's Grace,
    Shawn Lynes

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 12/01/2005 10:06 PM  

  • Rose,

    Agreed the edwards quote is bad and I don't like it either as that is not how I understand salvation at all.

    Matthew,

    I meant to say there are many more verses in the bible based on God's decrees than in election verses..... My wording made it sound mean, but I didn't mean that, I just meant that there are so many verses on God's decrees more than on election directly and other doctrines.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 12/01/2005 10:09 PM  

  • Rose,

    I don't like when people call other people Semi-Pelagian or something like that as the comments don't help the conversation and not helpful to the body of Christ.

    What people mean by that is the historic arminian thought (John Wesley) has always tried to deal with the spiritual deadness of men and women who don't seek God and then talk about Prevenient Grace to show how God overcomes that deadness and unwillingness to come to Christ for life. Average evangelicals today don't even deal with the spiritual deadness or spiritual hardness and how God overcomes it so they tend to resort to name-calling and mean that you haven't even dealt with the problem of spiritual deadness or no desire to seek God. (Pelagius didn't deal with it either so Calvinists tend to resort to this). This is what I think is wrong about the way modern evangelicals study theology. We do it to see and delight in God and see how great and glorious he is so we can overcome the present sufferings we have for in our preaching of the gospel or sufferings for the gospel.. .....I'm sorry I keep saying it, but it is a problem I think where theology just becomes intellectual argumentation rather than praise...


    You said, "So to the Calvinist, there is no room in this process for man to “kick against the goads” (Acts 26:14) or resist the drawing of the Holy Spirit. "

    This is not true, many of the Lord's sheep reject the gospel and resist the holy Spirit throughout much of their life before coming to Christ. It's a fight and sometimes a long process.

    Let's start with the terminology.

    We all believe, that God is calling all men everywhere through the preaching of the gospel to believe in Jesus. Calvinists call this the outward call of the gospel.

    All believers as well believe that "many are called, but few are chosen". The chosen are those that Calvinists call the inward call of the gospel.

    Better go read my bible for devotions tonight and talk with my wife.

    Blessings in Christ tonight.

    For more information on what people believe related to irresistible grace check out the following website for a great understanding of it.

    You may have heard John Piper on the radio.

    http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/piper/irresistable.html

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 12/01/2005 10:26 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 12/01/2005 10:31 PM  

  • My link didn't work try this one

    http://tinyurl.com/e28r2

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 12/01/2005 10:33 PM  

  • Matthew: I have not seen a convincing Calvinist argument to defend premise 3 [Faith is pleasing to God]

    I don't know why one would bother? Jesus Christ is pleasing to God, and as the scripture says, I am accepted in the beloved (Eph 1:6). What matters is not the calibre of my faith, but the fact that I am in Christ.

    When God raised Jesus from the dead, I was there - God raised me - I am accepted by God because I was united with Christ on the cross, I was in Christ in the grave - and again in Christ when God raised him from the dead. I am accepted by God because I am in Christ - God raised me from the dead already - I no longer live, but Christ lives in me, and I in Him.

    My faith is in no way meritorious - it was a gift, why should I imagine that God is impressed by that.

    You mention sanctification too - I should address that a bit. Are you sanctifying yourself Matthew? If you are, you are cleaning the outside of the cup. Jesus doesn't clean the outside of the cup, he cleans the inside - that is, he changes your heart of stone and gives you a heart of flesh. Nothing in your flesh is going to heaven - you can clean it up all you want. The purpose of sanctification here on earth is so that you can fellowship with God and other Christians because doing so is to your advantage. God wants what is best for you, and being right with God is best for you.

    I wish it wasn't so late, I would write some more.

    Rose ~ I can't call you a heretic unless you imagine that Pelagianism is consonant with Christianity. ;-)

    At the heart of Pelagianism (and semi-Pelagianism for that matter) is the foundational heresy that -we- are the ones who initiate our own salvation. Such an assumption rests on the premise that we do no inherit corruption from Adam,and that "sinful flesh" though mentioned many times in the old and new testaments is entirely a man made doctrine.

    We all know the text book answer - that we do not save ourselves, but that God saves us - yet it behooves us to examine ourselves on this point. Am I trusting that God has saved me, or am I trusting that I said the right prayer. Am I trusting in Christ's righteousness to please God, or am I trying to please God (stay saved) by doing good?

    I want to be sure that you believe God is the one who is saving you (through Jesus Christ) - that your participation in the matter is reactionary as opposed to instantiatory. If you feel that you came to Christ instead of vice versa - then you are not going to have a very difficult time accepting any of the doctrines of grace.

    That was my point - not to point the "heresy" finger (my apologies if I came off that way :) )

    It is not wise to dismiss a good example on the basis that it isn't a quote from scripture. The bible says there is "wisdom in the multitude of counselors" Moses himself took advice from Jethro his father-in-law. God uses people to teach us - how else does iron sharpen iron?

    I welcome your honest examination, and if my tone implies other than this, I apologize for that - I do have a passion for what I beleive to be true - not to exalt myself, but to share the truth with others. I don't mean to imply therefore that anyone who fumbles with the doctrines of grace is necessarily *saving them self*

    I only want to be as clear as the night sky regarding initial presumptions. Why bother spending a month teaching calculus if the person doesn't understand their trigonometry? Likewise, until we are all on the same page about who is saving whom, it is folly to discuss the doctrines of grace is it not?

    I don't believe that a person goes to hell because I haven't witnessed to them. They go to hell because they are wretched sinners whose treasonous rebellion deserves hell - and I will stand beside God and cheer Him on with all my heart and soul as he sends people to hell - and so will you. No one is going to be in hell that doesn't deserve to be there. People don't wind up in hell because you or I didn't witness to them - they wind up in hell because they are sinners.

    It's late so I have to end this - but seriously - I am a "calvinist" and I witness for Christ. Do you know even one calvinist who doesn't?

    By Blogger Daniel, at 12/02/2005 12:58 AM  

  • Shawn, the quote from Isaiah establihes that God is in control, but the Calvinist interpretation that this is through foreordination of all things is only an assumption.

    The quote from Lamentations is in the context of God's judgment on Israel. Th egood things and calamities refers to blessings and curses sent in judgment.

    The Calvinist view of providence involves selective quotation and reading theological assumptions into the text of Scripture.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 12/02/2005 3:34 AM  

  • Daniel,
    The notion that a person responding to the Gospel by faith is intiating their own salvation if foreign to Scripture. This is typical of Calvinistic deductions being read into it.

    As for Pelagianism, well the early Church condemned it. However, we need to bear in mind that the early Church did not teach justification but taught a false gospel of salvation through works and sacraments. Even Augustine was a diehard Sacramentalist.

    If works be involved in salvation, we have a doctrine of works righteousness, regardless of whether it is God who gives the ability to perform those works.

    The notion of grace is compromised and I believe it is compromised when Calvinists imply that there would be something meritorious in our response to the Gospel if it originated partly in ourselves.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 12/02/2005 3:43 AM  

  • Somebody made a comment in the previous post (the one with the dog's picture) and I don't know what it means. Anyone want to go over and venture a guess?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/02/2005 8:40 AM  

  • mas,
    From what you have said, you are not biblically illiterate ... so you shouldn't call yourself that. Maybe you should just say you don't read any commentaries. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/02/2005 8:42 AM  

  • Daniel,
    THAT PROFILE PIC IS TOTALLY WIERDING ME OUT!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/02/2005 8:49 AM  

  • Matthew,

    I'm not saying you have to agree with my views on the decrees of God, but they are clearly there throughout the scriptures.

    God is working all things after the counsel of his own will and everything that happens is within God's decrees according to the scriptures.

    That doesn't mean that within His decrees there are not decrees of permission, we are not robots, but God's decrees are a vital topic of learning to trust God through many things and trust in his Sovereignty.

    More later if I have time, back to the kids.

    All By God's Grace,
    Shawn Lynes

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 12/02/2005 8:51 AM  

  • Shawn,
    That doesn't mean that within His decrees there are not decrees of permission, we are not robots, but God's decrees are a vital topic of learning to trust God through many things and trust in his Sovereignty.
    I think that is a good statement.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/02/2005 8:55 AM  

  • Daniel,
    Re your last entry: I am speechless.

    But wait ... :~) ... how can I make it any more clear that God initiiates salvation. Amen. Absolutely. Initiates. Completes. But faith is the cruciple of Grace and always has been.

    I never did well in Trigonometry.

    Daniel: At the heart of Pelagianism (and semi-Pelagianism for that matter) is the foundational heresy that -we- are the ones who initiate our own salvation. Such an assumption rests on the premise that we do no inherit corruption from Adam,and that "sinful flesh" though mentioned many times in the old and new testaments is entirely a man made doctrine.
    Then I am definitely not Pelagian. The corruption is undeniable. The lack of ability to respond to the gospel is not undeniable.
    RESPOND vs. INITIATE.
    An important distinction, don't you think?

    Daniel: Am I trusting that God has saved me, or am I trusting that I said the right prayer. Am I trusting in Christ's righteousness to please God, or am I trying to please God (stay saved) by doing good?
    "Saying a prayer?" ... plither! I have known people that think if you don't have a *date* of your salvation (the moment you said the prayer) then you should doubt your salvation. Rubbish. I don't remember a date. My conversion was over a 2 month period ... the word of God brought about conviction of sin (not hard for me), an understanding of the need for a saviour and a desire for mercy. a desire for mercy ... is that denying corruption?
    "stay saved? What a ridiculous concept. If I understand the 5th point of TULIP correctly (which remains to be seen), then it is the one point that is unquestionable to me. I hope you will participate in that final post (or two) on the "P".

    Daniel: reactionary as opposed to instantiatory. ABSOLUTELY! Thank you ... now I think you are speaking my language.

    No apology necessary. It is fun to read your comments! Thanks for "sharing"! (I still do hate that heresy card, though ;~) )

    I love varied illustrations and wisdom in the multitude of counselors. The only thing about the falling out the window illustration was that I couldn't see Jesus as a curtain ... but He is the one who rent the curtain. Praise His Holy name ... all that he has done on our behalf ... opened the way to God and changed our hearts through the gospel. If it weren't for the dramatic heart and mind change that His grace has wrought in my life, I wouldn't be the least bit interested in any of the things we are talking about. I would scoff and call it stupid.

    One more thing, though ...
    Daniel: I will stand beside God and cheer Him on with all my heart and soul as he sends people to hell - and so will you.
    Are you sure this is right to say?

    Ezekiel 18:23
    Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?

    Then again, maybe that is talking about the time before the judgement ... the time "while it is still today" ... not the post white throne time that you are referring to.

    Bless you Daniel. I enjoy Reformed brothers. They make life interesting.
    Now quit twisting your face up like that. ;~)

    (I guess I wasn't so speechless, after all.)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/02/2005 9:30 AM  

  • Matthew: The notion that a person responding to the Gospel by faith is intiating their own salvation if foreign to Scripture.

    I suspect that at the heart of this assertion lies a misunderstanding of election.

    I have seen a mental "work around" employed to by-pass what scripture teaches about election, and it works like this:

    God looked forward in time and saw that I would respond to the gospel, and because of that he chose to elect me before time began.

    However, this makes God the reactionary - he is responding to man's sovereign choice - and by definition - men elect themselves and God simply seconds the notion. That might be "labelled" election by some in order to satisfy the inconsistencies that present themselvs whenever scripture talks about election - but it is intellectually dishonest.

    Did God look forward and see Paul's conversion thus? Think that through - Was Paul on the Damascus road seeking Jesus - or was Jesus on the Damascus road seeking Paul. Who chose whom?

    I believe in response to God's election - Jesus met Paul on the Damascus road before Paul ever heard the gospel or had faith in Christ - frankly, if anyone in the whole world could be held up as an example of someone who DID NOT have faith in Christ - Paul is perhaps the most apropos (I am sure this was not an accident by the way). The point is that election is not just a word used many times in the new testament - it is also demonstrated in the conversion of Saul of Tarsus - surely we have no excuse to ignore this doctrine.

    If I sound obstinate or purposely contrary, I don't mean to be. I think you are redefining election such that man is sovereign instead of God, and this is the root that drives your conclusions and your understanding of scripture in the matter. If there were no election, I would likely share your every view in the matter - but I was saved just like Paul - Christ came to me first because I was elect, and not because I heard the gospel and chose Jesus, but because Jesus chose me to hear the gospel.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 12/02/2005 11:49 AM  

  • The Scriptures do not speak of man being elected to conversion. When the Scriptures speak of the election of the Church, as opossed to the elction of Christ, angels or Israel, they speak of the corporate election of the Church to its heavenly privileges. Those who are elected are elected in Christ. You would not be part of the elect were you not in Christ.

    Ephesians 1:3-4
    'Blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.
    According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.'

    Those who are in Christ are chosen to be blessed in heavenly places and to be sanctified into holiness. Being in Christ or coming to faith in Him is not the subject of election.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 12/02/2005 12:11 PM  

  • Rose: Can God do wrong? Surely everything that God does and will do is perfect, holy, just, righteous - and especially praiseworthy. When God pours out his wrath we are -not- going to second guess him.

    I painted the picture for the purpose of weeding out humanistic philosophy - those who feel uncomfortable with the idea of cheering God on in his wrath demonstrate where their moral compass is pointing (or not pointing to be succinct).


    The curtain was, I believe, a good example because it amply pictures the passivity of Christ's involvement in that particular "gospel" - that is, that God simply hung a curtain so that those who are falling to their death can save themselves by "making use of" what God has provided. It pictures the heresy quite well I think - it pictures a sinner as being someone who has the wherewithal to call on the name of God (pictured as clinging to the curtain) - and thereby instantiate their own salvation.

    In that model God responds to men's faith rather than grants it to them in the first place.

    Likewise, in that model God responds to men's repentence rather than grants it to them in the first place.

    These ideas to not agree with the scriptures that teach that faith and repentence are gifts.

    You have described the "new heart" that we get (See Ezekiel 36) quite well - it is a new and foreign desire to be pleasing to God. The flesh doesn't change a bit, and never will - so we are instructed to walk according to the new spiritual desires as opposed to the old carnal ones.

    Such a spiritual walk does not save us, or keep us saved, nor is it a means to please God - it is simply the means by which God is able to bless us - fellowship with God is the greatest blessing God can bestow - and we cannot fellowship with God if we walk in darkness. The moment we imagine that our obedience is meritorious - we forgo the doctrine of grace (which teaches that we are acceptable to God because of Christ, and only because of Christ) and return to Judaism - trying to please God by keeping the law - something that cannot be done.

    Gotta run or I would say more.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 12/02/2005 12:21 PM  

  • Hi Rose

    If we are simply willing to acknowledge Who He is, and what He did for us by sending His Son to die in our place on the cross, and (literally) ask Him to rescue us from our sins and their penalty, He will do so, and give us His invisible (and ever-present) Holy Spirit as a down payment / pledge on our lives (Eph. 1:13-14), and begin to guide and direct us as He sees fit (Col. 3:15); However, if we refuse to allow Him to save us and be our Lord, then we will be on our own on the day of our Judgment.

    Daniel you asked;
    Did God look forward and see Paul's conversion thus?

    - Was Paul on the Damascus road seeking Jesus NO


    - or was Jesus on the Damascus road seeking Paul. YES

    Who chose whom?

    God is always seeking. Paul wanted to know the Lord and thought that he knew Him and was Just in doing what he did.

    Jesus just asked him a question. Pual said Lord, Jesus did not make him do that it was Pual's choice.

    By Blogger forgiven, at 12/02/2005 12:40 PM  

  • Matthew: No one denies that election is "election in Christ" - but you seem to me to be inferring more from that than scripture teaches.

    Ephesians refers repeatedly to "us" and "we" in connection with election (1:4 - 5, 12). In Romans, Paul refers to "those" whom God foreknew, predestined, called, justified, and glorified (8:29 - 30). While election is in Christ that in no way denies that it is individual, personal, specific and particular. In Romans 9 Paul tells us that "not all who are descended from Israel are Israel" (9:6, 8) and Paul further shows that "God's purpose in election" distinguished between individuals Isaac and Ishmael, and again Jacob and Esau (9:7, 11 - 13). This is also the implication of the expressions in John 6:37 - 40; 10:14 - 16, 26 - 29; 17:2, 6, 9, 24.

    While it is plain that our election is in Christ, the notion that election is only used in a corporate context is not very tenable in my opinion. Scripture speaks of election in no less than five contexts (elect angels, election to office - such as when Christ chose who would be apostles, election of israel, the election of the Messiah (my Chosen one), and finally election to salvation - the particular election we are speaking of).

    So I am presently at odds with your understanding of "corporate only" election - I suspect that one can only conclude such a thing by imposing the election of Israel upon the new covenant such that references to individual election are overlooked in favor of a predetermined bias. I could be wrong, I *am* guessing after all. However you came to your conclusion, I am sure you are not alone in it - but I am myself convinced that scripture demonstrates quite amply that election unto salvation is individual, in Christ.

    Thanks for your post Matthew.

    Forgiven: Jesus did not make him do that it was Pual's choice.

    Ah, but why was Jesus there? It isn't like Paul just came to Christ all by himself, Jesus intervened beforehand in order to provide Paul the opportunity - that is the heart of the issue.

    It isn't about whether or not Paul exercised faith - we all know he did - what is at issue here is did Paul do it in a vacuum, or did God enable it - and clearly, God enabled it.

    Let me know if that makes sense.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 12/02/2005 1:00 PM  

  • The corporrate election of the Church certainly is realised in individuals, but it is election to the blessings that accompany salvation for Christians rather than salvation itself that people are elected to.

    Christ was elected individually to a position of blessing and glory.

    Israel is elected corporately to a position in relation to teh pruposes of God.

    Some angels are elected, but in waht sense, the Scriptures are nto clear. Most likely to some particular service in relation to the ministry of witnessing.

    The Churches election is as a corporate body, but this is realised in those individuals who are brought into the Church by faith.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 12/02/2005 1:59 PM  

  • Jesus shows us truth
    of who He is . In Paul's case before the Cross he would of been just, after the Cross corrected. Paul says latter that he did not know that he was wrong, until the Lord showed him. Paul says that he was ignorant, just like the woman at the well. He told the truth

    By Blogger forgiven, at 12/02/2005 2:11 PM  

  • Forgiven: Paul [said][later] that he did not know that he was wrong until [after] the Lord showed him. Paul [said] that he was ignorant, just like the woman at the well. He told the truth


    We are all aware that Paul was persecuting the church out of ignorance. The question isn't why was Paul persecuting the church - the question is was Paul's encounter with Christ a random event - or did Christ single Paul out for a ministry and confront Him personally prior to his salvation, in order to bring about Paul's salvation?

    By Blogger Daniel, at 12/02/2005 4:06 PM  

  • Hi Rose

    Yes Daniel

    Jesus did go to him , just like He goes to us ( not wanting any to parish)just like He went to the well...It is still our choice to take the free gift.

    Yes He single Paul out for a ministry and Paul could have say no.

    Daniel I very much respect your veiw. I love my Father in heaven becuase He frist love me, but my love is a reaction to His love. As a man finds a woman and goes after her and woo her. She can fall in love with him or not. God wanted to use Paul and He did greatly, but if Pual would of said no, God would of found someone else.

    By Blogger forgiven, at 12/02/2005 4:30 PM  

  • Forgiven: I appreciate your sincerity in the matter - your heart attitude has more clout with me than you can imagine.

    I believe that Paul spent the next three days in denial - neither eating nor drinking the scriptures tell us - but praying. Jesus had rocked his world, and because of it Paul began to seek Christ. Yes, Paul *did* respond to Jesus - we *all* respond to Jesus. No one is arguing that (that I am aware of at least). What is being pointed to however is the understanding that Paul didn't initiate that encounter - Christ did.

    When we accept that Paul didn't get the ball rolling, but that Jesus intervened - then we are ready to look at the question about whether Paul could have denied Jesus or not. But let's put that aside until after we have agreed that it was Jesus who intervened in Paul's affairs, and not Paul running around seeking Jesus.

    If we try and answer all the questions that encounter produces in one big swoop it will take longer.

    Would you agree that on the Damascus road we see a picture of Jesus seeking out Paul before Paul was seeking Jesus?

    By Blogger Daniel, at 12/02/2005 5:00 PM  

  • I've been busy, and I've got a full weekend, so I don't know how much I can contribute.

    First off, I see a lot of discussion that does not strictly stick to the issue of Irresistible Grace (IR). I'll bring up one simple point.

    It seems to me that when the people speak against, they quote a Bible passage as if that demonstrates that contradicts IR. I'm going to do my nit picking with a sample Bible passage, Romans 10:17 "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ." How, precisely, does this contradict IR? Is it that when any Reformed people reads this passage, they strike their head and say, "Oh, I didn't know that verse was in the Bible. That blows IR for me."?

    No, what the Reformed people has already done is look at the whole of Scripture, as any of your do (I know, it's really hard to believe that :o) -- just kidding) and as they formulate what they think the Bible teaches, they say that God uses various means to irresistibly draw people to Himself, and one of those primary means is preaching of the Word. In fact, Reformed people, (along with Lutherans who also hold to IR), call this a means of grace. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are specially present at these times.

    Now, preaching the Word is not a magic formula -- bring a non-believer into church and *presto* -- he's a Christian. But God may have selected a particular time to awaken someone who is dead set against God. We can't see the internals of someone and see what is at work. We will probably be able to tell later when it happens.

    So, could someone tell me what in Romans 10:17 contradicts IR? Lay it out, show the reasoning steps. Show where the contradiction exists.

    By Blogger Earl, at 12/02/2005 5:06 PM  

  • I don't know if forgiven is still around, but as far as I would say, Daniel, it is definitely clear that Paul was not seeking Jesus, he was seeking to destroy Jesus.

    Earl,
    about Romans 10:7. I think the point was that it says faith comes form hearing the message. It is worth considering, is it not, that it doesn't say faith comes from God, it doesn't say faith is a gift, (although I am not convinced that it is not a gift) it doesn't say that faith comes from regeneration. It says that faith comes from hearing the word of God which is something to be done by the sinner, not something thrust upon him that he can't stop up his ears to.

    I am not as good of a reasoner as you, Earl.

    I am going to a Christmas party tonight, but I look forward to getting back here later. Have a great evening.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/02/2005 5:29 PM  

  • Rose, do you have the reference for:

    "[Grace is] 'the holy rape of the soul' -Jonathan Edwards"? Thanks!

    By Blogger Jonathan Moorhead, at 12/02/2005 6:07 PM  

  • Can a Calvinist explain logically and rationally how the gospel being preached to a reprobate (non-elect, who Christ DID not die for)is NOT an ungracious offer? (To say that God says so and that settles the matter does not amount to a reasonable explanation. It just makes God responsible for the unreasonable and ungracious "offer")

    Antonio

    BTW my James my new James post is up:

    My Free Grace Theology Blog

    By Blogger Antonio, at 12/02/2005 8:15 PM  

  • Antonio: Can a Calvinist explain logically and rationally how the gospel being preached to a reprobate (non-elect, who Christ DID not die for)is NOT an ungracious offer? (To say that God says so and that settles the matter does not amount to a reasonable explanation. It just makes God responsible for the unreasonable and ungracious "offer")

    I don't consider myself a "Calvinist" per se - calvin was just a man, and I came to my conclusions long before I ever knew that there was a John Calvin - however, the doctrine that Calvin gleaned from reading the bible, this I can share, as I gleaned the same in my own study.

    I will answer your question, but first you must answer this, Jesus spoke in parables to the masses so that seeing they would not see, and hearing they would not understand - can you explain how -that- is a gracious thing to those people? (rationally and logically of course)

    By Blogger Daniel, at 12/02/2005 9:14 PM  

  • Daniel
    Sorry I was at a bible study just got home. But before I go to sleep I just wanted to say that Jesus was seeking Paul.

    Rose
    I do agree that Paul wanted or did kill Jesus . May be not driving the nail ,but I know he was there because of who he was.So I would say he seen His death.

    Thank You Daniel for hearing my words and God Bless your night all.

    Rose Thank you again for letting me voice myself. Good night

    By Blogger forgiven, at 12/02/2005 10:06 PM  

  • Rose, Hi! I posted another on James.

    Daniel,

    God's truth is not cheap. It should not be treated as such. In order to fathom the truths it is necessary to have a positive response. Speaking the truth to those who are in willful rebellion (not born that way, but grown that way)would be like casting pearls before swine.

    Christ speaking in parables was a fulfillment of a prophecy by Isaiah.

    Part of it goes like this:

    Matt 13:15
    15 For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
    Their ears are hard of hearing,
    And their eyes they have closed,
    NKJV

    Far from being born in a condition of inability to respond, dofeafness, and of blindness, the Israelites "had grown dull"

    vs 12 states "For whoever has to him more will be given..."

    Failure to respond to truth creates blindness and dullness, so a positive response is rewarded with further understanding.

    Is it not interesting, Daniel, that although the disciples are your "elect" that they still needed to hear the explanation of the parables from the Lord? I guess, although Jesus describes them as having eyes that see and ears that hear, they still by an act of their will needed to ask Jesus to explain the parables (Matt 13:36)

    Do you suppose that any who further inquired of Christ sincerely concerning the parables would have been turned away from the explanation?

    Parables were Jesus' effective tool for both revealing truth to those who respond positively and conceal it from those who would reject it.

    "He who has ears to hear let him hear" (those whose ears have not grown dull)

    Shall we have an answer now, please, Daniel?

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 12/02/2005 11:52 PM  

  • The verse Earl quotes does not prove that faith is available for all, but it I used by Non-Calvinists to make an inductive case for faith being available to all. I would use this and other verses to argue that:

    1. The Holy Spirit works through preaching rather than directly in the heart through regeneration so that the hearer is enabled to respond to the Gospel.
    2. That the Word of God is a mediate instrument in Regeneration.

    I think Earl makes a good point. Peopel on both sides of this debate quote verses as if the other side are going to say 'Oh, I never read that before. You guys must be right.'

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 12/03/2005 2:02 AM  

  • Jonathan,
    I found the J. Edwards quote in the article at Wikpedia about irresistible grace. I assumed Wikpedia to be reliable. Shawn already asked me about the quote in the comments above ... and so I did a search in google for the words "holy rape of the soul" and could not find the complete context of the quote, but I did find that many had recognized it as his quote. Thanks for visiting!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/03/2005 9:00 AM  

  • Earl is right. Everyone has their own spin on the passages the other side throws out.

    Antonio,
    I am glad you are feeling better. I think your explanations are good and they are welcome, I only wish you would maintain a softer, less "in your face" tone here. We've all been getting along real well. I understand your repulsion at parts of this doctrine, but I wish to distance myself from being "in your face". I think my posts are "in your face" enough about my views of this doctrine. Can't we be patient here? It's the TONE. (and that poem at Doxoblogy was not nice - you should've just posted it at your own blog)

    Rodney King: "Can't we all just get along?!!" (whine)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/03/2005 9:10 AM  

  • Despite his “TONE,” Antonio raises a common objection. It is a perfectly reasonable explanation from a human standpoint, but what seems right to depraved humanity does not always correspond to the biblical account of a holy God.

    The first passage that comes to my mind is Isaiah 6:9-10 “He said, 'Go, and tell this people: "Keep on listening, but do not perceive; keep on looking, but do not understand. Render the hearts of this people insensitive, their ears dull, and their eyes dim, otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and return and be healed.”'"

    Second, it is difficult to account for God's command to Pharaoh to let His people go since God Himself hardens Pharaoh’s heart so that he will not. In Exodus 8:1 the Lord says to Moses, "Go in to Pharaoh and say to him, 'Thus says the LORD, Let my people go, that they may serve me.'"

    In Exodus 4:21 God says to Moses, "When you go back to Egypt, see that you do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in your hand; but I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go." It appears that God commands of Pharaoh what God himself does not will him to do. Look here
    for an excellent article on this.

    Psalm 50:21 “You thought that I was just like you . . . .”

    By Blogger Jonathan Moorhead, at 12/03/2005 10:24 AM  

  • Jonathan, what does that have to do with the offer of salvation to individuals in the age af grace? I see the things you have quoted as being in reference to the Lord working out His plan in relation to the peoples of the earth, but not a reference to him saving or condemning individuals for eternity. I guess it sort of depends on your perspective.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/03/2005 10:52 AM  

  • Absolutely right, Rose~. And this perspective is the key to understanding those supposedly predestinarian passages in John's gospel. While on earth, Christ was hardening the hearts of the Jews, just as God hardened the heart of Pharoah.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 12/03/2005 11:21 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    I think you’ve presented an excellent argument against IG. I think many who’ve commented here have argued their cases well.

    I was disappointed that I didn’t find in the comments here, any argument that would indicate that God ordained that it is impossible to reject His gift. Perhaps one of your readers might offer that.

    It seems we share the same attitude in that while we find these doctrinal differences important, they shouldn’t be a cause for division and I appreciate that.

    Again, my best wishes for your study here

    By Blogger Kc, at 12/03/2005 11:29 AM  

  • Rose, the question as I understood it was the implication of God asking individuals to do something that He has not allowed them to do (or prevented them from doing). I believe there are clear cases of this (practically and soteriologically) in Scripture. Additionally, this phenomena also appears “in the age of grace.”

    John 12:36ff “These things Jesus spoke, and He went away and hid Himself from them. But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him. This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet which he spoke: “LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT? AND TO WHOM HAS THE ARM OF THE LORD BEEN REVEALED?” For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, “HE HAS BLINDED THEIR EYES AND HE HARDENED THEIR HEART, SO THAT THEY WOULD NOT SEE WITH THEIR EYES AND PERCEIVE WITH THEIR HEART, AND BE CONVERTED AND I HEAL THEM.”

    John 6:37, 44, 65 “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out . . . No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day . . . For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.”

    Matt. 11:25ff At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.

    For what it’s worth, I strongly believe that one’s understanding of depravity will determine where you land on the other points. If a person is truly dead in sin then they will live when God makes them alive (Eph 2:5 “made us alive”).

    Hope this helps.

    By Blogger Jonathan Moorhead, at 12/03/2005 11:30 AM  

  • The verses Jonathan quotes demonstrate the restrictions on who could come to faith before the crucifixtion. However, this was necessary to God's purposes. If Israel had repented before the cross, there woudl have been no crucifixtion. After Christ was raised up he 'draws all men to himself.' The Gosple of salvation to all that believe was not freely offered until after the death and resurrection of Christ.

    As for life; what is this? Is it being able to believe or all those blessings that are involved in Regeneration and salvation? The notion of life as 'ability to believe' seems to me to be a theological construct imposed on the New Testament.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 12/03/2005 12:00 PM  

  • Rose,

    There is a lot of reading here! I don't do well with doctrines, but I would like to offer a different perspective on grace. I have offered a perspective on grace here that would need to be taken into consideration, because I believe that it explains the true influence the Lord has on our heart, and may help with the question of who initiates. Enjoy! By the way, I do not consider myself any one of the "ists" except for ChrISTian!

    By Blogger Ron, at 12/03/2005 1:15 PM  

  • Rose,

    If I have sinned, or had a wrong tone, please forgive me and please state where I have.

    I re-read my last post to Daniel, and I did not see what you are seeing: an in your face post.

    Relate to me my specific infractions in order that I may not repeat them on your blog.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 12/03/2005 2:03 PM  

  • Mr. Moorehead:

    It is important to use a hebrew bible in this discussion. Your assessment is based upon an English Bible argument.

    There are 3 distinct Hebrew words used in Exodus in connection with the "hardening" of Pharoah's heart.

    Ex. 4:21; 9:12; 10:20; 10:27; 11:10; 14:4; 14:8; 14:17 all have the agent of the "hardening" as God. The word used here is "chazaq", which means "strengthen/make firm".

    Pharoah set his heart against God. At the outset God declares “I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go…”. (3:19)This was Pharoah’s disposition from the very beginning before a word was said about God hardening his heart. Pharoah was an evil man who had long abused the people of God. He selfishly desired to protect his own interests by keeping these people as slaves.

    Nevertheless, the time came when the plagues were so terrifying that, contrary to what he wanted to do, Pharoah was ready to let Israel go – not from genuine repentance, but out of the abject fear of further plagues. God, however, was not finished judging the gods of Egypt. Therefore, He hardened Pharoah’s heart by giving him the courage to persist in the resistance he really wanted to pursue, and the courage to do so until God had fully executed His judgements upon Egypt’s gods.
    God strengthened Pharoah’s resolve; God was not causing Pharoah to be an evil man or to do evil actions, but was giving Pharoah the strength and courage, even when the plagues became overwhelmingly terrifying, to stand by his intent not to let Israel go. God emboldened Pharoah’s heart so that he had the stubborn courage to stand even in the face of very frightening miracles.

    Pharoah hardened his own heart, having wilfully been evil and disobedient. God gave Pharoah the courage to continue in the course of action that Pharoah had already determined to pursue.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 12/03/2005 2:09 PM  

  • Antonio,
    I guess it's not so much what was said here. I saw your poem on Doxoblogy and it impressed me as sort of mean to put that as the first comment on his post. I think the action of doing that had a certain tone. (But the poem itself had a point - that being the reverse of his poem, what it means to the the non-elect, this concept of grace that the Reformed hold). Anyways, I had that act of pasting the poem there in mind ... and then I read your comment to Daniel, and the end of it said:

    "Shall we have an answer now, please, Daniel?

    Antonio


    I guess the combination of the two made it seem like you had an "in your face" tone.
    I like you anyways.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/03/2005 3:01 PM  

  • Daniel wrote this to me, Rose:
    ----------
    I will answer your question, but first you must answer this, Jesus spoke in parables to the masses so that seeing they would not see, and hearing they would not understand - can you explain how -that- is a gracious thing to those people? (rationally and logically of course)
    ----------

    I answered his question, so I, saying please, asked him to now answer mine. I fail to see how my request of Daniel to answer my question now that I answered his was "in your face" or displayed an improper tone.

    Yet you have read the comments that both Marc and Daniel have cracked about me in their blogs.

    I had a "tone" then an "in your face" attitude, then Jonathan Moorehead reiterated it.

    I don't believe I did.

    Now according to my poem on Doxoblogy, I did not paste it there. I constructed that poem right in his comment box. It was the opposite of his and I think it was appropriate.

    It is all fair and well to speak of the light side of Calvinism. But there is another side to it, a darkside, if you will.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 12/03/2005 4:17 PM  

  • You're right, Antonio, they have made fun of you and teased you mercilessly. And they continue to joke about you and deride you, you are right. The whole "TONE" is quite unfortunate. That is one of the reasons why I initially left a comment on your blog because I thought that it was so mean and I felt bad for you.

    You were not harsh with Daniel, so I take it back about the TONE.

    I still think the poem was mean ... but I like you anyway. :~)

    I agree about the dreadful darkside and I think Jonathan does too, based on some of his comments about seeing children burn. There is a dark side to the doctrine and all would recognize that, I think. However, they would say it is for God's glory and you and I would say it is not God's way at all.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/03/2005 4:38 PM  

  • Antonio: "Shall we have an answer now, please, Daniel?

    I confess dear sir after having read your response - and I mean this sincerely (and not as a sarcasm and a dodge) - I truly don't feel you have answered my question in your response.

    My question, was and is, how was Jesus being gracious when he was obfuscating the truth to those who most needed to hear it?

    You asked, Can a Calvinist explain logically and rationally how the gospel being preached to a reprobate (non-elect, [someone for whom] Christ DID not die) is NOT an ungracious offer?

    It is the exploding gunpowder that propels the bullet, but it is the bullet that kills. Likewise, the gospel is the power of God unto salvation - but it is Jesus Christ who saves.

    My preaching the gospel doesn’t save anyone - Jesus saves people. I therefore am required to offer the gospel to everyone - elect and reprobate alike - and Christ Himself will save the elect. I don’t know who is elect and who is not, so my offer is genuine to all - and offered in good faith and full of grace.

    Let me know if that makes sense to you.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 12/03/2005 6:16 PM  

  • Great discussion everyone,

    I've enjoyed all of your insights, and look forward to more.

    Doug

    By Blogger Doug E., at 12/07/2005 5:16 PM  

  • Hi Doug,
    It's kind of interesting to be so stealthy. I'm glad you "enjoyed" it. Too bad you didn't jump in. After reading some of your blog today I am thinking maybe you could have found a friend or two over here. :~)

    BTW - you addressed this comment to "you guys", but you do realize that I am the only one who will see it, don't you? I find that kind of interesting too. The blogosphere is a strange place.

    Every blessing in Christ to you!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/07/2005 9:42 PM  

  • Better late than never...

    Regarding the "holy rape of the soul", after some research, the Wikipedia has been corrected with the following:

    "Jonathan Edwards has sometimes been quoted—notably by R. C. Sproul—as referring to the irresistible call of God as the "holy rape of the soul," but the phrase does not appear in Edwards' Works. Instead, the phrase seems to have been coined by Puritan scholar Perry Miller, and most Calvinists distance themselves from it."

    Let us not cast aspersions on Jonathan Edwards for something he did not say.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/09/2006 9:26 AM  

  • Hi, Rose,

    I am a wee bit behind the times here, but I just stumbled across your blog a couple of days ago, and I will try to remain charitable and nice while blaming you for a considerable dearth of sleep since. ;)

    I am posting primarily in response to Daniel's illustration of the curtain, as no one really seemed to explore that much. It strikes me as a typical Calvinist caricature of Arminianism (or non-Calvinism or whatever term you prefer). It calls to mind the falling man extending his arms, stretching, struggling, straining his muscles to cling to the curtain. In other words, it calls to mind a work. Much more accurate (although existing only on Star Trek or something) of the Arminian (non-Calvinist etc.) view is of a sudden realization after a lot of falling that there has been a curtain beside you all along, and it's now calling your name, asking you to allow it to wrap itself around you and tie a knot around you, and you believe what the curtain is communicating to you, stop flailing your arms, and allow it to wrap you in itself. This is not a work. This is faith. (And once you have it you think what an idiot you were to be flailing your arms around trying to save yourself -- or coasting along in free fall enjoying the deadly thrill -- instead of trusting the curtain.)

    But, I also will take this opportunity (though I'm afraid, Rose, you will actually never see it), that this is WITHOUT A DOUBT the best Christian blog I've ever been on. So thought-provoking, so Scripture-driven, so genuinely congenial -- you don't let your guests get away with the mean-spiritedness infecting so many other "Christian" blogs (not that it's attempted very often here!), and you are so gentle when you call people on it.

    I hope no one else who stumbles across this will be offended that I said your blog was the best...obviously I haven't been to all blogs, including the ones associated with your "regulars." ;)

    By OpenID pointnine, at 5/01/2008 11:52 PM  

  • Pointnine,
    Thank you! It is really nice to know that you were reading here. As I read the email notification of your comment this morning, I remembered my discussion with Daniel about the curtain. That was interesting. I like how you re-did that analogy.

    Thanks for your visit and for your compliment! I really needed that. I had a baby 16 months ago and so I don't post the way I did back then. My life has become extremely busy with this little one.

    I almost was considering closing down my blog yesterday for various reasons, but reading this comment has given me new vigor to stay in the blogging business. Thanks again!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 5/02/2008 9:04 AM  

  • Hi, Rose, well, frankly, there's so much on your site to peruse that even if you didn't post anything new for a long long time I for one would still have a lot to read and chew on. I got through all of the TULIP section in one-two nights. And I'm going to have to go back to Scripture and look at what exactly atonement is (what it accomplishes) after reading some fascinating comments on the L. What a resource!

    Jennifer

    By OpenID pointnine, at 5/03/2008 10:17 PM  

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