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

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Another Deserted Island Scenario

Guest Post by Colin Maxwell (aka "goodnightsafehome"). Colin lives in Ireland and does a lot of street witnessing.
Note from Rose: I don't often agree with Colin's views when we discuss Reformed/Calvinistic topics or when I see his comments that are influenced by the same (which influence he readily admits), but I find much to appreciate from this brother: what he proclaims to the lost people of Ireland, for starters. Also, he is a very nice man and gracious in the blogosphere. That holds a lot of importance for me in this venue!!

He sent me this question for a guest post and at first I was hesitant to post it because I thought it sort of represented a "still open" kind of wound on a lot of FG believers. BUT - I decided it would be a good discussion and I am genuinely interested in what people will say to his question. Please be civil in your responses: please, please, NOTE that Colin has not mentioned the name of the person who came up with the original deserted Island scenario. I just don't think there is a need to be overly defensive. Let's just discuss this interesting idea of this bit of scripture washing ashore. THANKS!! BE NICE!!

Colin Maxwell's Deserted Island Scenario:
Here is an adaptation of a recently proposed scenario where a man stranded on a desert island discovers a piece of paper with one sole verse of Scripture written on it. Without any indication that it is Scripture, the original verse is John 6:47 where someone (we know Who! But there is no indication that our forlorn islander has any clue) said: Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. The argument is advanced that, with no other information than what is contained in this verse, this man can believe the (relatively) unknown speaker and obtain everlasting life.

Let’s change the text. Instead of John 6:47, let us assume that the tide carried verse was from John 8:24 where we read: “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. Simple questions: Is there enough here to convert the soul as some believe there is in the previous scenario text and why/why not?
-Colin Maxwell

222 Comments:

  • Hello Rose, Colin,

    I have heretofore refrained from getting into the discussion of the scenario, for the very reasons Rose has expressed in her intro. But it may be time to introduce a factor that I believe is often overlooked in these discussions: the notion of judgment---and by implication, accountability---according to "light" received.

    Here---to stick with the Johannine locus of the discussion---I am thinking of texts such as John 3:19-20 and 15:22 (Pauline parallels might be considered in texts like Romans 1:19-20; 2:12-16; 3:19-20; 4:15; 5:13; 7:9; etc.). The sense here is that people are not held accountable for something they have not "received" and are thus not aware of, beginning with both our individual and context-bound capabilities of reflecting on Creation or of suffering pangs of conscience.

    As a progressive dispensationalist, I am inclined to think of both continuity and discontinuity in God's progressive revelation to mankind, so the desert island scenario must needs be qualified by asking the question, How much light has this person already truly "received"? Depending on the content of that light, the sudden "awareness" of an isolated verse like John 8:42 may well provoke different kinds or levels of reflection on their "sins."

    According to the texts I have cited above, such reflection would thus depend (at least) on (1) where such a person "sits" on the continuum of progressive revelation; and (2) how "mature" their conscience is and whether they have thus come under conviction of sin by "law"---whether such law is evident through Creation or via more specific special revelation.

    My dispensational thoughts are that people are responsible for responding to whatever content of God's promises they have received through progressive revelation in whatever culture they "find" themselves. If John 8:24 "connects" with some existing "promise-content" already received, then it should provoke some level of "crisis of conscience" and invite them to appropriate God's grace through faith in the promises---however "filled up" those promises may be at that time in that particular person.

    One of the results of this kind of reasoning is that the oft-quoted verse "There is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved" refers not to "content" per se (which can vary) but rather to the "basis" of one's salvation, which does not vary.

    I apologize ahead of time to all who may feel like this is too much of a "fire hose" to drink from, but I think the discussion needs to occur among us in FG.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 3/12/2009 10:19 AM  

  • Hi Rose/Jim:

    No intention on my part to open or reopen or keep open any wounds. It had crossed my mind to enter this text on the original (un-named) posting, but I was late in the day coming to that particular post and so i decided to just lurk instead. The point is valid though, and I hope that some of the FGers will take it up!

    Thanks for all your nice comments, Rose. :o) I love your site - no messing around in class. Fun maybe, but no messing. No one wants to be taken to the woodshed (as Granny with her rhuematise and lumbago and "worn out in the service of my kin"used to threaten 6'2" and strong as an ox, Jethro with)

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 3/12/2009 12:07 PM  

  • It occurs to me, Colin, that the two passages are each a side of the same coin - one is the positive - "if you believe in me, you will have eternal life"
    the other is the negative
    "unless you beleive in me, you will die (not have life)" so in a way it could be that both have a very similar message, just stated differently.

    Just wanted to throw that out there. What do you think?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/12/2009 12:13 PM  

  • Jim,
    I think the "light received" has a lot to bear on the accountability of those in foreign, unevangelized countries... and even deserted islands.

    Thanks for your great comment!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/12/2009 12:14 PM  

  • Let me give a little follow up to my thinking here with this one.

    John 6:47 speaks about one, of whom we know nothing else, apart from the fact that he claims to speak in truth, who gives eternal life to them who believe in him. This has been deemed enough to save the soul even if no other information is ever gleaned.

    John 8:24 is not quite so explicit, since it uses the negative, but nevertheless it clearly states that those who believe in the speaker shall not die in their own personal sins but go to be with the same speaker.

    Thus far, without seeing Rose’s last posting.

    Now after I have checked…

    I agree with you. They are both effectively saying the same thing. Possessing eternal life entails that we do not die in our sin and vice versa. The subtle (?) difference comes in here in that we are being asked to believe something in particular about the speaker. In John 8:24 we are being asked to believe that “He is He” (i.e. in His own words: “I am He.” Or to keep strictly with the original, that “He is” or “I am” - the word “He” being in italics in the KJV and therefore missing in the original Greek, but supplied by the KJV translators for clarity. Where does this leave us?

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 3/12/2009 12:37 PM  

  • Thank you for sending that photo, Colin. :~) You look very nice.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/12/2009 1:23 PM  

  • Colin,
    If I may put in my 2 cents worth:

    In the scenario, the man on the deserted Island knew that
    the man's name was Jesus, because he also had the
    first part of John 6:43 “Jesus therefore answered and said to them”

    So, I think that with the first part of John 6:43 giving the name of
    Jesus, IF (and I think that is a big IF) the man could believe, then
    he would have everlasting life. But without "Jesus therefore answered
    and said to them", John 6:47 nor John 8:24 would not be enough, IMHO.

    Hi Rose, I have enjoyed both of your guest writers. Thanks for letting
    them share your space.

    By Blogger Peggie, at 3/12/2009 4:17 PM  

  • Howdy, Rose!

    It is so nice to see you, Colin. :)

    I agree with Rose, you are a fine fellow. You also ask very good questions.

    I can't answer your question here any better than the original. I certainly would never limit what God might accomplish.

    I will let you know I continue to leave the possibility of a "yes" open to both questions for a reason very similar to Jim's (Hi, Jim, I also appreciated your guest post).

    It has been my experience that whenever you find a Word or two of God's in your life and believe it, more soon follow. So I have not concluded whether believing the first word saves me or believing the final saves me, or even if believing them in entirety does so.

    I think a well documented experiment where actual "lost" persons on multiple deserted islands are presented with each scripture washing ashore might convince me. Of course, we would need a control island where a piece of a blog washes ashore...

    Good luck in the discussion!

    By Blogger Missy, at 3/12/2009 4:30 PM  

  • Rose, Missy, Peggie

    The common thread in our comments seems to concern the required content of what one must believe (e.g., Jesus' name) for salvation in a given context.

    Rose, you have a gift for drawing clear inferences succinctly. I think there is an analogy between contemporary unevangelized settings and historical settings before the Person of the Messiah is revealed: people who could actually be living in different dispensations during the same historical period, depending on how much God had revealed to them up to that point.

    A case in point might well be Acts 19:1-6, when Paul came to Ephesus and found a group of guys who had been baptized by John and were called "disciples" but had not even heard of the Holy Spirit. They had, however, taken John at his word that they should believe on him who would "come after." So when Paul mentioned to them that this person was Jesus all he had to do in this situation was lay hands on them to receive the Holy Spirit. The text says nothing about having to "believe" all over again---just connect the name Jesus with the promise of John.

    I would venture a guess with you, Rose, that this kind of thing may not be a rare finding today on the mission field in places where they have never heard the name of Jesus but may well have had other content that reflected promise. And Missy, I appreciate your humor, having conducted not a few "controlled" research trials of my own in a former life. White rats are a lot easier to "control," for sure.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 3/12/2009 6:01 PM  

  • Thanks, Jim. Levity is my speciality here amongst the genius (geni?).

    Actually, content is kind of insiginificant to me - I think. I'm still working on it. It's Belief that I hang my hat on - whatever the Promise of God. I say the only requirement of the content is Truth and that the bearer is the Word of God.

    Colin, I should be back around comment 100. ;)

    By Blogger Missy, at 3/12/2009 9:26 PM  

  • Hi Friends,

    I think Don Reiher had the best explanation of that Island scenario of anyone I've read. It was posted on Antonio's site...
    "How to Lead People to Christ, Installment #2...."
    Dated March 2, 2009.. 3:22pm

    The idea of the verse in the bottle was to make a point. It was never intended to teach that someone can get saved without ANY information. But his point was that when a person believes ONLY that point, he is saved because the Bible verse says so. He was being a Professor (as Don said)... trying to get his students to think.

    God knows what each one needs in order for them to get to the PLACE where they FIND THEMSELVES BELIEVING in Jesus for eternal life. Today most people get to that PLACE when they understand the cross work of Jesus Christ and His resurrection, BUT believing that specific truth isn't what brings salvation, although it usually is what LEADS to that truth that does bring salvation. The truth that does bring salvation is believing in Jesus Christ for eternal life. That's the gift He offers to the one who believes.

    I'm sure many of you have already heard me talk about the 3 year old girl who believed in Jesus for His gift of everlasting life BEFORE she came to understand about His shed blood. But not long after she believed in Jesus for His gift of eternal life, she learned about the cross and knew it was true. But she got saved FIRST before she understood about His crosswork. God brought her to that place.

    The author of the Island scenario was trying to get his students to focus on THAT PLACE that saves.... the "bulls eye!"

    We also must remember that nobody can MAKE themselves believe something. They need REASON to believe. That's the Holy Spirit's job. He enlightens them to the truth of the saving message and FAITH HAPPENS before they can even say a word. He knows what information they need to get to that place.

    Thanks Rose for opening up your blog for friendly conversation around the Word of God.
    It's fun and a blessing to talk with all of you.

    Your friend because of Jesus,
    Diane
    :-)

    By Blogger Diane, at 3/13/2009 2:18 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 3/13/2009 6:04 AM  

  • Good morning Rose/all

    Thanks for all your comments and observations. First of all: a confession! (Always good, they say, for the soul) I reread the original (and as yet unnamed) posting from whence I drew my comparison. O dear! Not only did John 6:47 appear on the washed up page, but the connecting words of v43 where it was clear that the speaker of these words was indeed (as far as our marooned friend is concerned) someone called Jesus. But still, no indication of who Jesus was or claimed to be, other than the giver of Eternal Life to those who believe on him. This takes away, maybe, of the earlier wariness.

    By substituting John 8:24 though, we have it taken a step further, have we not? Here the requirement is that we believe that Christ is He. I suppose to safeguard the requirement, like the above scenario, we need to have a connecting verse survive to give the name of the speaker. In this case, it would be verse 21 i.e. ”Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come.” Here the requirement to prevent us dying in our sins and missing being with the speaker (i.e. to have eternal life) is to believe that Christ is He (“I am he”)

    Neither set of texts i.e. John 6:43/47 (original text) and John 8:21/24 (revised text) give us much information about any of their key words. Words like “Jesus” – “sins” – “believe” – “eternal life” – where I go” do not connect to the mind of one totally untaught. It is the truth that sets men free (John 8:32) and truth must make sense to the mind of the one who grasps it.

    It is not for me to limit God and the original posting did acknowledge the scenario was somewhat strange. Should we take the things which God might do in the rare scenario of a desert island and a convenient washed up page and use it to explain the gospel to those who have access to a full Bible? No one doubts the suddenness of conversion – one moment bound for hell and the next bound for Heaven – but surely true conversions ordinarily come after the soul has been taught certain doctrines and by faith accepts them as true so as to place the eternal welfare of the soul upon them?

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 3/13/2009 6:05 AM  

  • Hi Rose

    Hi Colin

    Your whole presumption was wrong to begin with by thinking there was ONLY one verse. Which shows you were not following the discussion very well~! I believe part of the problem might have been your own belief that a person on a deserted Island would have to be regenerated BEFORE they could believe ANYTHING. So really the Scripture would be AFTER the fact! It wouldn’t matter what Scripture it was because new birth had ALREADY taken place, all that really mattered was whether they were ELECT or not. Tell me where I’m going wrong here?

    Hi Jim

    I found the verses you posted very interesting concerning “amount of light received.” I think you believe the same as me that the reason the Holy Spirit is convicting the world of sin is BECAUSE they did not believe in Jesus (John 16:7-9). Other words the man on the deserted Island could have simply taken Jesus at His promise and been born again. The offer at the end of the Bible is still valid, one can still take of the water of life freely with NO reference too their sin!(Rev 22:17) Also note that the Samaritans believed simply on the word of “the woman at the well” (John 4:39). Jesus said that the Father had given Him words of eternal life, that life is in the words of His promise to give that life to the one who believes. (John 12:50) The Scripture that was given to the man on the deserted Island not ONLY had the content BUT who was given AUTHORITY by the Father to give eternal life to the one who would receive it! Therefore it was possible for this man to “take the water of life freely” which was to believe Jesus simple promise of life!

    Something else to note with the Scriptures Colin has put forth is the audience they were spoken too….the Pharisees and Jews who professed belief in the God of Moses. (John 5:46; 8:13-20,22) They had no excuse for not receiving their Messiah so their sin was the issue.

    Alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/13/2009 2:49 PM  

  • Hi Alvin,

    Yep, you’re right insomuch that I didn’t follow the exact argument too good. However, always good to catch up with the rest :o)

    Re: the Calvinistic belief that regeneration precedes faith: Apart from the fact that you are aware of it (evidenced by your oft reference to it) what else do you know about it? I can’t tell you where you are going wrong here, until you get beyond the mere stating of the fact of the belief and (as requested) reveal to us what you actually know.

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 3/13/2009 4:27 PM  

  • Hey, Alvin

    Yes, the standard Reformed ordo salutis seems to create logical contradictions in a situation such as Colin proposed, and he's answered your question by asking another question. This should be interesting.

    Regarding my "light received" comments, you said "the man on the deserted Island could have simply taken Jesus at His promise and been born again". I think one of the reasons we consider the island scenario strange is that there is no established context into which the offer "fits." The narratives in John were given in a first-century Hellenistic context---as you pointed out in the case of the Pharisees and Jews---in which the offer of life obviously matched the promises of Moses and the Prophets ("light") they already had.

    My point is that if the person on the island did not have the same "light" as the Pharisees and Jews, we would be stuck explaining how they would be able to grasp the authority behind the offer. God would only hold us accountable only for believing (or not) whatever content of promise ("light") we have already been given.

    From a dispensational perspective, there has always been some light revealed to every person with a mature conscience who has ever lived, if only the light of "general" revelation. One thing "free grace" implies is that God makes his grace freely available to all---as we discussed at length on Rose's Who is "Our"?? thread---and people can appropriate that free gift of grace to eternal life by believing whatever promises of God they have received by that point, all on the basis of Christ's atoning death for sin.

    We could say in one sense that God issues an "IOU" to anyone who believes his promises but has not yet heard the name of Jesus; an apt analogy might be Paul's argument in Romans 3:23-28 for the faith that enabled God to "pass over the sins previously committed"(3:25, NKJV)---they are all still saved by faith on the basis of Jesus' shed blood. What do y'all think?

    By Blogger agent4him, at 3/13/2009 4:54 PM  

  • I'll tell you what I think. I think this is just about the most fascinating discussion I've ever heard! Keep it up fellows, I'm sure enough going to be listening! I don't think I have much to contribute on this one!

    goe

    By Blogger goe, at 3/13/2009 5:52 PM  

  • I say "fellows". I didn't mean to leave out the 4 missies---Missy, Rose, Diane and Peggy. I don't want to get myself in trouble here!

    By Blogger goe, at 3/13/2009 6:13 PM  

  • I mean Peggie! :~)

    By Blogger goe, at 3/13/2009 6:25 PM  

  • I'll tell you what I think. I think this is just about the most fascinating discussion I've ever heard!

    Yes, Alvin. Don't let us all down on this one :o)

    Apart from stating the Calvinistic belief of regeneration before faith, what else do you know? I want to bring you with me when I answer your question. (I do intend to answer it, Jim, but the issue is much too general at the moment and I hate "assuming" when I can "know.")

    It's getting late here over the pond. I'll be back in the morning. God willing, of course.

    Goodnight - Safe home.

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 3/13/2009 6:26 PM  

  • Hey Colin

    Since you’re the Calvinist you would be the expert! And since in my limited experience each Calvinist tends to have a little different FLAVOR. In the past I have gotten in much “hot water” putting you all in the SAME boat. You would be the best to explain your own flavor of Calvinism and how “regeneration preceding faith” has ANY bearing on which Scriptures we believe, “to be brought forth by the word of truth?” Which words of truth? (James 1:18)

    Hey Jim

    You as I know this Scenario was never meant to walk on all fours BUT TO GET PEOPLE TO THINK~! But, what I see is that it gets right at the heart of the gospel “Dose God Keep His Promises?” Let’s look at those Scriptures again:

    John 6:43a
    Jesus therefore answered and said to them

    John 6:47
    “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.

    So the question to be asked is not “HOW” can someone be born again on this little of information.

    But “what does it mean to believe in Jesus?”

    It doesn’t matter how much or how little “he” knows, were simply told that the one who believes in Jesus ALREADY has eternal life! Is that true? Yes it is true because Jesus said it was!

    This has made us THINK! Ok, what does a person have to KNOW to come to that point? Some have made lists! Others have tried to keep it simple so a child could meet the requirements.
    Which is right?
    I believe that Jesus promise can be taken by itself alone! Because the Father gave Him authority to give everlasting life to anyone who would receive Him! When someone believes His simple promise they have received Him!

    Alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/13/2009 6:38 PM  

  • Sounds like things might be headed into the ole theological wasteland of philosophical speculation now.

    By Blogger goe, at 3/13/2009 7:04 PM  

  • Alvin,

    "When someone believes His simple promise they have received Him!"

    Yes, God keeps his promises in any setting in history! And they all find their consummation in the Person of Jesus Christ!

    By Blogger agent4him, at 3/13/2009 8:16 PM  

  • Jim, could I ask you a question? Have you read Walter Kaiser's new book--The Promise Plan of God? If so, would you mind giving yours thoughts on it?

    By Blogger goe, at 3/13/2009 8:29 PM  

  • "Philosophical speculation" was not referring to Alvin.

    By Blogger goe, at 3/13/2009 8:54 PM  

  • goe,

    Excellent question!! The answer is "No," but not for any rational reason! Honestly, I am attracted to Kaiser's thesis, but I haven't bought the book yet for 3 reasons: 1) I've got such a pile of books I'm wading through already, plus several writing projects; 2) I intensely dislike the oversize books Zondervan seems to be so fond of publishing in that genre lately; and 3) I'll probably wait for a used copy to come out on Amazon for a reduced price, since my wife got on my case the last statement we got from MasterCard.

    Kaiser is a huge figure in conservative evangelical hermeneutics, and it surprises me that more dispensationalists haven't gravitated to his promise theology. I believe there are numerous points of contact but suspect "turf" wars have something to do with it. Kaiser is one of the few who have been able to maintain a dialogue on issues like the relationship of the OT to the NT with a wide variety of evangelicals, and for that I respect him immensely.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 3/13/2009 8:54 PM  

  • Yes! I briefly discussed this book with Zane shortly before his passing. He had not read it or even heard of it at that time. Even though I have not finished reading it, my initial impression is exactly what you say! That's what I told Zane!

    By Blogger goe, at 3/13/2009 9:00 PM  

  • Would you like my copy. You can do more with it than me!

    By Blogger goe, at 3/13/2009 9:05 PM  

  • If you will give me a mailing address I'll send it to you!

    By Blogger goe, at 3/13/2009 9:09 PM  

  • I mean, that's not exactly what I told him, but I told him I thought he might like it!

    By Blogger goe, at 3/13/2009 9:15 PM  

  • My point is that if the person on the island did not have the same "light" as the Pharisees and Jews, we would be stuck explaining how they would be able to grasp the authority behind the offer.



    Why should I believe this writing that just washed up on my Island???

    I know that I should have died a long time ago when the storm came but I survived. Why? Why am I here? Who is this Jesus that is saying He will give me eternal life if I believe Him? What is this white stuff falling from heaven it taste like meat, and my shoes still look like new after all the running I’ve been doing. It had to be a miracle this bottle washing up on my Island. Who is this Jesus???? Could He really give me eternal life? I’m going to dry off my hair and when I wake up in the morning if it’s all wet I’ll believe this Jesus. And sure enough in the morning my hair was all wet! Ok! I’m going to do it again just to make sure it’s not just an accident. And sure enough it was wet again. I don’t have anything to lose (Miss kitty) by believing this Jesus that says He can give me eternal life, in fact I’ve been persuaded by all the things that have happened to me this is not just some coincidence that this bottle just came to me!


    But He said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” Luke 18:27


    It was the genius who jumped with the backpack thinking it was a parachute! So much for geniuses!

    Alvin “”(“-_ -”)””

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/13/2009 9:22 PM  

  • Well, bless your soul, Gary---my first "donor"!!

    (Is it ok to put one's address on these blogs? With all the acrimony flying around lately, should I be worried?)

    By Blogger agent4him, at 3/13/2009 9:25 PM  

  • Ask Miss Kitty!!

    By Blogger goe, at 3/13/2009 9:27 PM  

  • Hi Guys!

    My last post was called "thinking out loud!" ha!ha!

    I'm still thinking on your question Jim!

    We could say in one sense that God issues an "IOU" to anyone who believes his promises but has not yet heard the name of Jesus; an apt analogy might be Paul's argument in Romans 3:23-28 for the faith that enabled God to "pass over the sins previously committed"(3:25, NKJV)---they are all still saved by faith on the basis of Jesus' shed blood. What do y'all think?

    I read an article by Tony Evans along the same lines! In fact it was a critique of Tony's book by Hixson.

    It gave me much food for thought, and you have given me more. Of course Hixson believed Scripture only shows a case for elect babies going to heaven. But Tony made the point that on the bases of the atonement people that did not have the ability to believe would go to heaven. That included people in other countries that responded to the light they had.

    alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/13/2009 9:36 PM  

  • Jim, send me your address---Miss Kitty can arrange that.

    By Blogger goe, at 3/13/2009 9:39 PM  

  • Yes, Alvin

    (Man, you're ornery but you sure are smart!!)

    I was thrilled when I found out Tony Evans held a similar view.

    Regarding your "first person stream-of-consciousness thought experiment" on the desert island, I'm not sure about using "fleeces" but I do believe God uses miracles in exactly those kinds of situations. That is, under circumstances in which the Word of God is not available and people have not yet heard about Jesus, God uses miracles to authenticate the message whenever someone comes in to preach the name of Jesus---by analogy with Heb 2:3-4.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 3/13/2009 9:49 PM  

  • Gary,

    Do you mean send it to Miss Kitty's e-mail address, and she'll forward it on to you?

    By Blogger agent4him, at 3/13/2009 9:51 PM  

  • She can give you my e-mail address. Miss Kitty, give it to him ok?

    By Blogger goe, at 3/13/2009 9:56 PM  

  • I gotta better idea, Gary. Just go to my Blogger profile; e-mail me there, and I'll reply.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 3/13/2009 10:01 PM  

  • 10-4

    By Blogger goe, at 3/13/2009 10:03 PM  

  • Hey Jim. I have a Mac and it's trying to force me to use a .Mac mail account when I click on your e-mail. That's a glitch I haven't yet figured out how to get past. I"m going to try and figure it out--if not we will work something out cause I want you to have this book--if you will promise to tell me what you think about it when your done--deal?

    By Blogger goe, at 3/13/2009 10:12 PM  

  • Deal, my man.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 3/13/2009 10:17 PM  

  • Jim, I've seen God work things in my life that there is no other explanation for.

    From leading me to certain people too coming face to face with the man I had part in putting in prison. And giving him the words that God had been dealing with me about that were really for him and he knew it.
    I told Zane how the Lord had put "Hosea" on my heart. And at the time I didn't even know where Hosea was in the Bible. And after finding it and reading it I knew God was telling me He had been faithful to me, but I had not been faithful to Him.
    So I'm not a skeptic when it comes to God working miracles. But at the same time I don't believe just any old thing but I test it by Scripture whether it's true. My best friend who speaks in tongues challenged me on the truth. I don't believe tongues are babble but known languages. And in the context the women were to keep silent in the Church. And wherever I've been it's mostly women speaking in tongues. (1 Cor 14:34-40) I don't know if that's the norm but that's what I've seen. Of course I believe Church just like Zane did, around the Lord's supper. What we see carrying on in the world is not the Church but public bible study. Ok! Women you can beat me up now!!!!

    alvin can take a liken and come back kicking

    I know Jim I just put knives in your brain from my bad spelling!

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/13/2009 10:35 PM  

  • Alvin, I think we need to stop talking theology and let you do your full stand-up routine!! Anyone else say yea?!! :~)

    By Blogger goe, at 3/13/2009 10:56 PM  

  • Yep, folks, he's gone plum nuts...
    takin' on the superior gender and all. Alvin, you'd a been tarred and feathered at Denver Seminary, and I ain't so sure you'd a "come back kickin'," my friend. You sure you don't need a little lithium??

    'Sides, Miss Kitty's been yore best friend on this here blog---best mind yore p's and q's.

    Sorry, Colin, for taking us so far afield from the original question.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 3/13/2009 11:01 PM  

  • I plead the 5th!!!! And have went in for another tune up! My wife is going to smack me on both sides of my head and probably this time it will put me to rest!


    if I tell her...heehee :~)

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/13/2009 11:07 PM  

  • Jim I think Gary is going to be in real trouble when Colin wakes up and counts all his posts about that book he's giving you! I think we should sing a little sleeping song so Colin wakes up on the right side of his bed and is happy!!!!! cause I know he likes me anyways, but I was just thinking about you boys!

    safe~~~~~home~~~~safe~~~~~home~~~~goodnight~~~~~~safe~~~home~~~~~sleep~~~~********

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/13/2009 11:30 PM  

  • I'm just gonna sit and wait for the women to come back cause I think Alvin is gonna be clucking like a rooster and walking around with his feathers tucked between his legs tonight!!! Alvin, I'm afraid for you bro!! You might want to go to bed early ! :~)

    By Blogger goe, at 3/13/2009 11:38 PM  

  • Tucked AND stuck!!! You're not even gonna be in any shape to face Colin tomorrow! :~)

    By Blogger goe, at 3/14/2009 1:02 AM  

  • Good morning all, (including our gracious host, Rose!)

    Alvin: If God regenerates people by His Spirit [1] and through the word of God,[2] then how does the desert island scenario described above show otherwise - mattering not at this stage whether faith preceeds or follows regeneration?

    [1] Born... of the Spirit (John 3:5)

    [2] Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. (1 Peter 1:23)

    Maybe I'm missing something here? You seem to be identifying an issue that has not yet appeared on my radar. Which is why I was seeking your views. As you know, sometimes Calvinists (as indeed others) get loaded with things that they do not believe and false premises then get built on etc., Again, unless I've missed something, all that I've seen from your typewriter is the stating of a fact but no detail or application of it. This is not a whinge, much less a rant, but a desire to at least debate over facts rather than misunderstandings.

    Regards,

    Hey Missy! It's looks like I'm number 50. Better being a half pint than no pint at all :o)

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 3/14/2009 5:26 AM  

  • Hi Rose


    Hi Colin
    You said:
    Alvin: If God regenerates people by His Spirit [1] and through the word of God,[2] then how does the desert island scenario described above show otherwise - mattering not at this stage whether faith preceeds or follows regeneration?

    Because if a person has to be regenerated BEFORE they can believe IT REMOVES A STEP OF OBEDIANCE ON THE PERSONS PART! So they have been removed from the equation, God has made the choice for them. So it wouldn't’really matter what verse came to their Island if the believing is AFTER the fact.

    If one has to believe FIRST before they are born again then the emphasis is put on the saving message, what a person MUST believe to be born again. The verses Zane put forth is the “bulls eye” what one MUST believe to be born again. The verses that you put forth would have to be further qualified with other verses to bring salvation. UNLESS AS JIM STATED YOU HAD THE PREVIOUS LIGHT OT, which these Pharisees and Jews were given.

    Alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/14/2009 12:43 PM  

  • By making the person on the deserted Island dead like a rock, there leaves no room for the persuasion of the Holy Spirit that brings regeneration. Rom 4:21

    I will be gone for most of the day with my daughter, we have our weekly speedwalk and foosball games with teriyaki dinner.
    Chopsticks included . . .ha!ha!

    Alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/14/2009 1:00 PM  

  • Alvin:

    It is a very big step from saying that God enables someone to believe to saying that God believes for them. This answers your earlier request/question where you ask: Tell me where I’m going wrong here?

    Regards,

    P/s Just picking up on your latest addition:

    By making the person on the deserted Island dead like a rock, there leaves no room for the persuasion of the Holy Spirit that brings regeneration.

    I dealt with that one before. You know that Calvinists don't believe that.

    Jim: You can see why it is sometimes necessary to answer one question with another. Sometimes we are not even near the place where sensible dialogue can take place.

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 3/14/2009 1:44 PM  

  • Hi Colin

    That's just it, and that's what I said you all have your own FLAVOR! If anyone here has watched Bob Wilkins debate with James White you know what I'm talking about! "Dead man at the bottom of the well."

    alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/14/2009 4:54 PM  

  • Hi Alvin,

    Two things:

    [i] I could try and spend time chasing up this quote which you attribute to James White. Or try and find another quote where he does (assuming that he does) believe that men can be persuaded. Yet what would this avail?

    The point is that the vast majority of Calvinists believe that men are rational creatures and that they are to be entreated and persuaded. IMO, it says a lot that rather than admit to this and rejoice that it is so, that you should choose instead to focus on the viewpoint of a very few. I fail to see how you perceive to see this as helping your cause, especially when it is so easily refuted.

    Why not rejoice that the vast majority of Calvinists take the Spurgeon line? Preaching on Isaiah 1:18 where God addresses the sinner's reason, CHS publicly said:

    "The Lord seems to me
    to say to you, “Come now, let us end this state of things. ‘Come now, and let us reason together.’ Let us talk over the matter, and settle it one way or the other; so that, if your present condition be one that is worth continuing in, you may continue in it with some justifiable arguments to back you up; but if it can be clearly proved to you that something better is to be had, and ought to be had by you, then perhaps our reasoning together may be the means of leading you to a better condition than that in which you are just now.” May God the Holy Spirit help me to speak upon this important theme so as to reach your hearts! If it shall be so, he shall have all the glory."


    [ii] Are you going to retract your strange view that God enabling faith is the same as God believing, or are you going to let it remain?

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 3/14/2009 5:42 PM  

  • Never!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Even the Baptist Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) declared:
    "It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else."

    (Charles H. Spurgeon, Spurgeon's Sovereign Grace Sermons (Edmonton: Still Waters Revival Books, 1990), p. 129.

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/14/2009 6:03 PM  

  • Alvin,

    I'm sorry, you're starting to wander here, there and yonder. We've been here before. Maybe it is a bit different in this post in that I am the writer and not merely commenting. I don't know. But I think I'll leave my responding to you at this point, at least on this post.

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 3/14/2009 6:11 PM  

  • Colin, no matter how you want to articulate it, to me it's the same!

    Whether God has to regenerate a person so they MUST believe or God has to regenerate a person so they WANT to believe.

    Either way they are a puppet!

    The FACT is you believe that regeneration MUST take place FIRST, so that a person CAN BELIEVE!

    alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/14/2009 6:19 PM  

  • Colin, you need to loosen up that tie a little bit, and not let this newfound power go to your head. Next thing you know you'll be trying to delete me :)

    You have bought into a man-made system, which came from Augustine. You have just made your five-point flavor sound more palatable.

    Alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/14/2009 8:19 PM  

  • I think I just lost a bunch of feathers . . . .Gary! Whats up?

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/14/2009 8:21 PM  

  • This is what Colin has done up above by referencing Charles H. Spurgeon.

    When all else fails, Calvinists will appeal to the ministry of Charles Spurgeon as proof that one can be both evangelistic and Calvinistic. But the fact that Spurgeon had such a large church and a fruitful ministry is not due to the fact that he was a Calvinist, it is because he was inconsistant in the practice of his Calvinism. If the things Spurgeon preached in his sermons were written in a theology book, Calvinists would consider them to be the writings of an Arminian
    The Other Side Of Calvinism Laurence M. Vance page. 549


    To those Baptists who accept the Bible as the final authority instead of the philosophical speculations and theological implications of Calvinism or Arminianism, the Calvinist reserves the most scorn. To call oneself a “Biblicist,’ instead of either a Calvinist or an Arminian, although it is particularly offensive to the adherents of both systems because it correctly implies that they are both unbiblical, is especially troubling to a Calvinist because of his adamant insistance that one must be either a Calvinist or an Arminian. In answer to those who say “the truth lies between Calvinism and Arminianism,” Spurgeon replied: “It does not; there is nothing between them but a barren wilderness.”
    (Charles H. Spurgeon, quoted in Good, Calvinists, p. 63.)

    Therefore Spurgeon could say: “The longer I live the clearer does it appear that John Calvin’s system is the nearest to perfection.” (Charles H. Spurgeon, quoted in Iain H. Murray, The Forgotten Spurgeon (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1978), p. 79.)

    alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/14/2009 9:53 PM  

  • Colin said:
    John 8:24 is not quite so explicit, since it uses the negative, but nevertheless it clearly states that those who believe in the speaker shall not die in their own personal sins but go to be with the same speaker.

    Colin is reading his own ideas into the verse! Where does it clearly state that the one who believes will "go to be with the same speaker?"

    John 8:24 KJVB

    "Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins."

    Colin has read this into the verse, and that is part of the problem with Colins verse it does not make the connection with the gift of eternal life that Jesus said to the women at the well "If you knew the gift of God and who it is who said to you 'give me a drink' you would have asked and I would have given you living water.

    The apostle Paul even made the connection clear!!!! What good does it do you if all your sins are paid for if you dont have life?

    1 Timothy 1:15,16
    This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.
    However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him FOR everlasting life.

    Paul clearly makes the connection!
    And Zanes verse he uses in his "Deserted Island Scenario" makes the connection with believing in Jesus FOR everlasting life.
    Colins verse he uses in his "Another Deserted Island Scenario" does NOT make the connection with eternal life which is the reason Colins man on his deserted Island is yet to believe in Jesus FOR eternal life!

    alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/14/2009 11:20 PM  

  • Good morning, Rose and Colin!

    Good morning to you as well, Alvin!

    I have heard you quote that scripture of the women at the well many, many, many times. Have you considered that you might be reading into the text your own theology as well?

    "Jesus answered, 'Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.'"

    This says the living water IS the gift offered and that it LEADS to eternal life - after it becomes a spring. The Jews saw the term "living water" to mean something that cleanses (flowing water as opposed to stagnant water).

    Alvin, everyone - including you - reads their own understanding into every scripture.

    There are numerous scriptures where Jesus makes promises, i.e. what if this verse washed ashore, from the same segment of scripture?
    vs. 35 (even names Jesus):

    "Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.'"

    So will the islander never thirst?

    In verse 47, it doesn't even tell you what to believe in. It doesn't say "me" or in Jesus, it just says "believes". So anyone who believes anything will have eternal life? I think there is more information in verse 8:24 to lead to salvation.

    Now, as I said, I believe through personal experience and the testimony of many that a single word of God believed leads to more words revealed and so believing that first word eventually leads to eternal life.

    By Blogger Missy, at 3/15/2009 8:59 AM  

  • Good Morning Rose and Missy

    Missy said:

    Good morning to you as well, Alvin!

    I have heard you quote that scripture of the women at the well many, many, many times. Have you considered that you might be reading into the text your own theology as well?


    No!

    Missy said:
    "Jesus answered, 'Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.'"

    This says the living water IS the gift offered and that it LEADS to eternal life - after it becomes a spring. The Jews saw the term "living water" to mean something that cleanses (flowing water as opposed to stagnant water).


    Missy, the passage is crystal clear that what Jesus is offering the woman at the well at the moment she drinks this water she will NEVER thirst again. The water is the knowledge of Jesus person, that He is the Christ and with faith springs up into eternal life. When she stated to Jesus “The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.”

    Missy what did Jesus just tell her about herself? And what does she go and tell the ones in her village? “Come, see a Man who told me ALL things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?

    Missy that was her way of asking Jesus if He was the Christ? Because He had just told her ALL about herself!

    When Jesus said in the next verse: Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”

    He had given her that living water, the knowledge of His person and with faith would spring up into everlasting life.

    John 20:30,31
    And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

    Missy, telling the woman at the well all about her self I believe was a sign, and she had no reason not to believe that Jesus was the Christ and therefore she had drank that living water and had everlasting life.

    1 John 5:1a Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.

    Missy said:
    Alvin, everyone - including you - reads their own understanding into every scripture.

    There are numerous scriptures where Jesus makes promises, i.e. what if this verse washed ashore, from the same segment of scripture?
    vs. 35 (even names Jesus):

    "Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.'"

    So will the islander never thirst?


    Anyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has life in His name and will never hunger and never thirst. The two components always have to be there to make it a saving proposition:
    1. If you knew the gift of God
    2. And if you knew who said ‘Give Me a drink’

    Missy said:
    In verse 47, it doesn't even tell you what to believe in. It doesn't say "me" or in Jesus, it just says "believes". So anyone who believes anything will have eternal life? I think there is more information in verse 8:24 to lead to salvation.

    That is why verse 43, Jesus therefore answered and said to them
    Was added to the “Desert Island Scenario.”

    Colins, John 8:24 is an inadequate proposition that cannot give life because it does not connect Jesus to eternal life. John 8:24 would need to be qualified by other Scriptures to bring life to the man on Colin’s “Another Deserted Island Scenario.”

    Alvin :)

    P/s Paul even clearly stated this is what you are believing in Jesus FOR!
    1 Tim 1:16
    This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a patern to those who are going to believe on Him FOR everlasting life.


    The connection MUST be made!

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/15/2009 10:33 AM  

  • Just something more to chew on....off too Church!

    Another verse that came to my mind is this:

    And he brought them out and said, “Sir, what must I do to be saved?

    So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

    This would be an inadequate proposition if one did not know what the word “saved” meant!

    One who believes they could lose their eternal salvation might say they believe what Paul and Silas is saying in this verse but have read their own theology into it. For them the verse would need to be qualified with other Scripture to show that “saved” here is equivalent to John 3:16,17 where saved and condemn is parallel to eternal life and perish in John 3:16.

    In fact in Acts 16:30 “And he brought them out” I believe to his house vrs. 34 “Now when he had brought them into his house.”
    Just as Paul said he was a pattern to all those who would believe in Jesus FOR eternal life (1 Timothy 1:15,16). This Philippian jailer knew he was not only saved from his sins but had believed in Jesus FOR His gift of eternal life.

    Remember the book of Acts is NOT written for the purpose that unbelievers might have life the Gospel of John is! So most books written to believers need to be qualified, because a person reading Acts might think they need to repent, speak in tongues, water baptized BEFORE they were actually saved (eternal salvation).

    This just might clarify what verses need to be further qualified to understand depending on the light the person has been given. Biblical words do not save because anyone can twist them, but Biblical truth is what saves. Anyone believing that Jesus is the Christ is born of God however they got to that point!


    Alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/15/2009 11:40 AM  

  • Hi, Alvin!

    Me: "Have you considered that you might be reading into the text your own theology as well?"

    Alvin: "No!"

    I had hoped you would at least consider it. ;)

    Take care, bro!

    By Blogger Missy, at 3/15/2009 10:19 PM  

  • Hi Rose/Missy

    Hi Missy

    When your convinced something is true the only way your mind is going to be changed is if you put forth evidence proving it different. What I have put forth fits perfectly. You have yet to bring forth a convincing argument. I've spent much, much time studying that passage. You have the women walking away yet to be born again but just having some water that will eventually spring up. New birth happens in a moment in time you pass from death to life. You’re not passsssssiiinnnng, or drrrrriiiiinnnnking. The women had NO reason not to have believed Jesus words that He was the Christ. In fact she was bold enough to say that to the men in her town where I'm sure she was scorned. Many of them also believed. And John in 20:31 says that IS the purpose for his book that they might have life in His name. Also John says in 1 John 5:1a to believe that Jesus is the Christ one is born of God. Missy that is the truth that brings new birth that Jesus has guaranteed your eternal wellbeing. Jesus is offering a gift all through the gospel of John and that gift is eternal life....pretty simple I think . . . even a little child could come to Jesus for His gift by simply believing what He is saying is true!

    So that's where we are Missy, unless you want something more genius you'll have to settle for the simplicity that Jesus gives to everyone who receives His life giving words of life! No hoops to jump through!

    alvin :)
    off too work

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/16/2009 7:19 AM  

  • Alvin, I am not sure why you think I am debating your theology?? I asked if you had considered that you put that theology into what you read in scripture. You answered enthusiastically that you had not. I never disagreed or argued your conclusion.

    By Blogger Missy, at 3/16/2009 8:45 AM  

  • Hi Rose!

    I'm having so much fun reading this thread. Hunkering down to learn I am.
    -Michele

    By Blogger Sanctification, at 3/16/2009 1:48 PM  

  • Hi Alvin,

    I'm more than half way reading the comments and I want to say before my mind explodes...

    You said
    It had to be a miracle this bottle washing up on my Island. Who is this Jesus????

    and I think that was in reply to Jim's describing accountability to the light received, being a progressive dispensationalist.... He said that this small quote does not establish the authority of the person who proclaims the promise.

    I was imagining the man on the island and everything he'd gone through like you described and I thought, his heart had been made desperate, his ears opened. Is that right?

    Maybe establishing the authority of Christ is needed for some, maybe others have been brought low and ready to hear whatever God brings their way. The Jews... probably needed to understand the authority of Christ in order to be converted to faith in the Messiah.

    What do you think, am I understanding what's being discussed here?

    Thanks! Michele

    By Blogger Sanctification, at 3/16/2009 1:54 PM  

  • Hey all,
    I am sorry for not getting back in here - I did something to my back on Saturday - I think it was a cramped muscle or a charlie horse in my back, if one can get that there. Now I am involved in a court case that began today and went all day long. I will be there tomorrow too and then it is supposed to be over.

    I have read all these comments and I just need to say this: I wish a certain person could have been just a little more polite to Colin. :~) Colin is different in his views, but we can respectfully ask questionas and disagree. It makes our case better, I think and is less distracting when we don't let ourselves go too much with the jerring sort of posture. I just feel se can get further and further away form that way of approaching others, we don't want to even get close to that. It is so awful when it is full blown.

    Ya know what I mean?

    Anywho,
    I have a few more guest posts to put up here, but I am going to pass for today... I am so tired.

    God bless.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/16/2009 7:17 PM  

  • Alvin,

    Now ya dun it! You've gone and riled up Miss Kitty...wasn't bad 'nuff that they had to turn the stagecoach 'round to bring 'er back to town 'cause of 'er backache...now u dun give 'er a HEADACHE too!!! Treatin' her house guests like that while she's gone!

    Alvin, one a these days some drifter's gonna come in ta town and plug u right 'tween the eyes, jest for plain orneriness.


    Miss Kitty,

    We're awful sorry, ma'am. Gary 'n I've tried everthin' we know to learn Alvin some manners, but he's jest as stubborn as a Tombstone mule. Last time Alvin raised a fuss down't the General Store, I thought the Marshal'd finally put a bit in Alvin's mouth...he fined Alvin 10 dollars and made him clean out the stable...(and it hadn't been cleaned for a month)! But did that learn 'im? Nope. He's worse'n some wild varmint---jest plain nuts.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 3/16/2009 9:55 PM  

  • I agree whole heartly with Rose and Jim someone should put me out of my misery, I'm so pitiful I wouldn't even spit on myself!!!!!!

    So I got everything coming all you fine folks have said. And Colin I'm getting tired of apologizing too you but I'm as stupid as an old mule!!!!!!!!!!!! No excuse for stupidity on my part.

    I just need some time alone to sort this out, I know I'm wrong!!!

    I'm sorry everbody, please forgive me!!!!! I'm just on the defensive and I can't seem to get out of that groove!

    I'm really upset with myself, maybe you all can pray that I'll give grace cause I sure know I need it!!!!!!

    alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/16/2009 10:19 PM  

  • OK, Alvin. Just use the ole carpentry rule: measure twice, cut once.

    We love you, brother. You have lots of great things to say!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/16/2009 10:34 PM  

  • But Alvin, no putting-out-of-misery stuff. You gotta answer Michele's substantive question. Please? :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/16/2009 10:37 PM  

  • Jim, you have a way with that western talk.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/16/2009 10:37 PM  

  • And Alvin, just to be clear, as you know, I have the same issues you do with the idea of regeneration preceeding faith. I can't go with that one.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/16/2009 10:40 PM  

  • Now Miss Kitty is going to bed, but leaving the doors to the saloon open.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/16/2009 10:41 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Get some rest, when the baby sleeps right!

    Jim,

    You better watch out there. You're getting so western in your spelling you'll be in dire need of discipleship yourself!

    Alvin,

    It's you and Diane whose grace commends me here. Been wanting to say that for months, you know.

    Where's Gary?

    -Michele

    By Blogger Sanctification, at 3/17/2009 1:54 AM  

  • Hey Michele!! I'm watching from a distance! I'm a little skittish about stepping into this here saloon. I can get a little ornery myself every now and then and I don't want to tangle with MIss Kitty when she has a hurting back--FOR SHORE!! Besides, I tend to share Alvin's frustration when it comes to debating Calvinism, since there are indeed many, many FLAVORS!! And it does seem to me that sooner or later you always end up way out there in that "theological wasteland" (nothing personal Colin--I'm sure you are a good man!!). Miss Kitty knows you better than I, and if you are a friend of hers you are a friend of mine! It's just that Alvin has some emotional scars and baggage from his own personal experience with Calvinism so I hope you will take that into consideration. We apologize if your feelings have been hurt because I have no reason to not consider you a brother in Christ. I seem to recall you and I once getting into a brief skirmish awhile back and I apologize brother!! Seeing your picture here has made it much more PERSONAL, and I've kind of taken a liken to ya even though we disagree theologically.

    Miss Kitty--Please give Alvin another chance. I bet he's sitting home brooding about this. He just needs a little more REHAB!! :~)

    Michelle, as for that question you asked, I think you are understanding the gist of this discussion quite well, but I'm being hit from several different fronts today, so I don't know how involved I can get into a debate on Calvinism since they usually tend go on ad infinitum!!! :~) But I'm peeping in from time to time!! HEY JIM!!

    By Blogger goe, at 3/17/2009 6:54 AM  

  • Good morning Rose/y’awl

    I love all the different dialects. Is there anyone here frae the Southern states? I miss VA Susan on these blogs. Before we move on the "substantive issues" as MK herself put it - I'm thinking of making up a "Canjo" - good old Appalachian stuff. There is a nice rendering of "What a friend, we have in Jesus" (written by an Ulster Scot) in a jam session here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvxGE5DUxHo&feature=related

    Now the serious stuff:

    The texts referred to don’t impinge any on the regeneration before or after faith debate.

    It is hard to know about these desert island scenarios. The whole doctrine of Providence comes into play as well. “The Lord knows those who are is…” (2 Timothy 2:19) It is not always wise to take what God could do and apply it to what He ordinarily does. He has mercy on whom He will have mercy (Romans 9:15) and since He delights in mercy (Micah 7:18) and is rich in mercy (Ephesians 2:4) then we may hope and pray for the conversion of those who have very little light indeed. Meanwhile, we should ensure that the whole counsel of God is proclaimed indiscriminately to those whom we meet. We will prove to them either to be a savour of life unto life or a savour of death unto death, according to their response to the gospel preached unto them.

    Looking forward to your other guest writers, Rose.

    Regards,

    P/s Court work is very tiring. When I worked in an Estate Agents in Belfast, I had to go down every Tuesday morning to the Circuit Court. It was about 1 degree above the boredom of the office work. Which still registered about minus 4 on a scale of 0-10. However one morning, a man was up for standing on the line in front of the Belfast train at one of the smaller stations, forcing the driver to perform an emergency stop. An earlier train had refused to stop and our agitated friend decided that he would make sure this one stopped :o) He didn’t come to court, but sent his lawyer instead. He was fined £50.00 (A lot of money back in 1977) probably plus court costs (plus his lawyer’s costs) It certainly brightened up everyone’s morning.

    P/Ps I forgive everyone! I just hope everyone forgives me :0)

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 3/17/2009 7:14 AM  

  • WE LOVE YOU ALVIN!! Please don't stay away long! I think you might just be a little TIRED, you've been roaming around alot lately and I've loved some of your insights into the scriptures!!! (NOT THE ONE ABOUT TONGUE-SPEAKING WOMEN-did you hear that Rose!) I told you you were on shaky ground here!! The only reason I don't see any feathers is because you left em all at MY PLACE!!

    By Blogger goe, at 3/17/2009 7:28 AM  

  • Yes Colin--I'm from the deep south, but I don't want to be too specific because there could be a bounty on my head round these parts!! :~)

    By Blogger goe, at 3/17/2009 7:39 AM  

  • Gary: Don't be ashamed o' your raisin'.

    If you get hold o' the book "Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish shaped America" by Senator James Webb - then do. It'll put fire in your belly :o)

    On the Calvinism issue - while there are different strains (just as there are in the FG movement, Dispensationist movements etc.,) - if you must take it on, then try and concentrate on the Spurgeon/Whitelfield type Calvinism which was Evangelistic to the hilt. Any professing Calvinist who has no heart for sinners (at least, if such indifference flows from his doctrine) is a Hyper Calvinist. There is nothing to gain by taking on the Hypers and believing that you are taking on the vast majority of Calvinists. Of course, none of us are always 100% on fire for God and soulwinning 100% of the time, but there is nothing in our doctrine that prevents us from being so. Sluggishness in evangelism is, sadly, found everywhere in the professing Evangelical church.

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 3/17/2009 7:57 AM  

  • Hey Colin--y'awl is definitely one of my favorite words!!! I try to avoid using it when I travel up north though!! I hate that AMUSED look I get from yankees when I use that word!! It makes me feel like FORREST GUMP!! But I can't help myself! I've always thought that y'awl is no worse than the "youse guys" I've heard so often from visits up north-esp. NJ and NY!!! By the way--is there even anyone who speaks ENGLISH in NYC?!! :~)

    By Blogger goe, at 3/17/2009 8:03 AM  

  • I hear you Colin (about the hyper-Calvinism). I have a dear friend who is a more moderate Calvinist (perhaps like you) and he is fine man and fine Christian!!

    I will get that book you mentioned--I need more fire in my belly!!!

    By Blogger goe, at 3/17/2009 8:08 AM  

  • Colin--my mother was from North Carolina, so I know all about that "Canjo" Appalachian bluegrass banjo pickin gospel!!! My grandfather wrote hundreds of those songs and even has one in the JFK Library!! Jackie Kennedy wrote him a persoanal thank-you note (this particular song was about JFK's assasination!

    By Blogger goe, at 3/17/2009 8:42 AM  

  • Just a thought about something Alvin said somewhere about Christ's words having authority and intrinsic POWER (paraphrase). I am really intrigued by this idea. I am getting ready to ship Walter Kaiser's book to Jim and I was looking thru it and noticed something Kaiser said about all of creation being a result of the dynamic word of God. "To call forth the world in direct response to God's spoken word was to act as Jesus of Nazareth did when, in response to his word, men and women were healed. For example, the centurion pleaded, 'But just say the word, and my servant will be healed' Mt.8:8. And the servant was healed at that very hour (Mt. 8:13). So the word was likewise spoken in Gen. 1 and the world came into being. This theological affirmation appears later in the Psalms:
    By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
    their starry host by the BREATH OF HIS MOUTH...
    For he SPOKE, and it came to be;
    he commanded, and it stood firm
    Ps 33:6,9" THE PROMISE PLAN OF GOD--p 37

    Surely the "words of eternal life" in John's Gospel would pack the same infinite creative power! God's Word is living and active, indeed, it is like THUNDER. Ps. 29.

    I am intrigued by this idea and what bearing it might have in Zane's deserted island scenario.
    Zane certainly accomplished what he intended with this scenario. He has forced us all to THINK! And that's what great teachers do!

    Now, back to packing Jim's book! Jim, it's coming!!

    By Blogger goe, at 3/17/2009 12:40 PM  

  • Thanks, Bro...you're a blessing!

    Love the "thunder," man...in Job 37:2-5, the "voice of God" occurs five times and is characterized as "thunder" in the surrounding context. It is a primary attribute of God to consider: The moment we think about it, we should be asking "Are we listening?" ...and heeding?

    Can't wait to see the book!

    By Blogger agent4him, at 3/17/2009 1:42 PM  

  • Thanks for the scripture Jim. I like this: "Doing great things which we can not comprehend." So, God's word is THUNDER AND LIGHTNING!!!

    By Blogger goe, at 3/17/2009 2:31 PM  

  • Rose, I hope you are resting and repairing well. You are missed!

    Colin, although I am now in New England, I had lived all but the last 2.5 years near Dallas, TX. My accent gets a double-take 'round here. Southern? You betcha!

    Gary, yes, you see my repeated points about the power of The Word!

    Finally, Alvin, I think these guys are tough on you! I have more to say on your comments to me, but I only responded in short because I thought what was needed most was to assure you I was not on the attack. I do hope you return!

    By Blogger Missy, at 3/17/2009 2:40 PM  

  • Missy,

    Yes! Sorry I forgot about you!! You've had some great thoughts on this!

    By Blogger goe, at 3/17/2009 3:08 PM  

  • Missy, (I know that you are sitting with your flask and sandwiches beside the computer ready to spring into the #100 spot) There is a Texan here in Cork. He is the pastor of the Independent Baptist congregation. He confessed to having the boots, but not the Ten Gallon Hat. At least, I can understand what he says. Sometimes, he can even understand me, although his wife (from Indiana) struggles a bit wi' my accent.

    I wonder what accent our friend on the desert island spoke with?

    Gary: I was in SC in the early 1990's- as far down as Greenville before driving up to PA through VA. Unfortunately my interest in the ACW (or the War Between the States) or Appalachian things and even the Scots Irish in America wasn't as developed as it is now. I'll have to get back over again, sometime. I ordered a Coke in SC and they served me Iced Tea, so either my accent threw them or I got one of the less intelligent/dozy ones.

    Those were the days before FG theology :o)

    Regards, y'awl

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 3/17/2009 5:51 PM  

  • Bro. Colin,

    Do you remember a Bible teacher, now with the Lord, named Bob Dowie? I believe he was irish, & I loved his teaching as well as his accent! We have a couple free Bible couorses by him in our free online Bible Institute, www.bbnbi.org. One of our courses by him is number 2160, The Royal Priesthood, a study in Ephesians. I hope you'll try it out. I wonder if his accent is was anything like yours?? I just want to tell you here & now that I appreciate you, bro. Colin! Thankful yopu're my brother in Christ!

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at 3/17/2009 7:50 PM  

  • Rose, forgive my lack of manners!
    HOWDY THAR ROSE!

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at 3/17/2009 7:51 PM  

  • To all,

    Zane Hodges has come under attack by some well-meaning Christians for teaching what they call a "promise only gospel." I don't know if Zane ever had a chance to read the new book by the renowned biblical scholar, Walter Kaiser, so I don't know what his opinion of this book would be. But the thesis of the book is something I think should be of interest to everyone here, whether we agree or not:

    "What is the theme of the Bible? Given the diversity of authorship, genre, and context of the Bible's various books, is it even possible to answer such a question? Or in trying to do so, is an external grid being unnaturally superimposed on the biblical text?
    These are difficult questions that the discipline of biblical theology has struggled to answer. In this thoroughly revised and expanded edition of his classic TOWARD AN OLD TESTAMENT THEOLOGY, Walter Kaiser offers a solution to these unresolved issues. He proposes that there is indeed a unifying center to the theology and message of the Bible that is indicated and affirmed by Scripture itself. That center is the promise of God. It is one all-encompassing promise of life through the Messiah that winds itself throughout salvation history in both the Old and New Testaments, giving cohesiveness and unity to the various parts of scripture.
    After laying out his proposal, Kaiser works chronologically through the books of both testaments, demonstrating how the promise is seen throughout, how the various sub-themes of each book relate to the promise, and how God's plan to fulfill the promise progressively unfolds. Here is a rich and illuminating biblical theology that will stir the emotion and the intellect."

    And no, I do not work for Zondervan. :~)

    By Blogger goe, at 3/17/2009 10:33 PM  

  • Colin, if by "flask and sandwiches" you mean green tea and apple slices, yes, I am waiting...

    By Blogger Missy, at 3/17/2009 10:43 PM  

  • Hi Rose!

    Missy,

    I double checked to make sure, safe with #98, phew! That's right, you're originally from Texas. Sure are a lot of fg texans. Preoccupied with freedom, I presume. ;)

    Alvin & Gary,

    Just a thought about something Alvin said somewhere about Christ's words having authority and intrinsic POWER (paraphrase).

    That's a great thought. Leads me back to my testimony which I formerly centralized on my blog, that I didn't understand Jesus' divinity for a good deal after being saved. But that he was something like a prophet, someone who acted on behalf of God. That he could do so much at His own word and in His own authority, was all I needed to put my trust in. I didn't know He was fully God till... like seven years later.

    I've been asked many times now when I believed that Jesus granted eternal life, and I cannot ever recall when I became aware of this promise. Makes me wonder on that IOU Jim was describing, if eternal life can be granted upon faith in Jesus even if it isn't that specific promise itself which is received.

    Discussion is such pleasantry. :)

    Michele

    By Blogger Sanctification, at 3/18/2009 12:38 AM  

  • But you DO believe the promise NOW, don't you Michele? Like Martha, there are only 2 possible answers that can be given to Jesus' question: "Do you believe this?" Jn 11:26 If your answer is yes, then you will also know that you have eternal life, because that's the promise to whosoever believes. I can't say precisely WHEN I first understood and believed His promise, but I KNOW I do NOW, and that's ALL that matters! It's the only thing that matters for ANY of us!

    OK Missy, time to put down the tea and apples. What's with that? Is that New England soul-food or something? :~)

    By Blogger goe, at 3/18/2009 12:55 AM  

  • Gary,

    Well of course I believe in it now. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if I believed that, long before I got around to believing in His deity, though it's speculation because like I said, I don't remember ever being really concerned about eternity.

    Is that weird?

    -Michele

    By Blogger Sanctification, at 3/18/2009 1:03 AM  

  • Missy,

    My deepest apologies, I'm sorry, Gary tempted me into forgetting my senses to reserve your usual in the blog-pews.

    Michele

    By Blogger Sanctification, at 3/18/2009 1:04 AM  

  • Hi Rose/Michele

    Michele said:

    Hi Alvin,

    I'm more than half way reading the comments and I want to say before my mind explodes...

    You said
    It had to be a miracle this bottle washing up on my Island. Who is this Jesus????

    and I think that was in reply to Jim's describing accountability to the light received, being a progressive dispensationalist.... He said that this small quote does not establish the authority of the person who proclaims the promise.


    That’s right Michele I was responding to Jim’s comment! The Jews were given all kinds of light so they would be looking for a Messiah that would fit their mold. Whereas the Samaritans had less light but even with their messed up thinking concerning how and where to worship God the women at the well was convinced because of Jesus brought her from seeing Him as a simple Jew too a Prophet and finally seeing Him as the Christ. Jesus met her where she was at her need. He gave her enough information to convince her He was the Christ. But notice the men from her village even needed less light to believe, they were convinced enough to believe just by her words!

    Michele said:
    I was imagining the man on the island and everything he'd gone through like you described and I thought, his heart had been made desperate, his ears opened. Is that right?

    Yes!!! His circumstances God used to convince him that the Jesus who promised him eternal life if he believed was true. This man came to the point of crying out to this Jesus to save him! The message was no different then Jonah being spewed out on the beach telling the Ninivites unless they repented they would be destroyed. They heeded that message simply on the testimony of Jonah. We have One greater then Jonah promising to give eternal life to the one who believes in Him, and the power to give life is in the testimony of God. The simple testimony of God is light to be received or rejected. If rejected one is calling God a liar (1 John 5:9,10). It is said that man is without excuse by rejecting the light of creation and “because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them “ (Romans 1:18-32). For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these , although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, (Rom 2:14-15)

    Michele said:
    Maybe establishing the authority of Christ is needed for some, maybe others have been brought low and ready to hear whatever God brings their way. The Jews... probably needed to understand the authority of Christ in order to be converted to faith in the Messiah.

    Yes!!!! Actually they needed more because Jesus had to jump through all their hoops to be the One. And when He didn’t match up to the right birthplace because they thought He was born in Nazareth that was all that needed to disqualify Him to many.

    What do you think, am I understanding what's being discussed here? Yes!!!!

    I think we underestimate God by limiting His ability to bring someone to believe a simple promise. It’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle then for a rich man to enter into heaven. Then who can be saved? It’s impossible for man but nothing is impossible for God! God was not in the storm but in the soft quiet voice! God wants to be found!!!!!

    Alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/18/2009 1:06 AM  

  • I still had a little ornariness today I sent Jim this . . .heeheee

    You Wyatt Earp?



    Cause it seemed to me you’ve nailed up a lot of wanted posters? You nailed that one right between my eye-balls! You made me out to be a low crawling skunk with bad manners! Figure I’m calling you out and your sidekick Doc Holiday, I known I recognized him somewheres sitting in that thar rocking chair with them steely eyes. And you aint gonna be able to hide behine Miss Kitties skirts neither you polecat. I’m gonna show you what a low down skunk feels like when I make you crawl like a varmint ~



    High Noon out in front of Miss Kitty’s saloon!!!!!!

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/18/2009 1:18 AM  

  • No Michele, it's not weird at all! It doesn't matter how one gets there as long as you get there? Trying to sort out all the details of our past experience is useless and a waste of time.

    By Blogger goe, at 3/18/2009 1:20 AM  

  • Hi Everyone!!!!

    We need to be praying for Jim he had a wreak on his bike today, I think he's ok but going to be real sore! He's a really good guy and I love his lingo!!!!!!
    Watch out for Doc though and don't go to his place at night unless you want to lose all your feathers. He don't mess around under that moon over thar!!!!!!!

    your amego!!!!!

    alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/18/2009 1:23 AM  

  • Alvin, apparently you have been watching too much GOOD, BAD, and the UGLY. Jim is the good, and I'm the bad, so I guess that means you are...well...Anyway, STEP ON OUT HERE!!!

    By Blogger goe, at 3/18/2009 1:28 AM  

  • Brother Gary is right on the money with that one Michele!!!! What's important is we know we have eternal life right now simply based on Jesus promise to give it to the one who believes! Then you know you've passed from death too life, it's really that simple just believing His promise!

    alvin :)

    You sure don't want too be trusting in your experience no matter how good we think it is, the only solid rock is Jesus and His gift of life! That is the starting place and beyond that the sky is the limits the abundant life!

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/18/2009 1:38 AM  

  • Nah! I've decided I'm to purty to die in a dirty old street, anysways who is as ornerinery as me to carry on my legacy?

    heeheee :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/18/2009 1:45 AM  

  • Missy must have gotten full of apples and fell sleep?!

    By Blogger goe, at 3/18/2009 1:50 AM  

  • `.'`~`;``~~,.'yah should had known bys know I was part chicken with all them feather


    ` ~~~.*.~~~`
    ^ ^

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/18/2009 1:51 AM  

  • Did ya grow them feathers or did Miss Kitty catch and tar ya??

    By Blogger goe, at 3/18/2009 1:54 AM  

  • beddy bye time

    alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/18/2009 1:57 AM  

  • :-(

    By Blogger Missy, at 3/18/2009 8:23 AM  

  • Please pray for me, I am very discouraged.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/18/2009 11:57 AM  

  • Yes Rose, will do!!!

    By Blogger goe, at 3/18/2009 11:58 AM  

  • Hello All,
    (Silly ol' Pooh Bears!)

    Thanks to all of you
    for making me smile.

    Colin, I'm from North
    Georgia.

    By Blogger Peggie, at 3/18/2009 12:07 PM  

  • Will be praying for you Rose!!!!!

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/18/2009 12:08 PM  

  • Rose,
    Just saw your last post. I will pray for
    you.

    By Blogger Peggie, at 3/18/2009 12:09 PM  

  • Rose, I hurt my back on Monday at work so am on pain killers. It's better today though, hope your back is better. On the way to the store on Sunday my wifes nose started bleeding and wouldn't stop. Had to take her too the Hospital and havs a air pack put in to stop the bleeding. Here in a couple hours I'm taking her back toget it removed. I guess the bleeding was from real high in her head so they couldn't catarize it. I would ask for prayer that the bleeding won't start again when it's removed.

    alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/18/2009 12:14 PM  

  • Back problems are going around I guess because I've had some of that myself recently. Alvin, you and Rose are in our prayers!

    By Blogger goe, at 3/18/2009 12:17 PM  

  • And your wife!

    By Blogger goe, at 3/18/2009 12:23 PM  

  • Hi all,

    Sorry to hear of all these troubles. It is certainly very easy to get discouraged!

    As I write, I am currently working on a serom on 2 Timothy 2:8-10

    Forgetting about any controversies that may arise in these things :0) - Paul said that he endured al lthings for the elect's sake that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. part of this endurance on Paul's part was on the basis that the word of God is not bound

    Certainly the word of God is not bound by our circumstances!

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 3/18/2009 12:53 PM  

  • All the Southron's are a comin' out o' the woodwork :0)

    When I was here, there and yonder on the Internet, I picked up this lovely renderin' o' Dixie played on a very old squeeze box:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTh0dvlv1bQ

    Regards,

    "Captain, my religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready, no matter when it may overtake me." He added, after a pause, looking me full in the face: "That is the way all men should live, and then all would be equally brave" Stonewall Jackson

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 3/18/2009 12:59 PM  

  • Dearest Rose and all,

    It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure. (Eccl 7:2-4 NIV)

    Grace hasn't been doing so well lately, and we should all be discouraged about now. Thank you, Rose, for the courage to "feel out loud"...

    Come to Rose's and mourn...

    But...

    He gives beauty for ashes,
    Strength for fear,
    Gladness for mourning,
    Peace for despair.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 3/18/2009 1:02 PM  

  • Wow Colin, I've never heard that before. That is a powerful statement!! Thanks for sharing that!!

    By Blogger goe, at 3/18/2009 1:04 PM  

  • "Weeping may last for the night,
    But a shout of joy comes in the morning." Ps. 30:5

    See also Ps. 31

    By Blogger goe, at 3/18/2009 1:09 PM  

  • "You have turned for me my mourning into dancing." Ps.30:11

    By Blogger goe, at 3/18/2009 1:17 PM  

  • Hi Colin

    Looking at the Scriptures for your sermon Colin, the first question I ask myself when coming to a passage like this is the word “salvation.” I first ask the question “ Deliverance from what?” Then the analogy of faith does not allow a more difficult Scripture to contradict a clear one as John 3:16.
    The context is speaking of service for God which if attained has “eternal glory.” Timothy is being encouraged by Paul to endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ (2:3). I would see the word “elect” there having to do with service. Paul calls it “my gospel” and of course he did not receive his gospel from men but from God (Gal 1:11,12). He called his gospel a “mystery” that had not been previously revealed (Col 1:26). His gospel was more then just Jesus death burial and resurrection but how one was included “in Christ.” One would not receive this salvation Paul is speaking of in their practical experience unless it was revealed to them. They were to present themselves approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (vs.15). I see this context concerning ones well-being at the Bema.
    This is what is to be expected of a good soldier for Christ. But we do know there will be some who might be ashamed at His appearing (1 John 2:28). And that even though we are faithless, He remains faithful, He cannot deny Himself. This shows clearly I believe like Ephesians 2:8-10 that the gift of eternal life is just that “a gift” but once we have that gift it is irrevocable (Romans 11:29). As Jim would say “participation” is to be expected but not all will choose to do so.

    Alvin :)be back latter

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/18/2009 2:19 PM  

  • Rose,

    Praying for you.

    Colin, did you see my post about Bob Dowie? God Bless.

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at 3/18/2009 2:20 PM  

  • Sorry, David! No...I didn't know Bob Dowrie at all, but I did listen )(at least partly)this morning (British time to one of his sermons on the link. I could hear the Northern Ireland accent alright. You can hear mine (this sounds awful like self promotion) through a few sermons on SermonAudio - although I necessarily tighten it up for pulpit duties. I really love the colloquial (sp?) stuff too, but it would be considered "bad English" to use it in the pulpit. It doesn't sit well with the Authorised Version either :0)

    Alvin: I link the salvation of the elect of which Paul speaks in 2 Timothy 2:10 as being all inclusive i.e. everything from justification right through to glorification. I don't limit it to any particular aspect.

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 3/18/2009 2:43 PM  

  • Hey Bad . . . you there? It's me . . . Ugly

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/18/2009 7:53 PM  

  • check out my sword in my new picture . . . . I'm not trying to put the fear in yah, or anything but that's a pretty BIG sword . . . never mine my crooked hat . . . i got a full-deck

    Ugly's been here :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/18/2009 8:10 PM  

  • Hi Rose

    Hope your doing better!!!! Thanks for all the prayers for my wife, she is resting and the bleeding has stopped. So Praise the Lord for that!!!!!!


    Hi Missy

    I took another look at your post, and would like to clarify my understanding of the verses you mentioned.

    Missy said :

    I have heard you quote that scripture of the women at the well many, many, many times. Have you considered that you might be reading into the text your own theology as well?

    "Jesus answered, 'Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.'"

    This says the living water IS the gift offered and that it LEADS to eternal life - after it becomes a spring. The Jews saw the term "living water" to mean something that cleanses (flowing water as opposed to stagnant water).


    Alvin said:
    The water is a metaphor for the message and when believed springs up into eternal life. Just as John 20:31 makes clear the life is in Jesus name when believed that He is the Christ.

    It is the message of (John 1:12; 3:16; 4:10; 5:24; 6:47; 11:25,26; 20:31).
    All through the Gospel of John Jesus is offering the gift of eternal life. Zane has a very good message called “Water That Produces Water.”
    Missy said:
    Alvin, everyone - including you - reads their own understanding into every scripture.

    Missy, I believe I’m going by the context, and then comparing it to the wider context of the Gospel of John. And then we can go outside of John and see that the gift is eternal life ( Romans 6:23).

    Missy said:
    There are numerous scriptures where Jesus makes promises, i.e. what if this verse washed ashore, from the same segment of scripture?
    vs. 35 (even names Jesus):

    "Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.'"

    So will the islander never thirst?


    Alvin said:

    Yes, if the man on the Island understands that Jesus is guaranteeing his eternal well being then he is believing in Jesus as the Christ and is born of God. Drinking, receiving, and coming are metaphors for believing, and at the moment that happens they have passed from death to life.



    Missy said:
    In verse 47, it doesn't even tell you what to believe in. It doesn't say "me" or in Jesus, it just says "believes". So anyone who believes anything will have eternal life? I think there is more information in verse 8:24 to lead to salvation.

    Alvin said:
    That is why Zane had TWO verses in his “Desert Island Scenario” John 6:43,47 to make it an adequate proposition. That believed gives the man on the Island eternal life. John 8:24 has been shown earlier that it is an inadequate proposition.

    Missy said:
    Now, as I said, I believe through personal experience and the testimony of many that a single word of God believed leads to more words revealed and so believing that first word eventually leads to eternal life.

    Alvin said:
    Yes, God gives us light and if we respond to that light He gives us more light. A person is born again only when they have believed in Jesus as the Christ the One who guarantees their eternal destiny. There are multitudes of people who believe MUCH Scripture but have rejected the living water. They will thirst again because they never believed the saving message. They are working their way!

    alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/18/2009 11:39 PM  

  • "Where, oh where are you tonight? Why did you leave me here all alone? ... I searched the world over and thought I'd found true love, you met another and ...ooops you were gone

    HeeHaw :) Kitty's Saloon is empty tonight, it must have been my BIG sword went'n scarred everbody . . . heeheee :)

    Who was that one fella on Mayberry that use to swing like a monkey? Ernest T. Bass, that be him!!!!!!

    nighty nite :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/19/2009 12:50 AM  

  • Hi Friends,

    WOW! Lots of good conversation going on here at Rose's place.

    BTW...... Rose, I AM praying for you!!! I really mean that. You are so dear, and I'm glad you asked for prayer. I just love you!!!

    Alvin...... I'm sorry to hear about your wife's nose bleed. I'm praying for her tonight also.

    I'm late at reading through many of the good comments here at Roses' blog. I just read through the whole page!!! So much EXCELLENT teaching going on. I appreciate everybody's input.

    Colin, it is nice to meet you. Glad Rose posted your article. I'm not a Calvinist, but you all make me think here. That's the way I learn.

    David, Missy, Peggie, and Michele..... I've enjoyed reading your comments, too.

    Alvin...... You, Jim, and Gary should take your show on the road. You're REALLY FUNNY!!!!!!! I always go away feeling so good because you make me laugh so hard!!!
    :-)

    As I read through this whole page, I took notes on everything I wanted to respond to. But there's just too much here, so for now let me respond to just one thing that Jim said FIRST (this time).
    :-)
    Jim said.... dated.... 3/12/2009 6:01 PM.....
    A case in point might well be Acts 19:1-6, when Paul came to Ephesus and found a group of guys who had been baptized by John and were called "disciples" but had not even heard of the Holy Spirit. They HAD, however, taken John at his word that they should believe on him who would "come after."

    When I read that, something that Zane Hodges had taught came to my mind. I looked it up in "Harmony With God," Page 90.
    QUOTE.....
    "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" (Acts 19:2).
    The disciples' reply can be translated, "We have not so much as heard if the Holy Spirit is here (Acts 19:2). The words "is here" translate a Greek phrase that can be rendered simply "is." From this fact many have drawn the conclusion that these disciples of John the Baptist had no knowledge of the Third Person of the Trinity, i.e., they didn't know He existed.
    This is highly improbable, since John the Baptist, whose disciples they were, preached about the Spirit (Mk 1:8 and other places). But a clue to the real meaning of the text here is found in John 7:39.
    In that passage John explains a statement made by our Lord by saying, "But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given [supplied by NKJV], because Jesus was not yet glorified" (Jn 7:39). The literal rendering would be: "!the Spirit was not yet"!

    (NOW SKIPPING DOWN THE PAGE ZANE CONTINUES).....
    QUOTE....
    To say that "the Holy Spirit is not yet" or "is" was to state that He had not yet come or had come. This alone makes real sense of Acts 19:2.
    END OF QUOTE

    He has a lot to say about this in his book. Hope you have it and can read what he says. I just wanted to point out that there is a view point that says that these disciples knew about the Holy Spirit, but just didn't know that He had YET come.

    Since my comments are so long here, I'll have to wait to address my other questions at a later time (from some of the others guests). Thanks for giving me much to think about.

    Rejoicing always in His great love for undeserving me,
    Diane
    :-)

    By Blogger Diane, at 3/19/2009 1:15 AM  

  • Hi Rose, Diane

    Diane, thank you for redirecting me to Zane's Harmony; I had not looked at it for quite some time. You raise a very important issue that may have some bearing on the ongoing vitriolic dispute among various "camps" within the FG movement.

    I have re-read the chapter "Repentance in Palestine," and Zane and I agree on my main point, the disciples of John in Acts 19 had already believed before they received the gift of the Spirit (p. 97, cf. Acts 19:2).

    Zane questions the assumption that these disciples did not know that there was a Holy Spirit. I readily concede Zane's point that the Greek can mean "...the Holy Spirit is here"; this is distinct from the point I was trying to make, as I will clarify below.

    But to first address your point, I would say that the disciples of John---Jewish monotheists---were not likely to understand who the Holy Spirit was before they were baptized by Paul. The Jewish notion of "the Spirit of God" bore no overtones of a separate person of the godhead. So I disagree with Zane that the only way to make sense of the passage is to take 19:2 as "...the Holy Spirit is here": If they were now hearing Paul proclaim that they could receive a separate person of the godhead, it is entirely plausible (IMO) that they had never heard of the Holy Spirit per se as new revelation over and above the OT monotheistic notion of "the Spirit of God."

    Now, my point in citing the notion of "judgment according to light received" was to clarify the difference between the object of faith, which I contend is the promises of God progressively revealed from Adam (per my discussion with Gary on Kaiser's book) and culminating in the person of Jesus; and the basis of salvation, which has always been the atoning death and resurrection of Jesus, Messiah.

    It is clear that John's disciples in Acts 19 were saved on the basis of Christ's death and resurrection. What is not clear is whether they had received this salvation by believing on the specific name of Jesus, which Zane seems to presuppose in his use of the motto "faith alone in Christ alone" (p. 97, top). Here, Zane uses the term "basis" which I find unclear, since he does not mention the death and resurrection of Christ (and this may help explain some of the gross misunderstanding of Zane by some in the FG movement). Moreover, Zane qualifies this "basis" by the term "always" (p. 97, top); but this cannot be for all saints in all dispensations when they did not know the name of Jesus. "Faith alone" relates to the object of faith which increases by progressive revelation, not the basis of salvation which is always the same. I hold that the object of faith in any dispensation is the promises of God (Heb 11).

    I would therefore contend that the disciples in Acts 19 believed John's promise of Messiah who would "come after" him (19:4), and I agree with Zane that this is when they received eternal life. However, Luke goes out of his way to point out that Paul had to specify for them who he was talking about by adding "...that is, on Christ Jesus" (19:4), which would suggest to me, at least, that they were OT saints who now needed to fill out the object of their faith with the person of Jesus and be baptized into the community of the Body of Christ, signified and sealed by the receipt of the Holy Spirit.

    Clearly, neither Jesus nor any of his disciples had been to Ephesus by the time Paul arrived. But if these disciples of John had somehow heard of Jesus after John's baptism and had associated Jesus with "him who was to come after," then I would accept Zane's explanation. But is this really necessary if we accept the testimony of Heb 11 that whoever believed the promises of God (ultimately fulfilled in Christ)---however much content they received as the object of their faith---would have an inheritance together with those who would believe in the name of Jesus (11:35, 39-40)?

    By Blogger agent4him, at 3/19/2009 10:30 AM  

  • Hi Rose/ Jim/ Diane
    Some thoughts

    The bases (foundation) is Christ Himself who gives eternal life.

    The “means” by which something is done or obtained is through faith in Christ Himself FOR everlasting life.

    Jesus death, burial, and resurrection is “how” He is able to give sinners the gift of eternal life, and still be just.

    The OT saint knew about the Holy Spirit’s presence with them but knew that He only presided in the Holy of Holies. It was not until the veil was rent from top to bottom and the Holy of Holies was in the Saint that the Triune God could preside there in the New Man.

    It would be an amazing and impossible thing if John the Baptist disciples did not know that Jesus was the Christ when even Simeon did at the temple when He was but a child. Paul needed to instruct them in the way of discipleship the first act of obediance being baptism into Christ the One they had believed in FOR eternal life. At that time the Holy Spirit was only given to those Palestinians who had been water baptized into Christ signifying their placement into Christ body by the Spirit.

    Acts 18:28
    Abraham as Moses knew about Christ Gal 3:8; Heb 1:26 because the gospel is all about Christ. The part of the gospel that was not revealed in the past was the “mystery of the gospel” which had to do with the body of Christ.
    Abraham obtained the promise through patiently enduring Hebrews 6:10-20.
    That is not how one is born again. Abraham believed in the promise of the Seed and that Seed being Christ and it was accounted to him for rightousness. It was later that Abraham brought his only son to be sacrificed on the same mountain the Christ was.

    Justification of life is only to those who believe in Jesus as the Christ the One who gives eternal life. Everyone who is yet to believe presides in death being born in sin.

    Alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/19/2009 5:00 PM  

  • Alvin,

    I think we need to define terms a little more precisely; I use the terms "object" and "basis" a little differently than I think you use "basis," "means," and "how." I believe we agree on most of these issues but there are some minor points here where I would differ with Bob W. and Zane.

    I agree that "seed" is the crucial component of the object of faith in every age since Gen 3:15. Of course, this "seed" has the same referent in Gen 12:3 and in the subsequent promises to all the patriarchs and it is fulfilled in Christ. There is "life" in the seed at every point in progressive revelation; hence, faith directed to the "object" ("the seed," fulfilled in Christ) is for life in the seed to redeem the legacy of death left by Adam and our sin.

    I do not dispute that John believed that Jesus was the Messiah, but even he doubted after he was thrown in prison by Herod. The point I was making is that the Ephesian disciples had been baptized into John's baptism without necessarily hearing the name of the one who was to come.

    I would take "justification of life" (Rom 5:18) more broadly than Zane to include Adam's sin, so I agree with Tony Evans that children who do not have a chance to believe in Jesus are justified.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 3/19/2009 7:39 PM  

  • Hi Jim

    How yah doin Good, you healing up?

    For Paul to have said "when you believed" I would take that in the same sense as John in his gospel used the word meaning that they had believed in Jesus as the Christ.

    I believe the "justification of life" being justification is a judicial term. I believe as Zane that judicially no one will ever be condemned because of their sin. So sin is no longer the issue, believing is the issue. So babies or ones who cannot believe, I believe are exempt because they are not capable of believing. And God does not demand something from them they cannot do.

    Ugly :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/19/2009 8:29 PM  

  • Hi Rose, and u 2 Ugly,

    I'm healin' up gradual-like; haven't been back out on my bike yet, but I'm hoping to get back in the saddle by tomorrow or Saturday.

    With respect to "justification of life," I certainly see it as including judicial, but again, the near context of reigning in righteousness to eternal life would suggest that this "justification" is meant to "kick in" whenever sin needs to be atoned for. I made this case in much more detail in the thread "Who is 'Our'??"

    I understand and respect your position on Paul's use of "believed." While that is possible it is not explicitly specified until 19:4, after they had already believed; Paul could have meant their faith in the promise of (unnamed) Messiah as OT saints before they knew the person of Jesus.

    Is there some textual clue that leads you to equate Paul's meaning with John's use?

    By Blogger agent4him, at 3/20/2009 12:25 AM  

  • Hi Jim and Alvin..... and especially Rose who has been kind enough to invite us to her place to visit.
    :-)

    Jim, I have to admit that I'm still trying to digest what you said. I learn slow, and I haven't gotten to that place where I see it like you do. But I do appreciate your explanation, and I will try to think through it again.

    The part that really jumps out to me in Zane's book... "Harmony With God"... Page 90, is where he points out that the expression "the Spirit was not yet", fits the interpretation of Acts 19:2 perfectly in my eyes. Also they were disciples of John the Baptist and he preached about the Spirit. So it makes no sense to me that they would not know about Him. But I must admit, I'm bias!!!
    :-)
    I'll study this one closer and see if I can see it your way. Thanks for taking the time to explain it. I apprecaite that.

    A free grace friend,
    Diane
    :-)

    By Blogger Diane, at 3/20/2009 12:28 AM  

  • Hi Jim
    Ugly said:
    I can’t see Paul using the judicial word justification for something that has to do with progressive sanctification “kick in.” I believe he is talking about the believers position in Christ here. They are either in Christ the last Adam or in the first Adam. If they are in Christ they were placed there by faith.
    Jim said:
    With respect to "justification of life," I certainly see it as including judicial, but again, the near context of reigning in righteousness to eternal life would suggest that this "justification" is meant to "kick in" whenever sin needs to be atoned for. I made this case in much more detail in the thread "Who is 'Our'??"

    I understand and respect your position on Paul's use of "believed." While that is possible it is not explicitly specified until 19:4, after they had already believed; Paul could have meant their faith in the promise of (unnamed) Messiah as OT saints before they knew the person of Jesus.

    Is there some textual clue that leads you to equate Paul's meaning with John's use?


    Ugly said:
    I agree with Zane, his seems to be the simple way of understanding it. And I know that the Apostle John word save means simply eternal life, and Paul, Luke, Peter use the word save to include the gift of the Holy Spirit. But the word believe I can’t see Paul using that word in a different way. I believe the evidence leans toward John’s meaning because all the NT believers knew that Jesus was the Christ, even Simeon knew that Jesus was the Christ child. I’m sure Jesus was making an uproar, and everyone knew who He was claiming to be.

    But, I need to do a lot more thinking on this, I will go back and read your thread on “Who is ‘Our’??”

    Ugly :~}

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/20/2009 2:21 AM  

  • Ugly,

    I think this is where our dispensational views may differ. I don't see a clearcut "bright line" distinction between the dispensations, so that Simeon could see the Christ child and know, yet others might not find out until centuries later. So John's disciples at Ephesus could have been "OT saints" until they received the Spirit and were baptized into the Body of Christ, while the multitude at Pentecost and all those who immediately received the Holy Spirit on believing in Jesus were NT saints.

    This is what Bad was talking about in mentioning Kaiser's Promise Plan of Salvation. It makes more sense to me of the principle of salvation by grace through faith in every age since the fall of Adam, even though the name and person of Christ were not known. The object of faith has always been the promise of life in the "seed," progressively propagated in a chosen line from Adam on, until ultimately fulfilled in the person of Jesus.

    Ugly, let me e-mail you and Bad an outline of the book of Genesis that I put together several years ago that takes Genesis as showing how this pattern was propagated for the thousands of years since the fall.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 3/20/2009 10:17 AM  

  • Hey Good

    That would be great, I'll check it out!
    But one last thing that came to my pea brain! If you would have thought anyone was an OT saint you would have thought "Cornelius" had "believed" that way. But Cornelius had not believed until he was given words of life. I believe once Jesus started His ministry one had to believe in Jesus as God's Christ. I can't see "believe" concerning eternal life being given apart from that name (John 20:31)

    Ugly :~}

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/20/2009 1:16 PM  

  • Sorry Rose I must have lost my head!!! At least I don't have buggy eyeballs though . . .heehee

    Good Morning Rose!!!!

    Hey Good, I bet your biking is like my running. I do some of my best thinking running. Also it's a big stress release. Hope your back on the trails soon :)

    Ugly :~}

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/20/2009 1:19 PM  

  • Hey, Rose, Ugly

    "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments."

    Alvin, I looked over Acts 10 and I believe we have the same kind of situation as in Acts 19. What makes you think Cornelius was not a believer before he was supernaturally instructed to seek out Peter? After all, he was "one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always" (10:2). How would you expect the Bible to describe a faithful OT saint? The term "fear of the Lord" is one of the most common markers of faith in the OT. It certainly is in Job and Ecclesiastes, with which I am most familiar.

    The text never says he believed when Peter explained to him that Jesus was Messiah; it only says that he and all his household "automatically" received the Spirit when Peter matched up for them the person of Jesus with the promised Messiah, right? The point of the passage is that Gentiles can "fear God"--- i.e., believe the promise of life in the Messiah---just like Jews.

    I shore love your tenacity, Ugly...

    By Blogger agent4him, at 3/20/2009 1:53 PM  

  • Good said:
    Alvin, I looked over Acts 10 and I believe we have the same kind of situation as in Acts 19. What makes you think Cornelius was not a believer before he was supernaturally instructed to seek out Peter?

    Acts 11:14 ‘who will tell you words by which you and your household will be saved.’
    Well Good, I was thinking here saved meant eternal life, but I know it could simply mean that he wasn’t saved in the Peter sense of the word, which meant he was not baptized by the Holy Spirit yet.


    After all, he was "one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always" (10:2). How would you expect the Bible to describe a faithful OT saint? The term "fear of the Lord" is one of the most common markers of faith in the OT. It certainly is in Job and Ecclesiastes, with which I am most familiar.

    Good, I see you have some good points here I still need to chew on. In the Old Testament one who was born again was spoken of as “Knowing the Lord.” Here we have some who did not yet “know the Lord.” 1 Sam 2:12 Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the Lord. Compared too: 1 Sam 3:7 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, neither was the word of the Lord yet revealed unto him. We know to “know the Lord” is eternal life John 17:2,3.

    The text never says he believed when Peter explained to him that Jesus was Messiah; it only says that he and all his household "automatically" received the Spirit when Peter matched up for them the person of Jesus with the promised Messiah, right? The point of the passage is that Gentiles can "fear God"--- i.e., believe the promise of life in the Messiah---just like Jews.

    Good I think Peter makes clear here there is no “forgiveness of sins” apart from the “Name of Jesus” which would tell me they were not in harmony with God yet! The twelve in Acts 19 had eternal life and forgivness of sins but were just lacking the gift of the Holy Spirit. Cornelius I don’t think had forgiveness of sins because that was ONLY given in Jesus name (Acts 10:42,43). So he was a God fearer that was approaching God on the light he had. It does seem that he knew the Lord but needed to be in harmony with Him by way of forgiveness of sins found ONLY in Christ.
    So the difference I see between Acts 19 and 10 are the twelve were born again and had forgiveness of sins but lacked the gift of the Spirit. Whereas Acts 10 they needed to be saved, Peter made the point "forgivness of sins" rather then "eternal life" because of the Jew vrs. Gentile thing. This showed that Gentiles could be in harmony with God apart from becoming a proselyte.
    Hey Good, I’ll be chew’n on this it hasn’t all jelled in my brain yet . . . . heehee

    Ugly :~}

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/20/2009 6:49 PM  

  • Ugly (aka ?"jelly-brain"),

    Now, ah shore don't mind callin' u "ugly" but ah am a mite twitchy about u callin' me "Good"....(didja notice the first text in my last post?)

    I agree with your point about forgiveness of sins, for that is exactly the point that Paul made in Rom 3:24-25: God "passed over the sins previously committed" until such time as Messiah's work of atonement could remit those sins. I think Paul is referring here primarily to justification of OT saints, whose sins would not be finally remitted until Christ's blood was shed; hence, they could have had faith in the "promise" but not "final" salvation in the OT sense of the word, which is almost certainly what Peter was talking about in Acts 10-11.

    If Cornelius and his household had already exercised faith in the promise of Messiah, then they would indeed be saved on the basis of Christ's atoning death and resurrection, but Peter, like Paul in Acts 19, was able to make that connection by linking their salvation with the name of Jesus; hence, the newly revealed identity of the promised seed and their reception of the Spirit would propel them into the dispensation of the Church and the Body of Christ.

    On the issue of "harmony with God," are you using that term in the same sense as Zane, whom Diane cited on that point earlier? My understanding of Zane's argument was that harmony with God was maintained by repentance.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 3/20/2009 7:28 PM  

  • oK! Jim I don't want to make you twitchy. But you know your going to ruin our theme! You could, you know take "Good" as 'Good Looking' yah know like "Clint Eastwood." But I'll call you Jim from now on! But "Bad" he is stuck with his name . . . . because he tried to get me in trouble with them women . . . by reminding them of something I wanted them to forget! Anyways where were we . . . oh yah!
    I'll touch only on the last part since I've already been too long winded!
    I don’t believe Cornelius sins were passed over but his repentance (turning from idols to the true God) prepared him to hear the words of Peter that he might be “saved” which were the words of the angel (Acts 11:13,14). Also Peter in Acts 15:7b Men and brethern , you know a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. We know that was Cornelius. So I believe “saved” meant Cornelius was born again he believed the gospel, and also the twelve in Acts 19 had “believed” which I believe they were born again. That’s how I see it anyway Jim, the Scripture seems to be pretty clear. The ones in Acts 19 had already received forgiveness of sins because Paul doesn’t mention anything about forgiveness of sins. The only way their sins could have been forgiven was in Jesus name (Acts 10:42-43) So I don’t believe they were Old Testament saints that had only had their sin passed over but had believed in Jesus.

    Ugly :~}

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/20/2009 10:46 PM  

  • Hey, Ugly

    I'll try to be brief as well and only touch on one aspect I didn't previously mention.

    Ugly said:
    Men and brethern , you know a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. We know that was Cornelius.

    I would propose that Cornelius' role was not to serve as Peter's first Gentile convert but rather to authenticate existing Gentile believers by the Spirit in order to prove to Peter and the Church in Jerusalem that Gentiles would then be fair game for their "mouths" in evangelism. That is, God chose Cornelius, who had already "turned from idols to the true God," in order to authenticate for Peter and the Jerusalem council by signs of the Spirit that God intended for Gentile saints to be included in the Body of Christ.

    I suggest that this episode and Acts 19 both promote the argument of Acts by de-emphasizing the "mechanics" of the gospel message in favor of identifying the people of God and authenticating the gospel message by the initiative of the Spirit. This was critical from a dispensational perspective, not because no Gentiles were justified in prior dispensations but precisely because they had been and therefore needed now to be actively embraced by Jewish believers as the people of God by the Spirit and not by Mosaic Law.

    As a result, the Spirit then "separated" Paul and Barnabus to take the gospel to all Gentiles (Acts 13), considering that God had already been saving them by grace through faith in the promised Messiah!

    Either way, I'm glad I have you chewin' on somethin', and I know you ain't gonna let me git away with nuthin'. That's actually reassuring.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 3/20/2009 11:47 PM  

  • Hi Jim

    I suggest that there was a cut off point where people were no longer saved by OT revelation but by Jesus who has spoken in these last days (Heb 1:1,2). Myself I would see the NT believer as that point to cut down on confusion. The book of Acts is a transitional book which the Palestinian who had rejected John the Baptist and Jesus call for the baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. These people sorta had a disconnect! They were born again (Acts 2:37; 1 John 5:1a) but yet were not given the gift of the Holy Spirit until after they repented and were baptized. I believe this is enough confusion let alone making the word "believe" which the Acts 19 twelve had did mean something other then "Jesus being the Christ."
    I'm not trying to be critical but I see this as one more thing to pile on? I see John the Baptist as an example of the early transition. He was a believer in Christ but was not part of the Church but a friend of the Bridegroom (John 3:29).

    Ugly :~}

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/21/2009 1:20 AM  

  • Good Morning Rose/Jim

    Something else that came to my mind. I believe both Nicodemus and Saul of Tarsus were “God Fearer’s” zealous for God’s law. But they were in a new dispensation of grace (Eph 3:2; John 1:17 grace and truth) and could no longer believe in a future Messiah but had to believe in the Messiah who was before them. Jesus got after Nicodemus for not knowing these things (John 3:10). And in 2 Cor 3:14-16 we see that there is a veil that lies over their heart but when they turn to the Lord the veil is removed.

    Ugly :~}

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/21/2009 2:43 AM  

  • Ugly,

    I don't see you as being "critical" at all. Your points in both posts are all well-taken from a classical dispensational perspective, which is displayed in the way you distinguish a present dispensation of "grace." But we do need to further unpack the distinctions made between law and grace in John 1:17 and Eph 3:2. Again, I don't want to try to make too many points here, because I think a "bigger picture" is ultimately needed to harmonize all these passages and distinctions.

    In reply, I would appeal to the context (Eph 3:3-7) which explains what Paul means by the "dispensation of grace" (3:2): The "mystery of Christ" (3:4) is the notion of Jews and Gentiles together in one Body by the grace of God (3:6); but now, look closely: "...partakers of His promise in Christ through the Gospel" (3:6b). What "promise"? (Bad, r u listening in on this?)

    The idea of "promise" is not a brand new promise in Christ but rather---by progressive revelation through the advent of Christ (3:3-4)---the same promise that was given to Abraham (= blessing through the "seed"), now filled out in the person of Christ and available to Jew and Gentile alike apart from distinctions of the law.

    Moreover, "Gospel" in this context (3:6b) is 3-dimensional, being based on Eph 2:10 as well as 2:8-9 and to be fulfilled by Jews and Gentiles together in one Body. So, from a progressive dispensational perspective, there is indeed a "disconnect," as you put it, with the Law (it became "obsolete") but there is actually a "reconnect" with the promises to Abraham: Through the grace manifested in Christ, both Jews and Gentiles would "rise above" Mosaic constraints to "come back together in the promise to Abraham," as it were, which never changed---it only got "filled out" in Jesus.

    Does that make sense?

    By Blogger agent4him, at 3/21/2009 1:03 PM  

  • Yes it does! You tie together the dispensation of grace with the mystery of the gospel nicely! I agree! Also showing the meaning of promise being the Seed with 3D salvation deliverance from the law by way of the Spirit.

    But, I still think that Acts 19 and 10 they believed in the name of Jesus for eternal life. All though you got me thinkin! Maybe you need to go to the “Big Picture” next? I like Big Picture show’s!!!!

    Ugly :~}

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/21/2009 2:50 PM  

  • Hey Jim,

    What actually has my ears perked is what you eluded too earlier about Zane (bases).
    "Harmony With God" page. 96-97 quote from:
    Let it be clearly said that the simple way of eternal salvation was not changed even for the Israelites of Palistine. Eternal life is always received on the basis of faith alone in Chriist alone. Thus the Judge of all mankind accepts the faith of any and every human being who believes in Christ for eternal life. No such person is in any danger at all of eternal damnation.

    Jim you said concerning "bases."

    Now, my point in citing the notion of "judgment according to light received" was to clarify the difference between the object of faith, which I contend is the promises of God progressively revealed from Adam (per my discussion with Gary on Kaiser's book) and culminating in the person of Jesus; and the basis of salvation, which has always been the atoning death and resurrection of Jesus, Messiah.

    It is clear that John's disciples in Acts 19 were saved on the basis of Christ's death and resurrection. What is not clear is whether they had received this salvation by believing on the specific name of Jesus, which Zane seems to presuppose in his use of the motto "faith alone in Christ alone" (p. 97, top). Here, Zane uses the term "basis" which I find unclear, since he does not mention the death and resurrection of Christ (and this may help explain some of the gross misunderstanding of Zane by some in the FG movement). Moreover, Zane qualifies this "basis" by the term "always" (p. 97, top); but this cannot be for all saints in all dispensations when they did not know the name of Jesus. "Faith alone" relates to the object of faith which increases by progressive revelation, not the basis of salvation which is always the same. I hold that the object of faith in any dispensation is the promises of God (Heb 11).


    Jim I believe Zane is using the word “bases” in how one is saved meaning it’s always been “The Christ” even though we know His name is Jesus, the Christ has never changed.

    I think this topic is crucial right now with whats going on.

    Ugly:~}

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/21/2009 3:47 PM  

  • I'll focus more in:

    Zane said:
    Eternal life is always received on the basis of faith alone in Chriist alone.


    I believe Jim your saying bases here should be the cross and object should be the promises . . .right?

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/21/2009 3:53 PM  

  • Jim, I think where I'm seing the difference is you use the word "salvation" and Zane uses the word "eternal life." Eternal life is not given by way of promise but by way of believing in a Person . . . the Christ in all dispensations. Heb 11:26 esteeming the reproach of Christ

    Abraham received the promise by patient endurance Heb 6:15

    Ugly :~}

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/21/2009 4:17 PM  

  • Rose, can't you call some kind of "technical foul" here? This is comment #158 on a thread that was started by Colin, and he's long since abandoned (probably smarter than all of us). I had the first comment, and now Ugly's asking for a systematic theology! Plus, now that I know what he looks like,...Help!!

    Yes, Ugly...I think we have lift-off!

    Look...let's say you're a nice law-abiding Gentile minding your own business and you hear about some weird guy with a beard who wears a gunny-sack and eats insects; he says the Messiah is coming after him, and you've only heard something vague about a promised Messiah from the Jews but it made more sense to you than anything else, so you said to yourself, "By gum, I'm puttin' all my chips on that square, because out of all I've heard about Jupiter or Zeus, or any of that other hogwash, this promise makes all the sense in the world, this Messiah will somehow bring us 'blessing,' and I'm tired of trying to make my own sense out of it."

    So you sit the family down and tell them as much as you know, and why you want to worship the God of this Messiah rather than go to the local Roman temple to be a "politically correct" centurion.

    Now, let's say you then hear about some "yahoo" that really ticked off the Jewish authorities and got crucified recently for being some kind of subversive, but no one has bothered to clue you in as to who this guy is, because you're only a Gentile anyway and you don't know about "eternal life"; all you know is your life is different since you decided to put all your chips on the Messiah, whoever he is, and the other people in your household see the change and believe---if anybody asks them, they say "what he said."

    Then one day you hear something out of the blue from another weird guy that talks about "Jesus" and "eternal life" and you say to yourself, "By gum, that's it! Now I know who the Messiah is, and the 'blessing' he brings is called 'eternal life,' and he can do that because God raised him from the dead and proved that what he was the promised Messiah, WOO HOO!!!"

    Soon as he says "WOO HOO," he starts speaking in tongues and the rest of his household. Now, did he speak in tongues because that was when he first believed the "promise"? No. It was because "the new sheriff in town"---the Holy Spirit---needed to prove to the "established Church" (which was only Jews up to that point) that "this guy's with ME, so stop resisting the grace that I have given to the Gentiles so they can share the blessings of the New Covenant with you guys...and by the way, you can eat bacon now."

    The point in Acts 10 and 19 was not that the Holy Spirit was going around saving people when they first heard about Jesus; it was to validate that the promise they already believed was good enough to get them a "membership card" once they were made aware that this promise was Jesus! If the centurion had been in Anna's or Simeon's shoes, he would have acknowledged the Christ-child as the promise fulfilled, but now it was 34 years later, and he was a Gentile!

    That's the only difference I see. Still making sense?

    By Blogger agent4him, at 3/21/2009 4:43 PM  

  • Now yah talk'en my lingo, now I need to chew . . . . and i be tellin you if I had too spit :)

    Ugly:~}

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/21/2009 4:51 PM  

  • Jim what you are saying sounded a lot like what Missy believes kind a progressive believing?

    I don’t agree Jim, because Jesus told the women at the well two things she MUST know:

    1. If you knew the gift of God
    2. And who it is who said ‘give Me a drink’
    The living water is the knowledge that the One standing before her was "the Christ" the One who gives eternal life.
    Believed (ask) springs up into everlasting life.

    I don’t believe that someone could just believe in the Messiah and be born again without knowing it.

    I believe they must believe in the Messiah as "the Christ" the One who guarantees their eternal well-being in every dispensation.

    Martha showed that she had believed in a future resurrection, and also that Jesus was "the Christ" and that He had given her eternal life. Paul is the pattern for all who will believe in Jesus FOR everlasting life. When anyone does that they are believing in the Christ and are born of God (1 John 5:1a). Jesus got after Nic at night for not knowing about being "born again."

    Ugly :~}

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/21/2009 5:43 PM  

  • OK, now yer givin' me a headache; do you realize I've been workin' on this since your last post? *shaking head* But, I guess if God thinks you're worth it, so do I; He causes his sun to shine even on ugly critters.

    Tell me this, Ugly: Could a Gentile be saved in the Old Testament? If so, what would he have to believe? (You already answered this question: the promise of Messiah or Christ.) Now, I don't know about Missy's progressive believing, but I'm talking about progressive revelation of the promised "seed" and the blessing that would come through him. My thesis, going back to my very first comment above, is that all the examples you cited in your last post received more "light" (about Messiah) than the centurion before they believed.

    In John 5 Jesus himself clarifies the basis for the probable difference between the centurion in Acts 10 and either Nic at night or the woman in John 3-4:

    "You have sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth.... He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light. But I have a greater witness than John's; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish--the very works that I do--bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me. And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me.... But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. I do not receive honor from men. But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you. I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God? Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you--Moses, in whom you trust. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?" (John 5:33-47 NKJV).

    The key to differentiating the centurion from Nic or the woman at the well is bolded above. Nic was not an OT believer when he came to Jesus at night because he hadn't believed Moses' testimony about the promised Messiah (3:11); and the woman at the well had no firm conviction about whose testimony to believe (4:20-22) until she was pressed to consider the Messiah she had heard about (4:25-26). That's why I believe neither of them was born again before Jesus spoke to them.

    By contrast, while the text in Acts 10 is not explicit (the point there is not to show how one is saved), nothing in the text implies that the centurion doubted the promise of Messiah---like Nic or the woman at the well---to which John had testified; in fact, quite the contrary: He feared God and was approved by God for the exemplary righteousness and just deeds that bore witness to his faith (10:2-4), as Peter readily acknowledged (10:35), given their common knowledge of John's testimony by that point (10:37).

    By Blogger agent4him, at 3/21/2009 9:02 PM  

  • Bro. Jim,

    Good points about Nic & the Woman. I had not really put 2 & 2 together in that particular way. I believe you are right on target. God Bless.

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at 3/21/2009 9:49 PM  

  • Thank yah Jim for taking that time that gave you that big ole headache for this poorly ugly ole critter!!!!!!

    You make some very fine points!!!! I need to do more thinkin on this, so it all jells :)

    Simeon was ready for the Messiah because he had believed Moses writings, and that is why he was expecting Him. He didn't need to see Him too be born again because he already was. I thought I had yah on the women at the well, but you just slithered right out of my trap :) Your explanation makes perfect sense concerning Cornelious also :)
    I believe in progressive revelation (light)until one comes to believe in Jesus as the Christ the One who guarantees their eternal destiny.
    Did you read my posts on what Zane had said with what you had said above? I believe as he does that in all dispensations people received eternal life the same way by believing in "the Christ." Just as the Scriptures that you gave Jesus said they searched the Scriptures thinking they had "eternal life" but would not come to Him for eternal life. So the object has always been "the Christ" for eternal life, and still is, only now we know His name.

    Ugly :~}

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/21/2009 10:10 PM  

  • Yes, Ugly, now we're tracking (I hope). I did read what Zane said above, but at times you seemed (to me at least) to reject what I said about the "seed," which I thought was saying the same thing as Zane, only "generically" to cover all dispensations. So, Yes: The object of faith is "the Christ" in every dispensation, long as we define "the Christ" as "the promised seed who would bring life."

    This has been the "bare minimum" definition revealed since Genesis 3:15, 20: In 3:15 the woman was promised the "seed" who would defeat Satan after death entered through Adam's sin, and only then was her name changed from ishah ("woman") to Eve, "because [despite the inescapable curse of death] she was [to be] the mother of all the living" (3:20 NKJV).

    This notion of the seed who would crush Satan's head and bring life after death then continues to echo in every subsequent mention of the "Seed of promise," especially in the promise to Abraham (Gen 12:3), and finds its culmination in "the Christ" (Gal 3:19), as you, Ugly, have pointed out so faithfully.

    We good now?

    By Blogger agent4him, at 3/21/2009 10:50 PM  

  • yep! Brother Jim! Hey you too Brother David, you must have been there all along and never let out a peep :)

    Ugly :~} rest your head now Jim :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/21/2009 10:57 PM  

  • Whew!!

    Ugly, I want you on my side if we ever get in a real fight. I feel like I've tangled with a pit bull all day long, and you ain't even breathin' hard.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 3/21/2009 11:05 PM  

  • Alvin,

    my wife just read the last post and told me in no uncertain terms, "Don't you call him 'Ugly'---he's precious, 'cause he's Jesus' little lamb!"

    Here I thought u wuz a pit bull!!

    By Blogger agent4him, at 3/21/2009 11:09 PM  

  • Ain't noth'en Jim :) Why you were doin all the work . . . .I was just being myself . . . Ugly . . . heehee

    Ugly :~}

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/21/2009 11:10 PM  

  • Why thank her sweet heart for calling me a lamb . . . .boy that's maken me hungry . . . lamb chops :) Don't tell Peggy that though Jim ...heehee

    Ugly has been here :~}

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/21/2009 11:13 PM  

  • Hi Rose/Missy
    more clarification
    Concerning:

    ‘but whoever drinks of the water I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:15

    “Water That Produces Water” Zane Hodges (parts)

    The water of life is not equivalent to everlasting life.

    The water that I shall give him shall become a source of everlasting life

    That is exactly what a fountain is which refers basically to a spring

    A spring is a source of water

    Jesus said this spring will leap up into everlasting life

    Clearly Jesus does not identify the water that He gives as everlasting life, instead He identifies it as the source of everlasting life.

    What could Jesus give that would produce everlasting life?

    The answer is fairly simple, He could give her the truth that He Himself was the Christ.

    Would this truth give her everlasting life?

    But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. (John 20:31)

    Missy, the “gift of God” mentioned in John 4:10 is everlasting life.
    The water that Jesus gives is not everlasting life but the source to everlasting life which IS the “gift of God.”

    Just to clarify some more :)

    alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/22/2009 12:37 AM  

  • Good Morning Rose/Jim

    I got one problem Jim! Actually I have a lot more than one problem but that’s beside the point . . . .HeeHeee. . . I is a problem :~}

    Ok you put this about Cornelius:
    but no one has bothered to clue you in as to who this guy is, because you're only a Gentile anyway and you don't know about "eternal life"; all you know is your life is different since you decided to put all your chips on the Messiah, whoever he is,

    Jim, I believe the OT saints KNEW they would be resurrected and had eternal life. Moses made sure they took his bones back to the promise land, David said about his child “he can’t come back to me but I will go to him. Enoch and Elijah showed them it was possible for them to not even die but be taken up.
    So I believe that Cornelius knew he had eternal life and a future resurrection. Not pie in the sky by and by, but he had eternal life the moment he believed in the promise of the Messiah (Christ). King Saul was turned into another man, he was given a new heart. That my friend is regeneration! Jesus said that God was the God of the living not the dead. Moses and Elijah on the mount of transfiguration proved that to be absent from the body was to be present with the Lord, OT saints had “eternal life” and knew they did.

    You be telling me where I be wrong :~}?

    Ugly :~}

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/22/2009 12:59 PM  

  • Hi Jim,

    Another point I would make is that the mystery of the gospel did not concern the gift of eternal life but Jew and Gentile being one in Christ.
    What I showed to Missy up above concerning the living water not being the "gift of God" but the source.
    Notice with the women at the well their is NO mention of Jesus name only that He is the Christ. It's always been "the Christ" who has given everlasting life. Now we know is name is Jesus but we still MUST believe in Him as the Christ to have everlasting life. The living water is the knowledge of His person. That same living water was offered in the OT (Isa 55:1).

    Ugly :~}

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/22/2009 3:38 PM  

  • OK, Ugly, I see yore shootin' for 200 posts, and Miss Kitty still hasn't shoo'd you outa the saloon.

    At least yer askin' the right questions, but Ugly, you are reading NT concepts of "eternal life" back into the OT; that is "content" the OT saints did not have.

    OK, two things, right?
    object of faith and basis of salvation [= "eternal life"]

    Let's take the second one first, 'cuz I think we agree on that: Does one have to fully understand the basis of salvation (the death and resurrection of Messiah) in order to receive eternal life? Obviously, No. Witness all the OT saints (Heb 11). But if one is told the basis of salvation once it is revealed, that would be part of the whole package, right?

    Now, what about the object of faith? What they understood depends on how much light they had received; so what about your OT patriarchs who you say foresaw their "resurrection"? All they knew was what God promised to Abraham, that somehow there was life after death in the "promised land" (and you can include the prophet Jeremiah, who bought a "worthless" piece of that promised land on the eve of their captivity to Babylon, Jer 32). Where do we get this?

    For the "object of faith," beyond the "seed-promise" of life after death in Gen 3:15, 20, those who came after Abraham had this:
    "And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God" (Gen 17:7-8).

    I don't see anything here about "resurrection" or "eternal life"; now, if you put 2 & 2 together, you'd figure there would have to be some way to get yer bones back alive again, and wouldn't it be nice for yer bones to be in the promised land already when that happened? So, I'll grant you they had some vague notion that they would live again, but HOW?

    OT Answer: "Who knows, all I care about is that it will come through the promised 'seed', so that's where I'm puttin' all my [faith] chips!"

    They had no idea about "the Christ" (technically, "Messiah") until Moses revealed it: This same "promised seed" would now be a "prophet like unto Moses" (Deut 18:18). After that, the prophets revealed even more detail about this "Messiah," who would save his people from their sins (cf. e.g., Isa 52-53) and be associated with a "New Covenant."

    You see how the "content" of what they trusted in for "life after death" increased only as it was progressively revealed through the prophets? So, in reply to your last post, Nic and the woman at the well had a whole mess more content about Messiah to believe in (or not) than the patriarchs; but it wasn't "always 'the Christ'"; it was "always the 'promised seed'" and only later "the Christ."

    By Blogger agent4him, at 3/22/2009 4:20 PM  

  • Hey Jim, I like pickin your brain cuz there's lot's there :)

    Jim said:

    OK, two things, right?
    object of faith and basis of salvation [= "eternal life"]


    Ugly said
    You seem to be saying here that the more revelation that has been revealed the more you have to believe. Am I right to say that in this dipensation you believe a person has to believe in Jesus not only for eternal life but the bases also? (death and resurrection)

    Jim said:
    Let's take the second one first, 'cuz I think we agree on that: Does one have to fully understand the basis of salvation (the death and resurrection of Messiah) in order to receive eternal life? Obviously, No. Witness all the OT saints (Heb 11). But if one is told the basis of salvation once it is revealed, that would be part of the whole package, right?

    Ugly said:
    You seem to be saying the more that is told to you the more you have to believe to be born again? Once you are told the basis of salvation you would be rejecting light if you did not believe it.

    Ugly :~}

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/22/2009 5:52 PM  

  • Hey Jim

    So the man on the "Deserted Island" with only the light of John 6:43,47 if believed is born again because he is believing in the right person for the right thing. And God could use his circumstances to bring him to believe the light he has?

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/22/2009 6:27 PM  

  • Hey Jim

    I will admit I always did think that evidence for eternal life and resurrection in the OT was very slim pickins. Although it did say that, that Rock they drank from was Christ, and that they esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt. Also Abraham believed that God was able to "raise him up" Isaac if he killed him.
    So there seems to be more there than meets the eye?

    Ugly :~}

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/22/2009 6:40 PM  

  • Can you believe this, Rose?

    Dearest Ugly,

    Question #1: Am I right to say that in this dipensation you believe a person has to believe in Jesus not only for eternal life but the bases also? (death and resurrection)

    A: No. I'm saying that if you believe in Jesus for eternal life you gotta real problem if you don't believe in the death and resurrection. That's the whole point of 1 Cor 15:
    Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up--if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen.

    How can you live out the gospel message without the resurrection? Would you give someone the gospel without explaining the death and resurrection?

    Q #2: You seem to be saying the more that is told to you the more you have to believe to be born again?

    A: More what? It's the same object and basis, Ugly---just more content and specification of that same truth. Have you ever given someone the gospel and they supposedly trusted Jesus for eternal life, then said, "But I don't believe that resurrection crap"? Would you automatically assume that they truly had faith alone in Christ alone? You'd have to ask what they really believed, wouldn't you? And how would they be assured of eternal life if they didn't believe the resurrection?

    Q #3: So the man on the "Deserted Island" with only the light of John 6:43,47 if believed is born again because he is believing in the right person for the right thing. And God could use his circumstances to bring him to believe the light he has?

    A: Of course, just like the thief on the cross, who was two hairs away from death. But is there not a difference between (1) trusting the "promised seed" for life after death, never having heard of the means by which he brings that life (kind of like the Desert Island scenario); and (2) hearing the name of Jesus and saying you "believe" for eternal life yet denying the resurrection after you hear "this Jesus whom you crucified, God raised from the dead"? How do you think Peter would have replied to any who heard his message yet responded like that? I have a sneaking hunch he would have pulled the same thing on them that Jesus did on the road to Emmaus, "O foolish ones and slow of heart to believe..." Could such a person truly believe? I suppose so, but it would be a logical contradiction and raise serious doubts in my mind.

    Q #4: Although it did say that, that Rock they drank from was Christ, and that they esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt. Also Abraham believed that God was able to "raise him up" Isaac if he killed him.
    So there seems to be more there than meets the eye?


    A: Once again, Ugly, IT'S THE SAME TRUTH: "life after death through the promised seed." Both of the passages you cited were simply NT authors adding more content and specification to the same truth: The "rock" in the wilderness embodied the promise of life for that generation who was already saved in the Passover and Exodus. Abraham had already trusted God for the promise, so if He intended to kill Isaac yet still make good on the promise, well DUH: God would have to raise him from the dead, right? It's just a logical corollary of his believing that Isaac was the "child of promise" (Gen 17:19): SAME PROMISE, MORE CONTENT.

    (You know, Ugly, I should just shell out the cash for air fare to fly you to Colorado Springs; it would save me time in the long run and be well worth it.)

    By Blogger agent4him, at 3/22/2009 8:46 PM  

  • Hey Brother Jim

    When you sending me the tickets????

    Just kiddin, I don't even have time to go to the Conference and meet all you fine folk!

    I’ve digressed a bit, and wanted to point something out. The word for *save* and the language used in Acts 11 is almost identical to Acts 16:31

    Acts 11:14 'who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved.'

    Is pretty much identical to:

    Acts 16:31b and you will be saved you and your household

    Also all the men in Acts 2:37 were devout but needed to be born again.

    I see Cornelius as a devout lost person who was seeking the Lord, and He sent an angel to send for Peter to give him and his household words of life.


    2 Kings 17:33 They feared the LORD, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence.


    The whole reason for the “Desert Island Scenario” was not to make what we tell people LESS but to pin point what MUST be believed to be born again. So when we do give the message we always give the bulls-eye!

    One verse that keeps coming to my mind is: Speaking to Abraham: Heb 6:12 And so after he patiently endured, he obtained the promise.

    That’s clearly not talking about a gift, but something that took his cooperation. In the OT if it was said of a person that they “knew the Lord” then they had the gift of eternal life (John 17:2,3; 1 Sam 2:12; 3:7).

    Jim thanks for all your time, I see that I need to do a lot more studying. But I guess it really doesn’t matter about Cornelius but what one MUST believe to have eternal life now. And we both agree on that!

    Ugly :~}

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/23/2009 12:03 AM  

  • Ugly,

    Here we go again. I covered this issue of the various dimensions of salvation on Antonio's blog, and I thought you were tracking with me.

    Your comment: Acts 11:14 'who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved.' Is pretty much identical to: Acts 16:31b and you will be saved you and your household

    Reply: In the NT, "salvation" is 3-dimensional; those aspects being referred to in any given passage depend on the context. The Philippian jailer recognized a supernatural event and just wanted to (1-dimensional) save his own skin, 'cuz the prisoners "escaped" on his watch. But instead he was given "life" in Jesus, a 3-dimensional salvation that would do much more than physical deliverance, not only for him but also for his entire household.

    IMO Cornelius and his household already had this salvation (they had the promise of eternal life) for the reasons I mentioned above. But they didn't have the "light" about how Messiah would deliver them into eternal life by remitting sins, so Peter filled in the blanks in order to show the believing Jews the mystery of Christ, which is: [Saved] Jews and [saved] Gentiles together.

    Comment: Also all the men in Acts 2:37 were devout but needed to be born again.

    Reply: Acts 2 is about "religious" Jews and proselytes (2:10) at a "religious" feast. "Devout" for a first-century Jew is not the same as "fear God and work righteousness," which described Cornelius and his household. Even so, some of those at Pentecost may already have been OT saints. After Peter concludes his quote of Joel 2 with "whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved" he explains to them newly revealed "light" about "the name of the Lord"; it is the crucified and resurrected Jesus. As a result they received the HS whether they were already OT believers or only just then believed in Messiah. The point is not to show who had been newly justified when they "called on the Lord"---it was to baptize them all into the Body of Christ, and to authenticate this new event by the Holy Spirit.

    Comment: 2 Kings 17:33 They feared the LORD, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence.

    Reply: This passage records the Assyrian captivity of Israel for their idolatry and actually proves my point about "fear of the Lord": A priest was sent to those who were left in Samaria to teach them the truth, and that generation "feared the Lord" yet continued to practice the rituals of their native "gods," so that subsequent generations "did not fear the Lord" (2 Kgs 17:34).

    OK, Ugly, here's the point: Can one believe in Jesus for eternal life and still walk in the ways of the world (= "keep idols")? I know your answer, because you believe what Zane said about this. My take on this passage is that the priest told the Samarians the OT truth about the "promised seed" and they believed (= "feared the Lord") but did not put away their idols. Doesn't the same thing happen today, even when we know the name of Jesus and trust him for eternal life?

    Comment: One verse that keeps coming to my mind is: Speaking to Abraham: Heb 6:12 And so after he patiently endured, he obtained the promise.
    That’s clearly not talking about a gift, but something that took his cooperation.


    Reply: I agree, "the promise" = the full inheritance promised to those who endure, but it was not "received" until the New Covenant was inaugurated (Heb 11:39-40).

    Comment: In the OT if it was said of a person that they “knew the Lord” then they had the gift of eternal life (John 17:2,3; 1 Sam 2:12; 3:7).

    Reply: Ugly, I think you are seriously mistaken here: Entering eternal life and the full appropriation of eternal life by "knowing God" are two different things; the latter is the intended---but not automatic---result of believing in Jesus. I refer you to First John, which echoes the same terminology of "knowing" as the Upper Room Discourse (John 17:2-3):

    Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked (1 John 2:3-6 NKJV).

    When we ask someone, "Do you know Jesus?" we don't mean it the way John was using it in either John 17 or First John. I would submit that it may very well imply the same thing in the OT; i.e., not only believing the promise of life after death but also experiencing God.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 3/23/2009 9:06 AM  

  • I made a comment on the "What's Grace Got To Do With It?" post that I meant to put here, but I don't have time to do it twice-so it's there if you're interested.

    By Blogger goe, at 3/23/2009 12:08 PM  

  • Jim most of what your saying I have defended in the past. Concerning the different levels of knowing God. I think what is bothering me is this. We open Pandora’s box when we say the more light is given to someone the more they must believe to be saved. Most people would say “it was the death and resurrection that showed me that Christ had died for me.” Then there is someone like Dianes friends little girl (4yrs old) who got saved on the bare minimum, simply believing in Jesus for His gift of life. Those ones who got saved with more light would cry “NO THAT’S NOT ENOUGH!” If all of us do not believe a person can be saved by simply believing Jesus promise to give them life, then we don’t believe Jesus promise. Jim, you seem to be implying with your (progressive revelation) that more is needed to be saved. But I know your not because you believe the person on Zane’s “Deserted Island Scenario” can be saved with just that minimum of light.
    Jim, you tie things together really well, and give me much to chew on, but something just isn’t sitting well for me. So I need time to see how it comes out in the wash. But thank you for all your effort and time, and I’m sure I will be getting back with you on other questions I might have. You are a GREAT example for me in how to dialog with low down critters who are Ugly like I can be . . . . heeheeeee

    Ugly :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/23/2009 1:44 PM  

  • Sorry Rose! Good Day Rose!

    Mark twice, cut once!

    Clarification:

    The more light the more you must believe to be saved

    However much light it takes to see this truth:

    Jesus said:

    “Most assuredly I tell you he who believes in Me has eternal life.”

    Doesn’t change the FACT that Jesus promise ALONE is dynamite!


    Alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/23/2009 2:53 PM  

  • Alvin (Hi Rose),

    I measured about 47 times before I cut this one (conservative estimate, as I am extremely concerned about being misheard on such a critical issue).

    I understand your discomfort, Alvin, but I think your concern about "Pandora's box" is misplaced.

    Something is desperately wrong with any professing Christian who has heard of, yet doesn't believe in, the cross or Resurrection. How else could "the seed of the woman" (who is "the seed of Abraham," who is the Messiah, who is the Christ, who is the Jesus who died for our sins and rose from the dead) bring us the same life after death that was promised to OT believers?

    If someone is going to believe in Jesus for eternal life and not believe in the resurrection once it is explained to them, then there's a fox in the hen-house, which is exactly what happened in 1 Cor 15! While it might be true that such a person has eternal life, the real danger here is either (1) false teaching on the resurrection (like "it's a figure of speech" or "it's only a spiritual resurrection"); (2) they are mentally deranged; or (3) they haven't believed in the real Jesus. (See Rene Lopez' The Jesus Family Tomb Examined for a fuller exposition of the fallacy of not holding to a bodily resurrection.)

    Paul didn't say, "That's ok, you poor little deluded Corinthians, at least you have eternal life because you believed in Jesus." He said, "You flaming idiots, don't you see how illogical that is? If you're right, you're not even saved, you will die in your sins! Why did you even believe, if in fact there is no life after death?"

    Now let's say J.B. Hixson got hold of one of them Corinthians and said, "You need to believe in Jesus' death and resurrection to be saved." What's the worst thing that could happen? Would they go to hell because they didn't believe in the resurrection? No. Would they commit suicide? Not likely. Would it precipitate a huge crisis? You bet it would! They would no longer have any assurance of salvation. But wait! That's exactly what Paul said: Those Corinthians who didn't believe in a bodily resurrection could not possibly have any assurance of salvation, and surely not much of a "3D" salvation (cf. 1 Cor 15:2)!!

    So what would happen then? If they didn't believe J.B. they are just as bad off as Paul said they were. But if they did believe J.B. and decided "Well, I guess there's a bodily resurrection after all, and maybe I need to believe that Jesus rose from the dead," then at least they have the hope of life after death that they need to take the kinds of risks Jesus asks of us as agents of reconciliation in His resurrection power.

    So, if I show someone, say, John 6:47 and then show from the same book that this same Jesus rose from the dead, and they believe one and not the other, I would want to go back again and find out what "Jesus" they thought they believed in for eternal life. How would you handle that scenario, Alvin?

    By Blogger agent4him, at 3/23/2009 3:48 PM  

  • Jim,

    If I were to ever meet someone who said they believed in Jesus Christ for eternal life, but REJECTED the death and resurrection, it would definitely raise a red flag for me as well. I would know that something is wrong because it just would not make any sense for someone to do that! They would need to be corrected regardless of whether they were saved or not (I would leave that question to God).. But the question I have always wanted to ask Hixson and the other separationists is this: Have they ever actually encountered or do they even realistically expect to encounter a sane and rational man who did this?! I know I haven't, and Zane and Bob say they haven't. If anyone ever DOES meet such a person, they would certainly make a fascinating theological and psychological case study wouldn't they?! Are there even any people in western civilization who do not already know something of the (alleged) death and resurrection of Christ? So when Christ is preached most, if not all, people already know what Jesus is being preached. That, to me, has always seemed like the underlying absurdity of this whole current controversy. They are worried about something that is almost certainly never going to happen aren't they? Am I missing something here--are there really such people in the world who believe that a dead man or a Jesus from Mars gives them eternal life??

    By Blogger goe, at 3/23/2009 4:47 PM  

  • Hi Jim

    I just want to post this from Zane, but I will take what you just posted and chew on it and give an answer. Although Gary makes a Great point!

    alvin :)

    Zane,

    So Saul was born again and this was a benefit of the New Covenant that Jesus would establish by His death on the cross. In the days of Samuel and Saul, people in Israel needed to know the Lord. Indeed they had enough knowledge, apparently, to encourage this experience in their unregenerate brothers and neighbors. According to Jeremiah, Jewish people used to say to their fellow Jews, “Know the Lord.” Thus the terminology of the New Covenant was part of Israel’s earliest history. But when the New Covenant prophecy of Jeremiah is fulfilled, it will be wonderfully true that,

    No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and ever man his brother, saying, “Know the Lord,” for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord.

    That day will probably be here much sooner than we expect. (Jotges volume 18)

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/23/2009 5:18 PM  

  • Gary,

    I read your similar post on Antonio's right after I posted mine on Rose's---kinda passed by each other in cyberspace while you were awaiting moderation on Antonio's---and I have to agree with you wholeheartedly. As I mentioned, I could only think of the three unusual possibilities for such an "animal"; clearly there were some Corinthians who had succumbed to some kind of delusion about the resurrection. I would, however, interrogate such a person at greater length to see if they really understood what Jesus they were supposedly believing.

    And I wonder if J.B. wouldn't agree in such a case, notwithstanding all the confusion and polemics being flung back and forth. I just don't understand what is really at stake in the debate, other than the good testimony of FG advocates.

    Alvin,

    I have been concerned that Zane limited certain terms to denote mere regeneration. In the quotation from JOTGES, I just don't see how OT saints would have distinguished between "regeneration" and faithful devotion to the Lord by the term "know the Lord." The New Covenant is so much more than a formula for "how to get to Heaven"; the Jeremiah citation of "know the Lord" sounds like an allusion to the kind of relationship people will enjoy in the Millennium when Christ is physically reigning.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 3/23/2009 5:42 PM  

  • Jim I agree with what Gary has said. But, this is the problem that I see. We know that ALL of Chritendom believes in the death and resurrection of Christ. But that is not what gives them the gift of eternal life or they would all be born again. . . right?

    So we have a dis-connect!

    So Zane went back to what exactly a person MUST believe to have eternal life.

    He did not do that so we wouldn’t have to proclaim the death and resurrection . . . . that would be absurd!!!!!

    But he wanted to make SURE we were giving them the message that TRULY brings eternal life.... and that is ALL he meant to do!

    Alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 3/23/2009 5:43 PM  

  • Rose, we're gonna hit 200 here in no time; should we alert Missy?

    Alvin,

    I think that Hixson et al actually have feared what you are saying would be "absurd": that we might not proclaim the death and resurrection, or the Deity of Christ. That's part of the comedy/tragedy of this whole exchange.

    But even so, I don't see the death and resurrection as a fundamental "disconnect" from faith in Jesus as the way we get eternal life; as I have stated, one is the object of faith and the other is the basis of the salvation that is appropriated by that faith. Once one knows the basis of salvation, how can they logically "disconnect" it from the object of faith when it only gives more content and specification of who the "real" Jesus really is?

    I have already conceded that in situations where people do not have the extra "light," they can have eternal life by believing in Jesus' name. But I would think their next question would be "How"? If the evangelist doesn't know the answer, fine---we'll take what we can get.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 3/23/2009 6:02 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Jim,

    I must say that you are the king of assumption after assumption. No time right now to respond to the masses of your assertion. But I plan on taking you to task on Cornelius come Rene's house.

    your fg friend,

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 3/24/2009 11:12 PM  

  • Alvin,

    This is taking me a long time to read and follow! But I just noticed you mentioned me earlier, so I thought I interject.

    You said (3/21/09 5:43PM):

    "Jim what you are saying sounded a lot like what Missy believes kind a progressive believing?"...

    I don't believe in a progressive believing - simply that believing in right things may lead to believing in THE RIGHT thing - and salvation is not achieved until that is believed. Scripture is full of stories of those who fear God, and because of that Christ is revealed to them.

    You also said, in the same comment:

    "The living water is the knowledge that the One standing before her was "the Christ" the One who gives eternal life...

    I don’t believe that someone could just believe in the Messiah and be born again without knowing it.

    I believe they must believe in the Messiah as "the Christ" the One who guarantees their eternal well-being in every dispensation."


    I agree.

    By Blogger Missy, at 3/25/2009 7:07 AM  

  • This was an interesting conversation to follow. I admit at times I got a little befuddled.

    Jim, watch out! Rene Lopez's house will be abuzz with conversation!!!!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/25/2009 10:14 AM  

  • Hi Rose, welcome back...this is Jim (agent4him), but I'm in Dallas on my daughter's computer, and for some reason, it won't take my standard blogger password.

    Yes, you are quite right.

    Just talked to Rene on the phone...he's still in Florida on a speaking "tour" and coming back to Dallas in 2 days; he's got a jillion things to do.

    We'll be hooking up with Antonio on Saturday. There's so much to talk about, and I'm not surprised at the confusion. As I have mentioned a couple of times before I hold to a version of progressive dispensationalism that I believe best harmonizes some of the difficult passages we have been discussing. In response to Antonio's recent comment, we all bring multiple "assumptions" to the table in these discussions, Antonio and Alvin no less than myself.

    We all look at difficult passages with a theological grid, and I do not believe all of these can be solved by "correct" microexegesis or even the immediate context, because there are usually several possible solutions in such passages that are "faithful" to the context when observed through different theological "lenses." That is why I have embraced a more "canonical" approach to Scripture that involves both "continuity" and "discontinuity," and this is perhaps where classical and progressive dispensationalists have their greatest disagreement.

    In any case, my main issue with the Free Grace movement at this point is not the subtleties of continuity and discontinuity, but with the fragmentation of the Body and lack of grace that has been manifested by various parties within the last couple of years. If I hope to accomplish anything on these blogs or with FG organizations, it is to try to get back to the unity and grace intended by Jesus in John 17.

    Thank you, Rose, and Michele, for your willingness to pray.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/25/2009 12:23 PM  

  • Finally figured it out...sorry.

    Season's greetings to Bad and Ugly from sunny Dallas (well, it's overcast today, but I hope to get some bike time in).

    By Blogger agent4him, at 3/25/2009 12:27 PM  

  • Jim,
    Thanks. Youa re a good voice to have around these parts.

    Re: Progressive Dispensationalism... can I just say this: from what I understand of this position, I think it would be a hard position to remain in. - IOW, it seems to have contradictory propositions within it. Either a prophesy's fulfillment is now or it is not yet - how can it be both. :~) There is one meaning to Scriptures. Yes, I am a Classical dispensationalist.
    PD seems wrought with ambiguity and confusion to me.

    I would love to have the time and the energy to take on the task of discussing this thoroughly with you and Bobby (the other PD I have talked with on the blogs).

    I would also love to do a review of, and a discussion around, the NEW COVENANT (oh yeah!) based on a paper I read (among other things):

    Why Do Dispensationalists Have Such a Hard Time Agreeing on the New Covenant? by Rodney Decker

    Professor of NT and Greek, Baptist Bible College
    Council on Dispensational Hermenuetics, Septmeber 2008
    Clarks Summit, PA

    :~) :~)

    I would love to have the time and energy to discuss that. Maybe when the eggs stop flying around these blogs, I can find my feet again.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/25/2009 12:50 PM  

  • Rose, the eggs probably won't stop flying 'til after Easter. ;oD

    By Blogger Missy, at 3/25/2009 1:20 PM  

  • In about 1300 A.D. William of Ockham introduced the scientific principle that whatever explanation involves the fewest assumptions is to be preferred, Called Ockham's Razor, it posits that any theory which, when confronted with contrary evidence, must supply secondary explanations in order to justify its existence is a bad theory. (see Jody Dillow in Reign...)

    I believe that your interpretation of Cornelius brings more assumptions to the text than mine would... :)

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 3/25/2009 5:55 PM  

  • Hi Rose/all:

    Perhaps Ocram's Razor would find the creed "There is no God" the most attractive of all.

    :o)

    P/s I thought I better show my face again in the post that I started a few moons ago.

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 3/25/2009 6:01 PM  

  • I dont think so Colin. Remember the old adage:

    "It takes more faith to believe that there is no God..."

    By Blogger Antonio, at 3/25/2009 8:07 PM  

  • Antonio,

    I was trained on Occam's razor in medicine, but after practicing medicine for >30 years and seeing scores of patients every month with the proverbial "multiple medical problems," I take the "razor" with a grain of salt.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 3/25/2009 8:18 PM  

  • Centurion strikes! (finally) :)

    By Blogger Missy, at 3/25/2009 9:52 PM  

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