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

Saturday, October 14, 2006

A Little Booklet on Lordship Salvation
Part 2

Here is the second of 7 major points from Dr. MacArthur's book and Dr. Pickering's review and comments on these points. (See my October 12 post for background on what I am posting here. )

Dr. Earnest Pickering sums up of MacArthur's points (large green italic #2) and offers comment:
_______________________________________________________
2. Saving faith is more than mental assent.

A number of times, in various ways, this emphasis is given. Saving faith is "more than just understanding the facts and mentally acquiescing" (p. 31). We do not know any fundamental preachers of the gospel who would disagree with that statement. We never have heard any reputable gospel preacher ever teach otherwise. The old Scofield Bible declared that "faith is personal trust, apart from meritorious works, in the Lord Jesus Christ" (p. 1302, Scofield Bible). The Ryrie Study Bible declares, "Both Paul and James define faith as a living, productive trust in Christ" (note on James 2:14).

In this connection MacArthur laments, "Contemporary Christendom too often accepts a shallow repentance that bears no fruit" (p. 96). This theme recurs over and over again in the book. The recommended cure for this malady is to require more of the seeking sinner than the Bible requires. Instead of "merely" believing on the finished work of Christ the inquiring soul must also be willing to have Christ as Lord over every area of his life. It seems evident upon an examination of this thesis that those who espouse it are adding something to the gospel that is not in the Scriptures. Charles Ryrie was certainly on target when he wrote, "The message of faith only and the message of faith plus commitment of life cannot both be the gospel. . ." (Balancing the Christian Life, p. 170).

It is at this point that MacArthur's view of repentance should be mentioned. He places great emphasis upon repentance and indicts modern gospel preachers with pos­sessing an incorrect view of it. While accepting repentance as a part of saving faith, he says, "It is a redirection of the human will, a purposeful decision to forsake all un­righteousness and pursue righteousness instead" (p. 163). "No evangelism that omits the message of repentance can properly be called the gospel. . ." (p. 167).

The word "repent" in the New Testament means "to have another mind, to change the mind." True repentance is to have a change of mind regarding sin, God and the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance is not an act separate from saving faith but a part of it. When I believe on the Savior I am repenting of my sins. One cannot "believe" in the New Testament sense of that word without also "repenting." To "believe" does not mean "to be willing to give up all that is displeasing to God." It means to accept with all the heart what the Bible says about my sin and about Christ's sacrifice for me.
_______________________________________________________

What do you think? I know some wouldn't agree with Pickering's view of repentance as a "change of mind."
more to come ...

73 Comments:

  • I totally disagree with his concept of saving faith.

    Saving faith is assent to the truth that Jesus Christ provides eternal life. This is trust.

    There is no conceptual difference between trust and mental assent to the reliability of a thing.

    There is no element of repentance implict in faith.

    A change of mind with regard to sin may help one to see one's need for eternal life, but this is not essential to it.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 10/14/2006 12:05 PM  

  • I am right with Pickering.

    I think I will go get a coffe mug that says Pickering is my Homeboy!

    Ah ha ha ha!

    Seriously he lands right where the truth is. Praise God for Pickerings witness and his discernment.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 10/14/2006 12:35 PM  

  • Brian, what is the difference between trusting that the mail will be delivered on Monday and giving mental assent to the fact that the mail will be delivered on Monday?

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 10/14/2006 1:31 PM  

  • The difference is Matthew that your analogy is of no life or death matter and carries with it no eternal ramifications. If the mail comes then great. Another day..another dollar. Casarasara. Whatever will be will be. Or as Rosie would say, "Whatever!"
    So what if the mail comes or if it doesn't? Your analogy is also based on your own mental syllogism derived from your own reason and is in no way representative of the serious nature that Jesus preached when he called men to repentance so that they would see that he was among them.

    You see the call to repentance wakes the sinners soul up to see the danger and the destructive direction that their sin will land them. It causes the soul to be anxious about the matter of "TRUST". Mental knowledge is not trust. It is aptitude and can translate itself into optimism...but not trust.

    Let me take your analogy and try to expound it into a more biblically based framework that better represents the whole counsel of God. Analogies are never perfect and so this one won't be either, but I do think it to be more representative of biblical fact.

    A doctor is in front of you warning you that the water from the well that you drink(remember the Samaritan woman) is poisoned and leading you to eternal death and everlasting thirst. You have been thinking this water tastes good and that it is good for you, but now the doctor is trying to convince you that this water is killing you. You can either believe him or disagree with him. You sit there wavering about whether he is telling you the truth as he is telling you facts from your bloodwork that you cannot see. Perhaps you can reason that he is trying to deceive you and that he is reading someone else's bloodwork. he then tells you to repent and take this seriously...you finally open your heart, change your mind about the water you have been drinking and ask for any hope that would deliver you from this present fatal malady. He tells you that you can indeed be cured and in fact never suffer from the waters danger again.

    He then tells you the good news that the only antidote is on top of Mount Everest and that you will die in two weeks. He tells you you have two options.The first option is that you can fly to Tibet and make the climb on your own and try to retrieve the antidote which would take a week and a half. you are not an experienced climber so the risk is great.

    He then tells you that his son is an expert climber and that he would be willing to make the climb in your place. He tells you that few ever make the climb and it is extremely dangerous. He asks you to be sure that his son can make the climb and bring the antidote down the mountain. He then tells you that his son will then have 3 days to mail the antidote to you. He said he will use priority/rush mail and that it will be there on the monday that you are scheduled to die.

    You then must decide which option you can take.

    The Law offers the impossible option of you climbing the mountain on your own and curing yourself. Of course some might be tempted by this challenge as they have a hard time trusting the seemingly to good to be true second option that places their eternal life in someone elses hand. I say "Challenge" Some are attempting this direction thinking they have repented and in an indirect way view the Law as their saviour.

    Grace offers you the option of believing that everything will be done for you in and that you must trust that the antidote will be in the mail on Monday.

    Which one will you choose?

    Repentance is the bad news vehicle that helps you see the sin you lust for is leading you to eternal death. Faith is calling you to trust that the Son of the Living God will deliver you from the wages of your sin.

    Will you sin again and drink that bad water? Yes...everyone does.. but you have had a change of heart about that sin and now see how costly it was to you and the Son of God and how that the Son of God bore the wrath of the Father in your place and what strenuous work He has done. You have now trusted God in a life or death matter of great suspense.

    Repentance is a battering ram that wakes the soul up...Grace through faith is the salve that rests the soul. Trust is not mental assent. It is born out of the Fear of God and the fear of wrath and judgement of the Son of God in your place.

    Or you can strive and make the climb to the top of Everest.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 10/14/2006 3:17 PM  

  • I am thinking there may be a misunderstanding. The green, numbered italicised sections of these posts are not Pickering's views. He is summing up what he believes to be MacArthur's stance in the book:

    2. Saving faith is more than mental assent.

    Now I realize that he goes on to say that faith includes repentance, but then he defines repentance as a "change of mind." I know the FG people that I read actually prefer MacArthur's view of repentance, they just don't see it as being necessary for the new birth, as MacArthur does.

    Here is where I am. I think sometimes the word can mean "change of mind" and other times it can mean "change of action." I don't have a problem with Earnest P. saying that it is a change of mind. A change of mind is definitely part of faith. Think about it. You did not believe, then you believed. You changed your mind! Your mind changed. Change of action is not necessary for salvation. Action... period! ... is not necessary, or else it wouldn't be of faith.

    I do think there are passages directed at believers that are encouraging them to change their actions. That also is clear to me.

    What I don't agree with in MacArthur's teaching (and neither did Earnest P.) is this:

    No evangelism that omits the message of repentance can properly be called the gospel.
    coupled with this:
    [Repentance] is a redirection of the human will, a purposeful decision to forsake all un­righteousness and pursue righteousness instead.

    To me, that is saying that one wills himself to be saved by forsaking unrighteousness. Included in his faith unto salvation ... is action. I can't accept that. Pure faith is the vehicle of regeneration.

    I think salvation is by simple faith in what CHRIST HAS DONE, NOT WHAT I WILL DO.

    1. Matthew, can you help me out and quote that which you disagree with?

    2. Do you not agree with his closing remark:
    To "believe" does not mean "to be willing to give up all that is displeasing to God." It means to accept with all the heart what the Bible says about my sin and about Christ's sacrifice for me.?

    There are two questions for you, my young British friend. I look forward to your answers.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/14/2006 5:31 PM  

  • Brian,
    That took a little time to compose that analogy!

    So would you say that you define the concept of "repentance" as "godly sorrow" perhaps? Change of mind (as Pickering)? Or change of action?

    I prefer gospel presentations that don't use the word personally, because I think it can be confusing, but I am interested for you to define how you define the word. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/14/2006 5:34 PM  

  • It is simply a change of mind Rose. What I am trying to get at the heart of is the need of man to understand that it is sin that cost Christ so much. The fear of God causes man to need to trust. Jesus said to fear the one who could destroy the body and soul and in the same sentence he says fear not. He is getting us to trust our anxieties to Him and it starts with trusting Him with our sin debt.

    The call to repentance goes out and the Law brings men to despair. For years you were taught the Law and told to help yourself by your mother...so when the message of the free gift came you gladly cast the anxiety of your sin upon Christ receiving the free gift. Remember the you brought up sin to the one who witnessed to you. If the Catholics do anything they create anxiety over sin..but they cannot help as they do not rest in the finished work of Christ.

    It is incumbent that we make sure that man understands his need of Christ and that it is not some...Oh ok thanks guy. Jesus loves me and died for me. Thanks guy for telling me that.

    Ray Comfort was witnessing to some men outside of the Hustler hedquarters. All of them were guffawing and telling dirty jokes and delighting in the opportunity of their job. They seemed unphased. No shame at all. Then Comfort asked one what he was going to do about eternity. He responded...well here is the great thing..."Jesus died for our sins right?"

    We need to make sure that mans need punctures the conscience in the call to repentance or his attitude about sin will not Change. No I am not talking about behaviour...but I am talking about a change of mind in seeing that sin is wrong and it was very costly to Christ on the Cross. We cannot turn from sin, but when repentance is taught the mind changes and the need is seen to come to the saviour as your only hope. I was trying to seperate that thought by illustrating that some think that repentance will mean to climb to mount everest to cure themselves. That is only a reproduction of the Law and repackaged.

    I was trying to stress the importance of this being a life or death matter and that it is sin which led us here and when sin is confronted unbelief is confronted and the only answer is to "Believe on The Lord Jesus Christ!"

    My outcome was the same as Matthews. We must believe that the mail will be there. Not check the mail...that is not faith. WE must take God at his word that the mail will be there...but Matthew has no background or need to his analogy. There is no anxious suspense that leads one to hope that the mail will be there on Monday. The fact that eternal life rests on believing that you will be delivered just like you believe the mail(antidote) will be there on Monday.

    Do you see the differance? We must endeavour to preach repentance and the law and the wrath of God so that men will see they are lost...but if we are telling men they must behaviourly turn from sin in order to receive the grace of God we are presenting a false Gospel...Hence Metanoia is a change of mind about sin and the saviour as Pickering states...and Metamellomia in the call to discipleship is to leave sin behind both behaviourly and in the mind and conform to Gods will.

    Metanoia is preached by Peter. Metamellomia is preached by Jesus in the Fig tree needing to bear fruit. The call to discipleship.

    Jesus also preached Metanoia as well when He told them He was here.

    My point is the call to repentance must go out in the gospel call so that the "Trust" will be born out of the fear of God in the mind of man, but repentance is not what saves..."Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ!" does and that is what completes Metanoia...the true change of mind.

    I know Ray Comfort is considered Lordship...and I don't agree with him in all areas, but he did understand what Spurgeon did.

    You must receive a free gift and be delievered and then day by day God will work in our lives...but this idea of not having to understand why Christ actually went to the cross and not compelling men of their need is not good.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 10/14/2006 7:33 PM  

  • Rose,

    I'm lost here. I did think the green italicized items were Pickerings thoughts so thanks for clearing that up. In this post, is the last paragraph your thoughts or Pickerings? Sorry, just trying to keep your characters straight:)

    By Anonymous mary, at 10/14/2006 8:24 PM  

  • I see.

    You love the BUILDING and the HISTORY and MEMORIES more than the Saviour.

    Ouch.

    Could you worship tomorrow without the building on Laskey?

    I doubt it.

    It has become the snare to your soul.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/14/2006 10:49 PM  

  • Mary, I reformatted it slightly. I explained a little better at the top and I also included long black lines to indicate that between the black lines are Pickering's words. Does that help?

    Anonymous,
    I can see that you have taken my invitation to "think what you like." You really have no clue about me.
    It has been fun.
    Bye now.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/15/2006 9:12 AM  

  • Brian, I see what you are saying and I do believe I agree with you.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/15/2006 9:43 AM  

  • Rose~,
    I disagree with this:

    "A number of times, in various ways, this emphasis is given. Saving faith is "more than just understanding the facts and mentally acquiescing" (p. 31). We do not know any fundamental preachers of the gospel who would disagree with that statement. We never have heard any reputable gospel preacher ever teach otherwise. The old Scofield Bible declared that "faith is personal trust, apart from meritorious works, in the Lord Jesus Christ" (p. 1302, Scofield Bible). The Ryrie Study Bible declares, "Both Paul and James define faith as a living, productive trust in Christ" (note on James 2:14)."

    "To "believe" does not mean "to be willing to give up all that is displeasing to God." It means to accept with all the heart what the Bible says about my sin and about Christ's sacrifice for me."

    I agree with the first sentence. I disagree with the second sentence.

    Saving faith is believing that one has eternal life through Jesus Christ. It need not involve knowing anything about Christ's sacrifice or about one's sinful condition.

    To believe in Christ is to believe that He has given one eternal life.

    Brian, how is my analogy inaccurate?

    When we speak about theology, we do not start speaking in the tongues of angels. We are talking in English.

    If there is a meaningful distinction between faith/ trust/ belief/ mental assent, you ought to be able to explain what it is.

    Can you supply any Biblical texts that refer to a belief in Christ that does not save?

    The Bible often uses the words heart and mind interchangeably. The Bible never treats the mind as second-rate.

    Phillipians 2:5
    "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus."

    2 Tim 1:7
    "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power and of love and of a sound mind."

    The mind is just as important as any other part of the person.

    Hence, to talk about mental assent as a false faith is unbiblical.

    When Jesus asked Martha if she believed if He was the Resurrection and the Life, He asked her to affirm a proposition about Himself. Saving faith is simply giving assent to that proposition, that Christ is the source of eternal life to those who believe.

    "but this idea of not having to understand why Christ actually went to the cross and not compelling men of their need is not good."

    Are we saved by our understanding?

    No, we are saved by our faith in Christ. To demand a level of understanding for salvation compromises the sufficency of what Christ has done.

    We need only to receive the results of Christ's work, no to understand it.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 10/15/2006 11:00 AM  

  • Hi Matthew,
    We have been down this road of reductionism before, haven't we? ;~)

    OK, so at the top of your comment where you quote EP, you disagree with his assessment that We do not know any fundamental preachers of the gospel who would disagree with that statement.

    Is he surmising wrong about Scofield and Ryrie? Is that your disagreement?

    Maybe it is this statement from MacArthur and his insistence that "fundamental preachers of the gospel [wouldn't] disagree with it: Saving faith is "more than just understanding the facts and mentally acquiescing."

    EP quotes the Scofield Bible: faith is personal trust, apart from meritorious works, in the Lord Jesus Christ

    Persoanlly, I think trust and faith are very similar when we are talking about "believing in Christ for eternal life." What is the difference between trust and faith?

    I am a little nervous about what you say here:
    No, we are saved by our faith in Christ. To demand a level of understanding for salvation compromises the sufficency of what Christ has done.

    So then, you wouldn't impede understanding, though, right? You are not saying that you would discourage understanding, are you?

    I once saw you say in a comment somewhere that when you do street preaching, that preach Christ and Him crucified. Is this still true? If so, why? According to these comments, it isn't part of the message ... or maybe I am reading your comment in an oversimplified manner.

    I have another thought on this, but I will offer it after you have a chance to clarify. Thanks, brother.

    Let me say I appreciate this statement from you:
    The Bible often uses the words heart and mind interchangeably. The Bible never treats the mind as second-rate.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/15/2006 11:20 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 10/15/2006 12:04 PM  

  • 'We do not know any fundamental preachers of the gospel who would disagree with that statement.'

    As far as I know, only Zane Hodges, Bob Wilkin and others associated with Grace Evangelical Society would disgaree with that statement (Saving faith is "more than just understanding the facts and mentally acquiescing").

    Scofield, Ryrie and others moderate non-Lordship chaps would maintain that there is a false, non-saving faith. So, no, Pickering accurately represents Scofield and Ryrie.

    "What is the difference between trust and faith?"

    There is none. But Pickering wants to maintain that there is a difference between faith/ trust and that entity known as 'mental assent'.

    Those who advocate the existence of non-salvific mental faith seldom make much effort to explain how it differs from real faith.

    "You are not saying that you would discourage understanding, are you?"

    Of course not. Understanding sin and the work of Christ helps us to see our need for salvation.

    "I once saw you say in a comment somewhere that when you do street preaching, that preach Christ and Him crucified. Is this still true? If so, why?"

    I preach Christ crucified and preach the sinfulness of man.

    Understanding these themes puts the offer of eternal life in context. But one could be saved without understanding either of these great truths. One simply needs to appropriate the gift of eternal life by faith in the person of Christ.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 10/15/2006 12:07 PM  

  • >Brian, how is my analogy inaccurate?<

    Matthew? you answer your own question here:

    >Saving faith is believing that one has eternal life through Jesus Christ. It need not involve knowing anything about Christ's sacrifice or about one's sinful condition.<

    I don't know how else to reason with you on this after you state that. Sorry.

    Rose,
    I don't need to tell Catholics to repent Just like Spurgeon after reading the Puritans all his young life didn't need to hear to repent when he was given the healing balm.

    He was told to just look. He understood all the background...but now he needed to hear to simply Look and be saved.

    It is good to know the background of some.

    Ray Comfort once told a Catholic also that repentance wouldn't save him and that only grace does.

    But I think Matthews view can lead to hazardous implications of mental assent. See my post on Oliver B Greenes first Isle walk. I am not saying that folks can't be saved with Matthews street preaching...i just think his reductionism is dangerous.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 10/15/2006 7:37 PM  

  • Hi dear sister Rose,

    I think Bian hit the nail on the head here: "Rose,
    I don't need to tell Catholics to repent Just like Spurgeon after reading the Puritans all his young life didn't need to hear to repent when he was given the healing balm.

    He was told to just look. He understood all the background...but now he needed to hear to simply Look and be saved.

    It is good to know the background of some."

    What he said about Spurgeon is true. Spurgeon was told merely to look, Isaiah 45:22. Spurgeon then went on to be one of the more prominent preachers of repentance, though you rarely see him use the word in his pleadings with lost sinners to come to Christ. He looked at repentance and faith as twins coming from the same fountain head. That was what I read in his book "All of Grace".

    I see Matthew 11:28-29 as my personal definition of repentance. When I try to lead someone to Christ I invite them to believe in Jesus as their only hope for salvation; and as they do they will be instantly and eternally justified. Before that encounter is over I will then encourage them to start reading their Bible, yes, starting in John, so that they can embark on a new life of getting to know and love the Savior yet more and more. I would also direct them to be water baptised.

    Your blog is a blessing.
    Mark

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 10/15/2006 9:50 PM  

  • Rose,

    I believe that Pickering is squarely in the Free Grace Camp. Yet as Matthew pointed out, I would have some problems.

    As to your insistence that faith must incorporate a change of mind, I would disagree.

    Take for instance children. They don't have a mind to change on the matter. They are told the gospel and that faith into Christ gives them eternal life and they believe. They hear the gospel in a sort of vacuum, without a mind to change on the matter.

    So changing one's mind is not a pre-requisite or flip-side to faith.

    We often believe things that we do not need to change our minds about because we do not have minds on the matter at hand.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 10/15/2006 11:04 PM  

  • Rose,

    I think the fundamental question is what motivates a person to change your mind in the first place? I think motives have everything to do this discussion. And until the heart is changed, the mind will not change about who Jesus is.

    I think Antonio's comment is an argument from silence. It seems to imply that children are passive automatons, and not thinking individuals. I do hold to an age of accountability with children and the mentally handicapped; but that's another topic. If a child receives Christ then this would be presupposed by the fact that they were aware of their need of a savior. To me this is the crux of this discussion.

    Really this whole discussion comes back to how we define a biblical anthropology. Matthew is right with his perspective on the biblical usage and interrelationship of a heart mind. But I would argue that the Bible articulates the heart as the all encompassing defining feature of man. In other words, the Bible is concerned with motivations more than what role the mind has in the appropriation of salvation.

    In Christ

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at 10/16/2006 4:35 AM  

  • Hi Rose~
    I enjoy your post and the thread of comments.

    Antonio said, They hear the gospel in a sort of vacuum, without a mind to change on the matter.

    I agree with him that Pickering is in the Free Grace camp as opposed to the Lordship camp, but we are all sinners we don't need anything preached to understand that.We are all sinners by conception and by choice, young and old, with or without mental faculties.

    Believing in Jesus for eternal life, does involve understanding. Even if that understanding is reduced to "believing" whatever concept one has of "believing", someone with the name of "Jesus" for something called "eternal life", (acually it is more dificult to explain that than Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead)but all the understanding one may have does not constitute believing.

    The difference between mental accent and trust is simple. Let me explain in my own words,

    I knew for years that Jesus held the key
    That could unlock my shackles and set me free.
    Though...
    I knew. I Knew. I KNEW!!!
    Yet, I did not trust Him.

    I was unwilling to receive
    the gift of Christ by faith alone.
    Though...
    I knew. I Knew. I KNEW!!!
    Yet I did not trust Him.

    I knew all the facts
    it seems to me.
    How Jesus hung upon
    the cursed tree,
    He shed His blood the Holy God,
    died in my place I truly did see.
    Though...
    I knew. I Knew. I KNEW!!!
    Yet I did not trust Him.

    I knew by faith I could be set free,
    yet I cared not for eternity.
    That the sins of my heart and mind
    were sore and there was only one way to settle the score.
    Though...
    I knew. I Knew. I KNEW!!!
    Yet I did not trust Him.

    I could not pay the debt I owed,
    but Jesus could and that is what I knew He did.
    Though...
    I knew. I Knew. I KNEW!!!
    Yet I did not trust Him.

    At last I came to Him one night
    like Nicodemos in a fright
    I trusted Him and then I knew
    all I had known was really true.

    Dear Matthew,
    one can ascertain certain lofty facts and truly know the ramifications of those facts and still not believe, this is the perspective. No one is claiming that simple belief in Jesus for eternal life cannot save, what is said is that mental accent alone will not save. One must believe, or trust those facts.

    That is all,
    brother John

    By Blogger J. Wendell, at 10/16/2006 7:32 AM  

  • Matthew,
    I don't really see EP anywhere talking about a "false faith". What a weird concept that is anyway, isn't it?

    When reading your last comment, I really don't see a lot of difference between what you and Brian are saying ... maybe a matter of semantics. IMHO
    It sounds as though you operate under similar approaches. I think when we get into these discussions on the nitty gritty of reductionism, you stress a more simplified bottom line.

    The word "theoretical" keeps coming to mind when we get into this discussion. It all seems a bit theoretical. Who actually pushes the envelope (what is the opposite of pushing the envelope?) when witnessing and withholds helpful information from the perspective convert?

    One final comment for you on this:
    Saving faith is simply giving assent to that proposition, that Christ is the source of eternal life to those who believe.

    I am certain you would say that faith in Christ must be personalized. IOW, to those who believe is not enough, but to ME, because I have believed is rather necessary. I can't just say well, I believe that Jesus saves those who believe, I must believe. Right?

    It has been fun seeing you use so many words on my blog!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/16/2006 8:39 AM  

  • Matthew ... one more thing ... ;~)

    I can't help but notice these two statements:
    Saving faith ... need not involve knowing anything about Christ's sacrifice or about one's sinful condition.

    and then this:

    I preach Christ crucified and preach the sinfulness of man. Understanding these themes puts the offer of eternal life in context.

    The first is "theoretical", the second is practical. We all do well to explain to people what it all means - this salvation. "Putting it in context" is the best way! That is all I would fight for here.

    You are a blessing brother - getting me to think.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/16/2006 8:46 AM  

  • Hi Mark,
    It is nice of you to stop by - you never visit anymore.

    Antonio,
    Welcome back. I hope your trip to India was great.
    You say you disagree that faith involoves a change of mind. What I said was when you come to believe, you didn't believe before, so ... you changed your mind.
    But, you are saying that non-believers are not always actively unbelieving; they can sometimes be more nuetral than that?
    Hmmm ... even if this is so, they go from nuetral to believing. So ... their mind changed!

    This is very "theoretical" too, IMHO. It is great to have you back.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/16/2006 8:54 AM  

  • Bobby,
    Hiya.
    If a child receives Christ then this would be presupposed by the fact that they were aware of their need of a savior.
    I can agree with that.

    I am not sure that motives must be pure or out of love for God. Is that what you are saying?
    What if someone receives Christ out of a sense of self-preservation because of the fear of hell?
    Maybe I am missing your point?

    J. Wendell,
    That was really something to read this morning. Thank you! So you would say the difference between mental ascent and trust/faith is how one applies the fact to himself? If that is what you are saying, I get it! That is kind of what I was trying to say to Matthew a couple of comments above this one.
    I do, however, have a hard time believing, though, that there would be many unbelievers who would understand the FACTS of so great a salvation, mentally ascent, and then not want to apply those facts to themselves. What fools they would be.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/16/2006 9:02 AM  

  • Good morning, Rose~

    "I don't really see EP anywhere talking about a "false faith". What a weird concept that is anyway, isn't it?"

    He does not mention it, but the fact that he qualifies the definition of faith to exclude 'mere mental assent' would suggest that he like every other non-Free Gracer would identify various persons in the NT such as Simon the Soceror as false believers and would regard the targets of James 2 as false professors. I would be surpised if Pickering had no concept of pseudo-faith.

    "IOW, to those who believe is not enough, but to ME, because I have believed is rather necessary. I can't just say well, I believe that Jesus saves those who believe, I must believe."

    If you believe Jesus Christ gives eternal life to those who believe, then logically you are a believer and logically, you then believe that you have eternal life. That means you acknowledge Jesus to be the Son of God (John 11:27) and you have everlasting life.


    John, I am just baffled.

    You are a mailman.

    If a person knows for certain the fact that you are going to deliver her mail tomorrow, in what sense does she not trust you?

    Could somebody please explain in very simple terms exactly how trust is distinct from knowledge?

    It seems to me obvious that trust is simply knowledge of reliability?

    What is it that I am missing?

    I trust Rose~ not to use bad language on her blog. Surely my trust is simply a passive knowledge of her behaviour. I am not taking any active step in trusting her? Am I?

    Or is believing not enough?

    That is what it comes down to.

    Behind all this talk of differences between trust, mental assent and knowledge, it all comes down to the simple issue of whether it is enough to believe.

    Brian, Pickering and John may all reject Lordship Salvation and rightly so. It is a false gospel.

    However, by playing around with faith and trying to push it beyond a simple assent to facts they open the door for people like MacArthur to go a step further and incoporate some kind of commitment to obediance into faith. Even an opponent of Lordship Salvation like Robert Lightner does this.

    That is why I think it is so vital to maintain that faith is passive and it is no more that assent to the fact of Christ's provision of eternal life.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 10/16/2006 10:04 AM  

  • Rose,

    W/o a change in disposition why would anyone think that saying they are wrong and God is right is a way of "self-preservation"?

    That's my point, a "natural" person is unable to recognize that God's way actually provides a viable way of "self preservation".

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at 10/16/2006 2:38 PM  

  • Right Mark,

    Above all you see that in "The Warrant Of Faith".

    Also in Jesus Only he rightly states that Johns call was prepatory and that the keys to the Kingdom did not hang from his girdle but that it is there we see him point and say, "Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world."

    I heard J Vernon Mcgee say today that the call has basically flipped to Believe and Turn to God as we need to turn to Him in order to receive the power to turn away from Sin." He is correct.

    Spurgeon understood this as well, but Mark I hope you will consider that he was human and he was under a great deal of pressure from all Calvinists around the block that sometimes accussed him of being Arminian so a lot of times the quotes you will see are sometimes "Chest Thumping" statements to let the other Calvinists know that he is Calvinist.

    I personally am not into "Chest Thumping" Though I respect Spurgeon I only wish to please my Lord and no one else. That is all that matters.

    Having said all of that...Spurgeon was a faithful witness for our Lord.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 10/16/2006 2:45 PM  

  • He was also very consistent in his belief on seperation. God bless the man for standing by true conviction.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 10/16/2006 2:48 PM  

  • Bobby I also agree with you with the caveat of some agreement of Matthews statement that throughout the Bible the Heart and Mind are used interchangeably. Of that I agree so I don't know why he doesnt see this. The Hebrew for heart and mind is Leb and Kilyah where Jeremiah calls us to Trust God in Jeremiah 17. Back then the kidneys were used as the house of the mind because they felt it was a place of innermost being. Salvation is in all sense a transfer of trust to Christ as our sin-bearer and we must *hear* the Fear of the Lord in order to trust our fears to the Lord.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 10/16/2006 2:55 PM  

  • Great poem John!!!!! I loved it. What a blessing. Did you write that? Greeeeaaat poem.

    By the way...John Newton who wrote Amazing Grace was taught to memorize over 500 verses of Scripture by the time he was 5 years old. Then his mother died and his guardian was an old slave trader.

    They say that as an adult Newton could blaspheme and cuss for two hours straight not using the same word. He became the wickedest of men until one night caught on the perilous seas and near death a verse from his intellect of childhood came to him. "Whosever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."

    He called out in need and he was saved. What Amazing Grace indeed that feeds the soul in direst need.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 10/16/2006 3:03 PM  

  • Also John,

    You said>One must believe, or trust those facts.<

    What I was trying to argue is that he is saying you can trust without having those facts...but how can you trust if you have no fact to rest on?

    This is why we must lay down as much of the facts as we can and pray for the power of the Holy Spirit as only thru His illumination can we indeed be led to trust those blessed truths found in our Lord.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 10/16/2006 3:09 PM  

  • Thanks Rose. The lines and things helped this simple peasant. I think I stay out of the debate though.

    By Anonymous mary, at 10/16/2006 7:07 PM  

  • Matthew,

    you make cogent points that have yet to be reckoned with. I absolutely agree with you.

    Rose,

    If there is not a mind on the matter, the mind has not changed. It has not gone from one thing to another. It has gone from passivity to a positive addition. The mind hasn't changed.

    One must be careful of definitions. "Change of mind" expresses an idea of believing in one thing and then disregarding it for another.

    But a child, on the other hand, can be conceived of never having given any thought to things eternal.

    He has not mind to change on the matter.

    He hears the gospel in a theological vaccuum and believes.

    He hasn't changed his mind. He was merely persuaded, convinced of the truth.

    This is something different than a Hindu changing his worldview to believe in Christ. The child may have no opinion or thought on the matter of those things eternal.

    I fail to see why you can't understand the difference.

    John,

    I wrote this on my blog:
    ----------
    Many say that saving faith = belief + trust.

    This is like saying a Volkswagon Jetta is made of automobile + car.

    Trust, faith, belief are all synonyms meaning the same thing.

    Someone may ask me "Do you trust the babysitter?" I could say, "Yes, I trust the babysitter".

    Well what does that mean?

    Trust is belief in a proposition:

    I believe that the babysitter will act honorably, appropriately, professionally, and with the best interests of me and my child.

    Trust is belief in one or more propositions. When I say that I have trusted or relied on Jesus for eternal life, this means that I have assented to a proposition:

    I believe that Jesus Christ gave me eternal life based upon His promise: for He is the Guarantor of eternal life and resurrection to the believer in Him.

    "Further, 'trust in a person' is a meaningless phrase unless it means assenting to certain propositions about a person..." (John Robbins, Foreward to Gordon Clark's 'Faith and Saving Faith')

    In every instance of trust, it is broken down into a proposition. Faith is not an emotion!

    "in the present writer's opinion, many Christians, motivated by an irrational pragmatism... consider belief to be an emotion or a feeling... To be sure, some beliefs stir the emotions, but the very sober belief that a man has five fingers on each hand is as much a belief as some shattering news." (Gordon H. Clark, Faith and Saving Faith, 18).

    Faith is taking someone at his word, faith is being persuaded as to a proposition, faith is being convinced that something is true, faith is trust. Faith is not emotion, commitment, submission to authority, etc.

    Trust is not some element in addition to belief. Trust is belief in a specific proposition(s).

    Trust in Jesus for eternal life is belief in the proposition:

    Christ guarantees my eternal life by faith in His promise to do so. I believe I have eternal life by believing Christ.

    Trust and belief are synonyms.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 10/16/2006 11:31 PM  

  • Hi Antonio and Matthew,
    Thanks for all that. We agree... I think.

    When you say, "Trust is belief in a specific proposition(s)." I say “Amen!” Yet all the knowledge (mental ascent) will not save. One can have the facts down cold and never trust or believe those facts.

    Not everyone who gets mail gets mail.

    Matthew, you correctly pointed out that I deliver mail for the US government. You asked, "If a person knows for certain the fact that you are going to deliver her mail tomorrow, in what sense does she not trust you?" The question should be framed a little differently Matthew, since as Brian pointed out there is no need in your approach one way or the other. "So what?" she could reason, "The mail will be in my box tomorrow, big deal who cares? It's just bills and advertisements." She will not benefit from the things in her box until by faith she opens the box at receives her mail.

    One may know all about the post office and mail delivery. They may know its history: How it began; when it began; who started it; who were the first to send mail who were the first to receive mail. They may know the systems of operations, from the Pony Express right down in history to our modern Delivery Point Sequencing (DPS) system. One may even know some finer details about how much fuel it takes to get a letter from an office to the customer; where we got the uniform; why dogs bite letter carriers and how to prevent it. With all that correct knowledge that same person may decide not to receive their mail.

    Some of my customers have this attitude and have left their mail in the box, never to enjoy the benefit of what has been left inside, untouched and unopened.

    Others couldn't care less about the history or who designed the eagle logo, they just know that the mail is in the box and they open the box and receive it.

    I provide a service to all, but only as many as open their box and receive their mail benefit from it... they are the ones, the only ones who benefit from the service which I provide for all. Some of them enjoy the benefits others do not seem to enjoy it very much, those who receive it still benefit.

    By Blogger J. Wendell, at 10/17/2006 6:33 AM  

  • Antonio and Matthew,
    You aren't saying that one may become saved without trust in Jesus for eternal life are you?

    Believe in Jesus for eternal life!

    There are so many difficulties I could go into but for time...

    Which Jesus must one believe?

    The Jesus that is a wafer, that one eats to receive?

    The Jesus who is among 1400 other god peers?

    The Jesus who was born in Bethany and died on the cross, but was conceived of a god that is like what we can become and was once as we are now, who had a sexual encounter with Mary?

    The Jesus who was Michael the ach-angel and became a perfect man and was a god?

    Which eternal life?

    The eternal life in which one passes through an invented place called Purgatory to pay for sins then maybe go to heaven?

    The eternal life in which one becomes one with the cosmos and then re-enters reality as a greater or lesser being depending on her Karma in order to finally enter Nirvana?

    The eternal life in which one becomes as God is, and once was, to have wives and babies and rule universes forever?

    The eternal life in which one gets to stay on this perfected planet that will be called Paradise, if one does enough to deserve this, and if one does not then inhalation is the fate?

    Are we not called to preach the whole counsel of God? “Believe Jesus for eternal life?” I am not saying that it is impossible to get saved with only this knowledge. I am not saying one must have all the t's crossed and all the i's doted either.

    I do agree with this,

    "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures..."

    By Blogger J. Wendell, at 10/17/2006 6:46 AM  

  • Antonio~

    Trust is belief in a proposition. Yes, I agree!

    You said, "I believe that Jesus Christ gave me eternal life based upon His promise: for He is the Guarantor of eternal life and resurrection to the believer in Him."

    You had to know what you believed in, right? IOW you gave mental ascent to that which you came to believe or trust. You trusted or believed that which you had given mental ascent to.

    Am I wrong?

    By Blogger J. Wendell, at 10/17/2006 6:56 AM  

  • Historically and scripturally there have been 3 prongs of "faith" articulated, that I think would provide helpful distinction for this discussion.

    First there is knowledge of something (notitia), second there is assent (assentus)to knowledge, and third there is trust or fiducia in something. All three components are aspects of saving faith, you can't have one w/o the other; if a creature/person does then they don't have "saving" faith.

    Mere assent to a proposition will not save, just ask the demons in James (maybe you shouldn't ask them, but you get the point ;).

    A child indeed must have a change of heart/mind if they actually are appropriating salvation--just like anyone. Sure they don't have the life experience or developed world-views that adults have, but they have a sin nature, and they need to realize that this stands in the way of relationship with God, if they are going to see their need for a Savior, which ultimately implies that they will change their mind--and go God's way, and not their own way.

    Matthew said:

    There is no conceptual difference between trust and mental assent to the reliability of a thing.

    Sure there is. I can give assent to the fact there is a chair in front of me that purportedly will support me if I choose to sit down in it--but until I exercise "trust" in that chair--i.e. actively sit down in it--all I've done is give assent that there is indeed a chair in front of me that is suppposed to be able to hold me up.

    In Christ

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at 10/17/2006 7:05 AM  

  • Bobby,
    That was well put. Amen!

    In Christ

    By Blogger J. Wendell, at 10/17/2006 7:34 AM  

  • Mr. Grow: "but they have a sin nature, and they need to realize that this stands in the way of relationship with God, if they are going to see their need for a Savior, which ultimately implies that they will change their mind--and go God's way, and not their own way."

    Well said,sir.

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 10/17/2006 8:14 AM  

  • Matthew.
    I am surprised that we are at this impasse. ;~) You can't see a difference between saying that you believe something, but not wanting it for yourself? You don't think it is necessary to apply the facts to oneself?

    Ah, maybe you think there is a fictitous person here. You know how the LS people say that a "carnal Christian" is a fictitious person? Maybe you think the person who knows the facts of the gospel, yet refuses to apply them to himself is a fictitous person.

    As I said in my paragraph to J. Wendell:
    I ... have a hard time believing ...that there would be many unbelievers who would understand the FACTS of so great a salvation, mentally ascent, and then not want to apply those facts to themselves. What fools they would be.

    Now, I said I had a hard time believing, but that is not the same as denying the possibilty of such fools. I guess I get a little frustarted with both sides of this issue when we don't consider the complexity of individuals and all the varying ways in which they can and do respond. Respond they must - with faith - belief/trust that this is for THEM.

    I was thinking about the mail thing last night. John was telling me about several people in the apartments where he delivers. They are totally indifferent to their mail. Sure, they probably know, believe and trust that the mailman will deliver the junkmail, but they are indifferent to it. They don't want the junk mail (who can blame them?) I can't be indifferent to the gospel. I have to want it for myself or else it doesn't matter that I trust and believe that Christ is the way, the truth, the life, as long as I have the attitude that "this is not for me." Wouldn't I have to want that life, that gift for myself?

    You and Antonio must make no mistake, I am not in any LS camp, but I think it is important to recognize that there is a personal element - not an emotional element - but a personal reception of the truth and receiving Christ as "my own savior" not just "the savior."

    This comment will probably make no difference to you.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/17/2006 8:56 AM  

  • Bobby,
    So a natural person can't get the reality of hell? Is that what you mean?

    Brian, thanks for the McGee lesson!

    Antonio,
    It has gone from passivity to a positive addition.
    There is a change ... from passivity to a positive addition. ;~)

    I don't think we see eye to eye on this one. First of all, I am not dogmatic about the change of mind thing. I just think that if a preacher/teacher wants to use that terminology, I don't find it offensive. I can see how they would describe faith that way. They are not saying "change of action". I think the contrast is better placed there between change of mind and change of action than between no change of mind and change of mind.

    When we talk about children... I do believe that a child can understand that Christ is the way, the truth and the life and that only through Him can we go to the father. It certainly wouldn't hurt to supply them with an explanation that attempts to put that in context. This is what we are trying to do with our kids. One thing about kids - it is not hard to convince them that they have sin. They know that they are naughty little people. This is the context of "savior" IMO. Savior makes more sense if put in context. Life is what the savior offers ... death is what we have earned from naughtiness. Maybe you are right and "change of mind" is not necessary to say in this regard. It is all a little semantical to me.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/17/2006 9:10 AM  

  • Rose~
    Your comments are very important to me.

    "You don't think it is necessary to apply the facts to oneself?"

    It is simply necessary to believe. If you believe that you have eternal life through Jesus Christ, then you have eternal life.

    To affirm the proposition that Christ gives eternal life to all who believe, including oneself, is to apply the work of Christ to oneself.

    "You and Antonio must make no mistake, I am not in any LS camp, but I think it is important to recognize that there is a personal element - not an emotional element - but a personal reception of the truth and receiving Christ as "my own savior" not just "the savior.""

    If you believe that Jesus is the Saviour and that you are saved as a result of His work, then you believe He is your saviour. This is very basic logic.

    Bobby
    "Sure there is. I can give assent to the fact there is a chair in front of me that purportedly will support me if I choose to sit down in it--but until I exercise "trust" in that chair--i.e. actively sit down in it--all I've done is give assent that there is indeed a chair in front of me that is suppposed to be able to hold me up."

    You may have any number of reasons not to sit in a chair while still trusting it to hold your wait. Whether one decides to sit in a chair has no bearing at all on whether one trusts it.

    If you believe that a chair will support you, then you trust that chair.

    In the same way, if we affirm that Christ gives us eternal life, we trust Him. We are not saved by any action, but simply by our acknowledgment of His gift of eternal life.

    I believe that references to James chapter 2 in this context are eisegetical. James was not talking about the nature of faith in that chapter. He was talking about the necessity of works. To use that comment to try to define faith is to completely remove it from its context.

    John

    ""So what?" she could reason, "The mail will be in my box tomorrow, big deal who cares? It's just bills and advertisements." She will not benefit from the things in her box until by faith she opens the box at receives her mail."

    This is all irrelevant. I was not asking you about what one does with the mail. The question was about the nature of trust.

    A person might well be indifferent to the arrival of their mail. However, this does not affect the fact that they know it is coming. And if they are certain that it is coming, then they trust it to come. This is perfectly logical.

    It seems what you are trying to do is to insert some moral or emotional element that into the defintion of trust. This will not do.

    Trust need not have any emotional or moral content. It is simply the affirmation of reliability.

    "Which Jesus must one believe?"

    The Jesus who is referred to in the Bible. Whether one has misconceptions about His nature or person is irrelevant.

    You can know of the existence of a soecific person while being completley ignorant of everything about the person.

    It is unnecessary to know about the nature of everlasting life, provided one believes it is everlasting and that it is life as opposed to death, or hell, which is merely another kind of death.

    I do not want to accuse anybody of holding to Lordship Salvation, however, we can only contend against the erros of that theology by being absolutely clear about the nature of faith.

    Faith is simply believing the facts.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 10/17/2006 10:54 AM  

  • Matthew,
    If you believe that you have eternal life through Jesus Christ, then you have eternal life.

    I agree! But that is not what you have always been seen as saying. Sometimes you word it this way:

    The content of saving faith is believing that Jesus provides eternal life to those who believe.

    There is a difference.

    If you believe Jesus Christ gives eternal life to those who believe, then logically you are a believer and logically, you then believe that you have eternal life.

    I don't follow your logic. Although, as I said in an earlier comment, I do find it difficult to believe that there are such people who understand what is being offered, (believe the facts) yet for whatever reason, they don't want salvation, I must admit I know one who says he was that way for a number of years. He believed the facts, but He didn't receive Christ's gift of salvation.

    It may not fit into our paradigm, but like I said, there are so many different people with complexities in their persons and differences in their responses, we can't say "there is no such person."

    Behind all this talk of differences between trust, mental assent and knowledge, it all comes down to the simple issue of whether it is enough to believe.

    To that I would say that believing I have eternal life through Christ and His finished work - that is enough, yes! I have received eternal life and I know I now have it.

    Mental ascent, knowledge and trust is all involved in receiving the gift by faith. Don't make the same deletion as the Calvinists and not include "receiving" as a part of faith.

    "... as many as receivied Him, to them He gave the power to become the sons of God, to as many as believed on His name."

    These described know that they are receiving a gift for them.

    BTW, that is why I think Calvinism can be so deadly. How can one fully trust that this salvation is FOR HIM when he can not be sure that Christ died for him, because he can not be sure that he is one of the elect for whom Christ died?

    But ... that is a different subject altogether...

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/17/2006 11:26 AM  

  • "BTW, that is why I think Calvinism can be so deadly. How can one fully trust that this salvation is FOR HIM when he can not be sure that Christ died for him, because he can not be sure that he is one of the elect for whom Christ died?"

    The gospel is foolishness to those who are perishing. That one who is interested in hearing it is so because he or she is one of the called.

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 10/17/2006 11:43 AM  

  • But ... that is a different subject altogether...

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/17/2006 11:44 AM  

  • Sorry. Thanks for your time.

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 10/17/2006 12:15 PM  

  • Rose~
    There seem to be two things you could believe:

    A. You could believe that people who believe in Jesus have eternal life and that, hence you have eternal life.

    or

    B. You could believe that people who believe in Jesus have eternal life but deny that one has eternal life oneself.

    The person who believes A is saved. The person who believes B is lost.

    Some people who have been exposed to Calvinism might be in the B category, not being certain if they really believe. But other than that, I doubt many people would come into the B category. Hence, I think it is largely irrelevant.

    Yes, to be saved you must believe that you have eternal life, but unless one has a reason for disqualifying oneself as a believer, logically, if you affirm that Jesus saves those who believe (which would normally make one a believer) one would conclude that one posessed eternal life.

    "Mental ascent, knowledge and trust is all involved in receiving the gift by faith."

    Rose, you ae going to get sick, of this, but I am going to ask you, what is the difference between metal assent and trust.

    So far, nobody has given me a coherent explanation of the difference.

    John raised the issue of interest, but this has no bearing on the nature of trust.

    Let me ask you:

    If your boss mentally assents to the fact that you are going to show up for work, does he trust you to show up for work? Or is there something additional to mental assent in order to create trust?

    I am just baffled that nobody is willing to explain the difference between mental assent and trust without introducing additional components that are accessory to trust.

    "Don't make the same deletion as the Calvinists and not include "receiving" as a part of faith."


    Rose, what does it actually mean to receive.

    Is receiving more than believing?

    We need to let the John's Gospel define its own terminology. Receiving Christ is identical to believing in Him. According to Johnannine theology, believing in Christ is affirming the proposition that He is the resurrection and the life (John 11:25-27).

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 10/17/2006 12:38 PM  

  • Matthew,
    I will try. Here is an example of how I think they are different. Is showing an example [not giving] a coherent explanation of the difference.?

    Mental assent:
    "Yeah, I believe all that eternal life through Christ stuff, but I don't care. Now leave me alone."

    Trust:
    "I believe that Christ died for my sins, was raised and I am now justified. I know I am going to be with Him because He has given me the gift of eternal life."

    or even simpler: (you reductionist)
    "I believe I have eternal life because I believe Christ has given it to me."

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/17/2006 12:48 PM  

  • We need to let the John's Gospel define its own terminology. Receiving Christ is identical to believing in Him.

    But I was quoting from John. He used the word "receive". He also uses the phrase "receive the truth" which is a really good definition of "believe" and "faith", IMO.

    Here is the relevant Greek on that word "receive" in John 1:12:
    λαμβάνω
    lambanō
    Thayer Definition:
    1) to take
    1a) to take with the hand, lay hold of, any person or thing in order to use it
    1a2) to take upon one’s self
    1b) to take in order to carry away
    1c) to take what is one’s own, to take to one’s self, to make one’s own
    1c1) to claim, procure, for one’s self
    1c1a) to associate with one’s self as companion, attendant
    1c2) of that which when taken is not let go, to seize, to lay hold of, apprehend
    1c3) to take by craft (our catch, used of hunters, fisherman, etc.), to circumvent one by fraud
    1c4) to take to one’s self, lay hold upon, take possession of, i.e. to appropriate to one’s self
    1c5) catch at, reach after, strive to obtain
    1d2) to receive what is offered
    1d3) not to refuse or reject
    1d4) to receive a person, give him access to one’s self
    2) to receive (what is given), to gain, get, obtain, to get back

    I especially think these two definitions are pertinent to the point I have been trying to make:
    to associate with one’s self as companion, attendant
    to appropriate to one’s self

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/17/2006 12:59 PM  

  • Good work, Rose,

    I agree that Pickering is boldly promoting what is Free Grace. There are many, many Calvinists who are FG, and many who define words differently than the GES does.

    We need more representation of this POV!! Thanks for posting this 

    To me the phrase mental assent denotes an emotion-less-ness that only oddly associated with knowing one's eternal destiny has been taken care of by the Lord Jesus Himself.

    Paul's "fully persuaded" is better, as is Sandamon's "bare faith"

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at 10/17/2006 1:07 PM  

  • Also Matthew,
    The Scriptures say that eternal life is a "gift". All of my analogies fall kinda short, but that is a Scriptural analogy and I think it is probably the best. If someone hands you a breifcase and tells you that al of your problems will be solved because there is one million dollars in it, this is a gift.

    If you have faith that there is a million dollars in it and that it will solve all your problems, but you don't receive it (for whatever reason, pride etc...) then it is not yours.

    Or is God the anonymous millionaire that I thought about in the middle of that linked post?

    wink wink ;~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/17/2006 1:12 PM  

  • Websters:
    ASSENT: : to agree to something especially after thoughtful consideration :

    BELIEVE: 1 a : to have a firm religious faith b : to accept as true, genuine, or real
    2 : to have a firm conviction as to the goodness, efficacy, or ability of something

    transitive verb
    1 a : to consider to be true or honest
    b : to accept the word or evidence of

    But actualy, I don't even like Websters on "believe" because they include this definition:

    2 : to hold as an opinion : SUPPOSE

    That surely doesn't evoke thoughts of being "fully persuaded"!

    Websters has this on
    FAITH:
    firm belief in something for which there is no proof : complete trust
    : something that is believed especially with strong conviction;

    TRUST:
    to place confidence : DEPEND to be confident : HOPE
    transitive verb
    1 a : to commit or place in one's care or keeping : ENTRUST
    2 a : to rely on the truthfulness or accuracy of : BELIEVE b : to place confidence in : rely on c : to hope or expect confidently

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/17/2006 1:30 PM  

  • Actually, I don't appreciate the whole "mental assent" thing. I think you and I know who worked that one up and why. Our discussion here is not the real argument. If I were arguing with them, it would not be between "mental assent" and simple faith. It would be between simple faith and a "faith that works".

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/17/2006 1:37 PM  

  • Trust is committment; assent is acknowledgment.

    Matthew I used James as illustrative of assent--since that's what they clearly have--not saving trust or committment to.

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at 10/17/2006 3:45 PM  

  • Good points John and also I would be crazy not to open the mailbox to receive my antidote even though I must trust my life to the fact that it will arrive there on Monday.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 10/17/2006 5:25 PM  

  • BTW John,

    People have the same attitude with Roof truss delieverers. If I deliever to a major housing developement being put up by Centex homes or someone big...they are very indifferant towards me and at times even impatient.

    Yet when I deliever trusses out in the country to someone putting up an addition or builing their own house. They are so happy to see me...sometimes they try to tip me or give me a soda or water. Totally differant attitude when it becomes personal and intimate.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 10/17/2006 5:32 PM  

  • "Do you understand what you are reading?"

    And He said, "How can I unless someone guides me?" And he asked Phillip to come up and sit with him.....

    Of course we know he was reading from Isaiah and was wondering who this PERSON was that he was reading about.

    ....Then Phillip opened his mouth and beginning with this Scripture preached Jesus to him.

    "See here is water. What hinders me from being Baptised?"

    "Then Phillip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may."


    ...."With the heart man believeth unto righteousness..."

    I can remember blindfolding children and telling them I had a chair behind them to sit down and to trust me that it was there. Only the youngest sat down without wondering demonstraighting to me that she trusted me. Yes we can argue that the sitting is a work or a personal entrustment...but the bottom line is that I have no doubt that she among the others was the only one that really trusted what I said.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 10/17/2006 5:52 PM  

  • I think that Matthew is doing an excellent job in logically presenting an unadultered concept of faith that does not include added concepts such as:

    emotion, volition, or commitment

    To require any or all of these additions to faith/belief, is to obscure the fundamental condition to receive eternal life!

    I am very impressed by John Calvin's understanding of faith. Only if we could go back to such simplicity:

    "...as regards justification, faith is something merely passive, bringing nothing of ours to the recovering of God's favor but receiving[passive!] from Christ that which we lack." (John Calvin - Institutes of the Christian Religion, III, xiii, 5

    "In short, no man is truly a believer, unless he be firmly persuaded [passive!] that God is a propitious and benevolent Father to him... unless he depend on the promises of the Divine benevolence to him, and feel [may be a poor choice of word, but the point is clear: undoubted certainty based upon a firm persuasion] an undoubted expectation of salvation" (Institutes III.II.16)

    "Now we shall have a complete definition of faith, if we say, that it is a steady and certain knowledge of the Divine benevolence towards us, which [is] founded on the truth of the gratuitous promise in Christ" (Institutes, II, ii, 7)

    This goes hand in hand with the definitive biblical statement on faith:

    "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" (Heb 11:1).

    No commitment, no required emotion (I will argue that certainty is not emotion, but knowledge), and no act of the will whatsoever!

    Faith is merely the convition of truth held through a firm persuasion!

    The following is something I put on Unashamed of Grace in response to some of the hulabaloo going on over there:

    The analogy of the bed is not a compatible comparison with the gospel offer.

    Yes, faith, belief, occurs when one trusts the bed to give one rest (IOW, believing the proposition: "lying on the bed will give one rest"). But the promise of rest does not come until one actually does a work: jumps on the bed.

    This analogy breaks down in several areas.

    1) As articulated, the rest takes a synergy between faith and works.
    2) It is conceivable that one may have faith and never do the work, and thus never have the rest
    3) It is furthermore conceivable that one may not have faith at all and jump on the bed, doing the work to get the rest

    The gospel is in a different category.

    Bare faith alone into Christ will immedietly give one rest. There is no call to do a work, no additional step.

    The promise is this:

    Jesus Christ guarantees eternal life and resurrection to the believer in Him for it.

    If I believe into Christ for that gift, I have rest the very moment of faith, apart from any additional step or work.

    The rest comes when one believes the promise, Christ says, not when one does a work of siting on a chair, walking a tight-rope, or lying on a bed.

    Believing the promise of Christ is in utter contradistinction with the activity of any work whatsoever. Faith is passive, being convinced that something is true, PASSIVE! It is taking Jesus Christ at His word.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 10/17/2006 9:26 PM  

  • I just love the word hulabaloo.

    Antonio, you said
    The rest comes when one believes the promise, Christ says, not when one does a work of siting on a chair, walking a tight-rope, or lying on a bed.

    I know that analogies fail and mine are not always that great, but I chose "lying on a bed" because to me, that is the essence of doing nothing. It hardly is in the same category as Blondin and walking a tightrope across Niagara Falls!

    Are you serious about this passive thing? I am so surprised the lengths to which this is going. I must go and look at my former post on the anonymous millionaire depositing the gift in the bank account while the recipient had no right to receive or refuse it. I must see if you commented on that one. Perhaps that was a good illustration of how you see reception of eternal life? Here, I thought I was describing the Calvinist "gift of faith" concept.

    Why can't you see "receiving" as an active moment in a convert's life wherein he puts forth his empty hand and receives the gift? Is putting forth an empty hand a work?

    I am a little baffled.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/17/2006 9:43 PM  

  • Brian,

    trust is belief in a proposition

    Let us not distinguish trust from faith!

    Let us say I trust the teacher who says, "If you stand on the X, the wrecking ball I will swing at you will not hit you".

    But what if at the same time you see that the floor is slippery and the soles on your shoes would contribute further to the slipperiness, and you fear that you may not be able to stand still to avoid the wrecking ball?

    This contingency could cause you to volitionally act in opposition to your faith/trust, to not stand before the wrecking ball.

    I trust exercise and diet: IOW, I believe exercise and diet can save me from the deadly consequences of heart disease.

    But many factors can shape my volitional responses to my trust/faith.

    Exercise and diet can be painful, hard, time-consuming, costly, and many other difficult things.

    It is patently false to test whether or not one has faith/trust in a proposition by whether or not he acts commensurate with that faith.

    Apart from some foolish psychobabble that says that one cannot know whether or not one believes something or not:

    Man may know if he believes the promise of Christ apart from a single volitional activity!

    One could perform an experimental test with the wrecking ball (which as we have seen would be less than conclusive).

    But could one perform an experimental test with the promise of Christ which is eternal life?

    The gospel offer is 100% contingent on Christ's faithfulness and 0% on ours.

    Christ says merely believe Me and you have eternal life. Paul says "not of works".

    The test would be, therefore, unto Christ, and not unto man, seeing that man's faithfulness into the matter is a non-issue; the faithfulness of Christ is all that matters.

    Well, one could ask, how then are we to know if we have faith in Christ's promise if we are not to experimentally ascertain the presence of our faith by works?

    The answer lies in the definition of faith:

    Faith is the passive result of being persuaded (by any means: communication, deliberation, etc) that something is true.

    If I am persuaded, then I am convinced. If I am convinced, then I am certain. If I am certain, then I have believed. (Of course you can remove the second step, I just added it for emphasis!).

    If you are persuaded that something is true, than you are certain that something is true. If you are certain, than you have believed. (of course it may turn out that what you believe, what you are certain of, is not true, but that does not mean that you did not believe, nor were certain. Often I believe, am certain about propositions that I bring before my wife. We make a "gentlemen's bet" and I am proven wrong by evidence. That did not mean that I did not believe nor was certain. I was! Belief/certainty does not hang on whether the object of that belief/certainty is in reality true. It lies in the fact if one is persuaded or not!)

    Test of faith:

    are you convinced/certain that the proposition in question is true?

    If you are then you have faith, if you don't, you have something less than faith.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 10/17/2006 9:50 PM  

  • As I said sitting on the chair demonstrated that the child was convinced I was right and that there was a chair behind her.

    Nevertheless Antonio is correct with Calvins statements as Abraham believed God and it was imputed unto him righteousness. He accepted delieverance through the seed Jesus Christ in which would come forth through his seed.

    He took God at his word like the Roman Centurion who told Jesus, "Just say the word!"

    Nevertheless I must still differ from their stance of not coming to an understanding of sin and need as this is what opens the conscience of man to believe his only hope is in Abrahams seed.

    The idea that one can have misconceptions is still shaky and dances dangerously near forms of skepticism which undoes what Antonio rightly argues for.

    It is like being on Who wants to be a millionare and Regis is asking you if that is your final answer. The anticipation and fear and suspense is there...but you must be unshaken when you believe the final answer you will give is the absolutely correct one that is Absolutely Free!

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 10/17/2006 9:54 PM  

  • Rose,

    Since "faith" is an abstract thing, analogies may break down.

    Receiving is a passive thing. "Reaching out" with the hands has been used to analogize faith. As a metaphorical analogy it works. Faith is an act, yet a passive one!

    Is not a knee-jerk an "act" yet a passive one?

    The point of the hands is this: the life giving sustenance is placed into the hands. This is a passive receiving.

    Faith is an act, yes, but is is a passive act in response to one being persuaded/convinced that something is true.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 10/17/2006 10:00 PM  

  • OK, I can go along with that.
    I get that. Better.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/17/2006 10:05 PM  

  • >The gospel offer is 100% contingent on Christ's faithfulness and 0% on ours.<

    Amen!

    Antonio we agree on taking God at his word and believing the mail is in the mailbox, but as my analogy stated...I believe that one must give as much information as possible and where I differ really basically amounts to the misconceptions ideology you have stated.

    But I would like to challenge you a bit as a few months back I remember you told a story of a poor boy asking to pay for help when you stated that he receive as a gift. I do think we are in a sense wandering into semantics that will discourage the faith of some. Of course we know that the sinners prayer doesn't saved...but many were saved when they prayed that prayer as they prayed and asked believing that God would save them.

    What do you think then about Caiaphas who new even the facts and even preached the Gospel opening up the dispensational message...fully understanding the mystery of Christs purpose while calling his other Pharisee brethren fools. If that is not mental assent without a desire to repent and receive the free grace of God..what is. My point is that we are also tampering with the Holy Spirits work and we do not know How He moves. We do indeed need the supernatural drawing of the Holy Spirit in order to be fully persuaded and convicted that we find our rest in the Son of the Living God.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 10/17/2006 10:06 PM  

  • http://www.faithalone.org/news/y1993/93march2.html

    By Anonymous Danny, at 10/17/2006 10:10 PM  

  • Well then you admit metaphors like the one I used are indeed helpful in conveying trust. If you use them Antonio...why can't I?

    :-)

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 10/17/2006 10:11 PM  

  • Jesus is saying "sit in my chair"

    Trust my hands he once said...no one can pluck you out...trust is being conveyed that he is an able foundation. Dont you see this brother Antonio?

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 10/17/2006 10:13 PM  

  • Danny,

    who are you?

    Also,

    Great article!

    Antonio

    Brian: I love you brother!

    By Blogger Antonio, at 10/18/2006 1:56 AM  

  • I think that John has subtly defined "faith" by what response and/or emotion that ensues.

    That would be defining faith in light of its supposed fruit rather than by its constituency.

    Now if faith is assurance/certainty, the passive "act" in response to being convinced/persuaded, then one can know if they have faith if they are certain (having been convinced) that a proposition it true.

    I love what Gordon Clark says:

    "To be sure, some beliefs stir the emotions, but the very sober belief that a man has five fingers on each hand is as much a belief as [being convinced of] some shattering news"

    It is not helpful to define faith by its alleged fruits. This tends to obfuscate rather than to clarify.

    I was talking to a woman whose 22 year old daughter had a baby with a man 12 years her senior. He turned out to be a real crazy person, and it is alleged that he has sexually absued the baby. If the news came out that this man died, or fell off the face of the earth, the mom of the daughter would experience an emotional reaction upon believing that news quite different than the mother of the father of the child.

    Personality is widely subjective, and often our emotions and actions spring from it; have it as their foundation. When foreign elements to belief are imported into its conception, a subjectivity is introduced into it which can rob one of the certainty that is faith!

    The only test to whether or not one believes something is if he is certain, having been convinced/persuaded as to the proposition. This is objective and will net results that are the same.

    Are we going to say that a woman who is certain that mail will indeed come to her house the next day, yet troubled by it for she deems that most of it will be bills, nevertheless does not believe the proposition that mail will indeed be delivered to her house tomorrow?

    I think that one of the reasons we have gone on this roundabout is a confusion between faith and trust.

    For some reason the word "trust" is more preferable to some over the word "belief". It is interesting that John the Evangelist in his gospel uses the Greek words pistis/pisteuw (belief/believe) 99 times in his gospel written so that man may have eternal life, and uses the term "trust" only once, and not even in a soteriological aspect.

    He did not consider the term "trust" be be superior to "belief".

    Trust is specific belief into one or more propositions.

    "I trust the airline pilot"

    Can be broken up in this way:

    I believe that the airline pilot is a professional, highly trained plane operator, skilled in flying, troubleshooting, emergency issues, flight safety, etc. I believe that he is able to conduct affairs sufficiently so that I will reach my destination.

    "Trust" in the mind of many here has an added element to "faith" that makes it superior to bare "faith". This element is either an "emotion", a "volition", or a "commitment". Emotion, volition, and commitment may very well follow trust. But at the very moment you define trust by its alleged and supposed fruits, you have added those consequent fruits as a condition for 'faith' being genuine faith, and have destroyed the certainty that faith inherently consists of.

    "Trust" is not a superior word to "faith," "belief," or "believe". Trust is a synonym to faith! Often times "trust" denotes faith in the reliability of an object, but it is nothing more!

    The words pistis/pisteuw (belief/believe) are the operative words in salvific contexts. Why are we so ambivalent to use them? People know what it means to believe something, they know whether or not they are convinced as to something or not!

    Further, I find that much confusion has ensued because of an ambiguity in the exact gospel proposition(s).

    John 11:25-26
    25 Jesus said to her, "I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"

    Jesus asks Martha if she believes these propositions Jesus has stated concerning Himself. Her response to this is:

    John 11:27
    27 She said to Him, "Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God..."

    Her answer directly parallels the thematic statement of the whole epistle:

    John 20:30-31

    And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

    To believe those propositions is to believe that Jesus is the Christ! If you believe that Jesus is the Christ, (in the sense as it has just been defined by John in his evangelistic treatise: that He is the Guarantor of eternal life and resurrection to the believer in Him) you have 'exercised' saving faith!

    I frankly am baffled as to why some additional "personal" element is needed. The one who believes, IOW, the one who is certain of Christ's promise is believing Jesus Christ's saving gospel! The only personal element needed is inherent in the promise: "He who believes in Me (IOW what I am saying!)", "whoever... believes in Me". At the moment one believes Christ's promise, His propositions concerning Himself, IOW, is CERTAIN that what He is saying is absolutely true, it is sufficiently personalized, for the believer is included within the sphere of "he who" and "whoever".

    Of course it is not wrong nor misleading to ask one who claims that they are certain of Christ's guarantee what they now have. If they do not respond with "eternal life" then it is certain that they do not believe Christ.

    Nor is it wrong to "personalize" the message: "Do you believe Christ's promise that guarantees for you eternal life?" But it is not necessary.

    The one who believes Christ's promise is certain that Christ guarantees "he who" and "whoever" eternal life, which obviously includes them, for they are believing Christ.

    I cannot conceieve of someone saying "I believe Christ's promise, but I don't personally receive Christ's promise." They obviously do not understand the promise then and therefore cannot be believing Christ!

    The offer is "believe and YOU HAVE". If you believe then you at that moment HAVE. It is not qualified by any other component; not commitment, not volition, not emotion.

    So there are two problems: 1)the word "trust" is given preference over "believe" and 2) there is ambiguity over the proposition, due to inaccurate and misleading analogies.

    My take!

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 10/18/2006 3:45 AM  

  • Antonio,

    Brother...I understand your concerns as we must tell men to look to the cross and believe as the men in the wilderness looked at the brazen serpent. Believe alone yes brother you are correct.

    My point is that no one would be looking to that brazen Serpent unless they were bitten by those snakes and unless they really believed that their condition was indeed hopeless and fatal.

    I don't think John is adding an alien element...i think he is arguing that we must personally see our own need and receive our cure..ie-look to the cross and believe receiving the free cure(grace) from God.

    Now Jesus did say, "Ask and ye shall receive!"

    I don't think we are muddying the waters when we encourage men to pray and ask Christ to come into their heart and wash away their sin. This is not heresy...it is the old standard truth. "Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."

    Now the Centurion does demonstrate how God sees the faith Israel needed and everyone else needs and that is...no I don't need you to come to my house in order for me to believe as I am unworthy...Just say the word and it is done.

    Jesus marveled at that faith. Then he said that the sons of Abraham will be cast out and see the sons from other nations eating and drinking in the kingdom while they would be cast out. Israel had not believed and the centurion was now the new Abraham that was taking God at his word..,.And he was deemed righteous as well because of it.

    I am not going to argue away the importance of what you are contending for...it is vital what you are saying as some folks in Lordship aren't getting it...but I still don't think it is right to say that asking and receiving are unbiblical and out of the realm of that faith. Jesus uses these words and promises that the ones that hear this and ask for free salvation will be saved.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 10/18/2006 7:11 PM  

  • Great explanations by John and Bobby!

    By Blogger Dawn, at 10/25/2006 9:02 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Dawn, at 10/25/2006 9:02 AM  

  • Thanks for reading, Dawn!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/25/2006 11:16 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

 

Who Links Here