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

Monday, January 29, 2007

Thoughts on Prayer from a Non-Calvinist

Let me be transparent for a minute (I only have about a minute to post - the baby will surely need me in just a moment).

Sometimes I wonder "What is the point of supplication?" Don't get me wrong, I do pray. I believe that reading His Word and fellowshipping with the saints is how we hear from Him ... and prayer and praise is how He hears from us. I do think it is pretty important for our relationship. So when He hears from me it is usually made up of thanksgiving/praise and simply sharing with God what is on my heart and mind etc... (as if He didn't know already anyway). From my diminutive understanding, thanksgiving and praise is the best communication because it offers God that which He asks for. This kind of prayer is not about me asking. It makes perfect sense to me to offer God this thanksgiving and praise - He is so great and awesome ... and He has given me so much in Christ!

... It is the supplication part that I get all mixed up with.

I was thinking about this last night and talking with my husband. This is kind of silly, but I was telling John about the night before ... and how, when I laid the baby down in his bassinet at 11:00 pm, I said, "God, please let Levi sleep until 5:00 am." Then, I thought, "Maybe I should ask for 6:00 am, just in case God answers yes." (greedy, I know)

I told John that when the baby woke up at 5:15 am, I was most pleasantly surprised.

We were having the conversation about all of this last night and I concluded by saying, "Isn't that weird? Was that God granting my desire ... or was it just a coincidence?"
My husband knows the long-standing struggle I have with this issue (why ask for God to do things when He is going to do whatever is in His will, etc... you know...)

So, my husband says to me, "You Calvinists ...." and he chuckled.

That was especially funny to me. I think of myself as about the farthest thing from a Calvinist. Yet, my husband has a point. If I can't pray believing that God has some wiggle room in His will to grant requests or intercede in the life of a loved one, then my view of His will is very static, which is exactly how I think the Calvinist views the "will of God" - as very static.

As we talked about this, my husband assured me that Calvinists pray, not to change the mind of God, but to "get their minds in line with God's will."

I, of course, replied, "How does asking God to save such and such ... or soften so and so's heart ... or asking Him for anything ... cause one to 'get in line with God's will' ... when so and so may not be part of God's 'elect' ... and my desires may be totally off-base with His plan?"

I really do find that to be a quandary. If I, being a non-Calvinist, am mystified as to the practical purpose of supplication, how does a determinist find it in his mind to ask anything of God?

BTW, I am aware of the fact that we should ask God because the Bible says we should. I am just wondering about the practical understanding of how it all fits together. See?
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; (Ephesians 6:18)
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (Philippians 4:6)
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; (1 Timothy 2:1)

48 Comments:

  • This is a classic problem with anyone Christian who believes in God's complete omniscience of the future. Martin Luther, who wasn't a Calvinist, and John Calvin, give very similar answers.

    Regardless of God ordaining or not, just the fact that God knows the future, including that Levi will awake at 5:15, means that Levi will awake at 5:15 regardless of what you pray.

    So what is the good of prayer? Many things. There is in God's foreknowledge where the one who prays actually is a cause in God carrying out his plans, even though God foreknows the outcome. The same is true when we add foreordaining. Only in this case, God not only knows the future that you will pray that Levi will sleep until 5:00, and that in some sense causes God to intervene so that Levi does sleep until 5:15, but also God has foreodrained that you will ask, and forordained that your asking will cause God to intervene in having Levi sleep until 5:15.

    That you received this blessing and gift from God that Levi slept, is a gift out of God's grace. It is also a gift out of God's grace that you prayed for Levi.

    So prayer is not just getting your will in line with God's will, it also in some sense causes God to act -- even in the "Calvinistic" scheme of things.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/29/2007 12:32 PM  

  • God delights in being seen in the small things. Delight yourself in that and get some sleep knowing that he stilled the babies sleep for you and controlled his hunger and will:-)

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 1/29/2007 10:03 PM  

  • Prayer is so great. I find it hard to find anything more theological to say right now.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 1/29/2007 10:07 PM  

  • ...and Brian and Matthew had much more profoundity and eloquence than what I said. Prayer is such a precious and deep gift.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/29/2007 11:07 PM  

  • Rose, I think the scripture offers numerous examples indicating God’s will to be permissive and not determinate yet His will is still absolute. God is not willing that any should perish yet He permits it. God has willed that eternal life shall be given to whosever believes that Jesus the Christ is His Son.

    Why would God establish our boundaries if our walk through this life were predestined? How could we stray if there were only one path we could take? It seems to me the primary philosophy that leads to the belief that supplication is of none effect is that, being sovereign, God must control all things and wills all He desires as opposed to the philosophy that says He has the power and authority and is just to do so. I believe He is not bound by anything but that which He chooses, His own word.

    Wouldn’t it be sad to know that “ye have not because ye ask not”. I think God allows this situation to occur but that we make it so through disobedience.

    By Blogger Kc, at 1/30/2007 8:53 AM  

  • Amen Casey!!

    'course he knows what kind of pressure it takes to bring us to the point of asking:-)

    not fully intended as a brotherly jab but also more as a Phew...aint that the truth....can I get a witnesssssssss?

    hey in the long run he wired us in so many ways that we really don't fully understand all the implications. Of course this baby is sort of a result of a little getaway from lengthy Calvinistic debates that wore us all out and made way for much needed relief for John and Rose....and Oh look! Here we are again:-)

    Love you guys.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 1/30/2007 4:59 PM  

  • "The proof is in the pudding"

    You asked and you received. Levi woke up at 5:15. Don't be deceived, every good and perfect gift comes from above from the Father of light. I think the Creator of the universe is mindful of His creation and hears those who believe in Him and enjoys giving to His beloved. I think His nature is eternally giving. I think He reveals His ways to babes and confounds the wise.

    This, (pardon the word) garbage, of having God figured out through theological systems that taint the simple and childlike meanings of " you have not because you ask not" is nothing more than man continuing to eat from the tree of knowledge.

    Yes, God knows all things, but I think the He relates to His creation within the boundries of the time and space He has placed each of us in. This doesn't offend His sovereignty, it proclaims it.

    By the way I agree, how can it not be a quandry?

    Also, as usual, I agree with my bro casey. I just wonder if I could ever be 'determined' not to agree.:)

    Enjoy your sleep Rose, who knows, God may be determined that in February you get none. LOL

    By Blogger Kris, at 1/30/2007 5:03 PM  

  • Yeah, what KC said.

    By Anonymous Gordon Cloud, at 1/30/2007 5:35 PM  

  • Quite simply:

    Prayer MOVES God.

    He is personal, and in many cases will not act unless He is entreated.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 1/30/2007 5:41 PM  

  • Aw shucks. I am going to pray that you guys go to sleep for a while since you don't fully agree with me:-)

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 1/30/2007 6:39 PM  

  • Thanks Brian, I really, really do need the sleep. :)

    By Blogger Kris, at 1/30/2007 7:25 PM  

  • ah ha ha! I hear you brother.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 1/30/2007 10:58 PM  

  • A personal God...now there's a thought.

    Yes, the Lord is waiting for His people to cry out in travailing prayer before He moves the mountains. True prayer is always according to His will and accomplishes His purposes.

    Any move of God is bathed and carried by intercessing prayer.

    God bless,
    Jim

    By Blogger Jim, at 1/31/2007 12:39 AM  

  • Hi Rose.

    It is interesting that when E.M. Bounds (A non Calvinist) in his classic book "Power through Prayer" gives a quotation at the top of each chapter, he often (although not exclusively) quotes from Calvinists and invokes their praying examples in the text.

    God has not only ordained the end of all things, but the means thereto and often this means is by the act of prayer. It may be argued that only the Calvinist can *consistently* pray! Why should a non Calvinist pray to God (for example) to save the lost, if they believe that "God has done all that He can do to save sinners"?

    Or do we really believe that there are matters out there still left undecided by God and that it is we, the creature, who helps Him make up His mind as to what to do? What if there are different bodies of Christians praying for two different outcomes? Is He actually swayed to and fro by the various arguments and only eventually makes up His mind after considering all the debates?

    By Blogger goodnightsafehome, at 1/31/2007 5:02 AM  

  • What goodnightsafehome said! When I grow up, that's how I'd like to answer it!

    Pray like a Calvinist. That's a thought. Pray as if you really believe God is in control and answers prayers. I think us Calvinists (i.e., me!) ought to follow that advice too. :o)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/31/2007 8:33 AM  

  • Hi Rose. Don't have much to add other than I've been pondering the same thing lately...prayer.

    Just wanted to stop in and say Hi and that I'm glad that God granted your supplication for a good night's sleep.

    By Blogger Dawn, at 1/31/2007 9:09 AM  

  • Antonio said, "Prayer MOVES God."

    It certainly does...to do His will.

    He is not some magic genie to be manipulated by our whim.

    James wrote, "...ye have not, because ye ask not. 3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts." (James 4: 2-3)

    Just like Jesus in the garden, we must yield to His will.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/31/2007 2:52 PM  

  • I like your answer Earl,,, your 1st comment on the post,, I think when we pray God gets to know where our heart is with him.. I know we should pray for all things but my ? is how we should go about the way we pray like .. example::: Please Lord let us win the game ( tells the Lord its about winning and about me not about Him).. or should it be..God thank you for the gift and talent that you have allowed me to have and please use it to please You..To show others that You are with me always...So God knows our Hearts always but can we learn from our Prays?? Can we grow from them?? Pastor V was my teacher in prayer i learned a lot from him., He is now walking with the Lord as of last year but you knew he was always deep down in his heart when he prayed. I think God wanted to tell Rose He was still there for her when Levi slept til 5:15 He knows Rose is struggling with rest right now. But we must thank Him for the true gift..Levi.. The road might not be easy but when we get to see the whole beauty of the outcome we will cry and say it was all worth it..Thank you Lord!!!
    PK Chris

    By Blogger pgadreamer, at 2/01/2007 10:55 AM  

  • We may well ask that since God knows exactly what we are going to pray before we pray it - that is, since God has known all of our prayers from the very beginning - why should we bother to pray at all? I don't think anyone would deny that God knows what we need before we ask.

    So if God knows what we want without our praying for it, we may well presume that prayer is just empty "make-work" - that God has ordained prayer just to keep us busy.

    But we would only conclude such a thing if we continued to believe that the purpose of prayer is to "make God do something".

    That is not the purpose of prayer.

    Nor is God holding blessings over our heads like some cosmic dog owner who keeps the treat out of reach until his pet learns to jump up and snatch them - God isn't waiting for us to jump high enough (in prayer) to get the doggie treats.

    The purpose of all prayer, including supplication, is for us to know God, through fellowship in His Spirit. Our prayers are answered only when they resonates with God's own heart. That is, when the call upon God to do what God is going to do. We are not moving God, he is moving us - moving us out of our carnal thinking, and towards Christ's likeness.

    I can beg God with tears to please heal the cancer, to soften the heart of the murderer, to feed the hungry - I can do all that from a heart that isn't in tune with God, but knows the right words to say. Maybe I want the cancer healed because I am vicariously empathetic - I don't want to die or suffer, and by extension, I don't want anyone to die or suffer. Maybe I want the heart of the murderer softened because I think that is what I am supposed to want even though I could care less personally. Maybe I want the hungry fed because that seems nice - I don't really think about them, but if I do, I wouldn't begrudge them bread - and arn't I being kind by praying this way?

    The purpose of our prayers is purify an honest heart - making it more Christ like, because only the Christlike experience genuine peace in the Spirit - the very thing God desires to give, not only to the one who is praying, but to all who call on His name.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/01/2007 11:05 AM  

  • Let me tell about an interesting time I had with prayer. One young lady in our church has cancer. A few weeks ago, at an elder meeting, we got a phone call that this lady was on her way to the emergancy room, her family thought it she was going to die shortly from the cancer.

    We prayed, and I asked God to extend his grace and mercy to this lady and her family -- and even heal her, acknowldging that God holds the power to do all things and asked he would do it for his name sake and for the good of the lady and her family.

    In my mind, I know that God will do his will, and that mysteriously our petitions will effect what God does, and that God has ordained all these things, including my prayers as a means for him to accomplish his will. I also cannot predict what God will do -- that is up to God. He is good and all powerful and will do what is best.

    We continued our meeting. Toward the end of the meeting, we got a phone call. The young lady had a scan and showed no signs of cancer -- and was doing much better (to say the least!).

    What happened? I think God heard these gaggle of Calvinists at their elder meeting and acted to bring healing. God ordained from before the foundation of the world that this young lady would have cancer, that friends and family would prayer for her -- even some elders at an elder meeting. God certainly knows what was on all our hearts, perhaps we didn't have to pray -- but that would be a gross misunderstanding of God's sovereignty and God's commands to us. We are told to pray. We are told that there are things we don't have because we don't pray. But God has ordained whether he would heal the lady or not. But if we look at narrow slices and not the whole picture, we miss the whole truth, and the narrow picture can lead us to wrong conclusions.

    Yes God ordains all things -- but God also involves us in his activity. In some sense God acts because of our prayers -- as well as conforming us into the image of Christ and understanding God's will and be Christ-like. It's either/and -- prayer changes us and prayer also causes God to act -- but yet God ordained all of this.

    Prayer, our walk with God, God's activity, and everything, is woven into a rich beautiful tapestry. We can concentrate on the individual strands of the tapestry and loose the whole wonderful picture.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/01/2007 12:34 PM  

  • Daniel,
    So what you are saying, I think I get. Do you mean to say that by asking God and listening to his response to our supplications, we can develop into wanting that which God wants?

    That make some sense to me. Is that is what you are saying?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/01/2007 2:19 PM  

  • Earl,
    Your first comment is priceless!
    I really appreciate your other comments as well.

    Brian,
    Yes, I do delight in getting 6 hours of sleep - all in a row, all at one time. I can handle lots of things if I can just sleep a little.

    Matthew,
    I love your comment also. I remember when I first "met" you and Earl. You came as a package. Therefore, with that in mind, I look at his first comment, next to your comment here and I just have to smile. I love you guys.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/01/2007 2:22 PM  

  • KC,
    I really like what you say here:
    God's will [is] permissive and not determinate yet His will is still absolute.

    I have a hard time seeing it any other way. I have to say, though, I am plagued by the ideas that have been implanted over the years of the "static" God. Like in this blogpost that I wrote.

    Antonio,
    Thanks for your comment. I think it is a good flip side to some of the other comments here. Thanks for that!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/01/2007 2:27 PM  

  • Kris,
    This, (pardon the word) garbage, of having God figured out through theological systems that taint the simple and childlike meanings of " you have not because you ask not" is nothing more than man continuing to eat from the tree of knowledge.

    You are so right. I long for the days when it was all more simple to me.

    Enjoy your sleep Rose, who knows, God may be determined that in February you get none.

    Kris, bite your tongue!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/01/2007 2:29 PM  

  • Thanks for visiting, Gordon. I need to get over to your place again sometime.

    Jim,
    I think your comment is the perfect unifying comment for all the other ones here. Excellent!

    Colin,
    You bring up some very good questions!

    First of all, you say: Why should a non Calvinist pray to God (for example) to save the lost, if they believe that "God has done all that He can do to save sinners"?

    Well, the non-C could switch that right around, couldn't he?:
    Why should a Calvinist pray for God to save the lost if he believes that "those who come to Christ were elect from the foundation of the world"? He also beliieves that God has already done it all. ;~)

    What if there are different bodies of Christians praying for two different outcomes?

    Simple. God will do that which accomplishes His purpose. You are almost making my point. Why did you have to go and do that?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/01/2007 2:36 PM  

  • Dawn,
    Thanks. I am glad to know that others think about these things too.

    Joe,
    Why don't you tell us what you really think? (just kiddin - you come across as a man of conviction there) But ... your thoughts are the flip side of Kris' in a way, i think, and therefore bring the word "quandary" back to mind again.
    Thanks for the visit. God bless you.

    PGA Dreamer Chris,
    Welcome! It is so nice to have your two cents here. I like your thoughts! That is how I also feel about prayer. I think instead of asking God for a list of that which pleases me, I really need to be willing to accept whatever He brings my way. I need to ask that He would grant me a humble and receptive spirit, yeilded to His will for my life. We all know that it is in the will of God for us to be humble and Christ-like, so I know I am asking that according to His will. That is a "safe" prayer.

    The road might not be easy but when we get to see the whole beauty of the outcome we will cry and say it was all worth it..Thank you Lord!!!

    Those are great words and so true. Thanks, Chris!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/01/2007 2:44 PM  

  • Thanks for visiting, Gordon. I need to get over to your place again sometime.

    I've remodeled since last time you came by, I believe.

    By Anonymous Gordon Cloud, at 2/01/2007 2:54 PM  

  • Hi Rose again,

    We cannot say that "God has done it all" while the sinner is still out of Christ and a "child of wrath, even as others." There is still something to be done i.e. the bringing of the (elect) sinner to Christ and this is done through means, not least evangelism (Romans 10:13-17) *and* prayer.

    Re: the purpose of God, when was this purpose formed? We must answer "In eternity past" and being His purpose, then it must invariably come to pass, must it not? Otherwise, either God has met a greater than He that can frustrate His purpose, or He is not as invariable as He says He is (James 1:17) Does God then carry out His will, regardless then? No, for He also purposed that His will would be done through means, again not least the earnest prayers of His people.

    There is no reason why Calvinism should be thought of as static and every reason for it to get actively involved - God didn't send us to the ant for mere amusement value. Church History is full of active Calvinists who pushed back the boundaries by their earnest prayers and tireless industry - all in accordance with the revealed will of God.

    The Ulster Scots who pioneered in the US and pushed down into Virginia etc., didn't let the grass grow under their feet, as they say in these parts.

    Enjoying your blog. Fair fa'ye.

    By Blogger goodnightsafehome, at 2/01/2007 3:45 PM  

  • Calvinism reaks.

    By Blogger Antonio, at 2/01/2007 7:53 PM  

  • ...so does everything else.

    That's why Christ for us reaks and wretches.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/01/2007 10:16 PM  

  • Rose, I am reminded of Christ's prayers in the garden at Gethsemane, He asked thrice for the Lord to take the cup away if there was room for that to happen in the will of God. Christ was earnestly supplicating for Himself - but He wasn't bewitched into thinking that His prayers were going to change the determined will of God.

    Knowing God's will didn't hinder Christ's supplication - He prayed very earnestly and those earnest prayers were answered not by giving Christ His supplication, but by giving Christ what He really needed at that time - strength to endure (God sent an angel to minister to Christ).

    Can you imagine? Please Father... three times! I don't doubt for a moment that something of what strengthened Christ at that time was the sure knowledge that God's will is the best. Christ trusted God, and when God did not yield to those supplications, Christ was strengthened to go to the cross - strengthened in the sure knowledge that this course of action was According to God's perfect will. I say, I do not doubt that Christ was reminded thrice that God's will is perfect, and that this sure knowledge gave Him some endurance in that hour of supplication.

    I think Christ gloried in the will of God - nevertheless, not my will, but Your will be done! Not a forlorn resignation - but an encouragement spoken to Himself for He understood that God's will was perfect - Your will be done! is the victory cry for those who believe God's will is best for them.

    So yes, we make our supplications, not to manipulate the Divine will - for if Christ could not do it, I doubt any of us will - but rather to bring ourselves to the place where "thy will be done" becomes our victory song.

    Who has the greatest joy when God miraculously heals? The one who made the greatest supplication. Their prayer blesses them more than the one who is healed, for they learn that God hears them - and they take of how they prayed when God answered them. It was not the prayer of "hope" - the "it would sure be nice God if you could do this" sort of prayer - it was the prayer of faith that comes straight from God - He and He alone gave them the conviction and certainty as they prayed - He quickened their understanding so that they prayed with certainty and conviction - this was no request, it was no hopeful request of the petitioner with hat in hand being wrung out before the mighty Oz - no, this was a servant of the king coming before the throne on the kings business - a soldier who has received his Lord's command, and has come to him for the resources to carry it out - not a beggar, a servant who comes to His Lord to do the will of His Lord in prayer.

    On another note... Calvinism can reak ... if it just an empty theological opinion, and I do not doubt that for some loud Calvinists that regretably rings more true that it should. But what reaks is not their theology - rather it is that they are compensating for spiritual immaturity by studying theology - and in doing so presuming that their knowledge equates to maturity. There are few things as ugly as a smug theologue whose conviction in his own opinion is not founded upon a walk with the Lord that reflects the truth of his convictions, but rather upon his own intellect and ability to know the truth. Pride. Yuck.

    So I wouldn't hang the word "reak" on Calvinism alone - since it applies equally even to other theological systems when they are presented in the flesh as opposed to in the Spirit.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 2/02/2007 10:24 AM  

  • This is a very timely discussion for me. My family is in the throes of dealing with a new diagnosis of lung cancer for my father-in-law. And this comes on the heals of losing my own mother to lung cancer last March. It also follows 2 friend's mother's who've apparently been healed of lung cancer in recent weeks.

    As one who fully embraces the sovereignty of God thru the doctrines of grace, I admit I've been reeling over this and
    struggling with the whole aspect of prayer.

    I greatly appreciate what you've said here, Daniel and Anonymous.

    By Blogger Gayla, at 2/02/2007 10:34 AM  

  • Great post, Rose. This is indeed a tough issue to think about some-times. I like to think about the fact that we have been brought into the intra-trinitarian dialogue through Christ (cf. I Cor 6:17, Jn 17, etc); and that when we pray we participate in the divine dialogue that has happened and will happen for all eternity. The Holy Spirit makes sure that our communication (prayer) is according to God's will (and I think we grow in this knowledge as our intimacy grows with our God); and that we should freely express ourselves before the Father w/o hesitation (cf. Ps 55:22).

    Your article also brings up the issue of determinism and its relationship to genuine "freedom of action" relative to us--the agents. I think the dynamic of the intra-trinitarian relationship provides the answer to this conundrum. I.e. As there is distinction between the personages of the God-head, yet inseparable relationship; so the same holds true for us (relative to our union with Christ). In other words, within the space between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit there is "freedom" for each person to have genuine freedom to be who they are, and thus function the way that they will--all framed and defined by the relationality that in facts shapes the God-head. Likewise, our relationship to God, through prayer is defined by relational space in which we are "free" to function, and thus be defined, by our relationship in union with Christ.

    Determinism is a philosophical construct that I think creates faulty dilemmas when I applied to theological issues such as prayer represents. Thinking of prayer trinitarianly re-frames this discussion by asking different questions, and lends itself to different emphases.

    In Christ

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at 2/02/2007 5:24 PM  

  • hey excellent template..

    I loved it!

    By Blogger White Forest, at 2/03/2007 4:32 PM  

  • One quick quote:


    "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy [i.e. supplication], so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn. " - Zechariah 12:10 [ESV]

    By Blogger Daniel, at 2/04/2007 7:26 AM  

  • goodnightsafehome: You ask is God really swayed to and fro? No, I don't think so. The Word says that the prayers of a righteous man availeth much. So in some cases, I think God picks the righteous over the unrighteous. I think God has mercy when He knows we have reached the end of our rope and turn to Him. Paul says to pray without ceasing. And also to rejoice in all things--stuff we like and stuff we don't like. I think that's so we can be content with and without. And so we can fully rely and trust on whatever state we are in to be God's blessing upon us.

    Some things are beyond comprehension. Personally, I think God said, "Sure, Rose. I can do that. Now go back and tell what I've done for you. It's a tiny little thing, but I want my children to know I do not sleep nor do I slumber. I'll take care of Levi for a bit for you, now that you've asked me to."

    Oh Rose, most definitely the Lord answered. He speaks to me all day long in little teeney ways. As I know He does you. thanks for sharing this. selahV

    By Anonymous selahV, at 2/04/2007 8:51 PM  

  • Thanks, Colin. I hear ye.

    Antonio,
    Do you mean "reak" as in "has a bad smell"? or "doesn't pass the smell test"?

    Daniel,
    Thanks for your comment. I really appreciated it. Thinking about Christ's prayer in the garden is really something. He was God of very God. Wow. It boggles the mind, but is there for us to learn from. Hope you are staying warm?

    Gayla,
    I am sorry for your family. I think all Christians must, at some time or anouther, wonder about this. We are just so very finite and God so infinite. I pray His comfort will be with you. Thanks for visiting.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/06/2007 12:54 PM  

  • Hi Bobby,
    we have been brought into the intra-trinitarian dialogue through Christ
    Wow, thank you for that. I had not ever thought about it in those terms.

    Determinism is a philosophical construct that I think creates faulty dilemmas when I applied to theological issues such as prayer represents. Thinking of prayer trinitarianly re-frames this discussion by asking different questions, and lends itself to different emphases.
    Bobby, I think you are right. Thanks so much for participating.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/06/2007 12:57 PM  

  • White Forest,
    Thanks alot!

    Daniel,
    Don't you think that particular supplication referred to in that verse is a bit different? I believe anyone who supplicates or pleas for mercy from God's eternal punishment when looking upon Him who was peirced ...
    (whether figurateively or literally, as they who are spoken of in that passage will do ... literally look upon Him)
    ... is given that mercy.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/06/2007 1:01 PM  

  • Thank you, Selah! Good words. The more I have thought about it, I know He cares for us and there is no little matter with Him. Or should I say all matters are little to Him? There is another question...

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/06/2007 1:03 PM  

  • I think it is important to remember that although we might talk about God decree(s)and obviously should since He has revealed this doctrine to us, yet we are not guided by the decree(s) of God when praying, (especailly seeing they are largely hid from us)but by the revealed word of God i.e. the Bible and especially its promises. This difference in approach is the difference between Calvinism and the deadness of hyper Calvinism.

    By Blogger goodnightsafehome, at 2/06/2007 3:23 PM  

  • Rose, both choices suit me fine.

    a pondering:

    I wonder about the Calvinists doctrine of an all-encompassing decree...

    Wouldn't it have been the same for God merely to create such a thing in His mind and not enact it? The moment He created everlasting people, it became real. Real people who would spend eternity in hell if it so pleased Him.

    It don't make sense:

    Life is just a play, and we are all playing our pre-appointed parts, with our pre-appointed scripts and pre-appointed cues, our determined dialogues, our determined wardrobes. But it would have to even go deeper than that. Even the thoughts of the actors were constructed by the Director/Composer/Screenwriter.

    God, in essence is the Master of Puppets in Calvinism.

    How boring that would be for God. God created for His glory, right? Is the only way that He can recieve glory is by pre-scripting it unto Him? Must He force people to give Him glory?

    If it is a play that He wanted, without any surprise, without any spontaneity, without any freedom or legitimate liberty, why would would He play it for real?

    It sounds like Mount Olympus where the gods are playing around with the mortals in their whim. But with God, the consequences are real. He has pre-determined and appointed men to populate hell, where they will be tormented forever.

    Could He not create in His image and likeness and woo people unto Him?

    Can anyone imagine for a moment that God has created the world in such a way that it in a real sense is not pre-appointed?

    Why must the prevailing view of God's sovereignty be that He must have pre-appointed and pre-determined all things?

    It is fallacious to imagine that for God to be in control of His universe He must therefore foreordain and initiate everything. In fact, it diminishes God to suggest that He cannot control what He doesn't foreordain and originate.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 2/06/2007 8:52 PM  

  • Re: The Eternal Decree. First a doctrinal answer: Unless God thinks "on the hoof" (or "as it happens" if you are not familiar with this term) according as fresh information or previously unknown or unforeseen (to Him) events happen, then He knows beforehand what He is going to do in any given situation. If He knows beforehand of a series of events e.g. that Abraham would take his beautiful wife Sarah into Gerar and risk her purity at the expense of his life (Genesis 20) leading to Abimelech looking appreciatively at Sarah and taking her into his palace, then all those events must be fixed and certain, because you cannot see with perfect knowledge beforehand a series of events that might or might not take place. God might have intervened earlier than He did, but He chose not to. Or, He decreed not to, and if He decreed, then He decreed from all eternity, knowing the end from the beginning.

    The event itself might never had taken place, but God evidently allowed it to go ahead. He might have intervened earlier and prevented the appreciative look, just as He intervened later and prevented the sinful act. Had He allowed Sarah to be violated (as others have been e.g. Tamar in 2 Samuel 13) then He again would have decreed that it would be so, purposely withholding His power to prevent it. In one of those paradox's of Scripture (and Calvinists and the Non Reformed share the same Scriptures) this does not lessen the responsibility of the sinner. Certainly Ammon could not plead the decree of God as an excuse for his lust, yet it cannot be denied that God allowed this event to happen, and wisely and justly decreed (for unrevealed reasons known to Himself) not to intervene when He could have done so.

    Whatever comes to pass does not happen without God's knowledge and ultimately without God's permission or decree. I accept that there are many questions which can be posed about this, but it is the most scriptural of the various alternatives. Any problems with foreordination soon and ultimately become applicable to foreknowledge in the Non Reformed sense too.

    Secondly, there is a practical answer: If things happen outside of God's decree, then there are many decrees operating and ultimately effecting the world - the limited decree of God and those other decrees which God has refrained from interfering with. Why should I pray then to God on any given situation without knowing that He will intervene on my behalf? If something good happens, how can I give God the glory without knowing that it happened according to His will? Does the wounded Jew on the road to Jericho praise God for the kind and caring Samaritan or does he just praise the Samaritan, since it is possible that this was something which God had not purposed at all? Do I bow my head and thank God for my food, or do I just tuck in reflecting that the good crop and everything associated with getting it from the ground to my plate may not be due to God's decree after all, but to some other controlling power, be it chance or fate or any other alternative?

    By Blogger goodnightsafehome, at 2/08/2007 11:32 AM  

  • Rose said, Don't you think that particular supplication referred to in that verse is a bit different?

    The supplication referred to in Zechariah certainly describes a general, soteriological supplication associated with the new birth. I am not confusing it with a verse that speaks specifically to prayers of supplication, if that is what you are asking.

    What I am doing however is showing from scripture the source of all genuine supplication - that it does not originate with man, but with God. This truth applies immediately in the soteriological context (we are not the authors of our own salvation, but God draws us to Christ), but it is never the less true, and continues to be true when we answer the question of where genuine supplication originates - with us, or with God, and the answer is: with God.

    You also said, I believe anyone who supplicates or pleas for mercy from God's eternal punishment when looking upon Him who was peirced ... is given that mercy."

    I think you are practically a Calvinist Rose, for a remark like that "reaks" of Calvinism.

    Of course God answers every sincere plea for soteriological mercy - the Calvinist however would not imagine that such a plea orinates in a spiritual vacuum - but that God caused the sinner to seek him, just as scripture teaches.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 2/08/2007 1:34 PM  

  • Hi Daniel!
    I am sorry for the delay, but can you explain how this is true:

    I think you are practically a Calvinist Rose, for a remark like that "reaks" of Calvinism.

    Please? I don't get it. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/23/2007 9:50 AM  

  • Antonio,
    I love this:

    It is fallacious to imagine that for God to be in control of His universe He must therefore foreordain and initiate everything. In fact, it diminishes God to suggest that He cannot control what He doesn't foreordain and originate.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/23/2007 9:51 AM  

  • Rose:

    You just could not control yourself, just had to take another cheap shot at me; didn't you?

    Please try to refrain from deleting my comments we have much to discuss like your double standard and duplicity when it comes to the Crossless gospel, especially its advocates like Antonio da Rosa, the infamous Mr. Truth Detector whom you are running cover for.

    And of course your clever little stunt when you altered and defaced the copyrighted cover of my book to lend your support to a personal attack against me at another (now defunct) blog.

    We have much to discuss and I will be discussing these and more issues right here at your blog for a long, long time.

    Unless, of course, you publicly admit to and repent of your personal attack against me through the book cover episode and promise to NEVER AGAIN take a chep shot at me in any blog.


    LM

    By Blogger Lou Martuneac, at 6/03/2009 11:08 AM  

  • I look at prayer as a two way street. In which part of my prayer time is my request time.

    I remember as a youth going to a school dance with a friend in her dads car. Because I hadn't asked my dad to use his car.

    complaining about it a couple of days later, my father asked why I didn't ask him to use the car? You could have used it he said.

    I think God is like that sometines. He is perfectly willing to give us things, but He wants us to come to Him, and ask for them.

    If our request is for our good He answers with the joy of a loving compassonate Father.

    frank

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/10/2010 5:39 PM  

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