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

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Is God Obliged to Save?

I ranted a little in the article below about some of my problems with the idea the "faith is a gift." My friend Colin (goodnightsafehome) asked me a question in the comments. (Well, actually, he asked me several questions, but one really caught my attention.) Update: Daniel also asked it after I began this post yesterday!

Is God *obliged* to anything to save a guilty sinner? If so, then it ceases to be grace, but debt. If He is not obliged to save any, then is He obliged to save all?

He was asking this in response to my wondering about there being an excuse for those who weren't "gifted" with the ability to believe in the salvation that He has provided. My answer to the question ...

Is God obliged to save any man? Well, if asked that way, the answer I suppose would be "no." But ... I would say that this is the wrong question for this discussion. Let me move away from this question for a moment and then I will drift back over to it. The question is rather, "Is God obliged to give any man faith?" Which, is a question that might seem absurd to some based on the answer to the underlying question, "What is faith?" I would say that faith is not faith if it is something that is gifted to you. The Bible says that Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. Does this sound like something God did to Abraham's mind - opened it up, gifted him with "faith" so that he KNEW what God was saying was true? Or ... does it sound like Abraham allowed his mind to be convinced that God was true. He did not harden his heart and turn off his mind to the light that was given to him, but rather embraced the LORD. Abraham believed God. It was credited to him. Would some have us believe that God gifted Abraham with "faith" and then credited him for it?

Some take this desire to claim no credit a bit too far. The Bible speaks of faith as a non-work, so we can't boast in works. There is no credit. Granted, some will boast in faith, but in biblical terms, faith is belief and is not worthy of boasting. This is something found in your heart and mind after the hearing the gospel. Anyone who hears the gospel can incline their ear to the reasoning therein ... or ... they can turn away with disinterest. Belief is not placed in us by God or it is ceases to be belief, it becomes knowledge ... just as grace is not grace if it is owed, but becomes debt. (God does not owe anyone salvation based on their works - this is what the Bible teaches. )

... which takes me back to the original question. Is God obliged to save a guilty sinner?

I would say "obliged" is the wrong word. Unless you would see Him as obliged by His own Word, for he has promised in that Word, to receive any guilty sinner who will believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life.

... and you can take that to the bank!

Oh, and one more thing!
Was God obliged to keep his promise to Abraham? Call it "oblige" if you like, but below is a good example where the Scripture makes it clear that the LORD does make promises He won't break. This is His sovereign choice to do so!
Hebrews 6
13 For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, 14 saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.”15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. 16 For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute. 17 Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, 18 that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie ...

72 Comments:

  • Thanks, Rose. Your reasoning here has helped me. Not simply in your answer, but in the way you worked through it. I pray that I can work through so many questions I am asking myself with such a joyful spirit!

    By Blogger Missy, at 3/14/2007 5:24 PM  

  • There is a difference between God being obligated to do something and God determining to save all who believe into Christ for eternal life.

    Daniel and friends provide for us another example of the false dilemma, also known as bifurcation and the fallacy of the excluded middle.

    It seems to me that the ones to whom God is obligated is to the Calvinists.

    God is obligated to save those who persevere until the end in faith and good works, or at least save those who die in a repentant state. This is nothing but works-salvation.

    I would encourage all Calvinists to finish what the Reformation started. Release yourselves from all the provisos, conditions, and caveats that your theology attaches to the uncomplicated doctrine of simple faith alone into Christ alone for eternal life.

    Antonio da Rosa

    By Blogger Antonio, at 3/14/2007 10:44 PM  

  • Hi again Rose,

    I have a question for you and Antonio.

    Is God's Word always effective?

    Isaiah 55:10,11

    "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding {in the matter} for which I sent it."


    If I follow your line of reasoning, and I know that Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God, then if someone hears the Word and yet doesn't believe, then God's Word is ineffective, right? Or do you have a differing interp.?

    Or could it be that God's Word always accomplishes its intended purpose? It's always effective. And for some, the purpose is to soften their hearts, for others the purpose is to harden their hearts.

    Of course, this doesn't answer the question at large, "Is God obligated to save any man?" But it does tie into God's sovereignty in relation to our salvation.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Anonymous Ten Cent, at 3/15/2007 9:40 AM  

  • God said about Abraham.........
    Genesis 18:19
    For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him."


    Sounds like a little sovereignty and election to me!

    By Blogger jazzycat, at 3/15/2007 9:59 AM  

  • Thanks, Missy!
    It is nice to see you! God bless you.

    Antonio,
    You forgot to say "hi."
    bifurcation and the fallacy of the excluded middle.
    ... wow! I need to look that up!
    "False dilemna" I get. Yes, this is, isn't it? That is a good word for it.
    Thanks for reading. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/15/2007 10:05 AM  

  • Ten Cent,
    Hello. If someone hears the Word and yet doesn't believe, then God's Word is ineffective, right?
    No. Why would that be necessary? God's word accomplishes what He intends. He intends for people to hear it and for a relationship to be restored between Himself and those who will receive Him. You assume that the "those who will receive Him" has to be a static, determined "gaol" set by Him or else He isn't accomplishing that "goal." I see Him as using the word "come" quite a bit in this area. So, if some "come" then He has accomplished that which He intended, to have His creation "respond" to Him freely.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/15/2007 10:18 AM  

  • Jazzy,
    No one around here is denying that God is sovereign or that He elects. I just see it differently than you.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/15/2007 10:19 AM  

  • Isaiah 55:10,11

    "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding {in the matter} for which I sent it."

    Ten Cent, could you explain from the context what was accomplished by the prophetic message referred to in that text?

    What does this text actually teach?

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 3/15/2007 11:32 AM  

  • Matthew,
    Did being away from England for so long squelch your manners?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/15/2007 12:33 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    I appreciate you giving my comments a whole posting on their own.

    I think it is important to remember that God does not believe *for* us, but enables us to believe - He works in us both to will and do of His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13) The sinner believes, but he does so "through grace" (Acts 18:27) which certainly doesn't root faith in the sinner himself. (yet all the time, it is the sinner who believes…not God believing for him) Faith is always founded on knowledge. "I know whom I have believed…" (2 Timothy 1:12) "I know my Redeemer liveth…" (Job 19:25) but it does not cease to be faith, but instead a real faith as opposed to a blind faith.

    I don't think "Is God to obliged to save all" is the wrong question at all. It is rather a foundation question. If the answer is "No" (as you Biblically acknowledge) then the other question(s) like "Is God obligated to give faith…" will likewise end in the negative. God is only obligated to Himself and if He has indicated that He will save all men or give all men faith, then obviously there is a self imposed obligation there. This leads us then to query whether He has indicated that He will save all men or that He has indicated that He will give all men faith. While I find that He has declared Himself to have no pleasure in the death of the wicked - He is not a tyrant - and even declares Himself willing that all men be saved, (the strength of which depends on the meaning of "all men") yet I cannot see where He declares Himself to be the "actual working" Saviour of all or the Giver of faith to all. Which is why I raised the somewhat thorny issue (thorny that is to non Calvinists) of the OT heathen who had no evangelists sent to them and who were effectively left to perish in their chosen sins.

    Which brings us to Abraham. God's obligation towards Abraham was to keep His own promise (as in Hebrews 6:13) but (as you say) He was under no obligation to make that promise in the first place. His choice of Abraham as the receiver of the promise (as in Noah before him) was totally sovereign. Noah was as wicked as any of them in Genesis 6, but He found grace in the eyes of the Lord (v8) and that grace led him to believe God and to be saved.

    Antonio: By and large, I don't find your comments particularly helpful or enlightening at all. As indicated above, God is ultimately only obligated to Himself and His word. My election unto eternal life was unconditional i.e. totally outside of any response or anything else on my part. My faith, salvation and perseverance unto glory, which flow from His choice of me, is accredited totally to His grace alone. True, I have responsibilities as a professing Christian, but again, it is God who works in me both to will and to do of His good pleasure.

    Thanks Rose for the opportunity to share these things on your blog. I enjoy a good conversation on spiritual things.

    By Blogger goodnightsafehome, at 3/15/2007 1:54 PM  

  • Colin -

    "My election unto eternal life was unconditional"

    How do you know that you are elect? I don't see any decree from God saying "Colin is elect". What if you don't persevere - does that mean God failed? I know a couple former Calvinists who are now Roman Catholic - Scott Hahn and Marcus Grodi. Are they elect?

    By Blogger Jon Lee, at 3/15/2007 3:29 PM  

  • Jon Lee

    Thanks for your comment. I know that I am elect because I came to Christ, in response to His call, and believed on Jesus Christ to the saving of my soul. Those who so come to Christ are those given to Him by the Father in election (John 6:37) I don't anticipate "not persevering" and therefore your hypothetical question is redundant. God never fails. (I assume you know that) He that has begun the good work in me will perform it unto the day of Jesus Christ, and therefore I am eternally secure.

    As for those men you named who have *professed* faith in Jesus Christ - does "Calvinist" enter into it?- but have gone to the false gospel of Rome, time will tell. My first instinct is to run in and have them damned as false professors...but it would be presently a very foolish thing to do, especially if there was repentance later on. That doesn't stop me from warning others about them. They are certainly a warning to all believers. Do you think they are saved men? The Lord knows those who are His and that's sufficient for me.

    By Blogger goodnightsafehome, at 3/15/2007 3:54 PM  

  • Looks to be the case.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 3/15/2007 4:46 PM  

  • "I don't anticipate "not persevering" and therefore your hypothetical question is redundant."

    You don't anticipate "not persevering" but if it happens then you are not elect and never were, correct? In that case, what you "know" now is superficial and you can never be sure you have eternal life. In light of 1 John 5 - I'd say that's a major theological conundrum.

    "The Lord knows those who are His and that's sufficient for me."

    I agree and if I were a Calvinist, I wouldn't care either - it'll all come out in the wash.

    By Blogger Jon Lee, at 3/15/2007 9:30 PM  

  • Robert L. Dabney:

    “There is a spurious as well as a genuine faith. Every man, when he thinks he believes, is conscious of exercising what he thinks is faith. Such is the correct statement of these facts of consciousness. Now suppose the faith, of which the man is conscious, turns out a spurious faith, must not his be a spurious consciousness? And he, being without the illumination of the Spirit, will be in the dark as to its hollowness.”

    By Blogger Antonio, at 3/15/2007 10:25 PM  

  • JL: - I have fled to Jesus Christ for refuge and cast myself upon His offered gospel mercy - what else can I do? If I take Him at His word and that fails to save me, then the problem that you are trying to create here is greater than me and my soul. It becomes a problem for all the people of God, because (by evangelical definition) they have done the same thing that I have done.

    My comments re: the Lord knowing who are His was in relation to your question about the very unsettled position of two professing Christians who have, at present, embraced another gospel (as did the Galatians: 1:1-9) You asked me about *their* position and I declined to make a definitive judgement because the full story has not yet been told. This pastoral application which I must make for them is not the same that I must make for myself. It is not that I don't care, it is just that there is only so much that I can do. Ultimately, I am not responsible for them. I am for my own soul. It would be interesting, as asked before, to know how *you* view these two professing Christians, who show at least the *signs* of apostasy.

    Antonio: I agree with Dabney. Aren't you glad that there is such a thing as the "illumination of the Spirit?" Since we cannot separate the Spirit from the word of God, then we are cast again upon the gospel promises of God, particularly (as I write) John 6:37 "All that the Father giveth to me cometh to me, and him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out." To quote old John Knox, "Here, I cast anchor…"

    Rose: Thanks again for providing opportunity to debate these matters.

    By Blogger goodnightsafehome, at 3/16/2007 3:07 AM  

  • Good morning, Rose~.

    Goodnight, if false professors may have 'tasted of the heavenly gift, tasted of the world to come and of the good word and 'been enlightened' (Hebrews 6:4-5), is it not possible they may believe they have the illumination of the Spirit, while not being elect at all?

    Is there a certain way of knowing one is illuminated by the Spirit?

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 3/16/2007 8:26 AM  

  • Hi Matthew,

    It would appear from your question that you feel I'm misapplying the passage. Hopefully, I haven't wrenched it too far out of it's context :) But God has revealed something about His word, hasn't He? It will accomplish what He desires. Or do you feel, no matter how you interpret the context, that this characteristic is only applicable to this instance. So then, are there times when His word does not accomplish it's intended purpose?

    BTW, I think the context is a call for people to come to Christ. With the language of the passage ("come to the water", "everlasting covenant", "eat what is good"), it's a forshadowing of Christ, the living water, the bread of life. I think it's interesting that the offer is to those who thirst, and those who have no money. It's not to everyone.

    Hi Rose,

    I can see your point and I'm thinking it through. Sometimes these things are like a line drawing of a cube. Sometimes I can see it pointing out towards me, sometimes I can see it pointing out away from me. You have a "designer" background, so hopefully you can understand that illustration. But it's like for a brief moment I can understand where you're coming from, but then my own understanding of it pops back into focus.

    You did say, "I see Him as using the word "come" quite a bit in this area. So, if some "come" then He has accomplished that which He intended, to have His creation "respond" to Him freely."

    My one hangup I keep having with this, is I keep thinking, well, then did God only intend for "some" to come? Of course, you say that God's intention was just the "offer" so that people can respond. And I keep attaching the actual saving of people to His purpose.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Anonymous Ten Cent, at 3/16/2007 8:46 AM  

  • "It would be interesting, as asked before, to know how *you* view these two professing Christians, who show at least the *signs* of apostasy."

    I've never heard either of them profess that at any point in their life they believed in Jesus Christ for the gift of God, eternal life. If they EVER have - they are saved from the lake of fire - apostates or not. If they NEVER have - they are as of this moment, on their way to the lake of fire.

    A Calvinist was never in danger of Hell - his/her election will come to pass - right past a cross of insignificance and a Savior that they never needed in the first place.

    I understand you will take issue with this - but that is the honest logical conclusion. Why spend a penny on missions when there are starving people in the world - who, when you give to them - it actually has an effect?

    By Blogger Jon Lee, at 3/16/2007 8:55 AM  

  • DF: First question: Yes. It is, of course, one thing to believe that you are saved and another thing to believe unto salvation. The first may or may not be true, depending on the genuineness of your faith. The second is true because the fruit (salvation) proves the root.

    Second Question: Yes again. As said before: The secret is to come to the gospel offers of the Word, which are not confined only to the elect, but offered to all men without exception, and to cast yourself upon these promises in faith. This is what the Spirit illuminates the elect to do and, again, we may judge the root from the fruit. To use a simple illustration: You don't have to go how the engine of a car works. You just need to know how to turn the key and drive it. I'm interested to know how you would answer your own question. Do you point people to the promises of God too?

    JL: Just about to post this reply to DF when I noticed your latest contribution. I am just going out the door - Friday afternoon is (ironically in light of your post) my time for evangelism in Cork City Centre. So off the top of my head: Surprised that you believe that even apostates can be saved. I assume you have Judas Iscariot in Heaven. Secondly, to say that Calvinists never needed a Saviour is so obviously wrong, and there is nothing in Calvinism which teaches that. Men are elected unto salvation and this salvation was purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ. It might be better if you kept to what Calvinism actually teaches, as opposed to your way out inferences, which Calvinists do not have to take notice of, never mind answer. There are enough differences out there, without fresh ones from your imagination being invented. I hope that doesn't sound rough; it is not my intention that it should. To say that Calvinist pennies make no difference to missions is to pull asunder the purposes of God from the means which He uses to bring those purposes to pass. Again, not a Calvinistic concept and therefore no real need for me to answer.

    By Blogger goodnightsafehome, at 3/16/2007 9:45 AM  

  • Jon Lee, please take this in the spirit in which it's intended...

    Might I suggest that you do some further study into the sovereignty of God, as revealed in His word.

    You continue to mischaracterize the reformed position, even though others are fully explaining what they mean and how they arrive at their conclusions, which are biblical. The thoughts in your last two paragraphs in the above comment are, quite frankly, ridiculous. Have you ever in real life, or here in the blogosphere, encountered anyone who embraces reformed theology who believes mission work is unnecessary? Or pointless? If you have, then I submit they don't know very well the call of God, as expressed in His Word.

    And what in the world is this? "A Calvinist was never in danger of Hell - his/her election will come to pass - right past a cross of insignificance and a Savior that they never needed in the first place." Where does this thought even come from?


    Some people label themselves "Calvinist" merely to identify with a particular systematic theology. They are, in fact, Christians, Christ followers, saved, just like you, by the grace of God. Personally, I don't like the labels. I glean my understanding of the Word of God from...the Word of God, thru the illumination of the Holy Spirit. Other than a quote or two here and there, I've never even read John Calvin.

    *~*~*~*~*~*
    I seems that it might be more productive to have a discussion that involves actual Scripture, which would cause us all to ponder and seek God.

    By Blogger Gayla, at 3/16/2007 9:55 AM  

  • Goodnight, yes I point people to the promises of God.

    "The secret is to come to the gospel offers of the Word, which are not confined only to the elect, but offered to all men without exception, and to cast yourself upon these promises in faith."

    So if I have come to the gospel offer, then I can be certain I am one of the elect?

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 3/16/2007 11:24 AM  

  • Ten Cent
    "So then, are there times when His word does not accomplish it's intended purpose?"

    The purpose of God's word is to offer salvation through Christ.

    When people believe that Word its purpose is accomplished.

    However, the Word of God also promises judgment against those who reject God. When that promise if judgment is fulfilled, the purpose of the Word of God is accomplished.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 3/16/2007 11:29 AM  

  • I like to think of this from an Ephesians 2 perspective. Is a person active in being raised from the dead? No. God has made us alive in Christ (passive tense). Additional verse that always comes to mind is:

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

    By Blogger Jonathan Moorhead, at 3/16/2007 12:02 PM  

  • Goodnight -

    "To say that Calvinist pennies make no difference to missions is to pull asunder the purposes of God from the means which He uses to bring those purposes to pass."

    I like the way you phrased this - still see a huge contradiction though.

    Gayla -

    "Might I suggest that you do some further study into the sovereignty of God"

    Yes, you may.

    "Have you ever in real life, or here in the blogosphere, encountered anyone who embraces reformed theology who believes mission work is unnecessary?"

    MANY TIMES. Many hyper-calvinist churches don't even have a missions board. I respect that they are drawing Calivinsm out to it's logical conclusion. They are living out what they truly believe and it's sad.

    "And what in the world is this? "A Calvinist was never in danger of Hell - his/her election will come to pass - right past a cross of insignificance and a Savior that they never needed in the first place." Where does this thought even come from?"

    Is everyone who ever has been or will be saved - elect?

    Most Calvinists would say yes - to which I would say then why did Christ have to die. Why didn't God just create the saved and the damned and get the party started in Heaven and the burn baby burn going in Hell? Why this insignificant trivial life?

    "Some people label themselves "Calvinist" merely to identify with a particular systematic theology. They are, in fact, Christians, Christ followers, saved, just like you, by the grace of God. Personally, I don't like the labels. I glean my understanding of the Word of God from...the Word of God, thru the illumination of the Holy Spirit. Other than a quote or two here and there, I've never even read John Calvin."

    I commend you for seeking truth directly from the source and not from Pope John Calvin!

    By Blogger Jon Lee, at 3/16/2007 12:07 PM  

  • Jonathan -

    "God has made us alive in Christ (passive tense)."

    This is obviously a statement made to Christians. It's only natural that he would reference a past event (the day of their salvation) in the passive tense.

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

    This could be viewed in many ways. I'll start with - can not a sovereign God single out one person to use as He sees fit without their being a universal application? There's a lot of strange things happening at the beginning of the Church from which I wouldn't draw a hard line doctrinal stance. Am I to say that the Lord opened my heart to things spoken by Paul so that I would respond. Even though I've never met Paul or heard anything anything he said?

    It's really not about what God CAN do - it's about what He HAS done. He has given Christ to the world and anyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. This alone makes election before belief in Christ unnecessary and redundant.

    By Blogger Jon Lee, at 3/16/2007 12:31 PM  

  • "Surprised that you believe that even apostates can be saved. I assume you have Judas Iscariot in Heaven."

    I'm one of those crazy guys who takes the Bible literally. I believe once saved always saved.

    Judas - can you point out his profession of faith? I've never seen it.......until I do my best guess is he went loony and remained lost.

    By Blogger Jon Lee, at 3/16/2007 12:43 PM  

  • Hi Matthew,

    Thanks for your response. You said, "The purpose of God's word is to offer salvation through Christ."

    Which to me, makes the Word of God sound very passive, like it's a neutral third party and has no power.

    Hebrews 4:12 - "For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart."

    From that passage, the Word of God sounds very active. It's doing something.

    Of course, you might say that it is active, it's actively offering salvation through Christ. And then it's actively meting out judgment on those who reject Christ. So then, it's purpose is to offer salvation and judge those who don't accept the offer.

    Does God have other intentions, purposes for His Word than judgement and offering salvation?

    And you side-stepped my last question, so here it is again.

    Are there ever times when His word does not accomplish its intended purpose?

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Anonymous Ten Cent, at 3/16/2007 1:26 PM  

  • Jon said, "MANY TIMES. Many hyper-calvinist churches don't even have a missions board. I respect that they are drawing Calivinsm out to it's logical conclusion. They are living out what they truly believe and it's sad.

    Then, as I stated in my previous comment, they don't know God's word very well. They would, in fact, be wrong in their understanding of the Bible and what it says regarding spreading the gospel message. You're right, it is sad.

    By Blogger Gayla, at 3/16/2007 1:53 PM  

  • DF: If you have savingly to Jesus Christ, then you be assured that you are one of the elect. Again: John 6:37 makes that clear. As regards the gospel offer, you don't even need to wonder if you are elect not. The gospel offer is indiscriminate. You just need to see yourself as a sinner and flee to Christ for refuge.

    JL: I can't see how you think that there is a huge contradiction in Calvinists believing that God ordains both the end and the means. Why should there be? The Bible teaches it and common sense commends it. However, again, not a battle I have to fight. I believe both as do the vast majority of Calvinists. Any man that denies it is a hyper Calvinist, going beyond what Calvin, the Calvinist confessions and (most important of all as the sole rule of faith and practice) what the Bible teaches.

    You wrote: *Why didn't God just create the saved and the damned and get the party started in Heaven and the burn baby burn going in Hell? Why this insignificant trivial life?* Stock (Evangelical) answer: Because His holiness demanded it. If you see a problem with this, then it is wider than the Calvinist issue. Whether God foreordained all things, or simply knew in advance what is going to happen (I could get waylaid with this subject, but I'll let it go) is largely immaterial here. The only way your suggestion makes any sense is if God is ignorant of future events and waits to see how things will pan out. I don't think that you believe that, but I can't see any other reason to raise this matter.

    Re: Judas's profession of faith. If you want me to point to a distinct book, chapter and verse, then obviously I can't. But then, neither can I do so for some other of the Apostles e.g. Simon Zealotes or many other Christians mentioned in the NT. I think the onus of Scripture is that Judas did profess faith inasmuch that he was numbered among the Twelve and preached the gospel etc., Certainly none suspected him when the Lord foretold His betrayal. I believe he had a false empty faith, and that he was an apostate - never genuinely saved. I hold this to be true of all apostates. Regarding "Once saved, always saved." I agree, although I prefer to word it as follows: "If saved, always saved." This raises an extra guard against those false professions of faith which people come up with from time to time. Those folk in Matthew 7:22 forward and the Foolish Virgins come to mind here. It does not in any way infringe on the glorious liberties of the sons of God.

    Rose: Again, thanks for the opportunity to state these things on your comment facility. The manner of debate here is good - robust without descending into a slanging match which is commendable to all.

    By Blogger goodnightsafehome, at 3/16/2007 2:53 PM  

  • DF: Sorry it should read:

    "As regards the gospel offer, you don't even need to wonder if you are elect OR not."

    By Blogger goodnightsafehome, at 3/16/2007 2:55 PM  

  • Jonathan -

    "preached the gospel"

    What "gospel" do you suppose Judas was preaching?

    "I believe he had a false empty faith"

    No faith, maybe. But a false, empty faith? I would contend there is no such thing.

    "If saved, always saved."

    Sounds like something J-Mac would say! The problem with the Lordship position and an honest evaluation of your life is you never know "if" - there's always the possibility of "not saved, never saved". I do not believe fear is a healthy means of motivation in any relationship - let alone the most important one!

    "Because His holiness demanded it"

    OK - that works for the infralapsarian, which I assume you are.

    By Blogger Jon Lee, at 3/16/2007 3:18 PM  

  • Rose, you seem to suggest that the only way one can 'boast' in anything is if it was a work they did. But I disagree. Anything man does, whether it be a work or it simply allowing your mind to be convinced that God was true (this is befuddled enough trying to think of how you allow your mind to be convinced...but I won't go into that) or not hardening your heart can be something man can boast within.

    If I did not harden my heart, but Pharaoh did, I can then boast in my goodness for not hardening my heart.

    If I allowed my mind to be convinced, and yet someone else did not, I can boast in the fact that I did and he did not.

    Anything that I do, and another doesn't, is something I can boast within.

    Now, you could perhaps argue that I shouldn't boast, that it would be stupid or prideful of me to do so. But you could not argue that I cannot boast. I did something, and even if in pride or stupidity, I can boast.

    The only way you could argue that I could not boast is if it was in fact something that I did not do. I cannot boast in creating the world, or freeing the slaves or being the founder of America, as these are all things I did not do.

    But I could boast in anything I did or do. Perhaps I should not, but 'shouldn't' doesn't equal 'couldn't'.

    And how have you been my friend, long time no chat.

    By Blogger sofyst, at 3/16/2007 4:33 PM  

  • Goodnight
    "As regards the gospel offer, you don't even need to wonder if you are elect OR not."

    So you would agree with me that works play no part in assesing whether we have saving faith? That works should have no part in providing evidence to ourselves that we posess eternal life?

    And would you not also agree that if we can have such assurance, we need no special illumination of the Spirit to know that we are elect?

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 3/16/2007 6:06 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 3/16/2007 6:11 PM  

  • Adam, your logic is correct, I think. But that is not an argument that is Scriptural.

    The Biblical writers saw no need to address the possibility of a man's boasting of his passive response to the Gospel.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 3/16/2007 6:13 PM  

  • Ten Cent
    "Hebrews 4:12 - "For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart."

    From that passage, the Word of God sounds very active. It's doing something."

    If a person's justification is purely contingent upon their being made regnerate by the work of the Holy Spirit, why is this ministry of the Word necessary?

    Does the active role of the Word not indicate that regeneration is mediated through faith in the preached Word?

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 3/16/2007 6:16 PM  

  • Rose, I've got a 'spin-off' post over at my blog. I'd love your input, as well as any of y'all.

    :)

    By Blogger Gayla, at 3/16/2007 7:02 PM  

  • Matthew, I understand that the Biblical writers never saw need to address the boasting in man's 'passive response to the Gospel' (i.e. faith). I wouldn't see much of a problem if one did boast in their faith. Jesus boasted in the Centurion's faith. Believing is something man can boast within.

    That is not what I am attempting to address.

    I am questioning whether one is saved because of their faith. Then the issue would become a little more difficult. Not only would man be able to boast in his 'passive response to the Gospel', but he would likewise be able to boast in his salvation as he was saved because of his passive response to the gospel...

    Matthew, quite simply, do you believe man is saved because he believes?

    By Blogger sofyst, at 3/17/2007 12:50 AM  

  • JL: I think you are getting me mixed up with Jonathan.
    What gospel was preached? That which is referred to in Luke 7:22.
    Judas's "false empty faith" can only be described as "no faith" if you mean "the faith of God's elect" (Titus 1:1) Evidently he displayed something so as to fool the other Apostles, but as it failed to save, whatever he had was not the genuine article. Maybe we are quibbling here about words.
    "If saved, always saved" only serves to remind us that not every one who says "Lord, Lord" enters the Kingdom of Heaven. If it serves to have us examine ourselves to see whether we be in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5) then an Apostolic injunction has been carried out. Any charges of motivating by fear should be directed at the Apostle Paul and the Lord Jesus Himself because this maxim "If saved etc.," is in the exact same spirit.
    I am not into examining the decree of God as to whether I am an Infralapsarian or whatever. I tend to work with what I can handle. You asked why was the Cross necessary when God could have just saved sinners without it. The only answer I know is that without the shedding of blood, there is no remission and I root that fact in the holiness of God, which spared not His own Son etc.,. The issue is bigger than the Calvinistic controversy, as many of the issues raised against Calvinism usually are.

    DF: I can't see the connection you are making about the free offer of the gospel to elect and non elect alike and the idea that works are the evidence of saving faith. I believe that the faith alone that justifies the soul before God produces good works before men. Faith is the root of a saving relationship with God and good works are the fruit. If there is no fruit, then we may (at least) query as to if there is any root. Having said that, if you want to know the basis on which I have peace with God, I must ever point you back to Christ's finished and all sufficient work upon the Cross. What I want to avoid is the judgement of Titus 1:16 where Paul complains: "They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate." The faith of God's elect not only acknowledges the truth, but is "after godliness" i.e. holy living. While I do not and should not ever trust in my good works to save or justify me - I will always remain that unprofitable servant (Luke 17:10) - yet their absence should warn me that things are maybe not what I think they are.

    Re: the special illumination of the Holy Spirit to indicate that we are elect. It depends what you means by "special illumination of the Holy Spirit" and how you think such is manifest. That the Spirit of God will bear witness with our spirit that we are sons of God is apostolic teaching (Romans 8:14-16) While I glory in election, especially in its unconditional aspect, I rely for my assurance of it on the outward aspect of it i.e. that the elect are known by their coming to the Cross and their casting themselves upon that finished work on the basis of the promises of God that whosoever does so will be saved. I can make my calling and election sure - not to God but to my own heart (i.e. assurance of it) - by adding to my faith, virtue and to virtue, knowledge etc., (2 Peter 1:1-11) Yet again (such is the paradox of Scripture) I am not going to look at my helping some old grandma carry her groceries up the hill as the basis of my salvation. The world can do that. I am going to look steadfastly by faith upon that great cry of Calvary: "It is finished" and rest my soul upon that.

    Trust this helps. Thanks again, Rose.

    By Blogger goodnightsafehome, at 3/17/2007 5:23 AM  

  • Good morning, Rose.

    Adam,

    'Matthew, quite simply, do you believe man is saved because he believes?'

    Yes if we qualify that statement:

    Christians are saved because they believe because God offers eternal life in Christ to any who believe.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 3/17/2007 7:03 AM  

  • Goodnight
    'While I do not and should not ever trust in my good works to save or justify me - I will always remain that unprofitable servant (Luke 17:10) - yet their absence should warn me that things are maybe not what I think they are.'

    I think you have a difficulty here.

    On the one hand you want to affirm that faith in Christ alone is a sufficent ground of assurance, yet on the other hand you want to maintain that a further examination of salvation is necessary on the basis of works.

    I do not see that you can have it both ways. If faith can be a complete ground of assurance, then there should never be any necessity for further self-examination based on works.

    'Re: the special illumination of the Holy Spirit to indicate that we are elect. It depends what you means by "special illumination of the Holy Spirit" and how you think such is manifest. That the Spirit of God will bear witness with our spirit that we are sons of God is apostolic teaching (Romans 8:14-16)'

    Indeed this is an apostolic doctrine. But note that the Spirit bears witness with our Spirit. The witness therefore cannot be to ourselves, but rather is a witness to God of our justified condition.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 3/17/2007 7:09 AM  

  • I hope I do not go too far off topic or seem too simple for this conversation, but I have been reading here for a while and had some thoughts as I have been struggling through these theologies.

    goodnightsafehome brought up Matthew 7:21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."

    Of course, he only semi-quotes the first half of it :)

    Prior to this verse, Jesus indicates that we can recognize false profits by their fruit - what they produce.

    According to Christ, the young wealthy man is required to give up everything before he can enter the kingdom of heaven.

    Christ gives many examples of things that must be "done" to enter the kingdom of heaven.

    It seems that Jesus taught that WE are obligated, not God. I WANT to believe I am simply saved and that is all there is to it - no further responsibility on my part - but when I read Jesus' words I begin to wonder.

    Everyone here seems to be so sure of their own salvation, as am I. But if we are all so sure and we produce the fruit, why are the ideas of how that salvation came about and was sustained so different?


    My current logic:

    If one must do God's will to enter heaven, and you believe that God controls our will, then all men will enter the kingdom of heaven AND God wills sin.

    On the otherhand, if don't believe God chooses to control our will, then all men go to hell OR God wills sin in smaller doses.

    The only one of these scenarios that would require Jesus' death on the cross is if all men go to hell, ergo God does not choose to control our will.

    By Blogger Missy, at 3/17/2007 8:28 AM  

  • Hey Missy,
    You look different! I see two different photos of two different women. Which on is the real missy?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/17/2007 10:11 AM  

  • EVERYONE,
    I am sorry to not have participated much here! I think it is the way the ball bounces that I can post on Monday, Tuesday and a little Wednesday, but then I have no time to comment much. Wed-Fri I get super duper busy with my job. I want you all to know, though, that I do read each and every comment that comes in the email notification. So I read them, but I don't have the time usually on those days to participate much. This week, I must say, looking at it on Staurday, I cannot add much!

    Matthew (DF) and Jon Lee have asked all the questions that I would ask and their answers to the questions posed are pretty close to what I would think on the issues.

    I especially liked Jon Lee's answer to Jonathan anout Lydia.
    (Hi Jonathan!)
    I have had this thought before but not been able to say it so well:

    This could be viewed in many ways. I'll start with - can not a sovereign God single out one person to use as He sees fit without their being a universal application? There's a lot of strange things happening at the beginning of the Church from which I wouldn't draw a hard line doctrinal stance.

    Thank you, Jon!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/17/2007 10:18 AM  

  • Ten Cent!
    I appreciated your comment to me so much about the cube!
    I really love optical illusions. I started another blog about a year ago ... I lost the time to continue with it, but I was posting a lot of optical illusions on it. Here are a couple that I really like. Are the dots white or black? Are the lines straight or crooked?

    What a great illustration of how confusing this can all get. I think this happens when we caught up in trying to see things that are beyond our comrehension. I really think that this subject (the eternal mind and purposes of God in relation to specific individuals' salvation) is largely beyond our comprehension. That is one reason why I am of the non-Calvinist frame of mind. It is the part we can understand. The eternal decrees and pre-ordination is all a mystery. How very impossible to think that one can nail that down. If you don't mind me saying, I think the result is a deformed presentation of a very complex person that comes off as a little monstrous. I am not saying that God is monstrous by any means. But .. I think the way the D.O.G. present God ... because they emphasize this incomprehensible subject of His mind in eternity etc... etc ...

    This focus makes it necessary to read behind the texts and make it all more complicated than it is - (example: "God so loved the world..." world meaning world of the elect etc..) His glorious persona is then hard to get in focus, like the cube. Is He a loving, heavenly father with open arms, or is He a cruel creator with His back turned to some that He made for the sole purpose of eternal suffering?

    I don't think the Bible teaches the latter, but it is the ugly implication of taking this all too far.
    IMHO
    Thanks for your blog friendship!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/17/2007 10:41 AM  

  • Ten Cent,
    I am sorry if you don't appreciate that comment. I know that is not what you were trying to say about the cube. I do appreciate what you were saying about the cube for exactly what it is.

    ... but the whole "optical illusion" thing got me thinking.
    Have a good weekend!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/17/2007 10:43 AM  

  • Missy,
    I am befuddled by your current logic. I am sorry; I think I must be missing something. You can re-explain if you want.

    Colin,
    Thanks for participating and thanks for your manners. :~)

    Antonio,
    I don't agree with the quotation. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/17/2007 10:46 AM  

  • Colin,
    Which is why I raised the somewhat thorny issue (thorny that is to non Calvinists) of the OT heathen who had no evangelists sent to them and who were effectively left to perish in their chosen sins.

    This something I am going to think about. Maybe I will post on it sometime.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/17/2007 10:50 AM  

  • I guess on one hand I just said to Ten Cent that the D.O.G. complicate things, but in this respect (the OT heathen who had no evangelists sent to them) I guess it would be a lot simpler to just say "Well, they were obviously not elect"

    - and it would also be a lot easier to assume that about those living today in the far reaches of the earth) ... etc ...

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/17/2007 10:52 AM  

  • Missy, if you don't believe that God wills sin to occur, how would you explain the death of Christ?

    ..this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. ~Acts 2:23

    ( But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring,He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand...~Isa 53:10)

    God brought about the death of Christ by using the sinful actions of men, and it pleased Him to do so. Difficult text? Indeed.

    Rose, regarding those in parts of the world w/o the Word, I may differ from many of my reformed brothers. I believe God can and will save whomever He pleases with or w/o missionaries and with or w/o a Bible being in someone's hand. Not to build an entire doctrine upon one incident or anything, but the Lord did appear to Saul/Paul and, well, we know the story...

    I think we must leave room for the supernatural work of the God. He is, after all the Creator of the universe and we are His creation. We tend to lose sight of the fact that we are the creature, and God is free to act as He wills. Sometimes I don't see that with some of the 'hard line' Calvinists.

    By Blogger Gayla, at 3/17/2007 11:22 AM  

  • Matthew, you said,

    Yes if we qualify that statement:

    Christians are saved because they believe because God offers eternal life in Christ to any who believe.


    And is belief something that Christians do? I'm quite sure you'll say yes. You do believe, and I do believe, and I do not believe for you, neither you for me. Christ does not believe for me neither.

    So belief is something that Christians do...

    My next question would be why then can I not boast in my salvation? I did something, and because of what I did, I got eternal life. Sounds like I can boast in that...

    Perhaps I shouldn't, but I can.

    By Blogger sofyst, at 3/17/2007 11:30 AM  

  • Jon Lee,

    Ephesians 2:4 (“But God, who is abundant in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, made us alive [passive] with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses”) is not “obviously a statement made to Christians.” I really don’t understand your take on this passage. Are you saying that Christians are dead in trespasses in sins, walking according to the worldly age, according to the spirit of disobedience? What exactly is this act that God does in making a person alive from the dead?

    As for Acts 16:14, for you to consider that this is an isolated instance is evidence that the Calvinist position is fairly clear in the text. I suppose then you have to ask why God would do this for one individual and not others. Is this right for God to do this in your soteriological views? Rather than an isolated case, this is consistent with the rest of Scripture (see Eph 2 above and Acts 13:48 below).

    Acts 13:48 “When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.”

    By Blogger Jonathan Moorhead, at 3/17/2007 12:15 PM  

  • Adam, believing is a verb, so I suppose it is something that we do.

    However, it is a verb in the same sense of 'to be.'

    Belief is passive. You do not choose to do it, but you can stop yourself from doing it.

    Yes, logically you are correct that you could boast about believing. However, I think it would be such a stupid and pointless thing to boast about as to be not worth considering.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 3/17/2007 12:17 PM  

  • Rose, Maybe time to move on to your new postings, and as time permits, participate there. Do take up the thought when you get the chance, of the OT Gentiles who (as said) had no evangelist and who, as the unreached wicked heathen, tonight lift up their eyes in hell being in torments. Had the men of Tyre and Sidon the same opportunities as Capernaum, the Lord Jesus said that they would have repented, but they didn't and this no appearance of opportunity flows from the sovereign choice of God to withhold such from them. Matthew 11:20ff makes for sober reading. I'm so glad that I got the opportunity which many others have been denied.

    DF:- Time to move unto the new page and maybe engage there. Sufficient to say, that I backed up my claims with Scripture, esp. 2 Peter 1 where my calling and election can be made sure when I add to my faith, virtue etc., Not my words, but those of the inspired Apostle. To the authority of Scripture, we all must bow. I enjoyed engaging with you all.

    By Blogger goodnightsafehome, at 3/17/2007 12:59 PM  

  • Yes, logically you are correct that you could boast about believing. However, I think it would be such a stupid and pointless thing to boast about as to be not worth considering.

    Even if it is pointless or stupid, it is still possible.

    So you agree with me that you can boast that you do believe, as it is something that you do.

    And you have said before that you believe that one is saved because of their belief.

    So if one can do something, and because of this get the reward of salvation, one can boast in their salvation as they were the ones who did something to get it.

    Agreed?

    Once again, I am not speaking about whether it is stupid or pointless or wrong to boast in belief, and therefore salvation, but rather whether it is possible to do so.

    If it is possible to boast in one's belief and therefore their salvation, according to your system of thought, then I do not understand how you can read Paul's words wherein he specifically claims that salvation cannot be boasted within by any man...

    By Blogger sofyst, at 3/17/2007 6:49 PM  

  • Hi, Rose!

    I am the same woman. I just recently updated my photo - the previous one was taken 7 years ago! And I probably do not make any sense because I am still trying to make sense of it. I am just putting my thoughts out there so my current beliefs are not hidden. I am not interested in debating, simply understanding and working through getting some conviction beyond the traditions I have been taught. And, my please excuse my manners for jumping in without even a simple "hello"!

    Gayla,

    I guess I never really considered the death of Christ as a sinful action of men. I understood that He was sentenced to death according to Jewish custom and law and by His confession that He was King of the Jews. The scripture you gave,

    ..this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. ~Acts 2:23

    says that God delivered Him, but the Jews put Him to death by the hands of godless man. Maybe there was a choice even then?

    I am asking these things because I am not sure myself. I know what I FEEL like I want to believe, but I do not feel certain.

    By Blogger Missy, at 3/17/2007 7:26 PM  

  • Romans 3:27 "Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith."

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

    Faith is not a work (no matter how hard the Calvinist would try to convince us that it is, if we do not say that God GIFTED us this faith); therefore, we cannot boast of our own salvation because we cannot "work" our way into heaven.

    The Calvinist simply takes the boasting thing too far and in doing sets up a straw man making faith appear to be a work; therefore, something about which we can boast. Again, faith is not a work. God is simply saying that we don't get to heaven by good works, rather salvation is a gift of God which is activated by grace through our faith.

    The Calvinist can just as easily boast of his alleged God-given faith in that he was one of the chosen.

    By Blogger Dawn, at 3/18/2007 12:04 PM  

  • Missy, you said "...says that God delivered Him, but the Jews put Him to death by the hands of godless man. Maybe there was a choice even then?"

    He was delivered by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God. Therein lies the key. God not only knew of it, He determined it, it was His plan.

    By using the sinful actions of man, I of course mean murder.

    I would encourage you, Missy, to steer away from you 'feelings' regarding these passages, as well as all of Scripture. Your feelings won't necessarily lead you to the Truth. The Word tells us that the Holy Spirit will lead us into all Truth, so I'd really encourage you to ask Him to do just that! Ask Him to supernaturally illuminate God's truth to you; He will.


    I couldn't let this one go...

    Dawn, you said, "Faith is not a work (no matter how hard the Calvinist would try to convince us that it is, if we do not say that God GIFTED us this faith); therefore, we cannot boast of our own salvation because we cannot "work" our way into heaven.

    The Calvinist simply takes the boasting thing too far and in doing sets up a straw man making faith appear to be a work; therefore, something about which we can boast. Again, faith is not a work. God is simply saying that we don't get to heaven by good works, rather salvation is a gift of God which is activated by grace through our faith."


    Have you read any of the comments? There hasn't been a single Calvinist on this post who has stated that faith is a work. We contend the complete opposite, as is taught in Scripture.

    By Blogger Gayla, at 3/18/2007 1:34 PM  

  • Dawn,

    I like the way one person put it on my blog:

    "If God is equal in His attempts to convince both person A and person B of the truth of the gospel, and person A believes it while person B rejects it, the dividing line between the two is found in man. Why is person A in heaven and person B in hell? Because of something that person A did and yet person B failed to do."

    This is an anthropocentric gospel.

    By Blogger Jonathan Moorhead, at 3/18/2007 4:58 PM  

  • Hi Rose. I wanted to consider the eternal question in light of Jonathan’s thought above. I think it necessary to understand that there are actually two questions in view here and we create a false dichotomy when we try to force one answer to satisfy both.

    We would all be close in agreement when answering the question, “Why is person A in heaven?” however we each run afoul if we try to force the same answer to apply to the question, “Why is person B in hell?”

    Personally, I find any form of election apart from Christ egocentric.

    By Blogger Kc, at 3/19/2007 3:01 AM  

  • Good morning, Rose.

    Adam, I think we need to keep in mind Paul's actual argument. He is saying that salvation is by faith and not by works, something that would be worthy of praise.

    I think Paul's argument would have been quite different had a person been boasting of their faith. I think he would have insisted that there was nothing praiseworthy about faith and would have drawn the person's attention to the cross of Christ that had provided that salvation.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 3/19/2007 4:58 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Don't worry, I appreciated your comment. And that is kind of what I was getting at. Depending on what you're predisposed to, either the lines are curved or they're parallel (to use your illustration). I think the hard part is that sometimes, I feel like I know the trick. Even though the lines look curved, I know that in fact, they're parallel. And there's all these people saying, "How can you say they're straight and parallel, just look at the lines. Anyone can tell they're curved." Of course there are time too, when I have to step back and make sure that I'm not the one who's claiming, with all surety, that the lines are curved, when they are in fact straight.

    You said, "His glorious persona is then hard to get in focus, like the cube. Is He a loving, heavenly father with open arms, or is He a cruel creator with His back turned to some that He made for the sole purpose of eternal suffering?"

    I'll just say that you're attaching some presuppositions here. It's the old argument that a loving God wouldn't send anyone to hell. And then all of a sudden, I'm stuck with "admitting" that God is somehow cruel if I stick with what I believe. So let me ask you:

    Does God know that some will go to hell?

    Of course the obvious answer is yes. I think you would even agree with that, Rose. So here's a characterization I could make about God then. He must be some sort of uncaring God. I mean, He provided a way for people to spend eternity with Him, yet He still allows some of His creation to go to hell. Didn't He love them? Is that His expression of love towards them?

    And of course, you would say, "Wait a minute, that's not what God is like." And I would say, exactly. And I would say that your view of God doesn't make God any less cruel, any less of a monster.

    I do take what you and Matthew and others say and try to read scripture through your glasses. And some things I can see both ways and it just depends on what viewpoint you're coming from. Just so you know that what you say isn't landing on deaf ears.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Anonymous Ten Cent, at 3/19/2007 9:33 AM  

  • Hi Matthew,

    You said: "Does the active role of the Word not indicate that regeneration is mediated through faith in the preached Word?"

    So then, I ask you again, is there ever a time that the Word of God is ineffective? So if regeneration is mediated through faith in the preached Word of God and someone hear's it preached yet is not regenerated, then was it ineffective? Or did it accomplish it's intended purpose? If it's intended purpose was just to offer salvation, then I suppose it's purpose was accomplished. But if the Word is active, sharp, able to pierce and it didn't do those things, then was it ineffective? Or did God not intend for it to pierce the soul of the one who heard it?

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Anonymous Ten Cent, at 3/19/2007 9:41 AM  

  • The Gospel is the power of God to save those who believe. The Word of God enables men and women to hear the word of God to believe.
    It is effective at accomplshing this purpose.

    The Word of God is not give to force people to believe and hence it is not effective in that purpose.

    Some people are pierced, but do not believe (Acts 5:33). The Word is effective here. Obviously some hear the Word of God and are not pierced. The Word of God presents a message of judgment on these people that will be fulfilled.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 3/19/2007 11:47 AM  

  • OK Matthew,

    Do you believe that God has nothing to do with a person's faith? Is our belief totally up to us? Was Paul only referring to Sanctification in 1 Cor. 3 when he talks of God causing the growth?

    And if God causes the growth, is that not accomplished through His Word? Because it appears that Paul is saying that He and Apollos can only do so much. They are just men like other men. But God is the one Who causes the growth. Or maybe it's just the initial faith in Him that He does not cause, but once the seed sprouts He makes it grow.

    So God can use His Word to reveal His Gospel to that person. He can use His Word to save that person. But His Word was never intended to provoke or grant belief/faith in the heart of the one who hears it?

    So then is Jonathan M. correct in saying, "This is an anthropocentric gospel"?

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Anonymous Ten Cent, at 3/19/2007 1:21 PM  

  • Matthew, but Paul's argument of salvation not being able to be boasted in within man, even if directed towards those that believe salvation is of works, completely eliminates the possibility of salvation being because of anything man does...

    By Blogger sofyst, at 3/19/2007 2:57 PM  

  • Ten Cent, would it be so bad if it was an anthropocentric Gospel?

    Does mankind not play an important part in God's governmental dealings?

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 3/20/2007 6:02 AM  

  • Hi Matthew,

    You said, "Ten Cent, would it be so bad if it was an anthropocentric Gospel?"

    That's a very good question. And I'm not sure. I guess I've always been told and thought that the Gospel is not about us. It's about God and His glory. And I suppose Rose will cover this subject in a new post at some point to answer the evil Calvinsitic charge layed at the door of Free Gracers :)

    So Rose, maybe that's a question you could include in your post, "Is it really so bad to have an anthropocentric Gospel?"

    I would say that the Gospel should be Christocentric--Christ-centered, not man-centered. But then I have to ask myself what that means.

    You said: "Does mankind not play an important part in God's governmental dealings?"

    And I would say yes and no. Mankind is one of God's chosen means to accomplish His will. But God is in no way forced to use man kind.

    Luke 19:37-40
    "As soon as He was approaching, near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles which they had seen, shouting: "BLESSED IS THE KING WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD; Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, "Teacher, rebuke Your disciples." But Jesus answered, "I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!"


    Because in the end it's not about us, it's about Him, isn't it? He really doesn't need us, but He chooses to use us. If we didn't proclaim His glory, the stones would cry out. Of course, I am ripping this passage out of context. You can nail me on that charge.

    But they're valid questions that you raise, and I'll do some thinking about it. Thanks for the dialogue.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Anonymous Ten Cent, at 3/20/2007 8:47 AM  

  • Gayla: "Have you read any of the comments? There hasn't been a single Calvinist on this post who has stated that faith is a work. We contend the complete opposite, as is taught in Scripture."

    Gayla, perhaps I put this comment on the wrong post since I've been having problems with the comments. I sometimes have to go completely out of the comments and then come back into the post and may have clicked on the wrong one. I do not feel like sifting through all the comments to know for sure. And I didn't even mean to enter this post, but your comment to me caught my eye.

    Having said that, do you deny that you believe that the non-Calvinist makes faith a work if they believe that the faith they do have is NOT something that God has imparted to them?

    By Blogger Dawn, at 3/20/2007 2:29 PM  

  • Dawn: "Having said that, do you deny that you believe that the non-Calvinist makes faith a work if they believe that the faith they do have is NOT something that God has imparted to them?"

    I'm convinced, by the preponderance of Scripture - NOT 1, 2 or even 3 verses - that faith, no matter what kind of faith we're talking about, is given by God. (Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights. ~Jas 1:17; For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. ~Rom 12:3)

    Honestly, I don't think it's of that much consequence whether someone views his faith as a 'work' or not. The fact is that every good thing given is from God's hand - it is He who grants, gives, allots, causes, brings about, changes, ordains, conforms, transforms, chastens....you get the picture.

    I also think we're all misguided to some extent in one area or another. I don't think any of us has all the answers. I think we all see dimly and only know in part. (1 Cor 13:12)

    I think God has revealed much of Himself thru the Scriptures so that we get a glimpse of His nature and character. I think the Bible is written so that man can (basically!) understand it; and passages that are more obscure should always be interpreted in light of the more clear texts. But the truth of the Word cannot be understood at all without the Holy Spirit illuminating it to us and making it real in our lives. And that's the key, really. When we don't understand, or when something runs completely contrary to our preconceived notions about God, we must ask the Holy Spirit to show us. He will; that's what He does!

    Sorry. This was more than you bargained for with your question. :)

    By Blogger Gayla, at 3/20/2007 8:39 PM  

  • Gayla: "But the truth of the Word cannot be understood at all without the Holy Spirit illuminating it to us and making it real in our lives."

    I believe that God allows everyone to see the truth of His word through His common grace as He has told us we are without excuse. There are those who see the truth and even agree with it, but simply reject it for one reason or another.

    I agree that we all have a God-given faith and that EVERYTHING we have is from God. For in Him we live, move and have our being. Again, that is why we are without excuse.

    Preponderance of the evidence? Not only is there a preponderance of the evidence, but there is evidence beyond the shadow of a doubt that we exercise our God-given faith to believe on Him BEFORE we are born again in order to BE born again.

    The problem is that some choose to place their faith somewhere other than the Lord.

    Absolutely God has shown us His character throughout His word. That is why He gave Adam a second chance. That's why He tried to give Cain a second chance and I'm sure He gave Him many more that are simply not recorded. That's why throughout the OT He gave the Israelites chance after chance after chance (for hundreds of years) to repent and serve Him. He gives us all many chances to come to Him. That's why we are to preach the gospel to every creature.

    Gayla: "But the truth of the Word cannot be understood at all without the Holy Spirit illuminating it to us and making it real in our lives. And that's the key, really."

    I agree, but obviously the Holy Spirit does enlighten us all to a point. We can understand it partially, but not completely. We won't understand the deeper truths of the word unless and until we are born again. I understood very well part of the truth of the word of God before I was born again. We're all born with a certain amount of enlightened truth as the laws of God are written on all of our hearts. Paul, in I Corinthians, is speaking of the deeper truths.

    By Blogger Dawn, at 3/21/2007 2:52 PM  

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