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

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

What is Faith? (part 2) ... Is Faith a Gift?

Sometimes thinking about this makes me feel like an ignoramus pondering “which came first - the chicken or the egg?” I will share my current thoughts on this question in the following paragraphs. A brother emailed some verses that may contradict my understanding of this. They are listed at the bottom of this post. Maybe I will change my mind and see that faith really is a gift - in the sense that God grants it only to His chosen, who were chosen apart from faith, thus making faith secondary to being chosen. Maybe I will change my mind! (or maybe God will grant me insight.) I have to open my mind to these verses that have been given to me. Maybe they don't mean what I think they mean. I also received some verses about God “granting repentance” but I won’t include them here. I am just looking into one question right now: is faith a gift?

Does saving faith come by grace (thus making it a gift to the one chosen to be graced) or does faith appropriate saving grace? Here are a couple of verses about that. Do they contradict one another?

… through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:2) (compare Ephesians 2:8-9 – through faith)
For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him… (Philippians 1:29)

OK, many people insist that faith is a gift. I heard a lady just the other day: “I believed in Jesus Christ and He saved me – but even my belief in Him was from Him.” I hear an oxymoron in that statement. Let me say that I fully understand faith to be a gift in one sense:


When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. On arriving, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed. (Acts 18:27)

Without God’s enabling, His grace, we can do NOTHING! I cannot walk to the mailbox if God decides He does not want to allow me. When it comes to seeing and embracing the truth from God about His wonderful plan of salvation, if He didn’t help me see it, I wouldn’t have seen it. He draws all men unto Himself now that He has been lifted up. (John 12:32) He draws ... and we must respond ... with a very personal thing called faith. Faith is not some mystical insight into truth. It is not some deep commitment to change or serve. It is not a work. It is not an effort. It is very simple – it is when a person hears the truth, is convinced about it, and believes. This is not done to us by God or for us by God, this is what God desires of us.

Faith in Christ is the only way a sinner can stand before God, which has always been quite a revolutionary idea in and of itself, because it takes working your way to heaven out of the picture. Faith is the only way we can receive what God has to give. I was thinking about the “gift of God.” This is really the best analogy for salvation because … it is the one that the Bible uses!

We’ve all heard it before – you have to receive a gift or else it is not yours. I was thinking that if I were a Calvinist, I would challenge that idea by saying that this is not necessarily true. Some anonymous billionaire could get my bank account # and go to my bank, fill out a deposit slip, and I would have a gift that I could not reject! I couldn’t reject it because I don’t know the man and there would be no way of refusing the gift. It would be there in my bank account without my having seen or known or heard a word from the giver. It would be mine without my having received it. Is this the picture we have of our God? Does He give saving grace and deposit faith in our heart and mind without us having interacted with Him, without our personal involvement, without our belief? That strikes me as all very impersonal, but if you say “faith is a gift” in this way, I can’t see that it would be anything personal at all. Salvation by grace through faith could just as well be salvation by Grace without faith.

Acts 16:31 Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved …

The greek word for believe is pisteuō, which comes from the same word used in Ephesians 2:8-9 translated “faith”.

This is something personal – it happens within a person – it is not something done to a person. Believe you must, this is all God requires to enter life. Yes, He requires something, but not works – He requires the righteousness that comes through Christ. He provides the righteousness, we receive it through faith.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

4102 pistis (pis'-tis)
From G3982; persuasion, that is, credence; moral conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher), especially reliance upon Christ for salvation; - assurance, belief, believe, faith, fidelity.

Here are Webster’s definitions of these words (how can this be a “gift” in the truest sense of the word?)

Believe: to accept as true, genuine, or, to have a firm conviction as to the goodness, efficacy, or ability of something, to hold an opinion, to think, to consider to be true or honest, to accept the word or evidence of.

Faith: Belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion, firm belief in something for which there is no proof, complete trust, something that is believed especially with strong conviction.

Here are the verses I recieved via email:

By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see. (Acts 3:16)
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. (Romans 12:3)
8God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? (Acts 15:8-10)
1Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours… (2 Peter 1:1)
1Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

147 Comments:

  • Rose, why have you gone back to the old photo.

    I do not think faith is a gift. I am aware of these verses.

    Romans 12:3 does not deal with saving faith, but faith to live the Christian life, which depends upon the sustaining grace of the Holy Spirit.

    Acts 15:8-10
    Does faith purify? How can it? It is Christ's saving work which purifies. Faith appropriates Christ's purifying redemptive work.

    2 Peter 1:1
    Faith is received by hearing the Gospel. Yes, we receive faith, but not as a gift as such, but as a result of hearing.

    Hebrews 12:1-2
    Christ is the author of our faith in that He is the object of it. An author sets a thing in motion; he makes the fisrt move.

    Please do not turn Calvinist on us, Rose~.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 4/25/2006 4:15 PM  

  • Rose,
    You express some things here that we all must struggle with at times. In my case, I know that I get frustrated with things in the reformed faith that I do not get. A lot of the covenant relationships are tough for me to understand in my church and I don't just automatically accept them. At that point I can only try to reconcile them or refute them. Infant baptism has always caused me problems to name one.

    I just read Matthew's comment as I thought mine was going to be first.
    I think for me the key to understanding that faith is a gift was in understanding the extent of the fall and the need and power of regeneration before faith occurs. I was very late in life becoming a Christian and I am convinced my heart was changed before I responded or could respond.

    Jazzycat

    By Blogger jazzycat, at 4/25/2006 4:25 PM  

  • If regeneration occurs before conversion, I think we shoudl expect to see some evidence for it in Scripture.

    Essentially, the doctrine of pre-conversion regeneration is deductively establihed on the basis of the Calvinist view of man's inability.

    We are born-again by the Word of God, which is received by faith. Regeneration is mediated to us through faith which comes by hearign the Word.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 4/25/2006 4:32 PM  

  • Rose I think faith is so much easier to illustrate than to define. I would have to agree that in some measure it must be considered a gift as all good things come from God but does that mean it comes apart from us? I don't think so and I don't think the scripture indicates that.

    While we are most certainly decieved and born with a nature that prefers that deceit God also created within us the ability to reason and to make determinations and judgments concerning what we accept as true and what we reject as false based on the evidence at hand. When the evidence of the reality of Jesus as Christ is the testimony of the very Spirit of God we must choose to accept His witness or blaspeme and call Him a liar. Any who fail to make that choice are condemned already. Those who accept His testimony then have that seed of faith planted in them and it must be nurtured and watered to grow. We must learn to trust God, it is not a given and if we fail to learn and our faith becomes dead is the gift of eternal life returned to the sender? Isn't His word far more certain than our faith?

    By Blogger Kc, at 4/25/2006 5:06 PM  

  • Rose,
    Have you considered as well that repentance is a gift?

    Acts 11:18 '... So then, God has GRANTED even the Gentiles REPENTANCE unto life."

    2 Tim 2:25 "Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that GOD will GRANT them REPENTANCE leading themto a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil."

    These things should not surprise you since Paul writes in Ephesians 1:3 "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with EVERY spiritual blessing in Christ."

    By Blogger Brandon Presbyterian, at 4/25/2006 6:33 PM  

  • Hi Rose :)

    Very helpful the way you lay out these discussions!

    Matthew really said it:

    (1)

    If regeneration occurs before conversion, I think we shoudl expect to see some evidence for it in Scripture.

    (2)

    Essentially, the doctrine of pre-conversion regeneration is deductively establihed on the basis of the Calvinist view of man's inability.

    (3)

    We are born-again by the Word of God, which is received by faith.


    (4)

    Regeneration is mediated to us through faith which comes by hearign the Word.

    Amen to all four points!

    God bless :)

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at 4/25/2006 8:36 PM  

  • Jodie and Matthew said:
    "If regeneration occurs before conversion, I think we should expect to see some evidence for it in Scripture."

    We do see it everywhere, but I will stick to one example that is conclusive.... Saul on the road to Damascus was regenerated by the power of God prior to conversion.

    Jazzycat

    By Blogger jazzycat, at 4/25/2006 10:01 PM  

  • Hi Rose,
    Given that God created us in His image we have the ability to percieve our depravity and acknowledge His message, His Son, our sin, and our destruction without accepting His message. God's power, grace, is a gift that, just as with any gift, we can take it or leave it. God's grace is open to us if we listen to Him and do as He asks. We behold and see that the offer of grace(a measure of His power that He extends to us) can be obtained through the offer or means of faith and our reciprocating that faith is what then God is looking for.

    Acts 11:18 '... So then, God has GRANTED even the Gentiles REPENTANCE unto life."

    And now the Gentiles as well can obtain life. This is earthshaking, lifechanging news to the Gentiles as well as the Jews.

    2 Tim 2:25 "Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that GOD will GRANT them REPENTANCE leading themto a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil."

    This is a great verse for showing the dynamic of God at work but don't try and fabricate specific doctrine about repentence from it because the information is just not their. Timothy is instructing, God is leading, and everyone is hoping the hearers will come to their senses and they themselves will then escape the trap of the devil. Paul is pinning his hope on Timothy to gently instruct whereby his hearers will then reach out and take God's power that will save them from the trap. Everything we recieve from God whether it be faith, the power to turn towards Him and from prince of this world(or repentence), whatever power we may have, is from Him, because He created us. But He made us in His own image with the power to see Him as the one and only God and chose to accept or reject Him.

    Saul on the road to Damascus is an unlikely example of regeneration before conversion because Saul's experience with Christ was unique and incomparable to anyone else at any other time. And still, he was converted immediately and then regenerated at whatever subsequent time Christ chose to give him the Spirit. Nowhere in scripture is there evidence that regeneration preceeds conversion.

    Very intriguing post Rose. Doctrine building must at least be done with clarity.

    Heartily yours in Christ! Todd

    By Blogger Todd, at 4/25/2006 11:41 PM  

  • I would have to agree with Todd, Matthew, and HK on the point that nowhere in scripture is the "ordo salutis" (order of salvation) articulated in the scriptures. Order of salvation is a "hypothetical" mechanism (either chronologically or logically speaking) that our particular and variant theological traditions gives legs to.

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at 4/26/2006 3:18 AM  

  • Hi Rose

    You said that if someone put money in your bank for you.
    But I would like to go one more step. If you do not spend the money it is not a gift. Just as God gives you the gift of faith , but if you do not take the step there is no faith. Faith is given by believen in the giver, that it is there to take.

    Now the theif on the cross, he railed at first.

    Mat 27:44 The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.


    Luk 23:39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.

    Luk 23:40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?

    Luk 23:41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.

    Luk 23:42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.

    Luk 23:43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

    I don't know but if I was on a cross or in a eletric chair I'm not going to have faith . You can not say that by his own power he believed. We humans are not like that.

    Good piece Rose

    Missed you all

    By Blogger forgiven, at 4/26/2006 6:59 AM  

  • Hi Rose! One observation: When Rose looked into Ehp. 2:8-9 we saw that everyone resorted to their favorite Commentator/scholar/expositor of the word to back up their own way of looking at that verse. There are PHD's on both sides of the debate,and it has raged for all this time. One will say Eph.2:8-9 does prove that faith is a gift and then resort to his/her favorite scholar, while others will say that salvation is the object of the word "that" and then procede to quote their favorite scholar. The results of these discussions is then inconclusive. But, I admire how you,Rose, lay these things out. It is very gutsy and honest.

    Romans 10:17-Faith comes by hearing the Word of God.

    One will go to John 6;37-65 and say that there is the proof of God's sovereignty, while others do not see it that way;and again, we will run to our favorite commentators to back up our claims.

    We all have our systems, and yes, they are all man made. We all have our own constructs that we adhere to. And, as we adhere to these constructs certain deductions naturally fall into place. I am not free from that myself, nor is anyone else on this thread.

    These debates are good,but I doubt any minds will change. We are coming to the 600 year mark in these discussions. Every one of us has engaged oneanother in these debates before. We are able now to guess what one or the other is going to say. And no minds have changed. To one the order of salvation seems so clearly set out in scripture, to another, not. We all have literally devoured our Bibles over time, so Bible knowledge is not the question here.

    I wish everyone on this thread,PEACE!

    Mark

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 4/26/2006 8:26 AM  

  • This is not an original thought, but "8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9 To another faith by the same Spirit;" seems to indicate that faith is a gift.

    Personally, I think "...every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father..."

    I believe faith and salvation are gifts.

    By Blogger Joe, at 4/26/2006 8:27 AM  

  • Todd,
    Do you think God hopes that things he wants to come to pass will in fact come to pass? Put another way, do you believe God is sovereign or that his power is limited?

    Did God hope Saul would be converted or did he accomplish this decree?

    Did he intervene in Saul's conversion with power and yet allow others to perish in hell because they do not choose to excercise faith? God does not show favoritism. Saul without God's power was hell bound.

    Do Bin Laden's children have an equal chance to Billy Graham's children to excercise their free will and accept Christ?

    Does the clay say to the potter..... ?

    Jazzycat

    By Blogger jazzycat, at 4/26/2006 8:43 AM  

  • Allow me to end this discussion. Faith is received for salvation. Without faith it is impossible to please him. Once we are saved we would then view our salvation as secure, or at least I would becasue it couldn't be called salvation if it weren't secure.

    But we have moments when our daily faith waivers--whatsoever is not of faith is sin, every time I sin I show my lack of faith. But I'm still saved! Why is this? Because my one act of faith--to receive salvation--saved me. It is now God's gift of faith that guarantees my continual saving regardless of my momentary lapses in it. My one act of faith in Him results in the receiving of a faith that is forever constant with Christ. Thank you. Discussion over.

    By Blogger jeff, at 4/26/2006 8:56 AM  

  • Hi Matthew,
    There - I changed photos back again, kind of. I wanted to be a little less militaristic. You told me once that you really liked that photo with the rose on it.
    DF, I need to give the idea that "saving faith is a gift" a fair hearing. Do not worry ... if I turn Calvinist, we can still be friends. :~)

    Jazzycat,
    Wow - I think infant baptism would be a big problem for me, too. They did it when I was growing up RC. I don't get what it means to protestants. It is nice to know that others - like yourself - strain before swallowing those gnats and camels. Thanks for sharing your cadid thoughts. You want me to think you are a cat, but your true identity is slowly revealing itself - you are an older man - this is the power of detail gathering. Meooooow!

    Matthew,
    I like it when you jump into these things and don't hold back on your thoughts. I do see it the way you say in your second comment, but I am open to change my mind if it is proven from the Bible.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/26/2006 9:00 AM  

  • H K Flynn, you ask in your first point for Scriptural evidence to be given, can I ask for your Scriptural evidence for the fourth point?

    'Regeneration is mediated to us through faith which comes by hearign the Word.'

    Where do you find within Scripture that regeneration is mediated through faith?

    I think that a fair question.

    By Blogger nathaniel adam king, at 4/26/2006 9:03 AM  

  • KC,
    Your first paragraph is right where I am on this presently. The work of salvation is monergistic, (all of God) but reception of salvation requires a response, IMO. They call it synergism as though that were a bad thing. It is the beginning of a relationship and thus very personal and interactive (synergistic) in my view. What you say about evidence - isn't that why God has showed us so many things - to convince us of His truth? This is a process, I believe.
    Eternal life can never be returned to sender. It wouldn't be eternal then, would it? You and I think a lot alike. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/26/2006 9:12 AM  

  • I will get back to some more comments later - I need to do some things.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/26/2006 9:13 AM  

  • The nonsense that "faith is a gift" is one logical consequence of the Calvnist's misunderstanding of the biblical doctrine of depravity. Follow me here for a moment.

    The Calvinist redefines the biblical doctrine of depravity in a way that smuggles in the illicit doctrine of total inability. Others have written extensively on this, and I've got a couple of posts under the title of "Why You Should Not Be a Calvinist."

    The Calvinist doctrine of total inability means that an unregenerate person cannot believe in Jesus, even if they wanted to! This leads to the heart of the Calvnist's system - unconditional election.

    Their thinking goes like this: because the elect CANNOT believe in Christ and be saved, God must undertake the project for them. In the "Ordo Saludis" God regenerates the unbeliever which includes conveying the gift of faith. This renders them able to believe and to then - the next step in the Ordo Saludis - be saved.

    When you buy in to the unbiblical notion that faith is a gift, you're buying the whole package.

    By Anonymous Bud Brown, at 4/26/2006 9:36 AM  

  • Rose,

    1. Jazzycat's illustration of Saul/Paul was excellent. It did not surprise me to see it described by some as an abnormal type event. Do you really think God would save Paul abnormally given the fact that Paul himself sets his salvation experience as an example to us all in that if God would/could save him - "the worst of sinners" that he would/could save us as well.

    2. In at least one response, salvation is expressed in the sense that God makes our salvation possible by setting grace before us but we must take it or leave it. This type thinking ultimately leaves man as the ultimate determiner and provider of salvation rather than God. The Scripture says GOD SAVES SINNERS. Even Jesus' name was given to him because HE WILL SAVE HIS PEOPLE from their sins. One view leads to God's glory and worship, the other to man's sovereignty and pride. Consider this carefully.

    3. Todd wrote "...we have the ability to percieve our depravity and acknowledge His message". I ask you did Paul perceive his depravity until Christ enlightened him? Did those at Pentecost turn before they were "cut to the heart" through the message and calling of the gospel? Does not God in proclaim through Ezekiel "For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh? Why is it that some to whom Jesus preached turned and repented and followed him and others didn't if we all can have the ability to perceive our depravity? Is it not the experience of every believer that we were oblivious to our true condition until God reached out and spoke to us, that we did not understand the reality, significance and consequences of sin until convinced by his spirt, etc. Doesn't the Scripture describe those apart from Christ as dead, deaf, blind, etc. What does dead mean?

    4. Look to the example of Lazarus being raised from the dead as a typological/physical picture of the greater spiritual reality found in the salvation of believers. Lazarus, as a dead man, what ability did he possess to save himself or achieve life on his own. But the voice of God calling out to him 'Lazarus, come out" was vivifying. It was only after he had being given life that Jesus told him "Take off the grave clothes and let him go."

    By Blogger Brandon Presbyterian, at 4/26/2006 9:49 AM  

  • Rose, excellent post! I was going to put my 2 cents in with the verses that Joe already quoted. :)

    So now I guess I'll just ask Bud if he wouldn't mind backing up his assertion (biblically) that the gift of faith is unbiblical.

    See, the difference in 'reformed' theology and 'free will' (for lack of a better description) theology is that R.T. has an almighty, all powerful God in control over His creation. Free will-ers put man in the driver's seat. There is too much in Scripture - both in the Old and New Testaments - that show basically it is all about God, not man.

    There's just too much to put in one comment!

    By Blogger Gayla, at 4/26/2006 9:54 AM  

  • Bud,
    You said:
    "The Calvinist doctrine of total inability means that an unregenerate person cannot believe in Jesus, even if they wanted to!"

    I am a Calvinist. This statement of yours is incorrect. Before you refute Calvinism, I suggest that you try to at least understand it (Calvinism) better than this statement of yours which is totally absurd. Perhaps you do understand it and simply want to construct straw dogs.

    Jazzycat

    By Blogger jazzycat, at 4/26/2006 9:56 AM  

  • Brandon and I were posting at the same time -

    Excellent comments, Brandon. There is so much Scripture to indicate that man is totally unable to choose Christ/salvation without the initial regenerating work of God.

    By Blogger Gayla, at 4/26/2006 9:57 AM  

  • Faith is the confidence that someone or something will not fail to live up to what they say they will do.
    I turn on a light switch because I believe (have faith) it will turn lights on or sit in a chair believing it will hold my weight or....

    Likewise, I have faith in God because I believe He will do what He promised He would do.
    I have 'saving faith' because God has promised I can be righteous before Him through Jesus sacrificial death - I believe His Word.
    I have 'prayer faith' because He has promised He has my best interest in mind.
    I have 'daily faith' because He has proven through His Word and through intervention in my life that He cares for me as a loving father. I have learned He is trustworthy.

    Faith is simple - trust that God is who He says He is.

    It is us grownup humans that need to make it so complicated. (as proven even on this blog that every word in scripture is debated, deconstructed, and put back together to say what each 'camp' of christianity wants it to say - while they criticize every other 'camp' for doing the same thing.)

    A child just 'trusts', which I am sure is the reason Jesus said we need to come as little children.

    Trusting, learning, child of God,
    Eunice

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/26/2006 11:46 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Jazzycat,

    "Do you think God hopes that things he wants to come to pass will in fact come to pass? Put another way, do you believe God is sovereign or that his power is limited?

    His power is limited in no way. He does not hope things He wants come to pass He ordains them. He ordains them in his own way and has complete leeway in ordaining things as He wills. He has not told us how He does that. It seems to me that your Reformist views jump to an extreme conclusion with evidence that cannot be clearly and plainly proved.

    "Did God hope Saul would be converted or did he accomplish this decree?"

    "Did he intervene in Saul's conversion with power and yet allow others to perish in hell because they do not choose to excercise faith? God does not show favoritism. Saul without God's power was hell bound."

    None of the above. He simply selected Paul to be His servant to take His word to the rest of the world. Quite abit unlike my own conversion and most others too I would guess. Christ simply made it impossible for Paul not to behold Him and believe. Christ needed a man for a unique job and through His appearing to Him He easily enlisted Paul. Favoritism? Simplistically I suppose that may look like favoritism. To me it looks like Christ going about His plan and picking a man to do help Him do a particular job.

    Brandon, I don't know how you can go from my word 'unique' to your word 'abnormal', in my referring to Paul's conversion. I don't think those are synonyms. I would say the same thing about the conversion of all of te Apostles. Unique. Was Christ coming up the road to some of the Apostles unique? Was recieving the Spirit at Pentacost unique? Was your conversion like that? No, that was unique, a specific momentous occassion meant for our learning and edification. God showing the unfolding of His plan for all the ages. So was Paul's conversion. Very unique. Abnormal? How did you get there? You certainly go off on a strange tangent with that. I think if you expect to be take seriously you need to do a much more careful job looking at and rephrasing what others have said.

    Paul saw depravity but he thought his own depravity was coverd by adherance to the Law. He saw other peoples depravity before God and thought he was serving God by persecuting them. Yes, Paul saw a version of his depravity but not that He must now please God by His following Christ. Christ came and enlightened the world as we know. Paul argued his depravity from scripture and the Word which he recieved from Christ. Things which he heard and read and which his sound mind, which God had created in His image, understood.

    And I agree with Gayla, except that there are many ways which that sovereignty can be enacted by God other than the way the Reformed doctrinaires have conjectured.

    Out of time, gone for the day. Good luck Rose, wow.

    And Mark, don't let all of the bad teaching that has caused all of this disunity win the day. The devil and the flesh is in the disunity and that is nothing to be resigned to. Not trying to frame your opinion, I just wanted to throw in a comment in tat regard.

    Blessings! Todd

    By Blogger Todd, at 4/26/2006 11:53 AM  

  • Eunice,

    On one level, you are exactly right.

    On another level, in going to share the gospel with someone else, would you pray first, and if so, for what?

    Here's the question: Is it enough just for you to share the gospel in that unbelievers in and of themselves possess all that is needed to believe and turn, OR must God show mercy, do a saving work, change the heart, enable the person to see, etc.

    Interesting, while the passage is somewhat unrelated, it is also one one level related, when Jesus says "Apart from me you can do nothing." Applies both to our coming to faith and to our leading others to Christ through the gospel.

    By Blogger Brandon Presbyterian, at 4/26/2006 11:55 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Brandon Presbyterian, at 4/26/2006 12:32 PM  

  • Todd,

    "Unique" or "Abnormal"... it doesn't matter, the point is the same (I was simply saving time, not intending to twist your meaning, though I see how it could be taken that way)... Salavtion is not simply the approval or selection of a particular set of doctrines, but comes through personal encounter with the living Lord, regardless of whether you are an apostle, or whether you are a doorkeeper. Hearing his compelling voice, having the scales removed from one's eyes, etc. Did Christ not show his ability and that he is the one who gives sight to the blind, makes the lame walk, cures those who have leprosy, enable the deaf to hear and raises the dead... and that the gospel is preached to those who are poor?

    WHY the need for the Spirit if man can do it all on his own? Does not John write "But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you. 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..."

    While I would not argue against the fact that apostles served a unique role, that as with anyone's salvation there were unique aspects concerning the cirmcumstances of their salvation, etc., that does not mean God worked any differently by rearranging/changing/or neglecting any of his soveriegn works in salvation in bringing them to faith (and service) in Christ. Does paul not say "for he chose US in him before the creation of the world..." "In love he predestined US to be adopted..." "In him WE were ALSO chosen... according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will..."

    Referring to the "bad teaching" (your own words), have we not simply presented what the Scripture itself teaches? Does not the Scripture say that GOD raises the dead, that GOD gives sight to the blind, etc.? Let those who have ears hear, and let the Scripture be the guide of all truth and the standard of what is good and bad teaching.

    By Blogger Brandon Presbyterian, at 4/26/2006 12:37 PM  

  • The mediatorial nature of regeneration:

    1 Peter 1
    22 ¶ 'Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:

    23 being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

    24 For all flesh is as grass,
    and all the glory of man as the flower of grass.
    The grass withereth,
    and the flower thereof falleth away:


    25 but the word of the Lord endureth for ever. Is. 40.6-9

    And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.'

    1 John 5
    10 'He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.

    11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Joh. 3.36

    12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

    13 ¶ These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God '

    Romans 5
    2 'by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

    3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

    4 and patience, experience; and experience, hope:

    5 and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.'

    Verses 3-5 indicate that the grace here includes mroe than just justifcation.


    1 Corinthians 4
    15 'For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.'

    Galatians 3
    2 'This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?'

    Regeneration is mediated by the Word or the Gospel received by faith.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 4/26/2006 1:51 PM  

  • I haven't read any of the meta (time restrictions) so I apologize up front if I am re-stating or ignoring something that was already posted. I try not to be sloppy like that - but today I beg your pardon.

    Spurgeon's sermon very accurately described two things - [1] that faith is very simple - and [2] that some people are not able to believe even though they hold all the facts.

    The moment that I believed that the gospel was true was -not- the same moment that I believed it was true "for me."

    When scripture teaches that faith is a gift, it is teaching that the ability to believe the facts requires a divine "opening of the eyes" as it were - Christ opens them, and once they are opened, they can never be closed.

    Being able to discern spiritual truth is not something a person can natually do - it has to be granted to that person by God, the natural person simply cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God apart from God's direct intervention.

    No one can believe who hasn't heard the truth - but God orchestrates who hears the truth through providence, and then personally opens the eyes of those whom He has chosen to believe.

    The moment God opens an individual's heart so that he or she will receive the gospel - in that moment the person is able to believe. God choses the time and place when this gift will be imparted - just as he did for Cornelius - and when the person's heart is prepared by God to receive the gospel, God has a person there to deliver it - just as Peter was directed by God to Cornelius' house.

    All that however is happening in the spiritual realm - here on earth it looks for all the world as though some of us are simply smarter than others - and because we are better than them we believe - and therefore have something to boast about.

    Faith isn't a work, it is a gift. It isn't something that we generate in a vacuum, but something that God graciously gives - yet when He gives it to us it is in perfect harmony with our own desire to take it.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 4/26/2006 2:06 PM  

  • Daniel, beautifully written.

    Matthew, no one denies the instrumentality of the Word in regeneration, but the question remains who is it that inclines the will toward God in salvation?

    Phil 2:13 "for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose."

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

    By Blogger Brandon Presbyterian, at 4/26/2006 2:39 PM  

  • Jazzy;

    In the desire to put a charitable spin on your rather pointed remarks directed at me, I assume that you are simply uninformed about Calvinism's doctrine of total depravity. When you aver "I am a Calvnist. This statement of yours is incorrect" you are revealing the fact that you do not fully understand the position which you claim to believe.

    Calvinism is very clear about this: "Because of the fall, man is unable of himself to savingly believe the gospel." This is a well known and foundational doctrine of Calvinism. It is easily documented from the Calvinist writings that what I have said is true. Frankly, I'm surprised that anyone who calls themselves a Calvinist is unaware of this doctrine!

    But here's the evidence that I have spoken the truth:

    First, listen to what the Westminster Catechism - the standard of Calvinism today - says about this:

    "Man, by his fall Into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation; so as a natural man, being altogether averse from good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto." (Ch. IX, sec. III.)

    Second, take a look at how the Reformed website, InTruth.Net defines the doctrine:

    "Point 1. (Calvinism) "Total Inability/Total Depravity" states: Because of the fall, man is unable of himself to savingly believe the gospel. The sinner is dead, blind, and deaf to the things of God; his heart is deceitful and desperately corrupt. His will is not free, it is in in bondage to his evil nature, therefore, he will not -- indeed he cannot -- choose good over evil in the spiritual realm. Consequently, it takes much more than the Spirit's assistance to bring a sinner to Christ -- it takes regeneration by which the Spirit makes the sinner alive and gives him a new nature. Faith is not something man contributes to salvation but is itself a part of God's gift of salvation -- it is God's gift to the sinner, not the sinner's gift to God."

    You can read the same thing at the Center for Reformed Theology and Apologetics. Both of them are quoting directly from "The Reformed Faith" by Loraine Boettner.


    Third,listen to what else Loraine Boettner has said: "In matters pertaining to his salvation, the unregenerate man is not at liberty to choose between good and evil, but only to choose between greater and lesser evil, which is not properly free will." In commenting upon John 5:40, which is an invitation to faith, Boettner says, "Man's ruin lies mainly in his own perverse will. He cannot come because he will not. Help enough is provided if he were only willing to accept it." But, as the Calvinists state elsewhere, he will not come becuase he cannot! You can verify that I have quoted Boettner correctly.


    Jazzy, I could go on and on to produce proof after proof that the belief that the unregenerate are INCAPABLE of believing is intrinsic to the Calvinist system.

    I am also tempted to say a few, tart words to your snarky remark that I "should at least try to understand it (Calvinism) better than this statement of yours which is totally absurd." But I, too, have been guilty of hitting the "Enter" button and said things I later regretted. So I will refrain from doing so. Indeed, you are right, the notion that an unbeliever cannot believe the gospel is absurd. But that is the Calvinist system.

    May I suggest that you spend more time studying this before you shoot of any other "rapid repsonses" and attempt to defend the indefensible?

    By Anonymous Bud Brown, at 4/26/2006 3:10 PM  

  • As for gayla's desire for "biblical proof" that the "gift of faith" is unbiblical, let me first say that I was referring to the Calvnist system. Remember, this is in a context of discussing Spurgeon's sermon.

    But I take up the challenge and note that if you do a concordance search for verses which have the words "faith" and "gift" (in any order), you will find that there are precisely five in the Bible: Romans 12:6, 1 Corinthians 12:9, 1 Corinthians 13:2, Ephesians 2:8 and Hebrews 11:4.

    That's it. That's the sum total to draw from. And you will see that in all but Ephesians 2:8 salvation is not in view.

    We could debate the exact exegesis of Ephesians 2:8 and wrestle with the gender concordance of the various nouns. But that is a very slender reed upon which to base an argument that the unbeliever cannot believe - and that is precisely what the Calvinists teach and believe.

    Set in contrast with all of the biblical admonitions to the unbeliever, that they must believe, it is a reed which pierces the Calvinist's hand.

    Now gayla, it is my turn.

    Would you please produce biblical exegesis, or at least a list of verses which at first glance suggest that faith is a gift. And to make it easy, so that we don't have to do a lot of exegetical complications, please restrict the list to verses that are dealing with justification.

    And to make it even easier, please show me the verses with have the words "faith" and "gift" in them which mean that saving faith is a gift!

    By Anonymous Bud Brown, at 4/26/2006 3:59 PM  

  • Brandon,
    You sure have a lot to say on this subject! You said:
    Have you considered as well that repentance is a gift?

    Now, look at my post and you will see this:

    I also received some verses about God “granting repentance” but I won’t include them here. I am just looking into one question right now: is faith a gift?

    What is so very interesting is that the brother that emailed me the verses also included the exact ones that you have. :~) (except he didn't capitalize anything.)

    Yes, the opportunity to believe in the completed work of Christ is a very big spiritual blessing ... awesome.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/26/2006 4:01 PM  

  • Ooops, I don't know how that pesky little {not} got in there. You gotta take that out of there for that sentence to make any sense.

    "Yes, Paul saw a version of his depravity but {not} that He must now please God by His following Christ.

    By Blogger Todd, at 4/26/2006 4:15 PM  

  • Hi H.K.
    I think Matthew's points were very good as well. I think I should be on a team blog with him or something.

    Hello again Jazzycat,
    I tend to see the situation with Saul similarly as Todd does. Paul definately had a very special ministry - unlike any other in history!
    He had a very unique conversion - unlike any other I have heard of. Did you get physicaly blinded when the Lord brought you the truth? ... knocked off a horse? Did you hear - audibly - the voice of the risen Christ? I would Paul's is a pretty unique conversion experiencce. Wouldn't you? :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/26/2006 4:15 PM  

  • Hi Todd,
    Well, that is the way I see it too - about being created in the image of God.

    Yes, I think "granting" us repentance, is allowing us - instead of letting us go on without any chance of turning to Christ. The point of that verse is not that God deposits repentance in the person, but that he grants GENTILES the opportunity and the way to life. I think we see it similarly. Besides, if we look at the verse - it doesn't say that God grants repentance to some gentiles, does it?

    I also love that verse from Timothy. I had it laminated to the inside of my purse for several years when I lived at home with mom. I still pray that she would come to her senses. Everything we recieve from God whether it be faith, the power to turn towards Him and from prince of this world(or repentence), whatever power we may have, is from Him, because He created us. This was very well put, IMO - I see it the same way - unless I change my mind.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/26/2006 4:40 PM  

  • Hi Bobby,
    Wow - I found something else that is a hypothetical mechanism. Whoda thunk? No wonder it is hard for me to get my mind around.

    Do you think faith is a gift, Bobby? If yes, can you tell me in what sense? I love your comments, especially metaphors (?) like these:
    ... that our particular and variant theological traditions gives legs to.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/26/2006 4:43 PM  

  • These are some other remarks I'd like to add Rose...

    Brandon,
    I'm not sure who you think you are talking to in the beginning of your comment directed at me but it is not regarding anything I said. You are waxing generalities and sermonizing, talking at me, certainly not with me. Much like with Daniel remarks, talking at us, not with us, we've heard these sermons before, what is interesting is bearing them out in a concise and functional way, working towards making ourselves clear, not just heard. Not so they formulate a fancy doctrine but so that they ring true with all within the context of the word of God. It bolsters my opinion that, with your handling of my word 'unique', this really sloppy way of handling words is at the core and will certainly perpetuate Christian disagreement and disunity. I might add you cited a verse that did not sound quite right and left no reference.

    In all of the verses you cited on God's chosing and God's working everything out according to His will, nowhere does that contradict the fact that man has a free will all His own when it comes to responding to God's scripture-long request that he listen and obey, and now to behold and believe that Christ sent to earth is the Son of God provided for us to be killed as a sacrifice for our imperfection. It certainly was easy for me to ignore for 35 years until I finally slowed down and beheld and believed in the Son through His word. So it is.



    I am also amazed at the simplicity and truth of Eunice's comments.

    Todd

    By Blogger Todd, at 4/26/2006 5:16 PM  

  • Rose,
    You said.....
    "Everything we recieve from God whether it be faith, the power to turn towards Him and from prince of this world(or repentence), whatever power we may have, is from Him, because He created us."

    There it is. You said it. A perfect example of what I call defacto Calvinsim. Whatever it is that enables us to believe can be traced back to God. I guess Matthew would call it 'back door' Calvinism.

    Interesting that you are closing in on uncovering ole jazzycat. So much is available beginning with my site. I'll bet ole Sherlock Holmes could uncover everything.

    Bud, Bud, Bud.....
    faith and gift do not have to appear in the same sentence for a text to show that faith is a gift.
    JOHN 6:65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.”

    Father enables one to come to Christ and it is the only way. Sounds like a gift to me.

    Jazzycat

    By Blogger jazzycat, at 4/26/2006 5:18 PM  

  • Phil 2:13 "for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose."

    This verse deals with the work of Sanctification in the believer. It concerns the outworking of the new nature in the believer.

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

    I do not like the translation you are using at all.

    16 'So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.'

    It is ultimatley up to God who he saves. He is sovereign. Nobody is saved merely because of the exercise of their will.

    Neverthless, the will is very active in rejecting Christ. Those who reject Christ do so out of the stubborness of their wills.

    Why do those who reject Christ do so and not others? We cannot know. This is simply a mystery of human depravity. We do not know why some commit adultery and others avoid that sin.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 4/26/2006 5:26 PM  

  • Jazzycat, John 6:65 was only true while Christ was on the earth before HIs crucifixtion. Then only those drawn by the Father could be converted. Now the Holy Spirit draws all men.

    "There it is. You said it. A perfect example of what I call defacto Calvinsim. Whatever it is that enables us to believe can be traced back to God. I guess Matthew would call it 'back door' Calvinism. "

    Not at all, you Calvinists have a thing called Common Grace (unless you are a disciple of Herman Hoeksema). That is that everything in man which is inclined towards God's ways is given by God. It is a softening in depreavity that Calvinists allow.

    The kindness of atheists to their wives and children can be traced back to God. The good sense of the Chinese government in punishing child abusers is a result of Common Grace.

    Man is not as wicked as he might. Therefore I have a hard time believing that he can make no positive response to grace.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 4/26/2006 5:32 PM  

  • Bud,
    I will explain more fully since I failed to the first time. I should have made it clearer.

    You said:
    "The Calvinist doctrine of total inability means that an unregenerate person cannot believe in Jesus, even if they wanted to!"

    The first part of that sentence is correct in explaining the doctrine.
    The part after the comma is the part that is incorrect. "Even if they wanted to" implies that an unregenerate person may want to, but be unable to. Inability includes the fact that unregenerate man will not want to.
    Read the supporting material you quoted carefully and you will not see any indication that a spiritually dead man will want to believe. He cannot, will not, and does not want to believe.

    I was a bit snarky as is calling Calvinism "the dark side." I guess I had a burr under my saddle. I apologize for that.

    Jazzycat

    By Blogger jazzycat, at 4/26/2006 5:48 PM  

  • Jazzy,

    I'll be glad to interact with your questions to me, after we've settled the issue of whether or not I have misrepresented Calvinism.

    By Anonymous Bud Brown, at 4/26/2006 6:02 PM  

  • Jazzy,

    Sorry. I didn't see your post correcting your statement about my views on Calvinism.

    So I am correct in stating that we agree that Calvinism teaches that the unbeliever is incapable of believing?

    The "even if he wanted to" was an injudiciously worded "thought experiment" on my part.

    No Calvinist would say that there might be unbelievers who want to believe but cannot. All the Calvinist will say is that unbelievers can't believe.

    But as a "thought experiment" the "even if he wanted to" is perfectly legitimate way of posing the reductio ad absurdum. It merely draws total inability to one of its logical, if absurd, conclusions.

    So I don't see how the "even if he wanted to" (optative mood) misrepresents Calvinism.

    By Anonymous Bud Brown, at 4/26/2006 6:35 PM  

  • Jazzycat,

    You said..
    "There it is. You said it. A perfect example of what I call defacto Calvinsim. Whatever it is that enables us to believe can be traced back to God. I guess Matthew would call it 'back door' Calvinism."

    And that's a nice argumentational snit but you isolate a sentence from the rest of the passage much like a Calvin.

    ...whereby his hearers will then reach out and take God's power that will save them from the trap. Everything we recieve from God whether it be faith, the power to turn towards Him and from prince of this world(or repentence), whatever power we may have, is from Him, because He created us. But He made us in His own image with the power to see Him as the one and only God and chose to accept or reject Him.

    In other words the preceeding and subsequent sentence are not there just for filler. The difference between defacto Calvinism and my doctrine is that mine conforms to scripture. God gives us the power to believe, reach out and take, to see, to chose, to accept or reject, all given to us by the power of God. He gives us the power to isolate a sentence without the rest of the ideas and get His meaning wrong. Calvin portrays us as not in any credible image of God at all, and then defines God's power as by settling on how Calvin imagines it to function, without sound scriptural support, and therefore impossible to come to agreement on. So I reject it.

    By Blogger Todd, at 4/26/2006 6:42 PM  

  • Jazzy;

    Sorry, I forgot to ask in my previous reply.

    Do you have anything besides John 6:65?

    I'll deal with John 6:65, but figured that rather than playing the Chinese water torture game, or rather our wearing each other out, it would be more productive if you fire everything you've got in re: saving faith as a gift.

    So give me your best shot.

    By Anonymous Bud Brown, at 4/26/2006 6:45 PM  

  • Bud and Jazzy,
    I have an interesting quote from John Calvin about this. It really surprised me.

    Forgiven,
    Welcome back! Wow, your example of the theif on the cross - one of my favorites! I know there are different ideas about the verse that says "if I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto myself." There are different ideas as to what "if I be lifted up" means - but I would imagine that if it was referring to the lifting up on the cross (which I think it does) then those guys may have been drawn in a very immediate way. Great verses

    In your thoughts - the idea of the anonymous billionaire deposting something into your bank account - means that the ability to believe is inherently there - or is that not what you mean?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/26/2006 8:39 PM  

  • Bluecollar,
    I think in my post on Ephesians 2:8-9 -I used a commentator - because I don't know Greek! You say: everyone resorted to their favorite Commentator/ scholar/ expositor of the word to back up their own way of looking at that verse ... If I remember correctly, that is not what happened. :~) I think I remember only one person bringing another commentator into the discussion. ;~) Mark, it surely would be fruitless to go on and on discussing things if none of us wants to consider that the "system" or "tradition" or "school of thought" we follow might be wrong. Yes, beating a dead horse is tedious. We can't change the world, but if a few people could become "of one mind" by working through some things, I think that would be good. For me, anyway, I feel more of a peace if I have given other thoughts a fair hearing. I think there is value in that and in discussing theology. If you don't like it, you can just watch from a distance, or not watch at all. I do like the comments you add, though, and appreciate your peaceable attitude. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/26/2006 8:48 PM  

  • Hi Joe!
    What do you think about what Jeff (2 comments below you) had to say about that? Do you mind my asking - when you say that you think faith is a gift, do you think it is a gift in the sense of a package to be taken and opened up, or is it like the billionaire depositing a check in your bank account when you weren't aware of it? Or do you have a third, better :~) way of explaining in what way you think faith is a gift? I am very interested in what you think - having gotten to know you just a little in the last 9 months or so. Thanks, Joe. :~)

    Jazzycat,
    Do Bin Laden's children have an equal chance to Billy Graham's children to excercise their free will and accept Christ?
    That is an interesting question. Do you feel that the elect are concentrated in certain global areas and ethnic groups?

    Jeff,
    I think your may be my favorite comment so far. It seems to confirm the fact that the Lord is working to convince people and that they need to look to Him in faith - as they are able and commanded to do, but that there are certain aspects and times when faith is a gift - for God's children. I do think the verses at the bottom of my post are for those who are already born again, not for those who aren't. Thanks for your comment. I can see it didn't end the discussion as you pronounced it would. ;~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/26/2006 10:16 PM  

  • Sofyst,
    you didn't even say hi to me. Matthew answered your question about 13 comments after you asked it. What do you think of his answer?

    Hi Bud Brown,
    You know, I guess this is a Calvinist idea, that faith is a gift. I had already gone over the five points of Cal a few months ago and have already rejected that system. When I heard different people say that faith is a gift, I thought it sounded like something the C. doctrine would find quite useful, but I want to see if it has any merit apart from "the doctrines of grace". Does that make any sense? ;~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/26/2006 10:26 PM  

  • Hi Gayla!
    Thanks for visiting. Can you tell me what you think of Jeff's thoughts on the gift aspect of faith? Also - I think Bud has a question for you. I am sorry to say this, but I think what you say about RT having the view of God being almighty while others put man in the drivers seat is not fair. Here is a poor illustration: if I give my dog a big, fenced-in back yard to run in as he pleases, does that mean I am not the master of that dog?
    Also, you say:
    There is so much Scripture to indicate that man is totally unable to choose Christ/salvation without the initial regenerating work of God. where is this scripture? I see it saying that God must draw men, but is this regenerating them?

    Hello Eunice. Nice to see you. :~)
    What you said is so perfectly and wonderfully simple. You sound like that Spurgeon sermon I posted over the weekend. Little children are as we should be - so true! If a little child cannot understand the gospel we share, then is it really what Christ told us to present? Good challenge.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/26/2006 10:34 PM  

  • Hi Daniel,
    You bring up Cornelius again, and, like you (you helped me to see this) I do believe that salvation is not a willy-nilly affair. God arranges and opens every door. But faith - is that not something that a person does or holds in his own heart and mind? It sounds like you may be saying that "sight" (open eyes) is a gift - which may make more sense than "belief" being a gift (that is just really abstract to me still). Or maybe that "proof" of the gospel is a gift God gives us that makes us believe - that could be a gift. Or regeneration - that could be a gift. All of these could be a gift that would lead to our personal belief or faith. But to say that believing in the gospel is itself a gift is very awkward. Do you know what I mean?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/26/2006 10:41 PM  

  • Daniel,
    One more thing - I don't think there is any room for boasting in the way that you say there is. Straw man? :~) :~) :~) Boasting?
    Thanks for visiting, Daniel.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/26/2006 10:46 PM  

  • Bud,
    You said…..
    “So I am correct in stating that we agree that Calvinism teaches that the unbeliever is incapable of believing?”

    Yes, until he is regenerated by the Holy Spirit. Faith follows regeneration.

    You said…..
    “All the Calvinist will say is that unbelievers can't believe.”

    I think the Calvinistic material you posted for me shows that the Calvinist position is more than just ‘can’t believe’. I would refer you there as I agree with them

    You said…..
    “But as a "thought experiment" the "even if he wanted to" is perfectly legitimate way of posing the reductio ad absurdum. It merely draws total inability to one of its logical, if absurd, conclusions.”

    I’ve got to compliment you as this is a good try, but it fails your reductio ad absurdum test in that it is illegitimate. Total inability does not logically lead to an unregenerate person not having the ability but wanting to believe. Total inability logically leads to an unregenerate person not wanting to believe like a small baby not wanting to take a bad tasting medicine. In short your statement, (even if they wanted to) takes total inability to an absurd conclusion not a logical one. If you will read the material you submitted, to convince me of something I already believed but did explain properly (my bad), it is clear that the doctrine of total inability would not produce a person wanting to believe before he is regenerated. Therefore, your reductio ad absurdum is not valid and your statement misrepresents Calvinism.

    Jazzycat

    By Blogger jazzycat, at 4/26/2006 10:57 PM  

  • Rose,

    I think you presented a really probing remark when you said the following faith solely coming from God with no ability to respond and accept it:

    "Salvation by grace through faith could just as well be salvation by Grace without faith."

    It would simply be grace, with nothing resembling faith. It would simply demand a different definition. The definition of faith would truly and only be 'the inability to believe'. It would entail an entirely distinct idea of which there would be no question as to whether faith is one thing, or the opposite. Is this just because I'm tired and it's getting late? Doubtful. This is really toying with my mind.

    The bible long ago, probably right up until the time of Christ incarnate(although I'd be o.k. with long before that), changed the promise from 'the promised land', to the promised eternal heavenly Kingdom, or something much harder to grasp and find proof of than a promised chunk of land. The promise made to us relies on faith of a different nature. Nowhere does it say that we are an unable non-participant in our required faith, it just says that it's not the whole thing without the help of the Spirit. But how? For better or for worse I can imagine a variety of ways, but none of them are explicitly proven in scripture other than there is a way for the dynamic of faith with God's help to play out and there is no way for us to be unable to have faith without stopping short of proof and just concluding out of sheer awe that we are total non-players. And have you heard the theory that God foreknew who would not reject Him and so those were chosen? Those who hold to the unscriptural view that the ability to believe would give men cause to boast, would still be in a dilemma because they could still claim that they earned God's calling since, at some point, they had not rejected Him. Once you toy with one of God's words, faith, and change the definition to mean something of the opposite, you start to just incite the lack of meaning of words that we rely on.

    The dynamic that I see that is in play in God's sovereignty in scripture is so much more powerful and complex, fearful and awe inspiring than this sovereignty which says "whatsoever I will...", and My Spirit has taken over and you have no will, no ability.

    There's alot to digest in all that has come out in this post/comments.

    Heartily with you in Christ! Todd

    And a big hello to John as well.

    By Blogger Todd, at 4/26/2006 10:59 PM  

  • Rose,
    You asked….
    “Did you get physicaly blinded when the Lord brought you the truth? ... knocked off a horse?”

    Actually… I wasn’t blinded, but knocked off a horse was not too far off. No time now, but my testimony is, well, let’s just say at age 50 + ten or so years ago the Lord got my attention in a very providential and a very Calvinistic way although I knew very, very, very little about the Bible and nothing about Calvin. Since I am really Jazzycat’s pet human, it is obvious that I do not like posting personal stuff on the web. But maybe I can post something on my site soon. I will notify you if I do.

    I do not think these exchanges are a waste even if nobody changes their mind. It has caused me to have a desire to prove my doctrine to myself more rather than take it for granted.

    Jazzycat

    By Blogger jazzycat, at 4/26/2006 11:19 PM  

  • Well now, this is my first visit here and I have to compliment you, Rose, on a great site.

    Interesting discussion and I will have to come back to it after doing some study. I was particularly interested in what Bud had to say and others who seem to think that it is in man's capability to seek or believe in God without God's intervention.

    Is faith a gift? Tough question, but there is no doubt that the seed of faith certainly is a gift of God, for without it we could not, or would not, endeavor to seek Him or believe.

    By Blogger JP, at 4/26/2006 11:20 PM  

  • Jazzycat,
    Are you not faulting Bud for misrepresenting Calvinist doctrine which by his definition cannot be logically represented? Todd

    By Blogger Todd, at 4/26/2006 11:22 PM  

  • Todd,
    Yes, I am asserting that Bud misrepresented Calvinism by adding something to it that is not true or logical and in fact is absurd. I contend that the total inability doctrine of Calvinism is logical and should stand or fall on it's true meaning without being distorted. I explained my position to him about five posts before this one if you haven's seen it.

    Jazzycat

    By Blogger jazzycat, at 4/27/2006 12:13 AM  

  • Jazzy;

    For the sake of productive argument I will temporarily concede your point that my attempt at reductio ad absurdum is illegitimate. I may choose to retract my concession at a later date, but for the moment let's focus in on what you concede: that according to Calvinism the unbeliever cannot believe.

    Just to reinforce this point for those who may not be aware that this is what Calvinism teaches, let me adduce some further evidence that this is standard Calvinism.

    "The Bible stresses the total inability of fallen man to respond to the things of God; he is not able to do so. This is what the Calvinist refers to as 'total depravity'. [Their emphasis] K. G. Talbot and W. G. Crampton, Calvinism, Hyper-Calvinism and Arminianism, p. 20.

    "... the sinner, of himself, cannot repent and believe." A. W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God, p. 149.

    Nor is the doctrine of total inability a derivative of other truth claims within the Calvinst system. It is essential to Calvnism, and without the doctrine of total inability Calvnism itself falls by the wayside. Calvinist scholars themselves make this claim!

    "A denial of total depravity leads to a denial of sovereign grace. This in turn leads to a denial of limited atonement and unconditional election. And the preservation of the saints necessarily falls by the wayside." H. Hanko, "Total Depravity" in The Five Points of Calvinism by Herman Hanko, Homer Hoeksema, and Gise J. Van Baren, p. 17.

    "Deny this doctrine [total inability] and the whole of Calvinism is demolished." D. J. Engelsma, "The Death of Confessional Calvinism in Scottish Presbyterianism" The Standard Bearer Vol 68, p. 103.

    "If this truth [total inability] is denied, softened, vitiated in any respect, it becomes impossible to preserve any of the truth of God's Word." H. Hanko, "Total Depravity" in The Five Points of Calvinism by Herman Hanko, Homer Hoeksema, and Gise J. Van Baren, p. 23.

    Are we in agreement so far? That Calvinism asserts that the unbeliever cannot believe, and that this doctrine is essential to Calvinism?

    (For those of you who may think that Jazzy and I have veered off onto a rabbit trail, please hang in there with us. This is intimately connected with whether or not one sees saving faith as a gift. If, as Jazzy et al assert, the unbeliever is unable to believe, then he must be given faith so that he can believe and be born again. If the unbeliever is capable of believing as I assert, then faith is not a gift from God, it is within the unbeliever's grasp)

    By Anonymous Bud Brown, at 4/27/2006 12:51 AM  

  • Bud's and Jazzy's discussion seems to be able, and should be, reduced to a discussion on biblical anthropology--quick commercial, I have a wonderful :) article on an alternative biblical anthropology to the "popular" soteriological systems known as: Calvinism, Arminianism, Free Grace. It's the second article down on my front page ;).

    Rose asked:

    "Do you think faith is a gift, Bobby? If yes, can you tell me in what sense? . . ."

    Tough question for me, Rose, seriously! I've been struggling, flip flopping on this question for years! I'm not sure I'm ready to make a declaration, although I'm leaning one way more than the other, on this issue. My upbringing, and familial ties, actually have a grip on me . . . that w/o a doubt make it hard for me to take the plunge in the direction I'm leaning right now!

    The answer to this question is rooted in some mystery--it just depends on where we want to place the emphasis of this mystery, in God's nature or in the imago dei?

    I think there is a great principle to follow here, it is:

    Quae supra nos, nihil ad nos=What is above us is none of our business (or Deut. 29:29). Do you think this question is above us, Rose? Or do you think there is some reasonable resolution here?

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at 4/27/2006 1:48 AM  

  • May the peace of God be with you, Rose~ :)

    By Blogger audrey`, at 4/27/2006 2:09 AM  

  • " If you don't like it, you can just watch from a distance, or not watch at all."

    Somehow my thoughts were taken wrongly. I did not want to come off as though I was accusing you of beating a dead horse. If you remember, I said that you were gutsy and honest.

    My observation was that these discussions always end up with people talking past eachother. That is what happened last November on your Calvinist discussion, and that is what happened a few weeks ago at Moorhead.

    However, there does seem to be alot more dialogue this thread, a credit to your ability to lead a discussion.

    Thanks for the advise quoted above.

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 4/27/2006 6:43 AM  

  • Rose, you honor me by asking my opinion. You are safe to do so, though, because I have one on just about everything.

    Jeff set out to end the discussion on the matter of faith. It seems that he failed at that.

    However, I have no particular argument with his conslusions.

    I believe the faith that results in salvation is given to us by God when we first trust in the finished work of Christ at the cross and His resurrection.

    To put it another way, God imputes to us the necessary faith when we express an interest in confessing Jesus' Lordship (Rom 10:9ff), and believe God has resurrected Him.

    As to the method of delivering that faith, I have no idea.

    For me, it came as an awareness of what God had done for ME and a desire to both follow Him and learn more about Him.

    To be sure, there have been times when my faith was challenged by some circumstance. When that happened, I asked God to help me with my faith, which He did.

    It seems to me that my faith is stronger today than it has ever been, suggesting some kind of positive progression.

    I came face-to-face with it when I suffered a series of heart attacks. It was my faith that enabled me to face my mortality in a real, not theoretical, manner.

    This moment I am still here on earth. In the next, I may not be, and that's OK with me.

    Whether I live to be 64 and 4 months, or 88, I will live to serve Christ.

    That is why I don't engage in arguments over things like predestination, as in Calvinism vs Arminianism.

    As a day-to-day issue, it just doesn't matter to me.

    He did and does what He did and does because He gets to do what He wants, since He is God and I am not. He knows and I don't.

    I will continue to testify to His righteousness, mercy and grace to whomever will listen. To those who won't, that's OK. I will have done my part.

    Bless you, Rose. Your blog is a great blessing to me daily.

    By Blogger Joe, at 4/27/2006 6:53 AM  

  • Todd,
    Yes, it would seem that if faith is just part of grace, then why is it a factor at all? I am becoming more convinced that faith and belief is from us - out of our need and desperation or whatever unique circumstance God arranges and uses to show us His truth - when we are unregenerate - not from God, who is not residing in us at that point. (boy, that was a run-on sentence)

    Jazzy,
    So you had a very intense conversion. It would be neat to read about it. Many others do not have a very dramatic experience like Paul - I would venture to say most converts have not gotten blinded and knocked off of a horse. I would even venture to say that the majority of Christians have never heard the audible voice of the risen Christ, but I could be wrong on that. ;~)
    I know I haven't heard him audibly.

    Bobby,
    What an interesting comment you made!
    Quae supra nos, nihil ad nos=What is above us is none of our business (or Deut. 29:29).
    John and I were discussing TULIP the other night and I told him this: "This stuff is really none of our business so why do people go preaching it from pulpits?" (Now maybe you can guess where some of my inspiration to delve into these subjects comes from.) Do I think this particular question is above us? I don't know - I think maybe it is very simple, but perhaps those who dogmatically say things like "faith is a gift" bring it out and we must then think about it. I was always content to leave certain things alone until they were thrust in my face time and again. Does that make any sense?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/27/2006 8:16 AM  

  • Hi JP,
    Thanks for visiting. I will check out your blog as well.

    Audrey,
    God bless you, sister. Thank you for the word. :~)

    Bluecollar,
    I think I mistook you. I thought you were thinking that we were beating a dead horse and that you found it very unpleasant.
    You know I love you brother!

    Joe,
    Thanks for answering me - I count that an honor! You are a wise man. I am very glad you enjoy this blog.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/27/2006 8:23 AM  

  • Hi again Rose,

    Why is there so much hatred for Christ in the world? Why do Christians suffer so much at the hands of their fellow man? Why did Jesus tell His disciples that they would be hated, and that some would actually be killed by those who think that in doing so that they are doing God a favor?

    The world does not know God. According to Romans 1:18-32 mankind's history is full of his attempts to wipe the knowledge of God out of existance. What is the difference between those who believe and those who are hostile to Christ? Why do some believe while others hate Christ? Does John 3:19 say, " And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and SOME men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil...?

    In Acts 4 the authorities were greatly disturbed that the apostles were preaching Christ. Why? Standing right before them were men full of faith, ready to die for Christ. What a contrast between the the two. One group of men ready to die for Christ, and the other readyto kill them because of Christ. Why the difference?

    After threatening them the apostles were allowed to rejoin their brethren.

    While assembled, the brethren went to prayer. In that prayer they quoted the second Psalm:"Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things? The kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers were gathered together Against The Lord and against His Christ"...verse25-26. Then verse 27 goes on to list all that were involved in the hostile rejection of Christ.

    I gather from this that there is a lesson here for us to learn; that is,that since the fall, man is hostile to God. If God does not give the gift of faith then man goes on in his hostile ways against Him.

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 4/27/2006 8:33 AM  

  • Some Calvinists couch their anthropology in man's inability to believe. That is only part of the story. I believe that the Bible teaches that unregenerate man is hostile to God.

    Now, I have seen Matthew ask before if all men know of their hostility. I say,"No". Simply because no one knows or understands God. People simply serve a god of their own imaginings.

    Remember that Jesus said that those things that come out of the heart, those are the things that defile a man. It is in those things where man's hostilities are manifested. They are all contrary to God.

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 4/27/2006 9:33 AM  

  • Hi Rose, excellent post with great discussion!

    Here's my two cents...I think "deeper faith" is a gift. We have a God-given, general faith and it is with that faith that we choose to believe or reject the gospel. If we believe AND receive (believing is not enough because remember the demons believe), then God gives us the power to believe unto salvation. (John 1:12-13) We see that with Lydia in Acts 16:14. We know that God looks upon the heart as seen in the verse you gave in Acts 15:8-10.

    If we were unconditionally elected why would God command us to raise up our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord? (Proverbs 22:6; Ephesians 6:4) Why did Paul say that the scriptures are able to make thee wise unto salvation? (2 Tim 3:15) What would it matter one iota if God unconditionally elects? It matters because God elects on condition. It is way more likely that we will believe in the Lord if we're raised in a godly environment; though it isn't a given. Just as it isn't a given that someone raised an atheist will automatically become an atheist as seen in Madelyn Murray O'Hare's case with her son John.

    Why did Jesus say in John 5:34 that he was telling the pharisees these things [that He was indeed the Savior] that they might be saved, if they were not able to be saved?

    I'll stop now, but I could go on and on. Keep up the good work Rose and continue to search for the truth.

    By Blogger Dawn, at 4/27/2006 9:42 AM  

  • I say that Romans 3:10-23 is all one idictment against mankind. That part that says that all have sinned is part of the same train of thought that states that there is none who understands, there is none who seeks after God, they have all turned aside. I am also aware of a particular hermeneutic that would suggest that the things said in verses 11 and twelve are now seperated from that train of thought in the rest of the chapter because Christ now draws all men to Himself, thus nullifying verses 11 and 12 of Romans 3. No more applicable for today. Hmmm.

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 4/27/2006 9:43 AM  

  • Bud,
    You said that I concede that Calvinism teaches the unbeliever cannot believe. Concede is the wrong word in that it implies that I reluctantly agree. It is my belief and not a concession. Between you and I this would not be important, but other people may read these posts. The doctrines of grace are things for which I praise God.

    I essentially agree that the so-called five points logically fit together with total Inability (the term total depravity is somewhat misleading so I prefer the other name) being the foundation. Calvinism includes much more than just the doctrines of grace (five points).
    I should point out that I think the fifth point P is accomplished by God and not man as many seem to believe.

    I am not sure I agree with the statement you attribute to Herman Hanko, Homer Hoeksema, and Gise J. Van Baren, p. 23. I do not believe God’s word stands are falls on the Calvinism interpretation of the doctrines of grace and I am not a hyper-calvinist.

    Your last paragraph reverses what to me is crucial in this debate and in fact the whole argument boils down to and that is the order of regeneration (born again) and faith. I believe Scripture teaches that regeneration precedes faith. God changes people’s hearts through the Holy Spirit and enables them to freely and willingly come to Jesus as their savior. I sincerely believe that divine intervention occurred in my case prior to my having any interest in Christ. It seems to me, to be regenerated after one comes to faith would be like getting well from an infection and then taking medicine for the infection.

    With those minor points of clarification as to my beliefs you may precede if you were waiting for my response.

    Jazzycat

    By Blogger jazzycat, at 4/27/2006 9:58 AM  

  • Why is it that Araham told the dead rich man that even if one came back from the dead his five brothers would not believe, if they did not believe Moses and the prophets? Luke 16:19-34. Why is it that though Jesus did so many miracles that still they would not believe? John 12:37. Why is it when God executes His wrath during the tribulation that man still does not repent?

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 4/27/2006 10:00 AM  

  • Rose,

    My point is that, Biblically, Man's inability and his hostility towards Christ are inseperable. Many on this thread don't seem to accept that. No one is inclined to come to Christ.

    Now we must answer why some do while others procede in their hostility.

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 4/27/2006 10:08 AM  

  • Rose, You are an excellent blogger. I love your honesty and straightfowardness. (is that a real word?)

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 4/27/2006 10:12 AM  

  • Jazzy;

    Point well taken. "Concede" is not the right word. Calvinists wholeheartedly endorse the doctrine of total inability.

    And I agree with you re: Hanko et al. They have co-opted others' claims on biblical truth, presupposing their conclusion.

    Two of our staff pastors are out this week and I've got extensive sermon prep to do, along with some hospital visitation. So I'll probably not be posting any more on this until next week. But, to quote the machine, "I'll be back!"

    By Anonymous Bud Brown, at 4/27/2006 11:21 AM  

  • Hi rose~

    May I address Dawn?

    Dawn, Good Morning! To answer your questions, God has means to bring about His purposes. In this case He uses His Word to bring about salvation in His elect.

    Example:
    Romans 10:17-Faith comes by hearing the word of God.

    1 Cor. 1:21-God used the message preached to save those who believe

    James 1:18-God brought us forth by the word of truth

    1 Peter 1:23- We are born again by the word of God

    2Tim.2:10- Paul was willing to endure all hardships in order to bring in God's elect, by preaching.

    God's way of bringing in His elect is through preaching the word, that word that is able to make us wise unto salvation.

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 4/27/2006 12:07 PM  

  • Matthew, You say...
    "Jazzycat, John 6:65 was only true while Christ was on the earth before HIs crucifixtion. Then only those drawn by the Father could be converted. Now the Holy Spirit draws all men."

    Can those outside of dispensationalism be convinced of that? How far back in history do we have to go before we stumble accross the origins of that interpretation? Not far I would imagine.

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 4/27/2006 12:19 PM  

  • Hi rose~,

    You'll have over a hundred by day's end.

    Sister Jodie, you quote Matthew as saying...
    "(2)

    Essentially, the doctrine of pre-conversion regeneration is deductively establihed on the basis of the Calvinist view of man's inability."

    Interesting. How does man come to Christ when the Bible clearly teaches that no one understands, no one seeks God? Keep in mind, I am outside the Dispensational system. As that is so, how do you share your system with me without first showing me that your system is the way for all to interpret scripture?

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 4/27/2006 12:30 PM  

  • Hi, Ros(i)e; I haven't had/made time to read even your "post" (part 2), but, as I was "scrolling" through the comments, I stopped and "skimmed" Daniel's comment. I've been wrong in my "take" as to other comments; with that as a caveat, I say "ditto" as to Daniel's comment. Time allows me only to reiterate: It's not that we don't seek God or choose Him, it's that we can't seek Him or choose Him until/unless He allows, indeed, causes, us to do so (in other words, until He regenerates us). The "plain sense" reading of Scripture which results in such conclusion is available to all who are regenerate; isn't it just pride which causes us to insist that we must have a part to play? Uh oh, now I've done it!

    By Anonymous Jim McDermott, at 4/27/2006 12:49 PM  

  • Mark, deal with the texts.

    We can only evaluate our systems by finding problems with the system we had before.

    An evolutionist may find problems with the theory of evoution and may thus come to question his system.

    If he were shown those problems by a Creationist, should he say 'I do not follow your system of Creationism. You must prove your system to me'? No, he should recognise that there are flaws that his system cannot explain and he needs to reconsider it.

    If there are problems with your Covenant Premillennial Baptist theology, you need to consider them and evaluate your system, Mark.

    As regards my view of John chapter 6 I will admit that I am aware of only one writer who shares my view of that text.

    This does not bother me. I have only contempt for tradition. Who cares if the majority think soemthing else? People tend to follow crowds and the majority is usually wrong.

    As it happens the writer who takes this view is Progressive Dispensational.

    One need not accept either the theological system of Dispensationalism to take the view that the nature of the drawing in John 6 is different from the drawing after the offer of the Gospel.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 4/27/2006 12:51 PM  

  • Rose, there is a sort of category error that tries to separate the inseparable so that each facet can be examined as though it were a stand alone thing.

    Grace and faith in the context of Ephesians 2:8-9 is one such place.

    Faith works through grace - grace being the vehicle in which faith is couched. One cannot argue that grace is the "free gift" and that the very faith (that this same grace was given to produce) is not heart of the gift - at least one can't argue that and remain intellectually honest.

    It is as if this person were suggesting that the envelope in which we send the letter is the free gift, and the letter it bears is inconsequential.

    Given that this is my conviction in the matter - that is, that if faith is something that we produce in and of ourselves outside of God's quickening us - then we have every right to take credit for at least a part of our salvation - that is, we can boast about our part.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 4/27/2006 1:44 PM  

  • I might add - my understanding is this:

    God quickens me (grace) so that I am able to believe (faith), and until he does so, the facts remain comprehensible, but I cannot exercise faith in them.

    How many people have I heard cry as the lady does in Spurgeon's sermon - "I want to believe!" They have all the information, they want to believe it, but they are unable to.... WHY?

    Because they cannot believe until God opens their heart - Adam was fully formed, but until God breathed life in Him he was unable to live.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 4/27/2006 1:48 PM  

  • Three in a row??

    Sorry - just an afterthought.

    When God is the cause of our ability to believe - we truly cannot boast, because it isn't as if we were smarter, more sincere and simply "better able to believe" than the next person - it is that we were unable to turn the facts into faith until God opened us - and because God did that, and only because God did that - were we able to believe - thus we cannot boast, there is no room for us to boast, nothing at all, not one tiny speck of credit we can take for ourselves. God, and God alone gets the glory for our salvation.

    One might quibble about how small and insignificant the glory we garner to ourselves is when we insist that we played a role in granting our own belief - but however much glory we pretend we are not taking - the same is taken away from God.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 4/27/2006 1:54 PM  

  • Matthew,

    You are operating under the presupposition that my system is the flawed one. I can and do say the same about your system. You see things through your lens, and I see them through mine.

    I am sorry,sir, but you did come off a bit arrogant in your response to me. I still respect you though.

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 4/27/2006 2:06 PM  

  • Matthew, it is you that have to deal with the text. From my vantage point, I see you doing alot of gymnastics in order to come to your interpretation.

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 4/27/2006 2:13 PM  

  • Matthew, You say,"As regards my view of John chapter 6 I will admit that I am aware of only one writer who shares my view of that text."

    Then why do you think that it should be obvious to me if only so few see it that way.

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 4/27/2006 2:19 PM  

  • No Matthew, I am not angry

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 4/27/2006 2:21 PM  

  • Well, I guess when Jesus says "If I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto myself."

    if "lifting up from the earth" means the crucifixion, then this drawing He spoke of would be implemented after "He was lifted up from the earth." It seems plain to me. I thought this before I even really knew about dispensationalism. What does that even have to do with disp., Mark? :~) (I have a smile on my face towards, you, bluecollar). Is that what you are saying Matthew, or am I missing the point?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/27/2006 2:37 PM  

  • Hi jim,
    Since you appreciated Daniel's thoughts, maybe you would like to answer this question I posed to him:
    God arranges and opens every door. But faith - is that not something that a person does or holds in his own heart and mind? It sounds like you may be saying that "sight" (open eyes) is a gift - which may make more sense than "belief" being a gift (that is just really abstract to me still). Or maybe that "proof" of the gospel is a gift God gives us that makes us believe - that could be a gift. Or regeneration - that could be a gift. All of these could be a gift that would lead to our personal belief or faith. But to say that believing in the gospel is itself a gift is very awkward. Do you know what I mean?

    Thanks for visiting, Jim!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/27/2006 2:39 PM  

  • Daniel,
    Thanks. I am not sure that you understood my question about the awkwardness of saying that belief is a gift. Or ... maybe you did and you answered that and I just didn't get the answer. (this is entirely possible. I will read over your answer again.)

    Here is another question to further illustrate what I mean by the awkwardness of saying that belief is a gift:

    Is obedience a gift? If I obey God - is that a gift? Now, I think you will say that the power to obey is from grace and grace is the gift, but think about the original question. Isn't it awkward to say that obedience - required for blessing - is a gift?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/27/2006 2:43 PM  

  • Hi Dawn,
    Thanks for the visit. I see that you have yet another idea about this than those presented. (Well, it is pretty close to what Jeff said, I think.) Thanks!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/27/2006 2:45 PM  

  • Rose - perspective helps.

    We could not eat anything except that God provided the necessary rain and sunshine upon which the food chain rests.

    Yet, we still have to sow and reap, to raise animals for food, and whatnot. If I continue to look only at the sowing and reaping, and animal husbandry - I might say from that perspective, that I, and I alone, am responsible for feeding myself.

    Yet, if I understand the food chain, I must admit - that unless the light had fed the field, and unless the rain had watered it, all my sowing and husbandry would produce nothing - no matter how diligent or sincere I happened to be - it would still produce nothing.

    Unless a seed is nourished it cannot grow into anything. God didn't have to make us rely on sunlight and rain for life - but he did it that way, so that we can no more take credit for the food that we "produce" - than we can take credit for the sun and the rain. Even if we grow the seed in a laboratory, we cannot take credit that it grows - because we are not the ones who made the rule that when you give a seed light and water it will grow - God, and God alone can take credit for that.

    Can I take the credit, really, when the seed flourishes in my garden? Yes, I wanted it to grow, yes, I plowed the fallow ground, yes, I weeded the land, even enriching it with good soil - yet the growth came from God.

    It is awkward to say that food is a gift from God - but it is entirely correct when our perspective is correct.

    When I think of faith, I don't begin my reasoning at the part I play - as though my faith was something I managed to produce in a vacuum - rather I begin to reason from the vantage of who saves whom. If I am responsible to generate my own faith - then God's role in my salvation is reactionary - in fact, the only role he plays in my salvation is that of a broker - I hand the faith that my own might has made over the counter to God - and He, being the salvation broker, is duty-bound to provide me with the salvation that my own efforts - that is, my own self-generated faith has purchased.

    If faith is truly a gift, then this scenario shifts to God who is purchasing my salvation using His own currency.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 4/27/2006 3:33 PM  

  • Bud,
    Later will be fine. I will be taking the time to research what is the best Scriptural reference for faith being a gift….. My best shot as you said. To make it a fair debate, I also request that you provide your best Scriptural references that man’s fall did not leave him spiritually dead, dumb, blind and incapable of seeking God.

    Jazzycat

    By Blogger jazzycat, at 4/27/2006 3:51 PM  

  • Daniel,
    Point well taken on boasting.

    Bluecollar,
    Many good points especially about what Abraham told rich dead man.

    Matthew,
    Contempt for tradition is one thing, but I really get nervous when my views start running counter to well respected scholars that I respect. It has happened and when it does, I take a deep breath, put it on the back burner, and keep my mind open with a plan of further consideration.

    Jazzycat

    By Blogger jazzycat, at 4/27/2006 3:53 PM  

  • Wow, Ros(i)e! Has 100 been reached before?

    Time permits only, as you've described it, a "drive-by".

    Faith comes by hearing, hearing the EUANGELION. The euangelion is the MEANS of grace in salvation. For the natural man, it is foolishness; he cannot understand that which comes from the Spirit of God [1 Cor. 2:14 (as it's "stored" in my memory).

    Once our Lord has removed the veil, that is, once He's regenerated someone, the euangelion is understood; indeed, it's astonishingly simple!

    The conclusion is foregone (and foreordained): That someone WILL seek and choose God. That's because grace, as to salvation, is irresistable!

    Obedience is a result of salvation. As you know, it's the "bailywick" of sanctification, rather than salvation. Paul admonished the Ephesians and the Thessalonians, respectively, not to grieve or quench (stifle) the Spirit. THAT is a moment-by-moment process in which our participation is required.

    I fail in that regard with embarrassing frequency; who doesn't? But, I thank God that He's given me a desire to obey! Such desire is the result of and concomitant to salvation. Absence of desire to obey is evidence of absence of salvation.

    By Anonymous jim mcdermott, at 4/27/2006 4:03 PM  

  • Daniel,
    Wow, that was great. Perspective is everything and the view that you, me, Brandon, Bluecollar and others share seem to share have that God centered perspective that you explained so well.

    Jazzycat

    By Blogger jazzycat, at 4/27/2006 4:06 PM  

  • Jazzy - The thing is that most of us assume that our perspective is actually the "more" God-centered.

    When I say my position is "God centered," by that I only mean that in my understanding, God both originates and completes the act of salvation - that is, God is the Alpha and Omega, the Author and Finisher of my faith - if you will.

    Not everyone is going to see it like that. Some won't see an inconsistency in calling God the Author of our faith, and at the same time arguing that faith originates from fallen man.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 4/27/2006 5:11 PM  

  • Mark, you give the impression that you are just happy to ignore interpretations of texts that seem 'Dispensational'.

    I should like you to show where I do gymnastics.

    To be honest, I have not spent very much time defending my position on John 6, so I do not know where I have had the opportunity to perform some hermeneutical gymnastics.

    I am sure Martin Luther came across as a bit arrogant. I am sure he was shown the many respected theologians of the Church through the ages and how they disagreed with his doctrine of justifcation.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 4/27/2006 5:57 PM  

  • How soon before one is granted faith is that one regenerated?

    This poses a serious problem. Is it seconds, minutes, years ...

    Can one turn His back to the truth before he is granted faith, but after regeneration? Was that one regenerated before the foundation of the world or at the time when he exercises faith?

    Speaking of this takes me out of my league.

    By Blogger J. Wendell, at 4/27/2006 7:31 PM  

  • Rose,

    Thought you'd be interested in re-reading one of your own posts on this very issue. http://rosesreasonings.blogspot.com/2005/11/tuliptotal-depravity.html

    By Anonymous Bud Brown, at 4/27/2006 8:35 PM  

  • jazzy;

    I had planned to do exactly that. But with the length that this comment section has grown to I'm beginning to wonder if there's not a more effective venue for our dicussion?

    By Anonymous Bud Brown, at 4/27/2006 8:37 PM  

  • Due to the inordinate number of comments accumulated, from now on you will be know as the Pyro-rosiac.

    By Blogger Joe, at 4/27/2006 8:41 PM  

  • Rose, boy am I late to the show! I admit I have not read all the above comments, but after reading your post I still have the same questions as I raised in my post, The Origin of Faith

    (1) I still like they way Matt asked the following question there: “If God is equal in His attempts to convince both person A and person B of the truth of the gospel, and person A believes it while person B rejects it, the dividing line between the two is found in man. Why is person A in heaven and person B in hell? Because of something that person A did and yet person B failed to do.”

    (2) Unbelievers are commanded to believe and repent in Scripture. God is said to grant both. Why is it that repentance is thought to be a work but not faith?

    Acts 16:14 “And a certain woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.”

    Great comment Joe!

    By Blogger Jonathan Moorhead, at 4/27/2006 8:46 PM  

  • hello all of you;
    I am Rosie's brother Pat. I have broken my own rule and re entered the blogosphere. I heard Rosie had attempted to explain the passages on faith I sent her. I read your post Rosie and 100 comments about it. I am surprised that all those of you who claim faith is man's contribution to salvation have not bothered to explain the texts that were posted...with one lone exception. Kudos to matt for trying, albeit halfheartedly. I would like to implore those of you who share Rosie's opinion on faith.Consider the passages and explain them. Focus on the texts! What does it mean when it says Jesus "purifies our hearts by faith?" If these passages dont mean what they say, what do they mean? Honestly, I would like to know!I was hoping to get some insight into these verses that I couldn't see. I see the Bible teling us that our faith comes from God. Before my regeneration I had all the faith a child of satan could muster. It is nothing compared to that which I was given with the Spirit. Whether it came before, during or after is irrelevant really. The point is that faith and repentence are PART OF regeneration. It doesn't come from us,it is all God's work.

    Consider this in relation to faith:
    John 6:35-"35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.

    and then verse 37:
    John 6:37-" 37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. 39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.
    It seems very clear all who "come" will never hunger or thirst and all those "given" by the Father "WILL" "come"! Jesus will "lose nothing" (no one) given by the Father. "Coming" to Jesus is a picture of "faith." The verse goes on:
    And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life;
    "Beleiveing" after the aforementioned verses is redundant in the text and as pre ordained as the individual is to salvation. If you find this hard to believe read this:

    Acts 13:48-"
    48 Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.
    "Believing/faith" is as preordained as salvation is for the elect. It is easy to see how Jesus, "purifying their hearts through faith" fits into this scriptural process of salvation. God has done it all for us.
    Kudos to Rosie for addressing the verses.
    God Bless You All-Pat

    By Anonymous Pat, at 4/27/2006 9:05 PM  

  • Pat, Acts 13:48 is pivotal. Great text!

    By Blogger Jonathan Moorhead, at 4/27/2006 10:17 PM  

  • Hi Pat!
    I think Matthew addressed the passages fine, not half-heartedly. His thoughts really are what I already told you that I thought about a couple of the verses, too. It seems like everybody does indeed have their mind made up about these things, doesn't it? You say you read the whole 100 comments? You saw nothing that would challenge your idea that faith is deposited in the bank without interaction? I wish you would say what you think of the actual things I said in the post, too. I often feel in these discussions like I am being preached sermons too about these things without any consideration given to the things that I have to say and ask. It doesn't feel like a conversation very much.

    I question this teaching. It doesn't sit right with me. I see how you Calvinists arrive at your ideas and I am willing to give you that - can't you do the same for me? How is it that I have been studying the Bible for 20 years and have never come up with these same conclusions? Then, once I heard of this odd teaching, I really tried to find it, but could not find it as an over-reaching theme of the NT. I feel like we are reading two different books. :~(

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/27/2006 10:26 PM  

  • WOW Rose (hey I got your name right. hehehe oh....I'm on your site instead of your partnered site.)

    Lots of comments on this one. Can this debate ever end? Its very doubtful isn't it?

    Eph. 2:8 Someone may have already brought this up....... I just wonder why Paul doesn't just say we are saved by grace and leave it at that if faith is a gift and we don't have anything to do with it?

    By Blogger Kris, at 4/27/2006 10:28 PM  

  • I just find it interesting that those who assert that they follow the "Doctrines of Grace"--whatever that means--never "critically" provide a definition of what "Grace" actually is relative to their definition of sin. In fact it kind of irritates me. Historically those who supposedly follow the doctrines of grace have forwarded a concept of "grace" that sees it as a "created quality"; i.e. an intermediate concept of grace--which is, even in the Calvinistic construct, believed to be something that can be harnessed and thus leads to a cooperative understanding of the salvific act. In other words after the Fall man lost original righteousness, thus God needed to create a mechanism that would reconcile man back to relationship with Him. The Calvinistic solution is to see God as providing "created grace" (synonymous with the pre-Fall created rigtheousness) for the elect; and elect man is then able to "habituate" (cooperate) with this "created grace" and "merit salvation" before God. Kind of abstract, eh ;)?

    I would argue that even the Calvinists on this sight, don't follow the God-centered approach to salvation that they say they do--but that their perspective is just as co-operative as those who supposedly don't follow the doctrinces of grace.

    I think this discussion can be boiled down to how one defines "sin" and "grace". There is a symmetry between these two concepts. If one sees sin as a mere sickness, then the cure (grace) will be seen merely as "medicine"; i.e. no need for new life. If one sees sin as "death", then the cure (grace) will be a brand new life.

    I'm sure the Calvinist would say they agree with the latter symmetry--but the problem is, is that they operate out of a framework of theology (classical theism or Calvinism) that betrays their belief. Betrays to the point that they would actually have more in common with the first "symmetry" I described above; i.e. "sickness/medicine" sin/grace relationship.

    In Christ,

    Bobby G.

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at 4/27/2006 10:36 PM  

  • Hello Rose,

    I just wanted to point out to Daniel that both the women in Spurgeons sermon who wanted to believe but just did ot have the information too, both went on to believe and reap the immediate rewards of their belief. Where in the world Daniel came up with, 'they were unable to believe', and especially his 'why?'is more than just sort of discomforting.

    Daniel said:
    "How many people have I heard cry as the lady does in Spurgeon's sermon - "I want to believe!" They have all the information, they want to believe it, but they are unable to.... WHY?

    Wow!


    The second one that came to believe said:

    "Now I trust my soul with Jesus, and I am saved." She found immediate peace through believing."

    Spurgeon explained the experience of the first one like this:

    "The change which comes over the heart when the understanding grasps the gospel is often reflected in the face, and shines there like the light of heaven. Such newly enlightened souls often exclaim, "Why, sir, it is so plain; how is it I have not seen it before this? I understand all I have read in the Bible now, though I could not make it out before. It has all come in a minute, and now I see what I could never understand before." The fact is, the truth was always plain, but they were looking for signs and wonders, and therefore did not see what was nigh them."

    This would have been before Spurgeon embraced the 'inability to believe'.

    Be careful out there with a lot of these comments Rose.

    By Blogger Todd, at 4/27/2006 10:46 PM  

  • Jazzy cat says:
    Perspective is everything and the view that you, me, Brandon, Bluecollar and others share seem to share have that God centered perspective that you explained so well.

    Jazzy, ;~)
    Before you congratulate yourself and those who have preached the same sermon here, will you consider something please? (After you consider Daniel's comment right after yours, which is very well put)-

    I also am jealous for God's glory. You have a charicature of the non-Calvinist, I think. I do not think that I have reason to boast for having received Christ.
    Bologna. (pronounced ba-lo-nee)
    I have nothing to glory in except the cross of Christ.

    I think the way the Scriptures present this, in my view, very much give glory to my great and wonderful God. IMO, your view of God is so limited. Instead of cajoling His enemies, and wooing them to himself, establishing truth to them through His peopel and His HS, He just does it all TO them. (Like the anonymous billionaire). He doesn't need to win anyone - He just makes them new.

    On the other hand, I see a wonderful, generous God, who sacrificed all for EVERYONE and has opened a door for EVERYONE so that "... He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them..."
    This is an open door and a merciful God who is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to a knowledge of the truth. You would have me believe that God hates certain people and has pre-ordained them for eternal damnation because of Adam's sin. They suffer because of the first Adam, but have no help offered in the last Adam. Christ came to redeem Adam's lost race.

    I firmly believe that when those burn in hell, having heard of this wonderful salvation God has provided and rejected it by their own choice, it will not rob God of His glory. These burning in hell will not be a testament to the cruelty of God that these doctrines would have me believe. They will know that they could have received the gift of God and will have nothing to rail against God - which they would if faith is a gift that was kept from them. They will be there "because [they] have not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:18) It will not be because God did not let them believe, because he did not "grant them the gift of faith." If this were true, I STRONGLY feel that IT would rob God of His glory and it would cast a shadow across His character and even across Christ's work on the cross.

    I know I have ranted, Jazzy, and I am sorry for that - actually, this is not all directed just at you. My brother got me fired up - it is very personal for me when the only other convert in my family has embraced this that I find so disturbing.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/27/2006 10:59 PM  

  • Jim McDermott:
    Such desire is the result of and concomitant to salvation. Absence of desire to obey is evidence of absence of salvation.

    1. Where did you get that from?
    2. Caryy that to it's logical conclusion - if you don't desire to love your enemy and pray for them that use you - can you be sure you're saved? What you said is such a blanket statement, it scares me - actualy a lot of this so disturbs me - I may have to quit my job and become a hermit.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/27/2006 11:09 PM  

  • J. Wendell,
    You said it well - this is way out of our league! We have been given certain things to know from God. Reading so much into so little about such unsearchable things in the mind of God and His operations under the surface are "none of our business" as you and I spoke of the other night. I think maybe I need to go to a church where they don't talk about such things that are none of my business. Then I won't have to be so disturbed.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/27/2006 11:14 PM  

  • Oh, I'll come back tomorrow to give your brother some insight into those verses he emailed you, hopefully with a little help from their Author, and the Finisher of our separation from God through the Law. And then some insight into the concept of boasting in relation to our ability to believe. Nice night to you.

    By Blogger Todd, at 4/27/2006 11:29 PM  

  • Bud Brown,
    Yes "faith is a gift" is just a different spin on "total inabilty." You see - I was only trying to be open minded to some facet, one small thread, but it is all of the same ilk. I have covered this before.

    Joe,
    My skin isn't as thick as the pyro.

    Jonathan,
    I think the verse about Lydia is the best one offered here. I must grapple with that. I also think the question you raised "Why does on beleive and another doesn't" is a good question. My answer is that it is a mystery - just like DF said - "This is simply a mystery of human depravity. We do not know why some commit adultery and others avoid that sin."

    Jonathan,
    Do you think it is possible that Lydia was a special person chosen for a specific mission? Do you think God varies in His calling to sinners - IOW, do some become convinced of the truth to the same degree and have the same amount of faith as others at the time of conversion or is there degrees according to the purpose God has for each one?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/27/2006 11:34 PM  

  • Rose,
    I felt a lot of praise for God when I read Daniels excellent post and commented out of the excitement. I shouldn't have as Daniel and you (both in nice ways) made clear.

    I guess the cat is out of the bag about your brother. I sure understand the thoughts you expressed in your latest post. They are difficult to think about especially in family situations of believers and non-believers (which is probably everyone). However, regardless of one's theological system, other than universalism, some people will be saved and some won't.

    I have added my photo to show off my beautiful eyes.

    Jazzycat

    By Blogger jazzycat, at 4/27/2006 11:46 PM  

  • Kris,
    Your question is mine too and I haven't seen any of the commentors answer it. Thanks for getting my name right. :~)

    Bobby,
    You know I am so interested in what you have to say. Oh, I'm so sorry to ask you this, but can you explain in simpler terms the gist of what you are saying there ... Please oh please? I almost have it, but it is just a little over my head. :~)

    Jazzy,
    You have beautiful eyes. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/28/2006 12:00 AM  

  • Rose, the context does not indicate that Lydia (Acts 16:14 “the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.”) was “special.” As for amount of faith varying at conversion, I would guess that there would be differences since “God has allotted to each a measure of faith” (Rom 12:3). That said, the miraculous event of opening the heart so that we may respond is universal, IMO.

    By Blogger Jonathan Moorhead, at 4/28/2006 12:18 AM  

  • Rose,

    It's very difficult for me to do that! What I'm asserting is very controversial, and requires so much context, and I'm not saying you can't understand what I'm saying, it's just that it requires some background in historical theology, the history of ideas, and even a bit of philosophy. It's hard in the blogosphere venue to provide this much context--I only received enough background to begin to scratch the surface here in a couple yrs of seminary time. But I feel what I'm trying to communicate is very important; as it provides an alternative to much of the Calvinist/Arminian debate.

    Basically what I'm saying is that Calvinism believes they have a corner on God-centered salvation. I'm disagreeing with that thesis, by offering another thesis. My thesis is that Calvinism has integrated categories of thought (Aristotelian categories; i.e. "man is defined by the intactness of his intellect", Aristotle's "Five Causes"; etc.) with biblical categories--and provided a hybrid interpretation of scripture (e.g. "form" does impact "content"). I'm saying that Calvinism historically presents a framework that places an emphasis on man's cooperation with God in salvation. I'm saying that Calvinists believe, historically, that grace is like a "pulley" that God placed within the "will" of each person; and that when elect man is "enabled" HE (elect man) is able to start pressing on the "pulley" which is connected to the "rope" of salvation. Notice in this pulley/rope analogy man must still co-operate with God in the salvation process--HE must press in and operate (i.e. historically, "operative grace")the "pulley" in order to appropriate salvation. The consequence, historically, grace is seen as a mechanism (as a substance); and Calvinists end up with a co-operative model of salvation!

    This is in contrast to Affective Theology which sees grace as personified in the Holy Spirit (Rom 5:5). There is no inter-mediary "pulley" view of grace here. There is only an emphasis upon the immediacy of God's person and love spread abroad in the heart of the person "wooing" him/her through His love (I Jn 4:19) to "respond" back in reciprocating love as his/her heart is captured by the love of Christ breaking the vicious cycle of self love.

    I hope this makes more sense; I've tried as hard as I can, at this point, to communicate this clearly :)!

    In Christ,

    Bobby Grow

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at 4/28/2006 2:00 AM  

  • I want to say amen to Eunice.

    I know the Lord will take care of it and I'm just going to enjoy the learning process.

    When we see how totally incapable we all are it is kind of funny.

    Rose I love you and you do remind me of myself at your age..lol

    By Blogger ambiance-five, at 4/28/2006 4:27 AM  

  • Bobby,
    Thanks. I think I understand a little better now. I wonder what they would say to your assertions. Actually, I don't wonder - I think I know. :~)

    Ambiance,
    How is that? How were you when you were my age?

    (I also appreciated Eunice's thoughts - her comment was probably the best one on the whole thread)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/28/2006 8:54 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Brandon Presbyterian, at 4/28/2006 9:52 AM  

  • Greetings All,

    The testimony has been so good, I almost felt like staying out and letting it ride, but there's one issue that has arisen that needs to be addressed...that is: the distinction when it comes to grace and works/justice, and the way they work when it comes to reward.

    Jonathan writes "I still like they way Matt asked the following question there: “If God is equal in His attempts to convince both person A and person B of the truth of the gospel, and person A believes it while person B rejects it, the dividing line between the two is found in man. Why is person A in heaven and person B in hell? Because of something that person A did and yet person B failed to do.”

    Have you ever considered the difference is ultimatlely found not in what man did or did not do, but in what GOD HAS DONE in not only offering the gospel to all but in extending redemptive grace and savingly applying to the one.

    You may say: But that's not FAIR!
    Rose makes a comment to that effect when she said "You would have me believe that God hates certain people and has pre-ordained them for eternal damnation because of Adam's sin. They suffer because of the first Adam, but have no help offered in the last Adam. Christ came to redeem Adam's lost race."

    Here's the Point: If one operates by pure justice alone, all men would go to hell, for that is what we all deserve. However, if one operates by grace as well as justice, then one can offer grace in addition to justice to some, while continuing to operate according to only justice to others and still be fair.

    For example, if two workers were to labor for me for two hours for a rate of ten dollars per hour, and at the end of the day I were not only to give both men twenty dollars (2hrs X $10 =$20), but were to decide to give one of the workers an additional twenty dollars (out of my own money, ... don't I have the right to do that, with my own money... such that I can do it to one without having to give it to the other in order to be fair???) You see grace does NOT DEMAND/REQUIRE that one do for all what one does for some!!! While being "FAIR" to the one I simply gave twenty dollars to, the nature of grace would permit me to do for the other what I did not do for the first, and still be fair (in fact, not only fair, but fair and gracious).

    Jesus tells a parable to this SAME effect in Mt 20:1-16. He says in v. 13 "...'Friend, I am NOT BEING UNFAIR to you. Didn't you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go." Then he goes on to say "I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?"

    Fallen man goes to hell, because the wages of his sin is death, NOT because God is unjust or because he hates men, but even because he is just.

    Believers go to heaven, because Jesus has paid the just penalty of their sin, and because the grace of God is extended in addition to God's justice.

    Question: Are you relying on what you have done, or on the fact that God is not only just but gracious?

    By Blogger Brandon Presbyterian, at 4/28/2006 9:55 AM  

  • Todd said...
    Rose, just wanted to share this with Pat.

    The part of the passage tha you hihlihted with bold letters I marked with single parentheses.

    1.)

    "By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus' name and the 'faith that comes through him'
    that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see. (Acts 3:16)"


    Gen. 21:12,"...'through Issac' your descendents shall be named. As Isaac was the earthly means, at that time, by which the descendents of Abraham were to continue on towards the promise, Christ is the spiritual means through which we walk towards our promise. This gives me meaning to the word through in your verse.

    2.)

    "For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in
    accordance with the 'measure of faith God has given you'. (Romans 12:3)."

    In the larger passage surounding this verse Paul is pointing out how people 'differ' from one another, explaining it as being because God made us all different for the many different functions within the same body, and that he functions differ according to the grace given us, and the measure of faith alloted to each, and for the hearer not to think more highly of himself than he ought when comparing himself to other members of the Body, because it was alloted to him by God differently than to others, and in a different measure or proportion, than it was to the next member.

    3.)

    "8God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9He made no distinction between us and them, for 'He purified their hearts by faith'. 10Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? (Acts 15:8-10)"

    Peter is referring the early days during which Peter saw, first hand, Gentile's hearts (not only Jews hearts anymore) being filled by the Holy Spirit, such as during his meeting with Cornelius, and referring to God now 'purifying their hearts by faith', that is with the same faith of Christ which had finally purified Peter's heart and enabled him into the presence of God through Christ, instead of with a yoke around their necks that no one could bear, as when they were under the Law. Peter says that through God's choice, and his mouth, the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe, and that God testified to them by giving them the Holy Spirit. In this case then, saved no longer by the law but by faith, which here is specifically portrayed as an act of trust in response to hearing the gospel, as well as the testimony of brethren who had witnessed the crucifixion, ressurection, ascention, and the reappearing of their Savior Christ, and now the workings of the Spirit as God testifying of His Son to all of those who would turn their attention from themselves and their flesh for a few moments, and trust in a new heavenly promise.

    A little wordy, sorry.

    4.)

    "1Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through
    the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as
    precious as ours… (2 Peter 1:1)"

    Peter says 'a faith precious as ours', meaning the new kind of faith that he now enjoyed which had just emerged, hiterto referred to as the mystery, specifically, that it had been newly revealed by God that His grace was now available to all men in all nations based on belief in the life and gospel message of His Son, or as Peter puts it "the righteousness of ...Christ", who is God's Son, or simply, God (lots of ways to say that, just trying to keep it plain and move on).

    There were also many competing false doctrines going around about different 'faiths' which were not of True and Christian origin that Peter was addressing quite a bit in his opening here as well.

    Peter says he has recieved a new and precious faith, based on the new heavenly promise, through the righteousness of Christ in these verses.

    Peter says much more than that as well here but I'm trying to give you a short summary of the particular verses you cited.

    5.)

    "1Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)"

    That's who He is. He's the Word. He helped coin Himself the Finisher with His statement on the cross that 'it is finished'. We need to keep our eyes and mind set on the Spirit, as Paul says in Romans 8, or set on the Author and Finishor of our victory over death.

    Hope that is satisfactory. There are many more and different(and much better) ways to say the same things I have. Whatever is said needs only to be brief and clear, tested by scripture.

    My summaries of these verses certainly don't have to be the end all for anyone elses belief and certainly are not of mine, but are a clear, simple, manageable overview which does not conflict with any other scripture. That is what I like to build on. Take care. Feel free with any feedback.

    Heartily with you in Christ! Todd

    By Blogger Todd, at 4/28/2006 12:27 PM  

  • And Pat...

    Consider this in relation to faith:
    John 6:35-"35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.

    and then verse 37:
    John 6:37-" 37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. 39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.
    It seems very clear all who "come" will never hunger or thirst and all those "given" by the Father "WILL" "come"! Jesus will "lose nothing" (no one) given by the Father. "Coming" to Jesus is a picture of "faith." The verse goes on:
    And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life;
    "Beleiveing" after the aforementioned verses is redundant in the text and as pre ordained as the individual is to salvation.

    But 'beholding' and 'believing' are not redundant to any wording in the text. It may be that they qaulify the preceeding text and the rest of the text is given context by beholding and believing. I fail to see what they are redundant of.

    When Christ is remarking about coming and believing, He is both entreating them and telling them plainly to do it. It is a clear picture of Him appealing to their will. And a very esoteric picture of explaining that they have no choice. A very clear picture that He is inviting them, welcoming them, and offering to take care of them forever if they listen closely to what He has to say. How else would he appeal to a listener other than with the word 'come'. In this exchange He uses the word 'come' plainly for a particular purpose. Or is He indicating to the them that they are coming because they have been given and they are not really participants in the coming and believing? I don't get that.

    Jesus says, "..you have seen me yet do not believe."

    That is a remark is directed at a request that was put to Him by a group of His hearers that were asking Him that they always recieve the bread of Moses that came down from heaven. He is addressing His questioners, not making a blanket statement about man. Then He starts into a line of teaching which is pointing toward the Father's and not just Jesus' hand in all of this. He is constantly bring the Father into the discussion to point towards His connection to the Father which they were understandably very tentative about.

    The fact that you must be 'given' is a given. But how and in what way does it say? It doesn't.

    Can you say that "...the will of Him who sent me, (is)that of all that He has given me I lose nothing, but raise it up..." means that you can be given, and then come, behold, and then not believe?
    If not why not? Specifically from anywhere in scripture. It is God's will that none that are given are lost, but another part of God's will is "...not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentence" 2 Pet. 3:9. So He has a much broader less able to narrow down will than just the will mentioned in the one verse.

    Do you know everything about the 'giving' in all cases or just in the cases of the people Jesus was addressing. A large part of the time He was adressing the members of the Jewish leadership. The place where He is doing the teaching which we are talking about is in the synagogue which is full of Jewish leadership and a nest of Jewish persecution and influence. Is that a meanigful part of the context who was in front of Him at the time? I believe it is. If the Father gives the Son the Jewish leadership, then who will be left to crucify Him? But can the Father preserve the Jewish leadership in His own way until another time when He can test their hearts towards Christ? Well, we know He can do aything He wants.

    I, for very good reason, cannot draw the conclusions you're tending towards, and intentionally stop short of creating doctrine which would be just pure Body of Christ dividing self-graifying speculation.

    Just some more food for thought.

    By Blogger Todd, at 4/28/2006 2:01 PM  

  • Oops Rose,
    I made a funy little blip at the beginning of my first comment today after trying to write my comment in my blog editing page and failing. So just ignore that.

    By Blogger Todd, at 4/28/2006 2:03 PM  

  • Finally Pat,

    "And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed."

    I believe Luke is drawing a contrast to the Jews, who had just had their 'appointment' withdrawn as a nation.

    Heartily with you in Christ Pat! Todd

    By Blogger Todd, at 4/28/2006 2:58 PM  

  • Hi Sofyst and Mark,

    First of all, I agree that man is hostile toward God.

    But Matthew very effectively showed how the Word of God is the vehicle God uses to reveal the saving content of the offer of eternal life. He cited…

    1 Peter 1:22-25
    1 Joh 5:10-13
    John 3:12-13
    1 Cor 4:15
    Gal 3:2

    God works inwardly in unsaved people somehow showing them that the Word of God is true.

    John 16:8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment

    This verse proves that God is effectively communicating with unregenerate people.

    No, we don’t turn toward God on our own.

    We are hostile toward Him.

    God himself overturns our rebellion and apathy toward Him, through the vehicle of His Word, and reveals the truth of Christ to them. To me this is a beautiful display of how God is sovereign.

    God bless,

    Jodie

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at 4/28/2006 3:51 PM  

  • My question to you guys is how do you interpret John 16:8?

    I've never understood your position on that one verse.

    God bless,

    Jodie

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at 4/28/2006 4:04 PM  

  • Brandon, you have me saying the opposite of what I believe - I think. You can check the link I posted above for further evidence.

    By Blogger Jonathan Moorhead, at 4/28/2006 5:07 PM  

  • todd;
    thank you for the time you took to respond. i dont have much time so i will be brief.
    ·Acts 3:16-your thoughts are that this paralells or continues thru Isaac your descedents shall be named. while the lineage of Jesus was intrinsic as to who He claimed to be-Messiah, this corellation sounds like a very long stretch to me. It in no way sounds like he is referring to lineage. If he was, he phrased it very awkwardly.
    acts 15:8-what is important here is when you write,"saved no longer by the law but by faith, which here is specifically portrayed as an act of trust in response to hearing the gospel," Jesus is performing the verb "purify" in the passage, but you have somehow changed this to be the gentiles "action" which determined this "purification." The passage has them being acted on, but you have them doing the acting. I don't see your take.
    Ive considered before and am considering your take on Peter.
    As for your questions/comments on John i will start with this:
    "God gave them a spirit of stupor,
    eyes so that they could not see
    and ears so that they could not hear,
    to this very day." And David says:
    "May their table become a snare and a trap,
    a stumbling block and a retribution for them.
    May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see,
    and their backs be bent forever." –(Deuteronomy 29:4; Isaiah 29:10)
    Matthew 13:11-"To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted."
    When he writes "may their eyes be darkened so they cannot see" it is a blinding that prevents a choice to believe in Jesus at His appearing. This may seem arbitrary to you or I, but God can be gracious and merciful to whom He pleases. This is election pure and simple. in dueteronomy 4:37 Moses urges the Jews to love God because He loveed their forefathers and their descendents after them. He brought them out of Egypt and drove nations of people out of the promised land ahead of them. He clearly "chose" or "elected" Israel over all other peoples of the earth. He saved Abram (alone) out of pagan idolatry. John 6:36 is referring to the non elect portion of His audience. In John 10:25-26 Jesus says "I told you and you do not believe..." and "You do not believe because you are not my sheep." Then in 10:27 He says "My sheep hear my voice I know them and they follow me." All these choices are based on God's love, will and His plans. Your inclusion of 2 peter verse with also being God's will is erroneous because it never mentions God's will. It says it is God's wish. I think you asked why a sheep cant be called or given and then not believe. I would answer by saying our wills are subject to His will. He is sovereign and we are dirt. Does this seem arbitrary and unfair to you? If I could ask God one question I would ask Him, "why me?"

    By Anonymous pat, at 4/28/2006 5:24 PM  

  • Pat, you cite a number of verses from John and also one from Matthew.

    I actually interpret them largely as you do. However, they are in the present tense.

    When Jesus says that only the disciples have been granted th eprivilege of knowing the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, what makes you think that this privilege is so restricted now?

    Likewise when Jesus talks about the state of affairs of his sheep knowing his voice and following him he speaks in the present tense.

    Can you prove that Jesus had any reference to the period after His resurrection in that passage?

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 4/28/2006 6:01 PM  

  • DF Matt;
    I appreciate your question because it is not always easy to discern what in the gospels is for the Jews and what is for the church age.
    However, the wedding parables of Jesus are in the present tense and they represent future events. Off the top of my head, I am not thinking of a parable that isn't in the present tense.
    The knowledge of Jesus is what is restricted. Matthew 4:17-“ From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” When Jesus preached the gospel of the kingdom He said it was at hand. You could easily make the case that they are synonymous. It is not necessary to make this point, though. To "know" Jesus is to "know" the kingdom. When Jesus says "depart from me you evildoers, I never knew you" He is referencing the same restriction. Now and in the kingdom the Father, Son and believers are all "one" and the same "knowing" each other in a very intimate way, living and reigning with Jesus.
    John 14:20-" In that day you shall know that I am in my Father, and you in me and I in you." The lifting of the "veil" is the lifting on access to God/heaven where we can now go boldly. Further, i John 17 in the High Priestly Prayer Jesus (speaking in 3rd person, present tense) prays in verse 2 "even as thoust has given Him authority over all mankind, that to ALL thou hast given Him, He may give eternal life." This helps the original point as well. All manking here is not time specific. It is those "given" (the elect) at least thru the age of grace. All the elect given by the Father will be given eternal life.

    By Anonymous Pat, at 4/28/2006 8:56 PM  

  • Pat,
    Thanks for your taking the time to reply.
    Isaac's lineage is not what I was pointing to, but rather the similar usage of the word 'through'in both passages I cited. What I was getting at was that central to God's present covenant of faith is the fact that it is 'through Christ', that is where we channel our faith, much like in same way during Isaac's day the promise to Isaac was vehicle of the 'promise' and the focal point of faith. I view the use of the word 'through to be similar in both passages. I couldn't figure out any other point of contention you may have with the non-Reformed view. Forget the lineage, I said nothing about the lineage. It would be helpful if I knew how you differed with your sister Rose, but you seem like a guy who's strapped for time and in a bit of a hurry right now, so I won't hold my breathe.

    When you said:
    acts 15:8-what is important here is when you write,"saved no longer by the law but by faith, which here is specifically portrayed as an act of trust in response to hearing the gospel," Jesus is performing the verb "purify" in the passage, but you have somehow changed this to be the gentiles "action" which determined this "purification." The passage has them being acted on, but you have them doing the acting. I don't see your take.

    I think you are referring to:

    "for 'He purified their hearts by faith'."

    ...and that Jesus is doing the purifying. But Jesus is doing the purifying with faith. I'm not sure what you mean by the Gentiles action, but since faith is an act, maybe that's what you thought I meat. Faith is an act. That is where the inability to have faith runs into problem because without the ability to believe, you can't have faith. If it is done by God for you then you didn't do it and it cannot be called faith anymore. Faith has a specific meaning and is completely changed if the person doing it is unable to perform an act of belief. We can be given the opportunity to believe, but without the ability to then do it, it cannot be belief or faith anymore and becomes something else. Faith is the action that determines the aquisition of God's Holy Spirit by the believer, that purifies his heart.

    2.)
    In all your verses about God giving them the spirit of stupor, hardening their eyes and their ears and darkening their eyes, and I like to add the verse below cited by John from Is. 6:10.

    "He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, so that they would not see with their eyes and percieve with their heart..."Is. 6:10.

    In all of these cases, prior to the hardening and the darkening and so on, they could see, and hear, and percieve with their hearts. Men in general who haven't been otherwise pronounced must have open eyes and hearts and ears because I haven't heard God pronounce through one of His prophets in scripture that men in general do not. We are described and characterized in many other ways but none that excludes our free will in belief.

    3.)
    In this verse He is talking about the Jewish leadership if not a good portion of the Jewish naion when He refers to 'them':

    Matthew 13:11-"To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted."

    He did not blind my choice. And that is a part of 'election' I agree. My choice and election can co-exist in scripture.

    "John 6:36 is referring to the non elect portion of His audience."

    I don't agree, because we can't back up with scripture that elect and 'free will' cannot co-exist. And in my mind I see no conflict. Certainly there is a conflict between those concepts in the doctrine of the major Theological camps but it can easily be shown that those Theologies are flawed, and 'free will' and 'election'(predetermined) can be reconciled in scripture.

    4.)
    "Your inclusion of 2 peter verse with also being God's will is erroneous because it never mentions God's will. It says it is God's wish."

    But Peter is portraying this 'wish' as having power and influence that they need to consider. He does not tell us in what way He 'gives' and 'calls', 'predetermines', 'foreknows', or how He executes or works those things out, just that He does. There are many different possibilities but we have to restrain our imaginations because the more divided the Body of Christ, the less glory to God.

    Anyway, thanks for considering these points. Todd

    By Blogger Todd, at 4/28/2006 8:59 PM  

  • Matt-I dint make the point very clear that you could make the case that Jesus and the kingdom are synonymous.

    By Anonymous pat, at 4/28/2006 9:00 PM  

  • Jodie,

    This is the rub between us. yes the Spirit convicts of sin, but, why do some display conviction, running to take refuge in Christ, While others do not? How do you account for the difference? This goes back to some of my original points. The apostles in Acts 4 were ready to die for their faith at the hands of those who hated Christ. Those men that were angry at the apostles did not display any conviction of sin, did they?

    Are we to assume that some people are just more sensitive, more spiritually wise than others because they came to Christ while others do not. The proof of conviction is in the evidence.

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 4/29/2006 12:15 AM  

  • Sister Jodie,

    Keep in mind that the quote written in Acts 4 of Psalm 2:1-3, which I hold is a graphic description of fallen man's rebellion against God, was used post ressurection/ascension/giving of the Spirit, indicating to me that the Holy Spirit and the apostles hold that said description is still valid today.

    If we go back to the plight of fallen man put forth to us in Romans 1:18-32 we can tell by the language there that much of that is still meant for today...see verses 29 through 32.

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 4/29/2006 8:25 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    The pretty back ground on your modified avatar, is that your yard? The bright and chearfull back ground is a good match with your smile.

    Jodie, why did Paul have to warn Timothy that not all men have faith? Why did the young Thessalonian church suffer so much at the hands of their own country men? Point is, hostility against the Lord and His Christ is alive and well today. Remember the emporers of Rome, the communists and such today,alldedicated to the erradication of christianity.

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 4/29/2006 8:41 AM  

  • Just wanted say that I have really enjoyed the posts from both viewpoints here toward the end. They have all been well presented. I am glad that Pat entered into the discussion.

    Jazzycat

    By Blogger jazzycat, at 4/29/2006 3:20 PM  

  • todd;
    you wrote:"If it is done by God for you then you didn't do it and it cannot be called faith anymore." You are writing this with "your" understanding of what "faith" is. You and I differ on what faith is and where it comes from. I think the passage as well as everal others show that "faith" comes from God and is part of the regeneration process. In this passage in particular Jesus is purifying or sanctifying a heart through faith. He is acting upon a human heart with His gift of faith. It may be a bit counter intuitive, but it is clearly what the passage says. I believe salvation begins as a one way street. God acts on us with Spiritual gifts, faith included, which open our hearts and allow us to believe. You see the gentiles in this passage as acting first (before God) by bringing their "faith to the table, so to speak. All the passages in John i have listed as well as Acts 13:48 and Lydia in Acts 16:14 clearly show otherwise. here is one more:Romans 8:30-“30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified." It looks like a one way street to me starting before we are born! It is all His grace, mercy and glory.
    Todd, as for your comments on Isaiah 6:10 and "hardening" of hearts and these hearts by deduction must have been unhardened at one time, I agree. God clearly had expectations of them and they failed to live up to them. They had unparalelled access to God. I believe once Jesus arrived there is a different set of expectations, a new message (gospel of the kingdom) and this changes again at pentecost. (see romans 11:30-32) It is not so much that men's hearts, eyes and ears are not open, but that we are all "shut up in disobedience" or are born slaves to sin and unable to even consider God until He allows it.
    You say also that God does not blind by choice. Is God not omnipotent? Are His hands somehow tied? · Exodus 33:19- “I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” This is His choice!
    as for your comments on free will and predestination coexisting. WEll, you know we will never understand it all. Read John 10:25-29. That is why I dont see free will and predestination coexisting. That passage clearly lists sheep and goats as does John 17. I see the the bible clearly saying God wishes that all men would be saved, but it clearly shows predestination. I dont see how those 2 concepts can be reconciled. I dont need to understand. I am not going to try and rewrite passages in the bible so that it makes sense to me, though. Who are we to grasp God? I agree that these issues should never divide the body. I only see that happening when members insist they DO understand God. I don't mind disagreeing. No members viewpoint is ever offensive to me.
    Have a great sunday worshipping!
    God Bless You all,
    pat

    By Anonymous pat, at 4/29/2006 6:55 PM  

  • Jazzy, et. al.,

    I have begun formulating my reply to your request that I provide scriptural support for the grace view of total depravity, to wit, that the fall did not render man incapable of believing.

    I have posted my first entry in this regard at my own blog. By moving this discussion to that venue I hope that we'll be able to develop the issues more fully and clearly, without all the other extraneous threads.

    (If someone else posts a comment that you and I agree is "off topic" or is less than charitable, I'll delete the comment. My idea is to keep the discussion on a professional, irenic level and screen out a lot of the background noise).

    Of course I am also looking forward to your exegetical evidence to support the doctrine of total inability.

    This should be an interesting discussion that will help us sharpen our views. Perhaps others will find themselves stimualted in this regard also.

    By Anonymous Bud Brown, at 4/29/2006 7:41 PM  

  • Rose said:

    "Bobby,
    Thanks. I think I understand a little better now. I wonder what they would say to your assertions. Actually, I don't wonder - I think I know. :~)"


    In all reality Rose, I've never received a "real" response to my "assertions" on my thesis--and I've presented these concepts on various Calvinist blogs. So I don't know how they would respond, would you fill me in ;-)?

    In Christ,

    Bobby

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at 4/30/2006 2:03 AM  

  • Bud,
    Thanks for your post. I will see you at your site with a response soon.
    Jazzycat

    By Blogger jazzycat, at 4/30/2006 8:21 AM  

  • Bobby,
    I was just thinking that they would probably say that you are wrong - that there is no pulley to be graasped by the man, that it is all of God. I was saying that I think they would just dismiss your assertion, but as you say, that is not a real answer.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/30/2006 1:15 PM  

  • Pat:

    The passage:

    "By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see. (Acts 3:16)"

    Pat you wrote:

    "In this passage in particular Jesus is purifying or sanctifying a heart through faith."

    And then after my comment you wrote to me:

    "you wrote:"If it is done by God for you then you didn't do it and it cannot be called faith anymore." You are writing this with "your" understanding of what "faith" is. You and I differ on what faith is and where it comes from. I think the passage as well as several others show that "faith" comes from God and is part of the regeneration process. In this passage in particular Jesus is purifying or sanctifying a heart through faith. He is acting upon a human heart with His gift of faith. It may be a bit counter intuitive, but it is clearly what the passage says."

    In particular you said:

    "I think the passage as well as several others show that "faith" comes from God and is part of the regeneration process."

    Pat there is no disputing that faith comes from God and that it is a part of the regenerative process. Everything comes from God. Faith in particular comes from the word of God. The gospel. "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God". And the regeneration process is immediately begun. You are not really saying how it is a one way street, as you say, nor are you explaining how, that as a gift, that we are then not required to use it, and respond to the appearance of our Savior. In that way it would clearly be faith. Don't let this 'gift' thing get in your way. Everything comes from God and is a gift. All of our abilities. We are made in His image in that respect. You don't really say much there about faith. The mere word, 'through' does not entitle you to elaborate on, or tailor, the definition of the nature of faith the way you do.

    And you again represent Acts,13:48 as clearly supporting your notion of 'faith' and I've shown you how does not. The 'appointment' should be used as it appears in other places throughout the bible and certainly makes nothing more clear about the nature of faith or election in this verse as you claim.

    That there is an 'elect' is commonly accepted biblical truth, it is the way in which that plays out that God was not specific about.

    In your other example of Lydia, I see that "a worshiper of God was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul."

    That's what happens when you listen to the gospel, the Lord opens your heart. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. A poorly presented gospel may not open a heart. A wrongly presented gospel probably would not. God gives us the responsibility to study so as we can be effective; to edify the brethren and save the lost, as it says somewhere. He gives us a bit part in spreading the gospel and causing people to have their hearts opened.

    In Roman 11, it says some in Israel were chosen, by grace, and the rest were hardened. He says the transgression salvation of the ones who were of those Israelites tha were chosen, has now come to the Gentiles (who have not been hardened), to make jealous Paul's countrymen, or that is, those who had not been hardened, and save some of them. And that their acceptance will result in life from the dead. He says the mass of Israelites were broken off(hardened) for their unbelief but you stand by your belief. And he acknowledges and warns about the possibility that they may be arrogant and possibly boast because of this, and reminds them that they cannot and explains to them why. Paul tells us all about the partial hardening of Israel but never anything about the complete hardening of all of mankind such as you prescribe. Paul explains how "God has not rejected His people", "of God's choice, they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; for the gifts and the calling of God(to the father's of Israel) are irrevocable" but "some of the branches were broken off"! For their unbelief. And now, because of that, God has put Himself into the position to show mercy to all, "For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all". He's shown mercy to the remnant by not hardening them, the Gentiles by accepting them in, and the hardened ones because He he will provide for them the Deliverer on His own time. Everyone has been disobedient in their unbelief, since faith in the one true God was asked for from the start, through Israel, and God has now established everyone as needing to believe, and subject themselves to Christ(ch. 10). Confess with your mouth and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead, resulting in salvation. For we've all been shut up in disobedience now and there is only one pathway to His mercy. Belief. Or us as always, faith.

    And God says in v.20, do not be conceited, but fear. Which could be interpreted as 'do not concoct doctrines as you being unable to be conceited and boast, but instead, read on, and see how God is showing you how you will have a tendency for conceit, and instead should have fear.

    I don't say "God does not blind by choice", everything He does is through His choice. I would say though, that He's never told us He's blinded us and taken away our ability to believe. He's always said 'who'.

    You sling this next verse around as if it suggests that our belief is meaningless. As if in some way this statement is supposed to caste doubt on our being able to accurately understand and believe in God's word. I know that you don't mean anything counterproductive by it, but you use it as tough it is supposed to sweep away certain notions all by itself.

    Exodus 33:19- “I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”

    God is being gracious. He has extended His grace to the gentiles. He's withheld it from much of Israel. If there are still any 'why's?, then He's answered that too, to His own satifaction. From me there are nothing but 'how ?'s but ver few whys?' I'm glad of His omnipotence and don't resist it. I Don't need to know everything, just like you've said. But I don't need to know anything wrong either.

    With the 'sheep and the 'goats'. If He weren't talking to the Jewish people, as it states, I would begin to generalize with it in terms of election of men in general, but looking at His Jewish synagogue audience, and the lack of any help anywhere else in scripture to clarify election, I can't. Jesus was the Jewish Messiah and needed to be that to them. And John 17 would have to be much clearer for us to know how what He is saying translates into clear election doctrine. Not enough there. Some beautiful stuff, which is wide open and subject to many conflicting interpretations when not studied with sound restraint.

    This blogging is an interesting tool for growth in the Word. You fairly quickly find out if what you believe can be supported by scripture or merely some popular doctrine.

    Overcoming bad teaching does not happen overnight.

    I'm always very interested in the how's and why's of disagreement and think that is the fastest way to walk towards the truth. I wouldn't blame you if you were not similarly interested or if you did not have the time. But hopefully I wasn't talking to myself because I see some valuable truths here.

    Thanks for checking them out.

    Heartily with you in Christ! Todd

    By Blogger Todd, at 5/02/2006 6:06 PM  

  • Pat:

    The passage:

    "By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see. (Acts 3:16)"

    Pat you wrote:

    "In this passage in particular Jesus is purifying or sanctifying a heart through faith."

    And then after my comment you wrote to me:

    "you wrote:"If it is done by God for you then you didn't do it and it cannot be called faith anymore." You are writing this with "your" understanding of what "faith" is. You and I differ on what faith is and where it comes from. I think the passage as well as several others show that "faith" comes from God and is part of the regeneration process. In this passage in particular Jesus is purifying or sanctifying a heart through faith. He is acting upon a human heart with His gift of faith. It may be a bit counter intuitive, but it is clearly what the passage says."

    In particular you said:

    "I think the passage as well as several others show that "faith" comes from God and is part of the regeneration process."

    So, Pat, (thanks for coming back and checking my comments out) there is no disputing that faith comes from God and that it is a part of the regenerative process. Everything comes from God. Faith in particular comes from the word of God. The gospel. "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God". And the regeneration process is immediately begun. You are not really saying how it is a one way street, as you say, nor are you explaining how, that as a gift, that we are then not required to use it, and respond to the appearance of our Savior. In that way it would clearly be faith. Don't let this 'gift' thing get in your way. Everything comes from God and is a gift. All of our abilities. We are made in His image in that respect. You don't really say much there about faith. The mere word, 'through' does not entitle you to elaborate on, or tailor, the definition of the nature of faith the way you do.

    And you again represent Acts,13:48 as clearly supporting your notion of 'faith' and I've shown you how does not. The 'appointment' should be used as it appears in other places throughout the bible and certainly makes nothing more clear about the nature of faith or election in this verse as you claim.

    That there is an 'elect' is commonly accepted biblical truth, it is the way in which that plays out that God was not specific about.

    In your other example of Lydia, I see that "a worshiper of God was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul."

    That's what happens when you listen to the gospel, the Lord opens your heart. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. A poorly presented gospel may not open a heart. A wrongly presented gospel probably would not. God gives us the responsibility to study so as we can be effective; to edify the brethren and save the lost, as it says somewhere. He gives us a bit part in spreading the gospel and causing people to have their hearts opened.

    In Roman 11, it says some in Israel were chosen, by grace, and the rest were hardened. He says the transgression salvation of the ones who were of those Israelites tha were chosen, has now come to the Gentiles (who have not been hardened), to make jealous Paul's countrymen, or that is, those who had not been hardened, and save some of them. And that their acceptance will result in life from the dead. He says the mass of Israelites were broken off(hardened) for their unbelief but you stand by your belief. And he acknowledges and warns about the possibility that they may be arrogant and possibly boast because of this, and reminds them that they cannot and explains to them why. Paul tells us all about the partial hardening of Israel but never anything about the complete hardening of all of mankind such as you prescribe. Paul explains how "God has not rejected His people", "of God's choice, they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; for the gifts and the calling of God(to the father's of Israel) are irrevocable" but "some of the branches were broken off"! For their unbelief. And now, because of that, God has put Himself into the position to show mercy to all, "For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all". He's shown mercy to the remnant by not hardening them, the Gentiles by accepting them in, and the hardened ones because He he will provide for them the Deliverer on His own time. Everyone has been disobedient in their unbelief, since faith in the one true God was asked for from the start, through Israel, and God has now established everyone as needing to believe, and subject themselves to Christ(ch. 10). Confess with your mouth and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead, resulting in salvation. For we've all been shut up in disobedience now and there is only one pathway to His mercy. Belief. Or us as always, faith.

    And God says in v.20, do not be conceited, but fear. Which could be interpreted as 'do not concoct doctrines as you being unable to be conceited and boast, but instead, read on, and see how God is showing you how you will have a tendency for conceit, and instead should have fear.

    I don't say "God does not blind by choice", everything He does is through His choice. I would say though, that He's never told us He's blinded us and taken away our ability to believe. He's always said 'who'.

    You sling this next verse around as if it suggests that our belief is meaningless. As if in some way this statement is supposed to caste doubt on our being able to accurately understand and believe in God's word. I know that you don't mean anything counterproductive by it, but you use it as tough it is supposed to sweep away certain notions all by itself.

    Exodus 33:19- “I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”

    God is being gracious. He has extended His grace to the gentiles. He's withheld it from much of Israel. If there are still any 'why's?, then He's answered that too, to His own satifaction. From me there are nothing but 'how ?'s but ver few whys?' I'm glad of His omnipotence and don't resist it. I Don't need to know everything, just like you've said. But I don't need to know anything wrong either.

    With the 'sheep and the 'goats'. If He weren't talking to the Jewish people, as it states, I would begin to generalize with it in terms of election of men in general, but looking at His Jewish synagogue audience, and the lack of any help anywhere else in scripture to clarify election, I can't. Jesus was the Jewish Messiah and needed to be that to them. And John 17 would have to be much clearer for us to know how what He is saying translates into clear election doctrine. Not enough there. Some beautiful stuff, which is wide open and subject to many conflicting interpretations when not studied with sound restraint.

    This blogging is an interesting tool for growth in the Word. You fairly quickly find out if what you believe can be supported by scripture or merely some popular doctrine.

    Overcoming bad teaching does not happen overnight.

    I'm always very interested in the how's and why's of disagreement and think that is the fastest way to walk towards the truth. I wouldn't blame you if you were not similarly interested or if you did not have the time. But hopefully I wasn't talking to myself because I see some valuable truths here.

    Thanks for checking them out.

    Heartily with you in Christ! Todd

    By Blogger Todd, at 5/02/2006 6:07 PM  

  • Hi Mark,

    Sorry for the delay!

    You said:

    This is the rub between us. yes the Spirit convicts of sin, but, why do some display conviction, running to take refuge in Christ, While others do not?

    Some respond better is the short answer. But I suspect that these people do so (respond to God's convicting) because of God’s previous working in their heart. I don't see this as violating Scripture, though it surely vilates traditional total depravity.

    Anyway, on his blog Bud Brown clarified it this way:

    ...the unbeliever is thoroughly corrupt and therefore cannot do anything to save himself. But he is capable of believing the gospel. Faith precedes regeneration.

    I may blog on the John 16:8.

    God bless :)

    Jodie

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at 5/04/2006 2:53 PM  

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