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

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Dead?

I am working through another question that Calvinists ask and it has to do with the use of the word "dead" in the the Bible to describe unsaved people. Below is an issue re: that subject.

In the scriptural reference of "dead"
to unsaved individuals,

what is the corresponding
formerly living state
of an individual now
spirutually dead
to
the formerly living state
of an individual now
physically dead?

153 Comments:

  • I personally think that "dead" in Scripture is related to the separation of humanity from God. As sinful humanity is separated from the life-giving energy of God, so they are severed from the life of God--dead.

    I would also assert that the use of "dead" has nothing to do with ability or inability. As with all things, the question is a matter of categories; Calvinists view the question through the categories of God as possessing the exclusively actualizing will. Therefore, "dead" to them must mean "unable," as there is no will apart from God's which one could characterize as actualizing.

    As I do not ascribe to such categories, then, "dead" has nothing to do with ability or inability, will or lack thereof, but is related to the separation of humanity from the life-giving presence of God, a separation whose terminus is dissolution and non-being.

    By Blogger Exist~Dissolve, at 4/05/2007 12:47 PM  

  • With that said, the best possible way to overcome a Calvinist's argument is not to answer the loaded questions they ask, but rather to undermine the categories which are presupposed in these questions.

    To try to answer a Calvinist's question on the terms of the categories assumed therein is ultimately to capitulate the legitimacy of said categories, which capitulation can only end in 1.)contradiction or 2.)answering the Calvinist's question with an answer presupposed by the question.

    By Blogger Exist~Dissolve, at 4/05/2007 12:50 PM  

  • Hi exist-dissolve,
    a separation whose terminus is dissolution and non-being

    Does this mean you don't believe in suffering hell for eternity? Or ... am I totally misunderstanding what you are saying?

    I don't know about undermining the categories, as you say. Give me a real clear example of a Calvinist category and how you would undermine it. I am not following you very well, I'm afraid.

    Thanks for visiting!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/05/2007 1:09 PM  

  • I don't really understand why there is such difficulty in this issue.

    Eph 2:4,5 - But God, being rich R80 in mercy, because of His R81 great love with which He loved us,
    even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

    Col 2:13 - When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions,

    Dead, according to Strong's Concordance #3498 (which is the Greek word for dead in both these verses):

    Read here.

    If this doesn't satisfy, then I'm at a loss as to what else to say.

    By Blogger Gayla, at 4/05/2007 1:16 PM  

  • Oops, sorry Rose. As to the actual question, I suppose I answered it at Bluecollar, along with some of the others, in this post.

    By Blogger Gayla, at 4/05/2007 1:23 PM  

  • Gayla,
    No you didn't answer it over there. Read it again. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/05/2007 1:27 PM  

  • Gayla,
    I could just as easily say that the meaning of the word "door" is very clear and therefore we should understand that Christ is made of wood with a shiny brass handle, because, after all, the Bible says Christ is the "door." We understand, though, that when Christ says he is the door, that figure of speech has corresponding parts to the reality that He is trying to illustrate, but that there are parts of the figure of speech that don't correspond.
    Do you follow what I am saying?All I am asking for in my question on this post (the same question that went all but unanswered on the other blog) is for the corresponding parts from the figure of speech "dead" to the reality of "spiritually dead."

    Does that make any more sense?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/05/2007 1:28 PM  

  • This is what I said:

    "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned - for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. ~Rom 5:12-15

    This is saying that we are spiritually dead because of Adam's sin. We start off being spiritually dead, not spiritually alive.

    Then Rom 5:19 says, 'For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.'

    We were 'made sinners' through Adam's sin. And were made such, obviously before we were ever born physically."

    By Blogger Gayla, at 4/05/2007 1:34 PM  

  • Gayla, that answers my question... albeit indirectly. It would seem that you are saying, then, that there is no corresponding formerly living state
    in the spiritually dead?

    We start off being spiritually dead, not spiritually alive.

    This makes me wonder if my plastic ruler is "dead" ... or if "inanimate" is a better word for my desk accessories.

    In that definition of dead that you linked to, is there not the implication that there is a "loss" of life? Don't you have to be alive first to then be dead in the truest sense of the word "dead"?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/05/2007 1:46 PM  

  • I guess I'm not real sure how to answer you, girl!

    The Greek word for 'dead' includes spiritually dead, which, whether you're talking spritually or physically, by its very definition denotes inability.

    I don't know that being a 'figure of speech' detracts from the meaning of either dead or "door." The Greek word for door in John 10:9 (I am the Door...) is here.

    It means an entrance or passage, which of course Jesus is the entrance, the passageway to salvation.

    By Blogger Gayla, at 4/05/2007 1:47 PM  

  • Where does the Bible teach that Spiritually dead = total inability? Not total depravity, but a total inability to respond to God, not seek Him, but respond to Him?

    By Anonymous Betsy, at 4/05/2007 1:49 PM  

  • No spiritual death by it's definition does not = total inability because spiritual death is not = to physical death.

    By Anonymous Mary, at 4/05/2007 1:51 PM  

  • "This makes me wonder if my plastic ruler is "dead" ... or if "inanimate" is a better word for my desk accessories."

    Yes, I would say that inanimate is a better word for this.

    "It would seem that you are saying, then, that there is no corresponding formerly living state
    in the spiritually dead?"


    Yes, because spiritual death was imputed to us because of Adam's sin. (according to the mentioned verses)

    By Blogger Gayla, at 4/05/2007 1:51 PM  

  • ok, so I was thinking of a modern door, but you get my point about the corresponding parts in metaphors, right?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/05/2007 1:53 PM  

  • Scripturally, death presumes life and life precedes death whether spiritual or physical. Paul said he was alive before the law and the law slew him. I have no problem accepting that we are not “born dead” spiritually but that the knowledge of sin brings spiritual death.

    By Blogger Kc, at 4/05/2007 1:54 PM  

  • I would just love to know who you are, betsy and mary. Why not email me?
    rcole@ambt.net

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/05/2007 1:55 PM  

  • KC, Good point. Thanks for that. You all are helping.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/05/2007 1:57 PM  

  • Boy! A lot of us at the computer this afternoon!


    "I have no problem accepting that we are not “born dead” spiritually but that the knowledge of sin brings spiritual death."

    KC, you don't believe in 'original sin?' What about the verses mentioned that say through one man sin entered the world?

    We must have a 'knowledge' of sin?

    How would you explain babies/toddlers who are naturally self-centered, selfish, violent, etc? I.E. Their natural and first reactions to bite or hit when they don't 'get their way.' Parents aren't teaching them those things.

    By Blogger Gayla, at 4/05/2007 2:03 PM  

  • Does this mean you don't believe in suffering hell for eternity? Or ... am I totally misunderstanding what you are saying?

    Well, it depends upon what you mean by suffering. I do not believe that people will be retributively punished by God for eternity--that would necessitate that justice as violence and retribution be a part of the eternal ontology of God. Moreover, it would terminate in God being held hostage forever by sin and evil, simply by virtue of being under necessity to punish it eternally. Therefore, the only "suffering" that I understand as awaiting those who refuse to be reconciled to God is the attendant suffering that comes from being separated from God--an unrelenting devolution into dissolution and non-being.

    I don't know about undermining the categories, as you say. Give me a real clear example of a Calvinist category and how you would undermine it. I am not following you very well, I'm afraid.

    For example, take the category of omnipotence. A basic Calvinistic assumption is that God must determine all things effectually and infallibly if God is to be understood as all-powerful. The same is true of the Calvinistic conception of omniscience--God must know (therefore, must have willed) all things lest there be some gap in divine knowledge based upon contingency.

    Therefore, all questions posed by Calvinists will proceed along these assumptions. The problem is that because these categories are assumed in the asking of the question, it is impossible that an answer could be presented that contradicts the categories. For example, when a Calvinist asks, "Whose decision is salvation, God or humanity?", the underlying philosophical assumption is that of the exclusivity of the actuality of God's will. Therefore, if you say "God", you have answered the question according to the category assumed and in keeping with the desired answer which is written into the very structure of the question. If, on the other hand, you answer "humanity," you have instantly provided the Calvinist with ammunition for rebuke, for in answering this way you contradicted the categorical assumption about the exclusivity of the actuality of God's will in re: salvation (as well as all other things, for that matter). Inevitably, the Calvinist will retort that you have emasculated the effectual will of God, will urge you to repent, and will proceed with a litany of proof-texts to support their categorical assumptions about the nature of the divine.

    The only way to really argue with a Calvinist, then, is to question the legitimacy of the categories assumed within the question, for to answer the question on the terms of the categories is to capitulate the legitimacy of the categories (just like professions about the "inerrancy" of Scripture is really a capitulation to the categories of textual criticism, which categories said professions are intended to refute).

    By Blogger Exist~Dissolve, at 4/05/2007 2:06 PM  

  • Thanks, Ros(i)e; there's no sense in retaining my comment or yours, either, now, right?

    Kudos to Gayla for directing to Strong's; while such won't prove definitive, at least it sets parameters.

    When attempting to understand the New Covenant Scriptures, Paul gets the "last word", as Peter's comment suggests. Not that Peter's or any of the other NT writers' contributions are any less Scriptural; it's just that Paul received revelation which the others didn't.

    Also, when attempting to understand the New Covenant Scriptures, we must needs bear in mind that it can't mean to us what it didn't mean to them (the original audiences); it can't mean now what it didn't mean then (first century).

    Howard Hendricks first say it or did he merely repeat it: If we don't know the real meaning, we'll supply it -- ? Of course, such practice is right only as a stopped clock is right at least once per day.

    Eisegesis isn't necessarily intentional; such, though, doesn't render it any less wrong.

    I can't at this time complete this "train of thought"; instead, I'll simply ask that you consider your question in the context of a stillborn or aborted baby.

    In other words, to what degree does such person respond to his/her mother? Indeed, to what degree does such person even recognize his/her mother?

    With that, I ought to return to blog hibernation; so, if you don't hear from me here for many moons, you'll know why!

    By Anonymous Jim McDermott, at 4/05/2007 2:14 PM  

  • exist~dissolve,
    I think I get it now. So, you are saying "question the question"? Am I right?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/05/2007 2:14 PM  

  • I think I get it now. So, you are saying "question the question"? Am I right?

    Exactly. Answering a question that is programmed for certain answers will get one nowhere--the best way to overturn it is to question the legitimacy of the question and categories of the nature of God which it assumes.

    By Blogger Exist~Dissolve, at 4/05/2007 2:26 PM  

  • Eisegesis isn't necessarily intentional; such, though, doesn't render it any less wrong.

    Eisegesis is unavoidable--all interpreters bring presuppositions and personal subjectivities to the text. However, this does not make it "wrong," for it can only be wrong if an objective, subjectivity-less interpretation can made, which is categorically impossible.

    By Blogger Exist~Dissolve, at 4/05/2007 2:28 PM  

  • Jim said,

    "In other words, to what degree does such person respond to his/her mother? Indeed, to what degree does such person even recognize his/her mother?"

    We're comparing apples to oranges here. An analogy of mother to stillborn is not the same as Creator to created being.

    The best example (and I think only example)we have of spiritually alive to spiritually dead is Adam. Adam was made "good" than he sinned thus dying spiritually. I don't see anywhere in the account of the fall where Adam lost his knowledge of good, but gained a knowledge of evil. He also gained a conscience because he knew he'd done wrong and tried to hide Gen 3:7. He still had the ability to hear God Gen 3:8.

    By Anonymous Mary, at 4/05/2007 2:31 PM  

  • Hey Rose!

    In Adam we were made living souls. In Adam we all died.

    By Blogger Jeremy Weaver, at 4/05/2007 3:45 PM  

  • Didn't Adam already know "how to do" evil? How else would He have disobeyed? Was he not naked BEFORE his conscience was awakened?

    By Blogger Missy, at 4/05/2007 3:45 PM  

  • I am so sorry, Rose. I read and read and read here and so rarely comment - I just forgot my manners!

    Please accept my apology and a hearty "How do you do?" :)

    By Blogger Missy, at 4/05/2007 4:03 PM  

  • Here's a good article on what "dead" means in Ephesians 2.

    http://heightschurch.com/Altitude/?p=370

    By Anonymous Mary, at 4/05/2007 4:19 PM  

  • Wow, you picked up 28 comments remarkably quickly, Rose~.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 4/05/2007 4:25 PM  

  • Rose you always have such great discussions!

    Gayla (hi!), I’ll post. ;-)

    By Blogger Kc, at 4/05/2007 5:52 PM  

  • So its safe to say that you're a Rose and not a T.U.L.I.P. ?????

    John R.

    (Is this a new pun or am I late to the party?)

    By Blogger John R., at 4/05/2007 7:07 PM  

  • <what is the corresponding
    formerly living state
    of an individual now
    spirutually dead


    Jesus tell us in John 3:3-8. Since all are spiritually dead at their physical birth as Jesus teaches, there is no spiritual life before. That is why he says you must be born again. Physical birth is the first birth and when one is born again he has a 2nd or spiritual birth. Jesus says that one cannot even see the kingdom of God let alone enter it without this 2nd birth.
    Wayne

    By Blogger jazzycat, at 4/06/2007 12:00 AM  

  • A blessed day to you, Rose.

    Jazzycat, but evidently a person can know that there is a kingdom of God and that it is desirable to enter it without having first been born again.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 4/06/2007 7:45 AM  

  • Matthew,

    Luke 4:18 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,because he has anointed meto proclaim good news to the poor.He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captivesand recovering of sight to the blind,to set at liberty those who are oppressed,

    Luke 7:22 And he answered them, "Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them.


    Do you believe these verses refer only to physcially dead and physcially blind people?

    By Blogger jazzycat, at 4/06/2007 8:41 AM  

  • exist~dissolve,
    I think I probably share a lot of the "categories" with the Calvinists and that may be why we argue so much.

    Jim,
    Enjoy your hibernation and don't let your heart rate drop too low. Keep warm. :~)

    Hi Missy,
    Is your question directed at Casey (KC)?

    Jeremy,
    Thanks for the comment! I thought you didn't like me (anymore). :~)
    Can you help me further by providing a passage that says what you are saying? I do appreciate the fact that you understand the question. That is refreshing!

    John Rush,
    LOL! If I had a nickel for everyt ime someone has said that to me, I would be about a quarter richer. hehehe
    I have something I plan on posting about that ROSE/TULIP thing. I have been meaning to post it for about 1.5 years now, but I keep forgetting. You just reminded me. Lets hope I don't forget again. I am 40 now.

    Matthew,
    I wasn't trying to "pick up [any] comments." I just want answers. This post is actually a comment from someone elses blog that I left there and never got an answer. Now I think Jazzy and Gayla have answered that there IS NO INDIVIDUAL CORRESPONDING LIFE for the individual found spritually dead. I have yet to understand Jeremy's answer, but I think he is going in the corporate direction, which is not really what I am looking for, that is why I stressed "individuals." I do appreciate you adding to my comment count, DF. ;~) You know how important that is. My friend!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/06/2007 11:04 AM  

  • I think I probably share a lot of the "categories" with the Calvinists and that may be why we argue so much.

    LoL, yes, those who are closest philosophically will invariably be the ones who disagree the most!

    By Blogger Exist~Dissolve, at 4/06/2007 11:49 AM  

  • Good morning, Rose. I rarely make sense when I pop in with a thought, huh? My question was a response to Mary's thought that, "Adam was made 'good'."

    I may be wrong, but I do not believe that the ability to sin makes one spiritually dead. Unless, of course, I were to believe that Adam was created spiritually dead as well.

    By Blogger Missy, at 4/06/2007 12:29 PM  

  • "I do appreciate you adding to my comment count, DF."

    Rose~, you are so nice.

    Jazzycat, I think spiritual blindness may well be in view there.

    However, regardless of the fact that individuals are blinded they are:

    1) able to know that a kingdom of God exists.

    2) that entering the kingdom of God is desirable.

    It should be apparent that Nicodemus, in his conversation with our Lord was able to see these two things.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 4/06/2007 12:45 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    You said:
    In the scriptural reference of "dead"
    to unsaved individuals,

    what is the corresponding
    formerly living state
    of an individual now
    spirutually dead
    to
    the formerly living state
    of an individual now
    physically dead?

    _________________

    Eph 2:1,2
    "And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience."


    I don't see an indication that there was a formerly living state.

    Colossians 2:13-15
    "When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him."


    Again, I don't see an indication of a formerly living state. Maybe it's implied, but I don't see it, therefore, you'd have to assume it for it to be there.

    Romans 5:12
    Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned--"


    Maybe you could argue that this death is physical only, but I believe this passage implies both physical and spiritual. So as soon as Adam sinned, it was death to humans, people, everyone. No corresponding formerly living state that I can see.

    John 5:24
    "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life."


    So anyone who hears Christ's word and believes Him who sent Christ has eternal life. And what does that mean for that person, he or she has passed out of death into life. So they were in death, but after faith in Christ, they are in life. They don't pass from life into death and back into life.

    That's the beauty of the Gospel. It reverses the chaos that sin produces. Takes the "dead" person and them "alive".

    Probably still not answering your question, but thought I'd try. If you're driving at an answer concerning inability, then I've certainly failed.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Anonymous Ten Cent, at 4/06/2007 1:14 PM  

  • Matthew,
    I liked your second comment better than your first one that you deleted. ;~)
    YOU are nice. :~)

    I look forward to reading Jazzycat's answers to your questions. It is always good to have you aboard for a good discussion, DF.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/06/2007 1:31 PM  

  • Hi Ten Cent,
    You answered my question. I appreciate it. You understood my question - which is very apparent by your answer - and you answered it directly ... and I thank you.

    If you're driving at an answer concerning inability, then I've certainly failed.

    I just love that part of your comment, Ten Cent!

    You answered the question absolutely. I tend to agree with your answer, but KC's thoughts have given me pause.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/06/2007 1:32 PM  

  • Good afternoon, Rose. I'm a bit late in adding my thoughts to this thread. I was busy posting thoughts on the betrayal by Judas. It was from a comment on that blog that I rememembered this post and something that had been sticking in my head ever since I read it.

    Being dead. Being alive. At this time of year when some folks are touting that there is no need of emphasizing the resurrection, I've been giving death and dying some considerable thought.

    Where would we be for not the Victory in Jesus through His Resurrection? Oh I know, folks say that all we need is the attoning sacrifice He made on the cross. But if that were all we needed, Jesus would have stayed in the grave, don't you think? Christ's miraculous resurrection was nothing for the Almighty Father to perform. But what a mighty impossible thing for man to perform. Life FROM death has a parallel to man's death IN life to life THROUGH death, as I try to simplify the complicated in my finite mind. selahV

    By Anonymous selahV, at 4/06/2007 4:08 PM  

  • Where would we be for not the Victory in Jesus through His Resurrection? Oh I know, folks say that all we need is the attoning sacrifice He made on the cross.

    Actually, I would argue that Christ's resurrection IS the atonement. As humanity's entire problem is that they are dead and hurtling recklessly towards dissolution and non-being, what needs to happen in order that we might be reconciled to God is that we must be recreated, the patterns of sin and death falling away, replaced by a newness of life.

    Christ's resurrection, then, is this recreating reality that transforms us from empty, fading creatures into full bearers of the imago dei, and image of God restored and recreated in our very persons. In this sense, even as God has vindicated Christ by raising him from the dead and giving him newness of life everlasting, so too we who are joined to Christ, recreated in the image of God, share in the newness of life which was given to Christ by God.

    So then, if Christ is not raised, we cannot be reconciled, for we will continue in our trajectories and cycles of death and dissolution, never able to participate within the life of very God.

    By Blogger Exist~Dissolve, at 4/06/2007 5:04 PM  

  • Exist~D: I like the way you think. If I am understanding you correctly. Having experienced that regeneration of Spirit in my soul and the resurrection of life in my heart, I long for the day of total completion when I go to be with Christ or He comes to take me home.

    Can I ask you how you view the blood sacrifice of Jesus on the cross in the regeneration experience? selahV

    By Anonymous selahV, at 4/06/2007 5:40 PM  

  • Can I ask you how you view the blood sacrifice of Jesus on the cross in the regeneration experience?

    Sure!

    In the cross, Christ has defeated the powers of human sinfulness, hatred and violence. In the face of their virulence, Christ refused to capitulate to their tactics (e.g., he didn't call down the legions to obliterate his enemies). Rather, Christ submitted to the judgment of sin and violence, losing his life to their hatred and terror.

    However, though Christ died, God raised him from the dead, granting unto him newness of life. Though the powers of human sinfulness and violence had judged Christ, the judgment was turned on their heads as the victory was granted to Christ ,thereby showing that Christ was vindicated and that the judgment of human sinfulness was wholly vacuous and illegitimate.

    Because Christ now participates in the newness of life in God, so we who are joined to Christ also share in this newness of his resurrected life, not simply as something which awaits us in "the beyond," but more importantly in the life that we now live in Christ, here and now.

    So then, I see regeneration as the ushering into this newness of life in Christ. Because of Christ's vindication over the power and violence of human sinfulness, we who follow Christ are no longer slaves therein. Where we once were locked in a hopelessly devolving cycle of violence, hatred and enmity with God, we now have peace, reconciliation and life abundantly.

    In short, I do not understand Christ's blood as a "sacrifice" in the sense of it being offered for appeasement or satisfaction; rather, the sacrifice of Christ's blood is understood in his refusal to participate within the cycles of human sinfulness and violence, choosing instead to persist in willing submission to God even unto death. It is only therein that the power and violence of human sinfulness could be broken.

    By Blogger Exist~Dissolve, at 4/06/2007 8:43 PM  

  • Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned-- for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man's sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. If, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
    (Rom 5:12-21 ESV)

    By Blogger Jeremy Weaver, at 4/06/2007 9:34 PM  

  • Exist~D: I have a bunch of thoughts on what you answered about the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, but do not know that I should usurp our hostess' space with my ponderings. So, when I get them all sorted in their perspective spots tomorrow, I will post a Readers Digest version of my mental meanderings on the blog linked to my name on this particular comment and invite you over to type a spell, if that's okay with you. selahV

    By Anonymous selahV, at 4/07/2007 1:34 AM  

  • I can’t help but wonder if the concluding “parable” of Luke 15 is actually more than a parable, perhaps the true story of a son and his salvation. Notice he was spiritually “dead” (Luke 15:24). Notice, counter to Calvinist claims, “… he came to himself…” (Luke 15:17)....

    http://to-my-children.blogspot.com/2007/04/he-came-to-himself.html

    By Blogger Christian, at 4/07/2007 4:46 AM  

  • Exist~D: I have a bunch of thoughts on what you answered about the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, but do not know that I should usurp our hostess' space with my ponderings. So, when I get them all sorted in their perspective spots tomorrow, I will post a Readers Digest version of my mental meanderings on the blog linked to my name on this particular comment and invite you over to type a spell, if that's okay with you. selahV

    That sounds great!

    I will be looking forward to it.

    By Blogger Exist~Dissolve, at 4/07/2007 7:28 AM  

  • Rose, Have a nice Easter!

    Christian said: "Notice, counter to Calvinist claims, “… he came to himself…” (Luke 15:17)...."

    I assume that you are going to back up your words with some solid quote, say, from a Calvinist commentator on this verse? Otherwise, your words in reality have little substance.

    Matthew Henry observed on this very phrase: "Note, We must not despair of the worst; for while there is life there is hope. The grace of God can soften the hardest heart, and give a happy turn to the strongest stream of corruption." Does this comment disturb you?

    By Anonymous goodnightsafehome, at 4/07/2007 11:52 AM  

  • Jeremy, as I was reading from your quote of Romans 5, I noticed this phrase:

    "For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many."

    I had never read the ESV translation. Grammatically, this seems to say that more have grace than have died through one man's trespass. ?? How can this be if ALL have died? Am I reading this wrong?

    By Blogger Missy, at 4/07/2007 2:39 PM  

  • Matthew,
    You said………
    However, regardless of the fact that individuals are blinded they are:
    1) able to know that a kingdom of God exists.
    2) that entering the kingdom of God is desirable.


    The following is a quote I got from an atheist blog speaking about the religious right:

    “The picture and caption say it all, really, though I could write at considerable length about the dysfunctional, manipulative, mendacious, duplicitous charlatans who lead the movement, or the ignorant, superstitious, credulous, dysfunctional people who follow them, I see no point, for neither group is prepared to admit the truth about their moronically irrational, unsubstantiated and completely nonsensical so-called ‘beliefs’ - there is no ‘God’, never has been, and neither did Jesus ever exist, nor was he the ’son of god’, and anyone who sincerely believes otherwise is insane, and the rest of you are just complete liars.” (The picture is of George Bush and the caption says……..well use your imagination)

    Do you think this person and the many like him have accomplished either of your two statements above? This is not conjecture. This is where the rubber meets the road as it were.
    wayne

    By Blogger jazzycat, at 4/07/2007 3:51 PM  

  • Missy,

    The emphasis there is not upon the quantity but the quality.
    If sin can impose death upon many, how much more will Christ, who is greater than Adam and his sin, be able to grant life by grace?

    By Blogger Jeremy Weaver, at 4/07/2007 4:23 PM  

  • Jazzy,

    Matthew said:

    "However, regardless of the fact that individuals are blinded they are:
    1) able to know that a kingdom of God exists.
    2) that entering the kingdom of God is desirable.
    "

    I agree with his points, exactly. The quote you provided from the atheist shows that he has hardened his heart to the point where he has become a fool and says he does not even believe that there is a God much less a kingdom. We do not know if he may have at one time believed there was a God, but was later convinced by someone that there is not a God.

    Jazzy, what about the person who believes there is a God and even believes that Jesus is the Savior, but refuses to receive Jesus because he doesn't want to give up his sin? He is still able to understand that there is a God and a kingdom. I know a LOT of folk who fall into this catergory. I used to be one of them.

    As you say, "This is not conjecture. This is where the rubber meets the road as it were."

    By Blogger Dawn, at 4/07/2007 4:44 PM  

  • Matthew,
    you said....
    Jazzy, what about the person who believes there is a God and even believes that Jesus is the Savior, but refuses to receive Jesus because he doesn't want to give up his sin?

    Wouldn't this person be saved according to FG theology. He believes that Jesus is the savior that grants eternal life. That sounds like simply believing to me. What do you mean by adding to your "FG simple faith" the requirement to give up sin? It seems to me you have disavowed the FG simple faith argument that is the core of your own system. You have added giving up sin.

    Do you want a mulligan?

    I believe that faith requires requires knowledge, assent, and trust. A person can have knowledge (even the devils believe) and still be spirtually dead. Spiritual life imparts the trust part.

    By Blogger jazzycat, at 4/07/2007 5:34 PM  

  • Dawn and Matthew,
    I see now that Dawn was quoting you and giving her thoughts. MY BAD. What Dawn said is understandable and valid from her view, but would have violated the FG view IMO. Dawn, this makes perfect sense coming from you, but wouldn't have from Matthew. I hope I am explaining this right.

    By Blogger jazzycat, at 4/07/2007 5:45 PM  

  • John Calvin said contra Pighius (his Roman Catholic counter-part) relative to "spiritual death":

    . . . But since Pighius is always craftily confusing coercion with necessity, when it is of the greatest importance for the issue under discussion that the distinction between them be maintained and carefully remembered, it is appropriate to note how the following four [claims] differ from one another: namely that the will is free, bound, self-determined, or coerced. People generally understand a free will to be one which has it in its power to choose good or evil, and Pighius also defined it in this way. There can be no such thing as a coerced will, since the two ideas are contradictory. But our responsibility as teachers requires that we say what it means, so that it may be understood what coercion is. Therefore we describe [as coerced] the will which does not incline this way or that of its own accord or by an internal movement of decision, but is forcibly driven by an external impulse. We say that it is self-determined when of itself it directs itself in the direction in which it is led, when it is not taken by force or dragged unwillingly. A bound will, finally, is one which because of its corruptness is held captive under the authority of evil desires, so that it can choose nothing but evil, even if it does so of its own accord and gladly, without being driven by any external impulse. . . .(Calvin, Bondage, 69)

    This is in line with Luther's view of the bondage of the will, and Augustine's understanding of a biblical anthropology. There is freedom to choose, but given the "spiritually dead state" unbelievers are in, they will only choose "self". I believe along with Luther, Calvin, Augustine, and I think the apostle Paul that it requires an "external" impetus to "allow" man to respond freely to Christ's loving offer of salvation. When Christ through the instrumentality of God's Word, applied by the Holy Spirit discloses Christ to unregenerate man that "space" is created for that person to finally look away from self and freely choose Christ. I do not believe this is "regeneration" prior to faith, but represents the convicting "wooing" work of the Holy Spirit on the "elect"--it is within this space that the "elect" will respond to Christ's love, with reciprocating love (cf. I Jn 4:19--and when I say love don't think "emotional" think biblically and think fiducia or trust or comittment).

    IN Christ

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at 4/07/2007 5:47 PM  

  • Jazzy,

    Yes, you made perfect sense in what you thought you had read.

    What do you think of what I said? What about those who acknowledge that there is a God, but say they just are not willing to give up their sin or hope to place their faith/belief in Jesus at a later date? They are able to understand there is a kingdom and they understand why some go to heaven and some go to hell.

    And what about those who know about salvation and even believe they are saved, but when they get to the day of judgment Jesus says, "Depart from me. I never knew you"?

    If John 3:3 is referring to the kingdom we live here on earth until the second coming and not the kingdom in heaven, I think that scripture means that a man cannot see the kingdom of God as in they cannot know the deeper things of God as stated in I Corinthians 2:11-14 unless they are born again.

    By Blogger Dawn, at 4/07/2007 10:21 PM  

  • Dawn,
    I not sure I follow your point, but being born again is necessary to coming to saving faith in Christ. Once that happens a person is saved and in the kingdom of God period. Romans 8:1 says it is not a future event but now. Romans 8 drives home the fact that those that are in Christ Jesus are now saved and will be glorified at death. There is not two stages in being saved.

    I believe the 1 Cor. 2:11-13 is speaking of born again believers. Verse 14 that you quote validates that the natural man is unable on his own to come to faith…… The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
    He is not able to understand them He is spiritually dead and while he may hear of Christ and know details about the Christian religion, this verse says he cannot understand. This defines spiritual death.

    By Blogger jazzycat, at 4/07/2007 11:59 PM  

  • Hi Jazzy,

    I'm a Free Gracer. I can understand how you misunderstood the FG position on believing Jesus is the Savior. In FG, we believe a person is not saved until they understand that Jesus freely gives eternal life to sinners including themselves apart from works. The key phrase is "including themselves." I know that it hasn't come across clearly enough in some FG material. If a person says that they believe Jesus is the Savior, but that they don't want eternal life, then that person doesn't believe Jesus is the Savior in the Biblical sense. To believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, in John's usage, is to believe that, as such, He freely gives eternal life to sinners including you.

    When Jesus told Martha that whoever believes in Him will never die, He asked her if she believed this. She said, "Yes, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world." (John 11:25-27).

    John 20:31: "These things are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing, You may have life in His name."

    Both passages connect believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, with having life in His name. Martha could have said, "Yes, I believe that whoever believes in You will never die." She put it in shortand and said, "Yes, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God."

    She understood she had life in His name. Notice how "believing that" is equivalent to "believing in". A person is saved when they believe (are passively convinced) that Jesus freely gives sinners INCLUDING THEMSELVES eternal life. If a person does not think they have eternal life, or says they don't want it, then they don't believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.

    Also, in the past, I've read you apply Jude 1:4 to Zane Hodges. That's a false charge. Zane Hodges does not teach that sinning is okay. We believe in drastic loss of rewards and punishment now, at the Bema, and in the Kingdom.

    Also, the false teachers in Jude 1 and 2 Peter 2 do not actually believe in justification by faith. They know that Christians believe that, so, in an effort to destroy Christianity, they sneak into the church and pretend to believe in justification by faith. They tell Christians that it is okay to use God's Grace as a license to sin, all in an effort to destroy the Church. 2 Peter 2:1-17 applies to the unsaved false teachers. Verses 18-22 apply to their saved dupes.

    1 Thessalonians 5:6-10 is very clear that whether believers are watching (gregoreo) or sleeping (katheudo), they should live together with Jesus. Gregoreo and katheudo are used in verses 6 and 7, where believers are told to watch and be sober, not to sleep and be drunken. But whether watching or sleeping,they will live with the Lord. Those who sleep (katheudo) can expect punishment now and at the Bema, and a severe loss of rewards. They lose out on the abundant life, but they are still Redeemed.

    By Anonymous danny, at 4/08/2007 12:58 AM  

  • Jazzy: I'm sorry I was not clear. I was in a hurry.

    I agree there are not two stages in being saved. And I agree that once someone is born again they are immediately in the kingdom.

    I was saying that I get wishy-washy on what John 3:3 is actually insinuating. I'm not sure if "seeing the kingdom" is speaking of the spiritual things that the Lord will reveal to those who are saved while here on earth or if "seeing the kingdom" is speaking of heaven.

    If it is speaking of the revelation of spiritual things here on earth, then I do not believe that it means that an unregenerate (i.e., dead in sin) person cannot understand that there is a Savior and that heaven is a reward.

    Jazzy: Verse 14 that you quote validates that the natural man is unable on his own to come to faith……"

    No, this is not speaking of coming to faith. It is speaking of the deeper spiritual things of God. (Though I do agree that it does take the Spirit of God (grace of God) to draw men. And that one's faith coupled with grace will bring about salvation. God then strengthens our faith. But God gives bestows that grace upon everyone. The key is where they choose to place their faith. In God or somewhere else.) Paul states in chapter 3 vs 1 that even the church at Corinth were unable to understand the deeper things as though they were still in the flesh and even babes in Christ.

    My point is that the unregenerate (i.e., people dead in sin) are able to understand the very basics of what it takes to be saved (i.e., the gospel). They can either accept it or reject it. This is the grace of God. He gives everyone a chance.

    When I was first born again I did not understand many things of the spirit, but the more I read God's word the more my eyes were opened.

    As I stated before, I had heard the gospel. Believed the gospel, but did not put my faith/beleif IN Jesus. But I understood it.

    The unregenerate rich young ruler could SEE that he needed a Savior, but he was not willing to give up his riches. He knew he was wrong and went away grieved. If he could not understand the gospel, why did he go away grieved?

    And I guess my question is, if your interpretation of these scriptures is that man cannot understand what salvation is, how do you explain the fact that many people, who are dead in sin, actually do understand salvation and even admit that they are wrong in not repenting and placing their faith/belief in Jesus? I know many people who fall into this particular category and I was once on of those people.

    Then the other point I was trying to bring out is that those who are dead in their sin and "think" they are saved, but are not, do understand that the concept of salvation. How do you explain that, if your interpretation of the scriptures above is correct?

    By Blogger Dawn, at 4/08/2007 8:35 AM  

  • Matthew, I hope you do not think I was trying to answer for you. I was just adding my two cents and used your statement since I totally agreed with it.

    By Blogger Dawn, at 4/08/2007 8:39 AM  

  • Danny,
    Your comment is one of the best I have read defending the FG position.

    However in the passage you gave 1 Thess. 5:6-10 everyone in view here are not saved believers. According to v. 6….So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.
    there are two distinct groups, us (believers) and others (non-believers). Also verse 9 reveals two destinies, wrath and salvation. Two kinds of people: believers and non-believers and two destinations: salvation and wrath. If this is not describing believers and non-believers, then the only other conclusion would be universalism beginning in v. 1 through the entire passage.

    By Blogger jazzycat, at 4/08/2007 8:56 AM  

  • I hope you are enjoying this Lord's Day, Rose.

    Dawn, no problem here.

    Jazzycat, believing that our Lord is a saviour does not save one. One must believe that He has actually provided one with eternal life.

    A person might well reject the gift of eternal life because they believe they must (or should) give up their sin first.

    But that is irrelevant to this issue.

    I am not saying that every non-believer accepts that 1)that a Kingdom of God exists and 2) that it is desirable to enter it.

    My point is that our Lord's discourse with Nicomdemus is meaningless unless Nicodemus was able to see the two premises.

    Hence, whatever our Lord menat by 'except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God', He did not mean 1) unable to know a Kingdom of God exists and 2) unable to know that it is desirable to enter the Kingdom of God.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 4/08/2007 11:07 AM  

  • Amen Matthew!

    By Blogger Dawn, at 4/08/2007 12:22 PM  

  • I think our good friend TJ Pennock over at Liver and Onions says it well,

    "Sinners do not suddenly one day decide to repent, to turn from unbelief to belief, from rebellion to redemption. No Scripture anywhere says unbelievers can muster up their own repentance. It's not something they can well up within themselves. It's not self generated. In fact, the Bible draws a rather bleak picture of unsaved sinners. They are dead (Eph. 2:1), blind (2 Cor. 4:4), unrighteous (Ro. 3:10), unconcerned (Ro. 3:11), natural (1 Cor. 2:14), darkened (Ro. 1:21), reprobate (Ro. 1:28), foolish (Titus 3:3), disobedient (Titus 3:3), deceived (Titus 3:3), and unregenerate (John 3:3,5). The description goes on (Mk. 7:21-23; Ro. 1:29-31; 2 Tim. 3:1-5; Titus 3:3), but the point is clear.

    Though there are numerous incentives to repentance (Acts 17:29-31; Ro. 2:4), the ultimate cause is the Holy Spirit. Apart from His conviction ministry (John 16:7-11), a work that reaches the inner sanctum of sinners, there can be no repentance. He and He alone convinces men of sin, opens their eyes, and enables them to repent. Only He can empower spiritually dead sinners to receive Christ. To be sure, Jesus is the Light of the world; and it's the Spirit's ministry to enable the lost to see that Light (Acts 26:18; cf., 2 Cor. 4:4).

    Here are several passages describing the Spirit's conviction ministry in sinners. The first is the chief text. We also give two "draw" passages, believing they, too, speak of this peculiar work of conviction. (John 16:7-11; John 6:44,45; John 12:32)

    Let's be clear about the Spirit's conviction (John 16:7-11), for it's the taproot of genuine repentance, and the salvation of all sinners rests with it (John 6:44,45). When we speak of conviction, we are talking about the Spirit's influence in the hearts of unbelievers that enables them--apart from regeneration--to see, feel, and understand their need of Christ.

    Conviction is not regeneration, as some would hold. Nor is it always efficacious, as some would wish (Gen. 4:6,7; Mt. 22:3; 23:37; John 5:38-40; Acts 7:51; 2 Cor. 6:1; Gal. 2:21; Heb. 4:6; 10:29; 12:15). Rather, conviction is just that, conviction--the work of the Spirit in the hearts of dead sinners (Eph. 2:1) that convinces them of their unbelief and need of Christ and enbles them to embrace the gospel. That's conviction. And apart from it, "No man can come to [Christ]" (John 6:44).

    By Blogger Dawn, at 4/08/2007 12:40 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Glad you like that part of my comment. I actually put that in there just for you to appreciate, a to kind of prove a point. For KC to say that "life" is implied for someone to be "dead", is to say that "dead" implies inability. It's lifeless, unable to move on it's own accord. So in one sense, a very real sense, those passages don't prove that someone is unable to choose God. But in another sense, the implications are there.

    I tend to lean towards Bobby's view. We're in bondage to sin, unable to choose anything else, until the Spirit of God woos us, frees us.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Anonymous Ten Cent, at 4/09/2007 8:31 AM  

  • Hi Ten Cent!

    How nice of you to think of me in your comment!

    We're in bondage to sin, unable to choose anything else, until the Spirit of God woos us, frees us.

    I also believe that no one can believe on Christ (I think this is better language that "choose" - more biblical) without the Holy Spirit at work "wooing".

    I don't, however, believe we are born-again and then believe. (regeneration preceding faith). That is all backwards.

    (The quote that Dawn has provided above - from Liver and Onions - perfectly states my position.)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/09/2007 9:08 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    A quote from the quote from L&O: "Apart from His conviction ministry (John 16:7-11), a work that reaches the inner sanctum of sinners, there can be no repentance. He and He alone convinces men of sin, opens their eyes, and enables them to repent. Only He can empower spiritually dead sinners to receive Christ."

    Are you sure he expresses your view "perfectly"? It sounds like he is adding repentance into the salvation equation. Not that I think he's wrong for so doing. I just didn't think that was part of your soteriology.

    So you believe that no one can believe in Christ apart from the wooing of the Holy Spirit, enabling them to believe. So then, the Holy Spirit must woo all men. And you would say that the wooing can be accepted or rejected.

    So when you pray, you then, must not pray that the Spirit would work in the unbeliever's heart, because that would be a given. He must already be working in all hearts or else those whom He is not wooing would have no chance to believe in or reject Him.

    And it would be no use to pray that the unbeliever would believe, because you're asking the Spirit to do something that it cannot do within the framework of your belief system. Because if He were to effect the outcome of a person's salvation, He has effectively damned other people (who He has not prompted to the point of belief).

    So how do you pray for the unbeliever? Like, for instance, your children? Do you pray that they would grow up in the knowledge of the Lord, that they would be saved? But if God answers that prayer positively and intervenes in the child's life so that he believes, then has God circumvented the child's free will? Has He forced the child to believe?

    I use your children as an example because I know the importance of seeing my own come to Christ. And I'm curious to see how that fits within your framework.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Anonymous Ten Cent, at 4/09/2007 3:02 PM  

  • Hi Rose. Fair fa' ye frae Belfast. I think that Ten Cent has made a good point. (I would, wouldn't I?) I don't know if you run with the idea that "The Lord has done everything that He can do" idea (and some do, see Google) but those that do might be better off praying to the sinner himself rather than praying to God about the sinner's salvation. After all, logically if nothing else, in this matter the sinner has more power than God. It is the sinner who holds all the Aces (if I can adopt a worldly saying on this occasion) Asking God to intervene further (as observed) might please the Calvinists, but it must be a definate No! No! to those on your side of the fence? However, don't let the inconsistency of it keep you from praying that God will move and save your children and everyone else's children also. God moves in answer to prayer to accomplish His will.

    I think we covered this before a few weeks ago?

    Give Philip and June my regards.

    By Blogger goodnightsafehome, at 4/09/2007 4:35 PM  

  • Rose writes:
    "I also believe that no one can believe on Christ (I think this is better language that "choose" - more biblical) without the Holy Spirit at work "wooing"."

    Whatever else may be said about "wooing" one thing is clear, you just said that without that wooing no one can believe on Christ. Do you know what you just affirmed?

    By Blogger Gojira, at 4/10/2007 6:04 AM  

  • Ten Cent: "And it would be no use to pray that the unbeliever would believe, because you're asking the Spirit to do something that it cannot do within the framework of your belief system. Because if He were to effect the outcome of a person's salvation, He has effectively damned other people (who He has not prompted to the point of belief)."

    I don't presume to answer for Rose, but as a non-Calvinist I pray for the Lord to send people across my friends' and loved ones' path. Some need more convincing than others. Some may never believe. It is always up to the individual to believe or not believe. You just never know a person's heart so you should continue to pray for those the Lord has put in your path.

    Ten Cent: "Do you pray that they would grow up in the knowledge of the Lord, that they would be saved? But if God answers that prayer positively and intervenes in the child's life so that he believes, then has God circumvented the child's free will? Has He forced the child to believe?"

    No, God never circumvents a person's freewill in the matter of salvation, but His light is what is needed to convict and convince a person who is convincible. Like TJ Pennock wrote, this is not regeneration. The regeneration comes about once a person believes on Jesus which is totally up to the person.

    I believe God admonishes people to train up a child in His ways because it makes a huge difference in their lives. It helps to cultivate a good heart. Not that it is a sure thing that a child will grow to believe on the Lord if they've been trained up in the Lord, but there is a much better chance. Else why would God even command us to do it if He is going choose them for reasons only known to Him?

    If a child grows up to be a believer, it isn't because God has answered the prayer by circumventing that person's will; rather I believe it is because God did send people across their paths or allowed something to happen in their lives that caused them to seek Him or to turn to Him. I don't know how it all works exactly, but I do believe God when He says that the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. We pray in HOPES of a good outcome.

    I do not see a contradiction here.

    By Blogger Dawn, at 4/10/2007 8:32 AM  

  • Safe: ""The Lord has done everything that He can do" idea (and some do, see Google) but those that do might be better off praying to the sinner himself rather than praying to God about the sinner's salvation. After all, logically if nothing else, in this matter the sinner has more power than God. It is the sinner who holds all the Aces (if I can adopt a worldly saying on this occasion) Asking God to intervene further (as observed) might please the Calvinists, but it must be a definate No! No! to those on your side of the fence? However, don't let the inconsistency of it keep you from praying that God will move and save your children and everyone else's children also. God moves in answer to prayer to accomplish His will."

    I would say that the Lord has done everything He can do without forcing a person to believe on Him. Or maybe it is better to say that the Lord has done everything He will do...

    You're erecting a straw man by stating that man has more power than God. You know we don't believe that. In God's sovereignty, He has allowed man a freewill in the matter of salvation and even in all aspects of his life to a point. Man's will cannot trump the will of God. He can only do as much as the Lord allows.

    The non-Calvinist could say the same when it comes to the Calvinist's prayer. How can a person's prayer for God to intervene CHANGE the will of God? It can't, so why pray God's intervention? We all must pray God's will, but we also know the will of God. We know God desires for men to be saved. So we pray for the salvation of men. It must matter or God would not tell us to pray.

    I see no inconsistencies here.

    By Blogger Dawn, at 4/10/2007 8:44 AM  

  • Gojira: "Whatever else may be said about "wooing" one thing is clear, you just said that without that wooing no one can believe on Christ. Do you know what you just affirmed?"

    Yeah, she just confirmed that no one is able to come to the Lord without His convicting, wooing power which God bestows upon all mankind.

    By Blogger Dawn, at 4/10/2007 8:47 AM  

  • Dawn: Calvinists don't pray that the Lord will change His will. We pray that the circumstances we face will change,(usually if unfavourable e.g. a sick child etc.,) IF it be the Lord's will that it is so. We pray because prayer is generally the means which God has ordained to bring about His will, and often it is the prayer of faith that heals the sick etc.,

    You write: *I would say that the Lord has done everything He can do without forcing a person to believe on Him. Or maybe it is better to say that the Lord has done everything He will do...*

    Well apart from stating (which you rightly refrain from alleging)that
    Calvinists do *not* believe in a forced conversion, this brings us back to 10c's point: Why do we pray that the Lord will save the sinner when He has done all that He is going to do?

    I put my hands up and admit to the smell of straw re: God's sovereignty, but there is still another "smell" there, is there not? At the moment, man still holds all the Aces, while he decides whether or not to let God into his heart as Saviour, though not (necessarily) as Lord. It is not too strawy to suggest that on this matter, according to your doctrine, that God and Man are sharing the sovereignty, while God has allowed man to hold the balance of power.

    BTW, before this exchange starts going deeper, this is my last afternoon with access to the Internet for a while, so if there is no more reply from this end, then you will know why. Enjoying the exchanges with you.

    By Anonymous goodnightsafehome, at 4/10/2007 9:33 AM  

  • I think those of us who reject Calvinism must walk a theological tightrope here.

    On the one hand, we must affirm the role of the Holy Spirit in drawing people. However, we must not fall into the trap of affirming Calvinist views of depravity by the backdoor.

    We need to maintain the free-will of man, but at the same time we do not want to deny depravity.

    I think this whole area is a source of potential difficulty. I see no easy answers as to the role of the Holy Spirit in conversion and as to the extent of man's depravity.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 4/10/2007 9:38 AM  

  • A good point, DF, for one who (alas!) rejects Calvinism. So do you pray, along the lines, "Lord, take it as far as You can, but don't cross over the boundary line that violates man's freewill" and stop short of actually praying: "Lord, save so and so?"

    By Blogger goodnightsafehome, at 4/10/2007 9:50 AM  

  • Goodnight: "We pray that the circumstances we face will change,(usually if unfavourable e.g. a sick child etc.,) IF it be the Lord's will that it is so. We pray because prayer is generally the means which God has ordained to bring about His will, and often it is the prayer of faith that heals the sick etc.,"

    I can't speak for all non-Calvinists, but that is the way I pray.

    Goodnight: "Why do we pray that the Lord will save the sinner when He has done all that He is going to do?"

    When I say, "all that He is going to do," I mean that all He is going to do is "convict." He is not going to "automatically change" a person's will/heart to make them believe. I pray for a continued conviction for the person and do my part of trying to persuade them and answer any questions they may have.

    Goodnight: "At the moment, man still holds all the Aces, while he decides whether or not to let God into his heart as Saviour, though not (necessarily) as Lord. It is not too strawy to suggest that on this matter, according to your doctrine, that God and Man are sharing the sovereignty, while God has allowed man to hold the balance of power."

    Oh but I think it is too strawy to suggest that we believe man has ANY power over God that God has not given us.

    I've said it many times before and I'll say it again. God, in His sovereignty, has given man the freedom to believe or not believe on Him. It is to man's advantage to believe. God is still sovereign in that man CANNOT get to Heaven unless He believes on Him. God is sovereign and just in sending the man who will not believe straight to hell. Man has taken NO sovereignty or power away from God by rejecting His offer of salvation.

    Does man have the power or sovereignty to become a son of God and enter His kingdom by his own ways? No way. And I do not believe any of us has said that man does.

    Calvinists are the ones who have erected this straw man of man's usurping God's authority by rejecting His offer of grace.

    By Blogger Dawn, at 4/10/2007 10:05 AM  

  • Matthew: "We need to maintain the free-will of man, but at the same time we do not want to deny depravity."

    I agree Matthew. We are selfish, depraved beings (some are more depraved than others), however, we are still able to receive the gospel because God has enabled us by His Spirit. Enabled being the operative word here. But the bible does say that it is the heart that believes unto righteousness.

    It is a fine line.

    By Blogger Dawn, at 4/10/2007 10:15 AM  

  • Dawn wrote: "Oh but I think it is too strawy to suggest that we believe man has ANY power over God that God has not given us."

    Which is why I worded it carefully: "It is not too strawy to suggest that on this matter, according to your doctrine, that God and Man are sharing the sovereignty, while God has allowed man to hold the balance of power."

    OK, so I ask you as I have asked Matthew: So do you pray, along the lines, "Lord, take it as far as You can, but don't cross over the boundary line that violates man's freewill" and stop short of actually praying: "Lord, save so and so?"

    By Blogger goodnightsafehome, at 4/10/2007 10:20 AM  

  • Goodnight: "Which is why I worded it carefully: "It is not too strawy to suggest that on this matter, according to your doctrine, that God and Man are sharing the sovereignty, while God has allowed man to hold the balance of power.""

    I would not say that man has any "sovereignty" over his salvation. He MUST obtain it God's way. I don't know anyone who wants to suffer and be in torment in hell. So man has no power in and of himself to keep himself out of Hell. The only way he can keep himself from hell is to believe on the Lord. So I really see no real sovereignty or power there in terms of getting into heaven (whether they believe there is a heaven or not). Man has the God-given freedom to reject the Grace of God.

    Goodnight: "OK, so I ask you as I have asked Matthew: So do you pray, along the lines, "Lord, take it as far as You can, but don't cross over the boundary line that violates man's freewill" and stop short of actually praying: "Lord, save so and so?""

    I pray for the Lord to send laborers across people's paths, for Him to convict them, etc. I do pray for their salvation, but I'm not asking for the Lord to save them beyond what His word teaches about salvation. He knows what I mean. I do believe it is the desire of the Lord for all men to be saved, but He knows and I know that not all will be saved because not all will believe. The reason a person does not believe is not because God has chosen to leave them in their sin for no apparent reason. That's not what the bible teaches.

    By Blogger Dawn, at 4/10/2007 10:50 AM  

  • Rose, I hope you are having a good day.

    Goodnight, do you pray, 'Lord, please save this person, but only if she is among thine elect'?

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 4/10/2007 11:02 AM  

  • Hi Matthew,

    Thanks for being honest and expressing not only what Non-Calvinists must do but also what Calvinists must do too. It is indeed a delicate line to walk. Because on one hand, yes, man must believe...it is up to him. On the other hand, it's God who enables that man to believe. And does so by use of the Holy Spirit.

    And I understand that Dawn and others would say that the Holy Spirit enables everyone, but then it gets to be a gray area because you'd have to say that He (the Holy Spirit) enables all mankind at the same point in their lives. Or else one person might have an advantage over the other and you would drop into the giant circular argument of God's choosing whom He will and damning the others, etc.

    So I just wanted to thank you for the honesty and transparency. Not because it's somehow "ammunition" for the argument, but because those comments reveal a heart that desires to know Christ and not uphold a system of beliefs.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Anonymous Ten Cent, at 4/10/2007 11:04 AM  

  • The reason Calvinists and non-Calvinist's will never agree is because of what I have been saying all along.

    It has nothing to do with "biblical interpretation." Rather, the fundamental difference is each side's philosophical presuppositions about the nature of God.

    Calvinists understand God in terms of power--unless all things are solely and exhaustively actualized by the decreetive will of God, God cannot be spoken of as sovereign (I will not digress to explain how this conception must necessarily lead to a full-blown philosophical pantheism).

    Non-Calvinists, like myself, deny that power is the ultimate paradigm for understanding God. I, for one, begin with relationality as the starting philosophical lens for understanding the divine nature. In that God has created something other than God, God has created the "other" in a relational way. Therefore, "sovereignty" need not be defined in terms of a rabid Nietzcheian over-power, but rather in terms of God's purposes in creation being accomplished in the outplay of creation's relationality towards God (however that might turn out).

    Now obviously, the Calvinists will balk at this, questioning how God can be "sovereign" if God does not control and determine all things exhaustively. But as before, such a predicatable response only underlines my thesis in this post, that the differences between Calvinists and non-Calvinists does not begin at a biblical level, but rather at the philosophical. Until these underlying considerations are dealt with perspicuously, we are all wasting our time arguing about the interpretation of the biblical texts.

    By Blogger Exist~Dissolve, at 4/10/2007 11:07 AM  

  • Dawn said: "Man has the God-given freedom to reject the Grace of God."

    This is bringing us close again to a previous debate on whether the Devil is "God's devil" i.e. Is the Freedom given to reject the gospel (which rejection is a sin: John 3:18-19/3:36) a *God given* freedom? Getting deep with that one, although I know what you mean. I prefer to put it that God leaves some in their chosen sin, not for some unknown reason, but for reasons known only to Himself. They take the liberty, rather than it was "given" to them. Evidently, it was allowed by God to be so. Important distinctions in there.

    Matthew: No, I don't pray that the Lord will save only His elect. I know that this will be the case (no matter how we view election) I pray for individuals by name (and others, unkonwn and unnamed as Paul prayed for Israel) and leave the answer to those prayers to God. Meanwhile, guided by the command of God, I evangelise all who I can and trust that God will use my feeble efforts to bring to Christ "whom He will".

    The point is, for both DF and Dawn, when I pray that the Lord will save, I am praying that He will do more than merely convict etc., A man may be convicted and not saved. Redemption is to be applied by the Spirit of God as well as accomplished by the suffering of Christ and men are born from above, hence the prayer to that end.

    It is late afternoon here in Ulster, and so I might or might not be able to respond to any further replies. As 10c points out again, we all have a desire to evangelise the lost and to point men to Christ who alone can save to the uttermost. In that, we can rejoice.

    Rose: You must have have the patience of Job if you read all these emails :-)

    By Blogger goodnightsafehome, at 4/10/2007 11:51 AM  

  • "Calvinists are the ones who have erected this straw man of man's usurping God's authority by rejecting His offer of grace."

    Hi Dawn. :) Maybe I'm reading this wrong, so please correct me if I am, but this is exactly what the non-Calvinist says - that man indeed has the power to reject or accept the general offer of grace -in reality, putting man in charge. As you said, "It is always up to the individual to believe or not believe."

    Would you deny that you are, in fact, asserting that man saves himself?

    "I would say that the Lord has done everything He can do without forcing a person to believe on Him."

    Yikes! Not a very powerful God, is He?

    By Blogger Gayla, at 4/10/2007 11:52 AM  

  • "It has nothing to do with "biblical interpretation." Rather, the fundamental difference is each side's philosophical presuppositions about the nature of God.

    I would disagree, E.D., that it has anything to do with philosophical presuppositions about the nature of God. Truly, it does not take a rocket scientist to see exactly what the nature and character of God is, as He's revealed about Himself in the Scriptures.

    By Blogger Gayla, at 4/10/2007 11:56 AM  

  • Goodnight, I am praying for the conviction that leads to salvation. Like I said, I pray for salvation, but not that God would save someone if it is His will. Rather in the sense that He saves those who believe.

    By Blogger Dawn, at 4/10/2007 12:09 PM  

  • Hi Gayla :-)

    Gayla: "Maybe I'm reading this wrong, so please correct me if I am, but this is exactly what the non-Calvinist says - that man indeed has the power to reject or accept the general offer of grace -in reality, putting man in charge. As you said, "It is always up to the individual to believe or not believe.""

    Yes, man has the power, ability or whatever one wants to call it to reject the general offer of grace; however, that doesn't mean that man is in "charge" as God has given man the freedom to reject the offer.

    I think our differences stem from our definitions of grace. To you, and please correct me if I'm wrong, grace is 100% irresistible and 100% effective. It is more than a convicting power and it brings about belief in an unbeliever. Whereas, I believe grace to be a convicting power that only extends to saving power once belief has been coupled with it. (John 1:12)

    Gayla: "Would you deny that you are, in fact, asserting that man saves himself?"

    Yes, I deny that man saves himself. Man simply believes and God does all the saving. (John 1:12-13)

    Dawn: "I would say that the Lord has done everything He can do without forcing a person to believe on Him."

    Gayla: "Yikes! Not a very powerful God, is He?"

    I said that He's done everything He can do just short of forcing a person to believe. I haven't taken any power away from God. And I even clarified by saying, "Or maybe it is better to say that the Lord has done everything He will do..." (emphasis added)

    To be clear: God has sovereignty over man and within HIS sovereignty HE has allowed man the freedom to reject His offer of the grace that leads to salvation. I think God knows what I mean and I'm pretty sure my non-Calvinist friends know what I mean (if not, then I hope they will please speak up).

    By Blogger Dawn, at 4/10/2007 12:34 PM  

  • Hi Dawn,

    Here's a quote from your quote of L&O: "Though there are numerous incentives to repentance (Acts 17:29-31; Ro. 2:4), the ultimate cause is the Holy Spirit. Apart from His conviction ministry (John 16:7-11), a work that reaches the inner sanctum of sinners, there can be no repentance. He and He alone convinces men of sin, opens their eyes, and enables them to repent. Only He can empower spiritually dead sinners to receive Christ. To be sure, Jesus is the Light of the world; and it's the Spirit's ministry to enable the lost to see that Light (Acts 26:18; cf., 2 Cor. 4:4)."

    And here's one of passages from which he selected a verse:

    2 Cor. 2:2-6 (NAS)
    "Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ."


    I bolded the verse that he referenced, verse 4. So TJ says that it's the Spirit's ministry to enable the lost to see that Light. And what Paul says here is that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ. Who can't see it? Unbelievers. Can they take their own blindfolds off? According to TJ, that's the ministry of the Spirit. Has the Holy Spirit enabled them to see the light? According to Paul, they cannot see the light, so evidently not.

    You said, "No, God never circumvents a person's freewill in the matter of salvation, but His light is what is needed to convict and convince a person who is convincible."

    But evidently, a person's will is not free until they are illuminated by the Spirit. And you would say that all are illuminated. And Paul says that the unbelievers minds are blinded, they can't see the light, they're not illuminated.

    You said: "I do not see a contradiction here."

    Yes, I'm taking this out of context, but I feel it works here. Because I do see a contradiction. But beyond that, I see a tension that God has allowed to be there. That God must have retained a certain amount of control by illuminating some, and yet leaves the faith in the hands of man.

    I know that you don't see it that way, and that's fine. I just think what you said in your last comment really sums it up, "I don't know how it all works exactly,..." And that's my sentiment as well.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Anonymous Ten Cent, at 4/10/2007 1:26 PM  

  • Whoah!
    I am missing from my blog for just a couple of days to finish painting my kitchen and look what happens. How can I keep up with it?

    Um, Jeremy,
    Thanks for the Scripture passage. I don't see this saying that Joe Shmoe had spiritual life at some former time and now he is dead. I think it definitely says that we have all inherited death from Adam, but it doesn't seem to teach that we inherited life and then death. Do you have anything like that? What about what KC said about life before spiritual death? Is that your understanding?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/10/2007 1:50 PM  

  • I would disagree, E.D., that it has anything to do with philosophical presuppositions about the nature of God. Truly, it does not take a rocket scientist to see exactly what the nature and character of God is, as He's revealed about Himself in the Scriptures.

    Thank you for proving my point.

    Scriptures require interpretation, which will engage the philosophical presuppositions which one has about God, life, humanity, etc.

    By Blogger Exist~Dissolve, at 4/10/2007 2:04 PM  

  • Hi Rose! This really is a wonderful discussion you’ve sponsored!

    Brethren I commend you all. You’re an example to each of us in this discussion and I pray we can continue in this manner. I tend to agree with E~D concerning our presuppositions but I see here the willingness and the effort to strive to reach beyond that and I’m inspired.

    There is one point mentioned here where I would contest. I don’t find eternal life conditional upon any ability we possess at any time. I don’t consider that a belief enables us to gain eternal life anymore than the belief we can fly enables us to gain flight. If we are to fly then we must attain the means to fly. The means to eternal life is the grace of God and we receive that according to His will and in His time and not our own. He has determined our faith be the method through which His grace is applied and so neither grace nor faith is salvation but the means and the method through which He accomplishes it. I understand that we are given eternal life when God gives us to Christ and creates us as a new creature in Him and that God determined to do this to whoever sees (grace, the revelation of Christ in our heart) and believes in Jesus (faith) (John 6:40).

    I think it reasonable to accept that even the simplest of men have within themselves the capacity to form a belief when given a proposition and evidence. With regard to the knowledge of the truth I understand the proposition concerning Jesus to be put forth by God’s own Spirit directly to our heart and He gives testimony therein to the veracity of this truth. We then find ourselves in the same position as Adam before the fall with one critical exception. We have the word of God that we must believe or we will surely die [the second death] and the lies of the devil appealing to our pride and our foolish understanding giving evidence contrary to God’s word in accordance with our lust. With us, however, God’s word is not only spoken in our ear and considered in our mind it is directly applied to our heart and if we do not disagree with God’s Spirit in this He will give us to Christ and create us as a new creature in Him. So it is God who calls us and God who is the author of our faith. It is also God who saves us. The only thing we could do to miss eternal life at this point is reject His own testimony concerning His Son. Those that do are already condemned and it is by their will alone they remain so.

    I think Goodnight has rightly said that some men are convicted without being saved. Sadly I think this true of all men at some point before death (John 16:7-9) and so how do we pray for these? We beg God to continue with them and not allow the devil to take the word from their heart unless and until they repent or by their own foolish determination blaspheme His Spirit, forsaking all hope forever by rejecting the truth. For those who have yet to be convicted we pray that they too would see Christ that they might believe thereby coming to the knowledge of the truth. This is my prayer and my hope for all is in Christ alone for apart from Him we are all condemned without hope but when in Him we are a new creature and elect according to God’s purpose in Him.

    By Blogger Kc, at 4/10/2007 2:05 PM  

  • I think that it is clear from scripture that Adam and Eve were given life by God, but they were forbidden to eat from the tree of life (eternal life) after they sinned. (see Genesis 3:22-24). What resulted then, was spiritual death for their offspring - all humanity. What has been missing in this discussion is an understanding of man's depravity and what that means. Unsaved people are dead spiritually - this is quite clear from scripture in numerous places. the sinner must be brought from spiritual death to spiritual life. Only God can bring life to the dead (whether physically or spiritually dead). This He does through regeneration. He gives new life, He makes a new creation when He gives a person spiritual life. This is what we pray for when we pray for someone's soul - we pray that God would bring them to life, that He would save their soul. God does this according to His will. Man cannot do this - he cannot save himself, he cannot pay for the sins of another, nor can he make someone alive who is dead. God alone does this because He is merciful and kind. We are all born spiritually dead. God is under no obligation to save anyone. If He left us to ourselves, we would go to hell, everyone of us, because we are sinners and we sin. But because He loves even sinners, He gives new life, eternal life to those whom He chooses to save.

    exist-dissolve, not only do I not believe you are a calvinist, I seriously question that you are a Christian based on your own comments. At best, it sounds as though you have bought into the emergent nonsense. No one here has challenged your comments, but I must tell you that much of what you have written here is unbiblical and is a denial of the essential truths of Christianity.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/10/2007 2:14 PM  

  • Ten Cent,
    OK, perfectly may be a strong word. I think L&O means "change of mind" when he says "repent," though, if I am not mistaken.
    Your comment is sort of a caricature of the non-C position. When I pray for someone, I pray that first of all, they would HEAR the gospel, that the gospel would be communicated - that some would tell them, someone who they would listen to. Also I pray that it would be communicated to their mind clearly. That right there is a big prayer! Then I pray that the Lord would work with them, helping them to see their need of a savior.

    I don't pray that God would make them believe because I think that would be asking God to do something that is not really a part of His program. We are saved by grace through faith - no other combination works. Faith is not faith if it is put in your mind from God. It is then proof and knowledge. Faith is the response of the person and is the beginnning of a relationship with God. This doesn't make the person "hold all the cards" or be "sovereign over their own salvation" as others here have said, it just means that they are responding to the God whose image they have been made in - just as a child responds to his parents and comes when the parent says come. That child - and there are many like this - can just as easily turn and run the other way. The child is an autonomous being. In the same way, people are not puppets.

    I believe the Bible says that He is drawing all men through His saving message. Of course, if they aren't hearing His saving message, because no one has been sent to them, then they can't hear, can they?

    This "enabling to believe" as you keep saying, is not how I would describe it - you say I believe "He is enabling all men" ... that is not the way I would say it. He enables you to hear the message, because He did the work that the message is about, first of all! Then, He inspires His servants to spread the message and He says His Holy Spirit is there in the preaching of the message. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God ... there's "enabling."

    I am really busy! That is all I can say for now.

    Thanks for your comment and you're welcome to further.

    Hi Colin, that comment was for you, too.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/10/2007 2:40 PM  

  • Dawn writes:

    "Yeah, she just confirmed that no one is able to come to the Lord without His convicting, wooing power which God bestows upon all mankind."

    Then you just affirmed that a person is unable to come to God on their own. You just affirmed a tennant of Calvinism: Inability.

    By Blogger Gojira, at 4/10/2007 4:16 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Hopefully I'm not making you more busy, adding to any stress.

    Just for the record, not to cause discord, but to cause you to think, TJ expresses the work of the Spirit as conviction, that convinces them of their unbelief and need of Christ and enables them to embrace the gospel. So his description of the Spirit's work is fairly different than yours. The Spirit does something that enables them to believe (embrace the gospel).

    "Rather, conviction is just that, conviction--the work of the Spirit in the hearts of dead sinners (Eph. 2:1) that convinces them of their unbelief and need of Christ and enbles them to embrace the gospel. That's conviction. And apart from it, "No man can come to [Christ]" (John 6:44)."

    And it sounds as though, then, that you would say that all men are able. Able from birth? That the Spirit's work is more in brining the message of the Word of God to people than it is having that message applied to people's heart who hear it. Not meant to characterize, just trying to clarify.

    And you said: "I believe the Bible says that He is drawing all men through His saving message." And then aptly pointed out the difficulty in this line of thought, what happens to those who can't hear the Gospel because no one has been sent to them? In one sense they are able to believe, if they were to just hear the Gospel and be convinced. Yet in another sense, they are unable to believe, because they have not the means to hear the Gospel, no one is there to tell them. And they could be "enabled" if the Message was preached them with the Holy Spirit being present in the preaching.

    So maybe everyone can believe, is able to believe, but to be really enabled, they need to hear the Gospel message? Is that a fair statement?

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Anonymous Ten Cent, at 4/10/2007 5:09 PM  

  • Then you just affirmed that a person is unable to come to God on their own.

    I don't see what the big "shocker" here is since this is a tenant of all Christian traditions, including those which you scorn.

    By Blogger Exist~Dissolve, at 4/10/2007 5:10 PM  

  • exist-dissolve, not only do I not believe you are a calvinist,

    Good, as I have never claimed to be, nor would I ever wish to be a Calvinist.

    I seriously question that you are a Christian based on your own comments.

    Based on what criterion? Because I have suggested that interpretation of Scripture is subject to the subjectivities of the individual interpreter? I hardly see how that is unorthodox (which would be the base criterion for the determination of whether or not I subscribe to Christian beliefs).

    At best, it sounds as though you have bought into the emergent nonsense.

    Huh? Perhaps you could explain that one...

    No one here has challenged your comments, but I must tell you that much of what you have written here is unbiblical and is a denial of the essential truths of Christianity.

    What have I written that is unbiblical? What I have written that is a "denial of the essential truths of Christianity?" I understand that you probably equate "Calvinism" with essential Christianity, but there is over 1600 years of Christianity that survived and thrived without the existence of the Reformed. Your approach to defining "essential" Christianity is "essentially" the establishment of an exclusivistic hegemony of belief that marginalizes all but the smallest, and most modern conceptions of the eternal nature of God.

    By Blogger Exist~Dissolve, at 4/10/2007 5:21 PM  

  • Gojira!
    Hi. I did read your comment yesterday and meant to respond, but then I got lost. OK, so you just reminded me.

    Whatever else may be said about "wooing" one thing is clear, you just said that without that wooing no one can believe on Christ. Do you know what you just affirmed?

    Yes, no one can come to God except God's way, through Christ. No one can work their way to heaven, of course not. God is wooing men to come to Him His way - through His work, His accomplished work - tetellesti!

    Now, to what I affirmed. Is the HS here on the earth? Yes and in a big way ... since Pentecost. When a person hears the gospel, the Holy Spirit is there. I think the gospel is drawing men ... such love that God Himself would lay down His life for His enemies, that is attractive ... and the Lord through His Spirit draws men via this gospel.

    It is not all that complicated:
    * No one would be able to believe the gospel if there was no gospel
    * No one would be able to believe the gospel if there were no HS to convict men and iluminate the reality of the spiritual situation.

    The thing is, though, the HS is here, so the idea of hearing the gospel and there being no HS present is not even a possibility. Or ... can you give me an example of the gospel being preached and the HS being absent?

    Thanks! Roar.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/10/2007 5:24 PM  

  • Ten Cent,
    see my message to Gojira also. I know I am getting a bit rambly - but its the busy thing.

    You say:
    So maybe everyone can believe, is able to believe, but to be really enabled, they need to hear the Gospel message.

    At the risk of sounding disrespectful ... please don't take this the wrong way ... I say it with a smile on my face ... only teasing ...

    Well, duh! :~)

    How can they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?
    :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/10/2007 5:28 PM  

  • Hi exist~dissolve
    (I refuse to call you ED),

    You say:

    Calvinists understand God in terms of power--unless all things are solely and exhaustively actualized by the decreetive will of God, God cannot be spoken of as sovereign ...

    Non-Calvinists, like myself, deny that power is the ultimate paradigm for understanding God. I, for one, begin with relationality as the starting philosophical lens for understanding the divine nature. In that God has created something other than God, God has created the "other" in a relational way.


    (I didn't get the part about pantheism)

    I think God actually wants a relationship with people that involves them responding to Him not as beings on strings, but as free agents. I think this is really important in terms of the creation of man and why He did it. Is this what you are getting at?

    I wonder about is the last part:
    but rather in terms of God's purposes in creation being accomplished in the outplay of creation's relationality towards God (however that might turn out).

    Are you an open theist?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/10/2007 5:40 PM  

  • "I don't see what the big "shocker" here is since this is a tenant of all Christian traditions, including those which you scorn."

    Hmmmm....I don't recall asking the only pagan in the bunch, but thanks for answering. Regardless, you just contradicted yourself. Nothing new there.

    By Blogger Gojira, at 4/10/2007 5:46 PM  

  • Gojira,
    Why are you calling exist-~dissolve a pagan?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/10/2007 5:52 PM  

  • Rose, at the end of the day, you have still affirmed a tennant of Calvinism, that of inability.

    "Yes, no one can come to God except God's way, through Christ."

    You originally said, "I also believe that no one can believe on Christ (I think this is better language that "choose" - more biblical) without the Holy Spirit at work "wooing"."

    It's cool that you affirm inability. Although it is a tennant of Calvinism, you have expressed it (very finely I might add) in a classical, or better a Reformed Arminian (bet you didn't know people like that existed, huh?) manner, since inability is part of the classical thought.

    But it's all good GIRL!!!! It adds mistique to you who are already a fine Christian lady and sister. And I guess that is really all I have to say.

    ********************************
    In regards to E-D you write:

    "Are you an open theist?"

    He is the Baskin-Robbins of whatever it is he happens to be during whatever time of the week it is. He is a, how shall I say it, a sophisticated gnostic.

    By Blogger Gojira, at 4/10/2007 6:00 PM  

  • Reformed?
    Arminian?

    Pish-posh!

    :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/10/2007 6:03 PM  

  • I don't see how those labels would fit me!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/10/2007 6:04 PM  

  • "Gojira,
    Why are you calling exist-~dissolve a pagan?"

    After having gone my fair share of rounds with him, and banning him from my site, I have pretty much come to see him as he is. I apologize to ***YOU*** Rose if me calling him that offends you. I would point you to some of his more masterpieces at his site, but I figure he has dirtied up this place enough.

    By Blogger Gojira, at 4/10/2007 6:04 PM  

  • Oh, and I was't anon. I don't know who that was.

    By Blogger Gojira, at 4/10/2007 6:05 PM  

  • "Reformed?
    Arminian?

    Pish-posh!

    :~) "

    Indeed. Modified, of course. Would you like some of their names? Anyway, you pretty much gave the standard classical Arminian answer. Like I said, it's all good GIRL!!!!

    By Blogger Gojira, at 4/10/2007 6:08 PM  

  • Oh, missed this:

    "Or ... can you give me an example of the gospel being preached and the HS being absent?"

    Nope, sure can't. Why? Because I affirm the same: apart from God, no one can believe. That is why we both hold to inability. We just work it out differently.

    By Blogger Gojira, at 4/10/2007 6:10 PM  

  • Anyway, you pretty much gave the standard classical Arminian answer.

    Maybe I am going to ban you from this blog if you keep saying things like that!

    ;~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/10/2007 6:14 PM  

  • "I don't see how those labels would fit me!"

    It's because you give the same classical answer. Modified, though. You are a four pointer.

    Tell you what, I'll through out a name that best fits your thought better: Samual Fisk.

    You are gonna have nightmares over that aren't you?

    By Blogger Gojira, at 4/10/2007 6:16 PM  

  • "Maybe I am going to ban you from this blog if you keep saying things like that!"

    GOOD ONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    By Blogger Gojira, at 4/10/2007 6:17 PM  

  • Well, that is funny that you would mention Fisk. You must have looked in my profile and seen that his book on the subject is one of my favorites. If you didn't, I would be amazed that you would mention his name. His book was like a cool drink of water to me when I read it. It made perfect sense with what I was seeing in the Bible.

    Did you see that on my profile?

    Would he call himself an Arminian? I don't think so.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/10/2007 6:19 PM  

  • "Would he call himself an Arminian? I don't think so."

    Actually, he espoused the tennants of it. 4 of the points, that is. But I would agree that he brought his own unique thought to it. He stayed within the bounds, though.

    And no, I did not see that in your profile.

    By Blogger Gojira, at 4/10/2007 6:25 PM  

  • (I didn't get the part about pantheism)

    I do not wish to derail this thread any more than it already has been. So, if you are interested in this idea, see my post about this subject

    I think God actually wants a relationship with people that involves them responding to Him not as beings on strings, but as free agents. I think this is really important in terms of the creation of man and why He did it. Is this what you are getting at?

    Yes, exactly. The bare fact that God has created that which is "other" than God presumes a relational aspect. If this reciprocal aspect is missing, the only conclusion is that the creation is really not "other" than God, but is rather an aspect of the ontology of God. In this regard, the necessary philosophical conclusions of Calvinism are not materially different than most deterministic, pantheistic eastern religions.

    Are you an open theist?

    No. Open theists are only Calvinists with a different definition of omniscience. That is, like Calvinists, they presume to be able to speak propositionally about the way in which God "knows" things. However, as is often the case, their conclusions (like their Calvinistic brethren) are not surprisingly different than considerations of human epistemology.

    By Blogger Exist~Dissolve, at 4/10/2007 7:08 PM  

  • Gojira,
    Why are you calling exist-~dissolve a pagan?


    The same reason he has called me this dozens of times--

    because he does not have the ability to engage in meaningful, serious discussion, and can only operate on the level of personal attack and rhetorical vitriol.

    By Blogger Exist~Dissolve, at 4/10/2007 7:10 PM  

  • He is the Baskin-Robbins of whatever it is he happens to be during whatever time of the week it is. He is a, how shall I say it, a sophisticated gnostic.

    A charge which you have yet to meaningfully substantiate in light of any recognized defintions of gnosticism.

    By Blogger Exist~Dissolve, at 4/10/2007 7:10 PM  


  • Hmmmm....I don't recall asking the only pagan in the bunch, but thanks for answering. Regardless, you just contradicted yourself. Nothing new there.


    Please gojira, you must still be smarting from the way in which I absolutely dismantled your arguments on your own blog, so much so that your only resort was to ban me. I see you childishness continues.

    Again, you say that I have "contradicted myself," but you fail to substantiate how that is so.

    Poor form, my friend.

    By Blogger Exist~Dissolve, at 4/10/2007 7:12 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Gojira, at 4/10/2007 7:31 PM  

  • "No. Open theists are only Calvinists with a different definition of omniscience."

    Right there goes to show that he has absolutely no idea what he is talking about. The reality of the position is that it came about by way past extreme arminians who felt that God having "simply forknowledge" of all actions before the creation was contradictory to liberterian freewill. For you to through "Calvinist" in that mix shows once again that you can do no better than misrepresent a position. But what else is new?

    "way in which I absolutely dismantled your arguments on your own blog"

    You did give excellent misrepresentations. I'll give you that.

    "because he does not have the ability to engage in meaningful, serious discussion, and can only operate on the level of personal attack and rhetorical vitriol."

    Well, atleast I have something to be proud of. Tight words from a god/goddess worshipper like yourself. This is one of your more paganish:
    http://existdissolve.com/index.cfm?postID=42
    Perhaps I will engage in a meaningless debate over that post where you misrepresent the Bible,say you didn't say something right after you said it, basically where you just be a sophist.

    By the way, are you worshipping a god this week or a goddess? Just curious.

    By Blogger Gojira, at 4/10/2007 8:08 PM  

  • Gojira, I do not understand your accusation.

    Is an interesting philisophical consideration on how sovereignty and sin can exist considered paganish?

    Granted, I did not understand a lot of the terminolgy used there, but that was my understanding of what was being presented.

    By Blogger Missy, at 4/10/2007 8:41 PM  

  • Right there goes to show that he has absolutely no idea what he is talking about.

    Lol, indeed. You still haven't defined gnosticism, BTW.

    The reality of the position is that it came about by way past extreme arminians who felt that God having "simply forknowledge" of all actions before the creation was contradictory to liberterian freewill.

    "Before" the creation? Categories of linearity are meaningless apart from the constructs of space/time. To talk about "before" creation is like speculating about the nature of "nothingness"--entirely non-sequitur. And yet, your entire construct of the divine nature are built on these tensed, causal conceptions of reality. Curious, to say the least.

    For you to through "Calvinist" in that mix shows once again that you can do no better than misrepresent a position. But what else is new?

    I'm still waiting for you to substantiate these claims. What position have I misrepresented? As you do not wish to offer a serious, philosophical rebuttal to the issues I have raised, one can only conclude that you are bluffing.

    Well, atleast I have something to be proud of. Tight words from a god/goddess worshipper like yourself.

    Okay...you are seriously deluded, my friend. If you would take a second to step away from your wounded pride and blatant misrepresentation of everything this I have said, you would realize that you are way off base in saying this.

    This is one of your more paganish:
    post link


    I appreciate that you have read this post. Perhaps you could offer some meaningful criticism of it instead of this obviously weak attempt at a personal attack.

    Perhaps I will engage in a meaningless debate over that post where you misrepresent the Bible,say you didn't say something right after you said it, basically where you just be a sophist.

    I welcome your interaction at my blog, and I will engage any issue that you raise.

    By the way, are you worshipping a god this week or a goddess? Just curious.

    Poor form again, my friend.

    By Blogger Exist~Dissolve, at 4/10/2007 8:48 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Deviant Monk, at 4/10/2007 8:56 PM  

  • gojira-

    Right there goes to show that he has absolutely no idea what he is talking about. The reality of the position is that it came about by way past extreme arminians who felt that God having "simply forknowledge" of all actions before the creation was contradictory to liberterian freewill. For you to through "Calvinist" in that mix shows once again that you can do no better than misrepresent a position. But what else is new?

    E-D's statements about open theism and calvinism aren't misrepresentations. Both operate under the same epistemological paradigms.

    The Westminster Confession says that God foreordains whatsoever comes to pass. It goes further to say that's God's ordination of something is not contingent upon God's foreknowledge of it. Thus, the epistemological paradigm of Calvinism is that God's knowledge of what comes to pass is predicated upon God's actualization of such.

    Open Theism would state that God's foreknowledge of whatsoever comes to pass is contingent upon whether or not God has ordained them to come to pass. That is, events that aren't foreordained by God to be actualized aren't known by God by precisely the virtue of their not having 'yet' occurred. Thus, God's epistemology is consequently relegated to that which God foreordains.

    Thus, the epistemological rubric of God in both systems is formulated on God's foreordination. Additionally, God's action is entirely encapsulated within a causal determinism that absolutizes God's foreordained action into an eternal abstraction.

    The only difference between the two is that Calvinism extends God's foreordination to absolutely everything (including sin) while Open Theism limits the extent of God's foreordination to certain things. The methodology, ontology, and categories of both are identical, however, thus making the distinction essentially superficial.

    By Blogger Deviant Monk, at 4/10/2007 8:59 PM  

  • E-D,

    You still didn't answer the question -- Are you worshipping a god this week or a goddess?

    I have already said what of yours I am going to respond to, so you will have to feed your ego later.
    _________________________________

    Hi deviant,

    There is no need to ask if you are worshipping a god or a goddessthis week since you previously stated you follow a goddess.

    "E-D's statements about open theism and calvinism aren't misrepresentations. Both operate under the same epistemological paradigms."

    Misreprestation on your part. Open Theism operates on total liberterian freewill. As such it fixes the reality it exists in. E-D doesn't give the whole picture, neither do you for that matter. When you can find me a Calvnist who operates on total liberterian freewill, I'll tell you that you just found someone who lied about their position. Sorry deviant, but total liberterian freewill is not an epistemological position the Calvinist works from. My advise, either read the lit. or present the whole story.

    Reply back if you wish, I really don't care. I figure I'll get double teamed by you two enough this weekend if either you or E-D wish to comment on what I will be posting.

    By Blogger Gojira, at 4/10/2007 9:23 PM  

  • Hi Missy,

    "Is an interesting philisophical consideration on how sovereignty and sin can exist considered paganish?"

    It is if it isn't Biblical. I will be critiquing a post from E-D's site this weekend. You are more than welcome to come check it out.

    "Granted, I did not understand a lot of the terminolgy used there"

    He likes to use big words.

    By Blogger Gojira, at 4/10/2007 9:29 PM  

  • Thanks, Gojira. I look forward to it.

    By Blogger Missy, at 4/10/2007 9:50 PM  

  • Hi deviant,

    There is no need to ask if you are worshipping a god or a goddessthis week since you previously stated you follow a goddess.


    lol.

    Misreprestation on your part. Open Theism operates on total liberterian freewill. As such it fixes the reality it exists in.

    I am interested where the misrepresentation is, since:

    1. Open Theists (from the literature of theirs I have read; e.g., Pinnock) would affirm that God does foreordain some things to occur. These God would know as future. Things outside of God's actualizing foreordination are not known to God through foreknowlede because, as non-actualized events, they do not have existence for God to know.

    2. My post did not preclude Open Theism from operating under a paradigm of libertarian free-will. I was simply pointing out congruence in thought between Open Theism and Calvinism regarding God's foreknowledge being entirely dependent upon God's foreordination.

    3. Calvinists indeed affirm (per the W. Confession) that God's foreknowledge is mediated by God's foreordination.

    When you can find me a Calvnist who operates on total liberterian freewill, I'll tell you that you just found someone who lied about their position. Sorry deviant, but total liberterian freewill is not an epistemological position the Calvinist works from.

    Nor did I say it was or that calvinists operated from this position. My original point was that the framework for both systems re:God's foreknowledge is mediated upon essentially the same construct; that is, both make God's foreordination the mediator of God's foreknowledge. The difference then lies in the extent of God's foreordination- for Calvinists it extends to absolutely everything, and for Open Theists only some things. This allows them to posit the presupposition of libertarian free will. However, for both systems God's actualization of what God foreordains is abstracted into the eternal.

    My advise, either read the lit. or present the whole story.

    I have read the literature on Open Theism. That a fundamental similarity in thinking about God's foreordination exists between calvinism and Open theism is no reason to accuse me of misrepresentation. If you feel the literature discounts my premise re:God's foreordination, then I would be happy to discuss the relevant literature.

    Reply back if you wish, I really don't care.

    Um, ok.

    I figure I'll get double teamed by you two enough this weekend if either you or E-D wish to comment on what I will be posting.

    If you desire for me to not comment on your post this weekend, all you have to do is simply ask and I will be happy to oblige.

    By Blogger Deviant Monk, at 4/11/2007 12:40 AM  

  • Good morning, Rose.

    Gojirah said:

    "Then you just affirmed that a person is unable to come to God on their own. You just affirmed a tennant of Calvinism: Inability."

    Yes, here is the problem. Non-Calvinists usually seem to affirm the inability that Calvinists uphold.

    I am not certain that they are wrong to do so, but I would be cautitous about such an affirmation.

    I think there may be a little room for a more SemiPelagian Non-Calvinism out there.

    But this is such a complicated issue. It seems very difficult to see how much free-will we can justifiably allow man to keep.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 4/11/2007 3:40 AM  

  • D.M.,
    I not going to get in this fight. However, you lose all creditability when you assert that open theism and Calvinism are basically the same..........

    Once the creditability is gone, I tend to reject everything you present. That is where I am with you and ED.

    Wayne

    By Blogger jazzycat, at 4/11/2007 9:49 AM  

  • Missy,
    The Bible exhorts us to be discerning! discernment

    By Blogger jazzycat, at 4/11/2007 9:53 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    You said: "Well, duh! :~)"

    Which is what I would want you to say. Because even though you believe in ability, you believe in inability. If the Gospel preached is what provides the opportunity for someone to believe (assuming, rightfully so, the HS presence in the preaching) and apart from that, they cannot believe (duh!); then there are people out there who are unable to believe. Because not everyone has had or will have the Gospel preached to them.

    It's kind of like saying that Person X is old enough to drive a car and is physically able to drive a car, but there's no car to drive, so that person cannot drive. He is able but unable.

    Still different from how I view it, but it is still inability.

    You said, in your comment to Gojira, "I think the gospel is drawing men ... such love that God Himself would lay down His life for His enemies, that is attractive ... and the Lord through His Spirit draws men via this gospel."

    Are you equating the "drawing" with the attractiveness of the Gospel? So are you saying that it is the attraction of the Gospel that draws men to Christ? But not all men are drawn to Him. To the world, Christ and the Gospel are an offense. It's not attractive. And no amount of our words can convince them. Which is why the Word is so important. It is what pierces their hearts. And it's with the heart that person believes.

    Romans 10:10 "for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation."

    And not everyone who hears the Word is able to receive it. For some, the devil takes it away so that they will not believe.

    Luke 8:12 "Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved."

    Of course, we could get side-tracked and talk about Who controls the devil. But that would be aside the point. The point being that without God's intervention, however that is done, the Holy Spirit, the preached Word, etc., people are unable to believe.

    That doesn't mean we shouldn't give out the Word. It doesn't mean we give up and don't evangelize. It should spur us on to have a more fervent zeal for delivering the Gospel to all people. And at the same time it takes a big burden off my shoulders. God is the one doing the work. He is the one who takes the veil away from their hearts. He is the one who can prevent the devil from taking away the Word from their hearts. He is the one who can open a heart so that person can respond (Acts 16:14).

    Doesn't take away from my responsibility. We still have a Master. We still have a yoke around our necks. But His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

    What a great Christ we serve. It does make me think, "who wouldn't want to serve a God like this?"

    Well, enough of my rambling. It's a good discussion. Thanks for hosting it.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Anonymous Ten Cent, at 4/11/2007 10:07 AM  

  • Thank you Jazzy for your concern and I completely agree!

    However, for one to discern would you not agree that it requires listening first? I think it a better discourse to consider openly - and with the Word and the Spirit discern truth.

    I do not think I am on board with either of these gentlemen's presented theology, but I think history is riddled with examples of Christians screaming, "Heretic!" or "Pagan!" (which is also unbiblical) only to find some truth in them later.

    Why make warriors of young men who might otherwise be brothers? Has your doctrine always been correct - is it now? Have you not struggled through some strange theories of your own in reconciling your life and doctrine?

    By Blogger Missy, at 4/11/2007 10:10 AM  

  • I not going to get in this fight. However, you lose all creditability when you assert that open theism and Calvinism are basically the same..........

    C'mon Jazzy, no one said that Calvinism and OT are "basically" the same in a generic sense. Rather, DM and myself were talking about the specific issue of each philosophy's conception of divine epistemology, that is, the way in which God is said to "know" all that occurs. As DM rightly pointed out, both are united in saying that God's knows all things--the only difference is that OT's believe that God does not know the future, not because of any inability or lack on God's part, but rather because the future does not exist to be known.

    By Blogger Exist~Dissolve, at 4/11/2007 11:15 AM  

  • E.D. says, "Scriptures require interpretation, which will engage the philosophical presuppositions which one has about God, life, humanity, etc."

    I fail to see how what I said proves your point. Again, it seems to me that it doesn't take a lot of 'filtering' or presuppositions to read in the Scriptures exactly what God says about Himself. He tells He is the only sovereign, that He is holy, He is the one true God, that His name is glorified, that He causes, creates all things, that He destroys, that He saves, that He chooses....and on and on.

    Wherein our preconceived notions about God, life or humanity differ from what He says about Himself, His character and how He works, life, etc, then it is we who need to change.

    By Blogger Gayla, at 4/11/2007 12:18 PM  

  • I fail to see how what I said proves your point. Again, it seems to me that it doesn't take a lot of 'filtering' or presuppositions to read in the Scriptures exactly what God says about Himself. He tells He is the only sovereign, that He is holy, He is the one true God, that His name is glorified, that He causes, creates all things, that He destroys, that He saves, that He chooses....and on and on.

    Okay, what does "sovereignty" mean? I guarantee you that a Calvinist will define it entirely differently "based on the Scriptures" than I will doing the exact same thing.

    As I have said now numerous times, the Scriptures require interpretation. To simply come away with the words is only half the issue; what remains is how one will interpret them, what meanings one will assign to them, etc.

    Wherein our preconceived notions about God, life or humanity differ from what He says about Himself, His character and how He works, life, etc, then it is we who need to change.

    My point is that what the Scriptures say about God is not self-evident not objectively ascertainable. As the act of reading and understanding necessitates a concomitant act of interpretation, what we understand the Scriptures to say about will be invariably colored by our philosophical presuppositions about who God is and how God is related to the universe in which we live.

    By Blogger Exist~Dissolve, at 4/11/2007 1:30 PM  

  • Hey, has anyone noticed that I have RULES in the sidebar?!!

    :~)

    Deviant Monk - who has never visited this blog before - has not ever even greeted me.

    The cheek of it ...

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/11/2007 3:00 PM  

  • Deviant Monk - who has never visited this blog before - has not ever even greeted me.

    I will personally chastise him.

    By Blogger Exist~Dissolve, at 4/11/2007 4:08 PM  

  • Rose, in the sidebar, I just noticed:

    "All I ask is that you leave censure and hand-slapping to me."

    I did not intend to, but I did that, huh? :| Please accept my apology!

    By Blogger Missy, at 4/11/2007 4:10 PM  

  • Oh my, I apologize as well Rose.

    By Blogger Gayla, at 4/11/2007 4:25 PM  

  • Rose, your rule is a good one.

    I even critised somebody on my blog for not saying anything to me.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 4/11/2007 6:07 PM  

  • Rose- please accept my humble apologies.

    Greetings!

    By Blogger Deviant Monk, at 4/11/2007 6:18 PM  

  • Hello Rose,

    I'm going to be painting in the next few days myself. We're also putting new flooring in our formal living and dining. I'll be glad when it is finished!

    By Blogger Dawn, at 4/11/2007 7:10 PM  

  • Ten Cent: "I bolded the verse that he referenced, verse 4. So TJ says that it's the Spirit's ministry to enable the lost to see that Light. And what Paul says here is that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ. Who can't see it? Unbelievers. Can they take their own blindfolds off? According to TJ, that's the ministry of the Spirit. Has the Holy Spirit enabled them to see the light? According to Paul, they cannot see the light, so evidently not."

    Satan does blind men to the gospel, but it is due to their rejection of the Messiah after having been illumined (i.e., after they have seen). Here are just a few verses that prove this.

    Matthew 13:13-15 "Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them."

    Mark 4:12 "That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them."

    John 1:9 "That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world."

    (emphasis added to the scripture)

    Ten Cent: "Has the Holy Spirit enabled them to see the light?"

    Yes, as shown in the above passages.

    Ten Cent: "According to Paul, they cannot see the light, so evidently not."

    Paul is speaking of those who have been illumined and rejected what they've seen. The devil then blinds them. God further hardens them.

    Ten Cent: "But evidently, a person's will is not free until they are illuminated by the Spirit. And you would say that all are illuminated. And Paul says that the unbelievers minds are blinded, they can't see the light, they're not illuminated."

    I would say that a person's will is free, but if God's grace were not present he would not seek God. (The bible teaches that God's grace comes in many forms.)

    Paul is speaking of those who have been illuminated and have rejected God at His word. The scripture states that the devil has blinded the eyes of unbelievers. They saw, then disbelieved, and then were blinded and cannot see the light.

    Ten Cent: "Because I do see a contradiction."

    There is no contradiction. I'm taking the whole counsel of scripture.

    Ten Cent: "That God must have retained a certain amount of control by illuminating some, and yet leaves the faith in the hands of man."

    The bible teaches that God illumines every man and that is why they are without excuse. (Romans 1) And when they reject God's word, they are blinded and hardened. It depends upon the heart of each individual. (Romans 10:10)

    I believe that God illumines every man, each man can either accept, reject or simply be unconvinced for the time being. I'm not sure how it all works, but I do know that God sheds light. The more one seeks the more light God sheds. We see this in Nicodemus and many others. It is a condition of the heart and only God knows the inner workings of the heart.

    I do feel I know that man is able to respond to the gospel one way or the other when drawn by God and that God does not choose some and not others for no apparent reason. He chooses on belief.

    I'll have to respond to the other comments later.

    By Blogger Dawn, at 4/11/2007 10:38 PM  

  • Hi Dawn,

    I'll respond to a few of your comments and then I'll probably be done with the conversation. Not that I don't like discussing it with you, but I'm beginning to wonder what it's profiting us. I guess it really comes down to the argument of God's sovereignty working in conjunction with man's free will and our views of each component. And if the discussion "illuminates" error in my thinking and promotes a healthier relationship with God, then it's worth it. Otherwise I can easily fall into the trap of arguing because I like the competition. I'm not saying that's what you're doing, merely attempting to guard my own heart.

    With that said, here is a little response to your response.

    Dawn:"Satan does blind men to the gospel, but it is due to their rejection of the Messiah after having been illumined (i.e., after they have seen)."

    I don't see that in the passage I quoted, which, should have said 2 Cor. 4:2-6. You could argue that Paul says the minds of unbelievers are blinded and so they couldn't be unbelievers unless they had been presented with something that they could've believed in. But I would contend that anyone who doesn't believe...anyone who isn't a believer is an unbeliever. I don't think Paul has more than two groups of people in view here. And he says if the gospel is veiled, it is veiled to "those who are perishing". I would say that including anyone who doesn't have eternal life, who hasn't believed in Christ, whether they've been presented with the Gospel or not.

    And even apart from that thought, apart from whether or not people are spiritually blind from birth and cannot see the light of the Gospel. Are these whom satan has blinded without hope? What does it take for them to see again and respond to the Gospel? Can they work hard enough, maybe repent from their sin, turn from their evil ways, their wickedness and then they can see? Or does it take the divine intervention of God who loves His creation?

    Ten Cent: "Has the Holy Spirit enabled them to see the light?"

Dawn: "Yes, as shown in the above passages."

    You didn't address the 2 Cor. passage. They didn't blind themselves, it was Satan who has blinded them. And it was to the end that they cannot see the light of the gospel. They were rendered incapable, unable to see it.

    Dawn: "Paul is speaking of those who have been illumined and rejected what they've seen. The devil then blinds them. God further hardens them."

    You're working off a merit/demerit system with this statement. Because I would read this and say, "The 'truly' wicked person has very little 'chance' of responding to the gospel or ever seeing the light." And it makes me think that you only get one chance. Or the flip-side, "Because I responded with righteousness, God gave me eternal life." Which you and I both know is untrue.

    Dawn: "I would say that a person's will is free, but if God's grace were not present he would not seek God. (The bible teaches that God's grace comes in many forms.)"

    I think I agree with this statement. Just realize that while you're maintaining free will, you're also affirming inability. God's grace does come in many forms. And it's not given to everyone.

    Well, this is longer than I was anticipating. It's always good to dig into God's Word. Thanks for the discussion.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    PS - Hi Rose.

    By Anonymous Ten Cent, at 4/12/2007 1:25 PM  

  • exist~dissolve, I liked your perceptive response to Anonymous regarding his unwarranted association of Calvinism with the “essential truths of Christianity”:

    “I understand that you probably equate ‘Calvinism’ with essential Christianity, but there is over 1600 years of Christianity that survived and thrived without the existence of the Reformed. Your approach to defining ‘essential’ Christianity is ‘essentially’ the establishment of an exclusivistic hegemony of belief that marginalizes all but the smallest, and most modern conceptions of the eternal nature of God.”

    His comment: “I seriously question that you are a Christian…” was just another corollary to that loquacious assertion that Calvinism is the essence of Christianity. He also confirmed that he, like the wedding guest in Matthew 22, has made Calvinism his garment: “And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.”

    And all those who trust in Calvinism will one day be speechless….


    http://scriptural-sovereignty.blogspot.com/2007/04/calvinist-meets-god.html

    By Blogger Christian, at 4/13/2007 3:12 AM  

  • christian--

    Thank you for the affirmation!

    By Blogger Exist~Dissolve, at 4/13/2007 8:50 AM  

  • Hey guys,
    Thanks for noticing my rules. Don't sweat it, Missy. Nobody really hand-slapped anybody. I do like it when people are nice. The degrading of conversations down into low levels kinda bothers me on my blog. The most imprtant thing, though, is for everyone to say HI to me when they visit. ... at least once!
    This is, above all, of supreme importance!!!
    ;~)

    Thanks, deviant monk.
    Hey, Deviant Monk, why do you call yourself "deviant monk"?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/13/2007 5:12 PM  

  • If anyone doesn't get the tongue-in-cheek nature of my above comment, hover your mouse over my "whose blog is this?" sidebar label.

    Having a blog is such fun!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/13/2007 5:26 PM  

  • rose-

    Thanks, deviant monk.
    Hey, Deviant Monk, why do you call yourself "deviant monk"?


    No particular reason...I guess at the time i thought it sounded cool. That and I've always thought it would be sweet to be a monastic.

    By Blogger Deviant Monk, at 4/13/2007 5:32 PM  

  • Ten Cent: "I guess it really comes down to the argument of God's sovereignty working in conjunction with man's free will and our views of each component. And if the discussion "illuminates" error in my thinking and promotes a healthier relationship with God, then it's worth it....[I’m] merely attempting to guard my own heart."

    I'm not arguing to win, and I realize that you are not accusing me of doing that; however, I’m stating it for the record.

    You are right. It does depend upon how a person views the freewill of man and the sovereignty of God. It is so very clear to me that God, in His sovereignty, has given man the freedom to accept or reject his gospel. The bible teaches that God loves every human on this earth and it grieves Him when a person doesn't receive His way for salvation. He says that He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked and wishes they would turn from their sin. I see God’s desire for all mankind to repent throughout his entire word. Why would He make such a statement that He wishes all sinners to turn from their sin if HE is the only one who can make that happen and He is only going to choose certain ones since, according to Calvinism, man has absolutely no say in the matter? Doesn’t that seem nonsensical? And why would God plead with Israel to turn from their evil ways if they CANNOT?

    Ezekiel 33:11 "Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have NO PLEASURE in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?" (emphasis added)

    God IS sovereign. I don't see where the non-Calvinist interpretation takes away the sovereignty of God one iota. God is the one who said that He loved the whole world and that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever shall believe on Him will have eternal life. God is the one who said that it is with the heart that man believes unto righteousness. Nowhere does it state that He graces some and not others. Nowhere.

    I’m attempting to guard my own heart and attempting to help others contemplating this issue to guard theirs. No offense.

    Ten Cent: "But I would contend that anyone who doesn't believe...anyone who isn't a believer is an unbeliever. I don't think Paul has more than two groups of people in view here. And he says if the gospel is veiled, it is veiled to "those who are perishing". I would say that including anyone who doesn't have eternal life, who hasn't believed in Christ, whether they've been presented with the Gospel or not.

    And I would agree with you that those who don’t believe are unbelievers whether they’ve been presented the gospel or not. However, God has said that Jesus lights every man. He also says that man is without excuse because the truth of God has been revealed unto them (i.e., they’ve been enlightened, illumined and have seen), but they’ve rejected that truth. So God has allowed Satan to further blind them.

    John 1:9That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

    Romans 1:19-21 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they KNEW God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” (emphasis added)

    Ten Cent:...Are these whom satan has blinded without hope?"

    Only if they continue to reject the light that God provides them. If they continue in rejection then they are ultimately without hope. Sadly, most will continue to reject and God will continue to allow Satan to blind them.

    Ten Cent:What does it take for them to see again and respond to the Gospel?

    That is the part that I don't understand how it works, exactly because some people claim to be atheist for years and then they eventually come to the Lord. The way I see it from the scripture is that it has to do with how they've cultivated their hearts, since it is with the heart that man believes unto righteousness. Or maybe they claim atheism, but they're really agnostic. And maybe they hear something that gives them pause and causes them to think deeper and maybe a little bit of light has penetrated their heart and they contemplate it further and the more they contemplate the more light God gives because they are not outright rejecting His word. This is the complexity that we don’t know “why” some believe and some do not, but it is not because God has gifted some with grace and not gifted others.

    Ten Cent:Can they work hard enough, maybe repent from their sin, turn from their evil ways, their wickedness and then they can see? Or does it take the divine intervention of God who loves His creation?"

    NO, man cannot work his way into heaven and none of us have suggested as much. What you seem to be forgetting is that men do SEE by divine intervention, they simply reject what they see. They must repent and believe what they see. Why would God tell people to repent if they have NO ability to do so? The very words repent and believe are a part of God’s way of drawing people to Himself. And yes, it absolutely does take the Spirit of the Lord. Again, the bible teaches that God is ever drawing people. We see it throughout the entire bible in many different forms.

    Ten Cent:You didn't address the 2 Cor. passage. They didn't blind themselves, it was Satan who has blinded them. And it was to the end that they cannot see the light of the gospel. They were rendered incapable, unable to see it.

    I did address the passage and I also amplified it with other passages. It says that Satan has blinded those who believe NOT. They’re blind, God shows them the truth, they see the truth, but reject the truth and so they’re blinded once again. (When God hardens it doesn't necessarily mean that they're hardened for good. The amount of time one is hardened is up to God.) As I’ve said before, only God knows all the in’s and out’s of a person’s heart. But we know that He gives man many chances to believe on Him. I see nowhere in the bible that God only chooses to give light to certain men. Rather the bible teaches that He lights ALL men.

    This passage was not meant as a stand alone scripture. It’s true that Satan blinds, but there is more to the story and I believe these people at Corinth understood what Paul was trying to convey as I’m sure he had explained the gospel to them in great detail on his prior visits and is reenforcing and expounding on that foundation.

    Dawn: "Paul is speaking of those who have been illumined and rejected what they've seen. The devil then blinds them. God further hardens them."

    Ten Cent:You're working off a merit/demerit system with this statement. Because I would read this and say, "The 'truly' wicked person has very little 'chance' of responding to the gospel or ever seeing the light." And it makes me think that you only get one chance. Or the flip-side, "Because I responded with righteousness, God gave me eternal life." Which you and I both know is untrue.

    The ‘truly’ wicked person didn’t become ‘truly’ wicked over night. He had many chances to believe the truth, but he obviously continued to reject it (for whatever reasons) and got to a point of no return. Does not God say that faith/belief is accounted unto us as righteousness? Man believes and God accounts it as unto righteousness and seals that belief unto salvation. No works!

    Dawn: "I would say that a person's will is free, but if God's grace were not present he would not seek God. (The bible teaches that God's grace comes in many forms.)"

    Ten Cent:I think I agree with this statement. Just realize that while you're maintaining free will, you're also affirming inability. God's grace does come in many forms. And it's not given to everyone.

    Well, I’m sorry that I cannot agree with you when you say that God’s grace (in its many forms) is not given to everyone because the bible is clear that God does bestow His grace upon everyone. However, I assume you’re speaking of “saving grace.” I can agree with you that “saving grace” is not given to everyone, but it IS offered to everyone. Faith coupled with grace equals “saving grace.”

    The only inability I affirm is that without the grace of God man “would not” seek God. But when God’s grace is bestowed upon man he does have the ability to seek, repent and believe God. A man, dead in his trespasses and sins, CAN understand the gospel.

    Ten Cent:Well, this is longer than I was anticipating. It's always good to dig into God's Word. Thanks for the discussion.

    This is longer than I intended as well. I agree that it is always good to dig into God’s Word. I thank you for the discussion as well.

    I’ll just close with the reminder that the few (and there are more) scriptures I've provided within this post state the opposite of what is known as the Total Depravity (inability) aspect of the “Doctrines of Grace.” And I’d also like to remind everyone that “all,” “whosoever,” “world,” “whole world,” “anyone,” “every man,” etc., mean what they say. And that God calls us “all” to repent.

    By Blogger Dawn, at 4/14/2007 11:58 AM  

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