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

Friday, July 06, 2007

I am a Graphic Designer and a Mother of Four

Look people, I have no theological degree. I am a graphic designer, OK? Does this make me a moron? No.

May I never treat you like an idiot if we get in a discussion about color theory or assymetrical balance.

Now, here is a quote from this website: http://withchrist.org/cuthroat.htm:

The only one who can rightly pray is the believer who believes in the sovereignty of God, that man is active not passive in the drama of redemption, and that God has appointed prayer as the means through which God brings about certain ends. For example, God through His prophet caused Hezekiah to go to God in prayer, asking for his life. God answered and said He would add fifteen years to Hezekiah. Now that was God's purpose all along, but you will notice that he caused Hezekiah to pray for that very purpose. All true prayer today is just like that.

Now look at this part of the quote in particular:

... the believer who believes in the sovereignty of God, that man is active not passive in the drama of redemption ....

I just want to know, if man is unable to believe (which is what the person quoting this purports) then how does that statement make sense? I thought I might have misunderstood the quote and that it was saying God uses prayer as a means to save people, but I was corrected on that. The person quoting this did not think it meant that, apparently. OK, I am a graphic designer, help me out. If man is active and not passive, then how is it that regeneration precedes faith and faith is a gift, etc... the spiritually dead are brought to life with no belief in the gospel ... nothing but a dead bag of bones ... sounds pretty passive to me.

31 Comments:

  • Hey Rose--

    Don't feel bad about this person not making sense, for what they advocate is categorical nonsense.

    Look again at this quotation:

    "For example, God through His prophet caused Hezekiah to go to God in prayer, asking for his life. God answered and said He would add fifteen years to Hezekiah. Now that was God's purpose all along, but you will notice that he caused Hezekiah to pray for that very purpose. All true prayer today is just like that."

    The question I must ask is why--if God has eternally decreed that Hezekiah should have fifteen years added to his life--God would further ordain that this addition be conditioned upon God compelling Hezekiah to pray for that which God had eternally ordained to occur?

    What is more, however, is that the meaningfulness of Hezekiah's prayer is completely undermined. As all things are imagined to be terminated and dissolved in the primal act of God's will-ing, then there is no space in which to even speak of Hezekiah at all. Rather, the only possible identity in this entire drama is God, thus removing any possibility of differentiating between that which is God and that which is not. Inevitably, this line of reasoning herein proposed by your detractor must inescapably lead to pantheism, as one cannot meaningfully bifurcate which God wills and that which is the object of God's will, given that the objects of God's will are eternally located within the eternal will-ing of God (which is necessarily essential with God's very being).

    This perspective removes the urgency and crisis-nature of prayer which is preached radically in the Scriptures and throughout Christian history. And what of Jesus' prayers to the Father? Was he also compelled by the Father from all of eternity to pray as he did?

    BTW--I am a designer too! More of the web-kind...however.

    By Blogger Exist~Dissolve, at 7/06/2007 1:21 PM  

  • Thank you exist~dissolve,
    Intresting thoughts.
    ... thus removing any possibility of differentiating between that which is God and that which is not.

    Very interesting.

    BTW, apparently I was not meant to feel stupid, per the words of said "detractor." I will take his word for it - just as I take the word of a carnal Christian regarding his profession of faith.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 7/06/2007 2:01 PM  

  • Exist,

    I must capitulate and admit that I acquiesce with your appraisal of the subject at hand.

    This perspective removes the urgency and crisis-nature of prayer which is preached radically in the Scriptures and throughout Christian history. And what of Jesus' prayers to the Father? Was he also compelled by the Father from all of eternity to pray as he did?

    James seems to echo your sentiment.

    Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume [it] upon your lusts. (james 4:2,3)

    Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed unto the LORD,

    And said, Remember now, O LORD, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done [that which is] good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore.

    Then came the word of the LORD to Isaiah, saying,

    Go, and say to Hezekiah, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will add unto thy days fifteen years.
    (Is 38:2-6)

    But wait it gets better!!

    And I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria: and I will defend this city. (Is. 38:6)

    The Lord was moved by Hezekiah's tears for we serve a compassionate God, plenteuous in mercy!

    By Blogger Scribe, at 7/06/2007 9:56 PM  

  • Rose,

    I think Hezekiah's account is just one of many examples that show how the Lord is gracious to show compassion and mercy on them that ask. It works as prompting to engage our good God in prayer. Honestly, this account stirs my soul to love our God even the more, to seek His face on my knees.

    May christ richly bless you

    /Scribe

    By Blogger Scribe, at 7/06/2007 10:02 PM  

  • If man is active and not passive, then how is it that regeneration precedes faith and faith is a gift, etc... the spiritually dead are brought to life with no belief in the gospel ... nothing but a dead bag of bones ... sounds pretty passive to me.


    Hi Rose- how are you?

    I would agree that it's categorical nonsense. Double-speak is probably a better word. One can't be too surprised at this kind of argumentation; after all, the Westminster Confession (to which most Reformed people I have met and talked to feel to be a decent summation of their theology) engages in the same kind of reasoning. But I digress...

    E-D went at it from the pantheistic perspective... and I would agree with that. I usually think of it from this perspective- orthodoxy would categorically separate God and creation: God is eternal, creation is not, God is unoriginate, creation is originate, etc... However, when the category of sovereignty is broached, the distinction between God and creation becomes blurred; I would even say non-existent.

    Within the reformed worldview, it seems to me to essentially come down to an equation:

    There is x amount of power/sovereignty to be had/wielded.

    God, to be God, must have 100% of x, since God is defined as having 100% of x

    If anything else in the universe has any fraction of x, God cannot be God.

    Of course, this equation may be balked at, but I think it's essentially the essence of the reformed approach to the relationship between God and creation.

    However, once the issue of sovereignty is approached in this manner, one automatically destroys the ontological separtaion between God and creation and allows for the hypothetical possibility that if God could cease to be God if God doesn't 'appropriate' or 'wield' power in a manner consistent with the finite nature of the created universe.

    I think it is much better to simply assume that God's means of being sovereign and ours are categorically distinct.

    And what of Jesus' prayers to the Father? Was he also compelled by the Father from all of eternity to pray as he did?

    If Jesus was truly human, the answer would have to be yes, since Jesus' mind, soul, etc., would of necessity fall under the same foreordination as the rest of humanity. Otherwise, either Jesus' wasn't truly human or Jesus' mind and soul and will were completely consumed by the Eternal Logos.

    Otherwise, the man Jesus could have potentially desired something besides a cruel bloody death, as if he had a will of his own.

    Look people, I have no theological degree. I am a graphic designer, OK? Does this make me a moron? No.

    woot for graphic designers!

    By Blogger Deviant Monk, at 7/06/2007 10:48 PM  

  • I must capitulate and admit that I acquiesce with your appraisal of the subject at hand.

    Sweet! Looks like Vegas was good for you...you shall be assimilated yet.

    By Blogger Exist~Dissolve, at 7/07/2007 5:30 AM  

  • Rose,
    I think this was partly covered over at bluecollar in that lengthy comments section for "Just Wonderin'"
    The way I see it, after one is "born again" (in the sense of the post - that is, regenerate only by God’s mercy, not our own birthing of ourselves), then one is admonished and counseled repeatedly in the NT to repent, believe, obey, etc - and additionally many more ways in which how to live, walk, talk and be as a Christ-follower. As a servant to our Lord.
    That is how I see "active in the drama of redemption."
    Hope this helps.
    Btw, I don't think you need to defend yourself here as not being a moron or hoping not to treat others as idiots. I didn’t notice anyone treating you as an idiot or moron over at bluecollar.

    By Blogger Susan, at 7/07/2007 8:26 AM  

  • Sweet! Looks like Vegas was good for you...you shall be assimilated yet.

    I'm still here so I still can be suffering from some form of delirium. ;D We agree on somethings just not most, LOL!

    Anyway, to say that God was going to automatically give Hezekiah 15 years, regardless of whther he prayed or not, is to make God a liar.

    Now where were we? Ah yes...

    " Raise thy sword you philosophical heathen and I shall sate my sword upon your flesh!"

    By Blogger Scribe, at 7/07/2007 9:24 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    While I was reading the original quotation, I caught the same contradiction. Well done.

    By Blogger Cleopas, at 7/07/2007 1:33 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    The quote has nothing to do with whether or not regeneration precedes faith or not. In context, the quote was dealing with someone who already has life.

    "the spiritually dead are brought to life with no belief in the gospel"

    Actually, the spiritually dead are brought to life by the gospel.

    ********************************

    Exist, thanks for the laugh. You are always good for one!

    By Blogger Gojira, at 7/08/2007 12:13 PM  

  • "Btw, I don't think you need to defend yourself here as not being a moron or hoping not to treat others as idiots. I didn’t notice anyone treating you as an idiot or moron over at bluecollar."

    Nor did I. I would have even thought that the emails between she and I had established that. Perhaps I was wrong. :-(

    By Blogger Gojira, at 7/08/2007 12:16 PM  

  • Monk, you say:
    I think it is much better to simply assume that God's means of being sovereign and ours are categorically distinct.

    Yes, yes! I think this is the problem. We imagine that God is like us.

    Scribe,
    A rare moment of capitulation, eh? How nice to read your comment - I really appreciated it. ENjoy the remainder of your vacation.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 7/08/2007 3:33 PM  

  • Susan,
    I don't mind what you said right there about the drama of redemption - that is fine with me. Regeneratoin preceding faith is one of those things that I don't see the Bible teaching. I would challenge you to show me a verse where one is born again without faith. But ... I don't want to challenge you to do that, because I am taking a blog break over the next week. Now, I wrote this post before I saw any response over at BC - the timestamp is a bit messed up. Hey, I know - I decided that I would take his word on it that he was not trying to mock me. It's cool as far as I am concerned. I will leave this post up, though, because it catalogues my frustration with this subject and especialy with the quote. Partly what I am trying to say in the post (it was written a bit hastily) is that I feel like a see a contradiction in this quote and in the entire Calvinist framework and I don't think I see the contradiction because of being a moron. Usually, if things make sense and someone can exlain them to me, I CAN get it! I don't have a seminary degree (just as you yourself have said) and so sometimes maybe things confuse me because of that. However, usually, with a little help from friends, I can at least *see* the logic of the other side of things, even if I don't agree. I hope that explains.

    Gojira,
    I am OK with you. I did email you and told you that I posted this before I got your comment or email. I don't mean this against anyone. Like I told Susan, I will leave it up just to record my frustration over this subject; I don't really think of it as being inflammatory. I am sorry if you do. If it is really upsetting, I will remove the post, because I would not want to alienate a brother in Christ or make one feel personally shot at. Just reply to my Sunday PM email asap and I will remove the entire thing, if need be.

    Cleopas,
    I am glad that the contradiction has appeared to more than just myself - this helps me assure myself that I am not a moron, after all (you know, ther are lingering doubts. haha)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 7/08/2007 3:49 PM  

  • Rose,

    Have a blessed blog break. I hope it is a time of refreshment and peace for you.

    I suspect that you and I won't see the following Scripture verses the same way, but I do see justification for regeneration preceding faith in the following, particularly verse 8:

    Joh 3:3 Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."
    Joh 3:4 Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?"
    Joh 3:5 Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
    Joh 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
    Joh 3:7 Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'
    Joh 3:8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."

    If we were to be cognizant of our own faith in the process of regeneration - we would "know where it comes from or where it goes," but Jesus says as with "everyone who is born of the Spirit," it is as the wind. We are unable to fully understand it. It is a work of the Spirit - not of man.

    Likewise, in verse 6, I believe that Jesus likens being born of the flesh (in which we have no choice and no initiative) to that of being born of the Spirit. A direct comparison.

    Those are but two of the verses that I believe support God's total and absolute sovereignty over our regeneration - but since you're going to take a break, I won't bother to seek more Scriptures that support this view. I'm suspect that you've seen many such Scriptures on other blogs anyway and remain unconvinced through debates from greater minds than my own.

    Peace out. :-)

    By Blogger Susan, at 7/08/2007 5:08 PM  

  • Just saw your email, Rose. We're all good. :-)

    By Blogger Gojira, at 7/08/2007 9:03 PM  

  • Rose,

    You said "I don't have a seminary degree (just as you yourself have said) and so sometimes maybe things confuse me because of that."
    It may very well be that you are bleesed not to have one! You often have to unlearn some things from seminary to learn the truth! I know from whence I speak! May the Lord bless you in your break, but we will miss you!

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at 7/08/2007 10:59 PM  

  • Ooops! That should have been "Blessed"!

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at 7/08/2007 10:59 PM  

  • Rose,

    You just don’t get it! Only those who are the repository of “Reformation Truth” understand that the word “Sovereignty” trumps every other attribute of God. Perhaps if you set the Bible aside and started reading books from the “Banner of Truth” you just might get it. And remember, nothing can be discerned from the Word apart from the “enlightenment” of the “Doctrines of Grace.”

    It took John Calvin and his “spiritual” progeny centuries to refine the “ultimate” system of theology while dealing with those simpleminded Berean types who “searched the scriptures daily, [to see] whether those things were so.”

    It wasn’t easy! And it wasn’t easy for Calvinism’s “Pharisaical predecessors” who had to deal with vulgar uneducated Galileans who lacked sufficient command of their own language1 to even allow them to read “public prayers” much less Scripture in the synagogue.2 And the Pharisees had to deal with those who even Galileans distained: “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth” (John 1:46)?

    Rose, as a Graphic Designer, an Engineering Manager in Silicon Valley, or a child who simply trusts the plain and simple words of the Master, we don’t have any clout in the “cool” world of Calvinism. We’re just “morons.”

    1. “And he denied it again. And a little after, they that stood by said again to Peter, Surely thou art one of them: for thou art a Galilaean, and thy speech agreeth thereto” (Mark 14:70).

    2. Jewish Encyclopedia: Galilee: "But it is for their faulty pronunciation that the Galileans are especially remembered: 'ayin and alef, and the gutturals generally, were confounded, no distinction being made between words like '"amar" (= "ḥamor," uss), "ḥamar" (wine), "'amar" (a garment), "emar" (a lamb: 'Er. 53b); therefore Galileans were not permitted to act as readers of public prayers (Meg. 24b)."

    By Blogger Christian, at 7/09/2007 2:59 AM  

  • David, I was hoping to be bleesed, but blessed is good too. ;~)

    Christian,
    Wow, um, what do I say to that? I have not been enlightened per these "doctrines of grace." I saw on another blog where one person thinks this is because of STUBBORNESS. Well, I will just keep plugging away at the Bible and the Christian life, learning to love my Saviour and walk in His ways. Maybe some day it will come to me. ;~) Most Calvinists tolerate me and I feel a measure of fellowship with them, so, we just have to leave it at that. Interesting observations.
    :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 7/09/2007 9:04 AM  

  • Susan,
    You suspected right. I don't see that as teaching regeneration preceding faith. It could - I guess I will find out for sure (and so will you) when we meet the Lord and discuss the treasures of His truth throughout the endless ages. I know I will be with Him because of His wonderful love toward me in that while I wasn't the least bit interested in Him, He died for the ungodly (hey, that includes me!) (Romans 5:6) Meanwhile, even though I am not reformed, I want to know Him more, and I am interested in more than just assurance of eternal salvation. ;~)

    But, per that specific Scripture, Susan, I know what it says to you (I read your blog in which you tell of your pastor's explanation of John 3, 'cosmos', and this passage), but I think you could be reading a lot into the passage. Of course, we all do this from time to time. I try to take comfort in the fact that God will eventually straighten us all out, stubborness, myopia et al.

    Have a great week!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 7/09/2007 9:12 AM  

  • Rose, I hope you won't be gone too long! I really wonder how deep anyone's faith can be if they refuse to accept what those who disagree with them are actually saying and have to create so many straw men to explain away their detractors.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/09/2007 11:51 AM  

  • I really wonder how deep anyone's faith can be if they refuse to accept what those who disagree with them are actually saying and have to create so many straw men to explain away their detractors.

    Thhis doesn't make any sense at all. What straw men have been created? Just because the detractors are unable to give an intelligent and philosophically consistent answer to the objections herein raised is not, de facto, evidence of the erection of strawmen. That you would question the depth of another's faith on the basis of your bewilderment at their refusal to accept another viewpoint would seem, to me, to be what smacks of straw.

    By Blogger Exist~Dissolve, at 7/09/2007 12:22 PM  

  • ED, I think Anon may be speaking in general about how Calvinist tend to fight against straw men - which is evidenced in the thread that was referenced in this original post. Just two examples and not even going very deep in the thread are:



    ""I think it is because they do not understand the extent of original sin and the condition that it left man's will. We were left with a free will for sure, but a will that was unable to choose other than the desires of the spiritually dead nature......

    Also, Armininians look at the enormous amount of scripture that gives the external call and read into it an ability that is not present in unregenerate man.""




    A Calvinist believes that only their definitions of Total Depravity is acceptable and by not accepting their definition of Total Depravity you reject the Bibilical definition of Total Depravity. Calvinist can quote total depravity verses all the live long day but what these verses do not prove is that man ever lost the ability to respond to the Gospel.



    Another Straw Man regarding election:

    ""I agree with you that Christians differ on their understandings of the extent of original sin and free will.
    What I find most interesting is that I cannot find the term "free will" in Scripture. Whereas I do find the word "elect" liberally throughout.
    So what I am left with is the thought that unconditional election is offensive to the flesh, and even born-again Christians can choose to serve the flesh (old man) and quench the Spirit, so they deny God's sovereignty in election, choosing instead to believe in their own "free will." ""


    The term unconditional election is not in the Bible and again just because one rejects the Calvinist doctrine of unconditional election does not equal rejection of the Biblical doctrine of election. To deny the Calvinist unconditional election is not to deny God's Sovereignty in election.

    But that's just how I read that person's post and maybe that's not what they were saying at all.

    By Anonymous Mary, at 7/09/2007 2:22 PM  

  • This is another quote that is a common straw man (at least as I understand straw man to be):


    """Please know that I was speaking generally. In conversations, I've run across alot of people who have no problem with God being sovereign...over everything except man.""""


    It's not a question whether God is or isn't sovereign over man, but is He sovereign enough that He allows us choice? God is completely and totally sovereign and He can do whatever He wants whenever and however He wants, but does He? We only have choice because He allows it not because He's not totally and completely Sovereign over us.

    By Anonymous Mary, at 7/09/2007 2:31 PM  

  • The term freewill is in the Bible

    What is a freewill offering if not an offering given of your own free will? Why call it a freewill offering?


    Ezra 3:5

    And afterward 0310 [offered] the continual 08548 burnt offering 05930, both of the new moons 02320, and of all the set feasts 04150 of the LORD 03068 that were consecrated 06942 , and of every one that willingly offered 05068 a freewill offering 05071 unto the LORD 03068.

    By Anonymous Mary, at 7/09/2007 3:20 PM  

  • It's not a question whether God is or isn't sovereign over man, but is He sovereign enough that He allows us choice? God is completely and totally sovereign and He can do whatever He wants whenever and however He wants, but does He? We only have choice because He allows it not because He's not totally and completely Sovereign over us.

    To me, the problem is that the wrong question is being asked. Why does God's sovereignty have to be delineated on the basis of over-power? If sovereignty is nothing more than simply have control over "x", then God is nothing more than the infinitization of Nietzche's ubermenchen, the totality of neurotic narcissistic self-negation.

    By Blogger Exist~Dissolve, at 7/10/2007 12:50 AM  

  • ED: ""the infinitization of Nietzche's ubermenchen, the totality of neurotic narcissistic self-negation.""

    Mary: You've read Desiring God by John Piper too!!!!


    ED: Why does God's sovereignty have to be delineated on the basis of over-power? If sovereignty is nothing more than simply have control over "x",.....



    Mary: I think I agree with what you're saying here if it's that God's sovereignty is not just about who's in charge. I was simply responding previously to what I saw as a common Calvinist strawman argument that rejecting Calvinism means that God is somehow not Sovereign. There's so much more to God's Sovereignty than I think we as mere mortals will ever understand.

    I just see many Calvinist as putting God into a teeny tiny box to fit their philosophy and they try to define everything someone who they would still consider orthodox but who rejects Calvinism by their teeny tiny box.

    By Anonymous Mary, at 7/10/2007 12:08 PM  

  • Hi Rose. I'm glad that you're taking a much needed break. I guess that's all I'd better say. :--)

    By Blogger Dawn, at 7/10/2007 6:06 PM  

  • Well,
    That was interesting between anon, Mary and ED. Mary, thank you for checking out the thread. I can see that the same statements that frustrated me were noticed by yourself. We just really seem to be on a different page, me and those Calvinists! Oh well, some day it won't be that way. All will be revealed and we will all be very glad for it.

    Susan,
    I hope my statement didn't sound condescending. I just read it over and the last sentence may have. I meant it like this: I try to take comfort in the fact that God will eventually straighten us all out, (INCLUDING ME!) stubborness, myopia et al.

    Dawn,
    Thanks for the well wishes. God bless.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 7/14/2007 11:30 PM  

  • Rose, the same "staw men" are always brought out. I don't usually go to that blog since it mostly seems to be a place where Calvinist want to beat up on nonCals - there seems to be no interest in understanding what someone like you and me really believes.

    I think heaven will be not caring anymore about who's right and who's wrong. Until then I think it's not meant to be so easy and we are meant to "stumble" around so we always keep wanting to know more.

    By Anonymous Mary, at 7/17/2007 12:14 PM  

  • [Rose, the same "staw men" are always brought out. I don't usually go to that blog since it mostly seems to be a place where Calvinist want to beat up on nonCals]
    Mary,
    I've not been to the blog you are speaking of, but I think there are lots of straw men to go around on both sides. The thing that bothers me the most is abusive behavior on these blogs. I know it grieves the Lord. I appreciate the respectful attitudes and interactions I have seen here.

    By Anonymous VA ~Susan, at 7/19/2007 5:03 PM  

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