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

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Part of my church's doctrinal statement

Salvation Through Christ
We believe that the salvation of sinners is divinely initiated and wholly of grace through the mediatory offices of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Who, by the appointment of the Father, voluntarily took upon Himself our nature, yet without sin, and honored the divine law by His personal obedience thus qualifying Himself to be our Savior; that by the shedding of His blood in His death He fully satisfied the just demands of a holy and righteous God regarding sin; that His sacrifice consisted not in setting us an example by His death as a martyr, but was a voluntary substitution of Himself in the sinner’s place, the Just dying for the unjust, Christ the Lord bearing our sins in His own body on the tree; that having risen from the dead He is now enthroned in heaven, and uniting in His wonderful person the most tender sympathies with divine perfection, He is in every way qualified to be a suitable, a compassionate, and an all-sufficient Savior.

In this comment thread, a certain anonymous commenter has said some things about my church that were really strange to read. He/she sounds like he/she knows a lot about our church's heritage, but he/she makes some statements about where we currently are that are really "out there," in my opinion. I went to our web site (in my sidebar) and accessed our "statement of faith" and a link called "God's message." On our statement of faith, I lifted the above paragraph and decided to post it. (I did link to it in a comment to the anonymous blogger, but I also wanted to actually post it.)

When reading "God's Message" and the excerpt above, I find satisfaction. I have heard it said by one Calvinist of our leadership that the membership is about half Calvinist and half non-Calvinist. I think this balance keeps much of our official documentation as it is. Even if our leadership is of the "Doctrines of Grace" persuasion, they are sensitive to the fact that this is not where the church has been ... or is ... as a whole. I think our website is delightfully free of it. Tell me if you disagree or if you see something I am missing.
(... or ... feel free to make any sort of miscellaneous comment on the matter.)

27 Comments:

  • ...the salvation of sinners is divinely initiated and wholly of grace...

    I agree wholeheartedly! (to any who would think that as a non-C, I wouldn't.)

    Look at the whole rest of the paragraph to see just exactly how God initiated this marvelous salvation.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/01/2006 6:01 PM  

  • I wouldn't have a problem with the statement. As you say, a lot of it comes down to semantics.

    By Blogger Jonathan Moorhead, at 10/01/2006 7:37 PM  

  • I am not sure you can always rely on doctrinal statements as a safeguard of sound teaching and direction, however.

    Mal Couch contended that the Progressive Dispensationalism that has been emanating from Dallas Theological Seminary was in clear violation of the doctrinal statements of DTS.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 10/01/2006 7:45 PM  

  • Lordship Salvation and its corollary that you cannot certainly know you are saved is also against Dallas Theological Seminary's doctrinal statement in Article XI, Assurance.

    Lordship Salvation claims that works are "an indispensible verification of saving faith". Yet Dallas Seminary's article states:

    We believe it is the privilege, not only of some, but of all who are born again by the Spirit through faith in Christ as revealed in the Scriptures, to be assured of their salvation from the very day they take Him to be their Savior and that this assurance is not founded upon any fancied discovery of their own worthiness or fitness, but wholly upon the testimony of God in His written Word, exciting within His children filial love, gratitude, and obedience (Luke 10:20; 22:32; 2 Cor 5:1, 6-8; 2 Tim 1:12; Heb 10:22; 1 John 5:13).

    Oh if Dallas Seminary wouldn't have fallen prey to reformed soteriology! L.S. Chafer would be rolling in his grave!

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 10/01/2006 9:22 PM  

  • Antonio, I have no problem with that statement from DTS. Sounds biblical, and I did sign it.

    By Blogger Jonathan Moorhead, at 10/02/2006 6:18 PM  

  • Jonathan,

    How do i put this?

    You are not thinking this through, or you are decieving yourself, or you are yourself, deceiving.

    Read the article again:

    1) All born again people have the privilege to be assured the very moment they "take Him to be their Savior"

    2)This assurance is founded "wholly upon the testimony of God in His written Word"

    #1 comes very close to assurance being of the very essence of saving faith (ironically something that John Calvin held, but Calvinists of today deny). How else is one to have assurance of his salvation the very day he is saved, unless it is by looking "wholly" to the "testimony of God" in faith alone?

    Please reveal to me a Reformed writer who believes that assurance of salvation is universally the privilege of the believer "the very first day".

    Westminster says "...assurance does not so belong to the essence of faith, but that a true believer may wait long, and conflict with many difficulties before he be partaker of it... therefore it is the duty of every one to give all diligence to make his calling and election sure" (XVIII.III)

    How can one, in the span of a day, make his calling and election sure? And obvious, if the Westminster states that a man may have to wait long, it would not agree that it is the universal privilege of every believer to have assurance the very day he is regenerated.

    #2 The Lordship Salvationist, and Reformed Soteriologist, as yourself, cannot agree with number one. Assurance, the the LS is not "founded...wholly upon the testimony of God in His written Word."

    Dort states "...assurance... springs... lastly, from a serious and holy desire to preserve a good conscience, and to perform good works." (V.10)

    Lordship teaches that assurance comes from the three legs of the word of God, introspection, and the Holy Spirit.

    If you signed that document knowing these things (which I am certain you do), then either you did not carefully read the article, or you spuriously agreed with it.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 10/02/2006 9:20 PM  

  • Jonathan,
    I think it is more than semantics. A Calvinist could read into this statement a lot of his "ordo salutis" and other such ideas, but they are not there. What is nice about being a non-Calvinist is that I can agree wholeheartedly with the statement without reading into it. ;~) It makes sense at face value for me. The nice thing about the statement is that it doesn't get into all the areas where we need not dabble, IMHO. I am glad that you don't have a problem with the statement.

    DF,
    Oh, come now. I am encouraged by something. Don't take that away from me. ;~)
    You do have a point, though. shucks.

    Antonio,
    Are you so sure that Dallas has "fallen prey to reformed soteriology?" ... as a whole ... in large part? I hope not.
    I really love the paragraph you quote from Dallas' articles of faith.

    Perhaps Jonathan is not as reformed as he thinks? That is an option, isn't it?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/02/2006 9:53 PM  

  • Also from your church doctrinal statement:
    Grace and the New Birth

    We believe that in order to be saved sinners must be born again; that the new birth is a new creation in Christ Jesus; that it is instantaneous and not a process; that in the new birth the one dead in trespasses and in sins is made a partaker of the divine nature and receives eternal life, the free gift of God; that the new creation is brought about by our sovereign God in a manner above our comprehension, solely by the power of the Holy Spirit in connection with divine truth, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the gospel, and that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance, faith, and newness of life (John 3:3; II Cor. 5:17; I John 5:1; Acts 16:20-33; II Pet. 1:4; Rom. 6:23; Eph. 2:1, 5; Col. 2:13; John 3:8).

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/03/2006 12:25 AM  

  • Hey anonymous,
    (are you the same anonymous from the last thread?)
    Where did you get that?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/03/2006 9:22 AM  

  • Dr. Ernest Pickering has written the following:

    "One of the chief objections to the notion of ‘Lordship salvation’ is that it adds to the gospel of grace. It requires something of the sinner which the Scriptures do not require. The message of salvation by grace proclaims to sinners that they may receive eternal life by faith alone whereas the message of "Lordship salvation" tells sinners they must be willing to give up whatever is in their life that is displeasing to God. At the point of gospel presentation they do not know what things those are, nor does the personal worker seeking to point them to Jesus know. There is a vast and significant difference between believing on Christ for salvation and learning from Him as our Lord....None of us are happy with shoddy, fleshly, and disobedient Christians. But the remedy for this condition is not found in changing the terms of the gospel. Well over 100 times in the New Testament, we are told that salvation is by faith or through believing. It is a very serious matter to add an ingredient to the gospel of salvation which is not found in the New Testament....Our task is to keep preaching the plain, simple gospel of free grace. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to produce in true believers those qualities of righteousness which we all devoutly long to see."

    That statement is DIRECTLY OPPOSED by the teachings of Emmanual Baptists current pastor and by John MacArthur.

    Which one is true?

    Which Gospel is true?

    God HATES fence sitters.

    Lukewarm 50/50 spectators.

    "half our church is calvinistic"??

    Does that mean that there are 2 operating gospels now at Emmanuel Baptist?

    Does half the church body sing "Grace Greater Than Our Sin" and half sit silently now?

    Do you have people praying for sinners to beleive? And then half of the church praying for the Holy Spirit to illuminate and save a sinner so that they can believe?

    And please, don't read any church documents to me.

    They didn't save the Presbyterians, the Methodists, the Lutherans, the Southern Baptists, DTS, and the GARBC from disowning doctrines once dearly held.

    Any snake can sneak into a woodpile and ignore the "Statement of Faith" while changing every single doctrine once held by all.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/03/2006 9:58 AM  

  • Anonymous,
    While I don't share your dramatic estimation of the situation at our church currently (I have a feeling you don't come there).
    I do so appreciate the fact that you have contributed the quote from Dr. Pickering! I was just telling a fellow blog friend last week that I plan to post that booklet in its entirety. You have excited me by quoting Dr. Pickering!

    I am not one who would start quoting church documents, don't worry. This is why I really do want to know where you got the statement that you posted in your earlier comment. Can you please tell me? I honestly don't know!

    BTW, I am not sure that you are right about P. DeCourcy Just this past week he preached a sermon in which he very aptly describes a "carnal Christian" without using such term. here. click on October 1, A.M. on the left side

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/03/2006 10:16 AM  

  • While I have not heard that sermon, Rose~, many Calvinists think that believers can go through a stage of carnality, though this will always be a temporal stage that they will come out of to a more faithful and careful walk.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 10/03/2006 11:42 AM  

  • Antonio~

    I, too, must agree with DTS's doctrinal statment, and I am none of the characteristics you listed to Jonathan.

    The Bible very clearly states "Those who call on the name of the Lord will be saved." (emphasis mine) This verse does not say "might be" or "have a chance at being" but says "will be."

    The thief on the cross called on the name of the Lord and was told that "today you will be with me in paradice." That sounds very much like assurance from the moment of salvation to me.

    Anonymous~~ That blurb you posted did NOT come from Rose's church website. (I went and looked for it) In fact, it would more than likely come from an Arminian church's doctrinal statement, because it states exactly how I believe.

    Rose~~ Keep up the good work! I enjoy reading your blog, even if I don't always agree with your stance.

    By Blogger Kristin, at 10/03/2006 3:11 PM  

  • Go to:

    (1) My local church: Emmanuel Bapt. Church

    (2) About us

    (3) Doctrinal statement

    (4) grace and the new birth on page 2

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/03/2006 4:11 PM  

  • Anon,
    So there was a page 2! Thanks, I did not realize there was a second page to that.

    I see this the same way as stated:
    in a manner above our comprehension, solely by the power of the Holy Spirit in connection with divine truth,

    This is the part that furrows my brow a bit:
    so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the gospel,

    You may say that this is Lordship Salvation teaching:
    and that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance, faith, and newness of life

    But I focus in on the word "proper." I do agree that "repentance, faith, and newness of life" are the proper evidence. If the evidence is missing though, that doesn't mean that there is not eternal life. This is where the leadership and myself may differ. This gives me something good to discuss! Thanks!

    Who are you? Email me if you want. rcole@ambt.net

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/03/2006 4:50 PM  

  • Thanks, Matthew.
    I don't remember him saying that this week.

    Kristin,
    Thanks for the visit and the kind words! As an Arminian, do you believe that one can lose salvation?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/03/2006 4:52 PM  

  • Rose~~Because we believe that a person chooses to accept a faith in Christ, he/she therefore can choose to reject a faith previously accepted.

    The rejection of this faith is evidenced by a continual pattern of willful disobedience to known laws of God.

    By Blogger Kristin, at 10/03/2006 7:35 PM  

  • Kristin, what do you suppose Jesus meant when he said:

    John 4:13-14

    13 Jesus answered and said to her, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life."
    NKJV

    John 6:35-36

    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.
    NKJV

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 10/03/2006 8:43 PM  

  • Antonio~

    I do not believe that those passages refer to a one-time occurance

    Christ admonishes us to daily take up our cross and follow Him, and I believe that this also pertains to drinking living water and eating of the bread of life.

    Verse 14 that you have quoted states that the water Christ gives will "become" a fountain, which gives the implication (at least to me) of a continuous addition of water, thus creating a fountain. If you let a fountain sit too long without adding water, it will eventually dry up.

    Also, eating and drinking are voluntary actions. The results of the living water and bread of life are all contingent upon a concious decision by the recipient: "ask of him" (John 4:10), "comes to me", "believes in me" (v 35).

    Much like one could choose to stop eating and drinking physical food (eventually resulting in death), one can choose to stop eating and drinking the bread of life and living water, respectively (resulting in spiritual death).

    By Blogger Kristin, at 10/04/2006 12:19 PM  

  • Kristin, if it was necessary to continue drinking Christ's water, how was it different from Jacob's well?

    Surely if one continued to drink of the water of the ordinary well, one would never thirst?

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 10/04/2006 12:43 PM  

  • DF, I believe (as do other Arminians) that Christ was using the well as an evangelistic tool, not as a basis for theology. As was His practice, He took what was available and well-known to the audience to draw the Samaritan woman to Him.

    Were it unnecessary to have a continual connection to Christ, there would be no need for the passage in John 15 about the vine and the branches.

    Having tasted the living water myself, I still thirst for more of it in my daily life, one drink just isn't enough.

    By Blogger Kristin, at 10/05/2006 1:09 PM  

  • Did the Samratinan woman understand that Jesus meant drink once or keep drinking?

    If she thought that He meant 'keep drinking', why did she think his water sounded better than the water in Jacob's well?

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 10/05/2006 2:01 PM  

  • Kristin,
    I am sure it will not surprise you that I would tend to ask you the same questions as Matthew (DF) does. I do not see how the Bible would tell us that we HAVE eternal life, if it could then be lost in any way. This would be a contradiction in terms, wouldn't it?

    Thanks for your gracious conversation here. You are always welcome to disagree. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/06/2006 9:53 AM  

  • The woman at the well didn't understand at all what Jesus was talking about. She was looking for a reason not to have to be seen in public, or to have to be drawing water at noon in the heat fo the day, since she didn't have the best of reputations. I'm not sure she ever really grasped what Christ was trying to tell her. The only thing she did grasp was that he knew all about her past, which is what she told the townspeople: "Come see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could he be the Christ?" (John 4:29) She didn't say he was the Christ, she was still questioning if he was.

    If you can't lose salvation, then why would Christ say that those branches who don't produce fruit are cut off? (John 15) Something can't be cut off if it was not originally attached. Remaining in the vine, at the very least produces faithfulness, but those who don't even produce that fruit are cut off.

    On a less theological level, there have been times when I have had things that I then lost...for example, I used to own a ring that I left in public restroom by accident. Can I still claim to have that ring, even though I have no evidence that it is in my possession? I don't think I can.

    Likewise, if I have demonstrated all of the outward signs of salvation (repentance, public profession of faith, baptism etc) and then I begin to live contrary to the word of God, renouncing all that I had professed before and giving no evidence of the fruits of the Spirit, can I say that I still have salvation? It is my belief that no, I cannot.

    By Blogger Kristin, at 10/06/2006 2:09 PM  

  • Kristin, I am happy to talk about the Vine and the Branches, but it is very important that we look at one passage at a time and not skip around the Bible. We will never understand this passage if we jump to other passages without clearing up what it means.

    What I want is for you to explain to me what Jesus said.

    Does He mean drink once or keep drinking?

    Jesus says that whosoever drinks of the water of the well will thirst again, but whosoever drinks of His water will never thirst again.

    If a person drank from the well, she would need to drink again, after getting thirsty.

    According to Jesus, if a person drinks His water, they will never thirst again.

    If Jesus means 'continue to drink', how is this water different from the water at the well?

    Do you not think that if a person continually drank from the well, she would never thirst again?

    Please help me to understand what it is in this passage that leads you to think that it means 'continue to drink'.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 10/08/2006 1:55 PM  

  • The water Christ is offering differs from the water of Jacob's well because it ultimately gives the drinker eternal life.

    I believe that Jesus is talking about the Holy Spirit in this passage.

    When we repent of our sins, we receive the Holy Spirit to be our guide. It is at this point that we get our first taste of living water. The Holy Spirit then begins the process of quenching our thirst until the day that we "will never thirst"~~when we stand in the presence of God in our glorified state.

    I also believe that it is crucial to use all the Bible when trying to interpret any passage. Please be aware that I am not insinuating anything by this following comment, but false teachings can arise when the whole of the Bible is not considered when studying Scripture.

    By Blogger Kristin, at 10/09/2006 11:28 PM  

  • If we were to attempt to interpret this passage using the Vine and the Branches, we would have to assume that we could understand the Vine and the Branches. However, if we can understand that passage, we can understand this one.

    The question here is what Jesus means when He says drink.

    Does He means drink once or drink more than once?

    I would suggest the answer is actually very clear.

    13 "Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:

    14 but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life."

    If a person drinks the water once from the well, she needs to drink again. Why? Because she gets thirsty again.

    Does a person get thirsty again after drinking Jesus' water?

    What does He say?

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 10/10/2006 8:53 AM  

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